Lord James of Blackheath, House of Lords [VIDEO 11:10] from 2010, now circulating
Breaking news Lord James of Blackheath has spoken in the House of Lords holding evidence of three transactions of 5 Trillion each and a transaction of 750,000 metric tonnes of gold and has called for an investigation.
I think there are three possible conclusions that may come from it. I think there may have been a massive piece of money laundering committed by a major government which ought to know better and that it has effectively undermined the integrity of the British bank the Royal Bank of Scotland, in doing so. The second alternative is that a major American department has an agency that has gone rogue on it because it has been wound up and has created a structure out of which they are seeking to get at least 50 billion Euros as a payoff. And the third possibility is that this is an extraordinarily elaborate fraud which has not been carried out but which has been prepared in order to provide a threat to one government or more if they don’t pay them off. So there are three possibilities and this all needs a very urgent review.
My Lords, it starts in April and May of 2009, with the alleged transfer to the United Kingdom, to HSBC of a sum of 5 trillion dollars and seven days later, in comes another 5 trillion dollars to HSBC, and then 3 weeks later another 5 trillion. 5 trillion in each case. Sorry. A total of 15 trillion dollars is alleged to have been passed into the hands of HSBC for onward transit to the Royal Bank of Scotland and we need to look at where this came from and what the history of this money is. And I have been trying to sort out the sequence by which this money has been created and from where it has come from for a long time.
John Pilger describes the reality hidden behind the cloak of anglo-american “democracy.”
Phi Beta Iota: This describes the crime against humanity, the atrocity, of cleansing the population of the islands now known as Diego Garcia. If We the People do not hold our government accountable, then We the People are complicit in all that is done “in our name.”
January 20, 2012 — Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence. She was the embodiment of people’s resistance to the war on democracy. I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos islanders, a tiny creole nation living midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean. The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in a phenomenon of natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends, “Keep smiling girls!”
Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said, “I didn’t have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise. My great-grandmother was born there; I made six children there. That’s why they couldn’t legally throw us out of our own homes; they had to terrify us into leaving or force us out. At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving [then] they spread rumors we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs.”
In the early 1960s, the Labor government of Harold Wilson secretly agreed to a demand from Washington that the Chagos archipelago, a British colony, be “swept” and “sanitized” of its 2,500 inhabitants so that a military base could be built on the principal island, Diego Garcia. “They knew we were inseparable from our pets,” said Lisette, “When the American soldiers arrived to build the base, they backed their big trucks against the brick shed where we prepared the coconuts; hundreds of our dogs had been rounded up and imprisoned there. Then they gassed them through tubes from the trucks’ exhausts. You could hear them crying.”
In my opinion, one of the most important books written in recent years on the subject of the global arms trade and its corrupting effects is Andrew Feinstein’s, The Shadow World, Inside the Global Arms Trade. This voluminous book is mind numbing in its detail, but it is thoroughly sourced and, I believe, it will become a standard reference over time. Anyone trying to understand the dark and dangerous corner of the global economy and its politics must read this book. (To be sure, I am biased because I was a minor source in this book and I consider Andrew a good friend.)
Naturally, the arms makers are not too happy with the Shadow World and want to keep it hidden in the musty stacks of your local library. I am attaching two recent essays to help you determine if this book should be forgotten. They were published on the Lexington Institute’ Early Warning Blog. Lexington is funded in large part by defense contractors and is hardly impartial on all matters regarding defense spending, so the first essay is quite expected; the second, however, comes as a surprise, to Lexington’s credit.
The first essay is a predictable critique of Andrew’s book by Robert Trice, a retired Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin. Think of his effort as an attempt to move Andrew’s book to a forgotten corner in the back room.
To understand the saliency of Trice’s effort, consider his career. Robert Trice is a case study in the quintessential pattern of gorging oneself on cash flow pumped out by the Military – Industrial – Congressional Complex’s big green spending machine. Holding a PhD in political science, he began his defense career in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon, where he eventually became Director for Technology and Arms Transfer Policy — or in plain english, a resident shill in the Pentagon for promoting international arms sales — the subject painted in not so flattering terms by Feinstein. Trice then moved to Capital Hill and worked as the defense Legislative Assistant to Senator Dale Bumpers (D-AR) for about three years. I met him in this position because Bumpers was interested in the military reform work my colleagues (Pierre Sprey and John Boyd) and I were doing in the Pentagon. But Trice, as Bumpers’ advisor, was clearly a reluctant reformer. (Although Bumpers showed initial and enthusiastic interest in our work, nothing came of it.) In the essay below Trice now slings a little mud, saying the three of us are not just wrong but wrongly motivated, because we are “anti-defense.” Soon thereafter, the presumably pro-defense Trice cashed out of Bumpers office to work in the Defense industry, serving first as a Vice President for Business Development at McDonnel Douglas (in plain english this is a marketing job and in the MICC, marketing, or business development, means greasing the skids in Congress and the Pentagon for your firm’s tinker toys — which is a good position for a poly sci type, because he couldn’t design airplanes at McAir or Lockheed). Trice then moved to Lockheed Martin where his business development portfolio including shaping L-M’s new business strategies and operations for the global market, which of course is the subject of Andrew’s book. Obviously a person with his background of bottom feeding so successfully in the MICC’s money machine, especially in the international arms trade arena, comes to the reviewing table with … shall we say … a certain amount of bias.
The second essay is Andrew Feinstein’s polite repost to Trice’s bucket of grease. Andrew’s background could not be more different than that of Trice. Whereas Trice gorged himself and became a wealthy ‘pillar of the establishment’ by slopping in America’s defense trough, Andrew put his ass on the line trying to rein in the excesses of that trough’s South African equivalent. In the late 1980s, Andrew, a young white South African, joined Nelson Mandella’s African National Congress (ANC), because he opposed Apartheid. In 1994, after the fall of Apartheid, he was elected in South Africa’s first democratic election to be an ANC member of parliament. But Andrew took his parliamentary oversight responsibilities seriously, and while in parliament, he set up a kind of one man Truman Committee to investigate allegations of ANC corruption in some international weapons deals. And he hit pay dirt, but rather than shutting up when he was pressured by party elders to close down his investigation into a £5bn arms deal that was tainted by allegations of high-level corruption, he resigned in protest from Parliament. His political memoir, After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey Inside the ANC, was published in 2007 and became a bestseller in South Africa.
With the backgrounds of these two protagonists in mind, I urge you to read Trice’s critique of Andrew’s latest book first (Attachment 1 below) and then Andrew’s repost (Attachment 2 below) and judge for yourself who is closer to being a straight shooter — and read The Shadow World.
In last month’s State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to pass “legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber threats.” The Hill was way ahead of him, with over 50 cybersecurity bills introduced this Congress. This week, both the House and Senate are moving on their versions of consolidated, comprehensive legislation.
The reason cybersecurity legislation is so pressing, proponents say, is that we face an immediate risk of national disaster.
“Today’s cyber criminals have the ability to interrupt life-sustaining services, cause catastrophic economic damage, or severely degrade the networks our defense and intelligence agencies rely on,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said at a hearing last week. “Congress needs to act on comprehensive cybersecurity legislation immediately.”
Yet evidence to sustain such dire warnings is conspicuously absent. In many respects, rhetoric about cyber catastrophe resembles threat inflation we saw in the run-up to the Iraq War. And while Congress’ passing of comprehensive cybersecurity legislation wouldn’t lead to war, it could saddle us with an expensive and overreaching cyber-industrial complex.
An article like this poses the question – who is really insane, psychiatrists or the people they treat? When readers finish this article, they may vote for the former.
“In a damning analysis of an upcoming revision of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health experts said its new categories and “tick-box” diagnosis systems were at best “silly” and at worst “worrying and dangerous.” Some diagnoses – for conditions like “oppositional defiant disorder” and “apathy syndrome” – risk devaluing the seriousness of mental illness and medicalising behaviors most people would consider normal or just mildly eccentric, the experts said. At the other end of the spectrum, the new DSM, due out next year, could give medical diagnoses for serial rapists and sex abusers – under labels like “paraphilic coercive disorder” – and may allow offenders to escape prison by providing what could be seen as an excuse for their behavior, they added.
Syria: Special comment. Readers are rightly perplexed about conditions in Syria. Syrian press restrictions inhibit any neutral or balanced coverage. Everything reported from opposition sources and activists is biased and some reports of massacres include manufactured images, according to eyewitnesses.
International news descriptions of a worsening crisis receive no offsetting coverage of testimony from non-Sunni and non-opposition sources that little is occurring. The massacres are not taking place, occurring to sources that receive messages from Orthodox Christians living in Homs, for example. Life goes on in all of the towns and ports.
Skirmishes at checkpoints are the most common form of clash. That means four or five people fire a few rounds at four or five soldiers or policemen. Defectors are Sunni conscripts. The Syrian Army is about 60% conscript. Desertion is common in conscript armies. Defectors from the professional, full-time, non-conscript core of the force, most of whom are Alawites, have not been reported.
The point is that western media present one side of the struggle — that of the exiled Sunni politicians and activists with cell phones. Clips from social networking media are heavily one-sided and some are not authentic.
Limited communications from people caught in the middle, non-Muslims, suggest there is a lot less fighting and fewer deaths. Reports of carnage and massacres of hundreds do not seem to be accurate, except in opposition propaganda media.
I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.
What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.
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Tell The Truth
When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid — graphically, if necessary — in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be. U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it.
Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start. AFJ
Most discussions of possible United States military operations in the Persian Gulf, should Iran try to prevent maritime traffic from going through the Strait of Hormuz, generally say that while it would not be a cakewalk, it would not be an enormously difficult task either.
But that conventional wisdom is wrong, according to a recent report issued by an independent, non-profit public policy research institute in Washington DC. The report found that the traditional post-Cold War US military ability to project power overseas with few serious challenges to its freedom of action may be rapidly drawing to a close.
. . . . . . .
It stressed that “a Strait of Hormuz closure could trigger a much larger price spike, including by limiting offsetting supplies from other producers in the region”.
Phi Beta Iota: Two themes are emerging in the open source world. First, the depth and breadth of Israel’s clandestine agreements with its Arab neighbors is not clearly understood–a National Intelligence Estimate is required, but the collection, processing, and analysis capabilities are simply not there, and the management will to do this as a multinational task is not there either. Second, as the US loses its ability to actually project force, the finance of war is being replaced by the theater of war, such that oil prices can still be manipulated, but at a fraction of the blood, sweat, and tears previously mobilized – financial fraud on the cheap, as it were.
Economic imbalances and social inequality risk reversing the gains of globalization, warns the World Economic Forum in its report Global Risks 2012. These are the findings of a survey of 469 experts and industry leaders who worry that the world’s institutions are ill-equipped to cope with today’s interconnected, rapidly evolving risks. The findings of the survey fed into an analysis of three major risk cases: Seeds of Dystopia; Unsafe Safeguards and the Dark Side of Connectivity. Report also analyses the top 10 risks in five categories – economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological.
Phi Beta Iota: The report fails to address the absence of both intelligence and integrity among all “institutions” be they public or private. This is the entire point of the global Occupy movement. This is also the entire point of this website, which predates Occupy by some time.
The Obama administration’s counterterrorism accomplishments are most apparent in what it has been able to dismantle, including CIA prisons and entire tiers of al-Qaeda’s leadership. But what the administration has assembled, hidden from public view, may be equally consequential.
In the space of three years, the administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries. The apparatus involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents.
Europe: Updates. In an interview with a French daily on 25 December, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde stressed that Europe’s financial crisis is turning into “a crisis of confidence in public debt and the solidity of the financial system.
Greece: According to an IMF source involved in discussions with Greece, the situation in Athens is “deteriorating” and “a further 10-15 billion euros ($13.1-19.6 billion) still needs to be found.” Banks may be asked to agree to write off 65 % instead of 50% of Greece’s debt.
France: The French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) said on 26 December that there were 29,000 new job seekers “without any occupation” in November, up 1.1% over October. The year-on-year increase reached 5.2%. In total, 2,844,800 people did not have any occupation, the highest such figure since November 1999.
An economist at the French Observatory of Economic Conditions speculated that France’s unemployment rate — which currently stands at 9.3% — will reach 10.7% by the end of 2012, and predicted that Paris will not succeed in bringing the deficit down to 3% of GDP by 2013.
Spain: At a news conference on 26 December, Spanish Economy Minister Luis De Guindos said that the Spanish economy had suffered a “relapse” and would record negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2011. De Guindos warned that “the next two months are not going to be easy, neither from a growth nor a jobs point of view.”
Comment: According to the Financial Times and multiple economists the fate of the euro depends on what happens in Italy. This week Italy intends to auction bonds worth Euros 20 billion. The market reaction to the auction will be an important indicator of whether the central bankers have found a way to stabilize the financial crisis, or have just made it worse.
All analysts of European economics predict a recession in 2012. They differ only about how severe it will be. In an integrated global economy, the ripple effects from Europe will drag the US and the Chinese economies, among all others.
Phi Beta Iota: Christine Lagarde, perhaps because she is a woman with a smaller ego and larger intuition than most men, appears to be the first Epoch A leader to “get” that we are all calling into question the very existence of the Western financial system that is rooted in fraud, waste, and abuse. When she begins to point to Iceland as an example, and to demand that Western countries arrest and try Goldman Sachs, Morgan, Citi-Bank, Bank of America, and other officials for high crimes against the public, the healing can begin. Until then, the West is avoiding the fundamentals.