By Pam Martens/Russ Martens - Feb 12, 2014 - WallStreetOnParade.com
The nonstop crime news swirling around JPMorgan Chase for a solid 18 months has started to feel a little spooky â they do lots of crime but never any time; and with each closed case, a trail of unanswered questions remains in the publicâs mind.
Just last month, JPMorgan Chase acknowledged that it facilitated the largest Ponzi scheme in history, looking the other way as Bernie Madoff brazenly turned his business bank account at JPMorgan Chase into an unprecedented money laundering operation that would have set off bells, whistles and sirens at any other bank.
The U.S. Justice Department allowed JPMorgan to pay $1.7 billion and sign a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning no one goes to jail at JPMorgan â again. The largest question that no one can or will answer is how the compliance, legal and anti-money laundering personnel at JPMorgan ignored for years hundreds of transfers and billions of dollars in round trip maneuvers between Madoff and the account of Norman Levy. Even one such maneuver should set off an investigation. (Levy is now deceased and the Trustee for Madoffâs victims has settled with his estate.)
Then there was the report done by the U.S. Senateâs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the London Whale episode which left the public in the dark about just what JPMorgan was doing with stock trading in its Chief Investment Office in London, redacting all information in the 300-page report that related to that topic.
Wall Street On Parade has been filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Federal government in these matters, and despite the pledge from our President to set a new era of transparency, thus far we have had few answers coming our way.
One reason that JPMorgan may have such a spooky feel is that it has aligned itself in no small way with real-life spooks, the CIA kind.
Just when the public was numbing itself to the endless stream of financial malfeasance which cost JPMorgan over $30 billion in fines and settlements in just the past 13 months, we learned on January 28 of this year that a happy, healthy 39-year old technology Vice President, Gabriel Magee, was found dead on a 9th level rooftop of the bankâs 33-story European headquarters building in the Canary Wharf section of London.
The way the news of this tragic and sudden death was stage-managed by highly skilled but invisible hands, turning a demonstrably suspicious incident into a cut-and-dried suicide leap from the rooftop (devoid of eyewitnesses or motivation) had all the hallmarks of a sophisticated covert operation or coverup.
The London Evening Standard newspaper reported the same day that âA man plunged to his death from a Canary Wharf tower in front of thousands of horrified commuters today.â Who gave that completely fabricated story to the press? Commuters on the street had no view of the body because it was 9 floors up on a rooftop â a rooftop that is accessible from a stairwell inside the building, not just via a fall from the roof. Adding to the suspicions, Magee had emailed his girlfriend the evening before telling her he was finishing up and would be home shortly.
If JPMorganâs CEO, Jamie Dimon, needed a little crisis management help from operatives, he has no shortage of people to call upon. Thomas Higgins was, until a few months ago, a Managing Director and Global Head of Operational Control for JPMorgan. (A BusinessWeek profile shows Higgins still employed at JPMorgan while the New York Post reported that he left late last year.) What is not in question is that Higgins was previously the Senior Officer and Station Chief in the CIAâs National Clandestine Service, a component of which is the National Resources Division. (Higginsâ bio is printed in past brochures of the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, where Higgins is listed with his JPMorgan job title, former CIA job title, and as a member of the Foundationâs Board of Directors for 2013.)
According to Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek on November 14, the National Resources Division (NR) is the âbiggest little CIA shop youâve never heard of.â One good reason youâve never heard of it until now is that the New York Times was asked not to name it in 2001. James Risen writes in a New York Times piece:
[the CIAâs] âNew York station was behind the false front of another federal organization, which intelligence officials requested that The Times not identify. The station was, among other things, a base of operations to spy on and recruit foreign diplomats stationed at the United Nations, while debriefing selected American business executives and others willing to talk to the C.I.A. after returning from overseas.â
Stein gets much of that out in the open in his piece for Newsweek, citing sources who say that âits intimate relations with top U.S. corporate executives willing to have their companies fronting for the CIA invites trouble at home and abroad.â Stein goes on to say that NR operatives âcultivate their own sources on Wall Street, especially looking for help keeping track of foreign money sloshing around in the global financial system, while recruiting companies to provide cover for CIA operations abroad. And once theyâve seen how the other 1 percent lives, CIA operatives, some say, are tempted to go over to the other side.â
We now know that it was not only the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Treasury Departmentâs FinCEN, and bank examiners from the Comptroller of the Currency who missed the Madoff fraud, it was top snoops at the CIA in the very city where Madoff was headquartered.
Stein gives us even less reason to feel confident about this situation, writing that the NR âknows some titans of finance are not above being romanced. Most love hanging out with the agencyâs top spies â James Bond and all that â and being solicited for their views on everything from the streetâs latest tricks to their meetings with, say, Chinaâs finance minister. JPMorgan Chaseâs Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachâs Lloyd Blankfein, one former CIA executive recalls, loved to get visitors from Langley. And the CIA loves them back, not just for their patriotic cooperation with the spy agency, sources say, but for the influence they have on Capitol Hill, where the intelligence budgets are hashed out.â
Higgins is not the only former CIA operative to work at JPMorgan. According to aLinkedIn profile, Bud Cato, a Regional Security Manager for JPMorgan Chase, worked for the CIA in foreign clandestine operations from 1982 to 1995; then went to work for The Coca-Cola Company until 2001; then back to the CIA as an Operations Officer in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East countries until he joined JPMorgan in 2011.
In addition to Higgins and Cato, JPMorgan has a large roster of former Secret Service, former FBI and former law enforcement personnel employed in security jobs. And, as we have reported repeatedly, it still shares a space with the NYPD in a massive surveillance operation in lower Manhattan which has been dubbed the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center.
JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon have received a great deal of press attention for the whopping $4.6 million that JPMorgan donated to the New York City Police Foundation. Leonard Levitt, of NYPD Confidential, wrote in 2011 that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly âhas amended his financial disclosure forms after this column revealed last October that the Police Foundation had paid his dues and meals at the Harvard Club for the past eight years. Kelly now acknowledges he spent $30,000 at the Harvard Club between 2006 and 2009, according to the Daily News.â
JPMorgan is also listed as one of the largest donors to a nonprofit Foundation that provides college tuition assistance to the children of fallen CIA operatives, the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation. The Foundation also notes in a November 2013 publication, the Compass, that it has enjoyed the fundraising support of Maurice (Hank) Greenberg. According to the publication, Greenberg âsponsored a fundraiser on our behalf. His guest list included the whoâs who of the financial services industry in New York, and they gave generously.â
Hank Greenberg is the former Chairman and CEO of AIG which collapsed into the arms of the U.S. taxpayer, requiring a $182 billion bailout. In 2006, AIG paid $1.64 billion to settle federal and state probes into fraudulent activities. In 2010, the company settled a shareholdersâ lawsuit for $725 million that accused it of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation. In 2009, Greenberg settled SEC fraud charges against him related to AIG for $15 million.
Before the death of Gabriel Magee, the public had lost trust in the Justice Department and Wall Street regulators to bring these financial firms to justice for an unending spree of fleecing the public. Now there is a young manâs unexplained death at JPMorgan. This is no longer about money. This is about a heartbroken family that will never be the same again; who can never find peace or closure until credible and documented facts are put before them by independent, credible law enforcement.
The London Coronerâs office will hold a formal inquest into the death of Gabriel Magee on May 15. Wall Street On Parade has asked that the inquest be available on a live webcast as well as an archived webcast so that the American public can observe for itself if this matter has been given the kind of serious investigation it deserves. We ask other media outlets who were initially misled about the facts in this case to do the same.
Another JPMorgan Banker Dies, 37 Year Old Executive Director Of Program Trading By Tyler Durden - 02/12/2014 - ZeroHedge.com Ordinarily we would ignore the news of another banker's death - after all these sad events happen all the time - if it wasn't for several contextual aspects of this most recent passage. First, the death in question, as reported by the Stamford Daily Voice is that of Ryan Henry Crane, a Harvard graduate, who is survived by his wife, son and parents at the very young age of 37. Second, Ryan Henry Crane was formerly employed by JPMorgan - a bank which was featured prominently in the news as recently as two weeks ago when another of its London-based employees committed suicide by jumping from the top floor of its Canary Wharf building. Third: Crane was an Executive Director in JPM's Global Program Trading desk, founded in 1999 by an ex-DE Shaw'er, a function of the firm which is instrumental to preserving JPM's impeccable and (so far in 2013) flawless trading record of zero trading losses.
Experts: U.S. 'defenseless' against high-altitude explosion
F. MICHAEL MALOOF - 02-11-14 - WND.com
WASHINGTON â National security experts have expressed alarm over the announcement by Iran that it will position its warships off the coast of the United States, from where they could launch a nuclear warhead to explode at high altitude to create an electromagnetic pulse.
That could knock the American electrical grid out of commission, disrupting supplies of energy, food, communications, fuel and more for a long period.
These experts agree that there would be no warning and that the U.S. missile defense system would not be able to respond in time to prevent the high altitude nuclear explosion. They also believe that if such a missile were launched, it would not be from an Iranian warship but from a commercial vessel sailing along the East Coast or in the Gulf of Mexico.
âIt shows they could put a weapon on a boat or freighter, and if Iran has ballistic missiles it could put it anywhere on the U.S. coast,â said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and currently a senior fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute.
Last month, the Iranian Fars News Agency announced that the fleet would undertake a three-month mission and would consist of a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying vessel.
While the Iranian deployment may consist of two vessels, the commander of Iranâs Northern Navy Fleet, Adm.l Afshin Rezayee Haddad, said that Iran would send a âfleetâ to the Atlantic Ocean.
These ships undoubtedly would be under constant U.S. Navy observation while trolling along the U.S. East Coast and possibly in the Gulf of Mexico.
The ships could use Venezuela as station to refuel and resupply, or could return to Iran.
Iranâs decision to place its warships off the U.S. East Coast was prompted by the U.S. decision to place warships of the U.S. Navyâs 5th Fleet at Bahrain, not far from Iran. And there are U.S. carrier task forces constantly patrolling through the Strait of Hormuz, which skirts Iranian territory.
This deployment to the U.S. East Coast would be the first time Iran has stationed ships outside the Persian Gulf. For the past three years, it has been sending its warships through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean to show its capabilities.
Bolton said that the Iranian exercise is more of a training mission to show that it can sail across the Atlantic and come up to the U.S. coast.
âTheyâre building up capabilities,â Bolton said. âThatâs what training missions do.â
The coastal deployment plan comes as the United States and its allies again meet on Feb. 18 with Iranian officials in Vienna to come to a comprehensive agreement on Iranâs nuclear program.
Iran wants to end Western economic sanctions while the U.S. and its allies seek to halt any effort by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, which Iran claims it is not doing with its nascent nuclear program.
Some national security experts are worried that Iran could park is warships outside U.S. territorial waters and be in a position to launch an EMP attack should the U.S. decide to bomb Iranâs nuclear facilities.
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Kenneth Chrosniak said that the Iranian warships will be âextensively tracked and, if need be, engaged by an overwhelming triad of conventional U.S. forces if they attempt to fire a missile.
âHowever, if they home port out of Venezuela, we may be more vulnerable to engagement to our exposed southern shores,â Chrosniak said. âEven so, I believe weâll have adequate âvisability/awareness.ââ
Former Ambassador Henry Cooper, who heads High Frontier and was the Strategic Defense Initiative Director under former President George H.W. Bush, said that the issue is not one just of awareness.
âWhat if they covertly erect and launch a nuclear armed ballistic missile from near our coast?â Cooper asked. âAnd actually, I am more concerned that they could do this from a more conventional vessel than a warship â perhaps while we are watching the few warships and ignoring the hundreds of commercial vessels.â
Cooper, who is a member of the newly formed EMP Coalition headed by former Central Intelligence Director James Woolsey and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has expressed concern about Americaâs exposure to any missile launches from the south.
His main concern is that the U.S. lacks a ballistic missile system to watch the south part of the U.S. should there be a missile launch from either North Korea or Iran, both which have previously tested missiles over the southern polar icecap.
Cooper would like to see the U.S. Navy move more of its Aegis warships into the Gulf and off the southern portion of the East Coast to respond to any missile attack.
However, other experts agree that a missile fired by North Korea, Iran or any other nation with missile and nuclear warhead stockpiles off the coast so close to the East or Gulf Coasts could not be intercepted in time.
In referring to the impending arrival of the Iranian warships off the U.S. East Coast, former CIA operative Reza Kahlili said that they are test runs âfor a long term presence in collaboration with their allies in this region.â
In addition to Venezuela, those other countries close to Iran include Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.
âIf (the Iranians) do anything, it will be via a commercial vessel,â Kahlili said.
Experts have suggested that an EMP strike could disable most electronics, which control food, water, fuel, energy and other supplies, as well as communications links and more. Ultimately, such a strike on an unprepared U.S. is estimated to result in tens of millions of casualties.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/02/approaching-iranian-warships-raise-emp-threat/#LSFw6A4PcAztzzx3.99
Ohio National Guard Training Envisions Right-Wing Terrorism By: Jesse Hathaway | February 10, 2014 MediaTrackers.org
Documents from an Ohio National Guard (ONG) training drill conducted last January reveal the details of a mock disaster where Second Amendment supporters with âanti-governmentâ opinions were portrayed as domestic terrorists.
The ONG 52nd Civil Support Team training scenario involved a plot from local school district employees to use biological weapons in order to advance their beliefs about âprotecting Gun Rights and Second Amendment rights.â
Portsmouth Chief of Police Bill Raisin told NBC 3 WSAZ-TV in Huntington, West Virginia that the drill accurately represented âthe reality of the world we live in,â adding that such training âhelps us all be prepared.â
Internal ONG documents provided to Media Trackers after repeated delays provide further context to what WSAZ-TV reported last winter.
In the disaster-preparedness scenario, two Portsmouth Junior High School employees poisoned school lunches with mustard gas, acting on orders from white-nationalist leader William Pierce.
The ONG team discovered biological weapons being produced in the school, requiring activation of containment and decontamination procedures.
Participants in the disaster drill located documents expressing the school employeesâ âanti-governmentâ sentiments, as well as a note identifying Pierce as the fictional right-wing terroristsâ leader.
ONGâs 52nd Civil Support Unit participated in a similar drill involving left-wing terrorists with Athens County first responders last year; public officials apologized for that training the next day in response to complaints from local environmentalist groups.
No apology to Ohioans who support limited government and the Second Amendment appears to be forthcoming.
Scioto County Emergency Management Agency director Kim Carver refused to comment, telling Media Trackers she was ânot going to get into an Ohio Army National Guard issue that you have with them.â
Ohio National Guard Communications Director James Sims II suggested Media Trackers was âinferringâ from the ONG documentâs contents as opposed to âwhatâs actually in the report.â
After excerpts of the report were read to him, Sims said it was ânot relevantâ to understand why conservatives may feel unduly targeted by ONGâs training scenario.
âOkay, Iâm gonna stop ya there. Iâm going to quit this conversation,â Sims concluded. âYou have a good day.â
Buckeye Firearms Association spokesman Chad Baus told Media Trackers that âit is a scary day indeed when law enforcement are being trained that Second Amendment advocates are the enemy,â
âThe revelation of this information is appalling to me, and to all citizens of Ohio who are true conservatives and patriots, who donât have guns for any other reason than that the Second Amendment gives them that right,â Portage County TEA Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski said in a separate Media Trackers interview.
Media Trackers reached out to Portsmouth-area state legislators Representative Terry Johnson and Senator Joe Uecker for comment about the drill, which took place within their respective districts. Neither replied to phone calls or emails in time for publication.
ONGâs January 2013 training exercise is one of many instances where government officials have identified those with limited-government or pro-Second Amendment opinions as potential terror threats.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned law enforcement agencies that a predicted rise inâright-wing extremismâ would be fueled by âproposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bansâ and âthe election of the first African American president.â
Throughout modern history, groups and individuals associated with left-wing causes have proven far more likely to commit acts of domestic terror.
In 2012, members of the anarcho-socialist Occupy Cleveland movement were arrested and prosecuted for attempting to destroy the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge with explosives, to commemorate International Workersâ Day.
Last year, leftist groups Earth First and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility for the sabotage and property destruction of businesses in Washington and Van Wert counties.
Ohio National Guard portrayed gun rights supporters as domestic terrorists during drill Published: February 11, 2014 - RT America
Questions are being raised about the Ohio National Guard after internal documents revealed that the agency conducted a training drill last year in which Second Amendment advocates were portrayed as domestic terrorists.
WSAZ News reported out of Portsmouth, Ohio early last year that a mock disaster had been staged in order to see first responders from Scioto County and the Ohio Army National Guardâs Fifty-Second Civil Support Unit would react to a make-believe scenario in which school officials plotted to use chemical, biological and radiological agents against members of the community.
"It's the reality of the world we live in," Portsmouth Police Chief Bill Raisin told the network last January. "Don't forget there is such a thing as domestic terrorism. This helps us all be prepared."
This week, though, the website MediaTrackers published documents pertaining to that drill, and with it theyâve raised concerns regarding how gun rights activists were depicted.
Those documents, Jesse Hathaway wrote for MediaTrackers on Monday, âreveal the details of a mock disaster where Second Amendment supporters with âanti-governmentâ opinions were portrayed as domestic terrorists.â
One of those documents referenced by Hathaway is an incident summary that appears to have been completed by the first responders who participated in last yearâs exercise.
According to that report, the first responders who handled the mock emergency took special note of what appeared in the classroom of a school that was searched during the exercise.
âOn the chalkboard as well as the tables there were several statements about protecting Gun Rights and Second Amendment rights,â the summary read.
The summary also suggests that the first-responders took note of documents found inside the building pertaining to the schoolâs lunch schedule, as well as instructions and informational sheets on the poisonous compound ricin. Although itâs not referenced specifically in the incident summary report, the 38 pages of documents obtained by MediaTrackers also includes a 2011 article pertaining to gun control thatâs on file alongside other evidence obtained from the school, including the name and phone number purportedly belonging to William Pierce, a now-deceased notorious neo-Nazi. MediaTrackersâ Hathaway says the documents that have been made public show that Pierce was portrayed during the trill as the âfiction right-wing terroristsâ leader.â
When MediaTrackers approached the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency director Kim Carver about the documents, though, she said she was ânot going to get into an Ohio Army National Guard issue that you have with them.â
Ohio National Guard Communications Director James Sims II, MediaTrackers claims, told the website that it was ânot relevantâ as to why conservatives may feel targeted by being portrayed as anti-government extremists.
âOkay, Iâm gonna stop ya there. Iâm going to quit this conversation,â Sims told the site when reached for comment. âYou have a good day.â
Those who did agree to speak to MediaTrackers, however, had much more to say.
âThe revelation of this information is appalling to me, and to all citizens of Ohio who are true conservatives and patriots, who donât have guns for any other reason than that the Second Amendment gives them that right,â Portage County TEA Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski told the website.
â[I]t is a scary day indeed when law enforcement are being trained that Second Amendment advocates are the enemy,â added Buckeye Firearms Association spokesman Chad Baus.
Glenn Greenwald on security and liberty - TheGuardian.com
Are you ok with any one person or administration having a secret kill list without due process. Not only does the NDAA say you can be detained indefinitely without charge or trial, read this about being assassinated without charge or trial. Can it happen to anyone? Yes it can and it already has happened to at least two American citizens and one was only 16 years old... JB - Glenn Greenwald The president's partisan lawyers purport to vest him with the most extreme power a political leader can seize - The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.
Since then, senior Obama officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, have explicitly argued that the president is and should be vested with this power. Meanwhile, a Washington Post article from October reported that the administration is formally institutionalizing this president's power to decide who dies under the Orwellian title "disposition matrix".
When the New York Times back in April, 2010 first confirmed the existence of Obama's hit list, it made clear just what an extremist power this is, noting: "It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing." The NYT quoted a Bush intelligence official as saying "he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president". When the existence of Obama's hit list was first reported several months earlier by the Washington Post's Dana Priest, she wrote that the "list includes three Americans".
What has made these actions all the more radical is the absolute secrecy with which Obama has draped all of this. Not only is the entire process carried out solely within the Executive branch - with no checks or oversight of any kind - but there is zero transparency and zero accountability. The president's underlings compile their proposed lists of who should be executed, and the president - at a charming weekly event dubbed by White House aides as "Terror Tuesday" - then chooses from "baseball cards" and decrees in total secrecy who should die. The power of accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner are all consolidated in this one man, and those powers are exercised in the dark.
In fact, The Most Transparent Administration Everâą has been so fixated on secrecy that they have refused even to disclose the legal memoranda prepared by Obama lawyers setting forth their legal rationale for why the president has this power. During the Bush years, when Bush refused to disclose the memoranda from his Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that legally authorized torture, rendition, warrantless eavesdropping and the like, leading Democratic lawyers such as Dawn Johnsen (Obama's first choice to lead the OLC) vehemently denounced this practice as a grave threat, warning that "the Bush Administration's excessive reliance on 'secret law' threatens the effective functioning of American democracy" and "the withholding from Congress and the public of legal interpretations by the [OLC] upsets the system of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches of government."
But when it comes to Obama's assassination power, this is exactly what his administration has done. It has repeatedly refused to disclose the principal legal memoranda prepared by Obama OLC lawyers that justified his kill list. It is, right now, vigorously resisting lawsuits from the New York Times and the ACLU to obtain that OLC memorandum. In sum, Obama not only claims he has the power to order US citizens killed with no transparency, but that even the documents explaining the legal rationale for this power are to be concealed. He's maintaining secret law on the most extremist power he can assert.
Last night, NBC News' Michael Isikoff released a 16-page "white paper" prepared by the Obama DOJ that purports to justify Obama's power to target even Americans for assassination without due process (the memo is embedded in full below). This is not the primary OLC memo justifying Obama's kill list - that is still concealed - but it appears to track the reasoning of that memo as anonymously described to the New York Times in October 2011.
This new memo is entitled: "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa'ida or An Associated Force". It claims its conclusion is "reached with recognition of the extraordinary seriousness of a lethal operation by the United States against a US citizen". Yet it is every bit as chilling as the Bush OLC torture memos in how its clinical, legalistic tone completely sanitizes the radical and dangerous power it purports to authorize.
I've written many times at length about why the Obama assassination program is such an extreme and radical threat - see here for one of the most comprehensive discussions, with documentation of how completely all of this violates Obama and Holder's statements before obtaining power - and won't repeat those arguments here. Instead, there are numerous points that should be emphasized about the fundamentally misleading nature of this new memo:
1. Equating government accusations with guilt
The core distortion of the War on Terror under both Bush and Obama is the Orwellian practice of equating government accusations of terrorism with proof of guilt. One constantly hears US government defenders referring to "terrorists" when what they actually mean is: those accused by the government of terrorism. This entire memo is grounded in this deceit.
Time and again, it emphasizes that the authorized assassinations are carried out "against a senior operational leader of al-Qaida or its associated forces who poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." Undoubtedly fearing that this document would one day be public, Obama lawyers made certain to incorporate this deceit into the title itself: "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida or An Associated Force."
This ensures that huge numbers of citizens - those who spend little time thinking about such things and/or authoritarians who assume all government claims are true - will instinctively justify what is being done here on the ground that we must kill the Terrorists or joining al-Qaida means you should be killed. That's the "reasoning" process that has driven the War on Terror since it commenced: if the US government simply asserts without evidence or trial that someone is a terrorist, then they are assumed to be, and they can then be punished as such - with indefinite imprisonment or death.
But of course, when this memo refers to "a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida", what it actually means is this: someone whom the President - in total secrecy and with no due process - has accused of being that. Indeed, the memo itself makes this clear, as it baldly states that presidential assassinations are justified when "an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US".
This is the crucial point: the memo isn't justifying the due-process-free execution of senior al-Qaida leaders who pose an imminent threat to the US. It is justifying the due-process-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due process, of being that. The distinction between (a) government accusations and (b) proof of guilt is central to every free society, by definition, yet this memo - and those who defend Obama's assassination power - willfully ignore it.
Those who justify all of this by arguing that Obama can and should kill al-Qaida leaders who are trying to kill Americans are engaged in supreme question-begging. Without any due process, transparency or oversight, there is no way to know who is a "senior al-Qaida leader" and who is posing an "imminent threat" to Americans. All that can be known is who Obama, in total secrecy, accuses of this.
(Indeed, membership in al-Qaida is not even required to be assassinated, as one can be a member of a group deemed to be an "associated force" of al-Qaida, whatever that might mean: a formulation so broad and ill-defined that, as Law Professor Kevin Jon Heller argues, it means the memo "authorizes the use of lethal force against individuals whose targeting is, without more, prohibited by international law".)
The definition of an extreme authoritarian is one who is willing blindly to assume that government accusations are true without any evidence presented or opportunity to contest those accusations. This memo - and the entire theory justifying Obama's kill list - centrally relies on this authoritarian conflation of government accusations and valid proof of guilt.
They are not the same and never have been. Political leaders who decree guilt in secret and with no oversight inevitably succumb to error and/or abuse of power. Such unchecked accusatory decrees are inherently untrustworthy (indeed, Yemen experts have vehemently contested the claim that Awlaki himself was a senior al-Qaida leader posing an imminent threat to the US). That's why due process is guaranteed in the Constitution and why judicial review of government accusations has been a staple of western justice since the Magna Carta: because leaders can't be trusted to decree guilt and punish citizens without evidence and an adversarial process. That is the age-old basic right on which this memo, and the Obama presidency, is waging war.
2. Creating a ceiling, not a floor
The most vital fact to note about this memorandum is that it is not purporting to impose requirements on the president's power to assassinate US citizens. When it concludes that the president has the authority to assassinate "a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida" who "poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US" where capture is "infeasible", it is not concluding that assassinations are permissible only in those circumstances.
To the contrary, the memo expressly makes clear that presidential assassinations may be permitted even when none of those circumstances prevail: "This paper does not attempt to determine the minimum requirements necessary to render such an operation lawful." Instead, as the last line of the memo states: "it concludes only that the stated conditions would be sufficient to make lawful a lethal operation" - not that such conditions are necessary to find these assassinations legal. The memo explicitly leaves open the possibility that presidential assassinations of US citizens may be permissible even when the target is not a senior al-Qaida leader posing an imminent threat and/or when capture is feasible.
Critically, the rationale of the memo - that the US is engaged in a global war against al-Qaida and "associated forces" - can be easily used to justify presidential assassinations of US citizens in circumstances far beyond the ones described in this memo. If you believe the president has the power to execute US citizens based on the accusation that the citizen has joined al-Qaida, what possible limiting principle can you cite as to why that shouldn't apply to a low-level al-Qaida member, including ones found in places where capture may be feasible (including US soil)? The purported limitations on this power set forth in this memo, aside from being incredibly vague, can be easily discarded once the central theory of presidential power is embraced.
3. Relies on the core Bush/Cheney theory of a global battlefield
The primary theory embraced by the Bush administration to justify its War on Terror policies was that the "battlefield" is no longer confined to identifiable geographical areas, but instead, the entire globe is now one big, unlimited "battlefield". That theory is both radical and dangerous because a president's powers are basically omnipotent on a "battlefield". There, state power is shielded from law, from courts, from constitutional guarantees, from all forms of accountability: anyone on a battlefield can be killed or imprisoned without charges. Thus, to posit the world as a battlefield is, by definition, to create an imperial, omnipotent presidency. That is the radical theory that unleashed all the rest of the controversial and lawless Bush/Cheney policies.
This "world-is-a-battlefield" theory was once highly controversial among Democrats. John Kerry famously denounced it when running for president, arguing instead that the effort against terrorism is "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world".
But this global-war theory is exactly what lies at heart of the Obama approach to Terrorism generally and this memo specifically. It is impossible to defend Obama's assassination powers without embracing it (which is why key Obama officials have consistently done so). That's because these assassinations are taking place in countries far from any war zone, such as Yemen and Somalia. You can't defend the application of "war powers" in these countries without embracing the once-very-controversial Bush/Cheney view that the whole is now a "battlefield" and the president's war powers thus exist without geographic limits.
This new memo makes clear that this Bush/Cheney worldview is at the heart of the Obama presidency. The president, it claims, "retains authority to use force against al-Qaida and associated forces outside the area of active hostilities". In other words: there are, subject to the entirely optional "feasibility of capture" element, no geographic limits to the president's authority to kill anyone he wants. This power applies not only to war zones, but everywhere in the world that he claims a member of al-Qaida is found. This memo embraces and institutionalizes the core Bush/Cheney theory that justified the entire panoply of policies Democrats back then pretended to find so objectionable.
4. Expanding the concept of "imminence" beyond recognition
The memo claims that the president's assassination power applies to a senior al-Qaida member who "poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States". That is designed to convince citizens to accept this power by leading them to believe it's similar to common and familiar domestic uses of lethal force on US soil: if, for instance, an armed criminal is in the process of robbing a bank or is about to shoot hostages, then the "imminence" of the threat he poses justifies the use of lethal force against him by the police.
But this rhetorical tactic is totally misleading. The memo is authorizing assassinations against citizens in circumstances far beyond this understanding of "imminence". Indeed, the memo expressly states that it is inventing "a broader concept of imminence" than is typically used in domestic law. Specifically, the president's assassination power "does not require that the US have clear evidence that a specific attack . . . will take place in the immediate future". The US routinely assassinates its targets not when they are engaged in or plotting attacks but when they are at home, with family members, riding in a car, at work, at funerals, rescuing other drone victims, etc.
Many of the early objections to this new memo have focused on this warped and incredibly broad definition of "imminence". The ACLU's Jameel Jaffer told Isikoff that the memo "redefines the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning". Law Professor Kevin Jon Heller called Jaffer's objection "an understatement", noting that the memo's understanding of "imminence" is "wildly overbroad" under international law.
Crucially, Heller points out what I noted above: once you accept the memo's reasoning - that the US is engaged in a global war, that the world is a battlefield, and the president has the power to assassinate any member of al-Qaida or associated forces - then there is no way coherent way to limit this power to places where capture is infeasible or to persons posing an "imminent" threat. The legal framework adopted by the memo means the president can kill anyone he claims is a member of al-Qaida regardless of where they are found or what they are doing.
The only reason to add these limitations of "imminence" and "feasibility of capture" is, as Heller said, purely political: to make the theories more politically palatable. But the definitions for these terms are so vague and broad that they provide no real limits on the president's assassination power. As the ACLU's Jaffer says: "This is a chilling document" because "it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen" and the purported limits "are elastic and vaguely defined, and it's easy to see how they could be manipulated."
5. Converting Obama underlings into objective courts
This memo is not a judicial opinion. It was not written by anyone independent of the president. To the contrary, it was written by life-long partisan lackeys: lawyers whose careerist interests depend upon staying in the good graces of Obama and the Democrats, almost certainly Marty Lederman and David Barron. Treating this document as though it confers any authority on Obama is like treating the statements of one's lawyer as a judicial finding or jury verdict.
Indeed, recall the primary excuse used to shield Bush officials from prosecution for their crimes of torture and illegal eavesdropping: namely, they got Bush-appointed lawyers in the DOJ to say that their conduct was legal, and therefore, it should be treated as such. This tactic - getting partisan lawyers and underlings of the president to say that the president's conduct is legal - was appropriately treated with scorn when invoked by Bush officials to justify their radical programs. As Digby wrote about Bush officials who pointed to the OLC memos it got its lawyers to issue about torture and eavesdropping, such a practice amounts to:
"validating the idea that obscure Justice Department officials can be granted the authority to essentially immunize officials at all levels of the government, from the president down to the lowest field officer, by issuing a secret memo. This is a very important new development in western jurisprudence and one that surely requires more study and consideration. If Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan had known about this, they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble."
Life-long Democratic Party lawyers are not going to oppose the terrorism policies of the president who appointed them. A president can always find underlings and political appointees to endorse whatever he wants to do. That's all this memo is: the by-product of obsequious lawyers telling their Party's leader that he is (of course) free to do exactly that which he wants to do, in exactly the same way that Bush got John Yoo to tell him that torture was not torture, and that even it if were, it was legal.
That's why courts, not the president's partisan lawyers, should be making these determinations. But when the ACLU tried to obtain a judicial determination as to whether Obama is actually authorized to assassinate US citizens, the Obama DOJ went to extreme lengths to block the court from ruling on that question. They didn't want independent judges to determine the law. They wanted their own lawyers to do so.
That's all this memo is: Obama-loyal appointees telling their leader that he has the authority to do what he wants. But in the warped world of US politics, this - secret memos from partisan lackeys - has replaced judicial review as the means to determine the legality of the president's conduct.
6. Making a mockery of "due process"
The core freedom most under attack by the War on Terror is the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process. It provides that "no person shall be . . . deprived of life . . . without due process of law". Like putting people in cages for life on island prisons with no trial, claiming that the president has the right to assassinate US citizens far from any battlefield without any charges or trial is the supreme evisceration of this right.
The memo pays lip service to the right it is destroying: "Under the traditional due process balancing analysis . . . . we recognize that there is no private interest more weighty than a person's interest in his life." But it nonetheless argues that a "balancing test" is necessary to determine the extent of the process that is due before the president can deprive someone of their life, and further argues that, as the New York Times put it when this theory was first unveiled: "while the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch."
Stephen Colbert perfectly mocked this theory when Eric Holder first unveiled it to defend the president's assassination program. At the time, Holder actually said: "due process and judicial process are not one and the same." Colbert interpreted that claim as follows:
"Trial by jury, trial by fire, rock, paper scissors, who cares? Due process just means that there is a process that you do. The current process is apparently, first the president meets with his advisers and decides who he can kill. Then he kills them."
It is fitting indeed that the memo expressly embraces two core Bush/Cheney theories to justify this view of what "due process" requires. First, it cites the Bush DOJ's core view, as enunciated by John Yoo, that courts have no role to play in what the president does in the War on Terror because judicial review constitutes "judicial encroachment" on the "judgments by the President and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force". And then it cites the Bush DOJ's mostly successful arguments in the 2004 Hamdi case that the president has the authority even to imprison US citizens without trial provided that he accuses them of being a terrorist.
The reason this is so fitting is because, as I've detailed many times, it was these same early Bush/Cheney theories that made me want to begin writing about politics, all driven by my perception that the US government was becoming extremist and dangerous. During the early Bush years, the very idea that the US government asserted the power to imprison US citizens without charges and due process (or to eavesdrop on them) was so radical that, at the time, I could hardly believe they were being asserted out in the open.
Yet here we are almost a full decade later. And we have the current president asserting the power not merely to imprison or eavesdrop on US citizens without charges or trial, but to order them executed - and to do so in total secrecy, with no checks or oversight. If you believe the president has the power to order US citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it's truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable.
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.
The appeals court ruled that the trustee was not a public figure, which could have invoked an even higher standard of showing the writer acted with malice, but the issue was of public concern, so the negligence standard applied.
Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the ruling affirms what many have long argued: Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists.
"It's not a special right to the news media," he said. "So it's a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others."
Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., now living in Port Townshend, Wash., was sued for defamation by Bend attorney Kevin Padrick and his company, Obsidian Finance Group LLC, after she made posts on several websites she created accusing them of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and other illegal activities. The appeals court noted Padrick and Obsidian were hired by Summit Accommodators to advise them before filing for bankruptcy, and that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court later appointed Padrick trustee in the Chapter 11 case. The court added that Summit had defrauded investors in its real estate operations through a Ponzi scheme.
A jury in 2011 had awarded Padrick and Obsidian $2.5 million.
"Because Cox's blog post addressed a matter of public concern, even assuming that Gertz is limited to such speech, the district court should have instructed the jury that it could not find Cox liable for defamation unless it found that she acted negligently," judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote. "We hold that liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages."
The appeals court upheld rulings by the District Court that other posts by Cox were constitutionally protected opinion.
Though Cox acted as her own attorney, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who had written an article on the issue, learned of her case and offered to represent her in an appeal. Volokh said such cases usually end up settled without trial, and it was rare for one to reach the federal appeals court level.
"It makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists," he said. "There had been similar precedents before concerning advocacy groups, other writers and book authors. This follows a fairly well established chain of precedents. I believe it is the first federal appeals court level ruling that applies to bloggers."
An attorney for Padrick said in an email that while they were disappointed in the ruling, they noted the court found "there was no dispute that the statements were false and defamatory."
"Ms. Cox's false and defamatory statements have caused substantial damage to our clients, and we are evaluating our options with respect to the court's decision," wrote Steven M. Wilker.
Bloggers, public have First Amendment protection â US court
Published time: January 18, 2014 - RT
A federal appeals court has ruled that bloggers and the general public have the same protection of the First Amendment as journalists when sued for defamation. Should the issue be of public concern, the claimant has to prove negligence to win the case.
"It's not a special right to the news media," he said. "So it's a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others," Gregg Leslie, of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, told AP.
The federal courtâs ruling came after a new trial in a defamation case: an Oregon bankruptcy trustee was the plaintiff against a Montana blogger who wrote on the Internet that the trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.
In 2011, Crystal Cox, a blogger from Montana was sued by attorney Kevin Padrick and his company, Obsidian Finance Group LLC, following her posts disclosing the alleged fraud, corruption, money-laundering and other criminal activities carried out by Obsidian. It should be noted that Padrick is not a public figure, so the facts exposed by Cox couldnât inflict reputational damage on him.
Padrick and Obsidian won the case, and were granted $2.5 million.
Cox addressed the court of appeals, and was joined by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who found out about her case and offered her to represent her as an attorney in court.
"Because Cox's blog post addressed a matter of public concern, even assuming that Gertz is limited to such speech, the district court should have instructed the jury that it could not find Cox liable for defamation unless it found that she acted negligently," Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"We hold that liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages," he added.
Eugene Volokh, who wrote an article on the issue, stated that the case ensures that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional media workers.
"There had been similar precedents before concerning advocacy groups, other writers and book authors. This follows a fairly well established chain of precedents. I believe it is the first federal appeals court level ruling that applies to bloggers," Volokh said.
The plaintiff, however, disagreed with the decision and was disappointed with the ruling.
"Ms. Cox's false and defamatory statements have caused substantial damage to our clients, and we are evaluating our options with respect to the court's decision," AP reported Steven Wilker, an attorney for Obsidian and Padrick, as saying.
The issue of defining the term âjournalistâ has been on the table for a long time.
In 1974, the Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc. case marked the beginning of the debate on the level of state protection for public or private figures.
In September 2013, the US Senate committee voted 13-to-5 early Thursday to approve S.987, a bill meant to protect members of the press from government intrusion and âmaintain the free flow of information to the public.â
The legislation covered bloggers and freelancers both paid and unpaid who work with the "primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information."
Officials at the U.S. Department of State on Friday torpedoed the controversial New York Times story on the Benghazi terrorist attack which blamed an Internet motion picture that "blasphemed" against the Muslim religion for the destruction and killing of four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
A State Department announcement blamed certain terrorist groups for the 2012 Benghazi attack, designating them as terrorists which refutes President Barack Obama's and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's claims that the attack was spontaneous, as well as contradicts the New York Times recent news story which many believe was written in order to provide "cover" for Hillary Clinton in her pursuit of the presidency.
"It is unacceptable that the New York Times would lie to it's readers and tell them that the attack wasn't a planned assault by al-Qaida aligned terrorists, but instead was a spontaneous political protest over a YouTube video," said officials at the Conservative Campaign Committee.
The State Department also reported that the leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi had been released from the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
According to the U.S. Department of State, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah, and Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia are now separately Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities.
Besides the group designations, U.S. officials also designated Ahmed Abu Khattalah, Sufian bin Qumu, and Seifallah Ben Hassine, a/k/a âAbou Iyadh,â as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Bin Qumu's background includes training at Osama bin Laden's training camp and being a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo). He was released in 2010 from the detention center and became a top Ansar al-Sharia commander.
Catherine Herridge of Fox News had previously reported Ansar al-Sharia was a prime suspect in the Bengahzi attack. And despite State Department claims that Al Qaeda leadership was not involved and the recent New York Times news report echoing that assessment, Fox News had learned that bin Qumu has Al Qaeda ties, according to his Gitmo records.
Created separately after the fall of Libyan dictator Col. Moamar Khaddhafi, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi and Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah have been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, frequent assassinations, and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya, and the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya, according to past Examiner news stories.
Members of both organizations continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests in Libya.Ahmed Abu Khattalah is a senior leader of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi and Sufian bin Qumu is the leader of Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah.
January 10, 2014 10:24 AM - AUSTIN, Texas (CBS Houston/AP)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has told a conservative conference that President Barack Obama is lawless, providing the rightwing rhetoric that makes him so popular in his home state. The conservative Republican laid out his reasoning for why he thinks the president is âdangerous and terrifying.â The public policy conference at which he spoke was sponsored by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. Minutes before his address, the organization posted a photograph of Cruz on their official Facebook page. Cruz has garnered national attention by frequently condemning the Obama administration and the federal health care overhaul. He called for the complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act and said he would replace it with a conservative alternative that would expand health care coverage. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured in the nation. Cruz also criticized Obama for not enforcing drug laws in states that have legalized use of marijuana.
By Bob Woodward - Tuesday, January 7, 7:32 PM - WashingtonPost
In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obamaâs leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president âdoesnât believe in his own strategy, and doesnât consider the war to be his. For him, itâs all about getting out.â
Leveling one of the more serious charges that a defense secretary could make against a commander in chief sending forces into combat, Gates asserts that Obama had more than doubts about the course he had charted in Afghanistan. The president was âskeptical if not outright convinced it would fail,â Gates writes in âDuty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.â
Obama, after months of contentious discussion with Gates and other top advisers, deployed 30,000 more troops in a final push to stabilize Afghanistan before a phased withdrawal beginning in mid-2011. âI never doubted Obamaâs support for the troops, only his support for their mission,â Gates writes.
As a candidate, Obama had made plain his opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion while embracing the Afghanistan war as a necessary response to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, requiring even more military resources to succeed. In Gatesâs highly emotional account, Obama remains uncomfortable with the inherited wars and distrustful of the military that is providing him options. Their different worldviews produced a rift that, at least for Gates, became personally wounding and impossible to repair.
In a statement Tuesday evening, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Obama âdeeply appreciates Bob Gatesâ service as Secretary of Defense, and his lifetime of service to our country.â
âAs has always been the case, the President welcomes differences of view among his national security team, which broaden his options and enhance our policies,â Hayden said in the statement. âThe President wishes Secretary Gates well as he recovers from his recent injury, and discusses his book.â Gates fractured his first vertebra last week in a fall at his home in Washington state.
It is rare for a former Cabinet member, let alone a defense secretary occupying a central position in the chain of command, to publish such an antagonistic portrait of a sitting president.
Gatesâs severe criticism is even more surprising â some might say contradictory â because toward the end of âDuty,â he says of Obamaâs chief Afghanistan policies, âI believe Obama was right in each of these decisions.â That particular view is not a universal one; like much of the debate about the best path to take in Afghanistan, there is disagreement on how well the surge strategy worked, including among military officials.
The sometimes bitter tone in Gatesâs 594-page account contrasts sharply with the even-tempered image that he cultivated during his many years of government service, including stints at the CIA and National Security Council. That image endured through his nearly five years in the Pentagonâs top job, beginning in President George W. Bushâs second term and continuing after Obama asked him to remain in the post. In âDuty,â Gates describes his outwardly calm demeanor as a facade. Underneath, he writes, he was frequently âseethingâ and ârunning out of patience on multiple fronts.â
The book, published by Knopf, is scheduled for release Jan. 14.
[PHOTOS: A look at Robert Gatesâs career in government]
Gates, a Republican, writes about Obama with an ambivalence that he does not resolve, praising him as âa man of personal integrityâ even as he faults his leadership. Though the book simmers with disappointment in Obama, it reflects outright contempt for Vice President Biden and many of Obamaâs top aides.
Biden is accused of âpoisoning the wellâ against the military leadership. Thomas Donilon, initially Obamaâs deputy national security adviser, and then-Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the White House coordinator for the wars, are described as regularly engaged in âaggressive, suspicious, and sometimes condescending and insulting questioning of our military leaders.â
In her statement, Hayden said Obama âdisagrees with Secretary Gatesâ assessmentâ of the vice president.
âFrom his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance Americaâs leadership in the world,â Hayden said. âPresident Obama relies on his good counsel every day.â
Gates is 70, nearly 20 years older than Obama. He has worked for every president going back to Richard Nixon, with the exception of Bill Clinton. Throughout his government career, he was known for his bipartisan detachment, the consummate team player. âDutyâ is likely to provide ammunition for those who believe it is risky for a president to fill such a key Cabinet post with a holdover from the opposition party.
He writes, âI have tried to be fair in describing actions and motivations of others.â He seems well aware that Obama and his aides will not see it that way.
While serving as defense secretary, Gates gave Obama high marks, saying privately in the summer of 2010 that the president is âvery thoughtful and analytical, but he is also quite decisive.â He added, âI think we have a similar approach to dealing with national security issues.â
Obama echoed Gatesâs comments in a July 10, 2010, interview for my book âObamaâs Wars.â The president said: âBob Gates has, I think, served me extraordinarily well. And part of the reason is, you know, Iâm not sure if he considers this an insult or a compliment, but he and I actually think a lot alike, in broad terms.â
During that interview, Obama said he believed he âhad garnered confidence and trust in Gates.â In âDuty,â Gates complains repeatedly that confidence and trust were what he felt was lacking in his dealings with Obama and his team. âWhy did I feel I was constantly at war with everybody, as I have detailed in these pages?â he writes. âWhy was I so often angry? Why did I so dislike being back in government and in Washington?ââ
His answer is that âthe broad dysfunction in Washington wore me down, especially as I tried to maintain a public posture of nonpartisan calm, reason and conciliation.â
His lament about Washington was not the only factor contributing to his unhappiness. Gates also writes of the toll taken by the difficulty of overseeing wars against terrorism and insurgencies in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Such wars do not end with a clear surrender; Gates acknowledges having ambiguous feelings about both conflicts. For example, he writes that he does not know what he would have recommended if he had been asked his opinion on Bushâs 2003 decision to invade Iraq.
Three years later, Bush recruited Gates â who had served his father for 15 months as CIA director in the early 1990s â to take on the defense job. The first half of âDutyâ covers those final two years in the Bush administration. Gates reveals some disagreements from that period, but none as fundamental or as personal as those he describes with Obama and his aides in the bookâs second half.
âAll too early in the [Obama] administration,â he writes, âsuspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials â including the president and vice president â became a big problem for me as I tried to manage the relationship between the commander in chief and his military leaders.â
Gates offers a catalogue of various meetings, based in part on notes that he and his aides made at the time, including an exchange between Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that he calls âremarkable.â
He writes: âHillary told the president that her opposition to the  surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. .â.â. The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.â
Earlier in the book, he describes Hillary Clinton in the sort of glowing terms that might be used in a political endorsement. âI found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world,â he wrote.
[READ: The Fix on what Gatesâs memoir could mean for a Clinton campaign]
March 3, 2011
âDutyâ reflects the memoir genre, declaring that this is how the writer saw it, warts and all, including his own. That focus tends to give short shrift to the fuller, established record. For example, in recounting the difficult discussions that led to the Afghan surge strategy in 2009, Gates makes no reference to the six-page âterms sheetâ that Obama drafted at the end, laying out the rationale for the surge and withdrawal timetable. Obama asked everyone involved to sign on, signaling agreement.
According to the meeting notes of another participant, Gates is quoted as telling Obama, âYou sound the bugle . . . Mr. President, and Mike [Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] and I will be the first to charge the hill.â
Gates does not include such a moment in âDuty.â He picks up the story a bit later, after Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the central commander in charge of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, made remarks to the press suggesting he was not comfortable with setting a fixed date to start withdrawal.
At a March 3, 2011, National Security Council meeting, Gates writes, the president opened with a âblast.â Obama criticized the military for âpopping off in the pressâ and said he would push back hard against any delay in beginning the withdrawal.
According to Gates, Obama concluded, âââIf I believe I am being gamed . . .â and left the sentence hanging there with the clear implication the consequences would be dire.â
Gates continues: âI was pretty upset myself. I thought implicitly accusingâ Petraeus, and perhaps Mullen and Gates himself, âof gaming him in front of thirty people in the Situation Room was inappropriate, not to mention highly disrespectful of Petraeus. As I sat there, I thought: the president doesnât trust his commander, canât stand [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai, doesnât believe in his own strategy, and doesnât consider the war to be his. For him, itâs all about getting out.â
[READ: World Views: Gates was wrong on the most important issue he ever faced]
âBreaches of faithâ
Lack of trust is a major thread in Gatesâs account, along with his unsparing criticism of Obamaâs aides. At times, the two threads intertwine. For example, after the devastating 2010 Haitian earthquake that had left tens of thousands dead, Gates met with Obama and Donilon, the deputy national security adviser, about disaster relief.
Donilon was âcomplaining about how long we were taking,â Gates writes. âThen he went too far, questioning in front of the president and a roomful of people whether General [Douglas] Fraser [head of the U.S. Southern Command] was competent to lead this effort. Iâve rarely been angrier in the Oval Office than I was at that moment. .â.â. My initial instinct was to storm out, telling the president on the way that he didnât need two secretaries of defense. It took every bit of my self-discipline to stay seated on the sofa.â
Gates confirms a previously reported statement in which he told Obamaâs first national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, that he thought Donilon would be a âdisasterâ if he succeeded Jones (as Donilon did in late 2010). Gates writes that Obama quizzed him about this characterization; a one-on-one meeting with Donilon followed, and that âcleared the air,â according to Gates.
His second year with Obama proved as tough as the first. âFor me, 2010 was a year of continued conflict and a couple of important White House breaches of faith,â he writes.
The first, he says, was Obamaâs decision to seek the repeal of the âdonât ask, donât tellâ policy toward gays serving in the military. Though Gates says he supported the decision, there had been months and months of debate, with details still to work out. On one dayâs notice, Obama informed Gates and Mullen that he would announce his request for a repeal of the law. Obama had âblindsided Admiral Mullen and me,â Gates writes.
Similarly, in a battle over defense spending, âI was extremely angry with President Obama,â Gates writes. âI felt he had breached faith with me . . . on the budget numbers.â As with âdonât ask, donât tell,â âI felt that agreements with the Obama White House were good for only as long as they were politically convenient.â
Gates acknowledges forthrightly in âDutyâ that he did not reveal his dismay. âI never confronted Obama directly over what I (as well as [Hillary] Clinton, [then-CIA Director Leon] Panetta, and others) saw as the presidentâs determination that the White House tightly control every aspect of national security policy and even operations. His White House was by far the most centralized and controlling in national security of any I had seen since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ruled the roost.â
It got so bad during internal debates over whether to intervene in Libya in 2011 that Gates says he felt compelled to deliver a ârantâ because the White House staff was âtalking about military options with the president without Defense being involved.â
Gates says his instructions to the Pentagon were: âDonât give the White House staff and [national security staff] too much information on the military options. They donât understand it, and âexpertsâ like Samantha Power will decide when we should move militarily.â Power, then on the national security staff and now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has been a strong advocate for humanitarian intervention.
Another time, after Donilon and Biden tried to pass orders to Gates, he told the two, âThe last time I checked, neither of you are in the chain of command,â and said he expected to get orders directly from Obama.
Life at the top was no picnic, Gates writes. He did little or no socializing. âEvery evening I could not wait to get home, get my office homework out of the way, write condolence letters to the families of the fallen, pour a stiff drink, wolf down a frozen dinner or carry out,â since his wife, Becky, often remained at their home in Washington state.
âI got up at five every morning to run two miles around the Mall in Washington, past the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam memorials, and in front of the Lincoln Memorial. And every morning before dawn, I would ritually look up at that stunning white statue of Lincoln, say good morning, and sadly ask him, How did you do it?â
The memoirâs title comes from a quote, âGod help me to do my duty,â that Gates says he kept on his desk. The quote has been attributed to Abraham Lincolnâs war secretary, Edwin Stanton.
At his confirmation hearings to be Bushâs defense secretary in late 2006, Gates told the senators that he had not âcome back to Washington to be a bump on a log and not say exactly what I think, and to speak candidly and, frankly, boldly to people at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue about what I believe and what I think needs to be done.â
But Gates says he did not speak his mind when the committee chairman listed the problems he would face as secretary. âI remember sitting at the witness table listening to this litany of woe and thinking, âWhat the hell am I doing here? I have walked right into the middle of a category-five shitstorm. It was the first of many, many times I would sit at the witness table thinking something very different from what I was saying.â
âDutyâ offers the familiar criticism of Congress and its culture, describing it as âtruly ugly.â Gatesâs cold feelings toward the legislative branch stand in stark contrast to his warmth for the military. He repeatedly describes his affection for the troops, especially those in combat.
Gates wanted to quit at the end of 2010 but agreed to stay at Obamaâs urging, finally leaving in mid-2011. He later joined a consulting firm with two of Bushâs closest foreign policy advisers â former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser during Bushâs second term. The firm is called Rice-Hadley-Gates. In October, he became president-elect of the Boy Scouts of America.
Gates writes, âI did not enjoy being secretary of defense,â or as he e-mailed one friend while still serving, âPeople have no idea how much I detest this job.â
Posted By Devonia Smith - 01-07-2014 - Political - Examiner
On Jan. 7, 2013, Matt Drudge of the politically influential Drudge Report declared, "I've opted out of Obamacare for life. Not interested. Pay the tax. Monopoly money anyway."
Ezra Klein tried to pin Matt down, asking,
@DRUDGE Are you going to be uninsured? Or are you just buying qualifying insurance (in which case you're not opting out)? Ezra Klein @ezraklein Follow Klein is making the point that Matt's statment could be all bravado, because it only qualifies if Drudge is buying insurance, not self-insuring. Since all insurance purchases now must meet qualifying Obamacare standards, whether Matt goes through the health care exchange or purchases private insurance, any new insurance he purchases would fall under the Obamacare umbrella as long as ithe Affordable Health Care Act remains the law of the land.
In short order the Twitchy team pondered, "Is the Drudge Report founder uninsured?" Whether Matt is merely adhering to his status as top pot-stirrer or not, there appears to be several schools of thought on the wording of Drudge's provocative declaration. Some are parsing his use of "for life." Over on Twitchy, a very confident BoscoBolt opined, "'For life' might only mean another year (or a few) - Obamacare will eventually be repealed."
Others are clearly offended that Drudge appeared to refer to the tax as "Monopoly money," with one a quick snark from Michele @haymakers, "It's nice that you've got Monopoly money to burn. Millions aren't as fortunate as you."
Like Obamacare, Matt's possibly soon-to-be-viral statement is confusing. The same Washington Postâs Ezra Klein who questioned Matt Drudge questioned the Obama administration's decision to allow those whose insurance was canceled to opt for the catastrophic plans closed to others, pointing out that âA 45-year-old whose plan just got canceled can now purchase catastrophic coverage. A 45-year-old who didnât have insurance at all canât.â
Since the cancellation of thousands of private policies, policies many thought would automatically be "grandfathered" in, there has been considerable anger. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of the employer health benefits of 2013, information found in Chapter 13 indicates that since ACA has been even partially implemented, the percentage of grandfathered plans have substantially decreased. See the percentages of grandfathered plans below: http://www.examiner.com/article/drudge-i-ve-opted-out-of-obamacare-for-life-the-tax-is-monopoly-money?cid=rss
Harry Binswanger - 12-31-2013 - Forbes Contributor
Barack Obama delivers a speech at the... President Obamaâs Kansas speech is a remarkable document. In calling for more government controls, more taxation, more collectivism, he has two paragraphs that give the show away. Take a look at them.
there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, letâs respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. âThe market will take care of everything,â they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxesâespecially for the wealthyâour economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesnât trickle down, well, thatâs the price of liberty.
Now, itâs a simple theory. And we have to admit, itâs one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. Thatâs in Americaâs DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But hereâs the problem: It doesnât work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didnât work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. Itâs not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the â50s and â60s. And it didnât work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, itâs not as if we havenât tried this theory.
Though not in Washington, Iâm in that âcertain crowdâ that has been saying for decades that the market will take care of everything. Itâs not really a crowd, itâs a tiny group of radicalsâradicals for capitalism, in Ayn Randâs well-turned phrase.
The only thing that the market doesnât take care of is anti-market acts: acts that initiate physical force. Thatâs why we need government: to wield retaliatory force to defend individual rights.
Radicals for capitalism would, as the Declaration of Independence says, use government only âto secure these rightsââthe rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. (Yes, I added âpropertyâ in thereâproperty rights are inseparable from the other three.)
Thatâs the political philosophy on which Obama is trying to hang the blame for the recent financial crisis and every other social ill. But ask yourself, are we few radical capitalists in charge? Have radical capitalists been in charge at any time in the last, oh, say 100 years?
I pick 100 years deliberately, because it was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System. For 100 years, government, not the free market, has controlled money and banking. Howâs that worked out? Howâs the value of the dollar held up since 1913? Is it worth one-fiftieth of its value then or only one-one-hundredth? You be the judge. How did the dollar hold up over the 100 years before this government take-over of money and banking? It actually gained slightly in value.
Laissez-faire hasnât existed since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That was the first of a plethora of government crimes against the free market.
Radical capitalists are just beginning to have a slight effect on the Right wing. The overwhelming majority on the Right are eclectic. Which is a nice way of saying inconsistent.
The typical Republican would never, ever say âthe market will take care of everything.â Heâd say, âthe market will take care of most things, and for the other things, we need the regulatory-welfare state.â
They are for individualismâexcept when they are against it. They are against free markets and individualism not only when they agree with the Left that we must have antitrust laws and the Federal Reserve, but also when they demand immigration controls, government schools, regulatory agencies, Medicare, laws prohibiting abortion, Social Security, âpublic worksâ projects, the âsocial safety net,â laws against insider trading, banking regulation, and the whole system of fiat money.
Obama blames economic woes, some real some invented (âinequalityâ) on a philosophy and policy that was abandoned a century ago. What doesnât exist is what he says didnât work.
Obama absurdly suggests that timid, half-hearted, compromisers, like George W. Bush, installed laissez-faire capitalismâon the grounds that they tinkered with one or two regulations (Glass-Steagall) and marginal tax ratesâwhile blanking out the fact that under the Bush administration, government spending ballooned, growing much faster than under Clinton, and 50,000 new regulations were added to the Federal Register.
The philosophy of individualism and the politics of laissez-faire would mean government spending of about one-tenth its present level. It would also mean an end to all regulatory agencies: no SEC, FDA, NLRB, FAA, OSHA, EPA, FTC, ATF, CFTC, FHA, FCCâto name just some of the better known of the 430 agencies listed in the federal register.
Even you, dear reader, are probably wondering how on earth anyone could challenge things like Social Security, government schools, and the FDA. But thatâs not the point. The point is: these statist, anti-capitalist programs exist and have existed for about a century. The point is: Obama is pretending that the Progressive PGR +0.41% Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society were repealed, so that he can blame the financial crisis on capitalism. Heâs pretending that George Bush was George Washington.
We radical capitalists say that it was the regulatory-welfare state that imploded in 2008. You may disagree, but letâs argue that out, rather than engaging in the Big Lie that what failed was laissez-faire and individualism.
The question is: in the messy mixture of government controls and remnants of capitalism, which element caused the Great Depression and the recent financial crisis?
By raising that question, we uncover the fundamental: the meaning of capitalism and the meaning of government controls. Capitalism means freedom. Government means force.
Suddenly, the whole issue comes into focus: Obama is saying that freedom leads to poverty and force leads to wealth. Heâs saying: âLook, we tried leaving you free to live your own life, and that didnât work. You have to be forced, you have to have your earnings seized by the state, you have to work under our directionsâunder penalty of fines or imprisonment. You donât deserve to be free.â
As a bit of ugly irony, this is precisely what former white slave-owners said after the Civil War: âThe black man canât handle freedom; we have to force him for his own good.â The innovation of the Left is to extend that viewpoint to all races.
Putting the issue as force vs. freedom shows how the shoe is on the other foot regarding what Obama said. Let me re-write it:
there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, letâs respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. âThe government will take care of everything,â they tell us. If we just pile on even more regulations and raise taxesâespecially on the wealthyâour economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the losers are protected by more social programs and a higher minimum wage, if there is more Quantitative Easing by the Fed, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle up to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesnât trickle up, well, thatâs the price of the social safety net.
Now, itâs a simple theory. And we have to admit, itâs one that speaks to our intellectualsâ collectivism and Paul Krugmanâs skepticism about freedom. Thatâs in Harvardâs DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But hereâs the problem: It doesnât work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didnât work when it was tried in the Soviet Union. Itâs not what led to the incredible booms in India and China. And it didnât work when Europe tried it during over the last decades. (Applause.) I mean, understand, itâs not as if we havenât tried this statist theory.
How does that sound? Thatâs blaming an actual, existing conditionâgovernment controls and wealth-expropriationânot a condition that ended in the late 19th century.
So which is the path to prosperity and happinessâfreedom or force? Remember that force is aimed at preventing you from acting on your rational judgment.
Obamaâs real antagonist is Ayn Rand, who made the case that reason is manâs basic means of survival and coercion is anti-reason. Force initiated against free, innocent men is directed at stopping them from acting on their own thinking. It makes them, under threat of fines and imprisonment, act as the government demands rather than as they think their self-interest requires. Thatâs the whole point of threatening force: to make people act against their own judgment.
The radical, uncompromised, laissez-faire capitalism that Obama pretends was in place in 2008 is exactly what morality demands. Because, as Ayn Rand wrote in 1961: âNo man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. . . . To claim the right to initiate the use of physical force against another manâthe right to compel his agreement by the threat of physical destructionâis to evict oneself automatically from the realm of rights, of morality and of the intellect.â
Obama and his fellow statists have indeed evicted themselves from that realm.
FED up? Hundred years of manipulating the US dollar Adrian Salbuchi - December 23, 2013 - RT America
Monday 23 December marks the 100th Anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve System - the Central Bank of the United States of America.
The mainstream media are keeping remarkably quiet about this key milestone.
No doubt, they know only too well that growing millions of workers inside and outside the US are realizing that a century of central banking monopoly in the hands of a private clique of usurer banksters is enough. More than enough!
âTwas the night before ChristmasâŠ âŠwhen all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouseâ. These words written by 19th Century American poet, Clement Clarke Moore, aptly describe the scene a hundred years ago when the Federal Reserve Act was discretely rubberstamped in the US Congress: true, hardly a mouse was stirring either in the House or in the SenateâŠ But the big rats were definitely there to vote in their act!
1913: Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States; World War One was but eight months away; and three years earlier a very hush-hush meeting had taken place at mega-banker, John Pierpont Morganâs, private estate on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia.
Bloomberg News described this in a February-15, 2012 article as âa secret meeting that launched the Federal Reserve Bank. In November 1910, a group of government and business leaders fashioned a powerful new financial system that has survived a century, two world wars, a Great Depression and many recessions.â
Thatâs the Bloomberg Version. The ugly truth is probably exactly the opposite: in November 1910 a group of government, banking and business leaders fashioned a powerful new financial system that triggered, promoted and imposed a century of conflict and genocide, including two world wars, a Great Depression, many recessions and systematic mega-banker bailouts using taxpayerâs money.
In 1995, American investigator and author, G. Edward Griffin, published what is clearly the most authoritative book on the âFEDâ â as it is colloquially called in banking circles and by the mainstream media â âThe Creature from Jekyll Islandâ.
Griffinâs book describes how a top secret conspiracy â sorry, canât think of a better phrase â of very high-powered bankers, government officials and foreign agents met to plan the take-over of the American economy, finance and national currency, the US Dollar, to then wage global wars of conquest.
Bloomberg went on to describe how Rhode Island Senator, Nelson Aldrich, whose daughter married John D. Rockefeller Jr, âinvited men he knew and trusted, or at least men of influence who he felt could work together: Abram Piatt Andrew, assistant secretary of the Treasury; Henry P. Davison, a business partner of JP Morgan's; Charles D. Norton, president of the First National Bank of New York; Benjamin Strong, another Morgan friend and the head of the Bankers Trust; Frank A. Vanderlip, president of the National City Bank; and Paul M. Warburg, a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and a German citizen.â
Paul Warburg was the actual mastermind behind the FED. Interestingly, his main partner at KĂŒhn, Loeb & Co, Jakob Shiff, had just financed the Japanese war against the Russian Tsar; he would later channel 20,000,000 US dollars via a Russian exile living in Brooklyn by the name of Lev Davidovich Bronstein (better known as Leon Trotsky) to ensure the 1917 victory of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Neither 'Federal', nor 'Reserve', nor a 'Bank' Actually, itâs a âsystemâ. Officially, the âFederal Reserve Systemâ wields full control over the US Dollar, not to serve the American people but on the contrary the interests of private bankers, who hold its very special type of stocks and shares.
In practice, the FED is over 95 percent privately-owned, is not integrated into the US Government, nor accountable to any branch of government. There is nothing âFederalâ about it as it lies fully outside the government system of checks-and-balances.
Nor does it âReserveâ anything. Rather it arbitrarily prints all the money the mega-bankers and power elites need to keep the âglobalizedâ world rolling in the direction that they wish and need. This includes such things as multi-trillion dollar âquantitative easingsâ to keep Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, CityCorp, Wachovia and JPMorgan Chase happy and âhealthyâ; financing clandestine and terror operations to overthrow the governments of Iran, Nicaragua, Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Syria, Libya, Vietnam and many others; waging decades-long wars against Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Africa and Latin America; unflinchingly supporting âlittle Israelâsâ genocide in Palestine and its âdemocraticâ 400-bomb strong nuclear program; and keeping Wall Street on permanent life-support.
Finally, it is definitely no âBankâ in the sense of a financial institution promoting the credit needs of the real economy for the benefit of the vast majority of the working populationâs needs.
Rather, the FED supports the financial needs of the global war system, covert operations, usury, drug dealers, and the global banksters.
The FED answers to no one. It clearly does not serve âWe the Peopleâ of the US or anywhere else. Its purpose is to serve the global power elites, regularly meeting to plan world government through entities like the Council of Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, World Economic Forum and others forming part of todaysâ intricate planetary web of global money power.
Straight from the horseâs mouth In a Public Broadcast System (PBS) interview on âNews Hourâ aired on September 18, 2007, US journalist Jim Lehrer had this Q&A session with former decades-long Fed Chairman (and JP Morgan bank officer) Alan Greenspan:
Jim Lehrer: âWhat is the proper relationship between a chairman of the Fed and a president of the United States?â
Alan Greenspan: âWell, first of all, the Federal Reserve is an independent agency, and that means, basically, that there is no other agency of government which can overrule actions that we take. So long as that is in place and there is no evidence that the administration or the Congress or anybody else is requesting that we do things other than what we think is the appropriate thing, then what the relationships are donât frankly matter.â
Huh? If youâre a US citizen, you should re-read the above once or twice.
The FED System lies at the root of US âsuperpowerâ status. Allow me to explain how the FED scam really works from the point of view of someone living in Argentina - a very down-trodden country repeatedly made to bite the dust by the global power elites through their local agents imposed upon us through money-power âdemocracyâ.
This means that every time Argentina needs to buy 100 dollars-worth of, say, oil, medicines or technological components, the Argentine people must work to earn those 100 dollars through exports and genuine work.
By comparison, every time the US Government needs to buy 100 dollars-worth of oil, medicines or whatever, all they need to do is tell the Fed to print 100 dollars and thatâs that. Letâs just say that this makes it much easier to be a âsuperpowerâ.
OK, the mechanismâs not that simple, but this certainly explains schematically how the whole US-Dollar power system really works. It also explains why the elites wonât tolerate anybody challenging the dollar.
Oh, when the Fed... comes marchinâ inâŠ Look at the worldâs oil market. It is a monopoly run by three global trading centers located in New York, London and Dubai. The idea is to ensure that âpetro-dollarsâ flow around the world 24/7, and only incidental small amounts should flow back into the US financial system.
This explains why when in late 2002 Saddam Hussein decided he would do his UN-sanctions authorized âOne Billion Dollars Iraqi Oil for Foodâ trade with the West in euros instead of dollars, he was quickly visited by the Fedâs military branch in March 2003.
Or take Muammar Kaddafi who in 2011 was about to launch a program to trade Libyan and North African oil using a new gold-backed currency â the gold dinar. He too got a little visit from Peace Prize Barack and Babylon Hillary. Do you begin to see the pattern?
But donât think that the FEDâs global financial enslavement system is simply aimed outside the US; it kicked off a century ago by first silently enslaving the very people of the United States it is supposed to serve.
Hereâs how that works: every time the US Government decides to put money into circulation â those 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 dollar bills weâre all so familiar with â instead of asking the government mint to print them at a pennyâs cost in paper and ink, the government instead asks the private banksters at the Fed to print those bills for the Treasury, in exchange delivering to the Fed interest-bearing US Treasury Bills and Bonds, which translates into trillions of dollarsâ in profits funneled to the private banking elite though the Fed.
It was all so well planned a hundred years ago, that just before the Federal Reserve Act was passed on December 23, 1913, they also maneuvered to close this parasitic circle, for if the US Government was to begin making gigantic interest payments to the Fed just for printing its own money, they first needed to have a revenue scheme in place to milk the American taxpayer: the Income Tax Act!
Actually, it was the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution passed by Congress in July 1909, and enacted as law in February 1913. Thus international banksters have been ripping off Americans and getting America to fight their wars as proxies for a full century, whilst most of the population havenât got a clue of whatâs going on.
Clearly, the FED lies so far above the US White House, Congress and Supreme Court, that over the past five decades no one has been able to have a proper audit done on its books and numbers. Oh, you Homer Simpsons!
Not that you havenât been warned. In 1923, Minnesota representative, Charles Lindbergh, father of the famous aviator, sent an early warning: âThe financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board which administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other peopleâs money.â
In the 60âs, republican senator and presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, said âmost Americans have no real understanding of the operation of international moneylenders; the accounts of the Federal Reserve system have never been audited; it operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States.â Today, former representative, Ron Paul, has been sending the same message.
Even president John Kennedy understood this when he issued Executive Order No. 11110 on June 4, 1963, ordering the US Treasury to print zero-interest public money to the tune of 4.3 billion dollars, fully bypassing the Fed. But he too ran into some trouble in Dallas barely five months later on 22 November.
Epilogue: Fed Up? One would have thought that something as important as whether to continue to allow a private FED to operate in its present format, or revamping it, or even doing away with it after a whole century, would be something that should be squarely on the American and global public agendaâŠ big time!
And yet all we have is silence from the US Government, Congress and politicians; silence from world leaders; total silence from the mainstream media, and from the academic world.
And so you little parasitic mega-bankers running planet Earth: come Monday 23 December you can uncork all the champagne you like and celebrate your âOne Hundredth Masters of the Universe Slave Drivers Anniversaryâ, partying on straight into Christmas Day.
Then, come Thursday 26th, just carry on crucifying the entire world. For you it will be business as usual.
100 YEARS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE Posted by Ben Swann
New: âThe United States Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will start drawing down (i.e. âtaperingâ) its multibillion-dollar quantitative easing policies in 2014. The Fed will begin tapering its $85 billion monthly purchases of Treasuries and Treasury mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each starting in January.â
100 years ago, this December, the United States Congress created a central bank today, we know it as the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. What most people donât know is that the bank isnât a federal entity and candidly, it really has nothing in reserves.
Is the Federal Reserve good for the United States? Is it even possible to get rid of it?
The first step toward truth is to be informed.
10 years ago, virtually no American knew anything about the Federal Reserve Bank. Most thought it was a government agency, an entity that helps to create and protect U.S. currency and our economy. Then came along the national rise of a Congressman from Texas by the name of Ron Paul.
One of the most impressive things about the career of now retired Congressman Ron Paul was the national attention he drew to the Federal Reserve Bank.
It was Congressman Paul who made millions of Americans aware of a simple truth. That the single entity with the most power and control over the U.S. dollar is not accountable to the American people.
So what exactly is the Federal Reserve?
To begin with, it is a private bank that serves as the exclusive bank of the U.S. government. Though it was created by Congress, the Federal Reserve does not answer to Congress. The President himself doesnât have direct oversight.
So what else does the fed do?
The Fed regulates financial institutions, manages the nationâs money and has incredible influence over the economy. The fed can raise and lower interest rates, in fact, they are the only entity able to do so.
That is very big deal because with that power, the fed is able to control the U.S. economy. can cause the life savings of Americans to lose value through inflation, controls the value of your investments, and even impacts employment rates and manufacturing outputs.
An awful lot of power for an entity that has no accountability to the U.S. people. so where did this central bank come from?
A writer by the name of G. Edward Griffin blew the modern lid off this story when he wrote a book called âThe Creature from Jekyll island.â
He spoke to me via Skype.
Ben: For folks who donât know the name, why is the book called âThe Creature from Jekyll Islandâ?
Griffin: Sure, because there is a lot of significance to it. Many people think itâs just a tricky title to attract attention which frankly thatâs some of the motive for doing that but Jekyll Island is a real island, Ben, as you well know, and itâs significant because it was on that island back in 1910 that the Federal Reserve was created. And thatâs an interesting fact of history that why should something as important as the Federal Reserve system be created any place other than Washington D.C.
Ben: How did the meeting at Jekyll Island in 1910 become a central bank in 1913?
Griffin: Back in 1910 when all of this happened, there was a great deal of concern in Congress and among the American people about this concentration of financial power in the hands of a small group of companies, financial centers, on Wall Street. The big banks, the big insurance companies, the brokerage houses and so forth. There was a clamor at that time for legislative reform, thereâs that word that we hear so much about. What happened is that the banks decided that the public was going to get its reform one way or the other, so why should they just sit back and let it happen? They decided to take the lead in that parade and make sure that they provide the so-called reform. They were going to draft this legislation and of course, if it were known that they were the ones drafting the reform legislation, it wouldnât sell too well. So there had to be a lot of secrecy about that particular period of history. Well what were they concealing? It wasnât just, they werenât concealing just the fact that they were the ones writing the legislation to control themselves but when you follow that thread you come to the realization was what they were doing is creating a cartel. You see these were competing banking companies within the industry and this was at the time of history when competition was being replaced by monopolies and cartels and this happened in spades as far as the banking industry is concerned. And on Jekyll Island they created a banking cartel to regulate itself, to set up its own rules, to offer it to the American people as though as it was some kind of banking reform and the stupid politicians in Washington accepted it and they passed this banking cartel agreement into law and they called it the Federal Reserve Act.
It was in 1913 that congress, in passing the âFederal Reserve Actâ violated the U.S. Constitution and essentially granted its power to create money to the Fed banks. Since 1913, the fed has ordered the printing of currency and then loaned it back to the government charging interest. The government levies income taxes to, among other things, pay the interest on the debt.
So when you take a dollar out of your pocket, look at what it says at the top. This is a Federal Reserve Note, currency issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. In 1964, that changed. President John F Kennedy issued an Executive Order, 11110. It gave the Treasury Department the explicit authority: âto issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury.â This means that for every ounce of silver in the U.S. Treasuryâs vault, the government could introduce new money into circulation based on the silver bullion physically held there.
These were United States Notes. As a result, of that executive order, more than $4 billion in United States Notes were brought into circulation in $2 and $5 denominations. $10 and $20 United States Notes were never circulated but were being printed by the Treasury Department when Kennedy was assassinated.
After his assassination, The United States Note Project ceased.
Ben: To your knowledge, Mr. Griffin, is that Executive Order that was issued by President Kennedy still active today?
Griffin: The Executive Order is not still in existence. It went through several transitions. First it was absorbed into another Executive Order, it was consolidated into another order, and then finally it was repealed, I think Johnson himself got rid of it. But thatâs really not the important question whether itâs still standing or not because it never did represent what many people thought it meant in my view. I checked into the allegation that President Kennedy had taken a stand against the bank and that he was going to put an end to the fiat money and go back to government issued notes. Thatâs the general idea and that therefore thatâs the reason he was killed. Unfortunately or fortunately, whichever the case may be, the record really doesnât support that at all. And every time I went to try and run down the origins of this myth as I call it, it just fizzled out unless somebody can give me some hard information that I havenât yet seen. I think itâs just one of those urban myths that is popular.
So what has the Federal Reserve Bank been up to in the past few years? As you probably know, the Fed has been holding interest rates at historically low rates. Meanwhile, the Fed has been creating between $40 and $80 billion dollars a month in U.S. currency. The name you have heard this by, quantitative easing.
The first round of Quantitative Easing came in late 2008 under President George W. Bush. The Fed initiated purchases of $500 billion in mortgage backed securities in order to help resolve the housing crisis. The Fed also cut the key interest rate to nearly 0%. QE1
The economy didnât improve, but banks sure got a lot of money.
So, under Bernanke, the fed was at it again. The second round of Quantitative Easing was from November of 2010 until June of 2011. The Federal Reserve went to work buying up $600 billion in U.S. Treasury Bonds to spur the economy. But again, it didnât work.
Part of the reason QE2 failed was because it wasnât meant to spur the U.S. economy. That $600 billion was given to foreign banks. During the QE2 funding period cash reserves of foreign banks grew from $308 billion to $940 billion
In the fall of 2012, came the beginning of QE3, in this case, the Fed began purchasing mortgage backed securities and treasuries at a rate of $85 billion dollars a month. What made this Quantitative Easing attempt different than others, there is no end to it.
In January of 2013 the Fed began what is called. QE4, an attempt to continue to purchase securities and hold interest rates down until the unemployment rate drops to below 6.5%.
In February of 2014, Janet Yellen will succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman and has already said that her priority is to continue these programs even longer than was originally anticipated. Yellen says that unemployment is a bigger problem than inflation so the for the Fed it will be business as usual.
What you need to know: Is that in 1913, the original charter for the Federal Reserve Bank allowed it to exist for only 20 years. In 1927, the Fed charter was renewed.
Some believe that on December 23rd, 2013, the Fed charter runs out. That at the 100 year anniversary, the Fed will have to be renewed by Congress. Others say that the Fed does not have to be renewed, that it is a permanent entity. That happened they say in 1927 under the McFadden Act.
Whether that is true or not, here is something undeniable, in the 100 years that the federal reserve bank has been in existence, the U.S. dollar has lost 98% of its value.
The purpose of creating the Federal Reserve was to protect the dollar. The Fed hasnât done that.
The Federal Reserve Bank didnât stop the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve Bank has done nothing to improve the so called great recession. In fact, some can make the argument that the fed policies under Alan Greenspan in the early 2000âs and not only helped to create our current situation, but the Fed policies under Ben Bernanke have made the economy worse.
The bottom-line, the one entity that truly has the power to end the Fed is Congress, but if Congress were to do that then Congress would also have to be responsible for fulfilling its constitutionally mandated role to âto coin moneyâ and âregulate the value thereofâ.
http://bit.ly/1a3Mz4E ------------------------------------------------- The Federal Reserve was created 100 years ago. This is how it happened. By Neil Irwin - December 21, 2013 - WashingtonPost
A century ago this week, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, creating a central bank for a nation that was only beginning its economic ascendance. This is the story of how it came to be, from a nearly catastrophic financial panic to secret meetings of plutocrats on the Georgia coast to the pitched battle in the halls of Congress, excerpted from The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire.
The mustachioed man in the silk top hat strode to his private railcar parked at a New Jersey train station, a mahogany-paneled affair with velvet drapes and well-polished brass accents. Five more men â and a legion of porters and servants â soon joined him. They referred to one another by their first names only, an uncommon informality in 1910, intended to give the staff no hints as to who the men actually were, lest rumors make their way to the newspapers and then to the trading floors of New York and London. One of the men, a German immigrant named Paul Warburg, carried a borrowed shotgun in order to look like a duck hunter, despite having never drawn a bead on a waterfowl in his life.
Two days later, the car deposited the men at the small Georgia port town of Brunswick, where they boarded a boat for the final leg of their journey. Jekyll Island, their destination, was a private resort owned by the powerful banker J.P. Morgan and some friends, a refuge on the Atlantic where they could get away from the cold New York winter. Their host â the man in the silk top hat â was Nelson Aldrich, one of the most powerful senators of the day, a lawmaker who lorded over the nationâs financial matters.
For nine days, working all day and into the night, the six men debated how to reform the U.S. banking and monetary systems, trying to find a way to make this nation just finding its footing on the global stage less subject to the kinds of financial collapses that had seemingly been conquered in Western Europe. Secrecy was paramount. âDiscovery,â wrote one attendee later, âsimply must not happen, or else all our time and effort would have been wasted. If it were to be exposed publicly that our particular group had got together and written a banking bill, that bill would have no chance whatever of passage by Congress.â
For decades afterward, the most powerful men in American finance referred to one another as part of the âFirst Name Club.â Paul, Harry, Frank and the others were part of a small group that, in those nine days, invented the Federal Reserve System. Their task was more than administrative. Because the men at Jekyll Island werenât just trying to solve an economic problem â they were trying to solve a political problem as old as their republic.
Banking's rough beginning The U.S. financial system needed remaking. The United States had a long but less than illustrious history with central banking. Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury secretary, believed a national bank would stabilize the new governmentâs shaky credit and support a stronger economy â and was an absolute necessity to exercise the new republicâs constitutional powers.
But Hamiltonâs proposal faced opposition, particularly in the agricultural South, where lawmakers believed a central bank would primarily benefit the mercantile North, with its large commercial centers of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. âWhat was it drove our forefathers to this country?â said James âLeft Eyeâ Jackson, a fiery little congressman from Georgia. âWas it not the ecclesiastical corporations and perpetual monopolies of England and Scotland? Shall we suffer the same evils to exist in this country?â Some founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, believed that the bank was unconstitutional.
By 1811, Madison was in the White House. The Bank of the United States closed down. Until, at least, Madison realized how hard it was to fight the War of 1812 without a national bank to fund the government. The Second Bank of the United States was founded in 1816. It lasted a little longer â until it crashed against the same distrust of centralized financial authority that undermined the first. The populist Andrew Jackson managed its demise in 1836.
Running an economy without a central bank empowered to issue paper money caused more than a few problems in late 19th-century America. For example, the supply of dollars was tied to private banksâ holdings of government bonds. That would have been fine if the need for dollars was fixed over time. But one overarching lesson of financial history is that thatâs not the case. In times of financial panic, for example, everybody wants cash at the same time (thatâs what happened in fall 2008).
Without a central, government-backed bank able to create money on demand, the American banking system wasnât able to provide it. The system wasnât elastic, meaning there was no way for its supply of money to adjust with demand. People would try to withdraw more money from one bank than it had available, the bank would fail, and then people from other banks would withdraw their funds, creating a vicious cycle that would lead to widespread bank failures and the contraction of lending across the economy. The result was economic depression. It happened every few years. One particularly severe panic in 1873 was so bad that until the 1930s, the 1870s were the decade known as the âGreat Depression.â There were lesser panics in 1884, 1890 and 1893 Then came the Panic of 1907, the one that finally persuaded American lawmakers to deal with their countryâs backward financial system. What made the Panic of 1907 so severe? A bunch of things that happened to converge at once.
It started with a devastating earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. Suddenly, insurers the world over needed access to dollars at the same time. In what was then still an agricultural economy, it was also a bumper year for crops, and an economic boom was under way â so companies nationwide wanted more cash than usual to invest in new ventures. In San Francisco, deposits were unavailable for weeks after the quake: Cash was locked in vaults so hot from fires caused by broken gas lines that it would have burst into flames had they been opened.
All of that meant the demand for dollars was uncommonly high â at a time when the supply of dollars couldnât increase much. This manifested itself in the form of rising interest rates and withdrawals. Withdrawals begat more withdrawals, and before long, banks around the country were on the brink of failure.
Then in October 1907, the copper miner turned banker F. Augustus Heinze and his stockbroker brother Otto tried to take over the market of his own United Copper company by buying up its shares. When he failed, the price of United Copper stock tumbled. Investors rushed to pull their deposits out of any bank even remotely related to the disgraced F. Augustus Heinze.
First, a Heinze-owned bank in Butte, Mont., failed. Next came the huge Knickerbocker Trust Co. in New York, whose president was a Heinze business associate. Depositors lined up by the hundreds in its ornate Fifth Avenue headquarters, holding satchels in which to stuff their cash. Bank officials standing in the middle of the room and yelling about the bankâs alleged solvency did nothing to dissuade them. The failure of the trust led every bank in the country to hoard its cash, unwilling to lend it even to other banks for fear that the borrower could be the next Knickerbocker.
The power of J.P. Morgan It is true that the United States, in that fearful fall of 1907, didnât have a central bank. That doesnât mean it didnât have a central banker. John Pierpont Morgan was, at the time, the unquestioned king of Wall Street, the man the other bankers turned to to decide what ought to be done when trouble arose. He was not the wealthiest of the turn-of-the-century business titans, but the bank that bore his name was among the nationâs largest and most important, and his power extended farther than the (vast) number of dollars under his command. His imprint on the financial system has long survived him. Two of the most important financial firms in America today, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, trace their lineage to John Pierpont Morgan.
When the 1907 crisis rolled around, Morgan held court at his bankâs offices at 23 Wall St. while a series of bankers came to make their requests for help.
Morgan asked the Treasury secretary to come to New York â note who summoned whom â and ordered a capable young banker named Benjamin Strong to analyze the books of the next big financial institution under attack, the Trust Company of America, to determine whether it was truly broke or merely had a short-term problem of cash flow â the old question of insolvent versus illiquid. Merely illiquid was Morganâs conclusion. The bankers bailed it out.
It wouldnât last â with depositors unsure which banks, trusts and brokerages were truly solvent, withdrawals continued apace all over New York and around the country. At 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 1907, Morgan gathered 40 or 50 bankers in his library.
The bankers awaited, as Thomas W. Lamont, a Morgan associate, put it, âthe momentous decisions of the modern Medici.â In the end, Morgan engineered an arrangement in which the trusts would guarantee the deposits of their weaker members â something they finally agreed to at 4:45 a.m. Medici comparisons aside, it is remarkable how similar Morganâs role was to that of Timothy Geithner, the New York Fed president, a century later during the 2008 crisis. Both knocked heads to encourage the stronger banks and brokerages to buy up the weaker ones, bailing out some and allowing others to fail, working through the night so action could be taken before financial markets opened.
With a big difference, of course: Geithner was working for an institution that was created by Congress and acted on the authority of the government. His major decisions were approved by the Fedâs board of governors, its members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. His capacity to address the 2007â08 crisis was backed by an ability to create dollars from thin air.
Morgan, by contrast, was simply a powerful man with a reasonably public-spirited approach and an impressive ability to persuade other bankers to do as he wished. The economic future of one of the worldâs emerging powers was determined simply by his wealth and temperament.
Time for a change Enough was enough. The Panic of 1907 sparked one of the worst recessions in U.S. history, as well as similar crises across much of the world. Members of Congress finally saw that having a central bank wasnât such a bad idea after all. âIt is evident,â said Sen. Aldrich, he of the silk top hat and the trip to Jekyll Island, âthat while our country has natural advantages greater than those of any other, its normal growth and development have been greatly retarded by this periodical destruction of credit and confidence.â
Legislation Congress enacted immediately after the panic, the Aldrich-Vreeland Act, dealt with some of the financial systemâs most pressing needs, but it put off the day of reckoning with the bigger question of what sort of central bank might make sense in a country with a long history of rejecting central banks. It instead created the National Monetary Commission, a group of members of Congress who traveled to the great capitals of Europe to see how their banking systems worked. But the commission was tied in knots.
Agricultural interests were fearful that any new central bank would simply be a tool of Wall Street. They insisted that something be done to make agricultural credit available more consistently, without seasonal swings. The big banks, meanwhile, wanted a lender of last resort to stop crises â but they wanted to be in charge of it themselves, rather than allow politicians to be in charge.
The task for the First Name Club gathered in Jekyll Island in that fall of 1910 was to come up with some sort of approach to balance these concerns while still importing the best features of the European central banks.
The solution they dreamed up was to create, instead of a single central bank, a network of them around the country. Those multiple central banks would accept any âreal billsâ â essentially promises businesses had received from their customers for payment â as collateral in exchange for cash. A bank facing a shortage of dollars during harvest season could go to its regional central bank and offer a loan to a farmer as collateral in exchange for cash. A national board of directors would set the interest rate on those loans, thus exercising some control over how loose or tight credit would be in the nation as a whole.
The men at Jekyll drafted legislation to create this National Reserve Association, which Aldrich, the most influential senator of his day on financial matters, introduced in Congress three months later.
A rocky reception It landed with a thud. Even though the First Name Club managed to keep its involvement secret for years to come, the idea of a set of powerful new institutions controlled by the banks was a non-starter in this nation with a long distrust of centralized financial authority.
Aldrichâs initial proposal failed, but he had set the terms of the debate. There would be some form of centralized power, but also branches around the country. And what soon became clear was that the basic plan heâd laid out â power simultaneously centralized and distributed across the land and shared among bankers, elected officials, and business and agricultural interests â was the only viable political solution.
Carter Glass, a Virginia newspaper publisher and future Treasury secretary, took the lead on crafting a bill in the House, one that emphasized the power and primacy of the branches away from Washington and New York. He wanted up to 20 reserve banks around the country, each making decisions autonomously, with no centralized board. The country was just too big, with too many diverse economic conditions, to warrant putting a group of appointees in Washington in charge of the whole thing, Glass argued.
President Woodrow Wilson, by contrast, wanted clearer political control and more centralization â he figured the institution would have democratic legitimacy only if political appointees in Washington were put in charge. The Senate, meanwhile, dabbled with approaches that would put the Federal Reserve even more directly under the thumb of political authorities, with the regional banks run by political appointees as well.
But for all the apparent disagreement in 1913, there were some basic things that most lawmakers seemed to agree on: There needed to be a central bank to backstop the banking system. It would consist of decentralized regional banks. And its governance would be shared â among politicians, bankers, and agricultural and commercial interests. The task was to hammer out the details.
Who would govern the reserve banks? A board of directors comprising local bankers, businesspeople chosen by those bankers, and a third group chosen to represent the public. The Board of Governors in Washington would include both the Treasury secretary and Federal Reserve governors appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
How many reserve banks would there be, and where? Eight to 12, the compromise legislation said, not the 20 that Glass had envisioned. An elaborate committee process was designed to determine where those should be located. Some sites were obvious â New York, Chicago. But in the end, many of the decisions came down to politics. Glass was from Virginia, and not so mysteriously, its capital of Richmond â neither one of the countryâs largest cities nor one of its biggest banking centers â was chosen.
The vote over the Federal Reserve Act in a Senate committee came down to a single tie-breaking vote, that of James A. Reed, a senator from Missouri. Also not so mysteriously, Missouri became the only state with two Federal Reserve banks, in St. Louis and Kansas City. The locations of Federal Reserve districts have been frozen in place ever since, rather than evolving with the U.S. population â by 2000, the San Francisco district contained 20 percent of the U.S. population, compared with 3 percent for the Minneapolis district.
And in a concession to those leery of creating a central bank, the Federal Reserve System, like the First and Second Banks of the United States, was set to dissolve at a fixed date in the future: 1928. One can easily imagine what might have happened had its charter come up for renewal just a couple of years later, after the Depression had set in.
Creation of a central bank The debate over the Federal Reserve Act was ugly. In September 1913, Rep. George Ross Smith of Minnesota carried onto the floor of the House a 7-by-4-foot wooden tombstone â a prop meant to âmournâ the deaths of industry, labor, agriculture and commerce that would result from having political appointees in charge of the new national bank.
âThe great political power which President Jackson saw in the First and Second National banks of his day was the power of mere pygmies when compared to the gigantic power imposed upon [this] Federal Reserve board and which by the proposed bill is made the prize of each national election,â he argued.
It wasnât just the fiery populists who opposed the bank. Aldrich, the favored senator of the Wall Street elite, complained that the Wilson administrationâs insistence on political control of the institution made the bill âradical and revolutionary and at variance with all the accepted canons of economic law.â He wanted the banks to have more control, not a bunch of politicians.
For all the noise, the juggling of interests was effective enough â and the memory of 1907 powerful enough â for Congress to pass the bill in December 1913. Wilson signed it two days before Christmas, giving the United States, at long last, its central bank. âIf, as most experts agree, the new measure will prevent future âmoney panicsâ in this country, the new law will prove to be the best Christmas gift in a century,â wrote the Baltimore Sun. The government, of course, hadnât solved the problem of panics. It had just gained a better tool with which to deal with them.
And opposition to a central bank, rooted as deeply as it was in the American psyche, didnât go away. Instead, it evolved. Whenever the economic tide turned â during the Great Depression, during the deep recession of the early 1980s, during the downturn that followed the Panic of 2008 â the frustration of the people was channeled toward the institution theyâd granted an uncomfortable degree of power to try to prevent such things.
But after more than a century of trying, the United States had its central bank. Before long, New York would supplant London as the center of the global financial system, and the dollar would replace the pound as the leading currency in the world. And as the years passed, the series of compromises that the First Name Club dreamed up a century earlier, and the unwieldy and complex organization it created, would turn out to have some surprising advantages â even in a country that had previously been better at creating central banks than keeping them.
Adapted from "The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire," published in 2013 by The Penguin Press.
By Paul Sperry December 16, 2013 - FamilySecurityMatters.org
After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors. But the White House never let it see an entire section of Congress' investigative report on 9/11 dealing with "specific sources of foreign support" for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.
It was kept secret and remains so today. President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn't just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words). A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are "absolutely shocked" at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.
Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can't reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they've proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, "Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001."
Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally.
The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found "incontrovertible evidence" that Saudi government officials - not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and intelligence officers employed by the kingdom - helped the hijackers both financially and logistically. The intelligence files cited in the report directly implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks, making 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war.
The findings, if confirmed, would back up open-source reporting showing the hijackers had, at a minimum, ties to several Saudi officials and agents while they were preparing for their attacks inside the United States. In fact, they got help from Saudi VIPs from coast to coast:
LOS ANGELES: Saudi consulate official Fahad al-Thumairy allegedly arranged for an advance team to receive two of the Saudi hijackers - Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi - as they arrived at LAX in 2000. One of the advance men, Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi intelligence agent, left the LA consulate and met the hijackers at a local restaurant. (Bayoumi left the United States two months before the attacks, while Thumairy was deported back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11.)
SAN DIEGO: Bayoumi and another suspected Saudi agent, Osama Bassnan, set up essentially a forward operating base in San Diego for the hijackers after leaving LA. They were provided rooms, rent and phones, as well as private meetings with an American al Qaeda cleric who would later become notorious, Anwar al-Awlaki, at a Saudi-funded mosque he ran in a nearby suburb. They were also feted at a welcoming party. (Bassnan also fled the United States just before the attacks.)
WASHINGTON: Then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar and his wife sent checks totaling some $130,000 to Bassnan while he was handling the hijackers. Though the Bandars claim the checks were "welfare" for Bassnan's supposedly ill wife, the money nonetheless made its way into the hijackers' hands.
Other al Qaeda funding was traced back to Bandar and his embassy - so much so that by 2004 Riggs Bank of Washington had dropped the Saudis as a client.
The next year, as a number of embassy employees popped up in terror probes, Riyadh recalled Bandar.
"Our investigations contributed to the ambassador's departure," an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me, though Bandar says he left for "personal reasons."
FALLS CHURCH, VA.: In 2001, Awlaki and the San Diego hijackers turned up together again - this time at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a Pentagon-area mosque built with funds from the Saudi Embassy. Awlaki was recruited 3,000 miles away to head the mosque. As its imam, Awlaki helped the hijackers, who showed up at his doorstep as if on cue. He tasked a handler to help them acquire apartments and IDs before they attacked the Pentagon.
Awlaki worked closely with the Saudi Embassy. He lectured at a Saudi Islamic think tank in Merrifield, Va., chaired by Bandar. Saudi travel itinerary documents I've obtained show he also served as the Âofficial imam on Saudi Embassy-sponsored trips to Mecca and tours of Saudi holy sites.
Most suspiciously, though, Awlaki fled the United States on a Saudi jet about a year after 9/11.
As I first reported in my book, âInfiltration,â quoting from classified US documents, the Saudi-sponsored cleric was briefly detained at JFK before being released into the custody of a âSaudi representative.â A federal warrant for Awlakiâs arrest had mysteriously been withdrawn the previous day. A US drone killed Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.
HERNDON, VA.: On the eve of the attacks, top Saudi government official Saleh Hussayen checked into the same Marriott Residence Inn near Dulles Airport as three of the Saudi hijackers who targeted the Pentagon. Hussayen had left a nearby hotel to move into the hijackersâ hotel. Did he meet with them? The FBI never found out. They let him go after he âfeigned a seizure,â one agent recalled. (Hussayenâs name doesnât appear in the separate 9/11 Commission Report, which clears the Saudis.)
SARASOTA, FLA.: 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and other hijackers visited a home owned by Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of King Fahd. FBI agents investigating the connection in 2002 found that visitor logs for the gated community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers. Just two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi luxury home was abandoned. Three cars, including a new Chrysler PT Cruiser, were left in the driveway. Inside, opulent furniture was untouched. Democrat Bob Graham, the former Florida senator who chaired the Joint Inquiry, has asked the FBI for the Sarasota case files, but canât get a single, even heavily redacted, page released. He says itâs a âcoverup.â
Is the federal government protecting the Saudis? Case agents tell me they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.
Just days after Bush met with the Saudi ambassador in the White House, the FBI evacuated from the United States dozens of Saudi officials, as well as Osama bin Laden family members. Bandar made the request for escorts directly to FBI headquarters on Sept. 13, 2001 â just hours after he met with the president. The two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony while discussing the attacks.
Bill Doyle, who lost his son in the World Trade Center attacks and heads the Coalition of 9/11 Families, calls the suppression of Saudi evidence a âcoverup beyond belief.â Last week, he sent out an e-mail to relatives urging them to phone their representatives in Congress to support the resolution and read for themselves the censored 28 pages.
Astonishing as that sounds, few lawmakers in fact have bothered to read the classified section of arguably the most important investigation in US history.
Granted, itâs not easy to do. It took a monthlong letter-writing campaign by Jones and Lynch to convince the House intelligence panel to give them access to the material.
But itâs critical they take the time to read it and pressure the White House to let all Americans read it. This isnât water under the bridge. The information is still relevant today. Pursuing leads further, getting to the bottom of the foreign support, could help head off another 9/11.
As the frustrated Joint Inquiry authors warned, in an overlooked addendum to their heavily redacted 2002 report, âState-sponsored terrorism substantially increases the likelihood of successful and more Âlethal attacks within the United States.â
Their findings must be released, even if they forever change US-Saudi relations. If an oil-rich foreign power was capable of orchestrating simultaneous bulls-eye hits on our centers of commerce and defense a dozen years ago, it may be able to pull off similarly devastating attacks today.
Members of Congress reluctant to read the full report ought to remember that the 9/11 assault missed its fourth target: them. Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of âInfiltrationâ and âMuslim Mafia.â
Congress cites 9/11 Bush cover-up, demands Obama act
Two members of Congress, specially authorized to view documents on 9/11 censored under the personal authority of President Bush (43), have come away âabsolutely shocked,â demanding immediate action.
By Gordon Duff and Press TV
Two members of Congress, specially authorized to view documents on 9/11 censored under the personal authority of President Bush (43), have come away âabsolutely shocked,â demanding immediate action.
However, the full story, told for the first time below, explains âwhy nowâ and who is really being targeted by revelations of cover-up and conspiracy.
In accusations published yesterday by the leading Tea Party publication, Family Security Matters, Saudi Defense Minister and Intelligence chief Prince Bandar referred to as âBandar Bushâ in his Wikipedia biography for his close relationship with that family, was said to be the planner of 9/11.
In an article by Paul Sperry of the Hoover Institute, Bandar was cited with fleeing the US to avoid prosecution. Here, Sperry quotes a government source:
âOur investigations contributed to the ambassadorâs departure,â (2005) an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me, though Bandar says he left for âpersonal reasons.â
Despite these pronouncements, these accusations may well be unfounded speculation. What we have to ask is why are they being made now and why by political groups long close to the Saudi government. Why has Saudi Arabia failed to respond to these very public accusations coming from some of the highest authorities in Washington? âWhy are the rats turning on each other?â
This week, Congressional representatives Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have officially requested a congressional resolution demanding President Obama declassify the heavily redacted Congressional Investigative Report on 9/11.
The two representatives had just been given authority under penalty of ânational security secrecyâ to read the censored 28 pages of the 800-page report that had not been seen.
For nearly a decade, the US has maintained security policies, both domestic and international, based on threats now known to have been totally fabricated. The cost, trillions of dollars, thousands of Americans dead in wars against âenemiesâ long known to have never been involved in terror attacks on America, the phony âhunt for bin Laden,â all of it, nothing but utter hogwash.
Bush cited as conspirator
What has been made clear is that President Bush was fully aware that neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were involved in 9/11 and that military action against those two nations was done to cover involvement of his administration in 9/11, involvement that included support from foreign intelligence agencies.
The representatives, while reviewing the report, came to the portion titled âSpecific Sources of Foreign Support.â A 28-page section here had been âbutcheredâ by the White House on the personal orders of President Bush. On the original report given to Congress, an estimated 5-10,000 words were omitted from this section with page after page of dotted lines replacing text.
The full report carries a tale of not only broad complicity of foreign intelligence agencies but, in the use of the term âcomplicity,â indications of full knowledge of the funding and planning of 9/11 by the Bush administration.
However, the lawmakers, without the support of a resolution, are under a âgag orderâ and unable to name the nation or nations that supplied.
Israel, Saudi Arabia or both
Recent revelations tied to events in Syria and Egypt have exposed an unimagined level of cooperation between the intelligence services of Israel and Saudi Arabia. For years, Israel has cited Saudi Arabia as the greatest threat to their security, much greater than Iraq under Saddam or their claims of a ânuclear Iran.â
This and much else of what Israel has publicly claimed as part of their âmythology of victimizationâ is now recognized as falsehood. Though both Israel and Saudi Arabia are known as allies of the US, their partnerships with America have been with specific groups, extremists within government and the military willing to back the plots now plainly evident even when US interests are sacrificed or even American lives are lost.
Telling, today, is the relationship between Al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda âfranchisesâ and the Israeli/Saudi alliance, a relationship that has provided both financial support and weapons, used against Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
The sections of the 9/11 report that were censored by President Bush may well include reference to that al-Qaeda/Israel/Saudi nexus. What is clear is that not only did the Bush administration wrongly blame bin Laden or âal-Qaeda,â a spurious and illusory group at best, but that those cited, Israel, Saudi Arabia or both, though named for funding and supporting the 9/11 attack, were always under the full control of the Bush administration.
What does exist is proof that the war on terror was, in reality as confirmed by General Wesley Clark, a plan to invade and occupy 7 oil- and gas-rich nations.
Israel put the blame on Saudi Arabia
In an article released yesterday on www.familysecuritymatters.org , Paul Sperry of the Hoover Institute cited, not just the Saudi government as having been behind 9/11 but set the relationship between George W. Bush and Prince Bandar at the crux of the conspiracy.
After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al-Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors. âBut the White House never let it see an entire section of Congressâ investigative report on 9/11 dealing with âspecific sources of foreign supportâ for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.
It was kept secret and remains so today. President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report.â
Sperry goes on:
âSaudi consulate official Fahad al-Thumairy allegedly arranged for an advance team to receive two of the Saudi hijackers â Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi â as they arrived at LAX in 2000.â
Sperry continues, citing instance after instance where Saudi intelligence directly aided al-Qaeda every step of the way.
What is important is that we understand who Sperry represents. Family Security Matters isnât a simple blog. It is the voice of not just the extreme right but AIPAC as well. Their editors include Senator Ted Cruz, top GOP domestic policy maker and former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Islamophobe extremist, âIsrael Firsterâ and a man who never saw a war he didnât love.
âFamily Mattersâ is the power center for everything pro-money, pro-hate and pro-Israel. Self-proclaimed âinvestigative journalist Paul Sperry serves with the Hoover Institute, along with former Secretary of State Condi Rice. The critical aspect of yesterdayâs article is that it represents the first time the Israel lobby has been willing to throw former President Bush âunder a busâ in order to distance themselves from accusations of complicity in 9/11.
Prior to the exposure of Israelâs role as âmentorâ for al-Qaeda in Syria, Americaâs media was able to suppress not just âconspiracy theoriesâ but accusations backed by evidence and testimony that placed Israel at the center of the 9/11 attacks.
Prince Bandar accused of planning 9/11
Though there is no reason to assume Saudi Arabia is mentioned whatsoever in the redacted Congressional report, Sperry cites payments by Bandar to the alleged 9/11 hijackers and other funding to al-Qaeda.
âOther al Qaeda funding was traced back to Bandar and his embassy â so much so that by 2004 Riggs Bank of Washington had dropped the Saudis as a client. The next year, as a number of embassy employees popped up in terror probes, Riyadh recalled Bandar.â
Real from conjecture
Members of Congress have openly admitted that they have seen documentation that would support an immediate criminal investigation against President Bush (43) and his closest advisors. Further, those agencies involved in compiling this report, key portions of which have remained secret, were also responsible for lying to the 9/11 Commission, not just through omission. All the intelligence that sent America into two wars is now not just suspect, it is proven false.
Recognizing that the nations responsible have not yet been named, though attempts by Family Security Matters to subvert this process are underway, what does stand is evidence of the same conspiracy.
From a CIA transcript dated September 24, 2001, Osama bin Laden is quoted: âThe United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive.â
Family Security Matters celebrates the death of Osama bin Laden as a terrorist fanatic. They also celebrate the death of Nelson Mandela as a terrorist fanatic. Mandela was right, as history has shown.
Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham says greater awareness of Saudi Arabia as âessentially a co-conspirator in 9/11...would change the way in which, particularly in the current milieu of events in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is being viewedâ by the U.S. public.
Saudi Arabia, an historic ally of the U.S., had put significant pressure on the Obama administration in recent months to militarily intervene in Syria, and had also attempted to derail recent U.S.-Iran rapprochement.
Senator Graham co-chaired the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 that investigated intelligence failures leading up to 9/11. The inquiryâs final report included a 28-page chapter describing the Saudi connection to 9/11, but it was completely redacted by U.S. intelligence agencies.
âI was stunned that the intelligence community would feel that it was a threat to national security for the American people to know who had made 9/11 financially possible,â said Senator Graham. âAnd I am sad to report that today, some 12 years after we submitted our report, that those 28 pages continue to be withheld from the public.â
The investigation into 9/11 intelligence failures and the subsequent cover-up of Saudi involvement by the Bush administration led Senator Graham to question his life-long reverence of presidential authority.
âI grew up with the idea that the president was almost a divine figure, that he was the literally the father of the country and always acted in a way that was beneficial to the mass of people in America,â said Graham. âYou may have disagreements with the current occupant of the office, but the presidency itself was a benighted position deserving of your respect and worthy of your confidence.â
âSo when I got involved particularly at the national level in the U.S. Senate and saw some of the things that were happeningâwhich were not theoretical; they were things that I was dealing with on a very day-to-day hands-on basis that were contrary to that view of what was the presidencyâit was a very disillusioning experience. And maybe some of the comments that I make in the book Intelligence Matters reflect that path to disillusionment,â said Graham.
Exclusive: Private talks between Tony Blair and George Bush on Iraq war to be published -
OLIVER WRIGHT Author Biography Sunday 29 December 2013 - Independent.co.uk
The Government is working to declassify more than 100 secret documents detailing discussions that took place between Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war. The Independent understands that, in an unprecedented move, a cache of notes from Mr Blair to Mr Bush, records of telephone conversations and meetings, as well as up to 200 minutes of cabinet-level discussions are to be published in the new year. The release of the documents, which is likely to be in the next few months, will clear the way for Sir John Chilcotâs Iraq Inquiry to publish its long-awaited report into Britainâs involvement in the conflict.
There had been fears that Mr Blair and the US authorities would block the release of the confidential papers, which are said to provide an intimate picture of how decisions were made in the lead-up to war.
On Sunday, a government source said that âgood progressâ had been made towards declassifying many of the records. âThe intention is to be as open as possible,â they said. âThere is an ongoing process of declassification, which is attempting to strike a careful balance to ensure that you are not setting a legal precedent that could oblige you to publish other documents in the future or damage national security.â
The process is being led by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, and is expected to be completed âwithin the next few monthsâ. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and other senior ministers do not know what the documents contain because they refer to discussions that took place under the previous government. A final decision on what to release will be made by Sir Jeremy.
Once declassified, the documents will be passed to Sir John, who heads the Iraq Inquiry. He has already had access to the material but wants to be able to refer to it in his final report.
Although no final decision has been made, the documents are likely to be made available to the public, either by the Government or on the Iraq Inquiry website. âThere are likely to be some redactions â but only where absolutely necessary,â the government source said.
Publication of the documents will allow the Iraq Inquiry to complete its final task of contacting those people who are due to be criticised and allow them to put forward a defence. That process could take several months, but it is now possible that the inquiry could report by the end of 2014 â five years after it was set up by Mr Brown.
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said last night: âThe Government is currently engaged in discussions with the [Iraq] inquiry which the inquiry recognises raises difficult issues, including legal and international relations issues.
âAs the exchange of letters between government and the inquiry shows, these issues are being worked through in good faith and with a view to reaching a position as rapidly as possible. The inquiry should be allowed to publish its findings and we should not pre-empt the content of the report.â http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-private-talks-between-tony-blair-and-george-bush-on-iraq-war-to-be-published-9029531.html
Sen. Ted Cruz has voiced strong objections to ObamaCare but not to Obamaâs eligibility to hold the office of president in keeping with Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution
Act of Real Heroism Call to Rafael and Ted Cruz âNOT A NATURAL BORN CITIZENâ By JB Williams | The Post & Email
Junior Texas Senator Ted Cruz has captured the imagination of many American conservatives hungry for a âreal dealâ statesman willing to stand up for American principles and values. His fiery pro-American tone is undoubtedly inherited from his very fiery father, Rev. Rafael Cruz.
Rev. Rafael Cruz has become somewhat of a folk hero to many Americans as a result of his polished public delivery of the American Dream, often delivered best by one who was himself delivered from foreign government tyranny by the grace of American freedom and liberty.
Immigrant Americans from Cuba via Canada, the Cruz family most likely does hold a special reverence toward American freedom as a result of their own life experiences. Often, immigrant Americans have a deeper sense of American exceptionalism in the world than Natural Born Americans do, those who more often than not take such great blessings for granted today.
The Cruz family message is hard to misinterpret, and it often sets opponents of American freedom, liberty and exceptionalism into fits of blind rage, while inspiring many others who yearn for new pro-American national leadership.
Rev. Cruz has been quoted as saying that he believes his son Ted is âordained by God, to change the course of history in America.â I pray that Rev. Cruz is right about that, because his son Ted is in the highly unique position to do exactly thatâŠ
Today, I write to call upon Ted and his father Rafael to stand together upon their stated convictions, as only they can do. These two men are indeed in a unique position to alter the course of history in America and save freedom and liberty for many generations to come.
Leaving all political rhetoric and aspirations aside, Senator Ted Cruz can single-handedly end the ongoing systematic destruction of the United States of America and with the help of his father, Rev. Rafael Cruz, I have every reason to believe he will.
What Senator Cruz can do is very simple, though it will not be easy. It will require that both Ted and his father set aside their own ambitions in a selfless act of true heroism, for the greater good of America. It will require brave and bold actions that only Ted is in the position to take. It is simple, but not easy, because it requires the Senator to stand up before the world and make the following proclamationâŠ
âI am honored that so many Americans want me to run for the office of President. However, my moral convictions require that I state clearly for the record that I am not eligible for the office of president or vice president according to Article II â Section I â Clause V of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that only a Natural Born Citizen of the United States, born of an American Citizen Father, seek or hold these offices. As I was born the son of a Cuban Citizen living in Canada at the time, I am not a Natural Born Citizen of the United States. On this Constitutional ground, I hereby state that Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a Kenyan Citizen Father, is also not a Natural Born Citizen of the United StatesâŠI hereby call for the immediate investigation and resignation of Barack Hussein Obama and all who were involved in the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the world, as well as all who have engaged in the greatest political cover-up in the history of politics.â
Accepting on faith that Ted and his father Rafael are both Christian men, who do understand and believe that they find themselves in this unique position at the historical moment, I call upon the Cruz family to act upon their stated moral convictions and save America from this massive fraud known as Obama.
Now, a close personal friend worked on Tedâs senate campaign in Texas. He shared with me a conversation he had with Ted during the early days of the campaign. In that conversation, he asked Ted â âwhat is your understanding of the term Natural Born Citizen?â â to which Ted answered, âsomeone born on soil to Citizen parentsâŠâ
Ted no doubt learned this definition from Tea Party friends helping out with his campaign. Despite it not being exactly correct, it was close enough for my friends to ask the second questionâŠ
âIs Barack Obama a Natural Born Citizen of the United States? â to which Ted correctly answered, âNO!â
Then the most important question was askedâŠ âIf we get you elected to the Senate, will you do something about our illegal occupant of the White House?â â to which Ted answeredâŠ. âI think repealing ObamaCare is more importantâŠâ The witness is willing to go on record if need be.
In the end, Senator Ted Cruz has a monumental opportunity to write himself into history as the man who righted the most egregious political wrong in American history. He has only a few weeks to do it, immediately following the holiday, before Obama, Reid and Boehner can ram through amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and pass massive gun control laws against legal American citizens.
If Rev. Rafael Cruz and his son want to be true American heroes, they can be. If they choose not to be, then the Americans who hold such great hopes for Ted will have lost just another hopeful hero who says many of the right things, but refuses to do the most important right things.
Join me in calling upon Rev. Rafael Cruz and his son Ted to stand up, do the right thingâŠ
NEW YORK â Fresh from winning a restraining order against the National Security Agencyâs telephone surveillance, attorney Larry Klayman declared that the misdeeds of Richard Nixon, who resigned in disgrace, pale in comparison to President Obamaâs.
âIn Watergate, Richard Nixon faced impeachment for breaking into the offices of the chairman of the Democratic National Party,â Klayman told WND in an interview.
âObama has broken into the homes of 300 million Americans.â
WND asked Klayman if he was calling for the impeachment of Obama.
âYes,â Klayman responded. âThe NSA and the Obama administration are engaging in criminal behavior, and both are lying.â
He called it the âmost outrageous violation of constitutional rights in American history.â
Klayman is a WND columnist and founder of the political-watchdog organizations Judicial Watch and FreedomWatch.
His case, on behalf of a Verizon Wireless customer, was launched after the extent of government spying on Americans was unveiled by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who said the courtâs decision made him feel justified in releasing classified documents.
Named in the case are the NSA, Department of Justice and several U.S. officials, including President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Klayman alleged in a WND interview Monday that after he filed the case, he was put under surveillance by the NSA.
The complaint alleges the government, with the participation of private telephone companies, has been conducting âa secret and illegal government scheme to intercept and analyze vast quantities of domestic telephonic communications.â
Klayman dismissed Obama administration arguments that the NSA is collecting only âmetadataâ and not recording for analysis the content of ordinary citizensâ conversation unless there is suspicion of criminal activity that might violate the Patriot Act or other national security legislation.
âThe NSA takes interest in countless Americans, even boyfriends and girlfriends of NSA employees, as we now know,â he argued.
âIf you end up being a person of interest to the NSA or the Department of Justice, the NSA recording of telephone conversations permits the NSA to know everything about you, even whether or not your wife is pregnant, just by the number of times she calls her doctor and the pattern of her health-care-related telephone conversations.â
Klayman charged that Obamaâs criminal violations in the NSA case are more egregious than Nixonâs violations of law in Watergate.
âNixon did not have Obamaâs NSA,â Klayman said. âBoth Nixon and Obama lied repeatedly to the American public after they got caught, but Nixon did not have Obamaâs technology.â
Klayman also praised the courage of Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who ordered injunctive relief in the case, staying the order only long enough to permit the government a timely appeal.
âVery few people have the guts to take on the NSA,â Klayman said. âJudge Leon knows the NSA can get into the communications of federal judges. Thatâs the level of intimidation the NSA is capable of handing out. Judge Leon is an American hero for his willingness to take on the NSA and the Obama administration.â
Klayman explained to WND that he is preparing to return to Leon to begin discovery proceedings in the next phase of the court case. His aim is to take depositions from top NSA administrators and Obama administration officials and to obtain relevant government documents.
Klayman noted that in November, when Leon dismissed the Obama Justice Departmentâs request to delay the proceedings after a status conference, he clearly intended to proceed quickly.
âI donât think Judge Leon is prepared to put up with efforts by the Obama administration to drag this case out,â Klayman said.
In response to a request by DOJ attorney James J. Gilligan for more time, Leon showed no patience.
âWe work 24/7 around this courthouse, my friend,â Leon explained to Gilligan. âTwenty-four/seven. I donât want to hear anything about vacations, weddings, days off. Forget about it. This is a case at the pinnacle of public national interest, pinnacle. All hands 24/7. No excuses.â
When Gilligan argued the court would be better served if the government had a chance to fully prepare arguments, Leon pointed out that the case had been filed four months earlier.
âYou have had, not you personally, the Department of Justice, the NSA and the allied government agencies that have an interest in this, have had four months to think through its position,â Leon responded. âThatâs a lot of time, Mr. Gilligan. I am sad to say I donât believe or assume that they worked seven days a week for four months. I wish it were true, but I am sure it isnât.â
Leon was not sympathetic to the governmentâs suggestion the case turned on classified information.
âI donât know to what extent the governmentâs position is going to be based on classified information,â Leon explained. âI have no idea, but obviously if it is going to be in whole or in part based on classified information, then we have to start figuring out people getting clearances.â
In granting Klayman an order for an injunction against the NSA, Leon indicated a stay pending appeal was appropriate because of the national security interests the government was asserting in the case.
At the same time, Leon ordered the government to act quickly in appealing his decision and to be prepared to obey the injunction immediately should the government lose the appeal.
âHowever, in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues, I will stay my order pending appeal,â Leon wrote in his decision.
âIn doing so, I hereby give the government fair notice that should my ruling be upheld, this ruling will go into effect forthwith,â he said. âAccordingly, I fully expect that during the appellate process, which will consume at least the next six months, the government will take whatever steps necessary to prepare itself to comply with this order when, and if, it is upheld. Suffice it to say, requesting further time to comply with this order months from now will not be well received and could result in collateral sanctions.â
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky - Global Research - December 15, 2013
From the outset, the Western military alliance has (covertly) supported the terrorists with a view to destabilizing Syria as a nation state.
Lest we forget, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA.
The US, NATO, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have channeled most of their support to the Al Qaeda brigades, which are also integrated by Western Special Forces.
British and French Special Forces have been actively training opposition rebels from a base in Turkey.
Israel has provided a safe have to Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in the occupied Golan Heights.
Western special forces have been training the rebels in the use of chemical weapons in Jordan.
NATO and the Turkish High command have been involved in the development of a jihad involving the recruitment of thousands of âfreedom fightersâ, reminiscent of the enlistment of the Mujahideen to wage the CIAâs jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war: ------------------------------------------------------- Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Debkafile, August 31, 2011). Debka, August 2011 emphasis added)
This is a war of aggression. It is not a civil war.
The New Islamic Front
The Al Qaeda fighters integrated by mercenaries, trained in Saudi Arabia and Qatar constitute the mainstay of so-called opposition forces, which have been involved in countless atrocities and terrorist acts directed against the civilian population from the outset in March 2011.
The existence of âmore moderate opposition brigadesâ supported by the West is a myth. They exist in name, they do not constitute a meaningful military force. They are not the object of significant support by their Western handlers, who prefer to channel their aid to the Al Qaeda affiliated brigades.
The FSA and its Supreme Military Command essentially serve as a front organization. The SMC under the helm of General Salim Idriss has largely been used to channel support to the terrorists.
In recent developments, fighting has broke out between the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels covertly supported by the West and the more moderate FSA brigades, officially supported by the West.
Having âexpressed their concernâ, US officials have announced the holding of talks with the rebel commanders of the New Islamic Front (created in November).
The objective, however, is not to mediate between opposing factions. What is contemplated are new procedures for channeling support to the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, through the newly created Islamic Front umbrella organization.
A rebel fighter with the Islamic Front said he expected the talks in Turkey to discuss whether the United States would help arm the front and assign to it responsibility for maintaining order in the rebel-held areas of northern Syria.
The Islamic Front rebel told reporters that rivalry with the ISIL had already led to a spate of hostage-taking between the two sides, and that the Frontâs decision to talk to the Americans had further escalated tension. Although he described the two Islamist forces as ideologically close, he said ISIL appeared set on confrontation, perhaps encouraged by some of their backers in Saudi Arabia. (Gulf Today, December 13, 2013) -------------------------------------------------------
Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Stephen Ford has been involved in negotiations with the Islamic Front. Ford had established contact with New Islamic Front leaders in November.
The involvement of Ambassador Ford should come as no surprise. He was one of the main architects of the death squad brigades sent into Syria, starting in March 2011. He has, no doubt, been in permanent liaison with Al Qaeda rebel commanders from the outset of the insurgency.
Robert S. Ford had previously worked at the US embassy in Baghdad (2004-2005) under the helm of Ambassador John D. Negroponte. He played a key role in implementing the Pentagonâs âIraq Salvador Optionâ. The latter consisted in supporting Iraqi death squadrons and paramilitary forces modeled on the experience of Central America. With regard to Syria, the US State Department has been collaborating with several US intelligence agencies and the Pentagon is overseeing US support to rebel forces in Syria.
A Syria policy committee was created in 2012. It involved the participation of Ambassador Robert Stephen Ford, former CIA director David Petraeus, Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Derek Chollet, Principal Deputy Director of Clintonâs Policy Planning Staff at the State Department. ------------------------------------------------------- Under Jeffrey Feltmanâs supervision, the actual recruitment of terrorist mercenaries, however, is carried out in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in liaison with senior intelligence officials from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya and NATO. The former Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar, who remains a key member of Saudi intelligence, is said to be working with the Feltman group in Doha. (Michel Chossudovsky, âThe Salvador Option For Syriaâ: US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate âOpposition Forcesâ, Global Research, 28 May 2012) -------------------------------------------------------
Expanded US Support to Al Qaeda Affiliated Rebels in Syria
What the US and its allies are establishing are new effective âdirect channelsâ for increasing their support to their Al Qaeda foot soldiers, essentially using the new Islamic Front as a âGo Betweenâ. This procedure is contemplated following the apparent demise of the Supreme Military Command of the FSA.
Until recently US and allied support to Al Qaeda was channeled to the rebels through an indirect route, namely through Supreme military Command (SMC) commander General Salim Idriss.
General Idriss is reported to have fled Syria for Doha, âas a result of the Islamic Front taking over his headquarters.â The takeover of SMC headquarters has, according to reports
âprompted the United States and Britain to announce [December 11] that they were suspending non-lethal aid to northern Syria, due to fears of equipment ending up in the wrong hands.â
This again is a smokescreen: the New Islamic Front which attacked the SMC headquarters is working in close liaison with its Western handlers including Ambassador Robert Stephen Ford.
Washington intends to use the Islamic Front to channel its support to the more radical Al Qaeda factions including Al Nusrah which, according to reports, has established ties to the New Islamic Front.
The Obama Administration has committed itself to âan expanded Syrian insurgency that includes the recently-formed Islamic Frontâ: ------------------------------------------------------- The Front has been pressing for inclusion in the SMC, and wants to be represented at the Geneva talks, according to rebel commanders. âŠ Ex-Ambassador Ford is traveling to London on Friday to meet other international backers of the opposition, and then to Turkey for discussions with the Syrian National Coalition. He may also meet there with the Islamic Front, said the senior official. (EA World View, December 13, 2013 -------------------------------------------------------
The propaganda ploy is to portray the new Islamic Front as âmoderateâ. With the FSA Supreme Military Command in disarray, Washingtonâs objective is to provide a semblance of legitimacy to the insurrection largely integrated by the Western military allianceâs Al Qaeda foot soldiers.
The creation of a pro-US Islamic Front serves that purpose, namely to channel money and weapons directly to the rebels via the new Islamic Front umbrella organization.
âUnder CIA manipulation, direction and, usually, their payroll, were past and present presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay and Costa Rica, âour minister of laborâ, âour vice-presidentâ, âmy policeâ, journalists, labor leaders, student leaders, diplomats, and many others. If the Agency wished to disseminate anti-communist propaganda, cause dissension in leftist ranks, or have Communist embassy personnel expelled, it need only prepare some phony documents, present them to the appropriate government ministers and journalists, and â presto! â instant scandal.â (William Blum, CIA Manipulation: The Painful Truths Told by Phil Agee, Anti-Empire Report 27 June 2013)
Independent media outlets are increasingly challenging the powers that be and, thanks to social media, the truth about what is really happening in our world can be shared at the click of a button.
Sadly, the imperial war machine continues to rear its violent head in exponential proportion under the guise of democracy and âWar on Terrorismâ.
This war machine is promoted by the mainstream media who cannot be trusted for many reasons. It is a well documented fact that the CIA has used journalism as a cover for its agents and has planted stories in the media.
According to CIA documents, âmore than 400 American journalists âŠ in the past twentyâfive years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agencyâ, wrote Carl Bernstein in 1977.
In this episode of Alternative views, former CIA agent John Stockwell explains âhow CIA âdisinformationâ tactics manipulate public opinion by planting stories in the press and by financing and supporting right-wing newspapersâ.
Planting stories in the media is a standard CIA technique:
A common Agency tactic was writing editorials and phony news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of the CIA authorship or CIA payment to the media. The propaganda value of such a ânewsâ item might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans. (Blum, op. cit.)
Moreover several journalists are members of the very influential foreign policy think tank Council on Foreign Relations, which has among its corporate members:
1. Major financial institutions such as:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
The Nasdaq OMX Group
2. All the companies part of what is known as Big Oil:
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Shell Oil Company
3. Major defense and security contractors which largely rely on military sales (figures from SIPRI) and government subsidies, among others:
DynCorp International (70% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Lockheed Martin Corporation (78% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Northrop Grumman (81% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Raytheon Company (90% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (99% of revenues from federal government)
In addition, mainstream media experts on foreign policy issues are often linked to the military-industrial complex and are very often presented as âindependentâ.
During the public debate around the question of whether to attack Syria, Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush, made a series of high-profile media appearances. Hadley argued strenuously for military intervention in appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV, and authored a Washington Post op-ed headlined âTo stop Iran, Obama must enforce red lines with Assad.â
In each case, Hadleyâs audience was not informed that he serves as a director of Raytheon, the weapons manufacturer that makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles that were widely cited as a weapon of choice in a potential strike against Syria. Hadley earns $128,500 in annual cash compensation from the company and chairs its public affairs committee. He also owns 11,477 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate ($77.65 on August 23, making Hadleyâs shareâs worth $891,189). Despite this financial stake, Hadley was presented to his audience as an experienced, independent national security expert. (Public Accountability, War or No War on Syria: Conflict of Interest of âExpertsâ who Commented in Favor of Military Intervention, October 15, 2013)
As Bob Dylan sung, âTimes, they are a changinâ.â Everything is collapsing around on Obama, and thatâs something to be thankful for. The more people distrust him, then the less likely he is to get new policies passed, meaning the Republic gets a little more breathing room.
Just recently, Forbes magazine published an open editorial on their website explaining why Obamaâs rejection and constant violation should lead to his impeachment and removal from office. It went viral.
Many patriots are tired of âjust talkâ, but this talk is absolutely vital: movements begin with words, and right now, we have to give as much attention to those pushing for impeachment as possible.
Obama's Disdain For The Constitution Means We Risk Losing Our Republic - Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, he has changed it five times. Most notably, he suspended the employer mandate last summer. This is widely known, but almost no one seems to have grasped its significance.
The Constitution authorizes the President to propose and veto legislation. It does not authorize him to change existing laws. The changes Mr. Obama ordered in Obamacare, therefore, are unconstitutional. This means that he does not accept some of the limitations that the Constitution places on his actions. We cannot know at this point what limitations, if any, he does accept.
By changing the law based solely on his wish, Mr. Obama acted on the principle that the President can rewrite laws andâsince this is a principleânot just this law, but any law. After the crash of Obamacare, many Congressmen have implored the President to change the individual mandate the same way he had changed the employer mandate, that is, to violate the Constitution again.
The main responsibility the Constitution assigns to the President is to faithfully execute the Laws. If the President rejects this job, if instead he decides he can change or ignore laws he does not like, then what?
The time will come when Congress passes a law and the President ignores it. Or he may choose to enforce some parts and ignore others (as Mr. Obama is doing now). Or he may not wait for Congress and issue a decree (something Mr. Obama has done and has threatened to do again).
Mr. Obama has not been shy about pointing out his path. He has repeatedly made clear that he intends to act on his own authority. âI have the power and I will use it in defense of the middle class,â he has said. âWeâre going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress.â There are a number of names for the system Mr. Obama envisions, but representative government is not one of them.
If the President can ignore the laws passed by Congress, of what use is Congress? The President can do whatever he chooses. Congress can stand by and observe. Perhaps they might applaud or jeer. But in terms of political power, Congress will be irrelevant. Probably, it will become a kind of rubber-stamp or debating society. There are many such faux congresses in tyrannies throughout history and around the globe.
Mr. Obama has equal contempt for the Supreme Court. In an act of overbearing hubris, he excoriated Supreme Court Justices sitting helplessly before him during the 2010 State of the Union addressâJustices who had not expected to be denounced and who were prevented by the occasion from defending themselves. Mr. Obama condemned them for restoring freedom of speech to corporations and unions.
Ignoring two centuries of practice, President Obama made four recess appointments in January 2012, when the Senate was not in recess. Three courts have found that his appointments were unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case. If the Supreme Court finds against him, what will Mr. Obama do?
We can get a hint by looking at how other parts of his Administration have dealt with Court decisions they did not like.
The Attorney Generalâs Office is the branch of government charged with enforcing federal laws. After the Supreme Court struck down the key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Attorney General Holder announced that he would use other provisions of the act to get around the Courtâs decision.
The Supreme Court has defined the standard for sexual harassment as âsevere, pervasive, and objectively offensiveâ behavior to a âreasonable person.â In open defiance of that ruling, the Obama Department of Education has declared a new definition of sexual harassment for colleges, that is, âany unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,â including âverbal conduct,â even if it is not objectively offensiveâthus reinforcing the reign of terror over sex on college campuses. If a young manâs request for a date turns out to be unwelcome, he is guilty of sexual harassment by definition.
The lack of respect for the Supreme Court by the Obama administration is manifest. They feel bound by the Courtâs decisions only if they agree with them. If they disagree, it is deuces wild; they will embrace any fiction that nullifies the Courtâs decision.
The direction in which Mr. Obama is taking us would make possible the following scenario. A Republican Congress is elected and repeals Obamacare over a Democratic Presidentâs veto. The President refuses to enforce the repeal. The Supreme Court rules that the Presidentâs refusal is unconstitutional. The President denounces that ruling and refuses to be bound by it.
If the President persists in rejecting all authority other than his own, the denouement would depend on the side taken by the Armed Forces. Whatever side that was, our national self-esteem would be unlikely to recover from the blow of finding that we are living in a banana republic.
The shocking fact is that our whole system of representative government depends on it being led by an individual who believes in it; who thinks it is valuable; who believes that a government dedicated to the protection of individual rights is a noble ideal. What if he does not?
Mr. Obama is moving our government away from its traditional system of checks and balances and toward the one-man-rule that dominates third world countries. He has said that he wants a fair countryâimplying that, as it stands, the United States is not a fair countryâan unprecedented calumny committed against a country by its own leader.
What country does he think is more fair than the United States? He has three long years left in which to turn us into a fair country. Where does he intend to take us?
Mr. Obama got his conception of a fair country from his teachers. A fair country is an unfree country because it is regimented to prevent anyone from rising too high. Their ideal is egalitarianism, the notion that no one should be any better, higher, or richer than anyone else. Combined with a dollop of totalitarianism, egalitarianism has replaced communism as the dominant ideal in our most prestigious universities. Mr. Obama and his colleagues are the product of those universities, and they have their marching orders.
The most important point is that Mr. Obama does not consider himself bound by the Constitution. He could not have made that more clear. He has drawn a line in the concrete and we cannot ignore it.
Those who currently hold political office, and who want to keep our system of government, need to act now. Surely, rejection of the Constitution is grounds for impeachment and charges should be filed. In addition, there are many other actions that Congressmen can and should takeâactions that will tell Mr. Obama that we have seen where he is going and we will not let our country go without a fight.
At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what form of government had been created. âA republic,â he replied, âif you can keep it.â
We are losing it. If Mr. Obamaâs reach for unprecedented power is not stopped, that will be the end. Everyone who values his life and liberty should find some way to say âNo!â âNot now!â âNot yet!â âNot ever!â
M. Northrup Buechner is Associate Professor of Economics at St. Johnâs University, New York. http://onforb.es/1kNA2as
June 24, 2013 | By Adrian Salbuchi, New Dawn/Waking Times
As with all totalitarian regimes, the black/white or the good/bad Baby Bush âYouâre either with us or youâre with the Terroristsâ â binary rhetoric lies at the heart of the Global Power Eliteâs PsyWar technology.
In 2004, Denis Boneau, a French journalist writing for the Voltaire Network, published an article called âThe Science of World Dominationâ (www.voltairenet.org/The-Science-of-World-Domination), making an excellent summary of key milestones in the development of the United Statesâ post-World War II Global Psychological Warfare Strategy.
He starts by describing the Truman Doctrine of âContainmentâ of the former Soviet Union that was based on the so-called âlong telegramâ sent to the State Department in 1946 by an advisor in the US embassy in Moscow â and key Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) scholar â George S. Kennan.
Shortly afterwards, Kennan was called back to the US to brief his superiors more fully and his recommendations were finally published in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs, the official journal of the CFR, as âThe Sources of Soviet Conduct.â This became known as the âXâ article because thatâs how Kennan signed it, as there was still heated debated as to whether it would become official US foreign policy.
It did. With his highly influential article, Kennan gave birth to the US policy of âContainmentâ of the Soviet Union which consisted in blocking the expansion of communism through the control of national emancipationist movements that could lead to greater power to pro-socialist or nationalist leaders.
As official policy, âContainmentâ required the collaboration of experts capable of providing geographical, economic, cultural, psychological and sociological data useful to the US Armed Forces and the intelligence community, working very closely with key think tanks like the CFR.
Thus began the Cold War which Kennan and the US Government believed would give the United States a historic opportunity to assume leadership over what they would eventually describe as the âFree World.â With time, as the Global Power Elite became more deeply embedded inside the US and British public and private power structures (and that of their key allies), that âleadershipâ would end up encompassing practically the whole planet.
In a way, one can say that the CFR in conjunction with other think-tank and university scholars â George Kennan, Henry Kissinger, Leo Strauss, Zbigniew Brzezinski included â single-handedly started and macro-managed last centuryâs forty-five year long Cold War.
As part of that global strategy, 1947 also saw the Truman Administration sanction the National Security Act which, amongst other things, created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tasked with designing, planning and executing âpropaganda, economic war, direct preventive action, sabotage, anti-sabotage, destruction, subversion against hostile States, assistance to clandestine liberation movements, guerrilla, murders, assistance to indigenous groups opposed to the enemy countries of the âfree worldââŠâ
What is Psychological Warfare?
Boneau defines Psychological Warfare (PsyWar) as a number of actions ranging from radio propaganda to torture, that require comprehensive information on targeted populations. In a document written in 1948, American ground forces defined âpsychological warfareâ as follows:
âIt is based on moral and physical means different from those upon which orthodox military techniques are based on. Its purpose is: (a) To destroy the will and the fighting spirit of the enemy and avoid its alliesâ support and, (b) To encourage our troops and our alliesâ will of being victorious.â
PsyWar uses every possible weapon and tool to influence and impact the will of the enemy. Such âweaponsâ are labelled âpsychologicalâ because of their effect and not because of their own nature. This is the reason why, open propaganda (âwhiteâ), secret (âblackâ) or âgreyâ propaganda â subversion, sabotage, murders, special operations, guerrilla, espionage, political, economic and racial and ethnic pressures â are all considered useful PsyWar weapons.
To implement such programs, the intelligence services recruited specialists on behavioural sciences capable of inventing the âsimple, clear and repetitiveâ white propaganda and black propaganda aimed at provoking âdisorder, confusion andâŠ terrorâ within the enemy forces.
We thus begin to fathom that the so-called âArab Springâ of today did not just suddenly and spontaneously explode in 2011, but was rather hatched from an âeggâ laid decades ago and brooded by the secret intelligence agencies.
This began in the 40âs and 50âs with Project Troy that mobilised top scholars to identify available means of transmitting the âtruthâ (i.e., US propaganda) behind the Iron Curtain through powerful radio transmitters like the Voice of America, the broadcasting network created by the International Information Service (IIS), another PsyWar institution created under the Truman Administration.
Voice of America was used to promote US âvaluesâ of so-called âdemocracy,â the âAmerican Way of Life,â âfreedomâ and Corporate Capitalism. A key leader of Project Troy was James Webb, adviser to Secretary of State Dean Acheson and a âpsychological warfareâ operative who recommended university experts and the government to work closer.
They soon realised, however, that Voice of America was not enough to penetrate the Iron Curtain and supported by the US Navy and the CIA, they suggested other channels to implement âwhiteâ propaganda: university exchanges, publications of books, information through the mail, professional journals, commerce and industrial publications.
Truman also created the Psychological Strategy Board encouraging studies of âSoviet societyâ through a program of recruiting dissidents called Project CENIS â Centre for International Studies â at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) directed by CFR operative Max Millikan.
This worked so well that in 1950 the US Air Force commissioned and funded similar research on the Korean population. Wilbur Schramm, the founding father of the mass communication paradigm, John Ridley and Fredericks Williams were given the mission of interviewing anti-communist refugees to draw up a suitable propaganda strategy on Korea. The study also resulted in the establishment of the âPublic Opinion Quarterlyâ (POQ), the official magazine of âpsychological warfareâ community.
In the 1963 Project Camelot was created that defined process models leading to national revolutions in Third World countries to facilitate counter-insurgence operations. Camelot is a good example of the strengthening ties between behavioural scholars and the US Intelligence community (i.e., intel services, universities, major corporations, think-tanks and the Military). It facilitated interventions in Yemen, Cuba and the Congo, and helped foresee and prevent the risk of revolution.
In Chile, operating through the Special Operations Research Office (SORO), Project Camelot supported CIA plans to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende imposing General Augusto Pinochetâs military junta on Chile on 11 September 1973.
Psychological Warfare Strategy development also counted on key universities dealing in Communication Sciences to develop the âmass communicationâ paradigm financed by the US Military, the CIA and the State Department. This led to effective propaganda used to penetrate the Iron Curtain through different means, including leaflets and broadcasting. The disciplineâs field of study was wide: persuasion techniques, opinion polls, interviews, military and political mobilisations, ideological disseminationâŠ
They have now come a long way thanks to dramatic breakthroughs in communications and information technologies, where propaganda and PsyWar have to a great extent been outsourced and privatised. Today, their main PsyWar weapons include TV, radio, press and internet outlets such as Fox, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, New York Times, Newsweek, BBC, RTVE, RAI, Time, Daily Telegraph, Sun, Mirror, Daily News, Reuters, Jerusalem Post and their global subsidiaries and dependants.
Most importantly, this process also encompasses that key arm of social engineering and thought deformation known as the âentertainment industryâ with Hollywood as its main hub and flagship.
Dirty Tricks Departments
From the very beginning, torture was considered a research field in social sciences. During the Korean War, the BSSR (main âblackâ propaganda research centre) was charged with carrying out studies for the Army to identify Eastern Europe populationâs âvulnerability targets and factorsâ while defining different âaspects of psychological violence.â BSSR reported on the effects of traditional interrogation techniques â electric shocks, blows, drugs â all funded in part by the CIA, especially on the populations of Viet Nam and Africa, geared at improving torture effectiveness.
The paradigm of mass communication was inserted in a broader intellectual plan consisting in the division of the world map based on the American strategistsâ logic. The patriarch of this discipline, Wilbur Schramm (as did Leo Strauss), offered a perspective of this reductionist dimension of communication sciences based on the âgood guys/bad guysâ antagonism, where communism symbolised âEvilâ and America symbolised âGood.â This was shared by the majority of the intellectuals and scientists supporting the US government in its fight against Soviet expansionism where neutrality was considered treason.
In 2001, the Bush Administration reactivated these Cold War mechanisms, not to fight the Soviet Union but to impose a âNew World Order.â Since 11 September 2001, the excuse for this reactivation is âThe War on Terror.â Once again the intelligence community turned to universities: the CIAâs director of scientific research, John Philips, took control of the Rochester Institute of Technology; Michael Crawl, deputy director of the CIAâs joint economic association in the computer sector was appointed dean of the University of Arizona, and Robert Gates (former CIA director under Bush Senior) before becoming Bush/Obamaâs Pentagon Chief was president of Texas A&M University.
Alas! Nothing new under the sunâŠ
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About the Author
ADRIAN SALBUCHI is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio talk-show host in Argentina. He has published several books on geopolitics and economics in Spanish, and recently published his first eBook in English: The Coming World Government: Tragedy & Hope? which can be ordered through his web site www.asalbuchi.com.ar, or details can be requested by E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Salbuchi is 58 years of age, married, with four adult children, and works as strategic consultant for domestic and international companies. He is also founder of the Second Republic Project in Argentina, which is expanding internationally (visit: www.secondrepublicproject.com).
For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?
Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It's viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran, self-immolation in Tibet, human trafficking across Asia, and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.
The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long-standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 1970s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they "should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics." Fulbright's amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such "propaganda" should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. "from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity."
Zorinsky and Fulbright sold their amendments on sensible rhetoric: American taxpayers shouldn't be funding propaganda for American audiences. So did Congress just tear down the American public's last defense against domestic propaganda? BBG spokeswoman Lynne Weil insists BBG is not a propaganda outlet, and its flagship services such as VOA "present fair and accurate news."
"They don't shy away from stories that don't shed the best light on the United States," she told The Cable. She pointed to the charters of VOA and RFE: "Our journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate."
A former U.S. government source with knowledge of the BBG says the organization is no Pravda, but it does advance U.S. interests in more subtle ways. In Somalia, for instance, VOA serves as counterprogramming to outlets peddling anti-American or jihadist sentiment. "Somalis have three options for news," the source said, "word of mouth, al-Shabab, or VOA Somalia."
This partially explains the push to allow BBG broadcasts on local radio stations in the United States. The agency wants to reach diaspora communities, such as St. Paul, Minnesota's significant Somali expat community. "Those people can get al-Shabab, they can get Russia Today, but they couldn't get access to their taxpayer-funded news sources like VOA Somalia," the source said. "It was silly."
Lynne added that the reform has a transparency benefit as well. "Now Americans will be able to know more about what they are paying for with their tax dollars -- greater transparency is a win-win for all involved," she said. And so with that we have the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, and went into effect this month.
But if anyone needed a reminder of the dangers of domestic propaganda efforts, the past 12 months provided ample reasons. Last year, two USA Today journalists were ensnared in a propaganda campaign after reporting about millions of dollars in back taxes owed by the Pentagon's top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan. Eventually, one of the co-owners of the firm confessed to creating phony websites and Twitter accounts to smear the journalists anonymously. Additionally, just this month, the Washington Post exposed a counter-propaganda program by the Pentagon that recommended posting comments on a U.S. website run by a Somali expat with readers opposing al-Shabab. "Today, the military is more focused on manipulating news and commentary on the Internet, especially social media, by posting material and images without necessarily claiming ownership," reported the Post.
But for BBG officials, the references to Pentagon propaganda efforts are nauseating, particularly because the Smith-Mundt Act never had anything to do with regulating the Pentagon, a fact that was misunderstood in media reports in the run-up to the passage of new Smith-Mundt reforms in January.
One example included a report by the late BuzzFeed reporter Michael Hastings, who suggested that the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act would open the door to Pentagon propaganda of U.S. audiences. In fact, as amended in 1987, the act only covers portions of the State Department engaged in public diplomacy abroad (i.e. the public diplomacy section of the "R" bureau, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.)
But the news circulated regardless, much to the displeasure of Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), a sponsor of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012. "To me, it's a fascinating case study in how one blogger was pretty sloppy, not understanding the issue and then it got picked up by Politico's Playbook, and you had one level of sloppiness on top of another," Thornberry told The Cable last May. "And once something sensational gets out there, it just spreads like wildfire."
That of course doesn't leave the BBG off the hook if its content smacks of agitprop. But now that its materials are allowed to be broadcast by local radio stations and TV networks, they won't be a complete mystery to Americans. "Previously, the legislation had the effect of clouding and hiding this stuff," the former U.S. official told The Cable. "Now we'll have a better sense: Gee some of this stuff is really good. Or gee some of this stuff is really bad. At least we'll know now."