1984 + 23 = 2007 by Charles Hugh Smith

Dandelion Salad

by Charles Hugh Smith
September 20, 2007

George Orwell’s classic depiction of totalitarian control of a cowered populace, 1984, needs to be updated. Today’s U.S. government and its various agencies have no need to be so heavy-handed.

For instance, to coerce the population to accept their financial self-destruction, just convince them inflation doesn’t exist, even as prices in the real world spiral ever-higher and their currency plummets to record lows against gold and other currencies.

This is essentially the whole control game in a nutshell: if you can enrich and extend the power of the Overlords while convincing the citizenry that their impoverishment and debt-serfdom results from their own personal failures, you have effectively instituted a subtle but brilliantly effective mind control.

Do you think I exaggerate for polemic purposes? Then consider the facts. Yesterday and today we are treated to official U.S. Government statistics which reveal that energy and food prices plummeted on both the wholesale and retail levels, while so-called “core inflation” (read: “some prices are more equal than others”) checked in at a negligible 2.1% a year.

Meanwhile, in the real world, dairy goods have almost doubled in one year, food inflation is running 10% everywhere from China to the Mideast to your local supermarket, energy has quadrupled in a few years, tuition and medical insurance have leaped 10%+ a year and everything from water to local taxes to shipping has zoomed up in double-digit numbers.

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that everything has leaped in price yet officially inflation is a barely-registering 2%?

Frequent contributor U. Doran sent in this chart-filled depiction of rip-roaring agricultural inflation by Gary Dorsch (SirChartsAlot): Beware – the Bernanke Fed could Ignite Hyper-Inflation!

He also recommended this extremely troubling explanation of how inflation coupled with our highly progressive tax rates could enable huge transfers of whatever wealth might remain in middle-class hands to the government:


Here’s how it would work: your $100,000 in taxable assets grows to $1 million via rampant inflation even as its purchasing power declines as measured in gold, oil or other tangibles. You then sell the asset to live, and voila, you owe tax on $900,000 of entirely fictitious “gain.” Once that pesky long-term capital gains tax is abolished, then 50% of your wealth–in terms of purchasing power, actually a lower value than it once was–is grabbed by the government as “gain.”

(Note: I added 10% to the Federal tax rate of 40% for the Great Greedy oops I mean Golden State of California. Your local tax pit might be somewhat less egregiously greedy.)

If this isn’t Orwellian, then please tell me what is.

And lest you think your supposedly rising stock investments (dollars) have not already shrunk mightily in the past few years, cosider this chart courtesy of Sir Charts Alot (Gary Dorsch):

Charts and the rest of the story

h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

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The Crash of the Millennium – An Interview with Dr. Ravi Batra by J. Taylor (1999)

George W. Bush’s Thug Nation by Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

by Robert Parry
Global Research, September 23, 2007

It’s said that over time Presidents – especially two-termers – imbue the nation with their personalities and priorities, for good or ill. If that’s true, it could help explain the small-minded mean-spiritedness that seems to be pervading the behavior of the United States these days, both at home and abroad.

On a global level, the world reads about trigger-happy Blackwater “security contractors” mowing down civilians in Baghdad, the U.S. military killing unarmed people under loose “rules of engagement” in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the CIA “rendering” suspected Islamists to secret prisons or to third-country dungeons where torture is practiced.

Inside the United States, too, a police-state mentality is taking hold. After more than six years of having dissent against President George W. Bush equated with disloyalty, police from Capitol Hill to college campuses are treating vocal disagreement as grounds for violently “taking down” citizens, while bouncers at campaign rallies hustle away prospective hecklers and police preemptively detain protesters or stick them in faraway “free-speech zones.”

On Sept. 17 at a University of Florida public forum with Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, journalism student Andrew Meyer asked an animated question about Kerry’s hasty concession after Election 2004.

Meyer then was accosted by several campus police officers who dragged him away and wrestled him to the ground. Despite pleading with police “don’t tase me, bro,” Meyer was “tasered” with powerful electric shocks as he screamed in pain. [Watch the YouTube video by clicking here.]

Overseas, it now appears that Bush has authorized “rules of engagement” that have transformed U.S. Special Forces into “death squads,” much like those that roamed Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s identifying “subversives” and murdering them.

According to evidence emerging from a military court hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S. Special Forces are empowered to kill individuals who have been designated “enemy combatants,” even if they are unarmed and present no visible threat.

The hearing involves two Special Forces soldiers who took part in the cold-blooded execution of an Afghani who was suspected of leading an insurgent group. Though the Afghani, identified as Nawab Buntangyar, responded to questions and offered no resistance when encountered on Oct. 13, 2006, he was shot dead by Master Sgt. Troy Anderson on orders from his superior officer, Capt. Dave Staffel.

Classified Mission

As described at the hearing, Staffel and Anderson were leading a team of Afghan soldiers when an informant told them where a suspected insurgent leader was hiding. The U.S.-led contingent found a man believed to be Nawab Buntangyar walking outside his compound near the village of Hasan Kheyl.

While the Americans kept their distance out of fear the suspect might be wearing a suicide vest, the man was questioned about his name and the Americans checked his description against a list from the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan, known as “the kill-or-capture list.”

Concluding that the man was insurgent leader Nawab Buntangyar, Staffel gave the order to shoot, and Anderson – from a distance of about 100 yards away – fired a bullet through the man’s head, killing him instantly.

The soldiers viewed the killing as “a textbook example of a classified mission completed in accordance with the American rules of engagement,” the International Herald Tribune reported. “The men said such rules allowed them to kill Buntangyar, whom the American military had designated a terrorist cell leader, once they positively identified him.”

Staffel’s civilian lawyer Mark Waple said the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command concluded in April that the shooting was “justifiable homicide,” but a two-star general in Afghanistan instigated a murder charge against the two men. That case, however, has floundered over accusations that the charge was improperly filed. [IHT, Sept. 17, 2007]

The major news media has given the case only minor coverage focusing mostly on the legal sparring. The New York Times’ inside-the-paper, below-the-fold headline on Sept. 19 was “Green Beret Hearing Focuses on How Charges Came About.”

However, the greater significance of the case is its confirmation that the U.S. chain of command, presumably up to President Bush, has approved standing orders that allow the U.S. military to assassinate suspected militants on sight.

In effect, these orders have reestablished what was known during the Vietnam War as Operation Phoenix, a program that assassinated Vietcong cadre, including suspected communist political allies.

Through a Pentagon training program known as “Project X,” the lessons of Operation Phoenix from the 1960s were passed on to Third World armies in Latin America and elsewhere, allegedly giving a green light to some of the “dirty wars” that swept the region in the following decades. [For details, see Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.]

Blackwater Killings

Besides the periodic controversies over U.S. military killings of unarmed Iraqis and Afghanis, the Bush administration also is facing a challenge from the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki over the U.S. Embassy’s reliance on Blackwater security contractors despite their reputation as crude and murderous bullies.

On Sept. 16, Blackwater gunmen accompanying a U.S. diplomatic convoy apparently sensed an ambush and opened fire, spraying a busy Baghdad square with bullets. Eyewitness accounts, including from an Iraqi police officer, indicated that the Blackwater team apparently overreacted to a car moving into the square and killed at least 11 people.

“Blackwater has no respect for the Iraqi people,” an Iraqi Interior Ministry official told the Washington Post. “They consider Iraqis like animals, although actually I think they may have more respect for animals. We have seen what they do in the streets. When they’re not shooting, they’re throwing water bottles at people and calling them names. If you are terrifying a child or an elderly woman, or you are killing an innocent civilian who is riding in his car, isn’t that terrorism?” [Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2007]

The highhandedness of the Blackwater mercenaries on the streets of Baghdad or the contempt for traditional rules of war in the hills of Afghanistan also resonate back to the marble chambers and well-appointed salons of Washington, where swaggering tough-guyism reigns from the Oval Office to the TV talk shows to Georgetown dinner parties.

Inside the Beltway, it seems there’s little political mileage in standing up for traditional American values, such as the rule of law or even the Founders’ historic concept of inalienable rights for all mankind.

On Sept. 19, Senate Republicans blocked an up-or-down vote on a bill seeking to restore habeas corpus rights against arbitrary imprisonment for people whom Bush unilaterally has designated “unlawful enemy combatants.”

Bush’s supporters portrayed those who favored habeas corpus restoration as impractical coddlers of America’s enemies.

“This is purely a matter of congressional policy and national policy on how we want to conduct warfare now and in the future,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama. “Are we going to do it in a way that allows those we capture to sue us?”

The Republicans also prevented a direct vote on a plan to grant longer home leaves to U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those two factors – obedience to Bush’s claim of unlimited power as he wages his “war on terror” and refusal to relieve some of the pressure on American troops facing repeated deployments to the front lines – are almost certain to keep making matters worse.

The mix of tired and desperate soldiers operating in an environment in which every person on the street is viewed as a potential suicide bomber is a formula for continued abuses, endless slaughter and deepening hatreds.

Back home, Americans who ask too many annoying questions or don’t demonstrate the right attitude toward government leaders can expect to encounter the hostility of an incipient police state, a thug nation that reflects the pugnacious arrogance and the contempt for dissent that is the stock and trade of the nation’s current two-term President.

[For more on how Bush rules, see our new book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com

Robert Parry is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Robert Parry


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Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan: No Coincidence by Prof. Ira Chernus

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Ira Chernus
Global Research, September 23, 2007

NATO bombs killed at least 45 civilians in Afghanistan the other day. If you get your news from the front pages of the U.S. mainstream media, you wouldn’t know it. The New York Times did run news from Afghanistan on its front page the next day — a rather ghoulish piece about Muslims refusing to give Taliban suicide bombers a religious burial, because suicide bombing is morally reprehensible. And so it is.

But what about pushing a button in an airplane to drop bombs that fall on people’s homes? Not so reprehensible, apparently. The Times buried its report on the slaughter in Helmand province back on an inside page, as did the Washington Post. The LA Times relegated to a “World in Brief” notice.

If you take the time to read those back-page articles, they all tell you that NATO faces a dilemma: not a moral dilemma — when Westerners kill Afghans, the moral issue does not seem to arise — but a strategic dilemma. On the one hand, “our boys” have to kill Taliban. That’s a given. On the other hand, if we kill too many civilians in the process, we’ll alienate the locals and send them over to the Taliban side. All the mainstream reports agree that the string of recent bombings, killing sizeable numbers of civilians, is already creating a growing problem for NATO’s effort to win hearts and minds.

So what’s a poor NATO commander to do? American General Dan McNeill, who took control of all NATO forces in Afghanistan this spring, seems to have an answer: Bombs away, and let hearts and minds fall where they may. The spike in civilian deaths from NATO bombs is no coincidence. It reflects a major change in strategy, which has gone totally unreported in the American media.

The British public knows about it. Journalists Jason Burke and Robert Fox think it’s a story the Brits need to know, because it could well put the lives of British — as well as American — NATO troops in greater danger. And it will put British — as well as American — tax dollars to work paying for more bombs that kill more innocent civilians.

Senior British officers told these journalists that Gen. McNeill, with too few troops on the ground to hold off the Taliban offensive, plans to rely on massive aerial bombing to do the job. “Bomber McNeill,” the Brits call him bitterly, because they know that his heavy-handed strategy will be counter-productive in the long run. “Every civilian dead means five new Taliban,” a British officer recently returned from southern Afghanistan told Jason Burke. “This could lose the entire south of the country to the Taliban, alienating them permanently from the Karzai government and its international supporters,” Robert Fox adds. “In that case, the future of Hamid Karzai and his nemesis in Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, looks dim.”

The British are unhappy because they are losing too — losing control of the Afghan war effort. Before McNeill took command of NATO forces, they were headed by a British General, David Richards. He focused more on economic reconstruction and building good relations with the Afghan people. But the Americans and Karzai criticized him for being too soft. Now they’ve got the tough guy they want in charge.

The British saw it coming long ago. Back in December, Robert Fox reported that Karzai had removed Gen. Richards’ local protégé in Helmand, provincial governor Mohammed Daud. British intelligence officers and military commanders “blamed pressure from the CIA. … The Americans knew Daud was a main British ally, yet they deliberately undermined him and told Karzai to sack him.” Gen. Richards had also come in for American criticism as “too political,” Fox added. “The American supreme commander of NATO, General Jim Jones, has let it be known, according to sources, that General Richards `would have been sacked if he had been an American officer.'”

Now he’s been sacked. So now our tax dollars, and the Brits’, will be used not to win hearts and minds, but to drop bombs that destroy hearts and minds and lives.

In the U.S., the mainstream media agree that it’s all the fault of those evil Taliban, who attack NATO forces then scurry for cover inside local villages. The Taliban actually want to get more civilians kill, we are told, because it helps turn the locals against NATO and its puppet government in Kabul. It may be true. There is plenty about the Taliban that is reprehensible. It would be tragic if they returned to power.

But “Bomber McNeill” would be the first to tell you that, when you are at war, you use whatever tactics work best. The Taliban are guerilla fighters. Of course they live and hide among the people. Do we expect them to fight only in open fields, far away from villages, where NATO bombers can pick them off effortlessly?

If we want to keep the Taliban out of power, Gen. Richards’ “soft” strategy is the only one that has a chance. Richards and his supporters say that his strategy was working, that the Taliban made few real gains last year. Perhaps the Americans, who call the shots, are afraid of appearing (or feeling) too “soft.” Perhaps they are impatient.

Or perhaps something else is going on, too. This week Robert Fox reported that, in addition to stepped up bombing, “there is also to be a US-led campaign of indiscriminate aerial spraying of poppy fields, triggered by the UN report that last year’s poppy yield was 60 per cent higher than the year before..” But back in December, when Mohammed Daud was sacked, he wrote: “Governor Daud was appointed to replace a man the British accused of involvement in opium trafficking … Mr. Daud, who had survived several Taliban assassination attempts, was seen as a key player in Britain’s anti-drugs campaign in Helmand.” Will the poppy spraying really be “indiscriminate”? The CIA’s notorious record in poppy-growing regions should make us wonder.

Helmand is Afghanistan’s richest opium-producing province. Opium is at the heart of its economy, and its tangled politics. To get just a taste of how tangled, check out this long analysis by “Zmarial,” a resident of Helmand — not necessarily a very objective observer, but an insider who knows how many different interests are playing against, and with, each other in the province.

Though Daud was supposedly a key player in the British anti-drug campaign, this writer notes, “poppy production hit a record level in 2006 while Daud was governor of the province and enjoyed the full support of Britain.” What’s more, he cites one source claiming that “260 million dollars have been exchanged as bribery between locals and governmental officials. This is the figure which is tracked, but the untracked amount is unclear. The survey shows 58% of people who are anti-government are so because of domestic corruption.” All that money goes mainly to cover up and protect the opium trade. Can we really believe that the CIA, so determined to take control from the British in Helmand, is uninvolved?

It’s unlikely that even the best journalist can see the whole picture in Helmand, much less in all of Afghanistan. It’s way too complex. But NATO bombardiers thousands of feet above the ground certainly don’t know anything about the reality of the towns and villages — and human lives — they are destroying. They are just following “Bomber McNeill’s” simplistic “good guys” versus “bad guys” script, which the British find so typically American — with good reason. It’s the only story we are told in our mainstream media.

If we ever have journalists who tell the story in a more complex realistic way, we’ll see that it’s the same old story: the more we take sides in a civil war, the more harm we do, especially when we rely on massive aerial bombing as our main weapon. A heavy-handed U.S. intervention in the 1980s helped to create the Taliban. Now another heavy-handed intervention seems likely to help bring them back to power — and kill countless civilians along the way. All that (and perhaps opium too) paid for with our tax dollars.

And as the Afghans bury their dead, the whole story is buried in the back pages of our newspapers, as if the people our tax dollars killed just didn’t matter very much. While we denounce the immorality of the Taliban, let’s take a moment to look in the mirror.

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Monsters To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin. Email: chernus@colorado.edu

Global Research Articles by Ira Chernus

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© Copyright Ira Chernus, Global Research, 2007

Come to Jihad: A Speech to the People of Pakistan By Shaykh Usama bin Ladin

Dandelion Salad

By Shaykh Usama bin Ladin

Complete transcript of Osama Bin Laden September 20, 2007 message “Come to Jihad”

Click here to watch the video.

By Shaykh Usama bin Ladin
(May Allah protect him)
September 2007/Ramadan 1428″

“All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His aid and forgiveness, and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil in ourselves and from our bad deeds. He whom Allah guides cannot be led astray, and he who is led astray cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no God other than Allah alone, without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.”

“As for what comes after:”

“To my Muslim brothers in Pakistan:”

“Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.

“Allah, the Most High, says, ‘O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be harsh against them. Their abode is Hell, and an evil destination it is.’ (9:73) And the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, says, ‘There is no one who abandons a Muslim in a place where his honor is violated and his sanctity is infringed upon except that Allah, the Most High, abandons him in a place in which he would like His aid. And there is no one who aids a Muslim in a place where his honor is violated and his sanctity is infringed upon except that Allah aids him in a place in which he would like His aid.’ (Narrated by Ahmad)”

“Pervez’s invasion of Lal Masjid in the City of Islam, Islamabad, is a sad event, like the crime of the Hindus in their invasion and destruction of the Babari Masjid. And this event has crucial and critical connotations, most important of which are:”

“First, this event demonstrated Musharraf’s insistence on continuing his loyalty, submissiveness and aid to America against the Muslims, and this is one of the ten nullifiers of Islam, as the people of knowledge have determined, and makes armed rebellion against him and removing him obligatory. Allah, the Most High, says, ‘O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust.’ (5:51) And His statement ‘And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them’ means that he is of them in Kufr (unbelief), as the people of Tafseer (explanation) have said. This ruling was the one given and confirmed by Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, may Allah have mercy on him, in his famous Fatwa following the raids on New York, and among the things which he said: ‘If any ruler of an Islamic state provides aid to an infidel state in its aggression against the Islamic states, it is the legal obligation of the Muslims to remove him from power and consider him to be legally a traitor to Islam and Muslims.’ People of Islam in Pakistan: Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, may Allah have mercy on him, discharged a great duty which was upon him, and declared the word of truth and didn’t care about the anger of the creation. He endangered himself and his wealth and made clear the ruling of Allah regarding Pervez: that he is a traitor to Islam and Muslims and must be removed. This Fatwa enraged Pervez and enraged his masters in America, and it is my opinion that the murder of the Mufti – may Allah have mercy on him – was at their hands. And Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai died without having replaced the word of truth with falsehood, in contrast to what many of the ‘Ulama of vice do. And the obligation on us remains, and we have been extremely late in carrying it out, six years having passed, so we should make up for lost time. May Allah forgive me as well as you.”

“Second, the government’s showing of Maulana Abd al-Aziz Ghazi in women’s clothing in the media is clear evidence of the extent of the great hostility, hatred and contempt held by Pervez and his government towards Islam and its sincere ‘Ulama, and that is greater Kufr which takes one out of Islam. Allah, the Most High, says, “And if you question them, they will most surely say, ‘We were only talking idly and jesting.’ Say, ‘Was it Allah and His Signs and His Messenger which you were mocking?’ Make no excuses. You have certainly disbelieved after believing. If We forgive a party from among you, a party We shall punish, for they are criminals.” (9:65-66) And read, if you wish, the Tafseer of Ibn Katheer – may Allah have mercy on him – regarding this Ayat.”

“Third, in such events, the people are tested and the friends of the Most Merciful are separated from the friends of Satan. The ‘Ulama who are from the friends of the Most Merciful declare the truth, and if they are unable or are weak, they observe silence and don’t help falsehood with their words or actions. As for the friends of Satan, they are led by Pakistani military intelligence to speak falsehood and help its people. Some of them deem it obligatory to unite with Pervez and his army, while others deem as Haraam martyrdom-seeking fedayee operations against the soldiers of the Taghut (idol-king), while still others assail the Mujahideen, slandering and defaming them. And this is the way of the Munafiqeen (Hypocrites). Allah, the Most High, says, “They are stingy [in helping] you. And when danger comes, you see them looking towards you, their eyes rolling like one fainting as death approaches. But when the fear has passed away, they assail you with sharp tongues, being stingy with good deeds. Those have never believed, so Allah has rendered their works null and void. And that is easy for Allah.” (33:19)”

“So everyone who refrained from helping the Imam Maulana Abd al-Rashid Ghazi is from the sitters, whereas those who attacked him to help Pervez, claiming that Islam isn’t established through fighting and calling fighting in the path of Allah “terrorism” – in the context of invective – and saying that the way is through peaceful demonstrations and democratic methods are from those who have gone astray and followed the path of the Munafiqeen.”

“Nearly two decades ago, the soil of Pakistan saw and was watered by the blood of a great Imam of the Imams of Islam – i.e. the Mujahid champion Imam Abdullah Azzam, may Allah have mercy on him – and today, we have seen another great Imam, not at the level of Pakistan alone, but at the level of the entire Islamic Ummah: i.e. the Imam Maulana Abd al-Rashid Ghazi, may Allah have mercy on him. He, his brothers, his students and the female students of Jami’ah Hafsa demanded the application of the Shari’ah of Islam, as the reason for our creation is that we worship Allah the Most High through His religion, al-Islam, and they were killed because of this great objective. Allah, the Most High, says, “And I have not created jinn and men but that they may worship Me.” (51:56) They sacrificed the great thing they owned: they sacrificed themselves for their religion. I ask Allah to accept them among the martyrs. They were killed treacherously and treasonously at the hands of the apostate infidel Pervez and his aides. The purpose of the army – or so they say – is to protect the Muslims against the Kuffaar, but now we see the armies becoming tools and weapons in the hands of the Kuffaar against the Muslims. Pervez threw away the cause of Kashmir and restrained those fighting to liberate it, in accordance with the wishes of the Hindus and Nazarenes. Then he opened his bases and airports to America for invading the Muslims in Afghanistan, and as you’ve seen before, the army attacked the people of Swat who also demanded the rule of Shari’ah, and attacked the people of Waziristan, in addition to betraying and extraditing hundreds of Arab Mujahideen from the grandsons of the Sahabah (Companions), with whom Allah was pleased, to the head of Kufr, America. So Pervez, his ministers, his soldiers and those who help him are all accomplices in the spilling the blood of those of the Muslims who have been killed. He who helps him knowingly and willingly is an infidel like him, and as for he who helps him knowingly and under compulsion, his compulsion isn’t legally valid, as the soul of the one forced to kill isn’t better than the soul of the one killed, and the Messenger of Allah – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – said, “Were all the inhabitants of the heavens and earth to participate in the spilling of a believer’s blood, Allah – the Great and Glorious – would throw them into the Fire.” So I tell the soldiers who perform the Salaat (prayer) in the military organs: you must resign from your jobs and enter anew into Islam and disassociate yourself from Pervez and his Shirk (polytheism).”

“Some of the Munafiqeen among the ‘Ulama of vice and others may say that Islam orders us to stay together and the people to unite with the army and government to stand in the face of the enemies and avoid Fitnah (strife). I say: the one who says this is creating lies about Allah. The government and army have become enemies of the Ummah, after becoming a weapon in the hands of the Kuffaar against the Muslims. And they refuse to rule by the religion of Islam in all of life’s affairs, like politics, economy, social life and other matters. Allah has ordered these and their like to be fought, not to be united with and hung onto, as those hypocrites claim. Allah, the Most High, says, “And fight them until there is no Fitnah [polytheism], and religion is wholly for Allah.” (8:39) So if some of the religion is for Allah and some of it is for other than Allah, fighting is obligatory to make the religion entirely for Allah, the Most High.”

“By the grace of Allah, the Most High, we performed Jihad with the Afghan Mujahideen against the Russians, and the Afghan army was a weapon in their hands against us. They would pray and fast, but despite that, the senior ‘Ulama of the Islamic world, including the ‘Ulama of Pakistan, ruled that they are to be fought. And after the exit of the Russians, the ‘Ulama of Pakistan also supported Taliban against the Northern Alliance, although they also pray and fast. So is there any difference between Pervez and his soldiers and Ahmad Shah Massoud, Rabbani and Sayyaf and their soldiers? There is no difference at all. All of them have pledged to the Crusaders to fight true Islam and its people, and those who say it is forbidden to fight Pervez and his soldiers and exclude him from the general ruling have an illness in their hearts: they prefer this life to the next. Allah, the Most High, says, “Are your unbelievers better than those or have you an immunity [from punishment] in the sacred books?” (54:43)”

“I tell Pervez and his army: your betrayal of your nation and people has been exposed, and the people are no longer fooled by your showing off militarily by launching some missiles after every disaster and massacre you commit against the populace, as has occurred repeatedly in the border regions, or after the biggest massacre in Lal Masjid most recently. How is the nation benefited by these weapons and tests of yours? The same goes for the nuclear bomb itself. When the American foreign minister Powell came to you, you cowered, bowed and submitted to him like a lowly slave, and you permitted the American Crusader forces to use the air, soil and water of Pakistan, the country of Islam, to kill the people of Islam in Afghanistan, then in Waziristan. So woe to you and away with you.”

“Against the peoples attacking lions”

“And against the enemy rabbits and ostriches?”

“And your going to Makkah and performing the Tawaaf (circling) of the Ka’aba won’t benefit you when combined with Kufr and combating of Islam and its people. Were it to benefit anyone in combination with Kufr, it would have benefited Abu Lahab, the uncle of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.”

“Then someone might say that armed rebellion against Pervez will lead to the spilling of blood. But I say: were the order to fight the apostate ruler was from the people, like ‘Amr and Zayd, then it would be permissible for minds and opinions to intervene and discuss what they should do or not do. However, as you know, the order to fight the apostate ruler is an order in the Shari’ah of Allah, and it is not permissible for the Muslim to make his opinion a rival to the order of Allah and order of His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Allah, the Most High, says, “And it is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, to exercise their own choice in the matter concerning them. And whoso disobeys Allah and His Messenger goes manifestly astray.” (33:36) “

“So when the capability is there, it is obligatory to rebel against the apostate ruler, as is the case now. And the one who believes that the strength required to rebel has not yet been completed must complete it and take up arms against Pervez and his army without procrastination. Pervez and most of the Muslims’ rulers jumped to power and usurped it and ruled us by other than what Allah sent down by force of arms, and the situation will not return to normal through elections, demonstrations and shouting. So beware of the polytheistic elections and futile actions, for iron is only dented by iron, and it is through fighting in Allah’s path and exhorting of the believers that the might of the Kuffar is restrained. Allah, the Most High, said, “So fight in Allah’s Cause – you are held responsible only for yourself – and rouse the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the might of the unbelievers. And Allah is strongest in might and strongest in punishment.” (4:84)”

“Fighting in Allah’s path is an act of worship, and it is based on sacrifice of selves. Muslim blood is spilled and poured out to protect the religion, which only reached us after his (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cuspid tooth was broken, his head cut open and his noble face bloodied, and after the blood of the best of people, like Hamza, Mus’ab, Zaid and Ja’afar (with whom Allah was pleased), was poured out. This is the path, so follow it.”

“The people have forgotten the path of victory”

“They think it comes easily”

“Or without blood running”

“Where is the Jihad of the Messenger of Allah? (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)”

“So to sum up: It is obligatory on the Muslims in Pakistan to carry out Jihad and fighting to remove Pervez, his government, his army and those who help him. And it is obligatory on them to pledge allegiance to an Amir of the Believers who observes the rule of Shari’ah rather than Pervez’s polytheistic positive-law constitution. And the Muslims will not be successful in liberating themselves from slavery to Pervez and his polytheistic laws until they are successful in liberating themselves from many of the leaders and ‘Ulama falsely affiliated with Islam who are in fact the first line of defense for Pervez and his government and army. You have seen with your own eyes the stances they took previously, when, rather than moving to break the siege placed on the Muslims of Afghanistan, they moved to break the siege placed on the bases and airports which Pervez gave to America and from which the planes were taking off to pound us in Tora Bora, Kabul, Kandahar, Paktia, Nangarhar and other places. And for your information, Pervez only dared to invade Lal Masjid and Jami’ah Hafsa after he was satisfied that most of the ‘Ulama and leaders of the Jama’ats (groups) had renounced the Jihad which Allah the Most High legislated to enforce the truth and whose banner was tied by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and replaced it with polytheistic democratic solutions and with peaceful demonstrations and bogus threats to absorb the anger of the masses. Pervez had tested them before, when he broke the back of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, after which they came to him voluntarily and of their own accord to participate in the polytheistic parliament, as if nothing had happened.”

“So O people of Islam in Pakistan: the truth is greater than everyone, and if truth is not greater than everyone and if we don’t apply the Hudood (punishments) to both the nobleman and weak, that is the road to ruin, as the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) informed, “Those before you were ruined because when the nobleman among them stole, they would let him go, but when the weak one among them stole, they would execute on him the Hadd (punishment). And by He in whose Hand is my soul, were Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, to steal, I would cut off her hand.” (Agreed upon)”

“O youth of Islam in Pakistan: the Pen is writing what is for you and what is against you, and it won’t benefit you to make excuses by saying that many of your ‘Ulama and leaders have allied themselves to the infidel rulers and that the rest have failed to speak the truth and declare it out of fear of the ruling Taghuts, except those on whom Allah has had mercy, and these are either in prison or on the run. This huge disaster – i.e. the marching of the ‘Ulama of vice in line with the apostate ruler and their currying favor with him and attacking of the sincere Mujahid ‘Ulama – isn’t peculiar to Pakistan, but rather, is a disaster covering the entire Islamic Ummah. And there is no power nor might except with Allah.”

“So O people of Islam in Pakistan: every one of you will come alone to Allah, the Most High, and be held to account for his own actions, so discharge your duty. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said, “The smart one is he who subdues his self and works for what comes after death, and the feeble one is he who lets his self chase after its desires and [then] hopes from Allah.” And be aware that if the Jihad becomes an individual obligation, as is the case today, there are only two ways with no third: either Jihad, which is the way of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and those who believed with him, or sitting, which is the way of the disobedient ones and Munafiqeen. So make your choice. Allah, the Most High, says, “They prefer to be with the womenfolk who remain behind at home, so their hearts are sealed so that they understand not. But the Messenger and those who believe with him strive [in the cause of Allah] with their wealth and their persons, and it is they who shall have good things, and it is they who shall prosper.” (9:87-88)”

“And we in al-Qaida Organization call on Allah to witness that we will retaliate for the blood of Maulana Abd al-Rashid Ghazi and those with him against Musharraf and those who help him, and for all the pure and innocent blood, foremost of which is the blood of the champions of Islam in Waziristan – both North and South – among them the two noble leaders, Nek Muhammad and Abdullah Mahsud. May Allah have mercy on them all. The tribes of Waziristan have made a great stand in the face of international Kufr – America, its allies and its agents – and the major states have been unable to make the stands they have made. They have been made resolute in this stance by their Iman (faith) in Allah, the Most High, and their Tawakkul (reliance) on Him, and they have withstood huge sacrifices of souls and wealth. We ask Allah to compensate them well. And the Muslims shall not forget these magnificent stances, and the blood of the ‘Ulama of Islam and leaders of the Muslims and their offspring will not be spilled in vain or neglected as long as there remains in us a pulsing vein or a blinking eye. We ask Allah to help us to fulfill that.”

“O Allah, our Lord, accept those of our brothers and sisters who have been killed among the martyrs and heal the wounded; O Allah, make their graves spacious for them, and take care of their families and raise their grades in ‘Illiyeen (Heaven); O Allah, Pervez, his ministers, his ‘Ulama and his soldiers have been hostile to your friends in Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially in Waziristan, Swat, Bajaur and Lal Masjid: O Allah, break their backs, split them up and destroy their unity; O Allah, afflict them with the loss of their dear ones as they have afflicted us with the loss of our dear ones; O Allah, we seek refuge in You from their evilness and we place You at their throats; O Allah, make their plotting their destruction; O Allah, suffice for us against them with whatever You wish; O Allah, destroy them, for they cannot escape You; O Allah, count them, kill them, and leave not even one of them; O Allah, our Lord, give us in this world goodness and in the last goodness, and protect us from the torment of the Fire; O Allah, send prayers and peace on our Prophet Muhammad and on all his family and Companions.”

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The real story of Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday By Kim Sengupta

Dandelion Salad

By Kim Sengupta
09/23/07 “The Independent
Six days ago, at least 28 civilians died in a shooting incident involving the US security company Blackwater. But what actually happened? Kim Sengupta reports from the scene of the massacre

The eruption of gunfire was sudden and ferocious, round after round mowing down terrified men women and children, slamming into cars as they collided and overturned with drivers frantically trying to escape. Some vehicles were set alight by exploding petrol tanks. A mother and her infant child died in one of them, trapped in the flames. Continue reading

Canada: Losing Water Through NAFTA by Stephen Leahy

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Leahy
Global Research, September 23, 2007
Inter Press Service

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada lost control over its energy resources. Now, with “NAFTA-plus”, it could also lose control over its freshwater resources, say experts.

Canada’s water is on the trade negotiating table despite widespread public opposition and assurances by Canadian political leaders, said Adèle Hurley, director of the University of Toronto’s Programme on Water Issues at the Munk Centre for International Studies.

A new report released Sep. 11 by the programme reveals that water transfers from Canada to the United States are emerging as an issue under the auspices of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). The SPP — sometimes called “NAFTA-plus” — is a forum set up in 2005 in Cancún, by the three partners, Canada, United States and Mexico.

Economic integration as envisioned by the powerful but little-known SPP is slowly changing the lives of Canadians, says Andrew Nikiforuk, author of the report “On the Table: Water Energy and North American Integration”.

The SPP is comprised of business leaders and government officials who work behind the scenes and are already responsible for changes to border security, easing of pesticide rules, harmonisation of pipeline regulations and plans to prepare for a potential avian flu outbreak, Nikiforuk writes.

“The SPP is run by corporate leaders; governments are irrelevant,” said Ralph Pentland, a water expert and acting chairman of the Canadian Water Issues Council.

Pentland envisions a future where, in response to ongoing drought problems in the United States, the SPP will make arrangements to dole out millions of dollars of public funds for private companies to build pipelines to transfer water from Canada.

“The SPP is like putting the monkeys in charge of the peanuts,” he told Tierramérica.

Massive water diversions from Canada do not make economic or environmental sense, according to water experts. Far better and cheaper is to improve water efficiency and eliminate waste. The United States and Canada lead the world in water consumption and are extraordinarily wasteful, Pentland says.

Moreover, most of Canada’s water is in the far north, not near its border with the United States. And even the transboundary Great Lakes are at their lowest levels in 100 years due to climate change, notes Nikiforuk.

William Nitze, prominent member of the SPP and chairman of GridPoint Inc., a company that makes energy management systems, is not in favor of bulk water exports.

“Water management has been poor in all three countries,” Nitze said. Canada, for example, favors guidelines over mandatory rules for keeping pollutants out of water. And Mexico needs to double its investment in its water infrastructure, he noted.

Nikiforuk agrees that Canada has mismanaged its water resources. He points out that Canada already ships enormous volumes of water to the United States, in the form its main exports: grain, cattle, hogs, aluminum, automobiles and oil. Each of these requires many tons of water to produce, but the latter is perhaps the most controversial.

Most of Canada’s oil comes from the tar sands, a 125-billion-dollar capital project in the boreal forest of northern Alberta province. One million barrels of oil flow south each day to the U.S. making Canada its largest supplier.

However, it takes three barrels of freshwater to produce one barrel of oil from the tar sands, says Nikiforuk.

The project already consumes 359 million cubic metres of water, enough for a city of two million people in Canada. Ninety percent of the water becomes contaminated and has to be stored in vast tailings impoundments. More than 10 of these exist, covering an area of 50 square km.

Members of the SPP North American Energy Working Group met in Houston, in the southern U.S. state of Texas, in 2006, where they talked about the “pipeline challenge”, a proposed a five-fold increase in production at the tar sands, said Nikiforuk.

“No mention was made of water at the meeting, but there isn’t nearly enough water in the region for this kind of expansion,” he said.

Under NAFTA rules, Canada cannot reduce its energy exports to the United States, according to Gordon Laxer, director of the Parkland Institute, a research network at the University of Alberta. “The U.S. is the most energy wasteful nation on Earth. And Canada is sacrificing its environment to feed America’s addiction to oil,” Laxer said in an interview.

“Respected energy analyst Matthew Simmons told me Canada should stop furthering the U.S. addiction to liquid fuels and make it illegal to use fresh water in tar sands,” said Nikiforuk.

There is ample evidence that environmental standards and stewardship in Canada and Mexico have plummeted since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, and “accelerated trade under the SPP means accelerated environmental abuse,” he said.

*Originally published by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.)

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Deliberate Lies, Strange Deaths and Aggression to the World Economy by Fidel Castro Ruz

Dandelion Salad

by Fidel Castro Ruz
Global Research, September 23, 2007
Prensa Latina – 2007-02-19

Havana, Sep 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Fidel Castro denounced Wednesday that the United States government is using unimaginable economic means to defend a right that violates the sovereignty of all the other countries.

In his Wednesday’s article entitled “Deliberate Lies, Strange Deaths and Aggression to the World Economy,” the leader of the Cuban Revolution states that it keeps on buying raw materials, energy, advanced technology industries, the most productive lands and the most modern buildings on the face of our planet with paper money.

Prensa Latina issues below reflections by the Cuban president:



In one of my reflections I made reference to gold bars deposited in the basements of the Twin Towers. This time the subject is quite a bit more complicated and hard to believe. Almost four decades ago, scientists living in the United States discovered the Internet, the same way that Albert Einstein, born in Germany, discovered in his own time the formula to measure atomic energy.

Einstein was a great scientist and humanist. He contradicted Newton’s laws of physics, held sacred until then. However, apples continued to fall due to the laws of gravity that had been defined by Newton. These were two different ways of observing and interpreting nature, with very little information on this in Newton’s day. I remember what I read more than 50 years ago about the famous theory of relativity elaborated by Einstein: energy is equal to mass times the speed of light, called C, squared: E MC2. The United States money existed and the resources necessary for such expensive research. The political climate resulting from the generalized hatred against the brutalities of Nazism in the richest and most productive nation in the world destroyed by the war, transformed that fabulous energy into bombs that were dropped over the defenseless populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and a similar number of people who were exposed to radiation and subsequently died in the following years.

A clear example of the use of science and technology with the same hegemonic goals is described in an article written by the former official of United States National Security, Gus W. Weiss; it originally appeared in the magazine Studies in Intelligence, in 1996, even though it was more widely distributed in 2002 under the title of Deceiving the Soviets. There, Weiss claims the idea of sending the USSR software that they needed for their industries, but already contaminated, with the aim of making that country’s economy collapse.

According to notes taken from Chapter 17 of the book At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War, by Thomas C. Reed, former Secretary of the United States Air Force, Leonid Brezhnev told a group of senior Party officials in 1972: “We Communists have to string along with the capitalists for a while. We need their credits, their agriculture and their technology. But we are going to continue massive military programs, and by the mid-1980s we will be in a position to return to an aggressive foreign policy designed to gain the upper hand with the West.” This information was confirmed by the Defense Department in hearings before the House Committee on Banking and Currency in 1974.

In the early ’70s, the Nixon’s government advanced the idea of détente. Henry Kissinger hoped that “over time, trade and investment may leaven the autarkic tendencies of the Soviet system”, he considered that détente might “invite gradual association of the Soviet economy with the world economy, and foster a degree of interdependence that adds an element of stability to the political relations”.

Reagan tended to ignore Kissinger’s theories about détente and to take President Brezhnev’s word, but all doubts were removed on July 19, 1981 when the new U.S. President met with President Francois Mitterand, of France, at the economic G-7 summit in Ottawa. In a conversation off to the side, Mitterand informed Reagan about the success his intelligence services had in recruiting a KGB agent. The man belonged to a section that was evaluating the achievements of Soviet efforts to acquire western technology. Reagan expressed great interest in Mitterand’s delicate revelations and also thanked him for his offer to have the material sent to the United States government.

The dossier, under the name of Farewell, reached the CIA in August 1981. It made it quite clear that the Soviets had been spending years carrying out their research and development activities. Given the enormous transfer of technology by radar, computers, machine-tools and semi-conductors from the United States to the Soviet Union, one could say that the Pentagon was in an arms race with itself.

The Farewell Dossier also identified hundreds of case officials, agents at their posts and other suppliers of information through the West and Japan. During the first years of détente, the United States and the Soviet Union had established working groups in agriculture, civil aviation, nuclear energy, oceanography, computers and the environment. The aim was to begin to construct “bridges of peace” between the superpowers. The members of the working groups had to exchange visits to their centers.

Besides identifying agents, the most useful information brought by the Dossier consisted of the “shopping list” and its aims in terms of acquisition of technology in the coming years. When the Farewell Dossier reached Washington, Reagan asked Bill Casey, the CIA Director, to come up with a secret operative use for the material.

The production and transportation of oil and gas was one of the Soviet priorities. A new trans-Siberian gas pipeline was to carry natural gas from the gas fields of Urengoi in Siberia, through Kazakhstan, Russia and Eastern Europe towards the western dollar markets. In order to automate the operation of valves, compressors and storage installations of such an immense enterprise, the Soviets needed sophisticated control systems. They bought some of the first computers on the open market, but when the authorities of the gas pipeline took off for the United States to buy the necessary software, they were turned down. Undaunted, the Soviets searched elsewhere; a KGB operative was sent to penetrate a Canadian software supplier in an attempt to acquire the necessary codes. The United States intelligence, warned by the agent in the Farewell Dossier, answered and manipulated the software before sending it.

Once, in the Soviet Union, computers and software worked in unison and they made the gas pipeline work splendidly. But this tranquility was misleading. Inside the software that was operating the gas pipeline, there was a Trojan horse, a term used to describe software lines hidden in the normal operative system which make that system lose control in the future, or whenever it would receive an order from abroad.

In order to affect the dollar profits coming in from the West and the domestic Russian economy, the software for the gas pipeline which was to operate the pumps, turbines and valves had been programmed to breakdown after a prudent interval and reset -that’s how it was described- the speeds of the pumps and the valve adjustments so that they would work at pressures much higher than those that were suitable for the pipeline’s gaskets and welding seams.

“The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space. At the White House, we received warning from our infrared satellites of some bizarre event out in the middle of Soviet nowhere. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) feared a missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based. Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device…They (the satellites) had detected no electromagnetic pulse, characteristic of nuclear detonations. Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis, Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry”, affirmed Thomas C. Reed in his book.

The campaign of countermeasures based on Farewell Dossier was an economic war. Even though there were no casualties in terms of lives lost because of the gas pipeline explosion, significant damage was made to the Soviet economy.

As a grand finale, between 1984 and 1985, the United States and its NATO allies put an end to this operation which ended with efficacy the capacity of the USSR to capture technology at a time when Moscow was caught between a defective economy, on one side, and a US President determined to prevail and end the cold war on the other.

In the above cited article by Weiss, it is stated that:

“In 1985, the case took a bizarre turn when information on the Farewell Dossier surfaced in France. Mitterand came to suspect that Vetrov had all along been a CIA plant set up to test him to see if the material would be handed over to the Americans or kept by the French. Acting on this mistaken belief, Mitterand fired the chief of the French service, Yves Bonnet.”

Gus W. Weiss is the one who claimed, as already said, the evil plan to have the defective software taken to the USSR, when the United States had the Farewell Dossier in its possession. He died on November 25, 2003 at the age of 72. The Washington Post did not report his death until December 7, that is, 12 days later. They said that Weiss “had fallen” from his apartment building, the Watergate, in Washington, and that a forensic doctor from the US capital had declared his death a “suicide”. His hometown newspaper, the Nashville Tennessean, published the death notice a week after the Washington Post and advised that at that time all they were able to say was that “the circumstances surrounding his death have not yet been confirmed.”

Before dying, he left some unpublished notes titled “The Farewell Dossier”: the strategic deception and the economic war in the Cold War.

Weiss had graduated from Vanderbilt University. He had postgraduate degrees from Harvard and New York University.

His work for the government concentrated on matters of National Security, intelligence organizations and concerns dealing with the transfer of technology to Communist countries. He worked with the CIA, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board and with the Signals Intelligence Committee of the Intelligence Board of the United States.

He was decorated with the CIA Medal of Merit and the “Cipher” Medal from the National Security Council. The French gave him the “Légion d’Honneur” in 1975.

He had no surviving relatives.

Weiss had declared himself to be against the war in Iraq a short while before his “suicide”. It is interesting to note that 18 days before Weiss’ death, another Bush government analyst also committed suicide -John J. Kokal (58 years old) on November 7, 2003. This man leapt to his death from an office in the State Department where he worked. Kokal was an intelligence analyst for the Department of State in matters dealing with Iraq.

It is recorded in already published documents that Mikhail Gorbachev became furious when arrests and deportations of Soviet agents began in various countries, since he was unaware that the contents of the Farewell Dossier were in the hands of the main heads of NATO governments. In a meeting of the Politburo on October 22, 1986, called to inform colleagues about the Reykjavik Summit, he alleged that the Americans were “acting very discourteously and behaving like bandits”. Even though he showed a complacent face to the public, privately Gorbachev would refer to Reagan as “a liar”.

During the final days of the Soviet Union, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR had to work blind. Gorbachev had no idea about what was happening in the laboratories and high technology industries in the United States; he was totally unaware that Soviet laboratories and industries had been compromised and to what point.

The White House pragmatists were also blind about these occurrences.

President Ronald Reagan played his trump card: Star Wars The Strategic Defense Initiative. He knew that the Soviets could not compete in that league, because they couldn’t suspect that their electronics industry was infected with virus and Trojan horses placed there by the United States intelligence community.

The former British Prime Minister, in her memoirs, published by an important English publisher in 1993 under the title of Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years, states that the whole Reagan plan related to Star Wars and the intent to make the Soviet Union collapse economically was the most brilliant plan of that administration, and it lead definitively to the collapse of socialism in Europe.

In Chapter XVI of her book, she explains the participation of her government in the Strategic Defense Initiative.

To carry that out, in Thatcher’s opinion, was Reagan’s “most important decision”, and it “was to prove central to the West’s victory in the Cold War”. It “imposed more economic tension and greater austerity” on Soviet society, and finally, its “technological and financial implications for the USSR were devastating”.

Under the subtitle of “Reassessing the Soviet Union”, she describes a series of concepts whose essence is contained in the paragraphs taken literally from that long passage, where she records the brutal plot.

“As 1983 drew on, the Soviets must have begun to realize that their game of manipulation and intimidation would soon be up. European governments were not prepared to fall into the trap opened by the Soviet proposal of a ‘nuclear-free zone’ for Europe. Preparations for the development of Cruise and Pershing missiles went ahead. In March President Reagan announced American plans for a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) whose technological and financial implications for the USSR were devastating.”

“…I had no doubt about the rightness of his commitment to press ahead with the program. Looking back, it is now clear to me that Ronald Reagan’s original decision on SDI was the single most important of his presidency”.

“In formulating our approach to SDI, there were four distinct elements which I bore in mind. The first was the science itself. The American aim in SDI was to develop a new and much more effective defense against ballistic missiles.”

“This concept of defense rested on the ability to attack incoming ballistic missiles at all stages of their flight, from the boost phase when the missile and all its warheads and decoys were together -the best moment- right up to the point of re-entry of the earth’s atmosphere on its way to the target.”

“The second element to be considered was the existing international agreements limiting the deployment of weapons in space and ABM systems. The 1972 ABM Treaty, as amended by a 1974 Protocol, allowed the United States and the Soviet Union to deploy one static ABM system with up to one hundred launchers in defense either of either an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silo field or the national capital.”

“The Foreign Office of the Ministry of Defense always sought to urge the narrowest possible interpretation, which the Americans –rightly in my view– believed would have meant that SDI was stillborn. I always tried to steer away from this phraseology and made it clear in private and public that research on whether a system was viable could not be said to have been completed until it had been successfully tested. Underneath the jargon, this apparently technical point was really a matter of straight common sense. But it was to become the issue dividing the United States and the USSR at the Reykjavik summit and so assumed great importance.

“The third element in the calculation was the relative strength of the two sides in Ballistic Missile Defense. Only the Soviet Union possessed a working ABM system (known as GALOSH) around Moscow, which they were currently up-grading. The Americans had never had an equivalent system”.

“Also the Soviets were further advanced in anti-satellite weapons. There was, therefore, a strong argument that the Soviets had already acquired an unacceptable advantage in this whole area.

“The fourth element was the implications of SDI for deterrence. I started off with a good deal of sympathy for the thinking behind the ABM Treaty. This was the most sophisticated and effective the defense against nuclear missiles, the greater the pressure to seek hugely expensive advances in nuclear weapons technology. I was always a believer in a slightly qualified version of the doctrine known as MAD- ‘mutually assured destruction’. The threat of (what I preferred to call) ‘unacceptable destruction’ which would follow from a nuclear exchange was such that nuclear weapons were an effective deterrent against not just nuclear but also conventional war.”

“But I soon began to see that SDI would strengthen not weaken the nuclear deterrent. Unlike President Reagan and some other members of his Administration I never believed that SDI could offer one hundred percent protection, but it would allow sufficient United States missiles to survive a first strike by the Soviets.”

“It was the subject of SDI which dominated my talks with President Reagan and members of his Administration when I went to Camp David on Saturday 22 December 1984 to brief the Americans on my earlier talks with Mr. Gorbachev. This was the first occasion on which I had heard President Reagan speaking about SDI. He did so with passion. He was at his most idealistic. He stressed that SDI would be a defensive system and that it was not his intention to obtain for the United States a unilateral advantage. Indeed, he said that if SDI succeeded he would be ready to internationalize it so that it was at the service of all countries, and that he told Mr. Gromyko as much. He reaffirmed his long-term goal of getting rid of nuclear weapons entirely.

“These remarks made me nervous. I was horrified to think that the United States would be prepared to throw away a hard-won lead in technology by making it internationally available.”

“What I heard, now that we got down to discussion of the likely reality rather than the grand vision, was reassuring. President Reagan did not pretend that they yet knew where the research could finally lead. But he emphasized that –in addition to his earlier arguments in favor of SDI– keeping up with the United States would impose an economic strain on the Soviet Union. He argued that there had to be a practical limit as to how far the Soviet Union could push their people down the road of austerity.”

“I now jotted down, while talking to National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane, the four points which seemed to me to be crucial.

“My officials then filled in the details. The President and I agreed a text which set out the policy.

“The main section of my statement reads:

“I told the President of my firm conviction that the SDI research programme should go ahead. Research is, of course, permitted under existing US Soviet treaties; and we, of course, know that the Russians already have their research programme and, in the US view, have already gone beyond research. We agreed on four points: (1) the US, and western, aim was not to achieve superiority, but to maintain balance, taking account of Soviet developments; (2) SDI-related deployment would, in view of treaty obligations, have to be a matter for negotiation; (3) the overall aim is to enhance, not undercut, deterrence; (4) East-West negotiation should aim to achieve security with reduced levels of offensive systems on both sides. This will be the purpose of the resumed US-Soviet negotiations on arms control, which warmly welcome.

“I subsequently learnt that George Schultz thought that I had secured too great a concession on the American’s part in the wording; but in fact it gave them and us a clear and defensible line and helped reassure the European members of NATO. A good day’s work.”

Later on, under the subtitle of “Visit to Washington: February 1985”, Margaret Thatcher states:

“I again visited Washington in February 1985. Arms talks between the Americans and the Soviet Union had now resumed, but SDI remained a source of contention. I was to address a joint meeting of Congress on the morning of Wednesday 20 February and I brought with me from London as a gift a bronze statue of Winston Churchill, who had also many years before been honoured with such an invitation. I worked especially hard on this speech. I would use the Autocue for its delivery. I knew that Congress would have seen the ‘Great Communicator’ himself delivering faultless speeches and I would have a discriminating audience. So I resolved to practise speaking the text until I had got every intonation and emphasis right. (Speaking to Autocue, I should add, is a totally different technique to speaking from notes.) In fact, I borrowed President Reagan’s own Autocue and had it brought back to the British Embassy where I was staying. Harvey Thomas, who accompanied me, fixed it up and, ignoring any jetlag, I practised until 4 a.m. I did not go to bed, beginning the new working day with my usual black coffee and vitamin pills, then gave television interviews from 6:45 a.m., had my hair done and was ready at 10:30 to leave from the Capitol. I used my speech, which ranged widely over international issues, to give strong support for SDI. I had a terrific reception.”

“The following month (March 1985) saw the death of Mr. Chernenko and, with remarkably little delay, the succession of Mr. Gorbachev to the Soviet leadership. Once again I attended a Moscow funeral: the weather was, if anything, even colder than at Yuri Andropov’s. Mr. Gorbachev had a large number of foreign dignitaries to see. But I had almost an hour’s talk with him that evening in St. Katherine’s Hall in the Kremlin. The atmosphere was more formal than at Chequers (the official country residence of British prime ministers since 1921) and the silent, sardonic presence of Mr. Gromyko did not help. But I was able to explain them the implications of the policy I had agreed with President Reagan the previously December at Camp David. It was clear that SDI was now the main preoccupation of the Soviets in arms control.”

“Mr. Gorbachev brought, as we had expected, a new style to the Soviet Government. He spoke openly of the terrible state of the Soviet economy, though at this stage he was still relying on the methods associated with Mr. Andropov’s drive for greater efficiency rather than radical reform. An example of this was the draconian measures he took against alcoholism. As the year wore on, however, there was no evidence of improvement in conditions in the Soviet Union. Indeed, as our new -and first class- ambassador to Moscow, Brian Cartledge, who had been my foreign affairs private secretary when I first became Prime Minister, pointed out in one of his first dispatches, it was a matter of, ‘jam tomorrow and, meanwhile, no vodka today’.”

“A distinct chill entered into Britain’s relations with the Soviet Union as a result of expulsions authorized of Soviet officials who had been spying.”

“In November President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev had their first meeting in Geneva. Not much of substance came out of it –the Soviets insisted on linking cuts in strategic nuclear weapons to an end to SDI research– but a good personal rapport quickly developed between the two leaders. But he was not, which I found not at all surprising. For Ronald Reagan had had plenty of practice in his early years as President of the Screen Actors Guild in dealing with hard-headed trade union negotiation, and no one was more hard-headed than Mr. Gorbachev.”

“During 1986 Mr. Gorbachev showed great subtlety in playing on western public opinion by bringing forward tempting, but unacceptable, proposals on arms control. Relatively little was said by the Soviets on the link between SDI and cuts in nuclear weapons. But they were given no reasons to believe that the Americans were prepared to suspend or stop SDI research. Late in the year it was agreed that President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev- with their Foreign Ministers- should meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, to discuss substantive proposals.”

“It was that you could not ultimately hold back research on SDI any more than you could prevent research into new kinds of offensive weapons. We had to be the first to get it. Science is unstoppable; it will not be stopped for being ignored. ”

“In retrospect, the Reykjavik summit on that weekend of 11 and 12 October (1986) can be seen to have a quite different significance than most of the commentators at the time realized. A trap had been prepared for the Americans. Ever greater Soviet concessions were made during the summit: they agreed for the first time that the British and French deterrents should be excluded from the INF negotiations; an that cuts in strategic nuclear weapons should leave each side with equal numbers- rather than a straight percentage cut, which would have led the Soviets well ahead. They also made significant concessions on INF numbers. As the summit drew to an end President Reagan was proposing an agreement by which the whole arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons- bombers, long-range Cruise and ballistic missiles- would be halved within five years and the most powerful of these weapons, strategic ballistic missiles, eliminated altogether within ten. Mr. Gorbachev was even more ambitious: he wanted the elimination of all strategic nuclear weapons by the end of the ten-year period.”

“But then suddenly, at the very end, the trap was sprung. President Reagan had conceded that during the ten-year period both sides would agree not to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, though development and testing compatible with the Treaty would be allowed.”

But Reagan suffered a strange amnesia about the triggering of the brutal military competition that had been forced on the USSR, with its extraordinary economic cost. His famous diary doesn’t say one word about the Farewell Dossier. In his daily notes which were published this year, Ronald Reagan speaks of his sojourn in Montebello, Canada:

“Sunday, July 19 (1981)

“The hotel is a marvelous piece of engineering, totally made up of logs.

“Had a one on one with Chancellor Schmidt. He was really down and in a pessimistic mood about the world.

“Following –met with Pres. Miterrand– explained our ec. program and that high interest rates were not of our doing.

“Dinner that night was just the 8 of us. The 7 heads of State and the Pres. (Thorn) of the European Community. It became a really free wheeling discussion of ec. issues, trade etc. due to a suggestion by P.M. Thatcher.”

The final result of the great conspiracy against the Soviet Union and the crazy expensive arms race that was imposed, when it was mortally wounded in an economic sense is described in the introduction of the book by Thomas C. Reed, written by George H. W. Bush, the first President in the Bush Dynasty, who participated in a very real way in World War II. Literally, he writes:

“The Cold War was a struggle for the very soul of the mankind. It was a struggle for a way of life defined by freedom on one side and repression on the other. Already I think we have forgotten what a long and arduous struggle it was, and how close to nuclear disaster we came a number of times. The fact that it did not happen is a testimony to the honorable men and women, both sides who kept their cool and did what was right-as they saw it-in times of crisis.”

“This conflict between the surviving superpowers of World War II began as I came home from that war. In 1948, the year of my graduation from Yale, the Soviets tried to cut off Western access to Berlin. That blockade led to the formation of NATO, was followed by the first Soviet A-bomb test, and turned bloody with the invasion of South Korea. Four decades of nuclear confrontation, proxy wars, and economic privation followed.”

“I was privileged to be President of the United States when it all came to an end. In fall of 1989 the satellite states of Eastern Europe began to break free, and mostly peaceful revolution swept through Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. When the Berlin Wall fell, we knew the end was near.”

“It took another two years to close down the empire of Lenin and Stalin. I received that good news in two telephone calls. The first came on December 8, 1991, when Boris Yeltsin called me from a hunting lodge near Brest, in Belarus. Only recently elected President of the Russian Republic, Yeltsin had been meeting with Leonid Kravchuk, President of Ukraine, and Stanislav Shushchevik, President of Belarus. “Today a very important event took place in our country,” Yeltsin said. “I wanted to inform you myself before you learned about it from the press” Then he told me the news: The President of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine has decided to dissolve the Soviet Union.

“Two weeks later a second call confirmed that the former Soviet Union would disappear. Mikhail Gorbachev contacted me at Camp David on Christmas Morning of 1991. He wished Barbara and me a Merry Christmas, and then he went on to sum up what had happened in his country: the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. He had just been on national TV to confirm the fact, and he had transferred control of Soviet nuclear weapons to the President of Russia. ‘You can have a very quiet Christmas evening,’ he said. And so it was over.”

It is recorded in an article published in The New York Times that the operation used almost all of the weapons within the CIA’s reach –psychological warfare, sabotage, economic warfare, strategic deception, counterintelligence, cybernetic warfare– all collaborating with the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the FBI. It destroyed the burgeoning Soviet espionage machinery, it damaged the economy and destabilized the State in that country. It was a complete success. If the opposite had happened (the Soviets doing it to the Americans), it would have been viewed as an act of terrorism.

There is another book which deals with this topic; it is called Legacy of Ashes and it has just been published. On the book’s dust cover we can read that: Tim Weiner is a reporter for The New York Times. He has written on American intelligence for twenty years, and won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on the secret national security programs. He has traveled to Afghanistan and other nations to investigate CIA covert operations firsthand. This is his third book.

Legacy of Ashes is based on more than 50 thousand documents basically coming from the very archives of the CIA, and hundreds of interviews with veterans of that agency, including ten directors. He reveals to us a panorama of the CIA from the days of its creation after World War II, going through its battles during the Cold War and the war against terrorism begun on September 11, 2001.

The article by Jeremy Allison, published in Rebelión in June 2006, and the articles by Rosa Miriam Elizalde which were published this year on the September 3 and 10, denounce these events emphasizing the idea of one of the founders of free software who pointed out that: “as technologies grow more complex, it will be more difficult to detect actions of this kind”.

Rosa Miriam published two straightforward opinion articles, each one only 5 pages in length. If she wants to, she could write a book with many pages. I remember her well from that day when, a young journalist, she nervously asked me, in the middle of a press conference 15 years ago no less, whether I thought we could survive the Special Period that had befallen us with the demise of the Socialist bloc.

The USSR collapsed with a crash. Since then we have graduated hundreds of thousands of young people from the higher levels of education. What better ideological weapon do we have than the higher level of conscience! We had it when we were a largely illiterate and semi-illiterate people. If you really want to see wild animals, then let instincts prevail in the human being. We could say a lot on this subject.

In the present day, the world is threatened by a devastating economic crisis. The United States government is using unimaginable economic means to defend a right that violates the sovereignty of all the other countries: to keep on buying raw materials, energy, advanced technology industries, the most productive lands and the most modern buildings on the face of our planet with paper money.

Fidel Castro Ruz

September 18, 2007.

Global Research Articles by Fidel Castro Ruz


The Crash of the Millennium – An Interview with Dr. Ravi Batra by J. Taylor (1999)

The Big One Just Hit h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

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Hired guns, loose cannons by Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

Toronto Sun
Sun, September 23, 2007

MUNICH – Private armies have a very sinister reputation in Europe.

Memories still linger of Germany’s post First World War army veterans, the Stahlhelm, and Nazi Brownshirts, who battled Communist street toughs in Munich and Berlin.

Europeans remember Italy’s fascist Blackshirts and, most recently, Serb neo-fascist gangs like Arkan’s Tigers and the White Eagles who committed some of the worst atrocities in Bosnia and Kosovo. Continue reading

Day of Atonement by Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
September 23, 2007

My remarks to Rabbi Michael Lerner’s Beyt Tikkun

In San Francisco on Yom Kippur

I am very excited to be here again to speak to you at your Yom Kippur services. It is such an honor to be invited and to have a chance to spend some time with you at your wonderful celebration. The Universal Creator must be well-pleased with your worship.

Atonement is something that is so foreign to our experience as Americans. We are taught by our culture, the media, our government leaders (if not by our families) that we are to attain success at whatever cost to whomever and even to our own souls.

We see countless examples of this in our elected officials. If you want to win an election, you just steal it at any price. You disenfranchise voters, most of them people of color; you put emotionally manipulative measures on ballots regarding same-sex marriage and you convince the easily fooled voters that if you win you will end abortion and to ensure success, in case all of the above measures fail, you have supporters of your campaign write the programs for the machines that count the votes. In your mind, it’s okay because the fake ends justify the criminal means.

Then, when you twice attain the highest office of the land, and indeed the highest office on the planet, you use a national tragedy to justify invasions of two countries that had nothing to do with an attack on our soil. To satisfy personal vendettas, ambitions and greed, hundreds of thousands of people are dead, and you do not have to say “sorry” and indeed, you continue to manipulate simple people by telling them that millions of people have been “liberated” from a dictator and our country is safer and freer now, never mind that you have imposed a more severe dictatorship on the people of the lands.

Corporations are now free to pollute our skies and waters and send our jobs overseas and reap profits globally off the backs of people all over the world and to the detriment of workers here in the United States. Many free-trade agreements have the effect of harming the citizens of all the countries involved for the benefit of a few Many people have lost their savings and retirement while the CEO’s of these companies still “rape and pillage” like Blackbeards and receive their enormously immoral bonuses. Atonement is not even possible in these situations because the wealthiest in our country are looked up to as people who are really living the “American Dream.”

Never mind that the American Dream is a nightmare to so many people all over the world, even people here in America. Unions have been busted; 45 million of us have no health insurance; (including me) the No Child Left Behind Act is designed as a recruitment tool for the military to funnel our children right into the jaws of the war machine. Even after signing the “opt out” of military recruitment, schools are still handing student’s directory information to military recruiters and if schools refuse to turn their students into human cannon fodder for the unscrupulous Bush regime, they don’t receive desperately needed federal funding.

Our freedoms here at home have been eroded while spreading phony freedom and false democracy to the Middle East, we have no more rights to Habeas Corpus; we can have our phone calls listened to and our emails read and slimy BushCo doesn’t even have to get warrants for their voyeuristic thrills; and Congress not only refuses to hold BushCo accountable, but it has been busy legalizing the crimes of George and Dick while making itself less legitimate.

But no matter how bad we have it here, our brothers and sisters around the world, but especially in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering beyond what most of us can imagine. While my family and thousands of others here in America are feeling the pain and devastation of war, (sometimes I wonder how the body can produce so much moisture without drying up and blowing away) it is a small drop in the bucket of pain that Middle Easteners are feeling because of the illegal and immoral occupations. I met a Sunni Sheik the last time I was in Amman, Jordan who had brought a Shi’a Sheik who had survived an assassination attempt, although badly wounded, to a hospital in Amman (most of Iraqi doctors have had to flee the country). The Sunni Sheik told me that he was sorry for my loss, but eight members of his family and dozens of members of his tribe had been killed. I met another Sheik the first time I was in Amman who was sitting at home with his wife and son when American soldiers broke into his home and beat him and raped his wife in front of their son. I hate to tell General Betray-Us and the rest of the neocon crooks, events like these and raping a 14 year old girl and then burning her body after killing her entire family; massacring innocent citizens in Haditha, Falluja, Samarra, and on and on does not win hearts and minds. These horrible crimes only increase feelings of desperate hatred to the occupiers all over the Muslim world. Not just in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Other peoples in Asia, Africa and South America particularly are feeling the oppression of American imperialism and populist governments are arising in these places that are hostile to America. In Africa our brothers and sisters are dying to make diamond and other mining companies profits so Americans can have a diamond engagement ring or the minerals to power our cell phones and computers. Our brothers and sisters are dying, being torn apart and families uprooted so we can fill our gas tanks. Our brothers and sisters in Asia are slaving away for American companies so we can buy cheap (and oftentimes dangerous) crap from Wal-Mart. South America has been used as a corporate dumping ground and dumping ground for our military dictators since the Monroe Doctrine of the early 19th Century. We are less than 5% of the world population, but we consume between 25-40 percent of the world’s resources.

How can we as a nation atone for these sins? Do we believe in some kind of collective responsibility for everyone who lives all over the world? Do we even believe that we can make our next door neighbors’ life better when we don’t even know them, or we spend 40-60 hours a week working as wage slaves so we can be better than them? How can we present ourselves as moral beings when our own nation is still torn by racism?

What are the solutions to violence and do we want to solve these problems or do we want to allow our governments to commit state sanctioned murder so we don’t have to take personal responsibility for what our nation does?

We are Americans by accident of our births, or voluntary immigration and naturalization. You are Jewish because of your births, or voluntary conversion. I am agnostic because of choice. Muslims are Muslims because of birth or choice. Christians are Christians by birth or conversion. We can identify ourselves by so many ways: Mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter; Christian, Jew, Muslim, nothing; straight, gay; American, Iraqi, Israeli, Palestinian, etc; Young, old; Black, brown, yellow, or white; but there is one thing that we all are. We are all human and we all, whether we like it or not, have hearts that beat as one and come from the same mother and father and the same Universal Creator that loves us all equally and without condition.

There will come a time in the not too distant future when we here in America will be forced out of our comfort zones by violence or economic ruin if we don’t voluntarily give up some of our materialism, nationalism, or just plain creature comforts to help our brothers and sisters all over the world. Everyone on this planet deserves by the bare fact of being human, the rights to security, clean water, healthy and plentiful food, education and shelter. These are the bare necessities that so many go without as we have an over abundance.

The problems are daunting, but the solutions are simple.

First of all, do not allow our children to be consumed by the military industrial complex so the war profiteers can be enriched. This is the biggest sin of my life that I will be atoning for until I die. To do this, we must repeal the No Child Left Behind Act and make education good and free for all from Kindergarten to University.

Secondly, we must repeal all free trade agreements that oppress the citizens of all countries. We must ensure that worker safety and pay are commensurate and fair wherever our corporations do business.

Thirdly, all US military bases all over the world and occupying forces must be withdrawn and brought home to the US. We have over 800 military bases all over the world, mostly with the consent of the governments, but under strong protestation of civil society.

We must demand that the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan be brought to a swift and safe close and the mercenary soldiers and other US war profiteers be expelled from these countries so the citizens in those two countries can reclaim their jobs and their lives.

We must apologize to the world for our creeping corporate military imperialism and for our mistake of historic and horrific proportions in Iraq and Afghanistan and we must make atonement to those people in the form of reparations and any other kind of material, diplomatic or political help they need.

All torture camps must be closed and reparations should be made to the innocent and fair trials and due process should be given to others.

Our liberties must be restored at home by repealing the Military Commissions Act, The Patriot Act, and the abuse of FISA laws and the right to Habeas Corpus must be restored. We must recognize the latent racism that still exists as evidenced by Katrina and Jena, we must face that fact that we still do not have true-equality and battle to reform our own hearts and national attitudes.

To show our brothers and sisters that we care about them and justice, George Bush and Dick Cheney must be forced to withstand the constitutional remedy to such blatant abuse of office by impeachment and they must be tried in the Senate for their high crimes and misdemeanors and then be tried in international courts for their crimes against humanity.

Then when America is restored to the moral authority of a strong nation that uses its power for peace and not constant war-making we can help in other war-torn places and challenge other regimes that commit human rights’ violations.

It is urgent for the sake of my children and unborn grandchildren, your children and grandchildren, and all of our children all over the planet Earth. that we lead our world to peace and environmental sustainability and not continue to drag everyone down with us in our greed and arrogance. I am positive that we can do this, but only when we recognize our individual and collective failings and work diligently to overcome them. Not only for our own souls, but for the one soul that binds all of us together as one.

There is much to atone for today, but the biggest thing I think we all must atone for is believing that we have nothing to atone for.

Recognizing ones failings and mistakes is the first step to wholeness, but asking for forgiveness and being forgiven is sacred and the way to healing and peace.

Thank you.

h/t: After Downing St

The Crash of the Millennium – An Interview with Dr. Ravi Batra by J. Taylor (1999)

Dandelion Salad

by J. Taylor
Global Research, September 23, 2007
J.Taylor’s Gold, Resource & Environmental Stocks Newsletter and USAGold.com – 1999-08-05

An Interview with Dr. Ravi Batra
from “J.Taylor’s Gold, Resource & Environmental Stocks” Newsletter

Thanks to an introduction via the internet with a friend of economist and famed best selling author Dr. Ravi Batra, we have for you the transcript of an interview that took place between your editor and Dr. Batra. He has graciously agreed for me to interview him and permitted me to publish a transcript of our 1-1/2 hour discussion mostly about his views and forecast for the American and global economies. What I have discovered since meeting Dr. Batra is that his views on the global economy are very close to my own as first discussed in January 1998 at a Cambridge House Conference in Vancouver. At that conference I warned investors that the global economy was awash in far too much supply and not enough aggregate demand and as a result, we are likely to sink into a depression in the not too distant future. I am flattered to know that a man of Dr. Batra’s stature generally agrees with my position. But as a professor, scholar, economist, he explains in great detail and in a logical manner, much better than I, why we our stock market and the American economy are inevitably headed for the abyss. His new book, “The Crash of the Millennium” ties together the thoughts of his previous books, many of which have been international best sellers. Dr. Batra thinks the greatest bull market in stocks the world has ever seen is likely to end before 1999 draws to a close or at the very latest by the first month or two of 2000.

What does he suggest you do to prepare for the carnage that lies ahead? Dr. Batra is by no means a gold bug, but he told your editor that the only long-term investment he now recommends is gold and gold shares. Why? Because Dr. Batra believes that what lies ahead for the U.S. is not only a depression, but also considerable amount of inflation. Some of the thinking that underlies Dr. Batra’s predictions is presented in the following discussion, but I urge you to purchase his book to gain an appreciation for the soundness of logic that goes into his forecasts. I am predicting Dr. Batra’s latest work will be his 9th best seller. Previous works by Dr. Batra that made the best seller lists include: The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism, The Great Depression of 1990, The Myth of Free Trade, Ravi Batra’s Forecasts, The Stock Market Crashes of 1997 and 1998: The Asian Crisis and Your Future and Surviving the Great Depression of 1990. As our discussion took place on July 29, 1999, Wall Street analysts and CNBC talking heads were obviously confused about why interest rates were heading higher (in the absence of inflation) and why the stock markets were beginning to look a bit strained. The recent market action was no mystery to Batra. The U.S. has lived beyond its means for a long time by taking on huge amounts of foreign debt which can be expected to lead to much higher interest rates and most likely very soon, the implosion of our financial system.


TAYLOR: In your soon-to-be published book titled, “The Crash of the Millennium,” you reviewed your enormously positive track record in predicting major events and social trends. Between the years 1978 through 1992 you made some huge predictions, like the collapse of the Soviet but not Chinese communism. You predicted George Bush would not be re-elected and that a third party would arise in 1996. And you made a host of predictions related to various markets and the decline of morality in western society. By my count, some of your predictions may not have yet come true, but appear to be very much possible. I believe there are only 2 out of 33 predictions that you made that have not come true or that have only partly come true. Perhaps the biggest prediction that did not pan out was the prediction that we would suffer a global economic depression beginning in 1990. Japan entered a devastating depression about then, but the U.S. escaped it. Despite the fact that the U.S. federal debt grew exponentially during the 1980’s and into the 1990’s and despite a huge trade deficit the U.S. managed not only to escape an economic calamity, but to experience economic growth that continues even now. How do you account for the fact that the U.S. has been able to escape the depression you also predicted back in 1989 when you suggested that “share prices will crash all over the world, leading to a seven-year-long depression”?

BATRA: What happened was that I had assumed that once the stock markets began to crash, the Japanese money would stay home because they had already lost billions of dollars in the U.S. markets. They lost almost 12 TRILLION dollars in the U.S. market. So, if they lost so much money, why would they touch that market again? But, I turned out to be wrong.

I think what the Japanese did was irrational but here is what happened. When their stock market began to crash in early 1990, their banks were also under great pressure. So to help their banks, the government of Japan simply pushed their interest rates close to zero. With such low returns available at home, a lot of Japanese money went abroad to the Asian Tigers and to America. At that moment in 1990, the U.S. was in a recession and had a budget deficit of almost $300 billion, which was driving up the rate of interest. If interest rates had continued to rise, that recession could have possibly turned into a depression. But the Japanese money saved the day by pouring into the U.S., so interest rates. fell in spite of the huge budget deficit. The result was that our economy began to revive.

According to official figures, the recession was over by mid 1991 but according to many other people, the lingering effects of that serious recession went on until 1995. Even then it was very serious, but the Japanese money made such a huge difference. Then after 1996, more Japanese money came into the U.S. In fact the U.S. trade deficit was rising and a lot of foreign money began to come into the U.S. bond and stock markets because of that trade deficit. Even now the American economy is very strong mostly because all that trade deficit which puts dollars in foreign hands.

This benefits the American economy because all those dollars are coming back home. So what we in America have had is prosperity based on borrowed money. Therefore it cannot last forever.

TAYLOR: In Chapter 8 of your book, you said, “No question about it. We are trapped in the bubble of the millennium”. When Alan Greenspan was recently asked in Congressional hearings whether or not we are in a bubble economy, or whether the stock market was in a bubble, he said something to the effect that it is very difficult to know you are in a bubble until after you are out of it. In essence, Mr. Greenspan was saying he didn’t know if we are in a bubble or not.

Playing the Devil’s advocate here, what makes you so sure the United States Economy is in a bubble if the most worshiped Lord of Finance — perhaps in history of the world — says it is impossible to know if we are in a bubble? Do you think Mr. Greenspan in fact knows we are in a bubble but he is afraid to say so, lest we blame him for a crash? Or is it possible he really believes that as the Lord of the Financial Universe he can continue to navigate the U.S. economy successfully through the troubled waters that face our economy?

BATRA: Well, I think Greenspan believes that we are in a bubble because people from Wall Street and possibly Mr. Greenspan himself criticized the Japanese stock market in the 1980’s. They kept saying that Japan was courting a disaster because their stock prices were very high.

TAYLOR: The U.S. market may now be more overvalued that the Japanese markets in 1989, right?

BATRA: That’s right, we are now more overvalued than Japan was in 1990. So certainly most American financiers know we are in a bubble economy but they hate to admit it because they think that they are one way or another responsible for it.

TAYLOR: And to admit it, may not be good for business sometimes?

BATRA: Right, in fact Greenspan has changed his position many times. I think in 1996 he said stocks were overpriced. But then he was criticized for that so he changed his position to “not overpriced.” So either he himself is confused I think that is true because he used to believe Japan was a bubble economy now he is saying the U.S. is not, so he is showing confusion on his part. I can understand that because he has to please the financiers in order to be worshiped and get their adulation.

TAYLOR: People pay so much attention to what he says that if what he says shakes confidence, then he could be blamed for part of the problem as he was in 1996 when he talked about “irrational exuberance”.

BATRA: That’s right. Well in fact, I think he should be blamed for the problem of the bubble. He doesn’t want to rock the boat now I think.

TAYLOR: Assuming you are right and our stock market and our economy is in a bubble, what makes you think the current bubble is bigger than the 1929 bubble? After all, from its peak to bottom, the DJIA lost almost 90% of its value. If the current stock market were to fall by the same percentage, we would be back to about 1100 on the Dow Jones Industrial Average! Do you really think we could be in for a decline of this magnitude? Would not this be devastating for America? Might it not cause a civil war or lead to a dictatorship?

BATRA: I didn’t realize the decline (1929) was that large. Whether it is an 80% or 90% decline I don’t have a clue about that, but we are going to have tremendous financial losses in the stock market and they will be far more widespread this time because a huge percentage of the public is involved now than in 1929. With financial losses much worse, the resulting misery and depression could also be much worse. That could lead to a political revolution, but I do not believe it will lead to a dictatorship. I think we will see the rule of money end and that we (the majority of Americans and citizens around the world) will benefit by a tremendous revolution.

TAYLOR: I will get to that issue a little later toward the end of our conversation. There are some very encouraging aspects to your message which I want to be sure our subscribers understand when we get to that point. What I want to ask you now is how did we get into this mess we are now in?

BATRA: The main reason is that we don’t have a free enterprise economy. It is touted as a free enterprise economy but we really don’t have that. In fact, what we have are regional monopolies or a monopolized economy. Some people call it “Crony Capitalism.” The main feature of a monopolized economy is that the fruit of rising productivity goes to owners of capital, not to the employees. So there occurs a rising gap between productivity and wages. Wages are the main source of demand and productivity is the main source of supply so with the rising gap between wages and productivity there is a potential for a gap between demand and supply. And that has been occurring in the U.S. for many years now. So the question is how have we stayed afloat for so long with supply rising faster than demand? The answer is demand has remained artificially high through the creation of debt, either from government, consumers, corporations and foreigners. All this debt has combined to lift up demand to the level of supply. But debt created prosperity cannot last forever. So we have gotten into this mess by: First, allowing wages to lag behind productivity and secondly by artificially bolstering demand by creating a tremendous amount of debt. All we have done is simply postponed the problem. And, since this postponement has been going on for many years, the mess is potentially catastrophic.

TAYLOR: In your book, you suggest that we have been boosting demand via debt in the U.S. since the early 1970’s. Is that right?

BATRA: That’s right but at that time the wage gap was mostly due to the rise in the price of oil. Productivity did not fall, but wages did so the gap grew. But since 1980 productivity has risen significantly faster than have wages. So a potentially more serious problem has developed since then because rising productivity means rising profits and rising supply and that means rising stock markets, which suck more and more people into that trap. So the wage gap arising since the early 1980’s is potentially much more serious than the wage gap that arose in the early 70’s.

TAYLOR: We saw a lot of policy changes with the Reagan administration in the early 80’s. We saw the tax load switch income from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. And as you pointed out in your book we have had perennial trade deficits. NAFTA has become a significant problem along with the globalization of the world economy. Your ideal model of capitalism is one of a large number of competing producers, along the lines idealized by Adam Smith. You have been critical of the Clinton Administration for refusing to be more aggressive in using anti-trust law to boost competition. And, you point to Crony Capitalism as a reason for government not playing a role to enhance competition. You believe (as I do) that the large owners of capital have the ability to buy votes by financing elections. Thus they have positioned themselves to shape laws and regulations to their own advantage (as they see it) so that wages continue to fall behind productivity and hence their own stock market profits continue to rise. Right?

BATRA: Yes and that is exactly the way it is all over the world. It takes different forms and shapes in different countries, but in the end it is the power of money over politics that is creating problems. That power has increased sharply from the early 80’s as a result of tax cuts fueling the wealthy with extra cash, and then a rising wage gap created even more billionaires. These rich people in turn have had an increased ability to buy off elections. So their power has risen very sharply in the U.S. and also in the rest of the world. So Crony Capitalism, is ruling the world. One result of that we have already seen and that is the Asian turmoil. And it is now stirring up in Latin America as well. I think it is finally going to come to the United States.

TAYLOR: I have had a view that the Reagan supply side economic policy was desirable in light of the inflationary environment of the 1970’s. And I believed that Paul Volcker’s monetary policy of targeting the supply of money rather than interest rates was desirable in directing resources from the demand side to the supply side of the economy. I thought the Reagan program of redistributing wealth from the poor and middle classes, while not politically popular, was necessary to reduce the demand side of the economic equation while strengthening the supply side of the economy.

So I thought the “Reagan revolution” was positive until the Asian crisis broke out. At that time, I began to think that supply side economics had perhaps gone too far. However, based on what I read in your book, I gather that you would not agree with me that, at least for a while, Reagan’s supply side economic policies were desirable?

BATRA: No, I do not agree that the Reagan supply side economic policies were desirable because “supply side” was just a euphemism for Keynesian economics. Keynes talked about cutting taxes that would spur demand which in turn will attract production and investment. But both of Reagan’s policies of cutting taxes (mostly for the rich) and raising social security taxes, which hit the poor and middle classes the hardest, did not increase demand and hence give a reason to invest. Without consumer demand why would anyone put any money in their business? So when Reagan cut income taxes and raised social security taxes he was in fact hurting business.

The Reagan economic policy was also Keynesian in the sense that the end result was a huge federal budget deficit. That is the main idea behind the Keynesian demand side policy. So in the end, during the 1980’s the budget deficit rose sharply and they simply called it supply side to try to distinguish it from Keynesian economics. In reality, it was the same Keynesian policy. But it had a negative bite to it as well. It was a budget deficit on the back of the poor. Demand did not rise fast enough therefore investment did not grow fast. So GDP growth during the 1980’s was in fact slower than in the 1970’s and certainly the 1960’s. Money went into the stock market, but that has not resulted in economic growth.

TAYLOR: But my belief has been that we had the inflationary 70’s partly from too much stimulation on the demand side of the equation. I also believed that was a carryover from the “New Deal” policies of the 1930’s that effectively redistributed income from the wealthy to the poor and middle classes. So I believed that the Reagan policies which reversed income back to the wealthy was needed to balance the supply/demand equation.

BATRA: Well, what Reagan was saying is true in a third world country. In those places they do not have capital and technology so that there is not enough supply at all and there is plenty of demand because of population. But in the United States, technology and capital are plentiful. The main limitation here is weak demand. What is important to understand is that supply growth will only be enough to match demand growth. Whenever demand does not grow fast, supply will not grow no matter how many tax cuts you want to give.

In the 1950’s our tax rates were much higher than in the 1980’s. For example, they were as high as 90% in the 1950’s. But with the Reagan tax cuts, the top marginal tax rate in the 1980’s was cut to somewhere between 28% and 31%.

Yet, during the 1950’s, GDP grew at a rate of 4% per year, while in the 1980’s it grew at a rate of less than 3% per year in spite of all those tax changes. So the Reagan tax cuts actually were associated with a lot lower economic growth rate than during the 1950’s when top rates were very much higher. The reason was that demand did not grow fast in the 1980’s. The Reagan tax cuts not only slowed consumption, but investment fell as well. People say “well, they will have more money to invest,” but why would they put more money into business if there is not enough demand?

TAYLOR: But we have had the greatest stock market ever!

BATRA: That is the main point. A booming stock market comes from a rising wage gap and rising wealth concentration. But that has nothing to do with productive investments.

TAYLOR: So investors put their money into this casino called the stock market and that does not necessarily result in direct investment in new plant and equipment.

BATRA: That’s right. They put their money into paper assets but not in real assets. Productive investments or investments that boost economic growth result when money goes into real assets.

TAYLOR: Do you then believe that we could have fixed the inflationary problem of the 1970’s simply with a tight monetary policy and that we did not need all this supply side stuff from Reagan?

BATRA: That’s right. We could have fixed the inflation problem simply with monetary policy. One thing that Reagan did that was good was to push for de-regulation and that helped reduce inflation too. Wherever regulation inhibits competition, it adds to inflation. So de-regulating airlines, trucking, and communications was good. But de-regulating the financial industry is something else. Actually most of the deregulation started under Jimmy Carter. Regan will be remembered mostly for his huge budget deficits.

TAYLOR: Fortunately for Mr. Reagan he does not remember much of anything given his illness. But getting back to the future, you are anticipating a stock market crash to take place this year or at the very latest during the first couple of months of 2000, is that correct?

BATRA: That’s right.


© Copyright J. Taylor, J.Taylor’s Gold, Resource & Environmental Stocks Newsletter and USAGold.com, 1999

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6857


The Big One Just Hit h/t: Speaking Truth to Power