Britain: No central control over nuclear arsenal by Peter Reydt

Dandelion Salad

by Peter Reydt
Global Research, November 25, 2007

In September, the world was stunned by news of what was described as an isolated mistake. A US Air Force B-52 bomber flew over the length of the United States armed with six cruise missiles. Each missile carried nuclear warheads that individually contained a yield of up to 150 kilotons—more than 10 times greater than the US bomb that levelled Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War.

The incident evoked Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove—the black comedy starring Peter Sellers about a delusional air force commander giving the unilateral order for an unprovoked nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union.

A recent report by the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Newsnight programme on the UK’s nuclear weapons evoked Kubrick’s Cold War satire once again.

In 1998, the last Royal Air Force nuclear bomb was withdrawn. Until then, the programme revealed, the RAF’s nuclear bombs were armed simply by turning a bicycle lock key with no other security on the bomb itself.

Furthermore, Newsnight explained, up to this day, there is a deliberate policy to allow British submarines the capability to launch nuclear missiles without any central control or oversight by the government.

The US, Russia and France have systems in place to prevent a Dr. Strangelove scenario of a rogue individual launching a nuclear strike. According to the BBC, this makes Britain the only nuclear power without a fail-safe.

In 1960, the American government under President Kennedy introduced a system called Permissive Action Links (PAL), which was fitted to every American nuclear bomb. To detonate a bomb. it was now necessary for the correct code to be transmitted by the US Chief of Staff and dialed into the nuclear device. Until 1991, the US submarine fleet was exempted from this arrangement. It was then that a fail-safe commission, under President Bush senior, decided to introduce PAL to the Navy as well, and by 1997 this was installed on all nuclear submarine missiles.

When there was an attempt to introduce a similar system in Britain in 1966, it led to ferocious resistance by the Royal Navy, and it was subsequently deemed unnecessary.

Newsnight showed papers from the National Archive, marked top secret and atomic. In these, the Chief Scientific Adviser Solly Zuckerman, who advised the then-Labour government’s Defence Secretary, Denis Healey, suggested that Britain needed to install PAL on its nuclear weapons to keep them safe. “The Government will need to be certain that any weapons deployed are under some form of ‘ironclad’ control,” he wrote.

But the Royal Navy was apparently deeply insulted by the implication that its officers were not be trusted absolutely: “It would be invidious to suggest…that Senior Service officers may, in difficult circumstances, act in defiance of their clear orders,” it replied.

The plans were duly mothballed and the RAF bombs, as long as they existed, were not fitted with PAL. Even today, the Royal Navy’s nuclear devices remain free from such safeguards.

Newsnight reported that there is a deliberate policy to allow submarines the capability to launch nuclear missiles without an order from Whitehall. This is apparently so as to maintain a nuclear deterrent under conditions in which Whitehall is no more.

Britain is confident, it says, that the Dr. Strangelove scenario could never happen because the company of a British trident submarine is trained to spot a “rogue commander” and deal with him or her.

The Defence Ministry (MOD) responded to the Newsnight programme by stating that it was “satisfied that robust arrangements are in place for political control of the use of the UK’s strategic deterrent and these controls are tested and audited.”

The MOD stated that “A rigorous system of processes ensures the safety and thoroughness of the operating system for the UK nuclear deterrent.”

“Launching a Trident missile from a submarine is a complex activity,” it continued. “Prior to launch, the command and control structure on board the submarine would need to be satisfied that the Prime Minister has issued instructions to launch nuclear weapons. A coordinated effort involving key individuals from the boat’s company of 150 is required to launch the missile. The number of participants required to act in concert means that the ‘Permissive Action Link’ type safeguards found in other systems are not relevant in the SSBN domain” [emphasis added].

“We don’t discuss the detailed arrangements,” an MOD spokesman added, declining to respond to questions about the BBC report.

In short, the prime minister alone needs to be seen as having given the go-ahead for a nuclear strike. And launching a missile is apparently more complicated in Britain than it is in the US, France or elsewhere. So the wise-heads of the crew’s members will make sure no one gets the wrong idea. Even the talents of Kubrick and Sellers would find it difficult to ridicule further something that already reads like a satire.

Global Research Articles by Peter Reydt contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Bringing the War on Terrorism Home: Congress Considers How to ‘Disrupt’ Radical Movements in the United States by Jessica Lee

Now, the good news is that it is sitting in the Senate Ctte doing nothing. ~ Lo

h/t: mary (CRONE)*

Read her post: Mary’s Blog Post

Dandelion Salad

by Jessica Lee
Global Research, November 25, 2007

Under the guise of a bill that calls for the study of “homegrown terrorism,” Congress is apparently trying to broaden the definition of terrorism to encompass both First Amendment political activity and traditional forms of protest such as nonviolent civil disobedience, according to civil liberties advocates, scholars and historians.

The proposed law, The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1955), was passed by the House of Representative in a 404-6 vote Oct. 23. (The Senate is currently considering a companion bill, S. 1959.) The act would establish a “National Commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and ideologically based violence” and a university-based “Center for Excellence” to examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence in the United States” in order to develop policy for “prevention, disruption and mitigation.”

Many observers fear that the proposed law will be used against U.S.-based groups engaged in legal but unpopular political activism, ranging from political Islamists to animal-rights and environmental campaigners to radical right-wing organizations. There is concern, too, that the bill will undermine academic integrity and is the latest salvo in a decade-long government grab for power at the expense of civil liberties.

David Price, a professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University who studies government surveillance and harassment of dissident scholars, says the bill “is a shot over the bow of environmental activists, animal-rights activists, anti-globalization activists and scholars who are working in the Middle East who have views that go against the administration.” Price says some right-wing outfits such as gun clubs are also threatened because “[they] would be looked at with suspicion under the bill.”

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), which has been organizing against post-Sept. 11 legislative attacks on First Amendment rights, is critical of the bill. “When you first look at this bill, it might seem harmless because it is about the development of a commission to do a study,” explained Hope Marston, a regional organizer with BORDC.

“However, when you realize the focus of the study is ‘homegrown terrorism,’ it raises red flags,” Marston said. “When you consider that the government has wiretapped our phone calls and emails, spied on religious and political groups and has done extensive data mining of our daily records, it is worrisome of what might be done with the study. I am concerned that there appears to be an inclination to study religious and political groups to ultimately try to find subversion. This would violate our First Amendment rights to free speech and freedoms of religion and association.”

One pressing concern is definitions contained in the bill. For example, “violent radicalization” is defined as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.”

Alejandro Queral, executive director of the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center, asks, “What is an extremist belief system? Who defines this? These are broad definitions that encompass so much. … It is criminalizing thought and ideology.”

For her part, Marston takes issue with the definition of homegrown terrorism. “It is about the ‘use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence to intimidate or coerce the government.’ This is often the language that refers to political activity.”

Congressional sponsors of the bill claim it is limited in scope.

“Though not a silver bullet, the legislation will help the nation develop a better understanding of the forces that lead to homegrown terrorism, and the steps we can take to stop it,” said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) Oct. 23, who co-authored the bill. “Free speech, espousing even very radical beliefs, is protected by our Constitution — but violent behavior is not.”

The bill’s purpose goes beyond academic inquiry, however. In a press release dated Nov. 6, Harman stated: “the National Commission [will] propose to both Congress and [Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael] Chertoff initiatives to intercede before radicalized individuals turn violent.” (Harman’s office refused three separate requests by The Indypendent for comment.)

Some assert this would allow law enforcement agencies to target radicals in general. Price says, “This bill is trying to bridge the gap between those with radical dissenting views and those who engage in violent acts. It’s a form of prior restraint.”

Price explains how this may work, citing an example in his home town of Olympia, Wash., where a peaceful blockade took place in early November at the Port of Olympia to prevent the shipment of war materials between the United States and Iraq. He says, “It will be these types of things that will start getting defined as terrorism, including Quakers and indigenous rights’ campaigns.”

Kamau Franklin, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), is also concerned at the targeting of peaceful protests. He says the “Commission’s broad mandate can lead to the ability to turn civil disobedience, a form of protest that is centuries old, into a terrorist act.” It’s possible, he says, “that someone who would have been charged with disorderly conduct or obstruction of governmental administration may soon be charged with a federal terrorist statute.”

“My biggest fear is that they [the commission] will call for some new criminal penalties and federal crimes,” says Franklin. “Activists are nervous about how the broad definitions could be used for criminalizing civil disobedience and squashing the momentum of the left.”

The bill provides a list of Congressional findings, including a failure to understand the development and promotion of “violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence,” which is argued to pose a threat to domestic security. The Internet was highlighted as a tool in “providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would cost $22 million over four years.


Although the legislation is vague, a chief target appears to be Islamic militants living in the United States. Harman, in her Nov. 6 press release, says the bill is needed to combat violent radicalization and cites four cases as examples of such — all of them involving Muslim Americans allegedly engaged in terrorist activity. The bill’s language also states that proposed appointees to the National Commission should have “expertise and experience” in a long list of disciplines such as “world religions.” But the only religion named is Islam.

The bill appears to be influenced by the government-affiliated RAND Corporation, whose website includes a letter from Harman noting, “RAND … and I have worked closely for many years.” Harman, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment, introduced H.R. 1955 on April 19, 2007.

Two weeks prior to this, Brian Michael Jenkins of RAND delivered testimony on “Jihadist Radicalization and Recruitment” to Harman’s subcommittee. Jenkins claimed “radicalization and recruiting are taking place in the United States,” and listed a number of high-profile cases in which Muslim Americans have been arrested on terrorism-related charges.

In his testimony, Jenkins admitted convictions in these cases — in Lackawanna, N.Y., Northern Virginia, New York City, Portland, Ore., and elsewhere — relied on charges being “interpreted broadly” by the courts.

There has been significant criticism of how government officials have hyped many of these cases as mass terror attacks thwarted in the nick of time despite a lack of any actual plans or means to commit a violent act on the part of the defendants. It’s also been noted that in numerous instances the government employed informants who goaded the suspects into committing the illegal acts for which they were arrested.

In June, Jenkins was back before Harman’s subcommittee discussing the role of the National Commission. According to the Congressional Quarterly website, Jenkins said, “[Homegrown terrorism] is the principal threat that we face as a country and it will likely be the principal threat that we face for decades.” The website stated, “Unless a way of intervening in the radicalization process can be found, ‘we are condemned to stepping on cockroaches one at a time,’ he added.”

At the end of his second round of testimony, Jenkins undercut the claims that there is any real danger requiring the creation of the National Commission and Center for Excellence. He said, “Judging by the terrorist conspiracies uncovered since 9/11, violent radicalization has yielded very few recruits. Indeed, the level of terrorist activities in the United States was much higher in the 1970s that it is today.” (Repeated inquiries by The Indypendent to the RAND Corporation to interview Jenkins or other staff analysts were turned down by the media relations department, which claimed they were all unavailable for the rest of the year.)

This has the Arab-American community worried. “When you look at the creation of the Commission, it is scary, especially when people [on the national commission] will be appointed by the White House,” said Kareem Shora, executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). He pointed to the recess appointment, despite widespread criticism, of Daniel Pipes to the U.S. Institute of Peace in 2003, who, Shora said, “propagated hate against Arabs.”

Shora is worried H.R. 1955 will unfairly target Muslims, even though he says they have been largely helpful in terrorist investigations since Sept. 11. Despite the assistance, he says civil rights abuses continue to occur, including “voluntary interviews,” the Absconder Apprehension Initiative and the Special Registration Program.


The passage of the H.R. 1955 coincided with a furor over the Los Angeles Police Department’s plan to “map” Muslim communities in the city. Appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security on Oct. 30, Michael Downing, the assistant commanding officer of LAPD’s Counter-terrorism/Criminal Intelligence Bureau, said the project “will lay out the geographic locations of the many different Muslim population groups around Los Angeles [and] take a deeper look at their history, demographics, language, culture, ethnic breakdown, socio-economic status and social interactions.”

Shora says, “Looking at a community based on religious affiliation alone … is unconstitutional.” The ADC added in a press release that singling “out individuals for investigation, surveillance, and data collection based solely on religion … would violate equal protection and burden the free exercise of religion.”

Following the outcry, the LAPD announced Nov. 15 that it was dropping the mapping plan. Opposition came from many quarters, including scholars, because the LAPD envisioned using academics in the mapping program. It reportedly intended “to have the data assembled by the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis.” Recruiting academics for counterterrorism efforts is also at the heart of H.R. 1955, which proposes a university-based Center of Excellence.

Roberto Gonzalez, an anthropologist who co-authored a recent article with David Price criticizing the Pentagon’s use of scholars in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, says the prospect of creating a Center “is a bad idea because it is likely to compromise the intellectual integrity of the academy.” H.R. 1955 advocates for the use of “cultural anthropologists,” which concerns Price that they would “be doing secretive work for the state.”

Chip Berlet, senior analyst at the Boston-based Political Research Associates, argues the government is trying to establish a Center to get around legal prohibitions on gathering data specifically based on race and religion. He explains that there is already extensive research being done on the roots of political violence by scores of academics around the country but many of their findings do not fit into the government’s agenda. To Berlet, the proposed Center is nothing more than “a slush fund for politically connected hacks.”


Islamic militants are not the only threat on the government’s radar.

“A chief problem is radical forms of Islam, but we’re not only studying radical Islam,” Harman told In These Times, a Chicago-based newsmagazine. “We’re studying the phenomenon of people with radical beliefs who turn into people who would use violence.”

In 2004, the FBI named “eco-terrorism,” a broad term that includes property destruction, the top domestic threat. The July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate found that “special interest groups” were also likely to cause small-scale violent attacks.

These “special interest groups” were outlined in a 2005 RAND report, “Trends in Terrorism.” One chapter was devoted to a non-Muslim “homegrown terrorist” threat — anti-globalists. “Anti-globalists directly challenge the intrinsic qualities of capitalism, charging that in the insatiable quest for growth and profit, the philosophy is serving to destroy the world’s ecology, indigenous cultures and individual welfare,” stated the report. The report identifies rightwing movements such as neo-Nazis as threats and states there should be a focus on anarchist and radical environmental groups, citing anarchists involved in civil disobedience during the 2004 National Republican Contention in New York City and millions of dollars in property damage by the Earth Liberation Front in the last decade.


Observers say using vaguely defined terms is part of a historical pattern of sweeping government repression that includes the post- World War II “Red Scare” and the FBI’s counter-intellegence program, nicknamed Cointelpro. They are also concerned that H.R. 1955 will foster a legislative momentum on criminalizing a broad range of dissident voices.

Jules Boykoff, an assistant professor of politics and government at Pacific University and author of Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States, said he was alarmed that “violence” was not defined. He noted the definition of “ideologically based violence” is the “means to use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.”

“It is a circular definition, what does that mean?” asked Boykoff, while reading the bill aloud. “What does violence mean? We do not need laws like this because we already have plenty of laws on the books that make it a crime to blow up or set fire to buildings. It is called arson.”

Boykoff commented that the bill used the terms “extremism” and “radicalism” interchangeably. “The word ‘radical’ shares the etymological root to the word ‘radish,’ which means to get to the root of the problem. So, if the government wants to get at the actual root of terrorism, then let’s really talk about it. We need to talk about the economic roots, the vast inequalities in wealth between the rich and poor.” Boykoff says historically the government has used “radical” as a way of dismissing groups as “extremists,” however, and uses the two words as synonyms.

Hope Marston of the BORDC is nervous about the definition of homegrown terrorism, which is “about the ‘use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence’ to intimidate or coerce the government.” She says, “The definition does not make clear what force is.”

Bron Taylor, a professor at University of Florida who studies radical religion and environmental movements, questioned the government’s interpretation of violence. He spent years as an ethnographic researcher exploring the propensity of individuals within the radical environmental movement to turn to violence, a word he says defines as harm to sentient beings, not property destruction.

“There are all sorts of things that activists do that involve little or no risk of hurting people, but their actions get labeled as violent, or even worse, as acts of terrorism,” Taylor said. “For example, if 10 activists push themselves into a congressperson’s regional office, make noise, pull out files and make a scene, is that an act of terrorism? It is quite possible that the act could scare the hell out of the secretary and office workers because they don’t know these people or what they intend to do? But is that terrorism? Some people would like to frame it that way.”

“In any political dispute, whoever succeeds in defining the terms is likely to prevail in the debate,” Taylor said. “That is why scholars and the media need to be scrupulous in the ways they use and define terms deployed by the partisans in these disputes. They should strive to come up with terms that are as descriptive, accurate and as neutral as possible.”


The legislation authorizes a 10-member National Commission (the Senate bill calls for 12 members) appointed by the President, the secretary of homeland security, congressional leaders and the chairpersons of both the Senate and House committees on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

After convening, the Commission is to submit reports at six-month intervals for 18 months to the President and Congress, stating its findings, conclusions, and legislative recommendations “for immediate and long-term countermeasures … to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence.”

Kamau Franklin of CCR says he finds the timing of the legislation disturbing coming a year before the presidential elections and about eight months prior to the Democratic and Republication National Conventions — both which of have increasingly been the site of large-scale protests and civil disobedience.

More disturbing are the similarities to Cointelpro, which was investigated by a U.S. Senate select committee on intelligence activities (commonly known as the Church Committee), which convened in 1975. The Church Committee found that from 1956 to 1971, “the Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association, on the theory that preventing the growth of dangerous groups and the propagation of dangerous ideas would protect the national security and deter violence.”

Hope Marston says, “In the 1970s when we learned of the violation in rights that the government had been doing for 40 years, there was public outrage. Because these erosions of the Bill of Rights have happened during ‘the war on terror,’ we aren’t supposed to protest anything the government does because they are ‘protecting us.’ That feeling has made the government’s actions more dangerous.”


The Senate version of the bill finds that the domestic threats “cannot be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local solutions.”

“That’s about joint terrorism task force making,” Franklin said. “It’s a way to create a federal slush fund so local police departments can get their hands on it. This happened in the 1960s.”

Marston agreed. “This sounds like part of the same continuum we’ve experienced in the last seven years, which is the effort to deputize local law enforcement to work with the FBI and national agencies without local accountability, as we have seen with the establishment of joint-terrorism task forces across the country,” Marston said. “On 9/11, there were only a few joint-terrorism task forces, now there are more than 100 in existence. … When you talk about working with local law enforcement to possibly spy on groups and individuals to try to find the so-called ‘needle in the haystack,’ this definitely poses a threat to local autonomy.”

Although Cointelpro was partially dismantled in the 1970s and the FBI’s power to conduct domestic intelligence curbed, many safeguards have been overturned in the last 30 years, according to David Cole and Jim Dempsey, authors of Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security. Legislation such as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the 2001 USA Patriot Act “radically transformed the landscape of government power, and did so in ways that virtually guarantee repetition of some of law enforcement’s worst abuses of the past,” the authors wrote.

In the last few years, many states have passed versions of the Patriot Act, while Congress has placed further checks on civil liberties with the Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act (2006), the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (2006) and the Protect America Now Act (2007), which amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and legalized the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.


H.R. 1955 gives Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff the power to establish a “Center of Excellence,” a university-based research program to “bring together leading experts and researchers to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions.” The Department currently has eight Centers at academic institutions across the country, strengthening what many see as a growing military-security-academic complex.

Rep. Harman, in an Oct. 23 press release, stated that, the Center would “examine the social, criminal, political, psychological and economic roots of domestic terrorism.”

“I do not have a lot of concerns with this legislation,” said Jim Dempsey, policy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Violent radicalization is an issue that deserves to be studied and understood. I am more comfortable with this bill’s approach, which is to treat the issue as a matter for broad study using largely open sources, than I would be with an approach that directed the FBI, DHS or the CIA to examine the issue,” Dempsey said. Dempsey was the assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights from 1985-1994, the former Deputy Director for the Center for National Security Studies and co-authored with David Cole, Terrorism and the Constitution.

“I do have some concern that the Commission and the Center will focus on Muslims and will contribute to a climate of apprehension,” Dempsey continued. “But I still think the bill is probably a good idea, if its concepts are in a true spirit of inquiry.”

Taylor agrees, but is leery that Washington politicians will hold power over commission and Center. “As an academic, I like the idea of creating Centers of Excellence in general because they bring together excellent scholars,” Taylor said. “But this is not something that the government should have a great deal of control over, because it is so ideologically charged. We’ve had plenty of examples of administrations, this one in particular, that likes to manipulate and downplay scientific findings that run at variance with their ideological and political objectives.”

“The bill itself, no matter how well drafted, does not guarantee a balanced outcome,” noted Dempsey. “To ensure balance, human rights activists will have to get involved in the work of the Commission and the Center.”

“If they really want to know why we have terrorism, they are going to need to explore counter-narratives,” explained Boykoff. “When the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, one narrative to explain the situation was that there is ‘an external enemy out there who hates America.’ Other narratives, such as that perhaps U.S. foreign policy might be fueling acrimonious feelings towards the U.S., were not considered. I am skeptical that the Center for Excellence would be open to these other narratives, but rather would be regurgitating the standard narrative.”

It is unclear how researchers would gather the information.

“If you are trying to understand in the broadest sense what turns people to violence in a variety of political causes, it is not something you can do easily, and it must be studied in a serious way,” said Taylor, who has began studying the radical environmental movement since 1989. “It is exceptionally hard to study these groups. They tend to be suspicious of new comers and outsiders, rightfully so. They aren’t fond of academic institutions or academics because they tend to view most of what goes on at institutions of higher education as being subservient to interests of global capital,” he said.

With his research experience, Taylor believes that it is absurd to think the Commission could produce a significant report in 18 months.

“To find out what makes people tick, you actually have to engage with them as a human being, and that is a long process that takes patience and trust building.”

Anthropologist Price is also worried. “My concern is that anthropologists would again be doing secretive work for the state. This bill is going to be interpreted so narrowly. It is calling for an ideological litmus test,” Price said. “The military believes there are ways to get around this questions legally, but ethically, it is a big deal. There are ethical codes of conduct in anthropology, sociology, psychology, in the social sciences in general, that they very basic precautions are taken.”


For U.S. historian Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, H.R. 1955 can be added to a long list of government policies that have been passed to target dissent in the United States.

“This is the most recent of a long series of laws passed in times of foreign policy tensions, starting with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which sent people to jail for criticizing the Adams administration,” Zinn said in an email to The Indypendent. “During World War I, the Espionage Act and Sedition Act sent close to a thousand people to jail for speaking out against the war. On the eve of World War II, the Smith Act was passed, harmless enough title, but it enabled the jailing of radicals — first Trotskyists during the war and Communist party leaders after the war, for organizing literature, etc., interpreted as “conspiring to overthrow the government by force and violence.”

“In all cases, the environment was one in which the government was involved in a war or Cold War or near-war situation and wanted to suppress criticism of its policies,” Zinn said.

Regardless, Zinn remains optimistic. “We should keep in mind that an act of repression by the state is a recognition of the potential of social movements and therefore we need to persist, through the repression, in order to bring about social change,” Zinn said. “We can learn to expect the repression, and not to be intimidated.”

Hope Marston remains hopeful. “The work we have been doing at BORDC is mobilizing people in the grassroots across the political spectrum,” she said. “It is not just a Leftist effort to protect the Bill of Rights. We have worked with libertarians and republicans. We have helped get 412 resolution passed on the state and local level against the erosion of the Bill of rights.”

Indypendent Editors Note

Shortly after this article went to press, the Los Angeles Police Department announced they scrapped their plan to “map the muslim community” after meeting behind closed doors with leaders in the Arab-American communities.

A.K. Gupta contributed research and interviews.

Global Research Articles by Jessica Lee



Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act Raises Fears of New Government Crackdown on Dissent (link)

The U.S. Congress Legislates Genocide Of The Mind By Jeff Knaebel

Mentes Peligrosas: Confession of an American Thought Criminal By Jason Miller

It’s Time to Fire Washington! by Debbie Lewis (Homegrown Terrorism)

Big Brother: House passes the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” by Lee Rogers

One Nation Under Siege – What if everything you were ever told was a lie? (vid; over 18 only)

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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© Copyright Jessica Lee,, 2007
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Bush’s Twenty-Billion Dollar Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia by James Petras

Dandelion Salad

by James Petras
Global Research, November 25, 2007

The Zionist Power Configuration Defeats Big Oil, the Military Industrial Complex, the White House and the Pentagon
The debate on which forces determine US Middle East policy has cut across the usual political spectrum: On one side most neo-conservative and progressive writers, academics and journalists argue that the military-industrial complex and Big Oil interests are the most influential forces shaping US policy. On the other, a small group of conservative and leftist writers and a few academics have identified what some call the Israel or Zionist Lobby and others refer to the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) as the prevailing influence in deciding US strategic policies in the Middle East.

      While the debate rages over who and what interests got us into the Iraq war and the escalating confrontation with Iran, there is no better test of conflicting positions than the proposed US sale of $20 billion dollars of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

      The Pentagon led by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed to the sale; it was backed by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and at least tacitly by the entire executive branch, including the National Security Council. All of the biggest US, European and Asian multi-national petroleum companies, refiners and importers were in favor of upgrading the military defensive capacity of the world’s biggest oil producer, since hundreds of billions in commercial and financial profits are transacted there every year. The US Middle East Command (CENTCOM) with major air bases and strategic logistic support systems in Saudi Arabia could not but support Saudi acquisition of a defensive high-tech air reconnaissance system.

      Saudi Arabia is the most reliable and biggest single supplier of petroleum to the US world-wide. Saudi Arabia has been a staunch ally of the US – more like a client state — in all the US military and surrogate wars and interventions from the co-financing of anti-Soviet Muslim fundamentalist in Afghanistan, the attack on Yugoslavia and support of break-away Bosnia and Kosovo, to the two Gulf Wars and present confrontation with Iran, to its opposition of each and every Arab nationalist or leftist regime over the past 60 years. From the perspective of US imperial interests, dominance and influence in Asia, the Balkans and especially the Middle East, one would thing that a military sale worth $20 billion dollars to the Saudi monarchy would be automatically and overwhelmingly approved by the US Congress.

      This is especially the case because a $20 billion dollar sale will generate thousands of new jobs and will lessen the huge trade deficit. At the recent OPEC meeting, the Saudis strongly opposed dumping hundreds of billions of depreciating dollars they currently hold as foreign reserves – or even discussing the matter.

      There is no greater contrast from the point of view of costs-benefit in comparing Saudi Arabia to Israel. The latter is subsidized by the US, which has given over $120 billion dollars over the last 30 years while it competes, as the second largest arms exporter, with the US-military industrial complex thus costing American jobs and supplies absolutely no strategic materials to the US economy. Indeed Israel has direct access to the most up-to-date US funded military technology, which it then sells to its clients. This is in stark contrast to Saudi Arabia’s servile relation with the US. Israel has constantly demanded and received US support and financing for its wars, its illegal colonization of Palestinian land and has unwavering US support for its repudiation of international law and numerous violations of United Nations mandates. While Saudi Arabia supports the US economy and is a strategic supplier of petroleum, Israel drains the US economy and secures its petroleum from it. Beginning in early 2007, the entire Zionist power configuration (ZPC) mobilized to block the US arms and military technology sales to Saudi Arabia. Zionist pressure was so intense and its control over Congress was so evident to the White House and Pentagon that Defense Secretary Gates did not even try to counter the ZPC’s campaign in the US Congress. Instead he went straight to the ZPC’s control center in Israel and not with empty hands. He pleaded with Israel to call of its American attack dogs in exchange for a ‘donation’ of over $30 billion dollars in US military handouts to Israel over the next ten years. Olmert accepted Gates offer: The US had paid the price but still the ZPC did not turn over their hostage Congress. President Bush and Secretary Gates were convinced that Israel would muzzle the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations to allow the Saudi sale to go through. This did not happen. Why should it? President Bush could not withdraw the well-publicized pay-off to Israel; it was already in the legislative books. He could not retaliate – the ZPC-controlled Congress would oppose any and all counter measures.

      So Bush and Gates went ahead and sent the bill to Congress authorizing the $20 billion sales to Saudi Arabia, a trillion dollar economy with a two-bit military wholly dependent on its US military protector.

      Immediately the ZPC rounded up its automatic 190 members of the House of Representatives to sign a letter opposing the sale. The ZPC formulated the position embodied in the letter and oversaw its draft with the collaboration of its co-religionists in Congress. Zionist Congress members Shelley Berkeley and Anthony Weiner teamed up with Michael Ferguson. The Zion-Cons claimed justifiably that they could mobilize over three quarters of the Congress on any issue affecting Israel’s ‘security’. Zionist lawmakers claimed, “the sale would undermine Israel’s superiority in the region”. Every major independent military think tank would dispute this argument since Israel is the only nuclear power in the region, has the biggest and most technologically sophisticated air force and missile system, while Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf States have trouble even controlling local ground level bomb throwers.

      There are two likely outcomes both demonstrating categorically that it is the ZPC that dictates US policies in the Middle East:

      The military sales will not fly.

      The military sale will be approved on conditions that Israel is privy to all its details and can modify or omit any part of the agreement.

      The ZPC was even able to strong arm the Congress-people who have made a lifelong career out of aggressively promoting the interests of Big Oil (BO) and the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) to switch sides and vote against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia – BO’s strategic partner and the MIC’s best overseas customer. Congress members from BO states like Texas and states with large military industries like California endorsed the ZPC letter prejudicing their constituents and big campaign financers. The feeble ‘lobbying’ by BO and the MIC in favor of the White House were crushed by the ZPC Congressional juggernaut.

      The major trade unions of the AFL-CIO, like the steel workers, machinists, oil and chemical workers, electrical workers – whose members’ jobs were at stake, did not protest, let alone challenge the ZPC, demonstrating the high degree of Zionist influence over the trade union bosses. The obvious point is that the Congress and the ZFL-CIO are both Zionist colonized institutions.

      The issue is not whether the US should or should not sell arms to Saudi Arabia (I oppose all arms sales and the MIC and BO around the world). The fundamental issue is whether we, the citizens, the elected representatives and the trade unionists in the United States, can be free of foreign colonization to decide the issue. The issue is whether we are or can be a free and independent nation or a subject of a tiny powerful elite acting for a foreign power.

      The narrative on the US proposed multi-billion dollar arms sales to a wealthy third rate military power demonstrates once again that Israeli interests have priority over US trade, jobs and geopolitical interests. Secondly the narrative confirms that the Israeli state dictates US political relations in the Middle East through its US conduit – the ZPC. Finally it refutes the Zionist geo-politicians and ‘oil’ and ‘military experts’ who cover up for the ZPC by falsely blaming Big Oil for policies they oppose because it prejudices their strategic partnership.

      By blackmail and deceit, the Israelis got their additional $30 billion dollars over the next ten years and they double-crossed ‘their’ president by unleashing their Fifth Column to block his military sales to the Saudis. And if Bush dares a complaint, he will be added to the list of ‘anti-Semites’ – the only honorable list in his entire 8 years in office.

James Petras is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by James Petras

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Venezuela’s Constitutional Reform: Article-by-Article Summary by Gregory Wilpert

Dandelion Salad

by Gregory Wilpert

Global Research, November 25, 2007 – 2007-11-23

The following is an article-by-article summary of the changes being proposed to Venezuela’s 1999 constitution. The summary is in no way official and should only be used as an aid in making sense of the proposed constitutional reform. The official reform text is quite long (31 pages), as it includes the full text of each to be changed article, even if only one sentence or word was changed in the article. Making out what, exactly, the changes are relative to the original 1999 constitution can thus be a sometimes time-consuming and difficult task.

Venezuelans will vote on the reform on December 2nd and will do so in two blocks. Block “A” includes President Chavez’s original proposal, as amended by the National Assembly, which would change 33 articles out of the 350 articles in the constitution. Also included in block A are another 13 articles introduced by the National Assembly. Block “B” includes another 26 reform articles proposed by the National Assembly. Voters may vote “Yes” or “No” on each block.

Reform Question: “Are you in agreement with the approval of the constitutional reform project, passed by the National Assembly, with the participation of the people, and based in the initiative of President Hugo Chavez, with its respective titles, chapters, and transitional, derogative, and final dispositions, distributed in the following blocks?”

[Articles in italics are those proposed by the National Assembly, non-italic articles were proposed by the President.] 

Block A

Section II. Politico-Territorial Division of the Country: President may declare special military and development zones, citizens have a new “right to the city.”

Art. 11 – Allows the President to decree special military regions for the defense of the nation. Also, it would allow him to name military authorities for these regions in a case of emergency.

Art. 16 – Allows the president to decree, with permission from the National Assembly, communal cities, maritime regions, federal territories, federal municipalities, island districts, federal provinces, federal cities, and functional districts. Also the president may name and remove national government authorities for these territorial divisions (these do not, however, supplant the existing elected authorities in these regions).

Art. 18 – Provides a new right, the right to the city, which says that all citizens have the right to equal access to the city’s services or benefits. Also names Caracas, the capital as the “Cradle of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, and Queen of the Warairarepano” [an indigenous name for the mountain range surrounding Caracas].

Section III. Citizen Rights and Duties: Voting age lowered to 16 years, gender parity in candidacies, creation of councils of popular power, social security fund for self-employed, reduction of workweek to 36 hours, recognition of Venezuelans of African descent, free university education, introduction of communal and social property.

Art. 64 – Lowers the minimum voting age from 18 to 16 years.

Art. 67 – Requires candidates for elected office to be set up in accordance with gender parity, reverses the prohibition against state financing of campaigns and parties, and prohibits foreign funding of political activity.

Art. 70 – Establishes that councils of popular power (of communities, workers, students, farmers, fishers, youth, women, etc.) are one of the main means for citizen participation in the government.

Art. 87 – Creates a social security fund for the self-employed, in order to guarantee them a pension, vacation pay, sick pay, etc.

Art. 90 – Reduction of the workweek from 44 hours to 36.

Art. 98 – Guarantees freedom for cultural creations, but without guaranteeing intellectual property.

Art. 100 – Recognition of Venezuelans of African descent, as part of Venezuelan culture to protect and promote (in addition to indigenous and European culture).

Art. 103 – Right to a free education expanded from high school to university.

Art. 112 – The state will promote a diversified and independent economic model, in which the interests of the community prevail over individual interests and that guarantee the social and material needs of the people. The state is no longer obliged to promote private enterprise.

Art. 113 – Monopolies are prohibited instead of merely being “not allowed.” The state has the right to “reserve” the exploitation of natural resources or provision of services that are considered by the constitution or by a separate law to be strategic to the nation. Concessions granted to private parties must provide adequate benefits to the public.

Art. 115 – Introduces new forms of property, in addition to private property. The new forms are (1) public property, belonging to state bodies, (2) direct and indirect social property, belonging to the society in general, where indirect social property is administered by the state and direct is administered by particular communities, (3) collective property, which belongs to particular groups, (4) mixed property, which can be a combination of ownership of any of the previous five forms.

Section IV. Functions of the State: Creation of popular power based in direct democracy, recognition of missions for alleviating urgent needs, foreign policy to pursue a pluri-polar world, devolution of central, state, and municipal functions to the popular power, guaranteed revenues for the popular power.

Art. 136 – Creates the popular power, in addition to the municipal, state, and national powers. “The people are the depositories of sovereignty and exercise it directly via the popular power. This is not born of suffrage nor any election, but out of the condition of the human groups that are organized as the base of the population.” The popular power is organized via communal councils, workers’ councils, student councils, farmer councils, crafts councils, fisher councils, sports councils, youth councils, elderly councils, women’s councils, disables persons’ councils, and others indicated by law.

Art. 141 – The public administration is organized into traditional bureaucracies and missions, which have an ad-hoc character and are designed to address urgent needs of the population.

Art. 152 – Venezuela’s foreign policy is directed towards creating a pluri-polar world, free of hegemonies of any imperialist, colonial, or neo-colonial power.

Art. 153 – Strengthening of the mandate to unify Latin America, so as to achieve what Simon Bolivar called, “A Nation of Republics.”

Art. 156 – Specifies the powers of the national government, adding powers that are spelled out in earlier and in later articles in greater detail. New powers of the national government include the ordering of the territorial regime of states and municipalities, the creation and suspension of federal territories, the administration of branches of the national economy and their eventual transfer to social, collective, or mixed forms of property, and the promotion, organization, and registering of councils of the popular power.

Art. 157 – The national assembly may attribute to the bodies of the popular power, in addition to those of the federal district, the states, and the municipalities, issues that are of national government competency, so as to promote a participatory and active democracy (instead of promoting decentralization, as was originally stated here).

Art. 158 – The state will promote the active participation of the people, restoring power to the population (instead of decentralizing the state).

Art. 167 – States’ incomes are increased from 20% to 25% of the national budget, where 5% is to be dedicated to the financing of each state’s communal councils.

Art. 168 – Municipalities are obligated to include in their activities the participation of councils of popular power.

Art. 184 – Decentralization of power, by its transfer from state and municipal level to the communal level, will include the participation of communities in the management of public enterprises. Also, communal councils are defined as the executive arm of direct democratic citizen assemblies, which elect and at any time may revoke the mandates of the communal council members.

Art. 185 – The national government council is no longer presided over by the Vice-President, but by the President. Its members are the President, Vice-President(s), Ministers, and Governors. Participation of mayors and of civil society groups is optional now. Previously the federal governmental council (as it was called) was responsible for coordinating policies on all governmental levels. Now it is an advisory body for the formulation of the national development plan.

Section V. Organization of the State: President may name secondary vice-presidents as needed, presidential term extended and limit on reelection removed, may re-organize internal politico-territorial boundaries, and promotes all military officers.

Art. 225 – The president may designate the number of secondary vice-presidents he or she deems necessary. Previously there was only one Vice-President.

Art. 230 – Presidential term is extended from six to seven years. The two consecutive term limit on presidential reelection is removed.

Art. 236 – New presidential powers as specified in other sections of the reform are listed here, which include the ordering and management of the country’s internal political boundaries, the creation and suspension of federal territories, setting the number and naming of secondary vice-presidents (in addition to the first vice-president), promote all officers of the armed forces, and administrate international reserves in coordination with the Central Bank.

Art. 251 – Adds detail to the functioning of the State Council, which advises the president on all matters.

Art. 252 – Composition of the State Council changed to include the heads of each branch of government: executive, judiciary, legislature, citizen power, and electoral power. The president may include representatives of the popular power and others as needed. Previously the council included five representatives designated by the president, one by the National Assembly, one by the judiciary, and one by the state governors.

Art. 272 – Removal of the requirement for the state to create an autonomous penitentiary system and places the entire system under the administration of a ministry instead of states and municipalities. Also, removes the option of privatizing the country’s penitentiary system.

Section VI. Socio-Economic System: Weakening of the role of private enterprise in the economic system, possible better treatment of national businesses over foreign ones, no privatization any part of the national oil industry, taxation of idle agricultural land, removal of central bank autonomy.

Art. 299 – The socio-economic regimen of the country is based on socialist (among other) principles. Instead of stipulating that the state promotes development with the help of private initiative, it is to do so with community, social, and personal initiative.

Art. 300 – Rewording of how publicly owned enterprises should be created, to be regionalized and in favor of a “socialist economy”, instead of “decentralized.”

Art. 301 – Removal of the requirement that foreign businesses receive the same treatment as national businesses, stating that national businesses may receive better treatment.

Art. 302 – Strengthening of the state’s right to exploit the country’s mineral resources, especially all those related to oil and gas.

Art. 303 – Removal of the permission to privatize subsidiaries of the country’s state oil industry that operate within the country.

Art. 305 – If necessary, the state may take over agricultural production in order to guarantee alimentary security and sovereignty.

Art. 307 – Strengthening of the prohibition against latifundios (large and idle landed estates) and creation of a tax on productive agricultural land that is idle. Landowners who engage in the ecological destruction of their land may be expropriated.

Art. 318 – Removal of the Central Bank’s autonomy and foreign reserves to be administrated by the Central Bank together with the President.

Art. 320 – The state must defend the economic and monetary stability of the country. Removal of statements on the bank’s autonomy.

Art. 321 – Removal of the requirement to set up a macro-economic stabilization fund. Instead, every year the President and the Central Bank establish the level of reserves necessary for the national economy and all “excess reserves” are assigned to a special development and investment fund.

Section VII. National Security: Armed forces to be anti-imperialist, reserves to become a militia.

Art. 328 – Armed forces of Venezuela renamed to “Bolivarian Armed Force.” Specification that the military is “patriotic, popular, and anti-imperialist” at the service of the Venezuelan people and never at the service of an oligarchy or of a foreign imperial power, whose professionals are not activists in any political party (modified from the prohibition against all political activity by members of the military).

Art. 329 – Addition of the term “Bolivarian” to each of the branches of the military and renaming of the reserves to “National Bolivarian Militia.”

Section VIII. Constitutional changes: Signature requirements increased for citizen-initiated referenda to modify the constitution.

Art. 341 – Increase in the signature requirement for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments from 15% to 20% of registered voters.

Art. 342 – Increase in the signature requirement for citizen-initiated constitutional reforms from 15% to 25% of registered voters.

Art. 348 – Increase in the signature requirement for citizen-initiated constitutional assembly from 15% to 30% of registered voters.


Block “B”

Section III. Citizen Rights and Duties: Non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and health, increase in signature requirements for citizen-initiated referenda, primary home protected from expropriation.

Art. 21 – Inclusion of prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation and on health.

Art. 71 – Increase in the signature requirement for citizen-initiated consultative referenda from 10% to 20% of registered voters.

Art. 72 – Increase in the signature requirement for citizen-initiated recall referenda from 20% to 30% of registered voters. Also, voter participation set at minimum 40% (previously no minimum was set, other than that at least as many had to vote for the recall as originally voted for the elected official).

Art. 73 – Increase in the signature requirement for citizen-initiated approbatory referenda from 15% to 30% of registered voters.

Art. 74 – Increase in the signature requirement for citizen-initiated rescinding referenda from 10% to 30% of registered voters. In the case of law decrees, increased from 5% to 30% of registered voters.

Art. 82 – Protection of primary home from confiscation due to bankruptcy or other legal proceedings.

Art. 109 – Equal voting rights for professors, students, and employees in the election of university authorities.

Section IV. Functions of the State: State and local comptrollers appointed by national Comptroller General, political divisions determined on a national instead level.

Art. 163 – State comptrollers are to be appointed by the national Comptroller General, not the states, following a process in which organizations of popular power nominate candidates.

Art. 164 – State powers are specified in accordance with other articles of the reform. States can no longer organize the politico-territorial division of municipalities, but only coordinate these.

Art. 173 – Political divisions within municipalities are to be determined by a national law, instead of being in the power of the municipalities. The creation of such divisions is to attend to community initiative, with the objective being the de-concentration of municipal administration.

Art. 176 – The municipal comptroller is to be appointed by the national Comptroller General, not the municipalities, following the nomination of candidates by the organizations of popular power.

Section V. State organization: Councils of popular power participate in the nomination of members of the judiciary, citizen, and electoral powers, procedures for removing members of these branches specified more explicitly.

Art. 191 – National Assembly deputies who the president has called to serve in the executive may return to the National Assembly to finish their term in office once they stop working in the executive. Previously they lost their seat in the assembly.

Art. 264 – Specifies that Supreme Court judges are to be named by a majority of the National Assembly, instead of being left to a law. Also, in addition to civil society groups related to the law profession, representatives of the popular power are to participate in the nomination process.

Art. 265 – Supreme Court judges may be removed from office by a simple majority vote of the National Assembly, instead of a two-thirds majority and an accusation by the citizen power.

Art. 266 – Adds the ability of the Supreme Court to rule on the merits of court proceedings against members of the National Electoral Council, in addition to its ability to do so in the case of all other high-level government officials.

Art. 279 – Includes representatives of popular power councils for the nomination of Attorney General, Comptroller General, and Human Rights Defender. Also, specifies that each of these may be removed by a majority of the National Assembly, instead of leaving the issue to a separate law and a ruling from the Supreme Court.

Art. 289 – Adds to the Comptroller General’s powers the ability to name state and municipal comptrollers.

Art. 293 – Removes the National Electoral Council’s responsibility to preside over union elections.

Art. 295 – Inclusion of representatives from the Popular Power in the nomination process of members to the National Electoral Council. Specifies that members may be chosen by a majority of National Assembly members, instead of a two-thirds majority. Election of electoral council members is supposed to be staggered now, where three are elected and then halfway through their 7-year term, the other two are to be elected.

Art. 296 – Members of the National Electoral Council may be removed by a majority of National Assembly members, without the need of a prior ruling from the Supreme Court.

Section VIII. Constitutional exceptions: Right to information no longer guaranteed during state of emergency, emergencies to last as long as the conditions that caused it.

Art. 337 – Change in states of emergency, so that the right to information is no longer protected in such instances. Also, the right to due process is removed in favor of the right to defense, to no forced disappearance, to personal integrity, to be judged by one’s natural judges, and not to be condemned to over 30 years imprisonment.

Art. 338 – States of alert, emergency, and of interior or exterior commotion are no longer limited to a maximum of 180 days, but are to last as long as conditions persist that motivated the state of exception.

Art. 339 – The Supreme Court’s approval for states of exception is no longer necessary, only the approval of the National Assembly.

Full Spanish text of the constitutional reform proposal

English translation of Venezuela’s 1999 constitution

Global Research Articles by Gregory Wilpert contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Gregory Wilpert,, 2007
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Shut Up (About) Chavez By Paul Buchheit

Unfortunately Racism Is Alive And Well And Hiding Out On The US Mexican Border by Guadamour


by Guadamour
Dandelion Salad
featured writer

Guadamour’s Blog
Nov. 25, 2007

In The Reaper’s Line, retired Special Agent for the US Customs Service, Lee Morgan, II, details how the “War On Drugs” and stopping the rising tide of undocumented immigrants is being lost.

Morgan is at times almost lyrical in his writing, but is generally crusty and salty in his language. This lends authenticity to the book.

For a 31 year veteran of the Border in Cochise County and Douglas, Arizona, Morgan is surprising sympathetic to undocumented immigrants, and has a grudging respect for many involved in drug smuggling.

What Morgan does have time for is bureaucrats (he refers to them as REMFs, and one has to read the book to learn what the acronym stands for), vigilantes and people in positions of authority who abuse their authority.

In his chapter on vigilantes, Morgan explains how Roger and Don Barnett and other vigilantes have a racist agenda.

Morgan outlines how the Barnett’s bought a ranch along the border so that they could pursue their racist agenda. He also notes how being a ranch owner and actually being a rancher are two separate and distinctly different things.

He goes into detail how this is so hypocritical on the part of the Barnett’s because they secure a large part of their income from taking advantage of undocumented immigrants through a towing company they own. This is proven because Arizona courts gave a 1.3 million dollar judgment against the Barnetts.

What Morgan fails to note is that the Barnetts inherited their money from their father who started Barnett’s Propane, the largest distributor of propane in Cochise County.

Morgan gives details on how the Minutemen, Ranch Rescue, Posse Comitatus and other vigilante groups have organized hunts to shoot unarmed undocumented immigrants, just as they had gone to South Africa to hunt down people of color.

Morgan further explains why the US Attorney’s office and the state of Arizona won’t touch this issue.

Since Morgan’s book has come out, the Barnetts have sold their ranch. This would be good except for the fact that they sold their ranch to another racist with money.

The Barnetts sold their ranch to a former brother-in-law from Virginia whose mother bought him the ranch adjacent to the Barnett ranch.

While he had the contract to pick-up trash left by undocumented immigrants, the reviewer, heard the purchasers of the Barnett ranch refer to Mexicans as if they were using the “N” word. This is interesting, because the owners of these ranches (which encompass over 60,000 acres) don’t have a clue about ranching, and all their help are Mexicans.

The Reaper’s Line is a must read for anyone interested about current race relations in the US and Border Issues.

The Reaper’s Line can be purchased from Rio Nuevo Publishers (, and is also available from

The Reaper’s Line: Life and Death on the Mexican Border
By: Lee Morgan
Release date: 25 September, 2006

The World Continues to Look Away. Don’t. By Brian O’Connell (over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

By Brian O’Connell
11/24/07 “SMH

Some stories, as horrific as they are, need to be read by everyone. This is one of them.

Ombeni is late. School starts in 20 minutes and she still has to get her son Daniel’s books sorted, make his lunch and do a few odd jobs around the house. Her home is a two-room mud shack, in a honeycombed complex of corrugated iron and twisted branches dug into the hills surrounding Bukavu, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It’s a half hour’s walk from her front door to Daniel’s school, where she fixes his collar and kisses him goodbye. He gives a quick look around to make sure none of his classmates is looking, and returns her affection. Ombeni continues her journey another kilometre down the road, to her own classroom. This is her first year back at school, and her headmaster says she is a model pupil: “If only everyone was like her.”

By rights, Ombeni should be nearing the end of her university life, perhaps fending off marriage requests or applying for teaching posts in the city. But her schooling, and her life’s journey, were brutally interrupted almost five years earlier.

Back then she was a typical 15-year-old with dreams of university and a better life. Her home was a village in the countryside, where, when she wasn’t studying, she helped in the fields. It was while out working one evening that rebel forces captured her carefree innocence. For months she became their slave, both sexual and physical, as they lived in various wooded compounds along the Rwandan border. Heavily pregnant, and near death from lack of food, the rebels returned her to her village so her parents could watch her die.

But she didn’t, and now, five years on, she is picking up the pieces of a fragmented life.

It hasn’t been easy. Locals are wary of her son, thinking he will grow up and assume the same characteristics as his father. Ombeni says she can feel suspicious eyes on her every time they step outside, and unless she can get Daniel away from the village, she fears for his safety.

Daniel is oblivious, as any four-year-old should be. He likes school and gets on well with everyone in the playground. Next year his mother will start training to be a teacher. Two years after that, she hopes to have enough money to leave the village and get a house somewhere safe. A fresh start. Despite everything, she considers herself fortunate. For an increasing population of silent victims though, life in DRC has become a hellish pattern of sexual and physical torment. Along the eastern border region, a daily horror show is playing itself out, bolstered by the ambivalence of the world and the political vacuum created by decades of regional conflict.

The perpetrators include the Interahamwe, the Hutu fighters who fled neighbouring Rwanda in 1994 after committing genocide there; the Congolese army; a random assortment of armed civilians; even United Nations peacekeepers, and increasingly, local civilians.

Christine Schuler Deschryver, who works for a German aid organisation and has been a staunch and stubborn advocate for victims, says the perpetrators are difficult to identify. “All of them are raping women,” she says, “It is a country sport. Any person in uniform is an enemy to women.”

The problems have their roots in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, when thousands of victims and perpetrators fled across the border. Upwards of 10,000 Rwandan rebel forces remained, living in forested areas and terrorising local populations at their will. Rwanda doesn’t want them back, and even if they did, many refuse to return. The Congolese Army, it seems, has neither the collective heart nor the political will to forcibly remove them, and with many soldiers not receiving pay for months on end, they too are guilty of looting and pillaging. So the forces remain, intent on the sexual and social destruction of the local population.

So far they are succeeding on a spectacular scale. For those who are apprehended, there is little impunity, thanks to antiquated gender laws. The attacks grow more numerous and sadistic by the day and the normalisation of sexual violence continues largely unabated.

“Darfur is nothing compared to what’s going on in the Congo,” says Schuler Deschryver, who despite constant death threats, continues to raise the plight of Congolese women. “My father was the founder of the National Park in Rwanda, which is home to rare silver back gorillas. During the war here, just one silver back was killed. And when it happened, within 48 hours millions in funding was sent to ensure the rest of the gorilla population was protected. Why isn’t the same done with our women? I’ll tell you why, because in the eyes of the international community animals have more value than humans in this part of the world.”

Schuler Deschryver’s anger is also felt a few kilometres away, on the outskirts of Bukavu, where Dr Denis Mukwege, an obstetrician for more than 20 years, tries to deal with the aftermath of sexual violence. He runs Panzi Hospital, set up in 1999 in response to the emergency crisis after the so-called African war; it houses more than 350 patients. Each day, 10 new cases are admitted, some as young as nine, so badly damaged that reconstructive surgery is often required. The victims sit on benches, lining urine-soaked corridors, alone and frightened. On eye contact, there is nothing. No expression, no acknowledgement, no smiles – just a fleeting confirmation that behind their eyes, a pained suffering lies deep.

Mukwege can’t say for certain if the attacks are on the increase. In general, the hospital estimates it sees just 10 per cent of all sexual violence victims, but certain patterns are developing. Attackers are now identifiable by their manner of attack: one group, after raping the woman or girl, inserts the barrel of a gun into her vagina and shoots, thus destroying her vagina, bladder, rectum and causing massive blood loss. Some force males at gunpoint to rape mothers or sisters, often in front of the whole community. A large percentage of the attackers are HIV-positive and knowingly try to infect their victims.

These aren’t just random acts of grotesque inhumanity; it is the systematic sexual and social destruction of whole populations in eastern Congo. And little, it seems, is being done to stop it.

“I have seen men literally lost,” Mukwege says. “Emotionally ruined and unable to go on after witnessing the destruction of their wives and the resulting destruction of their families. They are permanently haunted by thoughts going through their head – ‘I raped my wife and family and didn’t stop it.’ Some men flee and abandon their families. In cases where the perpetrators don’t kill their victims outright, they kill them slowly and painfully, not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally. It is the destruction of society.”

British and American journalists have passed through Panzi, yet Mukwege says nothing has changed. The hospital still turns away patients and those responsible for the violence are seldom brought to justice. “I have spoken to everyone from the international media who have visited, but still the rapes continue. I have to keep hope otherwise I’d take off my shirt and stop my work.

“I know the situation can be resolved if people really get involved and international political will is behind it. We cannot ignore what’s happening here and portray it as barbaric African culture, as it is sometimes portrayed.”

The sense of exasperation is palpable, and as Mukwege is called away, victims who have queued outside hobble into the room to tell their stories.

Chibalonza Nsinire, 16, was asleep when the Interahamwe came. After tying her hands, they led her to a forest and over three days, took turns raping her and other women. After being raped, the women were forced to prepare meals for the forces, using food pillaged from their own houses.

Mugoli Muhamiri was expecting wedding guests when she answered a knock at her door six months ago. Instead of relatives, a group of men poured in and began a rampage. She was tied up and the men took turns raping her. From the corner of her eye, she saw her husband’s throat being slit, and two of her children being mutilated. They were two years old. She says she counted seven men raping her, before she lost consciousness. Now she clings to her only surviving child, Stephen, who is unaware of the HIV that infects his mother’s body.

“I have been given great medical support here, but I know one day soon I have to die. I cannot keep the medicine for the HIV in my stomach because I have no food. I feel bad for my child who remains, because he will have no mother and no father. That brings great sorrow to my heart.”

Heavily pregnant 15-year-old Furaha Tajiri is from the Ninja province. The forces came for her at night, tied her hands and started beating her and her parents repeatedly. “I then saw them take my parents and kill them,” she says.

“After that they took me with them to the forest. They started raping me there – I counted 17 who attacked me. I stayed in the forest for six months and each day I was raped by two men.”

Furaha gave birth to a boy the day after telling her tale. She was distraught, and needed food. Without a husband or family, she was only too acutely aware that much hardship lies ahead.

Throughout the eastern Congo, the stories were of the same horrific magnitude. There is little hope and little in the way of happy endings. Words such as rehabilitation and justice are no longer part of the daily vocabulary.

One group trying to help is the Irish aid organisation Trocaire, which believes UN troops should patrol the areas particularly prone to attack and protect vulnerable communities, notably women and girls.

The organisation also believes the DRC Government has a responsibility to seek a solution to the conflict in the east, and to do so while respecting human rights.

For many working on the ground the destruction is total and the task often overwhelming. Efforts to deal with the problem are only grazing the surface, in a country rich in resources but poor on relief. Fewer than 50 non-government organisations ply their trade in eastern Congo, in contrast to Rwanda, which is something of an NGO haven.

In the genocide museum in Kigali, the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, is quoted as feeling remorseful towards the atrocities committed in 1994, when 1 million Rwandans died on the UN’s watch. The world could have and should have done more, he infers. Yet 17,000 UN troops are stationed in DRC, and within a stone’s throw of their bases the most vulnerable in that society are being routinely destroyed.

Two months ago, the UN humanitarian chief, John Holmes, visited Panzi, was horrified when he heard the stories and saw the conditions. He also met Christine Schuler Deschryver. Normally an articulate and measured advocate, her diplomatic savvy deserted her. “I told him what is happening here is a holocaust. I was very aggressive. I said, ‘You are in the Congo, so what are you doing? You came to the hospital and like everyone you cry. Like everyone you leave. And like everyone, we never hear from you again.’ ”

Copyright © 2007. The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (must-see video; Dahr Jamail)

Dandelion Salad


run time: 41:11 min

Talk by independent journalist Dahr Jamail author of “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq” given November 3, 2007 at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.

Added: November 25, 2007

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“Market Fundamentalism” and the Tyranny of Money by Richard C. Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, November 25, 2007

Recommendations for Reform of the US Monetary System

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I. What We Must Do Today

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are, or should be, the fruits of democracy. But the political democracy defined by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution has not been achieved because economic democracy has not been achieved. The attainment of real economic democracy is the next task for the American people.

In the midst of the most productive economy in history, the U.S. and much of the world today are in crisis, with stagnant or falling incomes, rising prices, and skyrocketing debt. Many experts are predicting an economic collapse, and people with money are scrambling for safe places to protect it. No one in an official capacity has provided a convincing explanation; few have even tried.

We are taught that economics is a “science” and that it operates under unchangeable laws that are understandable only to specialists. People speak with reverence of “market forces” as existing beyond the reach of human intelligence and will.

None of this is true. There is no such thing as “laws” in economics.

Of course there are plenty of habits and conventions, myths and prejudices. But the “laws” are the ones created by governments, usually under the control of powerful people who work the levers of power to acquire greater wealth through legislative favor. These laws are man-made. In some cases the laws may provide benefits to those who work for a living, but in many cases not. What we forget is that any of these laws can be changed and that many of them should be changed.

Besides, haven’t we learned by now that what has aptly been called “market fundamentalism” is really shorthand for the tyranny of money? It is a fact that control of economic life, at least in most of the Western nations, has been turned over to the monetary elite who control the world’s industry and resources through the private issuance of credit that originates from the privilege of fractional reserve banking.

This vestige of the financial systems of the Middle Ages allows the banks to produce credit “out of thin air” and lend it at a profit. They lend to consumers, businesses, investors, speculators (such as hedge funds), and to federal, state, and local governments. Under the banking laws, they generate this credit against a small “reserve base” consisting of customer deposits, government debt, overnight deposits from corporations and government agencies, and even—as has been well-documented—by laundering the proceeds of drug dealing and other types of crime.

The dependence of economic life on debt has assured that there has been a steady flow of wealth from the producing economy of goods and services into the financial web which surrounds it. Debt from lending at interest grows at an exponential rate.

Further, every period of economic growth in the last generation has been largely a bank-created bubble. Each time a bubble bursts, the financiers gain more wealth by buying assets at bankruptcy prices. The latest is the housing bubble.

Now we are about to see the bursting of an even larger bubble consisting of stocks and other business assets. In fact, the financiers are now positioning themselves to take advantage of a broad economic collapse.

Control of wealth by high finance is the main reason the bounty of science and technology has not assured a better life to the majority of the people of the world.

Politicians stand by and do nothing. In fact their campaigns are financed by the monetary elite. Should any of them mention economic themes that are even remotely “populist,” they are immediately denounced by the financier-controlled press.

Despite the power of industrial processes which have the capability of providing a decent living to everyone in the world—contrary to the myth of global overpopulation—the world still lives under an illusion of scarcity. This tends to justify the senseless struggle for wealth and control of resources. But it’s one of the most glaring examples of the condition of mass hypnotism that has weighed humanity down throughout the ages.

Ethically, the illusion of scarcity leads to the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, the fight for dominance and supremacy. “Economic man” still lives at the animal level. The higher laws of human ethics, including the injunction to “love our neighbors as ourselves,” have been ignored. But they need not be ignored if we wake up to the fact that we have it in our power to live in a much different and better world.

The present situation is just as harmful to the wealthy who hold their fellow human beings in bondage as it is to the debtors they oppress, for the rich as well are deprived of the benefits of living in a world where human beings are free, happy, generous, and productive.

One answer to the problem is monetary reform, combined with the realization that science and technology have removed the need for everyone to work all the time just to survive. We have earned the “leisure” and “peace” dividends that are often mentioned but have yet to be realized.

For the last eight months I have been publishing essays on these themes on Global Research and other internet sites. I was inspired to write and publish these essays after I retired from the U.S. Treasury Department following thirty-two years of working for the federal government.

My research showed that the U.S. actually had a reasonable approach to monetary matters for much of our history. The thirteen American colonies built a dynamic economy without the presence of a single bank. Throughout the nineteenth century, we developed the most powerful economy on earth without a large national debt.

Then Congress gave away its constitutional authority over money through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution which was enacted the same year, created an income tax to pay the interest on the national debt. Throughout history, government debt and excessive military spending have gone hand-in-hand. Not accidentally, the Federal Reserve Act marked the beginning of the century of world war that still afflicts us.

We now need to reclaim our monetary system before our government makes the fatal error of engaging in more useless foreign wars, besides the travesty in Iraq, because they continue to think that the way to solve our internal monetary problems is taking other people’s land and resources. This is another effect of the illusion of scarcity.

A lifetime of involvement in public finance with the federal government has led me to call for one basic reform.

We should abolish the privately-controlled Federal Reserve as a bank of issue and re-establish constitutional control of credit as a public utility. Public creation of credit would be reflected in two basic policies: 1) direct issuance of credit to citizens through a basic income guarantee, a periodic National Dividend, and low-interest bank lending; and 2) direct spending by government for essential services—i.e., restoring the Greenback—combined with public low-interest financing of infrastructure investment. Taking these steps would also allow us to reduce much of the onerous burden of taxation at the federal, state, and municipal levels.

Also, people who advocate a gold standard are often confused about the definition of “fiat money,” which they deride. There are actually different types of “fiat money.” The debt-based credit created by the Federal Reserve, often called “fiat money,” is not money at all. It is simply temporary credit with a lien against it for repayment with interest. But real “fiat money,” like the Civil War Greenbacks or the American colonial paper currency, was true democratic money that was spent into circulation by government and was never inflationary. Rather it allowed commerce to expand and people to prosper. This type of fiat money is actually the key to economic democracy.

II. Monetary Reform Recommendations

The articles compiled in the essays referenced above contain numerous recommendations for actions that would restore the issuance and management of credit as a public utility under the Commonwealth of American citizens as established by the U.S. Constitution. Following is a comprehensive list of reforms.

The immediate purpose of this program would be to correct the conditions that have brought us to the brink of economic catastrophe due to the cession of control over credit by Congress to the private financier elite through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

The unconstitutional abdication of monetary responsibility by Congress has contributed directly to a century of world war, the near-destruction of the U.S. as a constitutional republic, and the transfer of much of the nation’s wealth into the hands of the monetary controllers who have acquired it through inflating and deflating financial bubbles, by mis-using their fractional reserve banking privileges.

The recommendations which follow would be a start in bringing about change. A few of them have been suggested by some of the 2008 presidential candidates, though none of the candidates from either party has presented anything close to a program this comprehensive. The recommendations are divided into immediate, near-term, and long-term actions. Note that monetary reform will make possible a large number of additional economic and political changes, including a transformation of the military posture of the U.S., since we no longer will have to fight the rest of the world to compensate for our monetary weaknesses.


  • Abolish the Federal Reserve as a bank of issue and reconstitute it as a financial processing bureau servicing the public and private financial sectors under the authority of the U.S. Treasury Department.

  • Place all U.S. monetary operations under a Monetary Control Board that shall operate as a federal regulatory agency under the administrative supervision of the U.S. Treasury Department.

  • Abolish Federal Reserve open market operations by authorizing credit directly issued by the U.S. Treasury as collateral for all U.S. bank lending.

  • Restore private banking operations in the U.S. to the “real bills” doctrine and abolish all lending for financial asset and securities speculation.

  • Outlaw hedge funds.

  • Replace all Federal Reserve notes by U.S. Treasury certificates.

  • Place the entire U.S. national debt under bankruptcy reorganization.

  • Authorize the executive branch to begin direct Greenback-type funding of selected operational programs.

  • Establish a self-collateralized Federal Infrastructure Bank to lend to state and local governments for long-term projects at zero percent interest.

  • Restore the pre-2005 federal personal bankruptcy law.

  • Utilize an off-budget national credit account to issue an annual guaranteed basic income to all legal U.S. residents in the amount of $10,000 per adult and $5,000 per dependent child.

  • Establish a National Price Commission to work toward a system-wide fair pricing policy for the U.S.

  • Freeze budgets and hiring for all federal government agencies, including the military and all contractors.


  • Establish policies to maintain a stable dollar with minimal inflation allowances.

  • Adopt as a primary monetary goal the backing of our currency with domestic production within the physical economy rather than the “print, loan, charge, and spend” policy of bank-centered monetarism.

  • Extend the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate and eliminate predatory financial practices within U.S. capital markets that are destructive to U.S. industry, infrastructure, and labor.

  • Use the findings of the National Price Commission to establish an annual National Dividend that provides citizens with their rightful benefits accruing from the appreciation of national productive capacity through the application of science and technology to productive processes. The National Dividend shall utilize the amount of the guaranteed basic income as a floor in calculating benefits and shall consist in both direct payments to citizens and pricing subsidies for products sold in U.S. markets.

  • Establish a new federal agency to oversee and regulate mortgage funding, assure low-interest lending for housing, and protect the housing markets from predatory financial practices, including the inflation and deflation of housing bubbles.

  • Assure funding and legislative support to implement energy-conservation actions such as those contained in the 2005 report of the Rocky Mountain Institute entitled, “Winning the Oil End-Game: Innovation for Profits, Jobs, and Security.”

  • Provide increased federal R&D funding for hydrogen technologies and for technologies that replace the internal combustion engine.

  • Provide funding for free college-level education for all U.S. citizens.

  • Reverse privatization of public utilities and re-regulate on a fair-price basis.

  • Protect and extend union collective bargaining rights.

  • Restore public service requirements for media broadcasting.

  • Establish public funding for all U.S. elections along with mandatory free air time for political candidates.

  • Depoliticize all agencies of the executive branch from undue corporate influence in decision-making and establish new and meaningful programs of public access and participation.

  • Establish federal support mechanisms allowing community banks to provide low-interest loans at one percent interest to small businesses and consumers.

  • Utilize a federal-state partnership to establish a series of ten regional mega-universities within the United States to serve both U.S. and international student audiences.

  • Reconstitute the federal budget by eliminating programs supplanted by the guaranteed basic income, utilization of direct Greenback-type funding where appropriate, and selective users’ fees.

  • Eliminate collateralization of private sector banking with federal debt securities. Emergency borrowing by the federal government will take place only through direct sale of Treasury bonds.

  • Eliminate all federal, state, and municipal income taxes and replace with a national sales tax.

  • Establish a mandatory annual income ceiling for individuals and corporations.

  • Establish a mandatory national building and zoning code that provides for affordable housing, use of renewable energy resources, and expanded mass transit.

  • Recreate and revitalize the nation’s railroads.

  • Establish a system of universal health care that draws heavily on concepts of lifestyle and prevention.

  • Establish meaningful programs of center city renewal to transform “death zones” into vibrant centers of urban culture.

  • Abolish the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the North American Free Trade Association and replace them with an international monetary authority under the U.N. whose function is to regulate international currency exchange to the mutual benefit of all parties.

  • Place all outstanding loans by the IMF under bankruptcy reorganization.

  • Support models of sustainable economic development among developing countries.

  • Begin the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from overseas bases.

  • Outlaw all covert warfare carried out by U.S. government agencies.

  • Eliminate all military programs of domestic surveillance and all overseas surveillance, detention, and torture contrary to established international law.

  • Reduce U.S. arms sales abroad to essential defense requirements.

  • Eliminate all U.S. funding of mercenary or contractor military forces.

  • Reconstitute the CIA and NSA as supporters of a defensive military posture and depoliticize their operations in order to assure accurate professional data-gathering and analysis.

  • Reconstitute the State Department as an agency to support the democratic aspirations of the people of the world.


  • Eliminate the entire U.S. national debt.

  • Carry out a general demilitarization of American culture.

  • Reduce the military budget by elimination of wars of “choice,” abandonment of “full spectrum dominance,” and restoration of a military devoted to multilateralist defense of the U.S.

  • Work with the nations of the world on establishing democratic economic systems based on the utilization of credit as a public utility in accordance with U.S. constitutional traditions.

  • Undertake reclamation and desalination programs to bring water supplies to drought-stricken areas.

  • Accomplish a permanent long-term conversion to renewable energy sources, including water-fueled hydrogen cells suitable to provide all power needs for homes and businesses.

  • Refocus the U.S. space program on activities that support space science and the economic development of space resources.

III. Conclusion

One final recommendation could be made, which would be to restore to our citizens the money they have been forced to borrow during their lifetimes rather than enjoy the benefit of a National Dividend which could have been implemented decades ago. At a current estimated value of over $12,000 per year, the lifetime amount would average around $500,000 per adult. This figure represents the amount of debt we have had to incur, not including interest, due to a financial system that benefits the monetary controllers, not the people of the nation.

As monetary reformers of the past have affirmed, a program like this represents a spiritual vision. It cannot be achieved by moving pieces around on an economic or political chessboard. It requires a new way of looking at humanity—as individuals, who, like oneself or one’s family or one’s nation or those of one’s religion, also have a right to a life of abundance and security on the planet earth.

This abundance and security are both available, not by accumulating money, power, or influence, but by looking to the spirit within and allowing the splendor of that vision to manifest in the outer world. This vision was reflected in ideals of our republic expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and is now reflected in the program of reform described by monetary reformers both past and present.

Of course no one can say how much more time must pass before such a program can be implemented. The illusion of scarcity has society in a stranglehold. Will it take a nuclear war to get us to wake up? A worldwide revolution? Catastrophes from pollution or global warming?

For now, enlightened individuals must do the best they can to acquire and maintain a spiritual perspective and be prepared for the time when conditions ripen. Measures such as getting out of debt, creating local currency/barter systems, forming conscious communities, and acquiring manual skills are some of the economic actions people can take to protect themselves.

Also, people can take action through their state and local governments. Before the Civil War we had state-owned banks. During the Depression, cities experimented with their own currencies. The states could even initiate a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution to restore citizens’ monetary control.

Finally, don’t feel badly about being in debt and wanting to get out. Almost everyone is in debt to some extent, millions of people are over their heads in debt, and the situation is going to get worse.

But remember that before long, monetary reform based on public control and issuance of credit will be recognized as the most fundamental requirement of economic democracy and will be implemented. It’s been said that the tyranny of money “is the last tyranny.” Eventually the time may come when we will be more developed spiritually and perhaps won’t even need money anymore.

Then people will be able to walk into any store and take what they need, free for the asking. We’ll do what work is required just for the enjoyment and adventure of it. No one will desire what another has because we finally will have understood that the bounty of God’s universe is infinite. That will be the ultimate monetary reform.

Richard C. Cook is a retired federal analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at

Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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