by Mike Whitney
Global Research, April 6, 2009
Fed chief Ben Bernanke has embarked on the most radical and ruinous financial rescue plan in history. According to Bloomberg News, the Fed has already lent or committed $12.8 trillion trying to stabilize the financial system after the the bursting of Wall Street’s speculative mega-bubble. Now Bernanke wants to dig an even bigger hole, by creating programs that will provide up to $2 trillion of credit to financial institutions that purchase toxic assets from banks or securities backed by consumer loans. The Fed’s generous terms are expected to generate a flurry of speculation which will help strengthen the banking system while leaving the taxpayer to bear the losses. It is impossible to know what the long-term effects of Bernanke’s excessive spending will be, but his plan has the potential to trigger hyperinflation or spark a run on the dollar.
by Humayun Gauhar
Global Research, April 5, 2009
The Nation (Pakistan)
The real economic collapse could come by the end of this year
This article is meant to be provocative. Global Research does not necessarily share its conclusions.
Letter to my son
My dear Muhammad Ali:
I told you that it’s a funny world getting funnier. Many American analysts are saying that America’s real economic collapse could come by the end of this year. “It will come to be known as ‘The Crash of 09’, they say. Others, especially a Russian political analyst, are predicting its physical collapse too. There’s no doubt that the country is up the dirtiest of imaginable creeks without a paddle. But what’s amazing is that America remains mired in stunning denial, continuing to make bad situations worse with useless bailout plans and messing around with the world instead of facing up to the reality that its time as a hyper-power is up, that’s its economic system has failed and that its only recourse is to end its adversarial doctrine and get out of its lost wars as painlessly and honourably as possible. There’s no point in going on flogging dead horses. The only sensible thing that survival demands is to craft a new moral economic and financial system and a moral foreign policy.
The deep recession verging on depression that we have seen so far was caused by the crash in the US housing market. Since other developed industrialised nations, especially of Europe, were aping the shenanigans of unchecked and poorly regulated American bankers and financiers, the collapse of their markets, banks and economies followed like dominoes. Iceland was the first to officially declare bankruptcy. Its GDP is only about $6.5 billion but its banks had lent something like $65 billion while its regulators were asleep on the wheel. Britain has not declared bankruptcy officially but we all know that it is bankrupt for all intents and purposes and none of its banks and financial institutions has any legs left.
However, this is only the aperitif. Wait for the crash of US commercial real estate, which analysts think will happen by autumn this year.
by Andy Worthington
Originally posted at the Future of Freedom Foundation
6 April 2009
In 2007, after four rounds of administrative reviews at Guantánamo, Hedi Hammamy, a Tunisian prisoner, born in 1969, was cleared for release, having satisfied the Pentagon that he no longer represented a threat to the United States or its allies, and no longer possessed any ongoing intelligence value. He was not released, however, because, although the US government had secured a “diplomatic assurance” from the government of the Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (photo, left), which purported to guarantee that returned prisoners would be treated humanely, two prisoners returned in June 2007 were apparently mistreated in Tunisian custody, and were then imprisoned after what were regarded by human rights observers as show trials.
This prompted a District Court judge to prevent the return of a third Tunisian in November 2007, with the result that this man, Lotfi bin Ali, and several other cleared Tunisians — including Hedi Hammamy — have languished in Guantánamo ever since, as the State Department has tried in vain to find a third country prepared to accept them.
by Andrew G. Marshall
April 6, 2009
Following the 2009 G20 summit, plans were announced for implementing the creation of a new global currency to replace the US dollar’s role as the world reserve currency. Point 19 of the communiqué released by the G20 at the end of the Summit stated, “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity.” SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, are “a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund.” As the Telegraph reported, “the G20 leaders have activated the IMF’s power to create money and begin global “quantitative easing”. In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body. Conspiracy theorists will love it.”
The article continued in stating that, “There is now a world currency in waiting. In time, SDRs are likely to evolve into a parking place for the foreign holdings of central banks, led by the People’s Bank of China.” Further, “The creation of a Financial Stability Board looks like the first step towards a global financial regulator,” or, in other words, a global central bank.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those effected by this horrible earthquake. ~ DS
Updates 1 & 2: added video reports
Mon, 06 Apr 2009 17:43:40 GMT
About 50,000 people have become homeless.
The death toll from Italy’s earthquakes has reached 150 as 1,500 people are reported wounded while many others are still trapped under the rubble.
The rescue operation is underway in most areas with more than 1,700 rescuers attempting to recover bodies or rescue those trapped under the ruined buildings.
Cries for help are heard from the rubble, and thousands are in the streets bracing for aftershocks.
via 150 ‘confirmed’ dead in Italy’s quake
Italy earthquake kills more than 90 and leaves thousands homeless
by John Hooper in L’Aquila, Peter Walker and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Monday 6 April 2009 15.48 BST
Scores of people were killed and tens of thousands left homeless in central Italy today after a powerful earthquake shook a mountain region, severely damaging a historic city and leaving hundreds feared trapped in rubble.
At least 92 people were known to have died, the Italian news agency Ansa reported, quoting local rescue workers, while the Red Cross said it faced a “race” to rescue those still trapped.
More than 1,500 people had been injured, the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, told a press conference in L’Aquila, the badly damaged capital of the Abruzzo region, close to the quake’s epicentre.
via Italy earthquake kills more than 90 and leaves thousands homeless | World news | guardian.co.uk.
Italy muzzled scientist who foresaw quake