Medics Question Use of Less Lethal Weapons

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More at Medics from the North Star Health Collective, who tended to injured protesters, police and media point out that less lethal weapons have maimed and killed people in the past. Garth Kahl, EMT and volunteer firefighter, claims the actions of the police using these weapons often “exacerbated” the situation.

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MN Natl Guard mobilized + Cop Attacked + Pyrotechnics

RoboCops: Professional Policing of Political Protest – An Insider’s Viewpoint

RNC – St Paul-Minneapolis MN

Mushroom Cloud over Wall Street By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
09/22/08 “ICH

“One bank to rule them all;
One bank to bind them…”

These are dark times. While you were sleeping the cockroaches were busy about their work, rummaging through the US Constitution, and putting the finishing touches on a scheme to assert absolute power over the nation’s financial markets and the country’s economic future. Industry representative Henry Paulson has submitted legislation to congress that will finally end the pretense that Bush controls anything more than reading the lines from a 4′ by 6′ teleprompter situated just inches from his lifeless pupils. Paulson is in charge now, and the coronation is set for sometime early next week. He rose to power in a stealthily-executed Bankster’s Coup in which he, and his coterie of dodgy friends, declared martial law on the US economy while elevating himself to supreme leader.

“All Hail Caesar!” The days of the republic are over.

Section 8 of the proposed legislation says it all:

“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

Right; “non-reviewable” supremacy.

Congress, of course, is more than eager to abdicate whatever little authority they have left. They’re infinitely grateful for their purely ceremonial role, the equivalent of Caligula’s horse, albeit, with considerably less dignity. Has even one senator spoken out against this madness, which–according to informal internet polls–is resoundingly rejected by the voters? Does it concern the members of congress at all, that the present financial crisis was brought on by the proliferation and sale of trillions of dollars of mortgage-banked garbage which were fraudulently represented as Triple A rated bonds by the very same people who now claim to need unprecedented and dictatorial powers to fix the problem? Or are they more worried that the steady torrent of contributions which flows from Wall Street to congressional campaign coffers will be inconveniently disrupted if they fail to ratify this latest assault on democratic governance? The House of Representatives is one big steaming dungheap that should be leveled and turned into an amusement park instead of a taxpayer-funded knocking shop. What a pathetic collection of cowards and scumbags.

Bloomberg News:

“The Bush administration sought unchecked power from Congress to buy $700 billion in bad mortgage investments from financial companies in what would be an unprecedented government intrusion into the markets. Through his plan, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson aims to avert a credit freeze that would bring the financial system and the world’s largest economy to a standstill. The bill would prevent courts from reviewing actions taken under its authority.

“He’s asking for a huge amount of power,” said Nouriel Roubini an economist at New York University. “He’s saying, `Trust me, I’m going to do it right if you give me absolute control.’ This is not a monarchy.” (Bloomberg)

The banksters own this country, always have; only now they’ve decided to strip away the curtain and reveal the ghoulish visage of the puppet-master. It ain’t pretty.

Paulson decided that the financial markets needed an emergency trillion dollar face-lift just weeks before his former business partners at G-Sax were dragged off to the chopping block. Was that the reason? Everyone on Wall Street knew that the bulls-eye had already been ripped from Lehman’s bloody back and was about to be fastened on Goldman’s. Now, it looks like they will escape their day of reckoning due to Paulson’s eleventh-hour reprieve. Nice touch, eh?


“(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them.”

Market Ticker’s Karl Denninger summed this up best:

“This is the de facto nationalization of the entire banking, insurance and related financial system..That’s right – every bank and other financial institution in the United States has just become a de-facto organ of the United States Government, if Hank Paulson thinks they should be, and he may order them to do virtually anything that he claims is in furtherance of this act…..The bill gives Paulson the ability to nationalize unlimited amount of private debt and force you and your children to pay for it.”

Denninger again:

“The claim is that this is intended to ‘promote confidence and stability’ in the financial markets.

It will do no such thing. It will instead strike terror into the hearts of investors worldwide who hold any sort of paper, whether it be preferred stock, common stock or debt, in any financial entity that happens to be domiciled in the United States, never mind the potential impact on Treasury yields and the United States sovereign credit rating.

I predict that if this passes it will precipitate the mother and father of all financial panics.” (Market Ticker)

Amen. The transformation from a free market to a centralized, Soviet-style economy run by men whose judgment and credibility is already greatly in doubt; does not auger well for the markets or the country. Anyone with a lick of sense would cash in their chips first thing Monday and look for capital’s Elysium Fields overseas or as far as possible from the circus sideshow now run by G-Sax ringleader, Colonel Klink.

Paulson’s Chicken Little routine might might have soiled a few senatorial undergarments, but let’s hope the American people are made of sterner stuff and will reject this charade. The conversation should be shifted from conceding more authority to hucksters in pin-stripes to indictments for securities fraud. Even the most economically-challenged nation ought to be able to afford a few sets of leg-irons and a couple hundred jail cells. That’s all it will take. That, and a couple brisk dunks on the waterboard. Glub, glub.

Paulson’s plan to revive the banking system by buying up hundreds of billions of dollars of illiquid mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and other equally poisonous debt-instruments; ignores the fact these complex bonds have already been “marked to market” in the recent firesale by Merrill Lynch. Just weeks ago, Merrill sold $31 billion of these CDOs for roughly $.20 on the dollar and provided 75 percent of the financing, which means that the CDOs were really worth approximately $.06 on the dollar. If this is the settlement that Paulson has in mind, than the taxpayer will be well served. But this will not recapitalize the banks balance sheets or mop up the ocean of red ink which is flooding the financial system. No, Paulson intends to hand out lavish treats to his banker buddies, while interest rates soar, pension funds collapse, the housing market crashes, and the dollar does a last, looping swan-dive into a pool of molten lava. Thanks, Hank.

Economist and author Henry Liu summarized the current maneuvering like this:

“The Fed is merely trying to inject money to keep prices not supported by fundamentals from falling. It is a prescription for hyperinflation. The only way to keep price of worthless assets high is to lower the value of money. And that appears to be the Fed unspoken strategy.”

Indeed. The Fed and Treasury have decided to backstop the entire global financial system (foreign banks can access the Fed’s facilities, too!) with paper money which is rapidly losing its value. Watch the greenback tumble tomorrow in currency trading.

Congress is getting steamrolled and the American people are getting snookered. Consumer confidence–already at historic lows–is headed for the wood-chipper feet-first. Something has got to give.

One minute everything is hunky-dory; the subprime meltdown is “contained” and “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”. (Paulson) And, less than a week later, congress is forced to surrender their constitutionally-mandated right to oversee spending in order to forestall economic Armageddon. Which is it? Or is the real objective just to keep the country on an emotional teeter-totter long enough for all state-power to be subsumed by the Wall Street Politburo?

No one knows what will happen next. We are in uncharted waters. And no one knows what the political landscape will look like after the dust settles from this outrageous power grab. According to Paulson, things are so dire, the entire nation will be reduced to smoldering rubble and twisted iron. But can we trust him this time after his long litany of lies?

Isn’t it about time to send the cockroaches scuttling back to their hideouts and bring in the cleaning crew to hose the whole place down? It sounds like a job for Ralph Nader, a man of vision and unshakable integrity. Give Ralph a badge and let him deploy his Raiders to Wall Street armed with bullwhips and tasers. Let them post a guard in every CEOs and CFOs office and every boardroom on the Street—and if even one decimal is accidentally moved to the right or left on the corporate ledger; clap them in leg-irons and drag them off squealing to Guantanamo. That’s how you clean up Wall Street!

Don’t let the prospect of a national crisis trick you into giving up your freedom, America. The people behind this scam are the same landsharks and flim-flam men who polluted the global marketplace with their snake oil and toxic sludge. These are the fraudsters who manufactured the crisis to begin with. This is just the latest installment of the Shock Doctrine; engineer a crisis, and then, steal whatever is left behind. Same sh**, different day. Be resolute. Don’t budge. Our economic foundations may be crumbling, but or determination is not. This is our country, not Goldman Sach’s. The people who destroyed America must be held to account. Their time is coming. Justice first.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Equity, Not “Cash For Trash” In Bailout by Dennis Kucinich + YouTube’s Cutest Animals

Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle By William Greider

The media’s moola madness By William Bowles

Financial crisis: working people will pay

Capitalism on trial

Ron Paul on Glen Beck + Bail Outs + Shadow Economy

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen by Richard C. Cook

Welcome to the final stages of the coup… by Larisa Alexandrovna

Bush Exits with a Bang: Toxic Bailout and Two More Wars? By Heather Wokusch

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse


Mosaic News – 9/19/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad



This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


Mosaic needs your help! Donate here:

“Mosques are not Immune from War in Iraq,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Yemeni President Promises to Hunt Down terrorists,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Cholera Outbreak in Iraq,” Alhurra
“Livni reaches out to Meretz,” IBA TV, Israel
“Al Qaeda Affliated Group Threatens to Attack Hamas,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Bashar al Assad on Iran,” New TV, Lebanon
“Delhi gears up to fight terrorism,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Ramadan in France,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Israel’s October Surprise?,” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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Equity, Not “Cash For Trash” In Bailout by Dennis Kucinich + YouTube’s Cutest Animals

Dandelion Salad

by Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Sep 22, 2008

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich Announces Plan for Ownership Society

Congressman Dennis Kucinich D-OH today made the following statement announcing a plan for a new Ownership Society:

“The Wall Street financial disaster is an opportunity to create a genuine ownership society. If Congress invests $700 billion in the market, then the American people must get something of real value for their investment.

“Simply purchasing bad debt, “cash for trash” and not receiving anything of value or giving $700 billion and not having a commensurate equity interest in Wall Street firms is unacceptable. No “cash for trash”.

“Since the bailout will cost each and every American about $2,300, tomorrow I will offer legislation to create a United States Mutual Trust Fund, which will take control of $700 billion in stock assets, at market value and not higher, convert those assets to shares, and distribute $2,300 worth of shares to new individual savings accounts in the name of each and every American.”

Kucinich arrived at the $2,300 figure by dividing the cost of the bailout $700 billion by the US population over 300 million.


YouTube’s Cutest Animals


Write Your Representative:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle By William Greider

The media’s moola madness By William Bowles

Kucinich tells Cavuto: economic problems transcend party labels

Financial crisis: working people will pay

Capitalism on trial

Ron Paul on Glen Beck + Bail Outs + Shadow Economy

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen by Richard C. Cook

Welcome to the final stages of the coup… by Larisa Alexandrovna

Bush Exits with a Bang: Toxic Bailout and Two More Wars? By Heather Wokusch

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Pakistan President Confirms Pakistani Troops Will Shoot at Cross Border Incursions

Dandelion Salad

September 22, 2008 MSNBC

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Pakistan hit by smaller attacks, killing at last 10

By Saeed Shah and Jonathan S. Landay
McClatchy Newspapers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — More extremist attacks shook Pakistan on Monday on the heels of a devastating bomb attack on the capital’s best-known hotel. Gunmen took the Afghan consul-general hostage after killing his driver, and suicide bombers killed nine policemen at a checkpoint in the valley of Swat, northwest of the capital.

The bombing of the deluxe Marriott hotel, in which at least 53 died and more than 260 were wounded, was still shrouded in mystery. A little known terrorist group called Fadayeen Islam — “Islamic Commandos” — took responsibility in a tape given to a Dubai-based television news channel, and claimed that there’d been 250 U.S. Marines and NATO officials at the hotel. Security experts said it was highly unlikely that American forces would be stationed at so vulnerable a location.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 09/22/2008 | Pakistan hit by smaller attacks, killing at last 10.


What’s To Be Done: Bomb Blast in Islamabad Marriott September 20, 2008

What Was Mysterious Activity Going on in the Marriott Hotel Islamabad by United States Marines

Video emerges of Marriott bombing + Rescuers search Pakistan blast site

Dozens killed in Pakistan hotel blast + Pakistan shaken by deadly blast

Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle By William Greider

Dandelion Salad

By William Greider
The Nation
September 19, 2008

Financial-market wise guys, who had been seized with fear, are suddenly drunk with hope. They are rallying explosively because they think they have successfully stampeded Washington into accepting the Wall Street Journal solution to the crisis: dump it all on the taxpayers. That is the meaning of the massive bailout Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has shopped around Congress. It would relieve the major banks and investment firms of their mountainous rotten assets and make the public swallow their losses–many hundreds of billions, maybe much more. What’s not to like if you are a financial titan threatened with extinction?

If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public–all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims. My advice to Washington politicians: Stop, take a deep breath and examine what you are being told to do by so-called “responsible opinion.” If this deal succeeds, I predict it will become a transforming event in American politics–exposing the deep deformities in our democracy and launching a tidal wave of righteous anger and popular rebellion. As I have been saying for several months, this crisis has the potential to bring down one or both political parties, take your choice.

Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics, a brave conservative critic, put it plainly: “The joyous reception from Congressional Democrats to Paulson’s latest massive bailout proposal smells an awful lot like yet another corporatist lovefest between Washington’s one-party government and the Sell Side investment banks.”


Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle.



The media’s moola madness By William Bowles

Financial crisis: working people will pay

Capitalism on trial

Ron Paul on Glen Beck + Bail Outs + Shadow Economy

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen by Richard C. Cook

Welcome to the final stages of the coup… by Larisa Alexandrovna

Bush Exits with a Bang: Toxic Bailout and Two More Wars? By Heather Wokusch

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

Human cloning gets green light in Australia (short video)

Dandelion Salad


The Australian government has issued the worlds first licence for the cloning of humans, reports the Reuters news agency. Sydney IVF has been given permission to clone human embryos in order to harvest stem cells. Because these cells have the ability to transform into cells of all types, they are potentially invaluable in the treatment of some diseases.

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The media’s moola madness By William Bowles

By William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

22 September, 2008

What does it take for the corporate media to speak the truth about the economic meltdown? Take the BBC Website for example: It has a page titled ‘Q&A: Financial crisis and you’ where you would expect to find an explanation of this, the latest crisis of capital. Dream on folks, dream on.

Actually the best place to look (aside from this and many other progressive sites) is the press that serves the interests of capital (don’t bullshit a bullshitter as the saying goes):

“As we get to the other side of this, the dollar will get crushed,” said John Taylor, chairman of New York-based International Foreign Exchange Concepts Inc., the world’s biggest currency hedge-fund firm, which manages about $15 billion.

“The dollar fell against 14 of the world’s most-traded currencies on Sept. 19, including the euro, as Paulson unveiled the plan, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 4 percent. The plan may end the rally that began in June and drove the U.S. currency up 10 percent versus the euro, 2 percent against the yen and almost 13 percent compared with Brazil’s real, strategists said.”


“The downdraft on the dollar from the hit to the balance sheet of the U.S. government will dwarf the short-term gains from solving the banking crisis,” said David Woo, London-based global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays, the third- biggest currency trader, according to a 2008 survey by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc.” — ‘Dollar May Get `Crushed’ as Traders Weigh Up Bailout (Update3)’, Bloomberg, 22 September, 2008.

But all of a sudden the ‘popular’ press is all gung ho to tell the public what ‘short selling’ is, but they balk at actually unpacking the mechanisms that make it all possible. The BBC has a page that allegedly explains what short selling is called predictably, ‘Q&A: What exactly is short-selling?’ where we read,

“It is a technique that sees investors borrow an asset, such as shares, currencies or oil contracts, from another investor and then sell that asset in the relevant market hoping the price will fall.

“The aim is to buy back the asset at a lower price and return it to its owner, pocketing the difference.

“The same effect can be achieved without even borrowing the shares at all, but simply by using derivatives contracts – glorified bets.”

It goes on to tell us that,

“This practice may have been to blame for the slump in the shares of HBOS after it announced plans to raise £4bn through a rights issue back in April, and contributed to further huge falls in its shares in the three days before its takeover was announced.” — ‘So what is short-selling?’, BBC News Website, 22 September, 2008.

And finally, excuses the entire disaster by telling us,

“Are short sellers solely to blame for the slump in HBOS shares?

“Many analysts say no.” (ibid)

Well nobody is saying that short selling is the sole cause but it is definately part of an entire package of speculations in shares, currency values and interest rates. Short sellers have been made the culprits (with the help of the BBC) but they are only one example of what happens when you have a completely unregulated capitalism (and in any case, as with with insider trading, it’s virtually impossible to stop, see below).

And of course you’ll still have to know what a ‘derivative’ is. Not surprisingly, the BBC doesn’t have a page entitled ‘So what is a derivative?’ but elsewhere, business mavens are less circumspect in their explanation of a derivative,

“One of the conclusions of this paper is that the sheer magnitude of derivative instruments combined with the principle of credit risk or assumed credit risk makes for a potentially devastating banking crisis.” — ‘Derivatives 101 – Big Bets’ By Chris Laird, 17 May, 2004.

The same article explains,

“A derivative contract is basically a contract between two parties that is linked to interest rates, currency exchange rates or indexes. The derivative contract links the holder of the contract to the risk and rewards of holding or owning a financial instrument, but without actually holding the instrument. It has tremendous leveraging effects.” (ibid)

Laird’s kicker is,

“In fact…derivatives are basically big bets made with heretofore unattainable leverage, and in amounts that are simply astounding, even to financially savvy mindsets. They expose not only the holders of the derivatives contracts to the risk, but the dealer banks as well if the holders default, (counter-party risk).”


One of the principles of derivatives is that the risks are managed, but only to the extent that things are foreseen in the model. UNEXPECTED events are highly dangerous as a result.” (ibid)

Whoa, tell me about it! And this article was written in 2004! Note the use of the term ‘model’. These are complex algorithms that pretend to fathom the working of the betting shop, sorry, the stock exchange.

The piece ends with the following, well, warning,

“If any one party defaults, a cascade of time dependent defaults follows. Since the amounts involved are so huge, any weak link is a major risk to the system. As of today, interest rates are moving. So, since the majority of derivatives are tied to interest rates, and interest rates are in flux right now, this is a time of higher risk than we have seen in recent years.” (ibid)

But all derivatives hold one thing in common: Hedging (one’s bet), dealing and speculating, and of course, the interest rate which like shares and currencies is also subject to speculation, betting on its value at some point in the future, whether up or down.

Ultimately it’s a pyramid scheme of astounding, nay, mind-numbing size, in fact tens of trillions of dollars have not only been stolen, but worse, it uses fictional money (as is the case with all pyramid schemes, large and small). Fictional because all the trading in futures, derivatives, hedge funds, call them what you will, relies on the involvement of the central banks and government in the scam, not only in printing the money to keep the fraud going, but by making it legal to setup these pyramid schemes in the first place. It’s called ‘de-regulation’.

The people and institutions who end up with the moola are those who set them up in the first place (as is the case with all pyramid schemes) when they sold their bits of paper to people and institutions like banks and insurance companies just as greedy as they are.

The wealth is real but it’s been siphoned off as part of the gigantic paper trading schemes that goes on between hedge funds, insurance companies, banks, and investment corporations, with each one raking off a pecentage, a fee or charges resulting from insuring (and re-insuring, even re-re-insuring) the transactions, all of which are really bad debts as no real wealth has been created.

For the real values of all the pyramid selling are not what the bits of paper say they are, so sooner or later those at the bottom of the pyramid—that’s the great majority of us and who never asked to be part of the pyramid—are paying the price, that’s what the ‘bailout’ is all about. That’s what nationalizing the big financial corps is all about. When capitalism fails, the state, using our money, steps in. But it doesn’t end here as governments will have to borrow the money to shore up capitalism, thus look forward to greater cuts in social spending and rising taxes.

The panic is palpable as the recent decision to ban all short trading (until January 2009) reveals but it will do nothing to halt the slide, it’s much too late for that, and more to the point it looks good in the corporate media, apparently dissing all those greedy traders. The reality is something else as,

“While the SEC measure will prohibit small investors from profiting on the downturn, big investors have a very easy way around this.

“They will simply go short [sell] on complete indexes like the Dow Top 30, FTSE 100 or S&P 500 and will then go long, i.e. buy, all single stocks in that index that are not the ones they want to target. The net effect is a short position on the targeted financials only.

“It will take a day or two for large hedge funds to set this up effectively and reprogram their computers to automate the process. Then the financial stocks will sink again as is appropriate.

“The SEC would have to prohibit all index option trading to prevent this, but that would freeze and ruin lots of investors like pension funds that have done nothing wrong.” — ‘How To Still Short Financials’, Moon of Alabama.

What all of this reveals is the total chaos of capitalist economics, made all the more fragile by the interconnectedness of hundreds of ‘national’ economies, that have little or no control over the international nature of capitalism.


Financial crisis: working people will pay

Capitalism on trial

Ron Paul on Glen Beck + Bail Outs + Shadow Economy

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen by Richard C. Cook

Welcome to the final stages of the coup… by Larisa Alexandrovna

Bush Exits with a Bang: Toxic Bailout and Two More Wars? By Heather Wokusch

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse


The Triple Whammy of Bigotry in the 2008 Election by William Cox

by William Cox
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Sept. 22, 2008

It’s been awhile since a black man was lynched in America, but the Rove Gang’s getting the crowd ginned up for another one and the town’s on edge.

The last lynching took place 10 years ago in East Texas Bush Country when three young white racists chained James Byrd, a 49-year-old father of three, to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him down the highway until his body was dismembered.

If John McCain and his character assassins and vote riggers succeed, the next one will occur in November and it may tear apart America’s body politic.

The 2008 presidential election will make history.  Americans will elect either their first African American president, their oldest president, or their first woman vice president who, given the medical odds, will have a good chance of becoming the first woman president.

During this election, bigotry is the elephant in the room; everybody is tiptoeing around wearing blindfolds, but it and its spoor are too much to ignore.

As an expression for an evil influence or hex, a “whammy” was added to the vernacular in 1941 when a boxing manager said a “double whammy” was the only way African-American boxer Joe Lewis was ever to be knocked out.

We will soon know whether Barack Obama and the American people have suffered a single, double, or triple whammy and we will all suffer from the assault.

Single Whammy – Overt and Latent Racism

We Americans have traveled a great distance in the past 50 years overcoming cultural racism toward those of us who are descended from slaves.  We know we’re getting close to the destination when an African American, the child of a white mother and a Kenyan father born into modest circumstances, has had the educational, social and political opportunities to become a United States Senator and a leading candidate for president.

The scenery becomes more diverse as we look at the faces in the multi-cultural and multiracial crowd of 80,000 Americans who stood together in Denver to cheer as Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination.

One week later, the scenery changed dramatically when we arrived in St. Paul and could easily discern the continuing effects of cultural racism reflected in the all-white faces of those who came together to nominate a rich old white man named John McCain, the son and grandson of class privilege, as their party’s candidate.

Eighty percent of Americans say they are “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States,” and their opinion about who is best qualified to do something about it changes from week to week.  Obama’s three-point lead going into the Democratic convention was increased by five points after his acceptance speech.

However, after McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate, the polls temporarily gave the Republican ticket a two-point lead, but they are now shifting back.  Obama currently has a 49 to 44 percent lead with those voters most likely to go to the polls in November.

It’s one thing to say you’re going to vote for a candidate while talking to another person on the telephone during a “scientific” opinion poll, but it’s quite another thing to actually cast one’s vote for that person in secret and as a matter of conscience in the voting booth.  That precise moment is when latent racism may allow some voters to conceal their shame and to express their hidden prejudice.

We all know that racism exists in America, but it’s difficult to measure its full extent and more particularly to predict whether it will be a deciding factor in the 2008 election.

To the extent we’re hiring a president when we vote, particularly one named Barack Hussein Obama, a study conducted by two professors (Bertrand & Mullaninathan) in 2001 and 2002 is very revealing.  Fictitious resumes were sent in response to 1,300 help-wanted advertisements for a broad range of jobs.  Resumes reflecting comparable education and experience were assigned names that sounded either very white or very African-American.

The study found that resumes with white names were 50 percent more likely to get called for an initial interview than blacks.  There was also a 30 percent increase in call-backs for white-sounding applicants with higher-quality backgrounds over less qualified whites, while high-quality resumes with black-sounding names were only called back 9 percent of the time.

Continue reading

Our Republic Raped and Still No Revolution! by Joel S. Hirschhorn

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
September 22, 2008

Are Americans ready for a revolution? What worse than the current meltdown of the financial sector, the unraveling of our economy, and burdening us and future generations with astounding debt is needed to convince Americans that the two-party plutocracy has sold out ordinary Americans? What we are witnessing is far worse than the taxation without representation that spurred the American Revolution. Taxation with MISrepresentation is a greater evil and shameful sellout of democracy that so many Americans have fought and died for.

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Financial crisis: working people will pay

Dandelion Salad

Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly

Dick Nichols
20 September 2008
Green Left – AUSTRALIA: Financial crisis: working people will pay

“Will my superannuation fund be next?” “Are my savings safe?” As working people in the developed economies watch the assets of one financial institution after another vaporise into nothingness, tens of millions are asking these dreadful questions.

Yesterday’s AAA assets are now junk and yesterday’s “risk-free” investments are losing money. No-one, not even the world’s central bankers, who are spending sleepless nights arranging rescue bailouts and emergency injections of trillions of dollars into a financial system frozen with fear and distrust, can answer them with 100% certainty.

Last fortnight’s actions by US Treasury secretary Henry Paulsen tell us why: on September 12 he refused to bail out Wall Street investment bank Lehmann Brothers, preferring to let firms that had dealt extensively in financial assets based on worthless subprime mortgages go to the wall or be taken over by others. But on September 17, faced with the collapse of the American International Group, Paulsen and Federal Reserve chairperson Ben Bernanke decided that the risks of letting the world’s largest insurance company sink were too great. AIG was too large — and too enmeshed in global financial markets — to fail.

So, in the free-market, Republican-run US, the state is becoming the owner-operator of a collapsing finance system, with the losses funded by the taxpayer.

Paulsen, Bernanke and their counterparts in Europe, Japan and Australia too will increasingly face this sort of choice: do they let the next stricken financial monster die or put it on government life support? And how do they decide, when no one knows where the rest of the toxic financial waste is buried, where interbank lending has nearly dried up and where, according to economic historian Harold James, “it is impossible to know what solvency means”?

Fictitious capital

To understand how the system has arrived at its worst crisis since 1929, it is necessary to consider some basic features of capitalism and how these have operated over the past 30 years.

Confronted with the decision as to where to invest its money, any business has to make a basic choice: invest in production or in financial assets (shares, bonds, etc). The decision will be influenced by the expected rate of return on each and its riskiness.

The more that individual firms invest in new production, the greater the overall (economy-wide) rate of investment will be, and — on condition that production gets sold profitably — the greater the mass of new value and new profit added. However, when firms invest in purely financial assets they are deciding to invest in claims on new value and profit, which in itself adds nothing to the mass of value added.

Conventional economics blurs this distinction, but for socialists Karl Marx and Frederick Engels it was central to understanding the boom-bust cycle of capitalism. They called these claims on future profit fictitious capital. For example, share certificates are simply “marketable claims to a share in future surplus value production” and the share market is “a market for fictitious capital”.

Setting up a market for any type of fictitious capital is the equivalent of setting up a casino — a place where people can speculate in these claims on future profit. During boom times, as the expectation of profit growth drives financial markets higher, the total nominal value of fictitious capital in circulation always grows more rapidly than the actual mass of profits. The less this gambling is regulated, the more manic it becomes.

However, a point is always reached where more is produced than can be sold profitably. The mass of profits then shrinks and the prices of the claims on profit shrink even more.

Over the past 30 years, bursting financial bubbles have become more frequent as we have experienced the biggest ever festival of fictitious capital. In 1980, world financial assets (bank deposits, government and private securities, and shareholdings) amounted to 119% of global production; by 2007 that ratio had risen to 356%.

This state of affairs was the result of the wave of financial deregulation that began in the early 1980s under British PM Margaret Thatcher and US president Ronald Reagan, and then spread out across most of the world. With every act of deregulation, new financial markets and instruments — new casinos — became possible. They opened up opportunities to speculate on the future movement of any financial market, to increase borrowing on the basis of expected rises in asset values, and to bundle various forms of fictititious capital into increasingly complex packages.

The economic justification for financial deregulation was that, provided essential standards were maintained, deregulation made it easier to mobilise the world’s savings for investment and consumption, resulting in greater growth than would otherwise have been the case.

Deregulation also changed the traditional role of big financial firms like Lehman Brothers from intermediaries acting on behalf of major players, like pension funds and insurance companies, to investment bankers acting on their own behalf. They were joined by commercial and savings banks after the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Seagall Act (passed in 1933 to stop such banks from gambling away people’s savings!).

As deregulation gathered pace, it also created a world where the greatest profit went to those who traded the most financial instruments, pressuring everyone to play the same game. Traders, money managers and financial advisers flogged as much financial product as they could manage, ignoring its dubious quality. A long period of rapid growth, low inflation and low interest rates — created by the Federal Reserve Bank to counter the 2001 crash — boosted complacency and willingness to take risks.

From bursting bubble to recession?

But beneath this orgy of fictitious capital, the wellsprings of real profit began to dry up as mortgage defaults began to rise. Another reality expressed by Marx was coming into play: “The ultimate reason for all real crises always remains the poverty and restricted consumption of the masses as opposed to the drive of capitalist production to develop the productive forces as though only the absolute consuming power of society constituted their limit.”

Credit, especially home mortgages, had extended “the restricted consumption of the masses” for a while, but increasingly the credit couldn’t be repaid, undermining the value of all financial instruments based on it. Just before the bubble burst, the credit default swap market (insuring against credit default) swelled to a notional value of $6.2 trillion before imploding.

And worse is yet to come. Before the system can begin to recover, asset prices will have to fall massively, producing a further chain of bankruptcies, bailouts and restructurings as the survivors pick over the corpses of the bankrupt. Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs. The potentially bankrupt finance sector will have to be recapitalised, mainly at taxpayer expense.

More seriously still, as consumers are forced to wind back their debt levels, the credit-fed consumption levels of the US will fall, slowing the main motor of the world economy in the 2000s as the economy enters a long repayment period.

More alarming scenarios cannot be discarded: At present there are more than 100 banks on the watch list of the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission, the body that insures the bank deposits of the mass of working people in the US. Will the US Treasury be forced to bail out this agency if the poison spreads into the savings bank sector, as in the Great Depression?

How much will protecting ordinary people’s savings and recapitalising the finance sector cost the taxpayer? To fund bailouts to date the Federal Reserve Bank has had to run down its own holdings of US treasury notes by more than $300 billion. This dwarfs the $124 billion spent on rescuing the savings and loan industry in the 1980s.

Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff says, “It is hard to imagine how the US government is going to succeed in creating a firewall against further contagion without spending five to 10 times more than it has already, that is, an amount closer to $1000 to $2000 billion” (one to two times Australia’s annual output). In the end, working people will pay massively for this crisis, either because they will lose part of their savings or because taxes will have to increase and/or social spending decrease to fund the gargantuan rescue package.

In the midst of the wreckage some hard-nosed neoliberal economists still dare to argue that the forces of “creative destruction” should be allowed to play themselves out as quickly as possible. They point to the consequences of rewarding bad financial behaviour, and to the stagnation that ongoing financial bailout produced in Japan’s economy after the 1980s property bubble exploded. For these proponents of shock therapy, working people will just have to grit their teeth and bear the factory closures, unemployment, house dispossessions and descent into poverty that’s involved.

However, it’s a pretty good sign of the depth of the present crisis that a pillar of financial orthodoxy like the Financial Times is allowing discussion of a third option: nationalisation of the finance sector. FT columnist Willem Buiter from the London School of Economics wrote on September 17: “Is the reality of the modern, transactions-oriented model of financial capitalism indeed that large private firms make enormous private profits when the going is good and get bailed out and taken into temporary public ownership when the going gets bad, with the taxpayer taking the risk and the losses? If so, then why not keep these activities in permanent public ownership?”

Why not, indeed.

[Dick Nichols is the national coordinator of the Socialist Alliance. For references used in this article contact]


Capitalism on trial

Ron Paul on Glen Beck + Bail Outs + Shadow Economy

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen by Richard C. Cook

Welcome to the final stages of the coup… by Larisa Alexandrovna

Bush Exits with a Bang: Toxic Bailout and Two More Wars? By Heather Wokusch

Kucinich tells Cavuto: economic problems transcend party labels

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Capitalism on trial

Dandelion Salad
September 19, 2008
Capitalism on trial |

The neoliberal dogmas that have dominated for more than 25 years are discredited, but they need to be replaced by more than proposals for re-regulating the banks.

THE WORLD financial system is in the grip of the most severe crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s–and there’s worse to come, not only for the banks and speculators of Wall Street, but far beyond, in every part of the U.S., and around the globe.

The business world has been struck by a man-made earthquake, and people will be paying for this economic disaster for years to come in a number of ways–higher prices for food and other necessities, millions of foreclosures and evictions, greater unemployment, growing poverty, government programs cut back or eliminated, and rising tensions throughout society.

The claim will echo around the corporate media that this was the inevitable consequence of all Americans “living beyond their means.” Don’t believe it. The vast majority of people who will have to pay the price for this disaster are blameless. They did nothing wrong.

The crisis was caused by an irrational free-market system and the insatiable greed of a small class of rulers who continually seek greater wealth and power, without regard for the costs.

Wall Street’s meltdown is an indictment of the capitalist system, which has, once again, proven itself “unfit to rule,” as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote more than 150 years ago.

The immensity of this crisis demands an alternative that goes far beyond new regulations on the banks and government interventions to save whichever band of corporate parasites is failing this week. Ultimately, it demands a vision of a different kind of society altogether–a socialist world dedicated to the principles of solidarity, democracy and liberation, rather than the wealth and power of a tiny minority.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IT’S IMPOSSIBLE to exaggerate the scope of what has taken place in the financial world in the past several weeks. Scenarios that would have been dismissed as the fantasies of radical doomsayers a month ago now appear as accepted fact on the front pages of newspapers like the Wall Street Journal.

The latest previously inconceivable turn of events–latest, as of Thursday afternoon, when this article was being written, but that doesn’t mean it will last the week, much less the month–was the U.S. government’s effective nationalization of the largest insurance company in the world, American Insurance Group (AIG).

When desperate efforts by Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Bank officials to find a private-sector rescuer for AIG failed, the government stepped in with an $85 billion loan, payable over two years, in return for effective control of the company.

Set together with the takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac less than 10 days before, the U.S. government–that neoliberal scourge of nationalization in other countries–now owns the two largest mortgage companies and the single largest insurance company in the world.

Why, you might wonder, is an insurance company like AIG on the verge of bankruptcy because of a crisis associated with the bursting of the housing bubble and the resulting foreclosures on sub-prime mortgages?

Good question.

AIG got into trouble almost entirely because of an obscure part of its business–selling what are called “credit default swaps,” which amount to an insurance policy on investments in bonds. Basically, AIG was selling financial protection to investors and companies that bought bonds–if the seller of those bonds defaulted on the promise to pay back the principal, plus interest, investors could cover their losses.

Credit default swaps are pretty much an invention of the last 10 years. Yet these financial insurance policies today may cover as much as $62 trillion worth of debt, according to estimates–greater, that is, than the total annual production of goods and services of every country of the world.

The sales of credit default swaps accompanied a massive–and little-examined, until now–boom in investments based on debt, and especially mortgage debt. Essentially, Wall Street pushed the expansion in mortgage financing and refinancing to feed a demand for bonds that packaged together large numbers of these loans for sale to big investors. As these “mortgage-backed securities” became bigger–and as they came to include a greater and greater proportion of risky sub-prime loans pushed on homebuyers by aggressive mortgage companies–the big investors who bought the bonds looked for protection against investments going bad. So the demand for credit default swaps boomed as well.

To AIG executives, it looked like easy money. They could sell the promise to pay off in the event of defaults, which never seemed to happen while the housing market was booming. But then the bubble burst, and AIG was suddenly on the hook for immense sums of money.

Essentially, AIG was gambling that they could take in more money by selling this specialized form of insurance than they would ever pay out. But when this bluff was called by the mortgage crisis, AIG was busted out of the game.

Or it would have been, if AIG had to play by the rules that ordinary people do. Instead, the insurance giant got help from “the house”–in the form of the Federal Reserve, which made an $85 billion emergency loan this week that put the U.S. government on the line for AIG’s bets on mortgage-backed bonds.

Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had just finished putting their foot down against pleas that they put government funds behind a bailout of the investment bank Lehman Brothers. Instead, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, another investment bank, Merrill Lynch, sold itself to Bank of America at a bargain price.

But AIG was different. The threat of its bankruptcy wasn’t so much about the company itself, but all the other firms, struggling already because of the crisis, that would incur another loss if AIG went down. And because AIG’s credit default swap business was unregulated, no one could say with assurance how extensive the damage would be if it failed.

So the government intervened, most of all to protect the other players. Financial institutions around the world all have their own tangle of high-stakes gambles on everything from the value of mortgage-backed bonds to the future price of oil to the direction of the stock market. Whether they survive or go under might depend on the money owed to them by a single busted insurance company.

It’s easy to get lost in the details of what has happened–both the mind-boggling scope of the financial shell game that has been taking place for the last decade, and the unprecedented consequences as government officials and surviving players try to figure out how to unravel the mess.

But it’s important not to lose sight of a larger point: No one could possibly claim that Wall Street’s high-stakes casino contributed anything to the good of society as a whole. The entire world of credit default swaps, hedge funds, collateralized debt obligations and the rest of the alphabet soup concocted by Wall Street in this latest boom was directed toward one thing–make a tiny group of people rich beyond most people’s wildest dreams.

The financial catastrophe unfolding on Wall Street is the product of blind greed and arrogance. And now that the house of cards is collapsing, the U.S. government’s series of rescues carry another lesson: The bigger the bet and the wider the potential damage if it loses, the more likely the Feds will have to come to the rescue to stop the whole game from coming to an end.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

NOW THAT the full fury of the financial storm has struck, the neoliberal dogmas of the last several decades are out the window–above all, the belief that the free market can only function at its efficient best if government oversight and regulation is kept to a minimum, if not eliminated outright.

Even Republican presidential nominee John McCain, in his latest speeches, is displaying a previously hidden zeal for financial reform of the “reckless management and a casino culture on Wall Street.”

Unfortunately for him, McCain’s record of support for deregulation is long. “You are interviewing the greatest free trader you will ever interview, and the greatest deregulator you will ever interview,” he told a reporter last year.

Barack Obama is likewise talking tough about Wall Street–notwithstanding the huge sums he and fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton collected from the financial industry during this election cycle as part of a significant shift in business support away from the Republicans. Nevertheless, Obama, like McCain, is promising tough regulations to put Wall Street’s house in order–though that certainly won’t have much effect on the disaster unfolding right now.

Probably, the more accurate assessment came from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who told reporters that Congress likely wouldn’t pass legislation overhauling financial regulations this year “because no one knows what to do.”

Reid at least deserves points for honesty compared to the substance-less bluster of the two presidential candidates.

But “no one knows what to do”? Really?

After all, now that the U.S. government has carried out several quasi-nationalizations on an emergency basis, an obvious question looms, as the Financial Times‘ Willem Buiter pointed out:

If financial behemoths like AIG are too large and/or too interconnected to fail, but not too smart to get themselves into situations where they need to be bailed out, then what is the case for letting private firms engage in such kinds of activities in the first place?

Is the reality of the modern, transactions-oriented model of financial capitalism indeed that large private firms make enormous private profits when the going is good, and get bailed out and taken into temporary public ownership when the going gets bad, with the taxpayer taking the risk and the losses?

If so, then why not keep these activities in permanent public ownership? There is a longstanding argument that there is no real case for private ownership of deposit-taking banking institutions, because these cannot exist safely without a deposit guarantee and/or lender of last resort facilities, that are ultimately underwritten by the taxpayer.

William Greider of The Nation poses the question more bluntly: “People have the right to ask: What exactly are the rest of us getting for our money?”

Greider is right. For example, now that they have bailed out the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, shouldn’t U.S. taxpayers have a say in the companies’ operations? Why shouldn’t the public owners of these companies insist on a moratorium on foreclosures on the loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie–nearly half of all mortgages in the U.S.? That would do a hundred times more for working people struggling with the mortgage crisis than the weak housing law passed this summer, whose main aim anyway was to enable the government takeover of Fannie and Freddie.

Now that the federal government has gotten into the insurance business with the takeover of the largest insurance company in the world, is there any justification for anyone in the U.S. going without health care coverage, much less 45 million people?

And when the objection comes that the U.S. government will have to cut spending to pay for the Wall Street rescues, there should be no question about where the money should come from. The federal government could get the whole sum for the AIG takeover from the Pentagon budget and still leave the U.S. military with more money–many times over–than any other country in the world.

If the U.S. needs to raise some quick cash, it could end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan–and not only cover the cost of the Fannie and Freddie takeover in a year-and-a-half at most, but, more importantly, begin to right a terrible injustice committed halfway around the world in the name of ordinary people in the U.S.

But of course, none of this is on the agenda of any political leader in Washington, from either of the mainstream parties–because any effective measure that would help ordinary people would strain at the boundaries of the profit system they are dedicated to preserving.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

NO ONE knows what’s next in this new and frightening stage of the economic crisis.

The financial world is grasping for explanations, so it is no surprise that ordinary people, who were kept in the dark about the scale of the theft and the degree of danger, are struggling to understand what happened. Every new day brings new questions, and answering them will be a process–here at, as at any other media source, independent or mainstream.

But we have no problem drawing one conclusion from the start–that the capitalist system has proved, once again, to be a failure in serving the needs of any but a small minority of society.

For more than 25 years, the theology of neoliberalism–with its worship of the free market and its demonization of “big government”–has reigned supreme in the U.S.

But it is obvious that the market is in crisis precisely because of the ceaseless, irrational and unplanned pursuit of the greatest profit for a few. And it is equally obvious–and even grudgingly acknowledged by virtually all sides of the political mainstream–that the state, and not some “responsible” section of private capital, is needed to stop the system from grinding to a halt.

This is not the first guilty verdict against capitalism. As socialist filmmaker Ken Loach told the Guardian newspaper: “You look around the world, and you see massive need on the one hand, and massive wealth on the other, and the two never connect. The market is massively inefficient, capitalism is massively unstable and turbulent, and it’s insane that we are all bound to this terrible wheel of instability.”

But the present crisis is laying bare the failure of the system for more and more people to see–and opening up opportunities to make the case for a socialist society, where the blind and irrational pursuit of profit and power is replaced by a commitment to freedom and equality for everyone in it.

Such a society won’t be achieved by dreaming about it. Those who are convinced that an alternative is necessary to end the injustices of this world need to be organized to struggle for another one.


Ron Paul on Glen Beck + Bail Outs + Shadow Economy

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen by Richard C. Cook

Welcome to the final stages of the coup… by Larisa Alexandrovna

Bush Exits with a Bang: Toxic Bailout and Two More Wars? By Heather Wokusch

Kucinich tells Cavuto: economic problems transcend party labels

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

The Destabilization of Bolivia and the “Kosovo Option”

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 21, 2008
– 2008-09-20

The secession of Bolivia’s Eastern provinces is part of a US sponsored covert operation, coordinated out of the US State Department, in liaison with US intelligence.

The death squads armed with automatic weapons responsible for killing supporters of Evo Morales in El Porvenir are supported covertly by the US. According to one report, “USAID has an “Office of Transition Initiatives” operating in Bolivia, funneling millions of dollars of training and support to right-wing opposition regional governments and movements.”(The Center for Economic and Policy Research, September 2008). The US also provides support to various opposition groups through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The expelled US Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg worked under the helm of Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte,  who directly oversees the various “activities” of US embassies around the World. In this regard Negroponte plays a far more important role, acting behind the scenes, than Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. He is also known as one of the main architects of regime change and covert support to paramilitary death squads both in Central America and Iraq.

Philip S. Goldberg’s mandate as ambassador to Bolivia was to trigger the fracture of Bolivia as a country. Prior to his appointment as ambassador in early 2007, he served as US Chief of Mission in Pristina, Kosovo (2004-2006) and was in permanent liaison with the leaders of the KLA paramilitary, who had integrated civilian politics, following the NATO occupation of Kosovo in 1999.

Supported by the CIA, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose leaders now head the Kosovar government, was known for its extensive links to organized crime and the trade in narcotics. In Kosovo, Goldberg was involved in setting the stage for the subsequent secession of Kosovo from Serbia, leading to the installation of an “independent” Kosovar government.

In the course of the 1990s, Goldberg had played an active role in the break up of Yugoslavia. From 1994-1996 he was responsible for the Bosnia Desk at the State Department. He worked closely with  Washington’s Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and played a central role as Chief of Staff of the US negotiating team at Dayton, leading up to the signing of the Dayton Accords in 1995.  These accords were conducive to the carving up of Bosnia-Herzegovina. More generally they triggered the destruction and destabilization of Yugoslavia as country. In 1996, Goldberg worked directly as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott (1994-2000), who together with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, played a key role in launching the war on Yugoslavia in 1999.

The Central Role of John Negroponte

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte plays a central role in the conduct of covert operations. He served as US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. As Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, he played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contra mercenaries who were based in Honduras. The cross border Contra attacks into Nicaragua claimed some 50 000 civilian lives. During the same period, Negroponte was instrumental in setting up the Honduran military death squads, “operating with Washington support’s, [they] assassinated hundreds of opponents of the US-backed regime.” (See Bill Venn, Bush Nominee linked to Latin American Terrorism, Global Research, November 2001)

“Under the rule of General Gustavo Alvarez Martnez, Honduras’s military government was both a close ally of the Reagan administration and was “disappearing” dozens of political opponents in classic death squad fashion.

(See Peter Roff and James Chapin, Face-off: Bush’s Foreign Policy Warriors , Global Research, July 2001)

This did not prevent his nomination to the position of US Permanent Representative to the UN under the Clinton administration.

The Salvador Option

Negroponte became Ambassador to Iraq in 2004, where he set up a “security framework” for the US occupation, largely modeled on the Central American death squads. This project was referred to by several writers as the “Salvador Option”.

While in Baghdad, Negroponte hired as his Counselor on security issues, a former head of special operations in El Salvador. The two men were close colleagues going back to the 1980s in Central America.  While Negroponte was busy setting up the death squads in Honduras,  Colonel Steele had been in charge of the US Military Advisory Group in El Salvador, (1984-86) “where he was responsible for developing special operating forces at brigade level during the height of the conflict.”:

“These forces, composed of the most brutal soldiers available, replicated the kind of small-unit operations with which Steele was familiar from his service in Vietnam. Rather than focusing on seizing terrain, their role was to attack ‘insurgent’ leadership, their supporters, sources of supply and base camps.” (Max Fuller, For Iraq, “The Salvador Option” Becomes Reality, Global Research, June 2005)

In Iraq, Steele was “assigned to work with a new elite Iraqi counter-insurgency unit known as the Special Police Commandos”. In this context, Negroponte’s objective was to encourage ethnic divisions and factional strife, by triggering covert terrorist attacks directed against the Iraqi civilian population.

Negroponte was appointed as the Head of the Directorate of National Intelligence in 2005, and subsequently in 2007 came to occupy the Number Two position in the State Department.

The Kosovo Option: Haiti

This is not the first time that the “Kosovo model” of supporting terrorist paramilitaries has been applied in Latin America.

In February 2003, Washington announced the appointment of James Foley as Ambassador to Haiti. Ambassadors Goldberg and Foley are part of the same “diplomatic stable”. Foley had been a State Department spokesman under the Clinton administration during the war on Kosovo. He was involved at an earlier period in channeling support to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Amply documented, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was financed by drug money and supported by the CIA. ( See Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo Freedom Fighters Financed by Organized Crime, Covert Action Quarterly, 1999 )

At the time of the Kosovo war, the then ambassador to Haiti James Foley had been in charge of State Department briefings, working closely with his NATO counterpart in Brussels, Jamie Shea. Barely two months before the onslaught of the NATO led war on 24 March 1999, James Foley, had called for the “transformation” of the KLA into a respectable political organization:

“We want to develop a good relationship with them [the KLA] as they transform themselves into a politically-oriented organization,’ ..`[W]e believe that we have a lot of advice and a lot of help that we can provide to them if they become precisely the kind of political actor we would like to see them become… “If we can help them and they want us to help them in that effort of transformation, I think it’s nothing that anybody can argue with..’ (quoted in the New York Times, 2 February 1999)

In other words, Washington’s design was “regime change”: topple the Lavalas administration and install a compliant US puppet regime, integrated by the “Democratic Platform” and the self-proclaimed Front pour la libération et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN), whose leaders are former FRAPH and Tonton Macoute terrorists. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti, Global Research, February 2004)

Following the 2004 coup d’Etat which led to the downfall of the Aristide government, KLA advisers were brought into Haiti by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to assist in the country’s reconstruction. (See Anthony Fenton, Kosovo Liberation Army helps establish “Protectorate” in Haiti, Global Research, November 2004)

Specifically, the KLA consultants were to assist in restructuring the Haitian police force, bringing into its ranks, former members of FRAPH and the Tonton Macout.

[In support of] the “Office of Transition Initiatives,” (OTI) … USAID is paying three consultants to help consult for the integration of the former brutal military into the current Haitian police force. And who are those three consultants? Those three consultants are members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.” (Flashpoints interview, November 19, 2004, )

USAID’s “Office of Transition Initiatives” (OTI)

The Salvador/ Kosovo option is part of a US strategy to fracture and destabilize countries. The USAID sponsored OTI in Bolivia performs much the same function as a similar OTI in Haiti.

It is also worth noting that there was an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Venezuela, where a plot, according to reports, was recently uncovered to allegedly assassinate President Hugo Chavez. The role of the OTI office in Venezuela is discussed in Eva Golinger’s recent book “Bush vs. Chavez.”

The stated purpose of US covert operations is to provide support as well as as training to “Liberation Armies” ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon.

Pakistan and the “Kosovo Option”

It is worth noting that in Pakistan, recent developments point towards direct forms of US military intervention, in violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan “in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan.” (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005).

According to a  2006 report of Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Defence, British intelligence was involved in supporting the Balochistan separatist movement. (Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). The Bolochistan Liberation Army (BLA) bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo’s KLA, financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA.

Washington favors the creation of a “Greater Balochistan” [similar to a Greater Albania] which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan, thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan, December 30, 2007)

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2008

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Bolivia: Indigenous government defies US-backed fascists by Federico Fuentes

Noble Evo faces Allende’s fate

Democracy Now: Tariq Ali on Pakistan & Boliva

Bolivia: Fascist right launches ‘civic coup’ by Federico Fuentes & Stuart Munckton