Police provocateur infiltrates political and protest groups in Australia

Dandelion Salad

By Margaret Rees
15 November 2008

In a series of articles published last month, Melbourne’s Age newspaper revealed that a covert police agent recently infiltrated several left-wing political and activist groups, including Socialist Alternative, Stop the War Coalition, Unity for Peace, and Animal Liberation Victoria. Beginning in 2006, the agent provocateur was involved in anti-Iraq war demonstrations—including last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) protests in Sydney—animal liberation actions, and participated in planning meetings for a protest to be held against a weapons fair in South Australia.

The two-year operation represents an extraordinary abrogation by the state of the right of citizens to participate in public activities and join political organisations without fear of police harassment. It underscores the extent to which basic democratic rights and established legal norms have been torn up under the banner of the so-called war on terror. Political dissent—any form of disagreement with the existing social and political order—is now being effectively criminalised.


The so-called war on terror has been promoted by ruling elites in Australia and around the world as a means to legitimise their predatory, neo-colonial operations abroad and their attacks on democratic rights at home. It has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting ordinary people from the threat of harm from terrorist attack.

The question can be raised: if it is regarded as legitimate “anti-terror” police work for the agents provocateurs who infiltrated a group of disoriented men, influenced by religious fundamentalist ideas, to actively encourage their disorientation, incite discussions about violence, and provide them with the illegal material that triggered their arrest and prosecution, then on what grounds can one oppose the same methods being applied to other citizens, including members of political parties and protest organisations?


via Police provocateur infiltrates political and protest groups in Australia


Nothing new about cops spying on the left

Jerome Small
Socialist Alternative
Nov. 10, 2008

In October the Melbourne Age newspaper reported that Victoria Police had infiltrated a number of left-wing groups in the city. A police officer posing as a peace activist attended the organising committee for the Palm Sunday anti-war rally, participated in planning for a protest outside an international arms fair, and signed up as a member of Socialist Alternative.

It’s outrageous that the politicians who initiated and keep approving money for murderous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who profit from selling the means to slaughter human beings, are free to walk the streets – while those of us opposed to the war find ourselves under surveillance. We should be outraged, but we shouldn’t be surprised: police harassment and infiltration of socialist groups has been going on for as long as socialist groups themselves. Victoria’s first socialist organisation, the Australian Socialist League, was established in 1889. Police disrupted meetings, arrested socialist newspaper sellers and hired thugs to beat them up.


via Nothing new about cops spying on the left – Socialist Alternative

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Pointing the US Surveillance Apparatus at the American People by Tom Burghardt

Undercover cops were among the unruly at DNC

The Great Depression of the 21st Century: Collapse of the Real Economy

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, November 15, 2008

The financial crisis is deepening, with the risk of seriously disrupting the system of international payments.

This crisis is far more serious than the Great Depression. All major sectors of the global economy are affected. Recent reports suggest that the system of Letters of Credit as well as international shipping, which constitute the lifeline of the international trading system, are potentially in jeopardy.

The proposed bank “bailout” under the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is not a “solution” to the crisis but the “cause” of further collapse.

The “bailout” contributes to a further process of destabilization of the financial architecture. It transfers large amounts of public money, at taxpayers expense,  into the hands of private financiers. It leads to a spiraling public debt and an unprecedented centralization of banking power. Moreover, the bailout money is used by the financial giants to secure corporate acquisitions both in the financial sector and the real economy.

In turn, this unprecedented concentration of financial power spearheads entire sectors of industry and the services economy into bankruptcy, leading to the layoff of tens of thousands of workers.

The upper spheres of Wall Street overshadow the real economy. The accumulation of large amounts of money wealth by a handful of Wall Street conglomerates and their associated hedge funds is reinvested in the acquisition of real assets.

Paper wealth is transformed into the ownership and control of real productive assets, including industry, services, natural resources, infrastructure, etc.

Collapse of Consumer Demand

The real economy is in crisis. The resulting increase in unemployment is conducive to a dramatic decline in consumer spending which in turn backlashes on the levels of production of goods and services.

Exacerbated by neoliberal macro-economic policy, this downward spiral is cumulative, ultimately leading to an oversupply of commodities.

Business enterprises cannot sell their products, because workers have been laid off. Consumers, namely working people, have been deprived of the purchasing power required to fuel economic growth. With their meager earnings, they cannot afford to acquire the goods produced.

Overproduction Triggers a String of Bankruptcies

Inventories of unsold goods pile up. Eventually, production collapses; the supply of commodities declines through the closing down of production facilities, including manufacturing assembly plants.

In the process of plant closure, more workers become unemployed. Thousands of bankrupt firms are driven off the economic landscape, leading to a slump in production.

Mass poverty and a Worldwide decline in living standards is the result of low wages and mass unemployment. It is the outcome of a preexisting global cheap labor economy, largely characterized by low wage assembly plants in Third World countries.

The current crisis extends the geographic contours of the cheap labor economy, leading to the impoverishment of large sectors of the population in the so-called developed countries (including the  middle classes).

In the US, Canada and Western Europe, the entire industrial sector is potentially in jeopardy.

We are dealing with a long-term process of economic and financial restructuring. In its earlier phase, starting in the 1980s during the Reagan Thatcher era, local and regional level enterprises, family farms and small businesses were displaced and destroyed. In turn, the merger and acquisition boom of the 1990s led to the concurrent consolidation of large corporate entities both in the real economy as well as in banking and financial services.

In recent developments, however, the concentration of bank power has been at the expense of big business.

What is distinct in this particular phase of the crisis, is the ability of the financial giants not only to create havoc in the production of goods and services, but also to undermine and destroy large corporate entities of the real economy.

Bankruptcies are occurring in all major sectors of activity: Manufacturing, telecoms, consumer retail outlets, shopping malls, airlines, hotels and tourism, not to mention real estate and the construction industry, victims of the subprime mortgage meltdown.

General Motors has confirmed that “it could run out of cash within a few months, which could prompt one of the biggest bankruptcy filings in U.S. history”. (USNews.com, November 11, 2008))  In turn this would backlash on a string of related industries. Estimates of job losses in the US auto industry range from 30,000 to as much as 100,000.(Ibid).


In the US, consumer retail companies are in difficulty: the share prices of JC Penney and Nordstrom department store chains have collapsed. Circuit City Stores Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection. The shares of Best Buy, the electronics retail chain, have plunged.

The Vodafone Group PLC, the world’s biggest mobile phone company not to mention InterContinental Hotels PLC are in difficulty, following the collapse of stock values. (AP, Nov 12, 2008). Worldwide, over two dozen airlines have gone under in 2008, adding to a string of airline bankruptcies in the course of the last five years. (Aviation and Aerospace News, 30 October 2008). Denmark’s Second commercial airline Stirling has declared bankruptcy. In the US, a growing list of real estate companies have already filed for bankruptcy protection.


In the last two months, there have been numerous plant closures across America leading to the permanent layoff of tens of thousands of workers. These closures have affected several key areas of economic activity including the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, the automobile industry and related sectors, the services economy, etc.

US factory orders have declined dramatically. Research firm Autodata reported in October that “sales of cars and light trucks in September had declined 27 percent compared with a year earlier.”(Washington Post, October 3, 2008)


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, an additional 240,000 jobs were lost during the month of October alone:

“Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 240,000 in October, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.1 to 6.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. October’s drop in payroll employment followed declines of 127,000 in August and 284,000 in September, as revised. Employment has fallen by 1.2 million in the first 10 months of 2008; over half of the decrease has occurred in the past 3 months. In October, job losses continued in manufacturing, construction, and several service-providing industries…

Among the unemployed, the number of persons who lost their job and did not expect to be recalled to work rose by 615,000 to 4.4 million in October. Over the past 12 months, the size of this group has increased by 1.7 million.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November, 2008)

The official figures do not describe the seriousness of the crisis and its devastating impact on the labor market, since many of the job losses are not reported.

The situation in the European Union is equally disturbing. A recent British report points to the potential plight of mass unemployment in North Eastern England. In Germany, a report published in October, suggests that 10-15% of all automotive jobs in Germany could be lost.

Job cuts have also been announced at General motors and Nissan-Renault plants in Spain. Sales of new cars in Spain plummeted by 40 percent in October in relation to sales a the same month last year.


Workers of Nissan automaker protest in front of the Japanese company’s building in Barcelona (AFP)

Bankruptcies and Foreclosures: A Money-spinning Operation for the Financial Giants

Among the companies on the verge of bankruptcy are some highly lucrative and profitable operations. The important question: who takes over the ownership of bankrupt giant industrial corporations?

Bankruptcies and foreclosures are a money-spinning operation. With the collapse in stock market values, listed companies experience a major collapse of the price of their stock, which immediately affects their creditworthiness and their ability to borrow and/ or to renegotiate debts ( which are based on the quoted value of their assets).

The institutional speculators, the hedge funds, et al have cashed in on their windfall loot.

They trigger the collapse of listed companies through short selling and other speculative operations. They then cash in on their large scale speculative gains.

According to a report in the Financial Times, there is evidence that the plunge of the US automobile industry was in part manipulated:  “General Motors and Ford lost 31 per cent to $3.01 and 10.9 per cent to $1.80 despite hopes that Washington may save the industry from the brink of collapse. The fall came after Deutsche Bank set a price target of zero on GM.” (FT, November 14, 2008)

The financiers are on a shopping-spree. America’s Forbes 400 billionaires are waiting in limbo.

Once they have consolidated their position in the banking industry, the financial giants including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, et al  will use their windfall money gains to further extend their control over the real economy.

The next step consists in transforming liquid assets,  namely money paper wealth, into the acquisition of real economy assets.

In this regard, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is a major shareholder of General Motors. More recently, following the collapse in stock values in October and November, Buffett boosted his stake in oil producer ConocoPhillips, not to mention Eaton Corp, whose price on the NYSE tumbled by 62% in relation to its December 2007 high (Bloomberg).

The target of these acquisitions are the numerous highly productive industrial and services sector companies, which are on the verge of bankruptcy and/or whose stock values have collapsed.

The money managers are picking up the pieces.

Ownership of the Real Economy

As a result of these developments, which are directly related to the financial meltdown, the entire ownership structure of real economy assets is in turmoil.

Paper wealth accumulated through insider trading and  stock market manipulation is used to acquire control over real economic assets, displacing the preexisting ownership structures.

What we are dealing with is an unsavory relationship between the real economy and the financial sector. The financial conglomerates do not produce commodities. They essentially make money through the conduct of financial transactions. They use the proceeds of these transactions to take over bona fide real economy corporations which produce goods and services for household consumption.

In a bitter twist, the new owners of industry are the institutional speculators and financial manipulators. They are becoming the new captains of industry, displacing not only the preexisting structures of ownership but also instating their cronies in the seats of corporate management.

No Reform Possible under the Washington-Wall Street Consensus

The November 15 G-20 Financial Summit in Washington upholds the Washington-Wall Street consensus.

While formally presenting a project to restore financial stability, in practice, the hegemony of Wall Street remains unscathed. The tendency is towards a unipolar monetary system dominated by the United States and upheld by US military superiority.

The architects of financial disaster under the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act (FSMA) have been entrusted with the task of mitigating the crisis, which they themselves created. They are the cause of financial collapse.

The G20 Financial Summit doesn’t question the legitimacy of the hedge funds and the various instruments of derivative trade. The final communiqué includes an imprecise and blurred commitment “to better regulate hedge funds and create more transparency in mortgage-related securities in a bid to halt a global economic slide.”

A solution to this crisis can only be brought about through a process of  “financial disarmament” as initially formulated by John Maynard Keynes, which forcefully challenges the hegemony of the Wall Street financial institutions including their control over the monetary policy.

Obama Endorses Financial Deregulation

Barack Obama has embraced the Washington-Wall Street consensus. In a bitter twist, former Congressman Jim Leach, a Republican who sponsored the 1999 FSMA in the House of Representatives is now advising Obama on formulating a timely solution to the crisis.

Jim Leach, Madeleine Albright and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who also played a key role in pushing through the FSMA legislation, were in attendance at the November 15 G-20 Financial Summit, as part of President-elect Barack Obama’s advisory team:

“President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden announced that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Republican Congressman Jim Leach would be available to meet with delegations at the G-20 summit on their behalf. Leach and Albright are holding these unofficial meetings to seek input from visiting delegations on behalf of the president-elect and vice president-elect. (mlive.com, November 15, 2008)

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10977


The Worst Is Not Behind Us By Nouriel Roubini

Sec Henry Paulson interview

Elijah Cummings Is No Chump! Kucinich: Who are you working for?

Wall Street’s Bailout is a Trillion-Dollar Crime Scene — Why Aren’t the Dems Doing Something About It? By Naomi Klein

Illegal tax scheme gives $140 billion to biggest US banks

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Israel readying for Gaza incursion

Dandelion Salad

Press TV
Sun, 16 Nov 2008 00:47:41 GMT

Israel’s foreign and defense ministers have threatened a painful military operation into Gaza claiming that they want to protect Israelis.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Saturday said that they would use force against Palestinian resistance forces that fire projectiles from the Gaza Strip in retaliation for Israel’s occasional military incursions into the Strip.


Israel has also imposed a deadly blockade on the Gaza Strip, causing a shortage of basic needs such as food and fuel and thus pushing Gaza to the brink of a human catastrophe.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was unable to deliver food aid to 750,000 refugees in the impoverished Strip on Saturday.

via Press TV – Israel readying for Gaza incursion

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.


Haniyeh: Hamas willing to accept Palestinian state with 1967 borders

Haniyeh: Hamas willing to accept Palestinian state with 1967 borders

Reposted with permission from Jewish Peace News

by Racheli Gai
Jewish Peace News
Nov. 13, 2008

It’s not the first time that an official of Hamas makes a declaration that amounts to accepting Israel within pre-67 borders, and it’s not the first time that mainstream media completely ignores it, preferring to keep pushing the idea that Hamas is wishing to throw all Jews (or at least those living West of the Jordan) into the sea.

Amira Hass, a renowned Israeli journalist, was one of the passengers on the boat Dignity which had sailed from Cyprus to Gaza – as a part of the Free Gaza campaign – for the third time in 3 months.

Racheli Gai.



Haniyeh: Hamas willing to accept Palestinian state with 1967 borders

By Amira Hass

The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Saturday his government was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

The Hamas leader spoke at a meeting with 11 European parliamentarians who sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to protest Israel’s naval blockade of the territory. Haniyeh told his guests Israel rejected his initiative.

Clare Short, who served in the cabinet of former British prime minister Tony Blair, asked Haniyeh to repeat his offer. He said the Hamas government had agreed to accept a Palestinian state that followed the 1967 borders and to offer Israel a long-term hudna, or truce, if Israel recognized the Palestinians’ national rights.



Fighting The War On Terror In London One Gig At A Time

Posted with permission from Wayne

Written by Wayne of

Fit and the Conniptions


Nov. 12, 2008

I’m not making it up. Since the end of last year the Metropolitan police in London have powers to close down any live music event where they have not been given the personal details including addresses and phone numbers of all performers involved at least two weeks in advance.

The Register has written about it here and Billboard also has an article. Both articles provide details about the evidence given by UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey to the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport. (It’s not up yet as I type but those committee transcripts are archived here.) Incredibly, according to Sharkey, one council cited ‘prevention of terrorism’ as part of their reasoning.

The form promoters are supposed to use to provide this information is called form 696 and you can view it directly here or via this page on the Met website. As the article on The Register points out, the suggested genres of music listed in form 696 itself include RnB, Garage, and Bashment. Genres of music which, as El Reg puts it, are ‘favoured by the black community’.

It’s bad enough, stupid enough, pointless enough and draconian enough as it is without the racist element to it. But this is the thing – I’ve done rather a lot of gigs since the end of last year – both as Fit and the Conniptions and with other outfits – and I’ve never once been asked to provide my home address to a promoter. Then again, I’m white.

It’s not that I’m against having events properly policed if they are large enough that they need to be, including live music events. But if anyone can explain how having the home phone numbers of all the musicians on stage helps the police to do their job I’ll be astonished.


Bhutto didn’t mean to say “Osama bin Laden”

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Dec. 7, 2008 added another video


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Bhutto didn’t mean to say “Osama bin Laden” Please pass this link on to others:

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Has the Privatization of National Security Gone Too Far?

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more about “Has the Privatization of National Sec…“, posted with vodpod


While the U.S. military has long relied on private contractors, the outsourcing of key national security functions has increased dramatically in recent years. From intelligence gathering and logistical support to personal security services, training, and operational support tasks, the efforts of contractors are now integral to the success of America’s security and stabilization missions around the world. Since the beginning of the Iraq War, one dollar out of every five has been spent on private contractors and by most estimates, there are more private contractors in Iraq than uniformed military.

Yet, this increased dependence has not been matched by a commensurate effort in the Pentagon or Congress to regulate this growing virtual army of contractors. Indeed, there has been a virtual abdication of responsibilities when it comes to the management and oversight of military contracting. With a new Administration preparing to take the reins of power there is a unique opportunity to put in place a new strategy for determining the role these private actors will play in helping fight Americas wars.

The Privatization of Foreign Policy Initiative in New America Foundation’s American Strategy Program has produced a report, “Changing the Culture of Pentagon Contracting” that offers policymakers in Congress, the Executive branch and uniformed military concrete recommendations for dealing with the growing challenge of integrating contractors more effectively into U.S. national security operations. Join us on November 14th for the release of this report and a discussion about the role and responsibilities of private military contractors going forward.


Erik Prince of Blackwater Makes a Statement

Erik Prince, CEO of Blackwater, made a statement at the New America Foundation Event, “Has the Privatization of National Security Gone Too Far?” – 11.14.08


And in the news today, thanks to CLG:

New Blackwater Iraq Scandal: Guns, Silencers and Dog Food –Ex-employees Tell ABC News the Firm Used Dog Food Sacks to Smuggle Unauthorized Weapons to Iraq 14 Nov 2008 A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, ABCNews.com has learned. “The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone,” said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.