Index Research will focus on a country or an issue which is of particular interest to me. Articles have appeared on and others.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Will Economic Crisis Lead To A Police State World ? s

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

Digg this

Email this

Click on the section in which you are interested

1. Introduction

2. February 2009 (ECONOMIC CRISIS: ‘Bailout', Billion $ Club, Media Speaks;THE GOVERNMENT SPEAKS: DoD Contracts, Imperial Wars; Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (US, Iran/Israel,N. Korea); Fear Mongering, Surveillance (US, Canada, Israel, UK), Police State (US, UK) THE WORLD SUFFERS: jobless)

3. March 2009 (ECONOMIC CRISIS: Bailout, Billion $ Club, China;, G20., The Car, Media; THE GOVERNMENT SPEAKS: DoD Contracts, (+ Israel), Imperial Wars, missile defense; Fear Mongering, Surveillance, Police State (US, Israel, UK); THE WORLD SUFFERS (poverty, tent cities; PEOPLE POWER (demonstrations)

4. References


1. Introduction

The iconic photograph of the Falling Man at the World Trade Centre was "the defining image" of that day. I see his 10-second journey as also a symbol of 7+ years of the "War on Terror;" as an archetype that resounds throughout the history of humankind.

I think of other famous falling symbols: the rebellious fallen angel thrown out of heaven because he tempted humans "to sin or commit evil deeds," representing "a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment." I think of Icarus ,who flew too close to the sun and, with burnt wings, fell into the sea. I think of Virgil leading Dante through the circles of hell in The Divine Comedy. I think of The Fall by Albert Camus,about a "man's confessions that reveal his "perception of justice and his own downfall." I think of the painter, Georg Baselitz , and his stunning paintings of a falling eagle.

Barack Obama was elected as the "heroic" saviour. Stories of heroism can serve as moral examples. But Obama has a problem: his rhetoric is a contradiction of reality. Obama is a good lawyer, a good debater. Debaters are taught to be able to support both sides of a story equally well. Obama's double-speak statements reveal the military, political and "intelligence" schisms within the White House. The contradictory mood music coming out of Washington remind me of The Lyre Bird whose sweet callings are interspersed with chain saws and sirens.

The results are not encouraging. Defense contracts are numerous; surveillance is omnipresent; police state mentality and laws have infected Israel and the United Kingdom. Illegalities (torture, rendition, eg.) are not prosecuted and continue. Terrorism remains a focus of the a government rampant with Human Rights war crimes. The American jobless public, under a pall during the "War on Terror," have transfered their anger to rebelling against economic injustice.

We all mourn "Paradise Lost" .

Until America's Augean Stables are cleansed and purified, the Falling Man will continue to fall.

2. FEBRUARY 2009



It’s Not Going to Be OK
02.02.09. Chris Hedges, truthdig. The daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. The street protests, strikes and riots that have rattled France, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Iceland will descend on us. It is only a matter of time. ... / At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. ... / There are a few isolated individuals who saw it coming. The political philosophers Sheldon S. Wolin, John Ralston Saul and Andrew Bacevich, as well as writers such as Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, David Korten and Naomi Klein, along with activists such as Bill McKibben and Ralph Nader, rang the alarm bells. They were largely ignored or ridiculed. Our corporate media and corporate universities proved, when we needed them most, intellectually and morally useless. ... / Wolin argues that a failure to dismantle our vast and overextended imperial projects, coupled with the economic collapse, is likely to result in inverted totalitarianism. He said that without “radical and drastic remedies” the response to mounting discontent and social unrest will probably lead to greater state control and repression. There will be, he warned, a huge “expansion of government power.” ... / Wolin writes that in inverted totalitarianism consumer goods and a comfortable standard of living, along with a vast entertainment industry that provides spectacles and diversions, keep the citizenry politically passive. ... / He said the widespread political passivity is dangerous. It is often exploited by demagogues who pose as saviors and offer dreams of glory and salvation. He warned that “the apoliticalness, even anti-politicalness, will be very powerful elements in taking us towards a radically dictatorial direction.... / Wolin lamented that the corporate state has successfully blocked any real debate about alternative forms of power. Corporations determine who gets heard and who does not, he said. And those who critique corporate power are given no place in the national dialogue. ... / . But what I am struck by now is the narrow range within which palliatives are being modeled. We are supposed to work with the financial system. So the people who helped create this system are put in charge of the solution. There has to be some major effort to think outside the box.” ... / “The puzzle to me is the lack of social unrest,” ...

VIDEO: 'Worst economic collapse ever (10.02.09)

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, Hay Festival 2008 ©Sarah Meyer

Is the Entire Bailout Strategy Flawed? Let's Rethink This Before It's Too Late
02.02.09. Joseph STIGLITZ, CNN./alternet. The hope that President Obama will be able to get us out of the mess is tempered by the reality that throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at the banks has failed to restore them to health, or even to resuscitate the flow of lending.

The Gods that Failed
- .02.09. nation books. Over the past three decades, governments have ceded economic control to a new elite of "free-market" operatives as well as national and international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and WTO. This trend has left the global economy more vulnerable to a financial collapse than any time since 1929. Two leading British economists, Dan Atkinson and Larry Elliott, dissect this financial elite, tracing their origins to a secretive gathering of free-market economists in 1947, and propose a series of far-reaching reforms that can save us from a new depression.

The Bailout

Large U.S. Banks on Brink of Insolvency, Experts Say
13.02.09. Steve Lohr, IHT / ICH. Some of the large banks in the United States, according to economists and other finance experts, are like dead men walking. A sober assessment of the growing mountain of losses from bad bets, measured in today's marketplace, would overwhelm the value of the banks' assets, they say. The banks, in their view, are insolvent.

VIDEO: Ron Paul: On The Stimulus Bill
17.02.09. Paul tells CNN viewers that only 5 hard copies of the bill were available for house of Congress members to read. 4 + min.

Top of the Agenda: Obama's Budget and the U.S. Deficit
23.02.09. CFR. - Deficit questions loom as Obama plans ten-year budget release.
- Sri Lanka rejects Tamil Tiger cease-fire request.
- U.S. advisers reportedly working secretly to aid military in Pakistan.
- Somali terror group vows further attacks against AU peacekeepers.

Obama pledges to halve US deficit
24.02.09. al jazeera. Barack Obama, the US president, has pledged to cut the $1.3 trillion US budget deficit in half over the next four years. The Obama administration, which has just pushed through a $787 billion economic stimulus package, also announced more funding for ailing US banks on Monday amid a continuing economic crisis.

Obama's Address to Congress

(A commentator noted that when Obama speaks the market crashes )

Major Stock Market Indexes Fall to 1997 Levels
23.02.09. ABC.

House Passes Spending Bill, and Critics Are Quick to Point Out Pork
25.02.09. NY Times. The House on Wednesday passed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill packed with pet projects requested by Democrats and Republicans alike.

The Billion $ Club

Bush overpaid $78 billion for bank shares in bailout, report finds
06.02.09. Raw Story. Bush Treasury Sec. 'subsidized' his ex-firm with $2.5 billion. ronically, the "subsidy" itself was doled out by Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the former chief executive of investment bank Goldman Sachs. According to the report, Goldman got an effective $2.5 billion subsidy from the Treasury Department.

Capitalism’s Self-inflicted Apocalypse
10.02.09. Michael Parenti, ICH. n the corporate world of “free-trade,” the number of billionaires is increasing faster than ever while the number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. Poverty spreads as wealth accumulates.

Looting Social Security
14.02.09. William Greider, Nation / ICH. "Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever "grand bargain" they want President Obama to embrace in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. . The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea--Washington's leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.

The People Be Damned: The President of Special Interests
17.02.09. Paul Craig Roberts, ICH. The Bush/Obama bailout/stimulus plans are not going to work. Both are schemes hatched by a clique of financial insiders. The schemes will redistribute income and wealth from American taxpayers to the shyster banksters, who have destroyed American jobs, ruined the retirement plans of tens of millions of Americans, and worsened the situation of millions of people worldwide who naively trusted American financial institutions.

The Media Comments

Paul Krugman

The Destructive Center
09.02.08. Paul Krugman, NY Times / ICH. What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition, undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses? A proud centrist.

Who Will Stop the Economic Pain?
21.02.09. Paul Krugman, NY Times / alternet. We're in the midst of a crisis that bears an eerie resemblance to the onset of the Depression. How and when will it all end?

Banking on the Brink
22.02.09. Paul Krugman. The real question is why the Obama administration keeps coming up with proposals that sound like possible alternatives to nationalization, but turn out to involve huge handouts to bank stockholders. For example, the administration initially floated the idea of offering banks guarantees against losses on troubled assets. This would have been a great deal for bank stockholders, not so much for the rest of us: heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. Now the administration is talking about a "public-private partnership" to buy troubled assets from the banks, with the government lending money to private investors for that purpose. This would offer investors a one-way bet: if the assets rise in price, investors win; if they fall substantially, investors walk away and leave the government holding the bag. Again, heads they win, tails we lose.

Danny Schechter, Dissector, Media Channel

PBS Screws Up Report on Financial Crisis
21.02.09. Danny Schechter, Media Channel / Alternet. At a time when we need hard-hitting investigations into our financial catastrophe, we are getting superficial reporting -- even on PBS.

As New Scammers Emerge, Is It Jailout Time Yet?
23.02.09. Danny Schechter, Media Channel / ICH. Judging by my in-box, there seem to be no shortage of organizations and individuals obsessed with an image: Dick Cheney and George Bush in prison, and Karl Rove in the next cell. Never mind that Congress doesn’t have the guts or the President the gumption to go after those responsible for the gutting of the Constitution. Nevertheless, there are many campaigns and calls to hold the last Administration accountable for its crimes. / At the same time, as we watch an economy in free fall, there seems to a lot less agitation for a serious investigation of those responsible for this collapse. Evan as you overhear conversations in every bar and union hall that begins with “those bastards should be in jail,” few progressives are leading the charge to demand a Jail-Out alongside those stimulus bailouts. It’s as if economic crimes provoke a ho-hum reaction among activists.


DoD Contracts

Pentagon Spending Billions on PR to Sway World Opinion
05.02.09. AP/legitgov. Associated Press finds that over the past five years, the money the military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year.

Imperial Wars
Experts tell Congress Iraq, Afghanistan may cost $860B by 2019
05.02.09. stripes. Even with reducing the number of deployed combat troops to 75,000 worldwide, the CBO estimates that the Defense Department faces recurring personnel costs of at least $69 billion a year, coupled with other equipment repair costs.

Ship of Fools
09.02.09. Paul Craig Roberts, ICH. The unreality in which the US government operates is beyond belief. A bankrupt government that cannot pay its bills without printing money is rushing headlong into wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis, the cost to the US taxpayers of sending a single soldier to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq is $775,000 per year!

Iraq From an Armored BMW: Where U.S. 'Reconstruction' Funds Are Really Going
14.02.09. Dahr Jamail, Fallujah remains devastated, even as the U.S. military delivers shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills to the sheiks in charge.

Gates Sees Need for at Least $83 Billion More in 2009 for Wars
20.02.09. Bloomberg / legitgov. he $83 billion is $13.3 billion more than Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in late December was needed. That estimate of $69.7 billion didn’t include the cost of sending more troops to Afghanistan, he said then.

US commander warns American troops will be in Afghanistan for years
21.02.09. Peter Symonds, uruk. The top US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, warned on Wednesday that the huge boost to US troop numbers announced this week would have to continue for years. [How Much Will This Cost?]

Freeing Up Resources... For More War
25.02.09. Norman Solomon, common dreams / ICH. In his first speech to Congress, the new president threw down a 90-month-old gauntlet, reaffirming the notion that committing to war halfway around the world -- in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan too -- will make Americans safer. With drumrolls like that, the mission could outlive all of us.

Cut the Military Budget
25.02.09. Barney Frank, The Nation / ICH. Those organizations, editorial boards and individuals who talk about the need for fiscal responsibility should be challenged to begin with the area where our spending has been the most irresponsible and has produced the least good for the dollars expended--our military budget.

Obama’s Iraq Plan Has December Elections as Turning Point for Pullout
25.02.09. NY Times. Mr. Obama plans to seek more money for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from a separate fund outside the Pentagon’s base budget (Bush's game), which will also grow beyond the 2009 spending plan of $513 billion. The separate “war costs” budget proposal for 2010 could reach $130 billion to $140 billion, officials said.

The War in Iraq Costs $600,252,605,395. See the cost in your community here

How Did $50B Worth of High-Risk, Job-Killing Nuclear Loans Get into the Stimulus?
11.02.09. Joseph Romm, Climate Progress/alternet. The same budget gimmicks that got us into the credit mess are creeping into the stimulus.

Lockheed Martin Awarded $78.6 Million Contract To Produce Upgrades For Aegis Weapon System
15.02.09. “This production contract represents an orchestrated plan to deliver new capability to the fleet on an aggressive schedule, while maintaining the operational quality that defines Aegis today,” said Kevin Kenney, Manager, Systems Acquisition Division, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 1.0. “This work will field improved ballistic missile defense capability and set the stage for full combat system modernization on all of the Navy’s Aegis destroyers.”

"DoD Officials Must Vow Secrecy on Budget"
19.02.09. John T. Bennett, Defense News / Secrecy News. For a further explanation of what this means, see Secrecy News

Getting Consumers to Pay Now for Nukes Later
23.02.09. AP / PR WATCH. Georgia Power, a subsidiary of the energy utility Southern Power, has mounted an intensive lobbying campaign for legislation that would allow it to bill customers now for as much as $2 billion of the $14 billion price tag of two new nuclear reactors proposed for the Vogtle power station. The utility, notes Associated Press reporter Shannon McCaffrey, has employed five lobbyists, used its four in-house lobbyists, and paid for meals for the House Republican leadership, House Democrats and the executive committee of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. McCaffrey's article was published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the day before it published an opinion column by former Greenpeace activist turned PR consultant Patrick Moore. Moore, who enthusiastically championed Georgia Power's case, was simply described as the "co-chairman of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition'' which supports "increased use of nuclear energy." The paper didn't disclose that the coalition was created and is funded by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), and that Georgia Power is one of NEI's members (pdf).

Congress Reaffirms No Funding for New Nuclear Warhead (25.02.09. nti)

Pentagon moves to impose secrecy on budget talks
25.02.09. AFP/ anti war. Senior Pentagon officials have had to promise they will keep the details of the US military budget secret as the Defense Department prepares to make tough cuts on weapons programs, a spokesman said on Wednesday. / In an unprecedented move, Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked top military officers and civilian officials to sign non-disclosure forms in which they agree not to reveal deliberations about the politically charged budget.

Obama seeks US$663.7b for 2010 defence spending
27.02.09. channel news, asia / ICH. President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled a 663.7 billion dollar defence budget, up a modest 1.5 percent on 2009, but projected a sharp decline in spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming years.

U.S. to Reduce Funding for Planned Nevada Nuclear Waste Site (26.02.09. nti)

and Israel

Baird wants US to reassess aid to Israel
23.02.09. jerusalem post. Baird also said he was troubled by the American origin of so much of the IDF weaponry used in Gaza, and suggested that the US should reconsider the military aid it provides and the weapons it sells to Israel.

Suspend military aid to Israel: Amnesty urges Obama after detailing US weapons used in Gaza
23.02.09. Guardian. "As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program director. "To a large extent, Israel's military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with US taxpayers' money."

Our economy cannot sustain AIPAC's and Israel's influence over us
24.02.09. M. MacElveen, oped. President Barack Obama convened an economic summit where he stated the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan will be figured into what we the tax payer are actually paying for. / … "74 percent - about $2 billion a year - stays in the United States to finance Israeli purchases of U.S.-made products, ranging from fighter jets and helicopters to bullets and missiles, spare tank parts and fuel to bulldozers and more"

Israeli Defense Officials Fear U.S. Aid Cuts (24.02.09. CBN)

Nuclear /Biological / Chemical

So, Admiral, what have you got to say about the nuclear submarine crash?
17.02.09. Independent. British and French vessels had enough material to carry out 1,248 Hiroshima bombings. Defence chiefs are facing an inquiry into the safety of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent after British and French submarines, each laden with missiles powerful enough for 1,248 Hiroshima bombings, collided while submerged in the mid-Atlantic.

Lost U.S. Weapons May Be Going to Taliban, GAO Says
12.02.09. Washington Post. Tens of thousands of assault rifles and other firearms in Afghanistan are at risk of being stolen because U.S. officials have lost track of them, according to a congressionally ordered audit that warns that some weapons may already be in Taliban hands. The audit by the Government Accountability Office found that inventory controls were lacking for more than a third of the 242,000 light weapons donated to Afghan forces by the United States -- a stockpile that includes thousands of AK-47 assault rifles as well as mortars, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. / There were no reliable records showing what ultimately happened to an additional 135,000 weapons donated by other NATO countries, the report said.

U.S. Energy Department Cannot Account for Nuclear Materials at 15 Locations
24.02.09. nti. A number of U.S. institutions with licenses to hold nuclear material reported to the Energy Department in 2004 that the amount of material they held was less than agency records indicated. But rather than investigating the discrepancies, Energy officials wrote off significant quantities of nuclear material from the department's inventory records. A report released yesterday by Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman that concluded "the department cannot properly account for and effectively manage its nuclear materials maintained by domestic licensees and may be unable to detect lost or stolen material."

John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago
26.02.09. Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones / legitgov. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning [Conservative Political Action Conference - CPAC], he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.

New Security Lapse at Los Alamos Triggers Angry Response From Energy Department
27.02.09. nti. Plutonium handling practices are so poor at a major U.S. nuclear-weapon laboratory that they threaten the facility's ability to function at all, Energy Department officials warned in a letter this week

Israel / Iran

see Information Clearing House heading "manufacturing consent for war in Iran."

Is Israel assassinating Iran nuclear scientists?
17.02.09. Haaretz / legitgov.

Iranian bioweapon researcher dies suspiciously
15.02.09. presstv/ir. A US-based Iranian doctor working to discover an antitoxin therapy of biological weapons has purportedly died a "suspicious death." / According to Tabnak, Dr. Talebzadeh's achievements in finding a cure to bioweapons had made him the target of various accusations from the government of the United States -- one of the possessors of biological weapons -- since 1992.

North Korea

U.S. Might Have to Accept North Korea With Nuclear Weapons, Expert Says
18.02.09. nti. "If the United States can deal with major nuclear weapons states such as China and Russia [and Israel?] , it can tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea that may or may not actually have the weapons arsenal it claims," Harrison, Asia program chief at the Center for International Policy, wrote following a trip last month to Pyongyang.

Bio / Chemical

Czech researchers exposed to bird flu virus via vaccine
17.02.09. Xinhuanet / legitgov. Pharmaceutical company that developed vaccine admitted it mistakenly sent infected material to Czech Republic Thirteen Czech researchers have been exposed to the H5N1 bird flu virus strain through a contaminated vaccine obtained from an Austrian company, Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) reported Tuesday. The 13 people who had contact with the ferrets were in danger but were not infected with the lethal virus, said Josef Duben, a spokesman for the Czech veterinary authority. The bird flu virus was being tested positive on ferrets by the Biotest company in Konarovice when the animals began to die.

"Board Cancels Hearing Under Bayer Pressure"
25.02.09. wv gazette. Under pressure from Bayer CropScience, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has canceled a public meeting where it planned to brief Kanawha Valley residents on its investigation of the August explosion that killed two Institute plant workers.

Revealed: Scientific evidence for the 2001 anthrax attacks
27 02.09. Key forensic evidence in the US anthrax attacks of 2001 has been revealed. The FBI had previously prevented the scientists involved from speaking publicly about their findings in case this interfered with court proceedings [their coverup], but last August, after chief suspect Bruce Ivins 'committed suicide,' the case collapsed and the FBI lifted many of the restrictions... These show how the FBI traced the spores used in the attacks to a single flask at a US government lab, but they don't explain why the FBI made Ivins - who worked at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) - the chief suspect.

Fear Mongering

[NB: a brilliant discussion of the history of US fearmongering can be read in The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich]

Cheney warns of new attacks
04.02.09. politico. Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed. VIDEO of INTERVIEW.

WTO Chief Warns of Looming Political Unrest
09.02.09. AFP. The global economic crisis could trigger political unrest equal to that seen during the 1930s, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a German newspaper interview Saturday.

UPDATE 3-World economic crisis is top security threat -U.S
12.02.09. Reuters. The global economic crisis has become the biggest near-term U.S. security concern, sowing instability in a quarter of the world's countries and threatening destructive trade wars, U.S. intelligence agencies reported on Thursday. / ... The report represents the findings of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and serves as a leading security reference for policymakers and Congress. Besides reviewing adversaries, it also considered this year the security impact of issues including climate change and the economy.

VIDEO: Worst Than The Great Depression? ' Worst Economic Collapse Ever'
In 2009 we are going to see the worst economic collapse ever, the Greatest Depression, says Gerald Celente, U.S. trend forecaster. He believes its going to be very violent in the U.S., including there being a tax revolt. 11 min.

Economic Crisis 'Top Threat to US'
13.02.09. Al Jazeera/ICH. Dennis Blair said in a report to US congress on security on Thursday that the longer the economic recovery, the greater likelihood of "serious damage" to US strategic interests. Several countries in South America, Africa and the former Soviet Union were unprepared for economic crises and risked "regime-threatening stability" if the situation were to persist.

Bad News From America’s Top Spy
16.02.09. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. ... The specter of social unrest was raised at the U.S. Army War College in November in a monograph titled “Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development.”[click on Policypointers’ pdf link to see the report] The military must be prepared, the document warned, for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,” which could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse,” “purposeful domestic resistance,” “pervasive public health emergencies” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.” The “widespread civil violence,” the document said, “would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.”

“An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,” it went on.

“Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance,” the document read.

In plain English, something bureaucrats and the military seem incapable of employing, this translates into the imposition of martial law and a de facto government being run out of the Department of Defense. They are considering it. So should you.

Warning for the West as crisis spills onto streets
16.02.09. the herald / legitgov. The slump that has swept through developed nations like the UK, the eurozone and the United States is hitting the world's emerging economies with a speed and ferocity that has shocked even the most pessimistic analysts. Until recently, many investors and economists thought such countries could provide a bulwark against the collapse in growth elsewhere. Instead, the latest data suggests that emerging economies as a group actually contracted late last year, and will likely shrink further in 2009.

Get ready for a wave of bank failures
20.02.09. CNN / ICH. In less than two months, regulators have seized 14 banks. Experts think many more banks will collapse before the financial crisis is over.

Brzezinski Warns Of Riots in US
21.02.09. Press TV/ICH. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former national security advisor, has warned that the US could witness riots if economy continues its downward spiral.

FBI Director Warns of Terror Attacks on U.S. Cities
23.02.09. washington post / legitgov. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III today warned that extremists "with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons" to sow terror, raising the specter that recent attacks in Mumbai that killed 170 people last year could embolden terrorists seeking to attack U.S. cities.

Economic Crash Will Fuel Social Unrest
24.02.09. Michael T. Klare, Tomdispatch/ alternet. Governments across the planet are preparing for a surge of violent protests from economic upheaval. Wars may follow.

Economic Meltdown Could Hamper Chemical Weapons Disarmament, OPCW Chief Says
25.02.09. nti. Nations might find it more difficult amid the global economic meltdown to provide the funding needed to meet the international deadline for chemical weapons disarmament, the head of the organization that monitors compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention said yesterday

CIA Adds Economy to Threat Updates
26.02.09. washington post / legitgov. The daily White House intelligence report that catalogs the top security threats to the nation has a grim new addition, reflecting the realities of the age: a daily update on the global financial crisis and its cascading effects on the stability of countries through the world. The first Economic Intelligence Briefing report was presented to the White House yesterday by the CIA. The addition of economic news to the daily roundup of terrorist attacks and surveillance reports appears to reflect a growing belief among intelligence officials that the economic meltdown is now preeminent among security threats facing the United States.

Stock market "capitulation" needs shock trigger
26.02.09. Reuters / legitgov. Are global stock markets set for "capitulation" after sliding to six-year lows and wiping out a stuttering recent recovery? One key factor is preventing that sharp, panicky selling of shares that cleans the stables out and heralds an equities rebound: the piecemeal nature of government attempts to rescue banks and the economy... " So for capitulation to happen, markets will have to be hit by a big, negative news event, and for the rebound to be sustainable, the overall environment would have to improve. "We need to see an event that would shock everybody -- a big U.S. bank failure, or a country in Europe going broke," said Mark Bon, fund manager at Canada Life. [See Naomi Klein, Shock Doctrine ]


Ed Balls: minister fears rise of fascism amid economic gloom (10.02.09. Telegraph)

Britain: Senior police officer warns of “summer of rage”
27.02.09. WSWS. A senior officer in London's Metropolitan Police has issued a public warning that Britain could experience a wave of demonstrations and direct-action protests this year as a result of the economic crisis.

23.02.09. Paul Lewis, Guardian / legitgov. Middle-class anger at economic crisis could erupt into violence on streets


VIDEO. THE SPY FACTORY. an eye-opening documentary on the National Security Agency (NSA) by best-selling author James Bamford and Emmy Award-winning producer Scott Willis, NOVA exposes the ultra-secret intelligence agency's role in the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent eavesdropping program that listens in without warrant on millions of American citizens.

The War on Terror is a Hoax
04.02.09. Paul Craig Roberts, ICH. According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.

Obama administration seeks to block lawsuit over illegal wiretapping
16.02.09. WSWS. For the second time in less than a week, lawyers from the Justice Department headed by Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder have embraced the Bush administration's pseudo-legal argument that the "state secrets" doctrine bars civil lawsuits challenging the methods used in its so-called "war on terror."

Despite Obama pledge, Justice defends Bush secrets
16.02.09. AP/Secrecy News. "Despite President Obama's vow to open government more than ever, the Justice Department is defending Bush administration decisions to keep secret many documents about domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists. Also see related story from Inside Defense here.

Surveillance cams help fight crime, city says
19.02.09. sun times / legitgov. Mayor Daley has argued that security and terrorism won’t be an issue if his Olympic dreams come true because, by 2016, there will be a surveillance camera on every street corner in Chicago. In 2004, City Hall used a $5.1 million federal homeland security grant to install 250 cameras at locations thought to be at high risk of a terrorist attack and link them and 2,000 existing city cameras to the 911 center.

Judge questions law giving telecoms immunity
23.02.09. sfgate / legit gov. A federal judge in San Francisco is raising questions about the constitutionality of a law designed to dismiss suits against telecommunications companies accused of cooperating with government wiretapping. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has asked President Obama's Justice Department to present its views by Wednesday on whether the law gives the attorney general too much power to decide whether a company is immune from lawsuits. Obama supported the measure as a senator when Congress approved it last year.

= = =
It's OK for them to track us, but NOT okay for us to track them

Obama administration tries to kill e-mail case
21.02.09. AP / legitgov. The Obama administration, siding with former President [sic] George W. Bush, is trying to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails. Two advocacy groups suing the Executive Office of the President say that large amounts of White House e-mail documenting Bush's eight years in office may still be missing, and that the government must undertake an extensive recovery effort.


Surveillance cameras must vanish after 2010
20.02.09. Surveillance cameras at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver must not be used by police to monitor the city’s residents after the games, the privacy commissioners of Canada and British Columbia said Monday. / “People who spend a lot of time thinking about the privacy of our citizens are worried that once the games are over, the surveillance may not disappear, and there may be new ways that are thought up to justify keeping the surveillance apparatus with us,” said federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart.


26.02,09. Desertpeace, uruknet. Do you write articles giving the truth about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Do you have a Blog known for its anti zionist viewpoints? Have you been getting extra 'visitors’ to your Blog who leave negative comments or participate in polls? If yes to any of the above, there is a good reason for all of this….it’s a project called Megaphone Israel. It is a new desktop tool that alerts its subscribers to any entries that might be anti Israel or anti zionist...


UK: Peers warn surveillance state is threat to freedom
06.02.09. Independent/ICH. The vast growth of surveillance and data collection risks undermining freedoms vital to the British way of life, a group of eminent peers is warning today.

UK mobile phone firms to sell data about customer activity
16.02.09. Richard Wray, Guardian. Industry tells Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it plans to make information available to commercial parties later this year

UK laws post-1997 'compromised' traditional liberties: rights group
20.02.09. JURIST. Under the leadership of successive Labour Party governments the UK Parliament [official website] has systematically infringed on freedoms and rights of individual British citizens over the past decade, according to a report [text; PDF] released Thursday by the Convention of Modern Liberty [advocacy website]. The report, compiled by the University College of London Student Human Rights Programme [advocacy website] cites governmental actions that allegedly limit liberties guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights [text], incorporated by statute by the Human Rights Act of 1998 [text], as well as uncodified freedoms. Such limitations include increased use of electronic surveillance on individuals, right to detain individuals for up to 28 days without a formal charge, and a lowering of the standard of proof for criminal trials.

We Are All Extremists Now
21.02.09. Seumas Milne, Guardian / ICH. The government is criminalising legitimate dissent under the guise of fighting 'extremism', a word for which it has no definition.

UK: Yes we are raging - against a Government that spies on its citizens while ignoring the crimes of greedy bankers
24.02.09. Daily Mail / ICH. Today one of Britain's most senior police officers with responsibility for public order raises the spectre of a 'summer of rage', with victims of the increasingly bitter recession taking to the streets in possibly violent protest.

Remote-controlled planes could spy on British homes
24.02.09. Telegraph / legitgoc. Police could soon use unmanned spyplanes like those used to track enemy troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for surveillance operations on British homes. The Home Office has suggested that the remote-controlled drones could be used to help police gather evidence and track criminals without putting officers at risk. The miniature aircraft could be fitted with cameras and heat-seeking equipment, allowing police to carry out aerial reconnaissance from a control room. Plans to introduce the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is outlined in the Home Office's Science and Innovation Strategy.

Fight against terror 'spells end of privacy'
25.02.09. Guardian / legitgov. Former security chief warns searching personal data will 'break moral rules' . Privacy rights of innocent people will have to be sacrificed to give the security services access to a sweeping range of personal data, one of the architects of the government's national security strategy has warned. Sir David Omand, the former Whitehall security and intelligence co-ordinator, sets out a blueprint for the way the state will mine data - including travel information, phone records and emails - held by public and private bodies and admits: "Finding out other people's secrets is going to involve breaking everyday moral rules."


Body scanners replace metal detectors in tryout at Tulsa airport
18.02. 09. USA Today/legitgov. Machines raise privacy concerns because their images reveal outlines of private body parts. For the first time, some airline passengers will skip metal detectors and instead be screened by body scanning machines that look through clothing for hidden weapons, the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday. An experimental program that begins today at Tulsa International Airport will test whether the $170,000 body scanners could replace $10,000 metal detectors that have screened airline passengers since 1973.


Government compiles travel records database
08.02.09. Independent. The Government is compiling a database to track and store the international travel records of millions of people. / The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250 million journeys made in and out of the UK each year. / The computerised pattern of every individual's travel history will be kept for up to 10 years. / The government says the database is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism. / But opposition MPs and privacy campaigners fear it is a significant step towards a surveillance society.

Police State

City police sued over strip search
04.02.09. Baltimore Sun / legitgov. A Baltimore man filed a $210 million civil lawsuit yesterday against the city Police Department, a former commissioner and several officers in connection with a 2006 incident during which he says a band of rogue cops held him at gunpoint in the street, stripped him and searched his rectum in front of about 30 onlookers. / The federal suit is the second filed since March in U.S. District Court in Baltimore alleging"widespread and persistent" civil rights violations by police officers who belonged to an elite "Special Enforcement Team" that worked mainly in the southeastern part of the city.

The New Thought Police
James Bamford, PBS. The National Security Agency (NSA) is developing a tool that George Orwell's Thought Police might have found useful: an artificial intelligence system designed to gain insight into what people are thinking.

Obama, Gates at Odds Over New Whistleblower Protections
18.02.09. Washington Post. During an election featuring Democratic allegations that U.S. intelligence was distorted to justify a misbegotten war, Barack Obama endorsed new protections for national security officers who blow the whistle on abusive, corrupt or illegal behavior, by offering them the right to sue for damages and challenge denials of their security clearances. / But by keeping a Republican-appointed secretary of defense strongly opposed to those changes, President Obama is finding the path to a new policy on federal whistleblowing much more complicated.

VIDEO: Kill The Messenger
By Sibel Edmonds. Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington's highest levels-sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage

Oklahoma City police officer pulls man over for anti-Obama sign on vehicle
19.02.09. newsok/legitgov. VIDEOS. The police officers who stopped Oklahoma City motorist Chip Harrison and confiscated a sign from his car told him he has a right to his beliefs, but the Secret Service "could construe this as a threat against President Obama," according to the incident report released this morning.

Police report expanded use of Tasers
22.02.09. boston com/legitgov. Police in Massachusetts cities and towns have sharply expanded their use of Tasers to control criminal suspects over the last three years, despite a call for suspension of the stun gun's use so experts can study its risks. The police in Massachusetts communities reported using Tasers in 229 incidents between September 2007 and September 2008, a fourfold increase from three years earlier, according to state figures.

U.S. Army to Buy $6 Million of Riot Equipment
24.02.09. Steve Watson / legitgov. The U.S. Army is to invest $6 million in riot equipment, a fact that has furthered fears that troops will be used inside the U.S. in order to quell any civil unrest resulting from the ongoing economic crisis. The U.S. Army Contracting Agency, based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has a post on the Federal Business Opportunities website, requesting the equipment and has received several notices of interest from potential vendors

Schools Hold Lockdown Drills For Safety
26.02.09. NBC / legitgov. (Omaha, NE) Area schools are teaching students how to prepare for the possibility of [their] violence on campus by holding lockdown drills so they'll know what to do. Students at Dundee Elementary went through one of those drills, announcing a mock emergency and giving people three minutes to secure the building.

Homeland "Security"

Re-evaluation of National Security Ordered
16.02.09. Eric Schmitt, NY Times. The homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, is re-evaluating the largest federal program for testing the country’s ability to respond to terrorist attacks, one of several Bush administration initiatives she has ordered to come under review. / As governor of Arizona, Ms. Napolitano sent a searing two-page letter to her predecessor as secretary, Michael Chertoff, complaining that a $25 million national exercise in October 2007, which she and 23,000 other federal, state and local emergency workers participated in, was too expensive, too long in planning and “too removed from a real-world scenario.” / Now, in her first weeks as head of the Homeland Security Department, Ms. Napolitano has ordered a review of that program and several others, including cybersecurity, a strategy for protecting the border with Canada, and the vulnerability of power plants and other critical infrastructure.

Homeland Security reportedly passed protest information to Md. police
17.02.09. AP. baltimore sun / legitgov. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security tracked an anti-war group's plans for peaceful protests and passed the information on to the Maryland State Police, according to documents released to The Washington Post and reported in today's editions. / The documents are the first indication that the state police had federal partners during their widely condemned spying on activist groups, which went on in 2005 and 2006. The revelation has alarmed Maryland's U.S. senators, who are asking DHS for more details about how it obtained the information it shared.

Rights groups and non-profit advocates oppose terrorist designation of charities
27.02.09. JURIST. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] and other rights and philanthropic groups filed an amicus curiae brief [text, PDF; ACLU press release] Friday with the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio [official website] arguing against the classification of some charitable groups as terrorist organizations. The brief, filed by the ACLU to support the plaintiffs in KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, Inc. v. Paulson et al [ACLU backgrounder and materials], argues that the designation of charitable groups as terrorist organizations without due process violates the groups' constitutional rights and discourage and undermine their humanitarian aid efforts. Other organizations supporting the brief included Grantmakers Without Borders, OMB Watch, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee [advocacy websites].

Radio chip coming soon to your driver's license?
28.02.09. WND. Homeland Security seeks next-generation REAL ID. Privacy advocates are issuing warnings about a new radio chip plan that ultimately could provide electronic identification for every adult in the U.S. and allow agents to compile attendance lists at anti-government rallies simply by walking through the assembly.

Israel: Israel, the "51st state", is another police state. See Focus on Gaza


UK: Peers warn surveillance state is threat to freedom
06.02.09. Independent/ICH. The vast growth of surveillance and data collection risks undermining freedoms vital to the British way of life, a group of eminent peers is warning today.

Spy chief: We risk a police state
17.02.09. Telegraph. Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has warned that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the Government to erode civil liberties and risks creating a police state. See also K. Sengupta's Independent article here

UK laws post-1997 'compromised' traditional liberties: rights group
20.02.09. JURIST. Under the leadership of successive Labour Party governments the UK Parliament [official website] has systematically infringed on freedoms and rights of individual British citizens over the past decade, according to a report [text; PDF] released Thursday by the Convention of Modern Liberty [advocacy website]. The report, compiled by the University College of London Student Human Rights Programme [advocacy website] cites governmental actions that allegedly limit liberties guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights [text], incorporated by statute by the Human Rights Act of 1998 [text], as well as uncodified freedoms. Such limitations include increased use of electronic surveillance on individuals, right to detain individuals for up to 28 days without a formal charge, and a lowering of the standard of proof for criminal trials.

We Are All Extremists Now
21.02.09. Seumas Milne, Guardian / ICH. The government is criminalising legitimate dissent under the guise of fighting 'extremism', a word for which it has no definition.

Straw 'will veto' Iraq minutes
24.02.09. yahoo. The UK Government will exercise veto powers to block publication of key Cabinet minutes under freedom of information laws. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said he could not permit the release of records from 2003 discussions over the invasion of Iraq because it would cause too much "damage" to democracy.



Popular Rage Grows as Global Crisis Worsens
09.02.09. Spiegal / legitgov. As the global economic crisis deepens, tempers around the world are getting shorter. French and British trade unions are organizing strikes, Putin is sending troops into the streets and Beijing is trying to buy itself calm.

Warning for the West as crisis spills onto streets
16.02.09. The Herald. The slump that has swept through developed nations like the UK, the eurozone and the United States is hitting the world's emerging economies with a speed and ferocity that has shocked even the most pessimistic analysts. / .. Street clashes have broken out in Moscow and other cities and the government is clearly worried about further outbreaks of violence.

Huge protest over Irish economy
21.02.09. BBC. About 100,000 people have taken part in protests in Dublin city centre to vent their anger at the Irish government's handling of the country's recession.

Britain faces summer of rage - police
23.02.09. Paul Lewis, Guardian / legitgov. Middle-class anger at economic crisis could erupt into violence on streets

We're Not Paying For Your Crisis!': Anger rises in Germany as the economy falls
26.02.09. spiegel. Anger rises in Germany as the economy falls. Trade unions and globalization-critical protesters are planning demonstrations in Berlin and Frankfurt under the banner: "We're not paying for your crisis." Alexis Passadakis, 31, an activist from the group Attac, tells SPIEGEL what's wrong with the system.

Thousands of Opel Workers Demonstrate against GM
26.02.09. speigel. Huge losses in Detroit threaten to doom the German carmaker Opel, and the workers want a divorce from the parent company.

Arsonists Torch Berlin Porsches, BMWs on Economic Woe
27.02.09. bloomberg. When Berlin resident Simone Klostermann returned from vacation and couldn't find her Mercedes SLK, she thought it had been towed. Police told her the 35,000- euro ($45,000) car had been torched.


The Whole World Is Rioting as the Economic Crisis Worsens -- Why Aren't We?
03.02.09. Joshua Holland, AlterNet / ICH. Americans are rightfully angry about the economic decline, but with a few small exceptions, quietly so. Why? It depends on whom you ask.

Public Revolt Builds Against Rip-off Rescue Plans for the Economy
06.02.09. NAOMI KLEIN, The Nation/ alternet. Governments that respond to a crisis created by "free-market" ideology with the same bad ideas will not survive to tell the tale.

America's Municipal Meltdowns
23.02.09. Nick Turse, countercurrents. Stories about the economic woes facing individual cities and towns are already a staple of national newspapers, even as the bad news, experts believe, is only beginning to flow in. Spikes in unemployment already reaching double-digit levels in some cases, municipal governments deep in the red, essential cutbacks in local services, increasing lines at food pantries, towns facing bankruptcy or even contemplating municipal suicide are increasingly common nationwide.

Angry citizen(s) spray paint Congressman's car and home
- . Daily Newscaster. After the first round of bankster bailouts was passed by Congress against the will of the American people several representatives in Minnesota found their cars and homes spray painted by angry constituents.

3. MARCH 2009



America's Fiscal Collapse
03.03.09. Michel Chossudovsky, global research. In actuality, what we are dealing with is the most drastic curtailment in public spending in American history, leading to social havoc and the potential impoverishment of millions of people.

Recession compounds world food crisis: UN’s WFP
05.03.09. Reuters. The global economic downturn has compounded the food crisis, pushing more people over the brink of hunger and threatening stability around the world, the head of the United Nations’ food relief agency said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Financial System Is Effectively Insolvent
05.03.09. Nouriel Roubini, Forbes/ ICH. There is a grave risk of a global L-shaped depression. Even with the $2 trillion of government support, most of these financial institutions are insolvent, as delinquency and charge-off rates are now rising at a rate--given the macro outlook--that means expected credit losses for U.S. financial firms will peak at $3.6 trillion. So, in simple words, the U.S. financial system is effectively insolvent.

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, Hay Festival,©Sarah Meyer

The Only Way to Avoid Wasting Many Billions More: Take Over the Banks
07.03.09. JOSEPH STIGLITZ, The Nation / alternet. American banks have polluted the economy; it's a matter of equity and efficiency that they now be forced to clean it up. The news that even Alan Greenspan and Senator Chris Dodd suggest that bank nationalization may be necessary shows how desperate the situation has become.

Was the Bailout Itself a Scam?
19.03.09. Paul Craig Roberts, ICH. After Washington's trillion dollar bank bailouts and trillion dollar gratuitous wars for the sake of the military industry's profits and Israeli territorial expansion, there is no money for Social Security and Medicare.

Has a ‘Katrina Moment’ Arrived?
21.03.09. Frank Rich, NY Times. OpEd. Unless and until Barack Obama addresses the full depth of Americans’ anger with his full arsenal of policy smarts and political gifts, his presidency and, worse, our economy will be paralyzed.

No Return to Normal
03-04.09. James K. Galbraith, Washington Monthly. Why the economic crisis, and its solution, are bigger than you think. The president has an economic program. But there is, so far, no clear statement of the thinking behind that program, and there may not be one, until the first report of the new Council of Economic Advisers appears next year. We therefore resort to what we know about the economists ... Danny Schechter (News Dissector) writes: James K. Galbraith makes the case for a much darker picture of what’s in store. He begins by questioning an assumption held by nearly all modern economists, including those around Obama: that economies are naturally self-stabilizing, and therefore that economic slumps can be righted with relatively modest, short-term nudges from government. That idea fits the experience of every post-War recession. But what if the current crisis is less like those downturns and more like the Great Depression, when the economy famously failed to return to normal? In that case, the actions that official Washington has taken are bound to be woefully inadequate to the challenge.

The President Needs to Hear a Second Opinion on His Economic Plans -- Millions of Them
23.03.09. William Greider, The Washington Post / alternet. Obama is trapped between the governing elites who decide things and the people who are governed. Which side is he on?

VIDEO: Future of Capitalism (23.03.09. Financial Times)

Capitalism Beyond the Crisis
26.03.09. Amartya Sen, NY Review of Books / Guardian. The question that arises most forcefully now concerns the nature of capitalism and whether it needs to be changed.

DVD: Capitalism Hits the Fan
Richard Wolff on the Economic Meltdown Media Education Foundation. Review / Transcript. “With breathtaking clarity, renowned University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Richard Wolff breaks down the root causes of today's economic crisis, showing how it was decades in the making and in fact reflects seismic failures within the structures of American-style capitalism itself. Wolff traces the source of the economic crisis to the 1970s … Wolff argues convincingly that the proposed government "bailouts," stimulus packages, and calls for increased market regulation will not be enough to address the real causes of the crisis, in the end suggesting that far more fundamental change will be necessary to avoid future catastrophes.” VIDEO

9 Reasons Obama's Fiscal Plan Fails Both Markets and Taxpayers
26.03,09. Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate / alternet. The real failings in the Obama recovery program lie not in the stimulus package, but in its efforts to revive financial markets. Let's be clear: President Barack Obama inherited an economy in freefall and could not possibly have turned things around in the short time since his election. Unfortunately, what he is doing is not enough.

Stocks Will Drop; Banks Will Go Belly Up – Roubini
27.03.09. Charting Stock. Roubini transcript from Bloomberg interview. The stock market will drop as major banks go belly up says Nouriel Roubini, the NYU economist that successfully predicted the current economic collapse.

Obama's Economic Plan: A Version of the Monopoly Game, But No One Loses
28.03.09. William Greider, The Nation/alternet. It's very much like the regular Monopoly game -- only better -- because this one uses real money, provided courtesy of the taxpayers

Hey Paul Krugman (A song, A plea)

The Bailout

A Banana Republic by 2012: Obama's Budget
02.03.09. PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, uruknet. President Obama has presented the most irresponsible budget in US history. His fiscal year 2010 budget projects federal spending of $3.5 trillion and a federal deficit of $1.75 trillion. In other words, 50 percent of the government’s budget consists of red ink. And Americans are angry that sub-prime borrowers took mortgages they couldn’t afford. The bald fact is that the US government is going to have to borrow -- or print -- half of the money it intends to spend in Obama’s first budget...

Dow Falls Below 6,800; Lowest Close Since ’97
04.03.09. NY Times

Senate preparing huge spending bill for Obama
06.03.09. A. Tayor, anti-war. Laden with pet projects, huge spending bill moving through Senate despite criticism

Barack Obama bets the farm in $4 trillion poker game
06.03.09. Times on Line. The President believes he can change US politics for a generation. If he's wrong he could bankrupt the whole country

Administration to Ask Congress to Expand Funds Available to IMF
12.03.09. Washington Post. The Obama administration is planning to ask Congress to expand the United States' primary line of credit to the International Monetary Fund from about $10 billion to $100 billion to boost emergency support for struggling economies around the world, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said today.

Budget deficit reaches $765B in 5 months
11.03.09. anti-war.

Completed Foreclosures Hit New High in February
11.03.09. truth about mortgage / ICH. Even pre-foreclosure filings hit a new high, rising to 207,703 in February, up 24 percent from 166,860 in January and nine percent from 190,467 in December, the previous high.

Key Obama Economic Adviser Admits He Has No Answers
12.03.09. Alex Messenger, countercurrents. In a sign of the panic gripping Washington's policy-makers, one of Barack Obama's key economic advisors, Paul Volcker, has warned a gathering of his leading peers that the crash of 2008 might be "the mother of all financial crises

Bracing for a Backlash Over Wall Street Bailouts
15.03.09. NY Times. The Obama administration is increasingly concerned about a populist backlash against banks and Wall Street, worried that anger at financial institutions could also end up being directed at Congress and the White House and could complicate President Obama’s agenda.

U.S. credit card defaults rise to 20 year-high
16.03.09. Reuters / ICH. "There is a continued deterioration. Trends in credit cards will get worse before they start getting better," said Walter Todd, a portfolio manager at Greenwood Capital Associates

Obama Defends Budget Proposal
17.03.09. NY Times. “If there are members of Congress who object to specific policies and proposals in this budget, then I ask them to be ready and willing to propose constructive, alternative solutions,” Mr. Obama said. “ ‘Just say no’ is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs. It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party.”

National debt hits record $11 trillion
17.03.09. politico / ICH. The eye-popping national debt surpassed $11 trillion Monday, the largest in U.S. history.

Crash and Burn: the Case for a Third Stimulus Package
17.03.09. Joshua Holland, AlterNet. The economy continues its death-spiral and will sink further without more aggressive intervention, argues economist Dean Baker.

Restoring our Financial Sovereignty: A New Monetary System
19.03.09. Nikki Alexander, ICH. Today the nation is essentially bankrupt and hoping Barack Obama's team of Wall Street advisors will forestall economic collapse. This expectation is equivalent to hoping that Al Capone will make our streets safe. Obama's economic recovery team is a Trojan horse filled with the same Wall Street racketeers that infected the global economy with a quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble, using deliberately deregulated mechanisms.

U.N. Panel Ways World Should Ditch Dollar
21.03.09. Jeremy Gaunt, European Investment Correspondent, Reuters / ICH. A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar.

VIDEO: Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" on Bank Bailout

VIDEO: Obama Addresses Economy in News Conference (24.03.09)

VIDEO: Obama Should Save the Banks not the Bankers (25.03.09. MSNBC)

Obama Town Hall Talk (26.03.09)
Comment David Swanson here.

Commercial real estate loan defaults skyrocket
26.03.09. mercury news / legitgov. With loan defaults rising, analysts say the struggling commercial real estate industry is poised to fall into the worst crisis since the last great property bust of the early 1990s. Delinquency rates on loans for hotels, offices, retail and industrial buildings have risen sharply in recent months and are likely to soar through the end of 2010 as companies lay off workers, downsize or shut their doors.

“Kurzarbeit” (26.03.09. Ny Times)

Is The Bail Out Breeding A Bigger Crisis?
27.03.09. Paul Craig Roberts, countercurrents. At his March 24 press conference President Obama demonstrated that he is capable of understanding issues as presented to him by his advisers and able to pass on the explanations to the press. The question is whether Obama’s advisers understand the issues.

= = =

VIDEO: Afghanistan-Pakistan; Obama unveils new comprehensive strategy today on Afghanistan/Pakistan War

VIDEO: Lyre Birds (2007; Chain saws and power alarms)

Toxic Assets

Toxic Asset Plan Foresees Big Subsidies for Investors
20.03.09. NY Times. The Treasury Department is expected to unveil early next week its long-delayed plan to buy as much as $1 trillion in troubled mortgages and related assets from financial institutions, according to people close to the talks.

New Deficit Forecast Casts Shadow on Obama Agenda
20.03.09. NY Times. The Congressional Budget Office placed a new hurdle in front of President Obama’s agenda on Friday, calculating that the White House’s tax and spending plans would create deficits totaling $2.3 trillion more than the president’s budget projected for the next decade.

Treasury's toxic asset plan could cost $1 trillion
22.03.09. Wash Post / legitgov. The Obama administration's latest attempt to tackle the banking crisis and get loans flowing to families and businesses give away the National Treasury to corpora-terrorists rely on a new government entity, the Public Investment Corp. to help purchase as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets on banks' books. The plan that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner intends to announce Monday aims to use the resources of the $700 billion bank bailout fund, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

VIDEO: Economists criticise US bailout plan - 22 Mar 2009

New Body to Work With Private Investors
22.03.09. Wash Post / legitgov. Treasury Presses Ahead With Plan For Toxic Assets The Treasury Department will unveil the next step in its financial rescue efforts tomorrow, announcing that it intends to create a government body, called the Public Investment Corp., to finance the purchase of as much as $1 trillion in soured loans and toxic assets from ailing banks, according to sources. The plan calls for the new entity to combine its resources with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Reserve and private investors to buy those loans and other assets. But the government will put far more money into the deals and take on more risk than the investors, which could include hedge funds, private-equity firms, pension funds and foreign investors with U.S. headquarters, the sources said. The corporation will be funded with $75 billion to $100 billion from the $700 billion financial rescue package. See also NY Times .

Wall Street soars 7pc on US toxic bank debt plan (24.03.09. Australian news / legitgov)

& The Fed

Fixing the Beast: The Fed Has to be Transformed for a Healthy Financial System
13.03.09. William Greider, The Nation / alternet. To restore the nation's broken financial system, Washington must reform the Federal Reserve.

U.S. Injecting Billions Into Foreign Central Banks
17.03.09. Huff Post. Deutsche Bank $11.8 billion; Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg $100 million ; Calyon $2.3 billion; Rabobank $800 million; Société Générale $11.9 billion;; The Royal Bank of Scotland $700 million ; Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank $1.7 billion’; Dresdner Bank AG $2.6 billion; UBS $5 billion; Bank of Montreal $1.1 billion; KFW Bankengruppe $500 million; Banco Santander $300 million; Danske $200 million;BNP Paribas $4.9 billion ; HSBC $3.5 billion; Dresdner Kleinwort $2.6 billion; ING $1.5 billion; Credit Suisse 400 million. See comment Is the Bailout Plan Breeding a Greater Crisis? by Paul Craig Roberts.

Bank stocks soar after Fed promises to buy bonds
18.03.09. Forbes/legitgov. Bank stocks soared Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced plans to buy up to $300 billion of long-term Treasuries, expanding its commitment to pump money into the financial system and encourage lending. The KBW Bank Index, which tracks 24 of the nation's largest banks, surged more than 11 percent following the Fed's announcement at midafternoon.

The Fed Did Indeed Cause The Housing Bubble
18.03.09. Catherine Austin Fitts, countercurrents. To: The Wall Street Journal; Re: “The Fed Didn’t Cause the Housing Bubble” By: Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve... / Alan Greenspan is a liar. The Federal Reserve and its long standing partner, the US Treasury, engineered the housing bubble, including the fraudulent inducement of America as part of a financial coup d’etat. Our bankruptcy was not an accident. It was engineered at the highest levels.

Mr. Bernanke Spreads The Fire
18.03.09. Michael Hudson, countercurrents. On the March 15 CBS show “60 Minutes”, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke used a false analogy already popularized by President Obama in his quasi-State of the Union Speech. ... / These neighbors were given U.S. Treasury bonds in “cash for trash” transactions. The rest of the economy will be paying interest on this debt for a century to come. This is what causes “debt deflation.” Revenue is diverted from spending on goods and services to pay interest and taxes. So the Treasury is spreading the fire, not putting it out.

US economy gets $1.2 trillion boost
19.03.09. al jazeera. The US Federal Reserve has moved to pump $1.2 trillion into the country's financial system, hoping to spur lending to beat the recession. Concluding a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, the central bank said it would buy up to $300bn in longer-term government bonds called treasuries to bring down borrowing costs.

Analysis: The Fed moves on debt
19.03.09. al jazeera. Some financial experts say the US Federal Reserve decision to buy $1.2 trillion worth of debt to help boost lending and promote economic recovery is a "dramatic" move. / The Fed said it hopes the measure will boost mortgage-lending and the struggling housing market by lowering interest rates on mortgages and other forms of consumer debt. / The size of the move has surprised investors, causing the Dow Jones stock index to jump at least 200 points.

US economy gets $1.2 trillion boost
19.03.09. al jazeera business. The US Federal Reserve has moved to pump $1.2 trillion into the country's financial system, hoping to spur lending to beat the recession. / Concluding a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, the central bank said it would buy up to $300bn in longer-term government bonds called treasuries to bring down borrowing costs

U.S. Federal Deficit Soars Past Previous Estimates
20.03.09. Wash Post / legitgov. Deteriorating economic conditions [of the Bush Depression] will cause the federal deficit to soar past $1.8 trillion this year and leave the nation wallowing in a sea of red ink far deeper than the White House had previously estimated, congressional budget analysts said today.

The Fed Does Battle, Again
20.03.09. Editorial, NY Times. This crisis is unlikely to turn around until President Obama and his aides come up with a plan for failing banks that does not arbitrarily reject the idea of nationalization. They must also follow through on their housing plan to reverse the tide of unnecessary foreclosures.

Launching Lifeboats Before the Ship Sinks
21.03.09. Paul Craig Roberts. ICH. The New York Times reported that "the dollar plunged about 3 percent against other major currencies" in response to the Fed's announcement.

Administration Seeks Increase in Oversight of Executive Pay
21.03.09. NY Times. The Obama administration will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation, government officials said./ ... Officials said the proposal would seek a broad new role for the Federal Reserve to oversee large companies, including major hedge funds, whose problems could pose risks to the entire financial system.

Budget office sees skyrocketing deficit
21.03.09. sfgate / anti-war. President Obama's budget would produce $9.3 trillion in deficits over the next decade, more than four times the deficits of Republican George W. Bush's presidency, congressional auditors said Friday. / The new Congressional Budget Office figures offered a far more dire outlook for Obama's budget than the new administration predicted just last month - a deficit $2.3 trillion worse. It's a prospect even the president's budget director called unacceptable.

VIDEO: President Obama on the Federal Budget: 4 Principles (21.03.09. Truthout)

VIDEO: Economists criticise US bailout plan - 22 Mar 2009

New Body to Work With Private Investors
22.03.09. Wash Post / legitgov. Treasury Presses Ahead With Plan For Toxic Assets The Treasury Department will unveil the next step in its financial rescue efforts tomorrow, announcing that it intends to create a government body, called the Public Investment Corp., to finance the purchase of as much as $1 trillion in soured loans and toxic assets from ailing banks, according to sources. The plan calls for the new entity to combine its resources with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Reserve and private investors to buy those loans and other assets. But the government will put far more money into the deals and take on more risk than the investors, which could include hedge funds, private-equity firms, pension funds and foreign investors with U.S. headquarters, the sources said. The corporation will be funded with $75 billion to $100 billion from the $700 billion financial rescue package. See also NY Times .

Wall Street soars 7pc on US toxic bank debt plan (24.03.09. Australian news / legitgov)

Dissecting Bank Plan for a Way to Profit
24.03.09. NY Times. Up and down Wall Street, bankers and traders sharpened their pencils on Tuesday as they began the complex financial calculus of the latest bank rescue plan. Their goal: to find ways to profit from it.


Geithner Admits Treasury Pushed for Bonus Loophole, Takes Full Responsibility
19.03.09. Nick Sabloff , Huffington Post /alternet. Geithner confirmed that his department had pushed Dodd to add a loophole in the federal stimulus bill allowing bailout recipients to receive bonuses.

The Geithner Problem
19.03.09. Eugene Robinson, Truthdig. The treasury secretary may indeed be the hardest-working man in Washington. But in order to survive, let alone succeed, he’s going to have to make a more convincing case that he’s part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Obama's Moment is Passing Quickly
20.03.09. Dave Lindorff, Common Dreams/ ICH. He should promptly demand Geithner's and Summers' resignations, and should also fire the CEO of AIG, Edward Liddy (as 80% owner of AIG, the US has the power to do that anytime). It would also be a good idea at the same time to fire the CEOs of all the leading banks that are at this point surviving on government bailouts.

VIDEO: Obama: Geithner will not be allowed to resign (Interview with CBS, 22.03.09)

Obama Backs Geithner Despite Vast Criticisms (22.03.09. Washington Post)

Judgment Day for Geithner
23.03.09. Mike Whitney, ICH. Insolvent financial institutions have to be taken into receivership and liquidated. Shareholders and bondholders will have to take a haircut. And Geithner, Summers and the rest of the White House banking fraternity will have to resign or be fired. Obama should mull over Albert Einstein's sage advice when he said, "The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them."

Geithner’s Housing Plan Made Simple: Probably a Rip-Off

23.03.09. Joshua Holland, AlterNet. The heart of the issue remains pricing. No matter how they structure the financing of any plan to buy up all those “toxic securities” on the books of a few big financial institutions — and clearly they’re trying to use as little tax-payer cash up front as possible — they’re still protecting investors against losses that are likely inevitable. Or, at the very least, they’re taking on a lot of risk -- on behalf of you and I and the tax-payers we know -- in order to protect investors from the potential for steep losses.

Geithner, Obama Kowtowing to "Massively Corrupted" Banks, Galbraith Says
23.03.09. yahoo finance / ICH. PART II. Like it or not, many people seem to be resigned to the idea there's no alternative to the public-private investment fund scheme Treasury Secretary Geithner detailed this morning. That's hogwash, says University of Texas professor James Galbraith, author of The Predator State. Of course there's an alternative: FDIC receivership of insolvent banks. V|DEO.

Geithner Plan Will Rob US Taxpayers
24.03.09. Reuters / ICH. The U.S. government plan to rid banks of toxic assets will rob American taxpayers by exposing them to too much risk and is unlikely to work as long as the economy remains weak, Nobel Prize-winning economist JOSEPH STIGLITZ said on Tuesday.

Geithner Update: Bend Over and Say, "Uncle Sam"
24.03.09. Mike Whitney, ICH. Here's what everyone needs to know: The US government (you) will provide up to 94 percent of the financing (low interest, of course) for dodgy mortgage-backed assets that no one in their right mind would ever buy so that wealthy and politically-connected banksters can scrub up to $1 trillion of red ink from their balance sheets. Ugh! / The so-called "private partners" in this confidence scam, will get non recourse loans, which means that if the plan backfires and they lose their skimpy 6 percent investment they can call it quits and leave the taxpayer holding the bag. ($1 trillion in potential losses!)

Geithner Asks Congress for Broad Power to Seize Firms
24.03.09. Wash Post / ICH. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner today told Congress the administration will seek unprecedented power to seize non-bank financial companies whose collapse could jeopardize the economy, a move Geithner said would have allowed the government to bail out insurance giant American International Group at a far lower cost to taxpayers.

US backing for world currency stuns markets
27.03.09. Telegraph / legitgov. US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner shocked global markets by revealing that Washington is "quite open" to Chinese proposals for the gradual development of a global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund.

US Backing for World Currency Stuns Markets
27.03.09. Telegraph/ IICH. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner shocked global markets by revealing that Washington is "quite open" to Chinese proposals for the gradual development of a global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund. BUT clarified his remarks.

Geithner’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’: The Entire Global Financial System is at Risk
30.03.09. F. William Engdahl, US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has unveiled his long-awaited plan to put the US banking system back in order. In doing so, he has refused to tell the ‘dirty little secret’ of the present financial crisis. By refusing to do so, he is trying to save de facto bankrupt US banks that threaten to bring the entire global system down in a new more devastating phase of wealth destruction.

The Billion $ Club

We're at war, and the enemy is not the government per se, but the super-rich corporatists that run the government and who prevent the economy from serving human needs. Mike Whitney, Obedience to Authority in America: A Different Kind of Revolution

Zombie Banks Are Devouring Our Public Money with No End in Sight
04.03.09. Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers Journal/alternet. Bill Moyers talks with Robert Johnson about "zombie banks." Johnson is concerned "that the zombie will continue to lose more, and the taxpayer ... will continue to experience larger and larger burden of future losses."

VIDEO: Financial crisis to hit the poorest 05.03.09. Al jazeera, Inside Story. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning that the global economic downturn could create a widespread humanitarian crisis in the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Mortgage Brokers Who Got Us Into This Mess Are Making a Killing with the Obama Bailout
05.03.09. Alyssa Katz, Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute/alternet. Obama is banking on "loan modifications" to help struggling homeowners -- but mortgage brokers are the real winners.

VIDEO: "The World Is A Business" We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bye-laws of of business. 4 min.

The Real Criminals are Neither Lynndie England nor the AIG Traders
23.03.09. Thom Hartmann, Common Dreams. The philosophy that it's possible to bomb people into democracy and torture them into being on our side drove the Bushies. It was wrong, flawed, and frankly insane, and we're paying a huge price for it. / Similarly, the philosophy that playing the game of business and investment without rules (the technical term is Laissez-faire Capitalism) has driven our government since the election of Ronald Reagan

America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout
23.03.09. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. In decaying societies, politics become theater. The elite, who have hollowed out the democratic system to serve the corporate state, rule through image and presentation. They express indignation at AIG bonuses and empathy with a working class they have spent the last few decades disenfranchising, and make promises to desperate families that they know will never be fulfilled.

23.03.09. sanders.senate/legitgov. The “Masters of the Universe” on Wall Street – through their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior – have plunged this country into a deep recession causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs, their homes, their savings and their hope for the future. In order to fully understand the cause of this fiasco, I have introduced legislation calling for a thorough investigation of the financial meltdown and the prosecution of those CEOs who broke the law. The culture of greed, fraud and excessive speculation must come to an end.

VIDEO" The Century of the Self How politicians and business learned to create and manipulate mass-consumer society.

= = =

Regulatory reports show 5 biggest banks face huge losses
09.03.09. Mcclatchy. America's five largest banks, which already have received $145 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars, still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments if economic conditions substantially worsen, their latest financial reports show. / Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase reported that their "current" net loss risks from derivatives — insurance-like bets tied to a loan or other underlying asset — surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31. Buried in end-of-the-year regulatory reports that McClatchy has reviewed, the figures reflect a jump of 49 percent in just 90 days.

Slumping billionaires: financial crisis slashes ranks of world's super rich
11.03.09. Guardian. • Billion dollar club cut from 1,125 members to 793 • Bill Gates claims back No 1 spot from Warren Buffett

Financial Fraud Is Focus of Attack by Prosecutors
11.03.09. NY Times. Spurred by rising public anger, federal and state investigators are preparing for a surge of prosecutions of financial fraud.11.03.

INTERVIEW: “Capitalism’s Self-Inflicted Apocalypse” (Michael Parenti 12.03.09)

Unionbusting Firms Profiting from Corporate America's Fear of Workers' Rights
12.03.09. Art Levine, Huffington Post/alternet. "Union avoidance" firms are marketing "Employee Free Choice Act Defense Kits" for $5,000 a set.

Federal judge orders Stanford assets frozen indefinitely
13.03.09. JURIST. Stanford was charged [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] last month with orchestrating a fraudulent $8 billion investment scheme by selling certificates of deposits on the promise of improbably high interest rates.

BERNARD MADOFF Jail for $50bn fraudster
15.03.09. Financial con-artist Bernard Madoff has been jailed after pleading guilty to masterminding one of the world's largest ever frauds. The financier set up a Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s, and could face up a prison sentence of up to 150 years. The scam is reported to have defrauded thousands of investors of $50 billion.

IMF poised to print billions of dollars in 'global quantitative easing'
16.03.09. Telegraph / ICH. The International Monetary Fund is poised to embark on what analysts have described as "global quantitative easing" by printing billions of dollars worth of a global "super-currency" in an unprecedented new effort to address the economic crisis.

The TALF: Bernanke's Witness Protection Program
16.03.09. Mike Whitney, ICH. Fed chief Ben Bernanke's new funding facility is a real doozy. In fact, if the Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility or TALF, which is set to launch on Thursday, doesn't convince the American people that it's time to take a wrecking ball to the Central Bank and start over, than nothing will. Bernanke and his co-conspirator at Treasury, Timothy Geithner, are planning to revive the shadow banking system by dumping $2 trillion into the same over-leveraged, derivatives-based garbage that blew up the financial system in the first place. All the blabbering about a "good bank-bad bank" remedy appears to have been a diversion. / This is how Bloomberg sums it up: "Geithner’s program has three main elements: Injecting fresh government capital into some of the country’s biggest financial institutions; establishing a public-private partnership to handle as much as $1 trillion of banks’ bad assets; and starting a credit facility with the Federal Reserve of as much as $1 trillion to promote lending to consumers and businesses. Related: see also Prof. Michael Hudson's article about misleading the American public.

Israel’s government abuses 'Free' Trade Agreement with US
16.03.09. Ray Hanania, the american muslim. Free trade agreements (FTAs) are supposed to help American businesses improve their profits, create more jobs and build their industries by opening new markets for export of their products with foreign countries under rules based trade. The US has FTAs with 20 foreign nations, including six added in 2006, Bahrain, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Morocco, and Nicaragua. Israel lobbied for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the US in 1984 and it was approved in 1985. But since then, according to a study conducted by the Washington DC based Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRmep) of documents released only last year, the United States has lost more than $71 billion in the deal and the equivalent of an average of 100,000 jobs in each of the past 10 years alone.

Report: "Ongoing Government Assistance for American International Group (AIG)," (March 16, 2009)

AIG Won't Release Names Of Executives, Citing Death Threats
18.03.09. Ryan Grim, Huffington Post, American News Project / alternet. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the Financial Services Committee, requested the names and threatened to subpoena them.

Former Bush aide gets 30 months for stealing from Cuban democracy advocates
18.03.09. anti-war. ... for stealing nearly $600,000 from a government-funded program that promotes democracy in Cuba. Felipe Sixto apologized for stealing from the Center for a Free Cuba, telling U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton that in addition to his own greed and selfishness, he "wanted to provide a lifestyle for my family I could not afford."

Moral Decay Swirls Around Banking Bailout: Time for a Criminal Investigation
19.03.09. Robert Scheer, Truthdig/alternet. Those who stole billions in 401(k)s of innocent victims were rewarded handsomely, rarely needing to break the laws their lobbyists purchased.

Too Big to Fail is Too Big
19.03.09. David Korten, common dreams. David Korten wrote this article in response to CBS's Sixty Minutes interview with Ben Bernanke, March 15, 2009. In a September 22, 2008 interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, Senator Bernie Sanders famously said that if a bank "is too big to fail, it probably is too big to exist." That should be a watchword slogan of any effort to fix the financial system. Major responsibility for the financial collapse rests with the deregulation process that allowed for the consolidation of banking power in the hands of Wall Street. Reversing that process should be an immediate priority. Before Wall Street there was Main Street; Wall Street holds government hostage; Bailout now, solutions later; Restructure first; .

13 firms receiving bailouts owe back taxes
19.03.09. NBC . legitgov. ... The committee said it could not legally release the names of the companies owing taxes. It said one recipient had almost $113 million in unpaid federal income taxes from 2005 and 2006. A second recipient owed almost $102 million dating to before 2004. Another was behind $1.1 million in federal income taxes and $223,000 in federal employment taxes. ... No one from the Treasury Department appeared at Thursday’s hearing. Lewis said he asked Treasury officials for a private briefing on their efforts to uncover unpaid taxes, as well as someone to testify at Thursday’s hearing. ... Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is already under fire on Capitol Hill for not preventing $165 million in bonuses from being paid to employees at troubled insurance giant AIG.

Watching Trends in a List of the Rich (20.03.09, NY Times)

Georgia's FirstCity Bank becomes 18th failure of 2009
20.03.09. Market Watch / legitgov. FDIC: FirstCity had $297 million in assets and $278 million in deposits as of March 18. 20 Mar 2009 Stockbridge, Ga.-based FirstCity Bank was closed by regulators Friday, marking the 18th U.S. bank failure of 2009. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said in a statement that it will mail checks to insured depositors Monday morning, and that FirstCity's direct deposits from the federal government such as Social Security and Veterans' payments will be transferred to SunTrust Banks Inc.

VIDEO: Time to Get Tough with Bankers (Keith Oberman, NBC)

Obama Uneasy About Tax on Bonuses (20.03.09. NY Times)

Rage Redux: Changing Channels
20.03.09. OpEd, NY Times. Ref the George W. Bush Presidential Center: A nonprofit foundation is trying to raise $300 million in tax-deductible donations for a huge complex on 25 acres at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this fall.

Developer of 9/11 Site Seeks Aid
21.03.09. Online WSJ./ legitgov. see also Online Journal Commentary.

Some Rich Districts Get Richer as Aid Is Rushed to Schools (21.03.09. NY Times)

Banks Lost $32.1 Billion in Fourth Quarter (21.03.09. NY Times)

JPMorgan Chase to Spend Millions on New Jets and Luxury Airport Hangar
23.03.09. ABC / legitgov. Embattled bank JPMorgan Chase, the recipient of $25 billion in TARP funds, is going ahead with a $138 million plan to buy two new luxury corporate jets and build "the premiere corporate aircraft hangar on the eastern seaboard" to house them, ABC News has learned. The financial giant's upgrade includes nearly $120 million for two Gulfstream 650 planes and $18 million for a lavish renovation of a hangar at the Westchester Airport outside New York City.

Wall Street celebrates government windfall for banks and big investors
24.03.09. WSWS / legitgov. Wall Street erupted in a demonstration of euphoria and greed Monday as the Obama administration announced a plan to offload bankers' bad debts that amounts to an unprecedented looting of taxpayer funds to benefit the financial elite. All of the major stock indexes soared as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner laid out details of the administration's so-called Public-Private Investment Program--a euphemism for a scheme to bankroll private investment firms and guarantee them huge profits in return for buying failed home loans and securities from the banks at vastly inflated prices.

Stimulus, bailout will lead to more fraud: FBI
25.03.09. Reuters / legitgov. The FBI is bracing for a wave of fraud and corruption cases stemming from the government's multitrillion-dollar effort to get the economy moving again, the agency's chief told Congress on Wednesday. The expected surge in economic crimes will place further strain on an agency already stretched thin as it investigates mortgage fraud, terrorism and corrupt politicians, FBI Director Robert Mueller said. See also JURIST.

onzi.html?_r=1">Bank ofAmerica Accused in Ponzi Lawsuit
27.03.09. NY Times. Bank of America effectively set up a branch in a Long Island office that helped Nicholas Cosmo carry out a $380 million Ponzi scheme, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court.

Bank Executives May Keep TARP Funds After Meeting With Obama
28.03.09. Bloomberg. Thirteen chief executive officers of the nation’s biggest financial institutions met with President Barack Obama yesterday at the White House to discuss housing, proposed rules and executive pay, as well as the Treasury Department’s plans to revive the banking industry. While some lenders plan to soon return billions of dollars in assistance they accepted since October, potentially undermining the rescue effort, others backed away.

Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures (29.03.09. NY Times)

The Car

Shareholder Value

Corporate governance without a hint of systemic surveillance
20.03.09. FT. Mr Welch caught our attention with a pithy statement, noting that shareholder value is a dumb strategy and can only be pursued as an outcome of leadership focused on the full stakeholder community. The FT followed up with their own call for a more enlightened approach to making shareholder value the “operative goal”.

Bank of America Accused in Ponzi Lawsuit
27.03.09. NY Times. Bank of America effectively set up a branch in a Long Island office that helped Nicholas Cosmo carry out a $380 million Ponzi scheme, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court.

Bank Executives May Keep TARP Funds After Meeting With Obama
28.03.09. Bloomberg. Thirteen chief executive officers of the nation’s biggest financial institutions met with President Barack Obama yesterday at the White House to discuss housing, proposed rules and executive pay, as well as the Treasury Department’s plans to revive the banking industry. While some lenders plan to soon return billions of dollars in assistance they accepted since October, potentially undermining the rescue effort, others backed away.

Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures (29.03.09. NY Times)

The Car

Japan's troubled Toyota seeks loan
03.03.09. aljazeera. Toyota has projected it will report a loss of $3.6bn at the end of its financial year in March, its first annual loss in nearly six decades.

US vehicle sales plummet
04.03.09. aljazeera. General Motors reported a sales drop of more than 53 per cent compared to 2008 on Tuesday, Ford said its sales were down by 48 per cent, while Chrysler posted a 44 per cent fall in sales for the same period.

Auto suppliers to get $5 billion in aid
19.03.09. AP. / legitgov. The funds, announced Thursday, will be made available from the government's Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP

Toyota cuts working hours and pay
11.03.09. BBC. The cuts will take effect on 1 April and will last for one year. They affect 4,500 staff at plants in Burnaston, Derby, and Deeside, Flintshire.

British 2010 motor show cancelled (19.03.09. BBC)

UK car production in record drop
20.03.09. BBC. The number of new cars produced in the UK fell by a record 59% in February, year-on-year, as the motor industry continues to suffer from weak demand.

Sweden Says No to Saving Saab (23.03.09. NY Times)

Ford ready to get rid of Volvo at huge loss
26.03.09. Times on Line / ICH. Ford is believed to be preparing to take a knockdown price for Volvo to get the loss-making Swedish division off its hands.

U.S. Expected to Give More Financing to Automakers (27.03.09. NY Times)

U.S. Moves to Overhaul Ailing Carmakers
30.03.09. NY Times. The White House on Sunday pushed out the chairman of General Motors and instructed Chrysler to form a partnership with the Italian automaker Fiat within 30 days as conditions for receiving another much-needed round of government aid.


AIG: Billions Dished Out in the Dark
05.03.09. Robert Scheer, Nation/ ICH. The problem is with what is not being debated: the far more expensive Wall Street bailout that is being pushed through--as in the case of the latest AIG rescue--in secret, hurried deal-making primarily by the unelected secretary of the treasury and the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The PR Firm for "Evil"
07.03.09. pr watch. After it was revealed that the floundering American International Group (AIG) had hired Burson Marsteller (B-M) as one of its PR advisers, Rachel Maddow, the host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, wondered who else the firm had worked for.

A.I.G. to Pay $100 Million in Bonuses After Huge Bailout
14.03.09. NY Times/legitgov. Despite being bailed out with more than $170 billion from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, the American International Group is preparing to pay about $100 million in bonuses to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year. / .. Administration officials said they had managed to reduce some of the bonuses but had allowed most of them to go forward after the company’s chief executive said A.I.G. was contractually obligated to pay them./ .. In his letter to the Treasury, Mr. Liddy said A.I.G. hoped to reduce its retention bonuses for 2009 by 30 percent. He said the top 25 executives at the Financial Products division had also agreed to reduce their salary for the rest of 2009 to $1.

Following the A.I.G. Money (14.03.09. Editorial, NY Times)

A.I.G. Lists Which Banks It Paid With U.S. Bailout Funds (15.03.09. NY Times)

Obama Orders Treasury Chief to Try to Block A.I.G. Bonuses (16.03.09. NY Times)

VIDEO: Help for small business, condemnation for AIG bonuses (16.03.09. whitehousegov)

Report: "Ongoing Government Assistance for American International Group (AIG)," (March 16, 2009)

AIG bonus millionaires have left the company
17.03.09. Times Online / legitgov. Eleven AIG workers who received retention bonuses of $1 million or more have already left the company.

N.Y. Attorney General Investigates AIG’s ‘Staggering’ Bonus Mess
17.03.09. Truthdig. In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, reprinted here, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo shares what his office has discovered so far about AIG’s scandalous bonuses, which “made more than 73 millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees, forcing a taxpayer bailout.”

Cuomo: 73 AIG Executives Got $1 Million Bonuses or More (17.03.09. Washington Post / legitgov)

US vows to recover AIG money (18.03.09. al jazeera)

AIG Won't Release Names Of Executives, Citing Death Threats
18.03.09. Ryan Grim, Huffington Post, American News Project / alternet. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the Financial Services Committee, requested the names and threatened to subpoena them.

A.I.G. Uproar Is a Test for Geithner
18.03.09. NY Times. All three of President Obama’s top economic advisers were on message when they appeared Sunday on separate television talk shows. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, they said, had concluded, based on lawyers’ advice, that he could not stop the $165 million in bonuses that the American International Group was even then doling out to hundreds of employees.

The Real AIG Scandal
18.03.09. Eliot Spitzer, Slate / legitgov. Why are AIG's counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars? For the answer to this question, we need to go back to the very first decision to bail out AIG, made, we are told, by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, then-New York Fed official Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last fall... And who were AIG's trading partners? No shock here: Goldman, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and on it goes. So now we know for sure what we already surmised: The AIG bailout has been a way to hide an enormous second round of cash to the same group that had received TARP money already.
The Real AIG Scandal, Continued!
22.03.09. Eliot Spitzer, slate / legitgov. The transfer of $12.9 billion from AIG to Goldman looks fishier and fishier. The AIG scandal is getting ever-more disturbing. Goldman Sachs' public conference call explaining its trading relationship and exposure with AIG established once again that Goldman knows how to protect itself. According to Goldman, even if AIG had failed, Goldman's losses would have been minimal. How did Goldman protect itself? Sensing AIG's weakening capital position through 2006 and 2007, Goldman demanded more collateral from AIG and covered outstanding risk with instruments from other firms. But this raises two critical questions. The first is why did $12.9 billion of taxpayer money go from AIG to Goldman? What risk--systemic or otherwise--was being covered? If Goldman wasn't going to suffer severe losses, why are taxpayers paying them off at 100 cents on the dollar?

House approves bill to tax AIG bonuses at 90% (19.03.09. market watch/ legitgov}

Obama Envoy Richard Holbrooke Served On AIG's Board (19.03.09) Huff Post)

A.I.G. Sues U.S. for Return of $306 Million in Tax Payments
19.03.09. NY Times. While the American International Group comes under fire from Congress over executive bonuses, it is quietly fighting the federal government for the return of $306 million in tax payments, some related to deals that were conducted through offshore tax havens. A.I.G. sued the government last month in a bid to force it to return the payments, which stemmed in large part from its use of aggressive tax deals, some involving entities controlled by the company’s financial products unit in the Cayman Islands, Ireland, the Dutch Antilles and other offshore havens.

AIG Bonuses Contemplated By Bush Administration, TARP Inspector Says
19.03.09. Bloomberg / legitgov. George W. Bush’s administration "specifically contemplated" paying bonuses to American International Group Inc. employees in its November agreement to provide federal bailout funds to the insurance giant, the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said today. Neil Barofsky testified before the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

Obama Envoy Richard Holbrooke Served On AIG's Board (19.03.09) Huff Post)

VIDEO: We're on The Verge Of A Major Crisis (20.03.09. Ron Paul on AIG bonus, 6 min)

Treasury, Fed Reviewed AIG Bonus Info Months Ago
20.03.09. fox bus., legitgov. As Congress and the Obama Administration consider legislation to limit bonuses at American International Group, documents obtained by FOX Business show AIG bonuses and other compensation were reviewed and changed by officials at the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve in November, when the Treasury made its first investment of taxpayer funds -- $40 billion -- in the company... Despite their deliberations at the time, the Treasury and Fed officials, which were part of the Bush Administration, eventually decided to restrict compensation on just the top 75 company executives--and some of them may still have received hefty bonuses.

AIG bonuses $218 million, not $165 million, A.G. says
21.03.09. LA Times / legitgov. The ongoing AIG bonus controversy continued Saturday as Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the total paid was actually more than $50 million higher than previously believed. The overall bonuses to employees at the embattled insurance giant were $218 million, not $165 million, he said. That number was calculated after Blumenthal's office received documents from the company on Friday.

VIDEO: Obama on AIG Rage, Recession, Challenges (22.03.09. ’60 minutes’, CBS.)

Geithner, Obama Kowtowing to "Massively Corrupted" Banks, Galbraith Says
23.03.09. yahoo finance / ICH. Like it or not, many people seem to be resigned to the idea there's no alternative to the public-private investment fund scheme Treasury Secretary Geithner detailed this morning. That's hogwash, says University of Texas professor James Galbraith, author of The Predator State. Of course there's an alternative: FDIC receivership of insolvent banks. V|DEO.

Cuomo: 9 Of 10 Top AIG Execs To Return Bonuses
23.03.09. web stv. In all 15 of the top 20 bonus recipients have agreed to give back the money, which equals approximately $30 million. / .. Of the $165 million pool, we calculate that employees have agreed to return approximately $50 million.

The “Change" phenomena: “enemy combatants”; “leaving Iraq”; “AIG” …

AIG now AIU Holdings (23.03.09. Reuters)

The Dictionary of American Empire-Speak
01.03.09. Tom Englehardt, TomDispatch. The Imperial Unconscious: Afghan Faces, Predators, Reapers, Terrorist Stars, Roman Conquerors, Imperial Graveyards, and Other Oddities of the Truncated American Century
= = =
Democrats prepare to ditch AIG bonus bill
23.03.09. WSWS. Within days of the overwhelming passage by the House of Representatives of a bill imposing a 90 percent surtax on bonuses awarded by the insurance giant American International Group (AIG) and other firms that have received government bailout money, the Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate have signaled they will drop the measure.

Panama FTA: AIG Sues U.S. for Back Taxes Dodged in Panama Tax Haven
25.03.09. Global Trade Watch / legitgov. AIG is claiming that it overpaid taxes related to activities of an AIG-linked Panamanian corporation chartered in tax haven Panama. No surprise then, that none other than AIG - along with other bailed-out banks - supports a hangover Bush Free Trade Agreement with Panama.


Citigroup Said to Pay $13 Million for Scrapped Trips (09.03.09. Bloomberg)

Citigroup CEO awarded $10.8 million
16.03.09. Reuters / legitgov. Citigroup got $45 billion from TARP and the government agreed to share losses on $300.8 billion of troubled assets. Citigroup Inc awarded Chief Executive Vikram Pandit $10.82 million of compensation in 2008, a year when the government propped up the bank with $45 billion of capital. The bank faces increased government pressure to right itself after more than $85 billion of writedowns and credit losses since the middle of 2007. Pandit's compensation was higher than the $9.96 million that Bank of America Corp, which has also received $45 billion of TARP money, awarded its CEO, Kenneth Lewis.

Citi, Morgan Stanley look to sidestep bonus caps: report
17.03.09. Reuters / legitgov. Anticipating restrictions on bonuses, officials at Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley are exploring ways to sidestep tough new federal caps on compensation, the Wall Street Journal said. Executives at these banks and other financial institutions that received government aid are discussing increasing base salaries for some executives and other top-producing employees, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Citigroup May Spend $10 Million for Executive Suite (Update1)
19.03.09. Bloomberg / legitgov. Citigroup Inc. plans to spend about $10 million on new offices for Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants, after the U.S. government injected $45 billion of cash into the bank.

Should White House Employees Keep Bonuses?
24.03.09. NY Times. Several members of the Obama administration worked for financial companies that received bailout funds, raising the question of whether they should keep any bonus they received. / … At least three members of the still-growing team of political appointees, for example, worked at Citigroup and were eligible for year-end bonuses. One of the former Citigroup executives, Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, has decided to give his bonus to charity. The White House declined to provide specific details on what the other two


Wal-Mart Buys PR in Bulk (10.03.09. pr watch)

Wal-Mart Giving Workers $933M In Bonuses
20.03.09. click orlando / legitgov. Retail giant Wal-Mart will hand out its largest annual award -- $2 billion -- which includes bonuses to every part-time and full-time hourly employee. The $2 billion includes 401k contributions, about $1 billion in profit-sharing, millions of dollars in merchandise discounts and $933 million in bonuses. The average cash bonus for employees will be $667.

[For general good information on Walmart, see Sourcewatch)


China is the Key to America’s problems
10.03.09. Peter Chamberlin, uruknet. China and America are locked into an economic pact of mutually assured destruction, if either side falls or falters, then the other side sinks as well.

Chinese Premier concerned about assets in US
13.03.09. times on line / ICH. Wen Jiabao reminded the United States of its responsibilities in easing the global financial crisis - and of its indebtedness to his country, which now owns the bulk of US Treasuries. "I would like ... to once again request America to maintain its trustworthiness, keep its promise and guarantee the safety of Chinese assets," he said.

US reassures China over assets
14.03.09. al jazeera Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for Barack Obama, the US president, said on Friday: "There's no safer investment in the world than in the United States." Gibbs was responding to comments by Wen Jiabao, China's prime minister, who voiced concern over the outlook of US government bonds, calling on Washington to ease worries about US assets.

China Urges New Money Reserve to Replace Dollar
23.0309. David Baroza, NY Times / ICH. In another indication that China is growing increasingly concerned about holding huge dollar reserves, the head of its central bank has called for the eventual creation of a new international currency reserve to replace the dollar.

China to Keep Buying Treasuries, Top Official Says
23.03.09. Bloomberg. China's top foreign-exchange official said the nation will keep buying Treasuries and endorsed the dollar's global role, supporting the U.S. as the Obama administration increases spending to revive growth


How big a deal is the loss of the dollar's reserve status?
22.03.09. market skeptic/ ICH. To answer this question, lets first calculate just how large are the dollar holdings of foreign governments. From the CIA's world Factbook, below is a ranking of countries by reserves of foreign exchange. SEE CHART.

Venezuela opts for oil contracts in euros: report (15.03.08. yahoo.)


G20 [ dead loss]

G20 nations pledge financial fix
15.03.09. al jazeera.

G20 warned unrest will sweep globe
22.03.09. Guardian. Crunch 'will cost developing world £520bn'. A wave of social and political unrest could sweep through the world's poorest countries if G20 leaders fail to come to their aid, the World Bank warns today, as new research says the credit crunch will cost developing countries $750bn (£520bn) in lost output and drive millions more into poverty.

G20 Nations Told Not to Forget the Poor at Upcoming Summit (23.03.09. VOA. (Tom Arnold of Care Worldwide) is calling on G20 to keep its commitments to poor)

A timeline of the planned G20 protests (27.03.09. AP)

Obama Will Face a Defiant World on Foreign Visit
28.03.09. NY Times. Despite his immense popularity around the world, Mr. Obama will confront resentment over American-style capitalism and resistance to his economic prescriptions when he lands in London on Tuesday for the Group of 20 summit meeting of industrial and emerging market nations plus the European Union.The president will not even try to overcome NATO’s unwillingness to provide more troops in Afghanistan when he goes on later in the week to meet with the military alliance.

G20 summit: blow for Gordon Brown as £1.4 trillion spending blueprint is leaked (29.03.09. Telegraph)

VIDEO: G20 Meltdown (2 min.)

= =
World Bank: Economy worst since Depression (09.03.09. CNN)

World Bank: Global economy to dive
22.03.09. Al jazeera. The global economy is set to shrink by one to two per cent this year, Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president has said.

IMF expects world economy to shrink
20.03.09. al jazeera. The International Monetary Fund has predicted the global economy will shrink by as much as 1.5 per cent this year - its first contraction since World War II. The IMF said G20 countries should develop plans to cope with failing financial institutions before the broader economy is infected.

The Bourbons of Global Finance
27.03.09. Prof Howard Stein and Prof Claudia Kedar, global Today’s International Monetary Fund (and, to a lesser degree, the World Bank) recall Talleyrand’s description of France’s Bourbon kings: it has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. At a time when rich countries like the United States are running deficits of 12% of GDP because of the global financial meltdown, the IMF has been telling countries like Latvia and Ukraine, which did not start the crisis but have turned to the Fund to help combat it, that they must balance their budgets if they want aid.

The Media

Annual 2008 Report The plight of journalists in 98 countries reviewed
Reporters Without Borders.(pdf)

What the Dow Isn't
05.03.09. Fair. Stocks misused as 'scorecard' of White House policy,
If reporters really want to assess public reaction to White House economic proposals, there is a much more straightforward way to do that:

Newspaper publisher McClatchy cutting 1,600 jobs (09.03.09. AP.)

The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America [Time]

VIDEO: The Bleak State of the News Media
16.03.09. Project for Excellence in Journalism,/PR Watch. "Newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23% in the last two years. ... By our calculations, nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet," reads the summary of the "State of the News Media 2009" report.


U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers
24.03.09. Reuters / legitgov. With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks. Senator Benjamin Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Newspapers’ Self-Inflicted Wounds
26.03.09. David Sirota, Truthdig. Most newspaper postmortems insist that decreased ad revenues brought on by the Internet and the recession caused journalism’s problems, but a look at the vapid celebrity-obsessed pages of the nation’s ever-thinner rags tells a different story`

Paul Krugman

Despair over financial policy
21.03.09. P. Krugman, NY Times. The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It’s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed — and found wanting — a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won. / The Obama administration is now completely wedded to the idea that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the financial system — that what we’re facing is the equivalent of a run on an essentially sound bank. As Tim Duy put it, there are no bad assets, only misunderstood assets. And if we get investors to understand that toxic waste is really, truly worth much more than anyone is willing to pay for it, all our problems will be solved./ ... Or to put it another way, Treasury has decided that what we have is nothing but a confidence problem, which it proposes to cure by creating massive moral hazard. / This plan will produce big gains for banks that didn’t actually need any help; it will, however, do little to reassure the public about banks that are seriously undercapitalized. And I fear that when the plan fails, as it almost surely will, the administration will have shot its bolt: it won’t be able to come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work.

What an awful mess.

Financial Policy Despair
22.03.09. P. Krugman, NY Times. Over the weekend The Times and other newspapers reported leaked details about the Obama administration’s bank rescue plan, which is to be officially released this week. If the reports are correct, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, has persuaded President Obama to recycle Bush administration policy — specifically, the “cash for trash” plan proposed, then abandoned, six months ago by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair. / It’s as if the president were determined to confirm the growing perception that he and his economic team are out of touch, that their economic vision is clouded by excessively close ties to Wall Street. And by the time Mr. Obama realizes that he needs to change course, his political capital may be gone.

The Market Mystique
26.03.09. Paul Krugman, NY Times. The top officials in the Obama administration still believe in the magic of the financial marketplace and in the prowess of the wizards who perform that magic.

America the Tarnished
29.03.09. Paul Krugman, NY Times. historical analysis & final paragraph: “The financial crisis has had many costs. And one of those costs is the damage to America’s reputation, an asset we’ve lost just when we, and the world, need it most.”

Danny Schechter, Media Channel

Who Will Rescue Us? No One Seems To Know Or Be Willing To Say How Bad Things Are
02.03.09. Danny Schechter (of Media Channel) / ICH. Does anyone even know how bad the economy is, or how much worse it will get?

Europe Coping With Deepening Crisis And Regulating Crooks
05.03.09. Danny Schechter, Dissector, Media Channel. REPORTING FROM EUROPE: THE FINANCIAL CRISIS (AND FINANCIAL CRIME) IS HERE . Obsessed as we are about our own crumbling economy, it’s hard for most Americans to see and appreciate the global nature of the crisis and how it is impacting and will impact others throughout the world. / We don’t recognize how many in other countries blame the fall of their own economies on a kind of “financial aids” born in the USA. / And even as protests spread with Britain just putting its own Army on alert for fear of disruptions this summer by anarchists with a bent on class war with slogans like “burn a banker,” mass demonstrations show no sign of abating in France, Iceland, Ireland, Greece and other EU countries.

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS SLAMS INTO EUROPE: Do Americans Realize How The Crisis Breeds Global Chaos? (Danny Schechter, Creative-i)

Pitchforks and Protests: The Fury Down Below
Will Public Anger With The Ongoing Rip-off Have An Impact?
21.03.09. Danny Schechter, Common Dreams. It took a little time but the American public is in a state of growing fury, looking for who is to blame for their declining economic fortunes. It's being called a "populist fury."/ ... Overall expect more crime, protests and unrest. It doesn't take a weatherman to see which way this wind is blowing. / The challenge of course is that most activists are no clearer on a comprehensive program for change than the politicians, the business world or the media. Republicans are focusing their fire on Tim Geithner, who they perceive as the weak link in Obama's chain. Democrats are bashing business and each other, as is often the case. There seems to be no extra-Congressional opposition/movement to challenge all the finger pointing. / We need a serious plan for the public to rally behind, a set of demands that make sense. We are in a whole new period with an enraged public ready to act. How do we avoid descending into empty slogans, conspiracy distractions and a blame game to target "irresponsible borrowers," or that old standby that the Jewish cabal of bankers or whoever else seems most blameworthy? / Don't think these issues will go away. Will political activists be able to rise to the occasion?


With the possible exception of the war on drugs, it would be difficult to find a greater terrorist-producing machine than the U.S. government’s occupation of Afghanistan. Jacob G. Hornberger

Imperial Wars
Wars, Endless Wars
02.03.09. Bob Herbert, NY Times Op Ed. The U.S. economy is in free fall, the banking system is in a state of complete collapse and Americans all across the country are downsizing their standards of living. The nation as we’ve known it is fading before our very eyes, but we’re still pouring billions of dollars into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with missions we are still unable to define. / In short, we’re committed to these two conflicts for a good while yet, and there is nothing like an etched-in-stone plan for concluding them. I can easily imagine a scenario in which Afghanistan and Iraq both heat up and the U.S., caught in an extended economic disaster at home, undermines its fragile recovery efforts in the same way that societies have undermined themselves since the dawn of time — with endless warfare.

Solicitation for Media Team in Iraq Hints at Contracting-Overhaul Snags
08.03.09. Walter Pincus, Washington Post. The Army wants a private firm to provide a seven-member media [propaganda] team to support the public affairs officer of the 25th Infantry Division, now serving as Multi-National Division-North in Iraq -- at least three media specialists, two Arab speakers, a Web manager in Iraq and a media specialist stateside. / ... President Barack Obama called last week for the Defense Department to stop outsourcing services that the government could perform. A look at solicitations last week on the Web site showed more than 40 notices about new and modified contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan, including contracts for building an air-traffic control tower at an Iraq air base, providing security guards for U.S. military facilities in Iraq and hiring a new Food for Peace officer in Afghanistan.

Obama’s Budget: Where’s the Peace Dividend?
13.03.09. New America. President Obama is increasing the total military budget over even the post-“surge” levels of the current year. His budget proposal states: "The 2010 Budget for the Department of Defense (DOD) requests $533.7 billion, or an increase of four percent from the 2009 enacted level of $513.3 billion (excluding funding from the American recovery and reinvestment Act of 2009). This funding increase allows DOD to address its highest priorities, such as the President’s commitment to meet the military’s goal to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps, to continue to improve the medical treatment of wounded servicemembers, and to reform the acquisition process". / Overall military spending — which includes the cost of “contingency operations” in Iraq and Afghanistan — would increase by $9 billion to $663.7 billion.

U.S. reconsiders its '2-war' readiness strategy
15.03.09. Thom Shanker, IHT / anti-war. The protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the administration of President Barack Obama to rethink what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time.

‘Stop-Loss’ Will All but End by 2011, Gates Says
18.03.09. Thom Shanker, NY Times. [this is Obama double speak: WHAT does "all but end" mean? ]

U.S. Plans Vastly Expanded Afghan Security Force
18.03.09. Thom Shanker, Eric Schmitt, NY Times / ICH. A plan awaiting final approval by the president would set a goal of about 400,000 troops and national police officers, more than twice the forces' current size, and more than three times the size that American officials believed would be adequate for Afghanistan in 2002, when the Taliban and Al Qaeda appeared to have been routed.

Obama and the Neocon Middle East War Agenda
21.03.09. Stephen J. Sniegoski, anti-war. Many Americans, in fact, many people in the world, have been under the impression that Obama's approach to foreign policy, especially as it pertains to the Middle East, would be the antithesis of that of the Bush administration. This dichotomy, however, is increasingly questionable as the professed advocate of change looks more like a proponent of continuation.

Obama: U.S. must have "exit strategy" in Afghanistan
22.03.09. [Obama] made clear [on CBS ‘60 minutes’] his new approach would call for a greater emphasis on economic development in Afghanistan, diplomacy with neighboring Pakistan and better coordination with international partners than under his predecessor George W. Bush. [but DoD contracts still being given; troops still killing civilians in Pakistan/Afghanistan ]

Obama Plans Additional Afghan Escalation
26.03.09. anti-war. Despite Talk of "Exit Strategy," Plan Will Further Increase Presence. In addition to the 17,000 troops President Obama has already committed to add to the war effort in Afghanistan, his new “comprehensive strategy” will reportedly include another 4,000 troops and hundreds of “civilian advisers,” bringing the US military presence in Afghanistan to nearly 60,000. / Just days ago in a high profile interview, Obama said the plan would have to include some sort of “exit strategy.” So far there has been no indication that this is the case, and the new revelations indicate that if anything, the latest plan is going to further entrench US forces in the nation and escalate the conflict even further.

Related: Pakistan set to reap $35 billion windfall from terrorism
MEANWHILE: Pakistani and Afghan Taliban Unify in Face of U.S. Influx

US general: American forces may not leave key Iraqi cities (27.03.09. CSM.)

Paul Craig Roberts writes (27.03.09): "Despite the near-term budget costs of ending the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, terminating these pointless military adventures would produce immediate large out-year budget savings. Closing many foreign military bases and cutting a gratuitously large military budget would produce more out-year savings. The Obama administration’s belief that it can continue with Bush’s wars of aggression while it engages in a massive economic bailout indicates a lack of seriousness about America’s predicament."

US 3rd war: See Pakistan

Obama's Afghan quagmire deepens
23.03.09. S. Tisdall, Guardian. The US president inherited a mess in Afghanistan, but he needs to bring some order to his mish-mash of policies for the country. Confused, apparently contradictory, statements by Barack Obama suggest America's new president is having as much trouble as his hapless predecessor in defining US strategy in Afghanistan.

VIDEO: Inside Story-Obama's Afghanistan strategy-24 March PART 2

US Predators Provoke Pakistan
26.03.09. Michael Carmichael, global … the US has continued the Bush Era tactic of launching drone missile strikes against targets the CIA has identified as outposts of Al Qaeda. While the CIA claims that US Predator drones have killed a few of the multitude of ‘senior leaders’ of Al Qaeda, to date the result is far from impressive -- for there is a steadily rising mountain of civilian corpses killed by unmanned missiles that is producing a searing political backlash in the nuclear-armed nation.

Report: Afghanistan aid program flawed
26.03.08. USA Today/ICH. The multibillion-dollar U.S. aid program in Afghanistan is disjointed, bureaucratic and overly dependent on private Western contractors, according to a report to be released today with implications for President Obama's Central Asia strategy.

VIDEO: Afghanistan-Pakistan; Obama unveils new comprehensive strategy today on Afghanistan/Pakistan War

Zardari calls for change in US anti-terror policy
28.03.09. nz news / ICH. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari called for a US change of policy and voiced opposition to missile strikes, as President Barack Obama was to unveil Friday a new strategy against Al-Qaeda .

Afghanistan will not be a quagmire, Obama assures
29.03.09. LA Times/legitgov. President Obama says the troop buildup and other efforts are not open-ended, emphasizing the need for diplomatic and development efforts in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to curb militancy. [double speak?

Obama vows not to deploy ground troops in Pakistan
30.03.09. Xinhuanet. [Yup, easier to kill people with planes or drones and keeps Pentagon happy ]


New deal for Blackwater
17.03.09. wawshington times. Days after the Baghdad government decided it no longer wanted the company then known as Blackwater in Iraq, the State Department signed a $22.2 million deal in February to keep the embattled contractor working there through most of the summer, contract records show.

President Obama, Why Did You Pay Blackwater $70 Million in February?
17.03.09. Jeremy Scahill, Alternet. Obama may keep the company [now Xe] on the government payroll months after its Iraq contract expires. Not bad for a firm supposedly going down in flames. / ... I reviewed Blackwater's recent transactions with the Obama State Department and discovered a $45 million payment to Blackwater on February 4, 2009 for "protective services-Iraq." It is described as a "funding action only." Here is the interesting part: The estimated "Ultimate Completion Date" is 5/07/2011.

Blackwater still works for U.S. in Iraq
17.03.09. UPI/uruknet. The U.S. State Department re-signed the security firm formerly known as Blackwater despite Iraq saying it didn't want the company there, records show. The State Department said $22.2 million deal signed with Blackwater, since renamed Xe, in February was a contract modification concerning aviation work, The Washington Times first reported. The contract expires in September, months after its contract for work in Baghdad was to have run out. One observer said the deal rais! es questions about why the United States would want to pay a contractor for work in Iraq if the government won't approve its operating license...

DoD Contracts

List of United States defense contractors (Wikipedia)

KBR Posts $88 Million Fourth-Quarter Profit, an Industrial Info News Alert (03.03.09. marketwatch / legitgov)

General Dynamics picks up $94.6M in contracts
03.03.09. bizjournals. The USMC and Navy work represents additional orders on Pentagon contracts already awarded to GD.

EF Johnson wins $50 million contract from US DoD customer
03.03.09. trading markets. For its ES Series Project 25 compliant two-way radios.

Lockheed Beats L-3 for $5 Billion U.S. Commando Order (Update1)
03.03.08. Bloomberg. The work for the U.S. Special Operations Command will be performed in Lexington, Kentucky, and other locations across the globe, the Pentagon said today in a statement on its Web site. The so-called indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract runs through March 2018 and would reach its full value only if all options are exercised.

United States DoD contracts for March 3, 2009 (04.03.09. defpro. Add up the total?)

US Navy Awards GD Contract For Production Of F/A-18 Gun Systems
04.03.09. spacewar. The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, a business unit of General Dynamics, a $16 million contract extension for the production of M61A2 20mm automatic Gatling gun systems for use on F/A-18 fighter jets. [see above 03.03]

EMS Technologies Announces 2008 Year-End Results
04.03.09. NBC, Annual Revenues Increase by More Than 16 Percent, Earnings-Per-Share of $1.31 Meet Company Guidance

United States DoD contracts for March 4, 2009 (05.03.09. defpronews. Add them up?)

Oshkosh Defense receives $1 million contract for military all-terrain vehicles
06.03.09. biz journals

Battelle snags $78.5 million contract renewal
06.03.09. biz journals.

Eagle-New Bedford Secures Additional $9.3 Million for DoD Contract
06.03.09. prnews wire.

The U.S. Army is developing its own electronic warfare teams
08.03.09. Thom Shanker, NY Times. The initial goal is to train more than 1,600 people from enlisted ranks through the officer corps by 2013, and to double that in the following years... The Army’s new field manual, "FM 3-36, Electronic Warfare in Operations," instructs commanders in how to integrate electronic warfare into all tasks, from planning to carrying out military operations. Electronic warfare is among the military's most highly classified efforts, routinely carried out in conjunction with the nation's intelligence agencies. [How much will THIS cost??]

United States DoD contracts for March 6, 2009 (09.03.09. defpro. Add it up?)

Northrop Grumman: Full Speed Ahead
09.03.09. barrons. Most major defense stocks, including Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA) and General Dynamics (GD), have been underperforming the market for the past year, and none more so than Northrop. At about $35, the stock is down 58% from its 2008 high.

Ahead of the Bell: Defense Contractors
09.03.09. AP. An analyst said Monday he believes defense contractors will benefit from increased Pentagon spending, boosted by the Obama administration and powerful members of Congress. / Analyst Michael French of Morgan Joseph said in a note to investors that the market is wrong to believe that President Barack Obama may seek immediate cuts in defense spending.

Swissray Awarded US Government Contract
10.03.09. prnewswire. to sell their complete line of digital radiography systems. This contract allows any branch of the Department of Defense, VA Medical Centers or Government Agencies to purchase directly from Swissray. With exercisable option years the contract could be effective until December, 2016. ( amount omitted from story)

Verizon lands massive $2.5 billion DoD service contract
11.03.09. network world., The network is the Defense Department's official enterprise-class network for providing data, video and voice services

General Dynamics U.S. Truck Bid Cut; BAE Passes Twice (Update2)
11.03.09. bloomberg. General Dynamics Corp.’s bid for a contract valued at about $6.5 billion to make trucks that would protect troops in Afghanistan from roadside bombs was rejected. Designs from rival BAE Systems Plc cleared the U.S. military’s first round. / ... The Army has said it wants to buy as many as 10,000 all- terrain vehicles that can navigate Afghanistan’s undeveloped road network. Rejection of the General Dynamics-led bid means the company’s only remaining chance for the contract is through a partnership with Force Protection Inc. The pair face competition from at least three other bidders that have confirmed their vehicles passed the first round of competition.

The Drug War: An Old Mission for the Pentagon
11.03.09. Hornberger FFF / ICH. Here is how the system works. U.S. government policy produces the conditions for a crisis, which then is used as the excuse for military intervention, which means ever-growing budgets for government officials. [cf Naomi Klein]

Security Industry: Insitu contracts Inmedius for data support
12.03.09. UPI. Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) subsidiary Insitu contracted Inmedius for its trademarked S1000D Publishing Suite designed to support the S1000D international specifications for military-aircraft technical-publications production.

Raytheon receives contract for airline tracking
12.03.09 AP / Forbes. No financial terms given.

Kratos Awarded $11 Million Prime Contract to Support Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Program (12.03.09. NBC)

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 12, 2009 (12.03.09. military news. Add these up?)

BRS Wins Major Army Parachute Contract
12.03.09. NBC. Ballistic Recovery Systems, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded a $4.1M military contract to provide 1,200 G-12 cargo parachutes to the U.S. Army through August 2010. An option for an additional 1,500 systems may be exercised by the Army once this initial batch is delivered, equating to an additional $5.1M contract or a total potential of $9.2M in revenue if fully realized.

Spending Bill Includes $700 Million for Pandemic Preparedness
13.03.09. nti. The $410 billion omnibus spending bill signed into law this week by U.S. President Barack Obama includes more than $700 million in pandemic funding <>Pentagon plans ‘spy’ blimp
14.03.09. Daily Times/pk. The Pentagon on Thursday said it intends to spend $400 million to develop a giant dirigible that will float 65,000 feet above the Earth for 10 years, providing intricate radar surveillance of the vehicles, planes and people below.

Army Defends Costly Weapons Program
14.03.09. Washington Post / anti-war. Top Army officials yesterday defended their largest and most expensive modernization effort, the Future Combat System, despite suggestions that the contract will overshoot cost estimates and that the service should limit the amount of money it gives the program. The program likely will cost more than the $159 billion the Pentagon has estimated, according to the Government Accountability Office's annual review of the program

L-3 Communications' team gets US Army deal
17.03.09. Forbes. The deal could ultimately be worth up $17.5 billion. L-3's MRPI unit will oversee the company's team which includes Link Simulation and Training, Global Solutions and Engineering Services, Enterprise IT Solutions, C2S2, D.P. Associates, Coleman Aerospace and TCS units.

DOD contracts for 16 March 2009 (16.03.09. Global Security. Add up?)

Protonex wins $3.3M defense contract
18.03.09. mass high tech. Under terms of the deal, Protonex (LSE: AIM: PTX and PTXU) will develop a pre-production fuel cell power system for powering small, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). [take the cost of one of these UAVs - divide by number of civilians killed to see if this weapon is cost effective;; then keep eye out for "damages" given to family of the murdered ]

Contracts for March 18, 2009 (18.03.09. defense procurement news. ... add costs up?)

Raytheon Gets $106 Mln US Navy Contract - Update (18.03.09. rtt news. for production of the Joint Standoff Weapon C-1.)

United States DoD contracts for March 20, 2009
(defpro. Add up costs?) and also at Global Security here

Raytheon Wins USD 106 Million Contract for Joint Standoff Weapon C-1 Production
21.03.09. India Defence /anti-war, The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company a $106 million contract for production of the Joint Standoff Weapon C-1.

Raytheon inks $27M radar-system deal (23.03.09. biz journals)

United States DoD contracts for March 20, 2009 (defpro. Add up costs?) and also at Global Security here.

Raytheon Wins USD 106 Million Contract for Joint Standoff Weapon C-1 Production
21.03.09. India Defence /anti-war, The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company a $106 million contract for production of the Joint Standoff Weapon C-1. and/or Raytheon inks $27M radar-system deal(23.03.09. biz journals)

EF Johnson Technologies, Inc. Receives $1 Million Task Order From DoD Customer (24.03.09. Fox business)

Lockheed gets $320 mln US F-35 aircraft deal(25.03.09. Reuters)

San Antonio oil refiners win $831 million worth of defense contracts (25.03.09. biz journals)

Lockheed gets $320 mln US F-35 aircraft deal (25.03.09. Reuters)

Raytheon Awarded Phase 3 Contract for Stand-Off Radiation Detection System
26.03.09. Fox. The Department of Homeland Security has awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN: 39.4, 0, 0%) a phase 3 contract to continue development of a Stand-Off Radiation Detection System (SORDS: undefined, undefined, undefined%). Phase 3 is an eight-month contract for $2.3 million managed by DHS' Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO: undefined, undefined, undefined%);

Concurrent Technologies Corporation Awarded 3-Year, $11 Million Contract to Continue Support of the U.S. Navy Carriage, Stream, Tow, and Recovery Program
26.03.09. fox

Obama Speak
Taking on US defence lobby will be 'tough': Obama
25.03.09. AAP live news. Obama said on Tuesday that there was wide agreement in both major US political parties that the way the government purchased weapons was plagued by waste, but that defence firms were influential in Congress and had ensured industry jobs were spread across the country. "I think everybody in this town knows that the politics of changing procurement is tough,"

Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own
25.03.09. McClatchy / legitgov. The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control. The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own. On-board computer programs, not flesh-and-blood people, would decide whether to fire their weapons. [ Meanwhile, US drones continue to kill civilians in Pakistan]

US Bases

Too Many Overseas Bases
03.03.09. David Vine, FPIF / ICH. In the midst of an economic crisis that's getting scarier by the day, it's time to ask whether the nation can really afford some 1,000 military bases overseas. For those unfamiliar with the issue, you read that number correctly. One thousand. One thousand U.S. military bases outside the 50 states and Washington, DC, representing the largest collection of bases in world history.

U.S.: Military Dominance in Mideast Proven a Costly Myth
05.03.09. Analysis by Gareth Porter, IPS / ICH. Apart from its nearly 200,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States had surrounded Iran with a network of airbases scattered across the region from the Persian Gulf sheikdoms through Iraq and Afghanistan to the Central Asian republics of Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan, along with aircraft on U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf.

The Costs of Empire: Can We Really Afford 1,000 Overseas Bases?
10.03.09. David Vine, FPIF , alternet. Our overseas military bases are pushing the nation deeper into debt and making the United States and the planet less secure.

"Shoulder to Shoulder" with Israel

On the 14th of April 2008, the US signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Israel to “step up cooperation in the field of nuclear safety.”

U.S. Military Aid to Israel
06.03.09. Kathleen and Bill Christison, Counterpunch / ICH. U.S. military aid to Israel is doled out in annual increments of billions of dollars but remains virtually unchallenged while other fiscal outlays are drastically cut.

Obama and Israel's Military: Still Arm-in-Arm
08.03.09. Stephen Zunes, z mag / uruknet. ...Currently, Obama is on record supporting sending up to $30 billion in unconditional military aid to Israel over the next 10 years.

U.S. official: Obama won't cut military aid to Israel
11.03.09. Haaretz. U.S. President Barack Obama will not cut the billions of dollars in military aid promised to Israel, a senior U.S. administration official said Wednesday. / The $30 billion in aid promised to Israel over the next decade will not be harmed by the world financial crisis, the official told Israel Radio. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

$30 Billion For Israel's Military
13.03.09. Haitham Sabbah, uruknet. Same old story, new president: U.S. President Barack Obama will not cut the billions of dollars in military aid promised to Israel, a senior U.S. administration official said Wednesday. The $30 billion in aid promised to Israel over the next decade will not be harmed by the world financial crisis, the official told Israel Radio. He spoke on condition of anonymity. The U.S. military aid to Israel was increased in a decade-long deal agreed to by Bush in 2007.!

See Who Is The President Elect - Obama or AIPAC? (10.11.08, updated)

AIPAC head testifies on Israel aid
27.03.09. JTA. Howard Kohr, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, told the House Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee that "American assistance to Israel serves vital U.S. national security interests and advances critical U.S. foriegn policy goals." / He requested that Israel receive $2.775 billion in military aid in fiscal year 2010, as called for in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel that allocates $30 billion in aid for the Jewish state over 10 years.
= = =

Why secretly funded DEA surveillance planes aren't flying
25.03.09. McClatchy / legitgov. The first sign of trouble with the Drug Enforcement Administration's new surveillance planes surfaced almost immediately. On the way from the manufacturer to the agency's aviation headquarters, one of them veered off a runway during a fuel stop. A month later, the windshield unlatched in mid-flight and smashed into the engine. Then, in a third incident on the same plane, a connection between the propeller and the engine came loose and forced an emergency landing. In January, after less than 10 months of operation, the cascade of mechanical problems forced the DEA to ground the planes. / .. The twin-engine planes, manufactured by Schweizer Aircraft, likely came out of an even more shadowy funding provision known as "black earmarks."

Missile Defense Contradictions

See US-NATO 'Missile Shield' Programme: Index Timeline Part II (03.04.08 updated to 27.03.09)

Raytheon wins $11.4M Patriot contract
05.03.09. bizjournals. from the U.S. Army to provide technical assistance for the Patriot missile defense system.
Boeing and US Army Collaborate on Space and Missile Defense Research (12.03.09. aviartion news)

"Barack Obama, Meet Team B"
12.03.09. Scott Ritter, truthdig. The president must be getting bad advice. Why else would he offer not to build a missile defense system he doesn’t want in exchange for Russia’s help with an Iranian nuclear weapons program that doesn’t exist?

Raytheon Announces $128 Million Patriot System Support Contract
13.03.09. nti. Friday, to provide engineering support and other assistance for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System

US Missile Shield in Europe Would Cost Billions, Probably Wouldn’t Work
16.03.09. anti-war. Despite the growing harm being done to US-Russian relations by the proposed US missile defense system in Poland, Obama Administration officials maintain that it is vital to defend against the Iranian “threat.” / But in addition to having cost over $144 billion since 1985, a growing number of reports put into doubt whether the system would even work. Technical analysis has pointed to the systems being fooled by decoys, even balloons, and former Pentagon testing chief Philip Coyle says the successful tests were “scripted for success.”
See also nti article here. "It would cost between $9 billion and $13 billion to field a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, the Congressional Budget Office found, adding that the European system would not protect the entire continent against Iranian missiles. The United States in the last 24 years has spent $144 billion on programs to defend the country against missile threats, according to the agency.

U.S. Missile Defense Costs Skyrocket
18.03.09. nti. The U.S. Government Accountability Office said Monday that missile defense program costs could exceed expectations by $2 billion to $3 billion. ... The Missile Defense Agency's costs for weapon development and deployment since 2002 have nearly reached $56 billion, and another $50 billion is likely to be necessary in the next half-decade, according to the GAO report.

Arms Race in Space
19.03.09. Bruce K. Gagnon, FPIF. The new arms race in space is shaping up to be the largest industrial project in Earth's history. To pay for this project, the aerospace industry has been lobbying Washington for a dedicated funding source. Budget allocations for missile defense — Star Wars — are only part of the huge sums of money redirected toward preparations for war in space.

Clinton Promises U.S. Support for Poland While Skirting Missile Defense Plans
25.03,09. NTI. While avoiding any promise to deploy U.S. missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought yesterday to reassure Warsaw that the United States would meet its defense obligations to its NATO ally, Agence France-Presse reported.

Contractors Push for Missile Defense Funding
25.03.09. NTI. Missile defense spending rose to about $10 billion per year during the Bush administration, but President Barack Obama has suggested cutting that figure by $2 billion in the fiscal 2010 budget, according to industry officials. / .. Officials from Boeing and Northrop Grumman, however, held briefings yesterday to defend their projects. …

Raytheon Awarded $29.3 Million Phase 3 Contract for Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Development Program
25.03.09. fox business. This 38-month phase of the program is a collaboration between DARPA and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA: undefined, undefined, undefined%). Its objective is to rapidly mature and demonstrate the capabilities of gallium nitride (GaN) to improve the performance of missile defense radars. To accelerate the technology development, it will combine the results of Raytheon's DARPA-funded WBGS Phase 2 and the MDA-funded Next Generation Transmit Receive Integrated Microwave Module.

PAC-3 Interceptor Misses Target in Test (26.03.09. NTI)

The F22

F-22 Fighter Crashes Near Edwards AFB

State to suffer from federal cuts
27.03,.09. Yale Daily News. The F-22 Raptor is by far the most expensive military jet fighter in U.S. Air Force history. Now, after committing to ordering 183 of the nearly $140 million aircraft — down from an initial order of 750 jets — the Defense Department has had enough, a move that jeopardizes thousands of jobs in Connecticut and across the nation. / Connecticut’s defense contractors employ tens of thousands of workers, with the state ranking as the ninth largest recipient of defense contract dollars and the third highest recipient per-capita in fiscal year 2007.

What Does an F-22 Cost?
27.03.09. Winslow T. Wheeler, anti-war. On Wednesday, March 25, an F-22 crashed near Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Very sadly, the pilot was killed. The news articles surrounding this event contained some strange assertions about the cost of the F-22. … the cost per aircraft was typically described in many media articles as about $140 million. / What utter hogwash. … / Here’s the arithmetic: $2.907 + $.327 + $.607 + $.427 = $4.268 billion for 20 aircraft. That’s $213 million each.

Nuclear / Chemical / Biological

Energy Department Struggles to Secure Unwanted Radiation Sources
03.03.09. nti. The United States is struggling to secure domestic radiation sources as quickly as their owners determine they are no longer needed

Nuclear Notebook: US Nuclear Forces 2009
- .(PDF) Bulletin of Atomic Scientists / w. bowles. The United States has officially reached the upper limit of 2,200 operationally deployed strategic warheads set by the Moscow Treaty, yet warhead dismantlement is proceeding slowly.

Nuclear Warhead Maintenance Programs Mismanaged, U.S. Auditors Say
04.03.09. nti.

U.S. Plan for Nuclear Waste Appears Dead
06.03.09. nti. The Obama administration has publicly shelved a two-decade effort to establish a high-level nuclear waste facility in Nevada, raising the prospect of lawsuits from the nuclear industry and protests from lawmakers in states where the waste is currently stored, according to reports this week

How the US forgot how to make Trident missiles
- . Sunday Herald. The US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) "lost knowledge" of how to make a mysterious but very hazardous material codenamed Fogbank. As a result, the warhead refurbishment programme was put back by at least a year, and racked up an extra $69 million

U.S. Army document describes Israel as 'a nuclear power'
08.03.09. Haaretz. In a rare breach of official American adherence to Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, the U.S. military is terming Israel "a nuclear power" on a par with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, all of which have declared their nuclear weapon status, and ahead of "nuclear threshold powers" Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the "emerging" Iran.

Nuclear sustainment is top priority
10.03.09. middle east times. The commander of the U.S. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center said robust nuclear sustainment is critical and a top priority.
Brig. Gen. Everett Thomas, commander of the Air Force Materiel Command Nuclear Weapons Center in New Mexico, said in order to effectively support U.S. military objectives, an efficient and sustained nuclear enterprise must remain in focus, the Materiel Command reported.

U.S. to Fund Nuclear Waste Storage Site in Jordan
10.03.09. nti. The deal calls for the United States to provide the $370,000 needed for construction.

Obama Signs Spending Bill to Sustain Nuclear Programs
12.03.09. nti. U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday signed an omnibus spending bill that includes funding for U.S. nuclear laboratory activities through September. The law provides $6.38 billion to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile and $1.48 billion for nonproliferation efforts, including finding and securing loose nuclear materials.

REPORT: "Nuclear Weapons R&D Organizations in Nine Nations," March 16, 2009
The organization and management of nuclear weapons research in nine countries -- the United States, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United Kingdom -- are examined in a new report from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News.

U.S. Deploys Truck-Borne X-Ray Scanners
19.03.09. NTI. The U.S. Border Patrol has begun deploying pickup trucks loaded with X-ray technology that can be used to detect nuclear or radiological threats.

US navy vessels collide near Iran
20. 03.09. Guardian. Two US navy vessels, including a nuclear-powered submarine, collided in one of the Middle East's key oil routes today lightly injuring 15 sailors and causing oil prices to rise. [why are US nuclear ships near Iran? no wonnder Iran is suspicious of Obama's 'friendly' Iran speach ]


see information clearing house under heading "Manufacturing Consent For War on Iran"

Clinton part of Iran war mongering

Clinton says missile shield to protect from Iran
03.03.09. Reuters. "What we have said specifically in regard to missile defence in Europe is that it has always been intended to deter any missiles that might come from Iran," Clinton said. "It remains our position. We have explained that to the Russians before."

Muslim Weapons of Mass Destruction
10.03.09. Eric Margolis, Lew Rockwell / anti-war. As America struggles with its debt-ravaged economy and surging unemployment, Iran and its alleged nuclear weapons program have again become an issue of major contention. In recent weeks, Obama administration officials and the media issued a blizzard of contradictory claims over Iran’s alleged nuclear threat, leaving one wondering who is really charge of US foreign policy?

... Evidence

Iran "not close" to nuclear weapon: Gates
01.03.09. Reuters. "They're not close to a stockpile, they're not close to a weapon at this point, and so there is some time," Gates said on NBC television's "Meet The Press." / Gates' comments followed a televised interview with Adm. Mike Mullen, head of the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told CNN's "State of the Union" that he believed Iran has enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb.

Officials: Iran does not have key nuclear material
10.03.09. AP. Iran does not yet have any highly enriched uranium, the fuel needed to make a nuclear warhead, two top U.S. intelligence officials told Congress Tuesday, disputing a claim by an Israeli official. U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Maples said Tuesday that Iran has only low-enriched uranium — which would need to be refined into highly enriched uranium before it can fuel a warhead. Neither officials said there were indications that refining has occurred. Their comments disputed a claim made last weekend by Israel's top intelligence military official, who said Iran has crossed a technical threshold and is now capable of producing atomic weapons. See also jazeera here .

"The argument that the U.S. would be naked against an Iranian threat unless we deploy the GMD system in Europe is simply not right,"[ Dem. Rep. Ellen Tauscher] said, referring to the long range system. (23.03.09)

Watershed Moment on Nuclear Arms
24.03.09. NY Times editorial. Mr. Obama must reaffirm his campaign pledge to transform American nuclear policy that is still mired in cold war thinking.

The U.S. Has 'No Moral Standing' To Criticize Iran: Zunes
28.03.09. Kourosh Ziabari, countercurrents. This article investigates the double standards of U.S. foreign policy about Iran and its nuclear program, and its support for the war in the Middle East


On the 14th of April 2008, the US signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Israel to “step up cooperation in the field of nuclear safety.”

U.S. Army document describes Israel as 'a nuclear power'
08.03.09. Haaretz. In a rare breach of official American adherence to Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, the U.S. military is terming Israel "a nuclear power" on a par with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, all of which have declared their nuclear weapon status, and ahead of "nuclear threshold powers" Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the "emerging" Iran. For further details, see here (17.03.09, Secrecy news)

US Army Confirms Israeli Nukes
18.03.09. military com. The Army has let slip one of the worst-kept secrets in the world -- that Israel has the bomb. Officially, the United States has a policy of "ambiguity" regarding Israel's nuclear capability. Essentially, it has played a game by which it neither acknowledges nor denies that Israel is a nuclear power.


Russia deploys new nuclear cruise missiles
28.03.09. Independent / anti-war. Six new atomic submarines, armed with improved nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, will join the Russian navy. The Defence Ministry said the first, the Severodvinsk, will be launched in 2011 and at least five others of the same type will be built by 2017.


British Nuclear Deterrent Depends on Timely U.S. Help, Lawmakers Report
19.03.09. NTI. British plans to collaborate with U.S. weapon designers on a next-generation nuclear-armed submarine could threaten London's nuclear deterrent because the two nations are using different design schedules, a panel of lawmakers reported today. / The problem stems from British reliance on the United States for the missiles that will be deployed on the submarines, according to today's report [PDF] from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.... / "Collaboration with the United States on Trident D-5 missile life extension presents significant risks to the United Kingdom's future nuclear deterrent," the report says.

British Nuclear Deterrent Depends on Timely U.S. Help, Lawmakers Report
19.03.09. NTI. British plans to collaborate with U.S. weapon designers on a next-generation nuclear-armed submarine could threaten London's nuclear deterrent because the two nations are using different design schedules, a panel of lawmakers reported today. / The problem stems from British reliance on the United States for the missiles that will be deployed on the submarines, according to today's report [PDF] from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.... / "Collaboration with the United States on Trident D-5 missile life extension presents significant risks to the United Kingdom's future nuclear deterrent," the report says.

Trident Replacement will have 4 subs not 3, says minister (27.03.09)

Bio-Chemical ..

Experts fight H5N1 bird flu using smallpox vaccine
01.03.09. Reuters. 'We put in many other proteins into that vaccine; Vaccine uses a Vietnam strain of the H5N1 virus. Scientists in Hong Kong and the United States have developed an experimental H5N1 bird flu vaccine for people by piggybacking it on the well-tested and highly successful smallpox vaccine. / experts fear it could mutate into a form that people could easily pass to one another, sparking a pandemic that could kill tens of millions and topple the global economy.

Lawmaker Introduces Anthrax Mailing Probe Legislation
04.03.09. nti. U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-N.J.) yesterday introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax mailings and the FBI determination that a single Army researcher carried out the attacks

Waste From Blue Grass Chemical Disposal Project Reaches Texas
04.03.09. nti. The first batch of wastewater produced by a small-scale chemical warfare materials disposal project at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky has arrived at a Texas incinerator,

Waste From Blue Grass Chemical Disposal Project Reaches Texas
04.03.09. nti. The first batch of wastewater produced by a small-scale chemical warfare materials disposal project at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky has arrived at a Texas incinerator,

see Steven Aftergood's comments on chemical safety brefing at Secrecy News here (05.03.09)

Connecticut Plans Anthrax Response Exercise
09.03.09. nti. The May exercise was scheduled to assess the ability of 20 local health departments and other agencies to distribute medical supplies following a mock attack

"Germs, Viruses, and Secrets: The Silent Proliferation of Bio-Laboratories in the United States,"
House Committee on Energy and Commerce, October 4, 2007 (published December 2008).For comments by Stephen Aftergood (10.03.09) of Secrecy News, see here .

Judge says its okay for Navy to spray recruits with banned chemical
16.03.09. John Byrne, Raw Story / anti-war. The Navy can spray recruits in the eyes with pepper spray, even though it has been linked to death and is banned during warfare by international law, a federal judge ruled Friday. / ... Pepper spray is made from oleoresin capsicum, an oily extract of pepper plants. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, there have been 27 deaths among people sprayed in California alone since 1993, although the deaths were not directly linked to the chemical. In particular, it can be fatal for individuals with asthma. / Pepper spray is banned for use in war by Article I.5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

5K evacuated after hazardous Pa. acid spill (22.03.09. USA Today / legitgov)

Angry Wife Should Not Have Faced Chemical Weapons Charge, Lawyer Says
24.03.09. NTI. A Pennsylvania woman should not have been convicted of trying to use a chemical weapon against her husband's mistress, her lawyer said yesterday during an appeals hearing. The 1999 federal chemical-weapon statute "was intended to deal with a rogue state, intended to deal with terrorists. It wasn't intended to deal with a housewife," said defense attorney Robert Goldman.

Border plants to be poisoned to reveal smugglers
24.03.09. legitgov. The U.S. Border Patrol plans to poison the plant life along a 1.1-mile stretch of the Rio Grande riverbank as soon as Wednesday to get rid of the hiding places used by smugglers, robbers and illegal immigrants. If 'successful,' the $2.1 million pilot project could later be duplicated along as many as 130 miles of river in the patrol’s Laredo Sector, as well as other parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. … detractors say the experiment is reminiscent of the Vietnam War-era Agent Orange chemical program and raises questions about long-term effects. “We don’t believe that is even moral,” said Jay Johnson-Castro Sr., executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, located at Laredo Community College, adjacent to the planned test area.


Ministries take 'full responsibility' for anthrax vaccine trials
04.03.09. jerusalem post / legitgov. A quarter of participants were given an American version of the vaccine, while 75 percent were injected with the Israeli vaccine, which had not been previously tested. The Defense Ministry, Health Ministry and IDF said they took "full responsibility" for all side effects suffered by participants in a test of an anthrax vaccine, in a joint statement issued Wednesday. The statement will be submitted to the High Court next week as a reply to petitions submitted by two IDF soldiers who took part in the trial and suffered negative aftereffects. The vaccine trial, code-named Omer 2, took place between 1998 and 2006, and sought volunteers from elite IDF units.

Israel admits to testing anthrax vaccine on troops
25.03.09. Ynet news / legitgov. Cleared for publication: Defense Ministry admits to experimenting on 716 IDF soldiers during secret research project without disclosing full details; defense official: Israel now possesses anthrax vaccine that can protect [sic] entire population

Fear Mongering

Brzezinski warns of US riots Due to Economic Crisis
03.03.09. chartingstocks. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former national security advisor, has warned that the US could witness riots if economy continues its downward spiral./ There’s going to be growing conflict between the classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even riots!” said Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, in a recent interview with NBC.

VIDEO: Financial crisis to hit the poorest 05.03.09. Al jazeera, Inside Story. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning that the global economic downturn could create a widespread humanitarian crisis in the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Justifying killing civilians in Pakistan

Pakistan poses global security worry, says top US official
04.03.09. J. Borger, Guardian. The top US diplomat in Kabul [Christopher Dell] warned ­yesterday that Pakistan posed a bigger security challenge to America and the world than Afghanistan, as Islamabad grappled with the latest terrorist attack on its soil and the escalating Taliban ­insurgency on its north-western border.

Scientists say pandemic is certain
09.03.09. disaster news. Expert panel tells emergency managers it's just a matter of when the avian flu will spark a pandemic.

Domestic terror threat growing, Senate committee warns
11.03.09. CNN. There is an increasing threat of homegrown terror stemming from segments of a deeply isolated and alienated Somali-American community, a U.S. Senate committee hearing concluded Wednesday.

Terrorists Could Obtain Nuclear Material from Russia, Former U.S. Official Says
13.03.09. nti. There remains a very real threat that nuclear material from Russia could fall into terrorist hands, a former U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration official warned earlier this year in a wide-ranging interview with the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control. [What about the lost atomic bomb from Minot that has never been found? ]

US facing home-grown Islamic terror threat
13.03.09. Telegraph / anti-war. The United States is facing what has been described as its "most serious instance of domestic terrorism" to date, the FBI has warned. [Enter Somalia]

Cheney: Obama terrorism policies make U.S. vulnerable
16.03.09. LA Times. [Old dog with same bone ]. Obama derides (wash post 17.03)BUT THEN:
Obama Sounds Cautious Note as He Sets Out Afghan Plan
27.03.09. NYT / ICH. “The situation is increasingly perilous,” the president told government officials, top military officers and diplomats at the White House, presenting the conclusions of a review he ordered when he came into office in January. In strikingly ominous tones, Mr. Obama warned - just as President George W. Bush did repeatedly over the years - of intelligence estimates that al Qaeda "is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan." / .. “We have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.”

IMF director warns of war
25.03.09. WSWS. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned on Monday that the global economic situation is "dire" and could lead to social upheaval and war. The statement is the latest in a series of worried pronouncements from leading international figures in the financial and political establishment.

Former U.S. Senator Brings WMD Warning to Australia (26.03.09. NTI)


New generation of nuclear power stations 'risk terrorist anarchy'
16.03.09. Guardian. The new generation of atomic power stations planned for Britain, China and many other parts of the world risks proliferation that could lead to "nuclear anarchy", a security expert warned in a report published today. / .. "We are at a crossroads. Unless governments work together to safeguard nuclear energy supplies, the rise in unsecured nuclear technology will put us all in danger. Without this, we are hurtling towards a state of nuclear anarchy where terrorists or rogue states have the ways and means of making nuclear weapons or 'dirty bombs', the consequences of which are unimaginable," says Barnaby.

Brown warns of enduring al-Qaida threat to UK
22.03.09. Guardian. Prime minister says 60,000 civilians have been trained to deal with terrorist incidents. See also We are about to take the war against terror to a new level (Guardian 22.03.09 by Gordon Brown).

Fanatics 'could use roadside bombs to kill VIPs in Britain'
25.03.09. Mail Online / legitgov. Terrorists could use Iraq-style roadside bombs to target VIPs in Britain, officials fear. An attack by a nuclear 'dirty bomb', which spreads radioactive material, is also becoming more likely, according to an official report yesterday. The report, unveiled by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday, refers to 'significant developments' in the IED threat to the UK, 'in particular the use of novel home-made explosives and the detonation of devices by suicide bombers'.


Barack Obama began backing off his opposition to Bush-era surveillance policies while running for president last year. Now that he's in the Oval Office, he has shown no intention of turning back or taking a new direction Shane Harris (21.03.09. National journal, subscription only)

Lawmakers begin push to outlaw surveillance tactics
02.03.09. Baltimore Sun. Brushing aside assurances from the Maryland State Police that troopers will never again secretly monitor and collect information on peaceful protest groups, state lawmakers and Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration are moving ahead with a plan to outlaw such tactics and will push for legislative action at hearings Tuesday.

Bush Lawyers Approved Constitution-Free Domestic Military Ops, Docs Show
02.03.09. Wired. The Justice Department secretly authorized President George Bush to use the military inside the United States to snoop on, raid and even kill citizens in order to fight terrorism without regard to the Fourth or Fifth Amendment, according to a Oct 23, 2001 memo released by the Obama Administration Monday.

THE Memos

Bush Lawyers Approved Constitution-Free Domestic Military Ops, Docs Show
02.03.09. Wires. The Justice Department secretly authorized President George Bush to use the military inside the United States to snoop on, raid and even kill citizens in order to fight terrorism without regard to the Fourth or Fifth Amendment, according to a Oct 23, 2001 memo released by the Obama Administration Monday.

Newsweek (02.03.09) writes about THE MEMO: "But the memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel—along with others made public for the first time Monday—illustrates with new details the extraordinary post-9/11 powers asserted by Bush administration lawyers. Those assertions ultimately led to such controversial policies as allowing the waterboarding of terror suspects and permitting warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens—steps that remain the subject of ongoing investigations by Congress and the Justice Department. / "In perhaps the most surprising assertion, the Oct. 23, 2001, memo suggested the president could even suspend press freedoms if he concluded it was necessary to wage the war on terror. "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully," Yoo wrote in the memo entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activity Within the United States."

Obama releases internal Bush Justice Department memos
03.03.09. CNN. 2001 memo declaring that in terrorism cases the military may conduct searches in the United States without a warrant if approved by the president. / "We conclude that the president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States," wrote John Yoo, then a deputy assistant attorney general. "We further believe that the use of such military force generally is consistent with constitutional standards, and that it need not follow the exact procedures that govern law enforcement operations.READ THE MEMO.

Secret Bush Memos Released: Read Them Here!
03.03.09. Huffington Post.

Newly Released Secret Memos Provide the Blueprint for Bush's Police State
04.03.09. Marjorie Cohn, Alternet. The memos' authors, John Yoo and Jay Bybee, should be investigated, prosecuted, and disbarred. Seven newly released memos from the Bush Justice Department reveal a concerted strategy to cloak the President with power to override the Constitution. The memos provide "legal" rationales for the President to suspend freedom of speech and press; order warrantless searches and seizures, including wiretaps of U.S. citizens; lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely in the United States without criminal charges; send suspected terrorists to other countries where they will likely be tortured; and unilaterally abrogate treaties. According to the reasoning in the memos, Congress has no role to check and balance the executive. That is the definition of a police state.

Sunshine Week: February 8, 2002 NSA Surveillance Memo
18.03.09. eff. Yesterday, we published a list [ pdf file] of missing documents related to the NSA warrantless surveillance program as part of EFF's celebration of Sunshine Week, and began to analyze what some of these missing documents might be. / Today, we turn to a document known as OLC 62. According to a declaration filed by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Steven Bradbury:

Police Take the Fight Onto the Web
07.03.09. NY Times. As in so many other realms where the use of technology has expanded in what seems an eye-blink, this crime-fighting method promises great improvements over traditional ways of getting things done. But it also challenges existing privacy protections, like limitations on the information investigators can share about people they may suspect of committing crimes.

Clarkstown to put surveillance cameras in highway department work area
08.03.09. LoHud. "It's for security. When you put up a camera, you deter people from doing something," said Ballard. "It's not [sic] a Big Brother thing."

Obama’s New York Times interview: Military aggression and attacks on democratic rights to continue
10.03.09. WSWS. ... Asked about striking a "balance" between national security and civil liberties, Obama gave his stamp of approval to the role of top Bush intelligence officials who oversaw massive domestic spying, rendition, secret CIA torture centers and illegal detentions, including of legal residents and US citizens. He suggested that while in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 there may have been abuses, by the time he took office these excesses had been corrected.

Surveillance Cameras Rolling in Downtown Bryan (10.03.09. KBTX)

U.S. cybersecurity head quits, citing growing role of spy agencies
10.03.09. UPI / legitgov. The official in charge of coordinating the U.S. government's cybersecurity operations has quit, saying the expanding control of the National Security Agency over the nation's computer security efforts poses "threats to our democratic processes."

Terrorist watch list hits 1 million
11.03.09. USA Today / legitgov. The government's terrorist watch list has hit 1 million entries, up 32% since 2007. / Federal data show the rise comes despite the removal of 33,000 entries last year by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center in an effort to purge the list of outdated information and remove people cleared in investigations.

Secret State Police Report: Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin, Libertarians are Terrorists
11.03.09. Kurt Nimmo,, infowars. Alex Jones has received a secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” and dated February 20, 2009. A footer on the document indicates it is “unclassified” but “law enforcement sensitive,” in other words not for public consumption. A copy of the report was sent to Jones by an anonymous Missouri police officer. / The MIAC report specifically describes supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as “militia” influenced terrorists and instructs the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.

Welcome to 1984: ISPs must comply with snooping law from Sunday
11.03.09. Computing / ICH. UK ISPs will be required to hand over records of customers' internet surfing habits, including IP addresses and times of use, to police and intelligence agencies from Sunday

Pentagon plans blimp to spy from new heights (13.03.09. LA Times. (see Defense Contracts]

Council drops plans forsurveillance cameras
16.03.09. NBC. ... but one official said the issue will be brought up again. The council on Tuesday considered an application for a $39,000 state grant to buy and install [ELEVEN] cameras at busy intersections, borough hall and the police station. The discussion was dropped when it was determined that the borough couldn't make the application deadline.

FBI planting spies in U.S. mosques, Muslim groups say
20.03.09. CNN. en U.S. Muslim organizations threatened this week to cease working with the FBI, citing "McCarthy-era tactics" by the agency, including efforts to covertly infiltrate California mosques.

Surveillance equipment vendor selected for schools
20.03.09. RGJ. A contract for surveillance equipment for Lyon County schools was awarded March 10 to Surveillance Integration in the amount of $78,314 by the Lyon County School District Board of Trustees.

FBI Director Pushes to Renew PATRIOT Act Surveillance Powers
26.03.09. Liliana Segura, AlterNet. Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that key provisions set to expire this year are 'exceptionally helpful.' Earlier this month, the ACLU released a report taking stock of the USA PATRIOT Act, almost eight years after its passage. The study, titled "Reclaiming Patriotism," identifies key sections of the law that codified the most radical abuses of power under the Bush administration, interweaving stories of people who were unlawfully spied on, coerced, and intimidated through the PATRIOT Act's sweeping powers. "More than seven years after its implementation, there is little evidence to demonstrate that the Patriot Act has made America more secure from terrorists," the report's authors write.

House gives initial OK to police surveillance bill
26.03.09. Baltimore sun. The bill was put forward in response to state police surveillance that resulted in dozens of people wrongly being described as terrorists in a police database. Police used the surveillance on peace activists and people opposed to capital punishment.


Research and Markets: Asia Pacific IP Video Surveillance Markets Study: Improving IP and Camera Technology Makes a Case for IP Video Surveillance
16.03.09. trading markets. Even though the lack of standards and prohibitive costs had restrained the uptake of IP video surveillance in the Asia Pacific in the past, technological improvements and the shortcomings of the closed circuit television (CCTV) have swung the market in favor of IP video surveillance in the last three to four years.


Large growth expected in Chinese video surveillance equipment market
16.03.09. Security info watch. Research report forecasts market to exceed $3B by 2012. A new report out this week from UK-based IMS Research predicts that the market for video surveillance equipment in China will see huge gains over the next several years, eventually reaching over $3 billion by 2012. / According to analysts, due to the ongoing global financial crisis and the aftermath of the 2008 Olympic Games and the earthquake that rocked the country’s Sichuan province in August, the Chinese government has passed its own version of a stimulus package that invests in new housing, road, railway, and airport projects, which will undoubtedly require video surveillance equipment. In addition, the research firm predicts that in 2012, nearly 16 million security cameras will be sold in China either for new surveillance systems or as replacements in legacy systems.


Berlin to give 400 mln eur to NATO surveillance plan
05.03.09. Reuters. The Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS), a system allowing NATO to survey wide surface areas from high altitude, is to cost the 17 participating nations around 1.5 billion euros ($1.89 billion) in total.


"We need to be able to say what sort of country this is going to be." John Denham, UK "skills secretary".

Revealed: police databank on thousands of protesters (07.03.09. Guardian)

Police surveillance: 'They're focusing on the press more than the protesters' (07.03.09). Guardian

Civil Liberties (07.03.09. Guardian).

Caught on film and stored on database: how police keep tabs on activists
06.03.09. Paul Lewis and Marc Vallée, Guardian. Police footage obtained by the Guardian has revealed the crude monitoring methods deployed across the country against protesters, thousands of whom have their personal details stored on criminal intelligence systems for up to seven years.. VIDEO

editorial, Guardian (07.03.09). .

Only incompetence will save us from Orwell's surveillance state
07.03.09. Telegraph. The vast amount of data now being generated, and the impossibility of looking at it all, is, together with bureaucratic incompetence, the best guarantee we have that we're not going to wake up one morning and find we are living in a version of Nineteen Eighty-Four. The biggest threat contained in the Government's proposal to introduce identity cards is not that it will create an all-knowing state which will crush each and every one of us. It is that officials will bungle when they enter the data, or misread it, so that the wrong people will be identified as benefit cheats or as terrorists (accurate identification of both being the main purpose of ID cards). The introduction of computer systems has been consistently mishandled by the Government, thank God. The NHS has spent £6 billion on its new data system – and it still doesn't work. Last week, Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee reported that tens of millions of pounds had been wasted on a computer system designed to enable Government departments to consult secret intelligence quickly and securely. The system has now been abandoned because it doesn't work and never will. [not to speak of lost data or data found in bins, etc]

Only Terrorists Fear Surveillance
26.03.09. anti-war. The London Police department is launching a new ad campaign to keep people frightened and submissive. / The campaign includes a bizarre poster which encourages people to view as a terrorist suspect anyone who looks closely at government surveillance cameras.

‘Snooping' powers used 10,000 times
26.03.09. AP. Surveillance powers designed to tackle terrorism have been used by local councils more than 10,000 times - for "crimes" as minor as littering. / The Liberal Democrats, who obtained the details, said it represented a fresh erosion of civil liberties and warned that Ripa was becoming a "snooper's charter".


Londoners photographed 425 times a day
28.03.09. wnd. The UK already is the West's most surveyed nation – the average Londoner is secretly photographed an average 425 times a day – and officials now are launching a new Big Brother plan that will intensify the observation of civilians, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin. / An anonymous building in a business park on the outskirts of Heathrow Airport is where the MI5 Security Service
has begun monitoring all passengers arriving at or flying out of the facility's terminals from this week onwards / There is no exemption for Americans starting their flights in the United States.

Police State


The more suffering one inflicts on the other, the more anxious one becomes of the possible potential deadly capacity around. Gilad Atzmon


"Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate Covering the Period January 4, 2007 to January 2, 2009,"
March 2 2009, Stephen Aftergood of Secrecy News writes: A new report from the Senate Intelligence Committee summarizes theCommittee's activities in the last Congress, in which it addressed a host of major and minor issues from the amendment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to the proposed expansion of the authorities of the Public Interest Declassification Board. / The 50-page report contains much that is familiar, along with some new details on staff study projects, "the poor status of IC financial management," the Committee's own difficulty in obtaining information from the Administration, and other topics. / One qualitative change in intelligence oversight that is not mentioned in the new report is that the Committee no longer publishes intelligence agency answers to Questions for the Record that are submitted following the Committee's annual intelligence threat hearing. For further details, see here. (17.03.09, Secrecy News)

Martial Law in Berkley
01.03.09. indybay. Today two more Apache Military helicopters with a third, flew low over Berkeley.

GEO Group, Inc.: Despite a Crashing Economy, Private Prison Firm Turns a Handsome Profit
01.03.09. Erin Rosa, Corpwatch. While the nation’s economy flounders, business is booming for The GEO Group Inc., a private prison firm that is paid millions by the U.S. government to detain undocumented immigrants and other federal inmates... GEO reported impressive quarterly earnings of $20 million on February 12, 2009, along with an annual income of $61 million for 2008 – up from $38 million the year before... Behind the financial success and expansion of the for-profit prison firm, there are increasing charges of negligence, civil rights violations, abuse and even death.

High school students get close-up look at law enforcement
01.03.09. Huguenot High School junior Calvin Walker wants to be a prosecutor, so he's trying to learn as much as he can about how local law enforcement works. / Walker is one of 20 high school students to join a Youth Adult Police Commission, a new program formed by Richmond Police Chief Bryan T. Norwood that seeks to form ties between the Police Department and local teenagers. / Norwood said he launched the program to give young people a voice and to help the police better understand the thinking of the student population, helping officers to better relate to young adults.

The Groundwork Has Already Been Laid for Martial Law
04.03.09. John W. Whitehead. ... the groundwork was laid for an imperial presidency and a potentially totalitarian government--a state of affairs that has not ended with Barack Obama's ascension to the Oval Office, despite hopes to the contrary that President Obama would fully restore the balance between government and its citizens to a pre-Bush status quo.

Obama’s New York Times interview: Military aggression and attacks on democratic rights to continue
10.03.09. WSWS. ... Asked about striking a "balance" between national security and civil liberties, Obama gave his stamp of approval to the role of top Bush intelligence officials who oversaw massive domestic spying, rendition, secret CIA torture centers and illegal detentions, including of legal residents and US citizens. He suggested that while in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 there may have been abuses, by the time he took office these excesses had been corrected.

Seymour Hersh: "Executive Assassination Ring" Answered to Cheney, Had No Congressional Oversight
12.03.09. Eric Black, Investigative journalist Sy Hersh dropped a bombshell revelation on Monday about international killings ordered under Bush. Investigation?

CIA Confirms 12 of 92 Videotapes Destroyed Showed Prisoners Tortured
12.03.09. Jason Leopold, /alternet. ACLU: "This new information underscores the need for full and immediate disclosure of the CIA's illegal interrogation methods."

Sheriff Arpaio Under Investigation By U.S. Justice Department
12.03.09. Cara, Feministe / alternet. "The U.S. Justice Department has launched a civil-rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office." . The U.S. Justice Department has launched a civil-rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office after months of mounting complaints that deputies are discriminating in their enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Police Trained Nationwide That Informed Americans Are Domestic Terrorists
13.03.09. Paul Joseph Watson, Kurt Nimmo & Alex Jones. Law enforcement across the country are being educated that informed Americans who know their rights are dangerous and that cops are their enemy< False results put drug tests under microscope
13.03.09. USA Today / legit gov. The couple were caught up in what civil libertarians, public defenders and some narcotics experts say is a growing problem: the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on illegal drug charges. The inexpensive test kits are used by virtually every police department in the country and by federal agents, including Customs officers at the nation's borders. "The tests have no validity," says former FBI narcotics investigator Frederick Whitehurst. And as more organic products come on the market, "the potential for civil rights violations when these presumptive tests are out there is phenomenal." 'We are alarmed by the growing number of people who have been taken to jail for simply possessing organic products.'

Students hindering the Zionist meeting in NY arrested by U.S. Police
14.03.09. Kourosh Ziabari, Axis of Logic. At 6:30 PM on Thursday January 29, some 250 protestors from various nationalities and political belongings staged a rally before the hotel to blockade the party and hinder the entrance of AIPAC members into the lobby. 10 young activists and students who were the main organizers of the demo on behalf of the Break the Siege On Gaza Coalition's Student Committee were consequently attacked by the New York Federal Police and arrested for interrogation.

If You Are Reading This, You May Already be a Terrorist
15.03.09. The State of Missouri Information Analysis Center recently issued a no-longer-secret report on domestic terrorism. / The Feb. 20 report called “The Modern Militia Movement” [pdf file) specifically identifies people who “display Campaign for Liberty, Constitution Party, or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential candidate: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.” The report identifies red flags that can identify potential domestic terrorists. See also by Anthony Gregory of Campaign for Liberty.

Riot police quell protest as water forum opens
16.03.09. AFP. The World Water Forum, a seven-day arena aimed at addressing the planet's deepening crisis of fresh water, was launched here Monday amid a violent protest broken up by riot police using tear gas; detaining at least 15

VIDEO: The Long War.
Riz Khan, al jazeera, speaking with Philip Bobbitt and others about America's "War on Terror".

Army probes domestic use of troops in Alabama
18.03.09. Raw Story. Though the strained Samson Police Department was no doubt glad to have U.S. Army military police on hand to direct traffic during last week's tragic shooting spree, it appears that the troops were deployed without the proper authorization and in possible violation of federal law.

Who sent soldiers into an Alabama town last week?
18.03.09. blogs usa today. Who sent 22 military police and an Army officer into the tiny Alabama town of Samson last week after a gunman went on a rampage that left 11 people dead? / The Associated Press reports that an Army spokesman says the military has launched an inquiry to find out what happened, why the troops were sent from nearby Fort Rucker, what they did while there and whether any federal laws were broken.

We Have Seen The Enemy
18.03.09. Timothy V. Gatto, countercurrents. How did a nation that took so much pride in lively debate and different opinions become a nation that questions the loyalty of people who have dared to disagree with the policymakers in Washington?

U.S. Is Urged to Lift Ban on Foreign Scholars (18.03.09. NY Times)

Obama Undercuts Whistle-Blowers, Senator Says
18.03.09. NY Times. A leading Republican senator [Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa] maintains that President Obama is violating a campaign promise with his claim that he can bypass whistle-blower protections for executive branch officials who give certain information to Congress. / A signing statement, occasionally [frequently by Bush] issued by presidents upon their signing a bill, is a document that instructs executive branch officials on how to carry out the new law. In this statement, Mr. Obama flagged a provision that protects officials who give information to Congress about their jobs or agencies. He said the statute could not limit his power to control the flow of certain information to lawmakers. / Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, a group that promotes the defense of whistle-blowers, said Mr. Obama’s statement could mean very different things, depending on how broadly the administration defined the word “confidential.” / “The president has a responsibility to clear up the confusion,” Mr. Devine said.

Preparing for Civil Unrest in America: Legislation to Establish Internment Camps on US Military Bases
18.03.09. Michel Chussodovsky, global research. The Economic and Social Crisis: The financial meltdown has unleashed a latent and emergent social crisis across the United States. / What is at stake is the fraudulent confiscation of lifelong savings and pension funds, the appropriation of tax revenues to finance the trillion dollar "bank bailouts", which ultimately serve to line the pockets of the richest people in America. This economic crisis is in large part the result of financial manipulation and outright fraud to the detriment of entire populations, leading to a renewed wave of corporate bankruptcies, mass unemployment and poverty. The Protest Movement: When people across America, whose lives have been shattered and destroyed, come to realize the true face of the global "free market" system, the legitimacy of Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the US administration will be challenged. "Orwellian Solution" to the Great Depression: Curbing Civil Unrest: At this particular juncture, there is no economic recovery program in sight. The Washington-Wall Street consensus prevails. There are no policies, no alternatives formulated from within the political and economic system. Homeland Security's Internment Camps; Combat Units Assigned to the Homeland; Spying on Americans: The Big Brother Data Bank; Text od H.R. 645: National Emergency Centers Establishment Act .

City Considers Implementing Martial Law To Clean Up Policing
19.03.09. Steve Watson, Prison Planet, infowars. City Considers Implementing Martial Law To Clean Up Policing

Schenectady mayor considers options, martial law over police woes
19.03.09. capital news9. Currently, officials are reviewing the legal options and planning to present a full report in early April - options like a consolidated county-wide police force or bringing in the State Police. / The mayor said there is another option - and that would be declaring martial law. The governor would have to declare it and then the National Guard would come in. The mayor said it's more for a transition to a new police force if that were to happen. He said, "It may be that as a stopgap measure, that you would need military forces - State Police, National Guard."

VIDEO: The Evictors and Their Victims (19.03.09. NBC)

FBI planting spies in U.S. mosques, Muslim groups say
20.03.09. CNN. Ten U.S. Muslim organizations threatened this week to cease working with the FBI, citing "McCarthy-era tactics" by the agency, including efforts to covertly infiltrate California mosques.

Is America Already a Police State?
22.03.09. Nathan Coe, GNN/uruknet. In the last eight years we have seen a slew of police state legislation, to the point that it has often been hard to keep up. By now, most take the Department of Homeland Security for granted, but the implications of its emergence should not be ignored. We’ve all, of course, heard of the PATRIOT Act*, though by now it is in the back of our minds, having been normalized in the discourse of the mainstream, corporate media. A few remember the 'continuity of government’ measures implemented during 9/11 (though few are aware that they were never revoked and instead left in place indefinitely). Many haven’t forgotten the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Still, many Americans have lost track of the legislative developments, or assumed that the end of the Bush era meant the end of the era of police state preparations, which it obviously did not...

Terror Begins at Home
23.03.09. american conservative / anti-war. Will the Obama years see another militia scare?. Background to government responses.
pments, or assumed that the end of the Bush era meant the end of the era of police state preparations, which it obviously did not...

Read Steven Aftergood (Secrecy News) on Freedom of Information Act here.

Can Private Security Guards Act As Cops?
24.03.09. The private security officers now on patrol on the city's Far South Side are expected to have their powers expanded as part of a citywide ordinance now being prepared. / But officials are questioning whether this means public safety is being outsourced.

Nap Time is Over America- Wake Up or Lose Your Republic
24.03.09. the citizen. Tyranny has a beach head in America. The police are being militarized, FEMA Emergency Centers have been constructed,and martial law is now being Beta tested in smaller cities and towns across the nation.

Martial-Law Gun Rights Bill Passes Idaho House
24.03.09. istock analyst. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, today persuaded the Idaho House to vote 61-9 in favor of his legislation that would prevent the government from seizing guns in cases of "extreme emergency." / HB 229 declares that during a such states including martial law, invasion or insurrection, "No government authority will have the right to come and pick up our arms and ammunition."

Director of FBI Urges Renewal of Patriot Act
26.03.09. Wash Post / legitgov. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III urged lawmakers yesterday to renew intelligence-gathering measures in the USA Patriot Act that are set to expire in December, calling them "exceptional" tools to help protect national security. The law, passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, created divisions between proponents, who said it was necessary to deter terrorism, and privacy advocates warning that it tramples on Americans' civil liberties. Portions of the law are up for reauthorization this year. / The ACLU issued a report earlier this month depicting what it called "widespread abuses" of government authority under the Patriot Act, approved by Congress less than two months after terrorist strikes hit New York and Washington in 2001.

The Criminalization of Everyday Life
26.03.09. Robert Neuwirth, Mathaba net / Creative I. Welcome to the ugly underside of the zero-tolerance era, where insignificant rule violations get inflated into criminal infractions.

Officer with TB who refused to deploy is convicted (27.03.09. Stars and Stripes)

FBI-Muslim Relations Strained as Government Looks for Terrorists
29.03.09. ABC/legitgov. Relations Soured After FBI Cut Ties With Prominent American-Islamic Group

Economic crisis fueling civil unrest in US
30.03.09. Five people have been shot dead in California in what appears to be another sign of a social crisis on the back of falling US economy

Homeland Security

US and Germany Sign Homeland Defense Technology Sharing Agreement
16.03.09. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said after signing the agreement with German Research Minister Annette Schavan that the countries would pool resources in developing analytical tools and other technological and scientific research pertaining to security issues. "Homeland security is not about walling ourselves off from other countries, it is about cooperating with our allies," Napolitano said.

U.S. Lacks Technology to Meet Air Cargo Screening Goal
19.03.09. NTI. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is not on pace to meet a congressional mandate to ensure that all cargo transported on passenger planes is screened for weapons of mass destruction, government officials said yesterday. House Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and senior Republican committee member Charles Dent (Pa.) agreed that the agency should meet the air cargo mandates that Democrats placed in a 2007 bill, which was intended to implement unfulfilled recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission. The bill, which then-President George W. Bush signed into law, set the 2010 deadline for the agency to ensure all cargo carried aboard passenger aircraft is screened.

Who's watching the watchmen?
24.03.09. Guardian / anti-war. US law enforcement agencies are keeping tabs on Americans in order to thwart terrorism. But how accurate is their intelligence? There's an ominous and Orwellian sounding phrase creeping into Washington discourse: "homeland security intelligence". The heart of homeland security intelligence is this: getting good intelligence into the hands of local and state police officers so they can prevent a terrorist attack before it occurs.

"War on Terror"

They are not 'Enemy Combatants' Any More
16.03.09. J.D. Tuccille, examinter. but Obama will still detain them without charges.

Since the events of September 11, the word "terrorism" has acquired a new political dynamic. / Wars are waged and many lives have been lost in the name of combatting "terror" and strict legislation has been passed to prevent acts of "terrorism". .. In this six-part series, author and journalist Phil Rees travels to South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas to explore the debate surrounding the meaning of the word "terrorism".

18.03.09. Fred Burton and Scott Stewart, Stratfor. Boom-and-Bust Funding:
One of the problems problem created by the feast-or-famine cycle of security funding is that during the boom times, when there is a sudden (and often huge) influx of cash, agencies sometimes have difficulty spending all the money allotted to them in a logical and productive manner. Congress, acting on strong public opinion, often will give an agency even more than it initially requested for a particular program -- and then expect an immediate solution to the problem. Rather than risk losing these funds, the agencies scramble to find ways to spend them. Then, quite often, by the time the agency is able to get its act together and develop a system effectively to use the funds, the lull has set in and funding is cut. These cuts frequently are accompanied by criticism of how the agency spent the initial glut of funding.

Rights group claims US immigrant detention policy violates international Law
25.03.09. JURIST. A substantial increase in the number of immigrants detained by the US over the last decade and the length of their detentions "falls short of international human rights law," according to a report [text, PDF; AI executive summary] released Wednesday by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website].

White House to Keep Agencies’ Focus on Terrorism
25.03.09. NY Times. The Obama administration is moving to solidify one of the most significant shifts of resources put into place under President George W. Bush: the transformation of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into agencies where the top priority is counterterrorism rather than conventional law enforcement.

Obama Faces Spate of 'Terror War' Lawsuits
27.03.09. William Fisher, anti-war. Human rights lawyers are proving to be a major headache for the new administration of President Barack Obama, stepping up court challenges on issues of prisoner abuse to test the reality of the president's pledge to create a "an unprecedented level of openness" in government.

Spanish judge to hear torture case against six Bush officials
29.03.09. Observer / legitgov. Legal moves may force Obama's government into starting a new inquiry into abuses at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib


Europe court rules airplane prohibited items list must be published (11.03.09. JURIST)


Afghanistan and Iraq: War Crimes Against Children ascribed to former President Bush (21.03.09. Sherwood Ross, uruknet)

Arbitrary detention: A call to action
26.03.09. Relief Web. The United Nations in Afghanistan today releases a major report on arbitrary detention in the country. The report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) found that Afghans are often detained without lawful reason and in many instances detainees do not enjoy basic rights that are enshrined in Afghanistan's Constitution.


Police raid domain owner Theodor Reppe's home over 'censorship lists'
25.03.09. / legitgov. # Police crack down on whistleblowing website; # Domain owner's homes raided for evidence; # Raided after Australian blacklists leaked. See also here.


Read Prison Planet's response to bolshie police officer in Canada here.

Shoes thrown to protest Bush
18.03.09. / ICH. Three Canadians were arrested and others threw shoes in protest against [war criminal] George W. Bush today when he gave his first post-presidential speech in western Canada's oil patch.

British MP Galloway Barred from Canada Over 'Supporting Hamas'
20.03.09. DPA/ ICH. Outspoken British anti-war member of parliament (MP) George Galloway Friday denounced as "outrageous" a decision by the Canadian authorities to refuse him entry on the grounds of national security. Galloway vows to fight Canada ban.


A forgotten humanitarian disaster
20.03.09. Lieven De Cauter , BRussels Tribunal / ICH.
The sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a sad occasion for the balance sheet: during six years of occupation 1.2 million citizens were killed, 2,000 doctors killed, and 5,500 academics and intellectuals assassinated or imprisoned. There are 4.7 million refugees: 2.7 million inside the country and two million have fled to neighbouring countries, among which are 20,000 medical doctors. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans: two million widows as a consequence of war, embargo, war again and occupation, and five million orphans, many of whom are homeless (estimated at 500,000). Almost a third of Iraq’s children suffer from malnutrition. Some 70 per cent of Iraqi girls no longer go to school. Medical services, not so long ago the best in the region, have totally collapsed: 75 per cent of medical staff have left their jobs, half of them have fled the country, and after six years of “reconstruction” health services in Iraq still do not meet minimum standards.


Israel, the "51st state", is another police state. See Focus on Gaza .

Gaza: World's leading investigators call for war crimes inquiry - open letter
15.03.09. Amnesty International/uruknet. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson and Justice Richard Goldstone among signatories "shocked to core" by recent events. Includes text of letter and signatories.

The lead is cast
19.03.09. Haaretz Editorial. Operation Cast Lead ended two months ago in a show of arrogance by Israeli leaders. The price paid by Gaza's civilian population - hundreds killed, in addition to the hundreds of armed men from Hamas and other organizations - was presented as an unfortunate, but necessary, result of the combat methods required to protect soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. / With disappointment growing as the operation's declared achievements dissipate, a second wave of evidence and revelations is being heard from the soldiers who were there, who saw what was happening and are sometimes even describing what they themselves did. / ... The soldiers describe the killing of innocent civilians, pointless destruction, expulsions of families from homes seized as temporary outposts, disregard for human life and a tendency toward brutalization./ .. It would be appropriate to investigate the problems from outside the IDF and root them out before the rot destroys the IDF and Israeli society.

VIDEO: Israeli soldiers say killing of civilians 'allowed' - 19 March 09

Gaza family tells of Israeli shooting - 19 Mar 09

Israelis Using 'Excessive' Force Against Protesters
20.03.09. Mel Frykberg, IPS / anti-war. The critical wounding of a U.S. activist has highlighted the excessive use of force by Israeli forces. / The activist, Tristan Anderson, 38, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers during a protest against Israel's separation barrier in the Palestinian West Bank last week. ... Details of murders of: Ahmed Mousa, 10; Yousef Amira, 17; Arafat Rateb Khawaje, 22; Mohammed Khawaje, 20

UN Envoy: Gaza op Seems to be War Crime of Greatest Magnitude
20.03.09. News Agencies, haaretz / ICH. Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians. "If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law," Falk said.,2506,L-3689673,00.html"> Israel bans Palestinian cultural events (20.03.09 Ynet news)

Israel's War Crime
Richard Falk / ICH. For the first time since the establishment of Israel in 1948 the government is facing serious allegations of war crimes from respected public figures throughout the world.

Israel military orders internal investigation of war crimes allegations
20.03.09. JURIST. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] said Thursday that it would conduct an internal investigation into reports that Israeli soldiers have committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians. The announcement follows soldiers' reports of civilian killings [Haaretz reports] and vandalism under liberal rules of engagement during a recent operation in the Gaza Strip. It also came on the same day that UN Special Rapportuer on human rights in the Palestinian territories Richard Falk [appointment release] issued a report to the UN Human Rights Council [official website], in which Falk criticized Israel [Haaretz report] for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Falk called for an independent investigation into the alleged crimes, which he said included the targeting of hospitals and mosques, the use of white phosphorus incendiary bombs in heavily populated areas, as well as Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. [Background info on other criticisms / trials.] .

Israel's War Crime
21.03.09. Richard Falk / ICH. For the first time since the establishment of Israel in 1948 the government is facing serious allegations of war crimes from respected public figures throughout the world.

Har Adar banning movement of Palestinians (22.03.09. ynet news / ICH)

Barak freezes move to raze settlement homes built on Palestinian land (22.03.09. Haaretz / anti-war)

THREE DOCUMENTARIES: Guardian investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza (23.03.09. Clancy Chassay and Julian Borger, Guardian)

Rights group claims Israel military violated medical ethics code in Gaza offensive (23.03.09) JURIST


Israel accused of 'new Gaza crime'
24.03.09. al jazeera. Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said Israel had confined Palestinian civilians to the combat zone in Gaza, a unique move which should be outlawed. "Such a war policy should be treated as a distinct and new crime against humanity, and should be formally recognised as such, and explicitly prohibited," Falk said in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday./ Palestinian civilians were prevented from leaving the Gaza Strip during the three-week bombardment by the Israeli authorities.

Israel accused of indiscriminate phosphorus use in Gaza
25.03.09. Guardian/ICH. Human Rights Watch report claims Israel committed war crimes in its use of air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells.

VIDEO: Israeli settlement building threat in West Bank - 26 Mar 09

UN envoy: Israel must hand over maps of cluster bomb locations
28.03.09. Daily Star / anti-war. United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams on Friday urged Israel to provide detailed maps indicating the location of cluster bombs in south Lebanon. He said the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has asked Israel to provide such detailed maps more than once.


Police 'over the top' at climate camp
01.03.09. Observer. have been accused of setting a "dangerous precedent" when they confiscated hundreds of items of property - including children's crayons, a clown's outfit and a pensioner's walking stick - from people attending an environmental protest camp at Kingsnorth power station. / A list of more than 2,000 possessions taken from protesters, who were repeatedly searched going to and from the camp last August, has been obtained through a freedom of information request by Liberal Democrat justice spokesman David Howarth. / It shows that officers took packets of balloon, tents, a clown's outfit, camping equipment, cycle helmets and bike locks, plastic buckets, bin bags, blankets, soap, banners and leaflets, books, party poppers and nail clippers. A toy plastic gun, life-jackets, inflatable dinghies, paddles and foot pumps were also confiscated, police say, to stop protesters taking to the river around the Hoo peninsula in Kent. Much of the property has yet to be returned.

Police State: Liberty groups unite to defend UK rights
01.03.09. Tracy McVeigh, Guardian / Creative-i. . W riters, pop stars, lawyers and politicians from across the party spectrum yesterday issued a call to arms. They joined the largest ever campaign across Britain to warn of the erosion of freedoms and the emergence of surveillance techniques. / ...

MI5 Alert On Bank Riots
01.03.09. Daily Express / legitgov. Top secret contingency plans have been drawn up to counter the threat posed by a "summer of discontent" in Britain. MI5 and Special Branch are targeting activists they fear could inflame anger over job losses and payouts to failed bankers. / .. The chilling prospect of soldiers being drafted on to the streets has not been discounted, although it is regarded as a last resort. / ..
This week Britain’s most senior police officer warned that the summer could bring a wave of protests orchestrated by extremists in which ordinary people, fired by their own anger and fear at the economic downturn – became “foot soldiers”.

War Comes Home To Britain
04.03.09. John Pilger, New Statesman / ICH. Freedom is being lost in Britain. The land of Magna Carta is now the land of secret gagging orders, secret trials and imprisonment. The government will soon know about every phone call, every email, every text message. Police can wilfully shoot to death an innocent man, lie and expect to get away with it. Whole communities now fear the state. The foreign secretary routinely covers up allegations of torture; the justice secretary routinely prevents the release of critical cabinet minutes taken when Iraq was illegally invaded. The litany is cursory; there is much more. / Indeed, there is so much more that the erosion of liberal freedoms is symptomatic of an evolved criminal state. / ,,, Freedoms are being lost in Britain because of the rapid growth of the “national security state”. This form of militarism was imported from the United States by New Labour. Totalitarian in essence, it relies upon fear mongering to entrench the executive with venal legal mechanisms that progressively diminish democracy and justice.

Caught on film and stored on database: how police keep tabs on activists
06.03.09. Paul Lewis and Marc Vallée, Guardian. Police footage obtained by the Guardian has revealed the crude monitoring methods deployed across the country against protesters, thousands of whom have their personal details stored on criminal intelligence systems for up to seven years.. VIDEO

Revealed: police databank on thousands of protesters (07.03.09. Guardian)

Police surveillance: 'They're focusing on the press more than the protesters' (07.03.09). Guardian

Civil Liberties (07.03.09. Guardian).

MP targets protests by Muslims
15.03.09. / ICH. A law specifically intended to stop Muslims from protesting when British soldiers return from Iraq or Afghanistan is being proposed by a senior Conservative MP.

Muslim man suffered 'gross brutality' during terrorism raid, court told (16.03.09. Guardian)

Neo-Fascist Britain: Mindless Jingoism Supporting Wars of Imperial Conquest
16.03.09. Mark Brougham, ICH. The hysterical smear campaign targeting the Luton protesters has been orchestrated by the establishment-controlled media to deter others (and in particular, Muslims) from speaking out against the crimes of the state. Protesting against armed aggression by your country is incumbent on all decent citizens - it is an utter disgrace that a small group of British Muslims were left to carry the torch for human rights and international law.

Greece, UK Police Step Up Anti-terrorism Collaboration
16.03.09. easy bourse. /legitgov. Two U.K. police officers were due in the Greek capital Monday to reinforce anti-terrorism collaboration with Scotland Yard amid mounting violence by Greek extremist groups in recent months. Two groups - the far-left Revolutionary Struggle and the Revolutionary Sect - have multiplied their attacks here, including two recent bomb strikes against U.S.-based banking [terrorist] group Citibank, for which Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility.

Sent back by Britain. Executed in Darfur
17.03.09. Independent / ICH. Failed asylum-seeker followed home from airport and shot by Sudan security officials

BRIEF-Vislink wins surveillance contracts
17.03.09. Reuters. Vislink contracts with an aggregate value of $2.3 million

MI5 faces new rules on terror interrogations
19.03.09. Richard Norton Taylor, Guardian. PM orders code on questioning abroad

Series of allegations that finally forced Brown to act
Publication of interrogation rules a tacit admission that all is not well
Account not rendered (Guardian editorial 19.03.09)

London police fear violent protests at G-20 economic meeting
19.03.09. IHT. The British police are preparing to deal with violent protests as anarchists threaten to bring chaos to the Group of 20 summit meeting in London. / All leave for police officers in the capital has been called off and businesses are being advised to cancel unnecessary meetings because protesters have vowed to target the financial district as the world leaders gather to discuss the financial crisis. / Previous world economic summit meetings and conferences have been targeted by anarchists, anti-globalization protesters and other groups. The police say they fear that the gathering April 2 in London, set against anger at the economic downturn, could provoke more violence. / Environmentalists, antiwar campaigners and protesters have already indicated that they would demonstrate April 1 as politicians and officials begin arriving in London.
See Police 'heavy-handed at protests' (BBC, 23.03.09)
& see also: G20 protesters face police with Tasers (29.03.09. Times Onine)

Judge upholds Barclays' attempt to gag Guardian
20.03.09. Guardian. Barclay's obtained a continuing gag order against the Guardian yesterday, after a judge ruled that the bank's tax documents remained confidential despite their publication elsewhere.

Quarter of UK's databases are 'illegal'
23.03.09. Independent / legitgov. One in four of the major government databases is almost certainly illegal and should be scrapped, a report says. The national DNA database, the proposed national identity database and the ContactPoint system, which will hold records of all children in England, are among the systems singled out for fundamental reform or abolition.
See Ten ways to track the citizen (23.03.09, Guardian)

Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists
28.03.09. Independent / anti-war. Two hundred schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police scheme that aims to spot youngsters who are "vulnerable" to Islamic radicalisation.

UK backs Pakistan offensive
29.03.09. Guardian. Defence secretary insists Britain has to back American plans to hunt down al-Qaida leaders across the Afghan border. UK plays Poodle:
UK backs Pakistan offensive


All travel plans to be tracked by Government
14.03.09. D. Millward, Telegraph. Anyone departing the UK by land, sea or air will have their trip recorded and stored on a database for a decade.

Motorists could be banned from leaving Britain over unpaid parking fines
16.03.09. D. Millward, Telegraph / legitgov. A million motorists with unpaid parking fines face being stopped from leaving the country.



Clusterfuck Nation
02.03.09. James Howard Kunstler. The Peak Oil story was never about running out of oil. It was about the collapse of complex systems in a world economy faced by the prospect of no further oil-fueled growth. It was something of a shock to many that the first complex system to fail would be banking. / ... The collapse of complex systems is actually predicated on the idea that the systems would mutually reinforce each other's failures. This is now plain to see as the collapse of banking (that is, of both lending and debt service), has led to the collapse of commerce and manufacturing. The next systems to go will probably be farming, transportation, and the oil markets themselves (which constitute the system for allocating and distributing world energy resources). As these things seize up, the final system to go will be governance, at least at the highest levels. / ...Every week, the failure to recognize the nature of our predicament thrusts us further into the uncharted territory of hardship. The task of government right now is not to prop up doomed systems at their current scales of failure, but to prepare the public to rebuild our systems at smaller scales./ ... But what happens when farming collapses? The prospect for that is closer than most of us might realize. The way we produce our food has been organized at a scale that has ruinous consequences, not least its addiction to capital. The way we produce our food has been organized at a scale that has ruinous consequences, not least its addiction to capital. / ... My guess is that the disorder in agriculture will be pretty severe this year, especially since some of the world's most productive places -- California, northern China, Argentina, the Australian grain belt -- are caught in extremes of drought on top of capital shortages. If the US government is going to try to make remedial policy for anything, it better start with agriculture, to promote local, smaller-scaled farming using methods that are much less dependent on oil byproducts and capital injections.

Pawns With Lawns
05.03.09. Mickey Z. , countercurrents. The single most irrigated crop in the United States is… lawn. Yep, 40 million acres of lawn exist across the Land of Denial and Americans collectively spend about $40 billion on seed, sod, and chemicals each year. And then there's all that water

We Are Breeding Ourselves to Extinction
08.03.09. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. We are experiencing an accelerated obliteration of the planet’s life-forms—an estimated 8,760 species die off per year—because, simply put, there are too many people. Most of these extinctions are the direct result of the expanding need for energy, housing, food and other resources.

Polar Bear Extinction (Telegraph)

Green Jobs: Watch the Panels (09.03.09. White House blog. 2 VIDEOS)

Disaster declared after Australia oil spill (13.03.09. Reuters)

UN Warns Of Widespread Water Shortages
13.03.09. M. Mittelstaedt, countercurrents. The world faces a bleak future over its dwindling water supplies, with pollution, climate change and rapidly growing populations raising the possibility of widespread shortages, a new report compiled by 24 agencies of the United Nations says

Scientists warn of a world on the brink
14.03.09. Australian. THE world is on the brink of dangerous climate change and immediate action is needed to avert it, scientists say, issuing one of the bleakest assessments yet of the current state of the planet. See also Lord Stern on global warming: "It's even worse than I thought" here.

In Search of a Green Economic Stimiulus
16.03.09. Stephen Leahy, IPS / countercurrents// Dissector. The high-level scientific climate conference that concluded last week in Copenhagen warned that humanity is rapidly approaching an irreversible, 1,000-year-long climate catastrophe. / The good news is that this dark future has an escape hatch: make major and immediate reductions in carbon emissions. / However, climate change activists worry that instead, trillions of dollars, endless hours of media coverage and all of policy-makers' attention are being devoted to the economic crisis. That's a bit like trying to get a clearer channel on the radio as your car is about to slam full speed into a bridge abutment, they say. / And while the current economic crisis affects tens of millions of people, the economic system has long been nothing but a "global Ponzi scheme," as Paul Reitan, a geologist and climate expert at the University of Buffalo, commented recently. / This system, rooted in the concept of never-ending growth, was always guaranteed to collapse because humanity is living off Earth's limited capital - natural resources and services provided by healthy ecosystems.

Climate change warnings become dire
17.03.09. Xinhuanet. Reports on climate change are like the persistent drip of a leaky faucet getting louder and more frequent. The dire consequences forecast for planet Earth are becoming less a trickle and more a torrent. / The global recession is the latest factor to complicate the equation.

New York Seas to Rise Twice as Much as Rest of U.S. (15.03.09. national geographic.)

Shell dumps wind, solar and hydro power in favour of biofuels
17.03.09. Guardian / legitgov. Shell will no longer invest in renewable technologies such as wind, solar and hydro power because they are not economic, the Anglo-Dutch oil company said today. It plans to invest more in biofuels which environmental groups blame for driving up food prices and deforestation. Executives at its annual strategy presentation said Shell, already the world's largest buyer and blender of crop-based biofuels, would also invest an unspecified amount in developing a new generation of biofuels.

GM food
Government launches bid to allay fears over GM food
18.03.09. Independent / legitgov. PM hopes to gather fabricate enough evidence to prove genetically modified crops are safe The Government has asked its top scientist to investigate the merits of genetically modified food in the hope that his verdict will allay public fears about so-called "Frankenstein foods". Officially, Gordon Brown and his ministers remain neutral on the issue of GM because of public hostility... But they have quietly ordered a major research project, which they hope will provide the launchpad for a campaign to persuade people that GM food is safe. The study will be led by Professor John Beddington, the Government's Chief Scientific Officer, and carried out by the Foresight Institute, a science and technology think-tank that looks into long-term issues for the Government. [ Britain is a GM-FREE country and should stay that way, no matter how much pressure Monsanto - the agricultural AIPAC - puts on UK government ]

Do GM Crops Increase Yield? The Answer Is No
21.03.09. Devinder Sharma, countercurrents. Monsanto’s claim that GM crops increase yields is not only false, but also fraudulent. Please, don't try and fool the world by fabricating and distorting scientific facts.

Leading climate scientist: 'democratic process isn't working'
18.03.09. Guardian / legitgov. Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said. James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working," he said.

World Faces 'Perfect Storm' of Problems by 2030, Chief Scientist to Warn
18.03.09. Ian Sample, Guardian. A "perfect storm" of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources threaten to unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration as people flee from the worst-affected regions, the UK go
vernment's chief scientist will warn tomorrow.


Multinational Corporations' New World Water
16.03.09. AlterNet / PR Watch. The fifth World Water Forum, in Istanbul, Turkey, is titled "Bridging Divides for Water." It's an ironic choice, writes Mark Hays, as the corporations steering the Forum "have a stake in maximizing profits from water services delivery and the current global water crisis." … Activists peacefully protesting the Forum have been tear-gassed, arrested and deported.

VIDEO: Inside Story - Running out of water - 18 March 09 - Part 2

Corporate Water Barons Indifferent to Running Water But Not Security at World Water Forum
19.03.09. Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch, alternet. It's unbelievable to think that over 20,000 people traveled thousands of miles to hear shortsighted corporate spin.

5th World Water Forum ends without declaring water human right
22.03.09. Xinhuanet / legitgov. The Istanbul Ministerial Statement came out on the last day of 5th World Water Forum Sunday without recognizing water as a human right. The final statement does not say water is a human right, against the wishes of some countries.

World Water Forum diary
22.03.09. al jazeera. Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera's reporter in Istanbul, has been writing daily dispatches from the World Water Forum in Istanbul from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20.

Water: Commodity Or Human Right?
24.03.09. Mary Shaw, Countercurrents. I am writing this on March 22, World Water Day. And I am thinking about how spoiled we Americans are. We use and abuse our natural resources without giving it a second thought. But our recklessness could soon turn around to bite us -- and the rest of the world

Water Water Everywhere, But Not A Drop To Drink
24.03.09. Shobha Shukla, Countercurrents. With every country seeking to satisfy its ever increasing water needs from shrinking and limited water resources, there could be a future of conflict. As the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon remarked recently that water scarcity is the potential fuel for wars and conflict. But cooperation, not conflict should guide us in our quest for a solution to this crisis

= = =

Scarce food, water, energy will bring global mayhem by 2030, says scientist (19.03.09.Irish Times)

Shell Oil to Planet Earth: Drop Dead
20.03.09. Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque, AtlatnicFree Press. Shell says it is dropping its much-publicized work on alternative energy sources – because the bucks just aren't big enough. Green energy, it seems, just doesn't produce enough long green for the Oil Lords. Instead, they are going to keep scraping out carbon from the guts of the earth – and going in for biofuels, ie., diverting vast acreages of arable land from food production for the world's poor to energy for the world's rich...

Obama’s Plan to Save the World
24.03.09. Scott Ritter, Truthdig. Forget about terrorism for a moment. The potential catastrophe that climate change could unleash on America makes every other national security crisis pale in comparison. President Obama cannot secure the homeland without addressing this global emergency.

Group protests pipeline project on Exxon Valdez anniversary (24.03.09. CBC) See also: 20 Years After Valdez Oil Spill, Exxon Still Owes $92M
Oil plagues sound 20 years after Exxon Valdez

Evolution Offers National Security Lessons, Scientists Say
23.03.09. NTI. Those charged with protecting the United States from terrorism could take lessons from the evolutionary strategies that nonhuman life-forms have used to survive in a world filled with predators, according to a mixed group of scientists and security experts. Animals do not expend energy seeking to defeat a threat in their environment that is likely to prove permanent, unlike human efforts to eliminate narcotics or extremism, said Duke University marine ecologist Raphael Sagarin. Instead, they learn to manage the danger. “Fish don’t try to turn sharks into vegetarians. They learn to live with sharks, one way or the other, through various adaptations,” said Sagarin, who formed the 4-year-old working group. “How they do that is the question.”/ Several years of consideration of this idea have produced a book, Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World. Proponents now hope to make their case on Capitol Hill and to the Homeland Security Department and other federal agencies.

Conservationists protest Adobe Town leases
24.03.09. local news 8. Three conservation groups have formally protested plans to offer parcels in the Adobe Town area in southwest Wyoming for oil and gas leasing.

Polluters, Beware: These Eco-Police Officers Are for Real
25.03.09. NY Times. As a member of a small force of police officers whose sole focus is enforcing environmental laws, Officer Stevens carries a gun and handcuffs and can haul a suspect off to jail. These environmental conservation officers number barely 20 in New York City, out of about 300 around the state, but issue about 2,000 summonses for violations and criminal charges annually.

The Worsening U.S. Failure
28.03.09. Emily Spence, countercurrents. In light of overall environmental degradation, ever larger human population, ongoing major resource depletion, over-consumption of products that have been overproduced by too small a work force to involve full employment and climate change effects all increasing in their impacts, it seems likely that the worldwide economy will never completely recover and expand. Certainly cutbacks in both economic and population growth are absolutely necessary to curtail further ruin of the natural world on which all life ultimately depends for its continued survival

Poverty Around The World


Relief Web. Covering: Countries and Emergencies; Latest Natural Disasters. Maps, press releases

VIDEO: Financial crisis to hit the poorest

Trickle Down Misery
04.03.09. Abid Aslam, IPS / ICH. Soaring food and fuel prices pushed 130 million to 155 million people in developing countries into poverty in 2008 and the World Bank reckons another 53 million people could join them this year. This would bring the total of those living at or below the international poverty line of two dollars a day to more than 1.5 billion people.

VIDEO: Developing world to suffer most from economic crisis - 09 March

Global trade collapsing
13.03.09. market watch. U.S. exports falling at 49% pace as customers fade away

How The World Pimps America: How the US is shifting the financial crisis onto the rest of the world
16.03.09. Pepe Escobar, ICH. The US Treasury will borrow no less than one trillion dollars from the developing world in 2009. It will need even more in 2010. Pepe Escobar argues the US is indeed in a privileged position: not only it unleashes a global financial crisis, it then sucks up money from all over the world, based on the fact that the US in fact remains the "manager" of choice of global capitalism. VIDEO 10min.

Poor still hit by high food prices, says UN
19.03.09. FT. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s findings show that poor countries continue to suffer the impact of high food prices. The blow was now compounded by sharply lower economic growth and remittances, said food aid officials.

Will Our Economic Collapse Cause the Death of Millions Abroad?
20.03.09. Michael T. Klare, FPIF / alternet. As the ealthier nations cease investing in the developing world or acquiring its exports, the crisis is hitting them with a vengeance.

Kerry focuses committee on global food crisis
24.03.09. Kerry’s opening statement: We are here to consider one of the great moral challenges the world faces today: the persistence of global hunger. It is remarkable that in 2009, there are over 850 million hungry people in the world. One in seven people on Earth goes hungry every day. We must do more to alleviate this crisis and the suffering it causes. …

Economic Crisis: Why More Of The Same Will Not Work
26.03.09. Jayati Ghosh, Monthly Review / countercurrents. There is no question that current "Northern" standards of life cannot be sustained if they were made accessible to everyone on this planet. This means that future economic growth in the developing world has to involve more equitable and sensible patterns of consumption and production.

History of Kissinger’s Plan for Food Control Genocide. (J. Brewda. Larouchepub)

World's hungry exceed 1 billion, U.N. tells Financial Times (27.03.09. Reuters)



VIDEO: Africa's Depleting Riches 9 March 2009

Africa 'faces increased poverty'
10.03.09. al jazeera. The IMF's assessment comes a day after the World Bank said that developing countries face a financing gap of $270bn to $700bn this year as trade income dwindles and rich nations vie for capital to deal with the global economic slowdown.

Africa Uncovered - Shifting sands - 25 Aug 08 - Part 1

Africa Uncovered - Shifting sands - 25 Aug 08 - Part 2


Australian economy contracts
04.03.09. aljazeera. The Australian economy has shrunk for the first time in eight years with a 0.5 per cent negative growth rate in the last quarter of 2008, according to government data.

Australia-Arabs buying up Ausralian farms (09.03.09. farminguk)


The Inflection Is Near?
08.03.09. T. L. Friedman, NY Times. We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese. / We can’t do this anymore.

VIDEOS: China's growing jobs crisis - 06 March 2009 Part I Part II

VIDEO: Global downturn hits Chinese town 27 March 2009


Adliya: Meet the locals. (27.03.09. al jazeera)

Carving out hope in Egypt (27.03.09. Rawya Rageh, al jazeera. in Damietta, Egypt. Video.)




India : A Starving Democracy
13.03.09. Commentary / ICH. In India a shocking 42.5 percent of children under 5 are malnourished. A World Food Program report last month noted that India remained home to more than a fourth of the world's hungry, 230 million people in all.

India-EU Free Trade Agreement: Should India Open Up Banking Sector?
18.03.09. Kavaljit Singh, countercurrents. In India, the much-touted benefits associated with European banks are yet to be materialized. The urban-centric European banks largely serve the niche market segments consisting of high-net-worth individuals and large corporations. Keeping these important developments in view, the policy makers should rethink about the benefits of opening up of banking and financial services under the framework of India-EU

Poverty, Rebel Groups Push Poor Farmers To Drug Cultivation In India
25.03.09. Dilnaz Boga, countercurrents. India’s North Eastern state of Manipur is paying a high price for its proximity to the notorious Golden Triangle. A population of 2.4 million grapples with HIV/AIDS that stems out of a heroin addiction problem directly related to local poppy cultivation. With a land area of 22, 327 sq km – roughly the size of Israel – Manipur has one of the highest per capita HIV+ patients in India. Lack of infrastructure, corrupt government agencies and poverty has pushed poor farmers to poppy cultivation on lands occupied by underground groups.

Human Rights Evicted
25.03.09. Jhuma Sen, countercurrents. A Review of the UDHR: From in‘adequate' Housing to Forced Evictions and the Myth of Adequate Housing in India


Baghdad's water still undrinkable 6 years after invasion
16.03.09. McClatchy/ ICH. The stench of human waste is enough to tell Falah abu Hasan that his drinking water is bad. His infant daughter Fatma's continuous illnesses and his own constant nausea confirm it

Red Cross Raises Iraq Concerns
19.03.09. anti-war. Red Cross officials today warned that the country remains in a ‘stagnant humanitarian climate.’ ... Millions remain displaced at home and abroad. ... Baghdad’s tap water remains undrinkable much of the time.

A forgotten humanitarian disaster
21.03.09. BRussels Tribunal/ICH. The sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a sad occasion for the balance sheet: during six years of occupation 1.2 million citizens were killed, 2,000 doctors killed, and 5,500 academics and intellectuals assassinated or imprisoned. There are 4.7 million refugees: 2.7 million inside the country and two million have fled to neighbouring countries, among which are 20,000 medical doctors. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans: two million widows as a consequence of war, embargo, war again and occupation, and five million orphans, many of whom are homeless (estimated at 500,000). Almost a third of Iraq’s children suffer from malnutrition. Some 70 per cent of Iraqi girls no longer go to school. Medical services, not so long ago the best in the region, have totally collapsed: 75 per cent of medical staff have left their jobs, half of them have fled the country, and after six years of “reconstruction” health services in Iraq still do not meet minimum standards.

Let The Numbers Speak
26.03.09. Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, BRussels Tribunal
Six years into the occupation…
- 72 months of destruction
- $607 Billions spent on the war
- 2 Million Barrels of oil being sold per day
- 2 Million Displaced Iraqis inside of Iraq
- 3 Million Iraqis forced to leave the country
- 2615 professors, scientists, and doctors killed in cold blood
- 338 dead journalists
- $13 Billion misplaced by the current Iraqi government
- $400 Billion required to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure
- 3 hours average of electricity daily
- 24 car bombs per month
- 7 major mafias running the country
- 4260 Americans dead
- 10,000 cases of cholera per year
- 50 of my friends dead
- 22 of my relatives dead
- 15 abductions of close relatives and people I know and love
- At least 1.3 million Iraqis dead since 2003.

Iraq: Poor sell kidneys just to survive
27.03.09. / ICH. Despite Iraq's massive wealth - it has among the largest oil reserves in the world - poverty is rife. A 2007 study by the United Nations found one-third of Iraqis lived in poverty, with five per cent of the population in extreme poverty.


Ireland's economy 'to shrink by 6%' (10.03.09. al jazeera)

Irish economy in sharp contraction
26.03.09. al jazeera. Ireland, the first eurozone country to fall into an official recession, has released more gloomy financial data, with official statistics revealing that its gross domestic product shrank by 7.5 per cent in the three months to December, compared with the fourth quarter of 2007. The figures, released by the Central Statistics Office, showed that overall the country's economy contracted by 2.3 per cent in 2008.


VIDEO: Chinese immigrants found living under pavement in Milan 26 March 09


45 percent of world's wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO
11.03.09. Reuters. "Between 40 and 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half," Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. "This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime."

Plunging sales leave Japan on the brink of deflation
27.03.09. Guardian. The consumer price index remained unchanged for a second month, but economists reckon it must fall soon. The weak state of the Japanese economy was underlined by separate data showing that retail sales fell by 5.8% last month, the sharpest monthly decline in seven years. Retail sales in Japan have now fallen for the last six months. / Business at department stores, which indicates demand for luxury goods and premium items, was particularly poor in February. Sales plunged 11.5% from a year earlier, according to the Japan Department Stores Association. / Japan's manufacturers are suffering badly from the global downturn, with firms such as Toyota and Sony cutting production in response to declining demand. Exports fell by nearly 50% in February.


Malindi: Meet the locals (27.03.09. al jazeera)

VIDEO: Global Recession - Little Italy on the rocks - 27 Mar

Latin America

Latin America Hit Hard By World Crisis
18.03.09. Luis Arce, countercurrents. Capital Economics—a leading macroeconomics research and consultancy firm that supplies analysis to institutional investors and clients across the globe—reports in its latest Latin America Chart Book that "Latin America's five-year economic boom has come to an abrupt end." The bleak figures cited by Capital Economics stand in stark contrast to the rosy picture painted by financial analysts not so long ago


Report: UK economic links with Israeli settlements
18.03.09. Report, Profundo / uruknet. edited summary of the research paper, "UK economic links with Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory." The paper was prepared for the Sir Joseph Hotung Programme for Law, Human Rights and Peace Building in the Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London by the research group Profundo.. Trade relationships: mislabeling practice. A total of 27 Israeli companies operating in settlements and exporting to the United Kingdom have been identified.

Abbas: Solve water problems before peace deal
20.03.09. AFP, daily Mahmud Abbas accused Israel on Thursday of forcing Palestinians to live in chronic water scarcity and declared a "rightful share" of water should not be tied to a peace deal. In a message read at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, the Palestinian Authority president said Israel's unilateral control over rivers and aquifers meant scarce water resources were not being shared equitably "as required by international law." Palestinians had four times less water per capita than Israelis living in Israel, a consumption level that fell far below the World Health Organization's guidelines for minimum daily access to water


The Financial Crisis and the Six Pillars of Russian Strength
03.03.09. Stratfor. Russia is yet again on the cusp of a set of massive currency devaluations that could destroy much of the country’s financial system. With a crashing currency, the disappearance of foreign capital, greatly decreased energy revenues and currency reserves flying out of the bank, the Western perception is that Russia is on the verge of collapsing once again. Consequently, many Western countries have started to grow complacent about Russia’s ability to further project power abroad. The State of the Russian State: Russia has faced a slew of economic problems in the past six months. Incoming foreign direct investment, which reached a record high of $28 billion in 2007, has reportedly dried up to just a few billion. Russia’s two stock markets, the Russian Trading System (RTS) and the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX), have fallen 78 and 67 percent respectively since their highs in May 2008. And Russians have withdrawn $290 billion from the country’s banks in fear of a financial collapse. / ... Geography and Development: But before one can truly understand the roots of Russian power, the reality and role of the Russian economy must be examined. From this perspective, the past several years are most certainly an aberration — and we are not simply speaking of the post-Soviet collapse. ... / The Reality of Russian Power: So while Russia might be losing its financial security and capabilities, which in the West tend to boil down to economic wealth, the global recession has not affected the reality of Russian power much at all.


RBS avoided £500m of tax in global deals
13.03.09. Guardian. State-supported bank admits billions were put into schemes to cut tax bill

Britons suffer 17% plunge in wealth
15.03.09. Times Online. Households witness biggest drop in the value of their assets for 40 years after house price and stock market collapses

Britain showing signs of heading towards 1930s-style depression, says Bank
16.03.09. Telegraph. The country is displaying early symptoms of being trapped in a so-called “debt deflation trap” where families find themselves pushed further and further into the red every month, according to a Bank report published today.

£40,000 each: The personal cost of the downturn
16.03.09. Independent / legitgov. The worst economic slowdown in three-quarters of a century has wiped £40,000 from the wealth of every adult in the United Kingdom, a national total of almost £2 trillion; that is £2,000bn, or £2,000,000,000,000.

UK: Unemployment among young workers hits 15 per cent
16.03.09. Independent. Embarrassment for Brown as new figures set to show jobless total has hit 2 million

Brown: I should have done more to prevent bank crisis
17.03.09. Guardian. PM accepts 'full responsibility' and declares pure free-market era is over. In an interview with the Guardian, the prime minister concedes that in retrospect he wishes he had mounted a popular campaign 10 years ago to demand more responsible regulation of the world's financial markets.


More than three-quarters of Britons want to see jobless immigrants forced to leave UK
17.03.09. Daily Mail. The poll also found that more adults in the UK, 54 per cent, than in Germany, France, Italy or Spain, are against citizens from other EU countries getting a job in their country.

New whistleblower claims over £1bn Barclays tax deals
19.03.09. Guardian. • Judge upholds ban on publishing bank's documents; • Insider says tax avoidance central to firm's business. Also: The seven secret Barclays tax documents we have been barred from publishing – and what an expert told the court they mean

UK: Two million jobless for the first time in 12 years
19.03.09. france 24 / ICH. The number of people claiming jobless benefits rose by the largest amount on record last month, official data showed, and total unemployment rose above two million for the first time since 1997.

Surprise rise in inflation defies City predictions
24,03,09. Guardian. • CPI inflation rises to 3.2% in February; • Price rises fall to 0% on RPI measure

Energy companies 'profit from excessive consumer payments'
25.03.09. Guardian. • Which? says firms earn interest from customer's money; • Energy suppliers score poorly in customer satisfaction survey

Gordon Brown retreats on spending as market sounds warning
26.03.09. Guardian. • PM says no plan for more stimulus; • Government bond issue fails

Britain to send more troops to Afghanistan
27.03.09. Telegraph. Britain is preparing to send an extra 1,700 soldiers to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan, the head of the Army has indicated.


Worst job losses in 60 years expected (01.03.09. Marketwatch)

Bad Economy = Easier Military Recruiting (02.03.09. prwatch)

Payments to poor, disabled cut in half
03.03.09. honolulu advertiser. State trying to stretch general assistance funds through June

Food stamp enrollment jumps to record 31.8 million (05.03.09. Reuters)

US unemployment hits 25-year high
07.03.09. al jazeera. US unemployment has risen to 8.1 per cent, the highest level since December 1983, according to a US government report.

VIDEO: Financial crisis to hit the poorest Part 1 Part 2

U.S. jobless seen nearing 10 percent
12.03.09. Reuters. ... leaving more than 13 million Americans jobless, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

74 Are Laid Off at Met Museum; More May Follow (12.03.09. NY Times)

Atlanta layoffs
13.03.09. JTA. The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has laid off close to 20 percent of its staff, according to an email sent out by its president Steve Rakitt.

Another twist for the unemployed: Debit card fees
14.03.09. CNN. If you're out of work like Steve Lippe, who was laid off from his job as a salesman in January, you know you already have problems. But looking at the fine print that came with his new unemployment debit card, he became livid.

Industrial production down for fourth straight month
16.03.09. Market Watch. Output declines 1.4%, more than forecast

Caterpillar to lay off 2,454 workers in 3 states
17.03.09. AP / ICH. Caterpillar Inc. on Tuesday announced plans to lay off more than 2,400 employees at five plants in Illinois, Indiana and Georgia as the heavy equipment maker continues to cut costs amid the global economic downturn.

Consumer prices rise 0.4 percent in February
18.03.09. AP / finance / ICH. U.S. consumer prices rose in February by the largest amount in seven months as gasoline prices surged again and clothing costs jumped the most in nearly two decades.

Approaching a Depression? New Twist in the Old Saga of Under-Counting the Unemployed
19.03.09. Joshua Holland, AlterNet. An expert points out that the pain we're feeling relative to past recessions is even worse than it appears at first glance.

U.S. unemployment rate likely around 9.5 percent: think tank
19.03.09. Reuters / ICH. The U.S. unemployment rate was probably around 9.5 percent, comparable to the jobless rate in 1982 if adjustments were made to factor in demographic changes and undercounting, a think tank said on Thursday.

Approaching a Depression? New Twist in the Old Saga of Under-Counting the Unemployed
19.03.09. Joshua Holland, AlterNet. An expert points out that the pain we're feeling relative to past recessions is even worse than it appears at first glance.

City’s Public Hospital System to Cut Jobs and Programs (19.03.09. NY Times)

Postal service to slash more than 3,000 jobs, offer early retirements (20.03.09. CNN)

USPS to close 2 New England district offices
20.03.09. U.S. Postal Service district administrative offices in North Reading and in Manchester, N..H. will be among the six to be closed across the nation under the postal service cutbacks announced today. The USPS office in Manchester serves both New Hampshire and Vermont and its operations will be transferred to the office in Portland, Maine.

The Secret War Against American Workers: The Unemployment Story No One Notices
20.03.09. Robert S. Eshelman, Tom Dispatch. Bosses are using minor transgressions of work-place rules as the trigger for firings -- putting the fear of god into those who remain.

Young and Old Are Facing Off for Jobs (20.03.09. NY Times)

Jobless rate at 11.2% for veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan .
20.03.09. USA Today / legitgo . Army records show the service has hit 152% of its re-enlistment goal this year. The economic downturn is hitting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans harder than other workers -- one in nine are now out of work -- and may be encouraging some troops to remain in the service, according to Labor Department records and military officials. The 11.2% jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are 18 and older rose 4 percentage points in the past year.

VIDEO: Many Iraqi refugees face hardships in the US - 21 Mar 09


A Slippery Place in the U.S. Work Force
21.03.09. NY Times. ... the folding chairs are filled with immigrants from Latin America. See comments: Low-Wage Workers in This Economy
23.03.09. NY Times. Feeling the Brunt by Gordon Hanson: Because illegal immigrants accounted for a disproportionate share of the new jobs created in the upswing, they are among those most exposed to job destruction in the downswing. Whether we intended to or not, we have assigned these workers the role of shock absorber for the United States labor market. Unemployment Is Hard on Everyone by Philip Martin: (the article) is misleading in suggesting that most jobless Americans receive government help while unauthorized workers are left to fend for themselves. There are 12.5 million unemployed U.S. workers — including a million or more unauthorized ones — and fewer than five million are receiving unemployment insurance benefits. [there are further comments to read …]

VIDEO: New faces of US homeless - 23 Mar 09

Stimulus? U.S. to buy Chinese condoms, ending Alabama jobs
23.03.09. McClatchy / legitgov. The U.S. Agency for International Development has distributed an estimated 10 billion U.S.-made AIDS-preventing condoms in poor countries around the world. But not anymore. In a move expected to cost 300 American jobs, the government is switching to cheaper off-shore condoms, including some made in China... The switch comes despite implied assurances over the years that the agency would continue to buy American whenever possible. A USAID official, who spoke on the condition that he would not be named, said the reasons for the change included lower prices and the fact that Congress dropped "buy American language" in a recent appropriations bill.

More students get subsidized lunches
23.03.09. boston globe. The number of Massachusetts families seeking free and reduced-price meals for schoolchildren is rising as economic hardships extend to school lunchrooms.

VIDEO: Scramble for work in California - 24 Mar 09

IBM to shift 'large number' of US jobs to India (26.03.09. Brisbane times / legitgov)

Financial Safety Net of Nonprofit Organizations Is Fraying, Survey Finds (25.03.09. NY Times)

More companies cut or end 401(k) plan matches
26.03.09. USA today / legitgov. The battle for a secure retirement is about to get even tougher. Several new surveys of company executives show that they plan to reduce or suspend their company's retirement-plan contributions this year.

IBM to shift 'large number' of US jobs to India (26.03.09. Brisbane times / legitgov)

More companies cut or end 401(k) plan matches
26.03.09. USA today / legitgov. The battle for a secure retirement is about to get even tougher. Several new surveys of company executives show that they plan to reduce or suspend their company's retirement-plan contributions this year.

City Jobless Rate Takes Highest-Ever One-Month Leap
26.03.09. NY Times. In the biggest jump in a single month on record, New York City’s unemployment rate leapt to 8.1 percent from 6.9 percent in February, the State Labor Department reported on Thursday.

Jobless rolls swell again as recession persists
26.03.09. AP. For the 10th week in a row, the number of people receiving jobless benefits grew. It now stands at nearly 5.6 million, the government said — an indication that the labor market is still grim.

Want to go on welfare? Just say no to drugs
26.03.09. NBC. Lawmakers in some states want recipients to submit to random testing

VIDEO: Job losses hurt US small town - 27 Mar 09 (Danville, VA)

SC unemployment reaches 11 percent for February
27.03.09. Forbes / ICH. South Carolina's jobless rate surged to 11 percent in February, edging closer to the 14 percent peak a state advisory board expects as the recession throttles the state with the nation's second-highest unemployment rate.

Jobless Rate Exceeds 10% in Three More U.S. States
27.03.09. Bloomberg / ICH. The number of U.S. states with a jobless rate exceeding 10 percent almost doubled in February as the worst employment slump in the postwar era spread.

Want to go on welfare? Just Say No to Drugs (26.03.09) NBC. Lawmakers in some states want recipients to submit to random testing

Homeless & US Tent Cities

The credit crunch tent city which has returned to haunt America
06.03.09. daily mail. Tents are once again springing up in the city of Sacramento. But this time it is for people with no hope and no prospects.

VIDEO: American Tent Cities (09.03.09; 3 min)

Homeless Tent Cities Springing Up In US (13.03.09. NBC / ICH. + Video)

America's Youngest Outcasts
10.03.09. homeless children. One in 50 U.S. Children Is Homeless Each Year: New Report Ranks 50 States From Best To Worst

Ghost Town: An American Nightmare
17.03.09. Independent / ICH. Wilmington, a small town in America's Midwestern rust belt, was home to the world's largest private airport. Then recession struck

VIDEO: Once prosperous town now mired by the economic crisis - 18 March 2009 (al jazeera in Ohio)

Is the U.S.A. the World's Greatest Nation Now?
25.03.09. Bob Kendall, Political Cortex / ICH. According to the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Coalition, 3.5 million people in a given year will experience homelessness with 1.5 million of them children. The current national jobless figure stands at over 8 percent and is rising while there are 37 million Americans on food stamps.

Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns
25.03.09. NY Times. Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns.

Schwarzenegger Opens California Fairgrounds to Homeless Camp
25.03.09. Bloomberg / legitgov. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said a make-shift tent city for the homeless that sprang up in the capital city of Sacramento will be shut down and its residents allowed to stay at the state fairgrounds.

Hidden Homeless Emerge as US Economy Worsens
26.03.09. Steve Gorman and Suzanne Hurt, global research. SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Emergency shelters brimming with homeless people in California's capital are quietly turning away more than 200 women and children a night in a sign of the deteriorating U.S. economy. / … A "tent city" of up to 200 homeless in Sacramento was thrust into the media spotlight last month as a symbol of the battered U.S. economy. California authorities said this week they would shut down the illegal settlement and find other shelter for its residents, most of them chronically homeless. Related: Schwarzenegger Opens California Fairgrounds to Homeless Camp

US tent cities highlight new realities as recession wears on
26.03.09. Guardian. Tent cities reminiscent of the "Hoovervilles" of the Great Depression have been springing up in cities across the United States - from Reno in Nevada to Tampa in Florida - as foreclosures and redundancies force middle-class families from their homes.


‘Ontario residents only’ at tent city
18.03.09. LA Times/legitgov. Officials begin thinning out the encampment, saying the city can provide space only for those who once lived there and can prove it. The aim is to reduce the number of people living there from over 400 to 170. / Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.



Argentine Farmers Plan Week-Long Tax-Protest Strike (Update1)
20.03.09. Bloomberg. Argentine growers will halt sales of grains and livestock for a week, setting up roadblocks and hampering exports to press for lower taxes.


VIDEO: Joint Australian-US intelligence facility - Pine Gap

See also Joint Australian-US intelligence facility - Pine Gap


VIDEO: Bolivia transfers land from rich to poor - 16 March 2008


Brazil Indians gain land victory
20.03.09. al jazeera. The Amazon's indigenous groups have won a major victory with Brazil's Supreme Court upholding the integrity of a vast native reserve. Friday's ruling paves the way for the expulsion of white farmers living in the Raposa Serra do Sol reserve the government created in 2005.

Brazil oil workers strike over pay (24.03.09. al jazeera)


French radicals trample out the grapes of wrath
07.03.09. Guardian. The group strikes when times are hard - and times have never been quite so hard as they are now. / .. After years of falling demand and competition from the New World and large-scale producers, local growers are now seeing the global financial crisis send prices plummeting to unprecedented levels.

France: Millions strike and march against austerity
20.03.09. Antoine Lerougetel, WSWS / legitgov. Several million workers and youth took to the streets in 213 cities and towns throughout France yesterday in opposition to rising poverty, rapidly growing unemployment and government austerity policies involving cuts in the social services. Opinion polls have put approval ratings for the day of action at between 72 and 78 percent of the French population.

French boss barricaded in office by employees
26.03.09. Independent / legitgov. Striking French workers at the US manufacturer 3M held their boss hostage amid labour talks yesterday at a plant south of Paris, as anger over layoffs and cutbacks mounted around the country. / While the situation at the 3M plant outside Pithiviers was calm, worker rage elsewhere boiled over into an angry march on the presidential palace in Paris and a bonfire of tyres set alight by Continental AG employees whose car parts factory was being shut down.


'First Victory' in Guadeloupe General Strike
09.03.09. Movement Spreads to Other French Colonies , Guyane in South America and La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, both of which are experiencing mounting unrest — have the highest unemployment rates in the European Union, double those of metropolitan France. Also, prices of basic commodities and food staples, most of them imported, are much higher.


Haiti 2009: Stability at Risk
03.03.09. Crisis Group. A series of crises in 2008 have increased the potential for serious trouble in Haiti this year. The politically motivated, violent April riots against high living costs caused widespread disruption and suffering, / ... In August and September, four tropical storms and hurricanes killed 800, affected nearly one million, exacerbated food shortages and pushed yet more Haitians into poverty. Extensive damage was caused to infrastructure and agriculture. The global financial crisis is making it difficult for donors to meet commitments and reducing diaspora remittances.


US flag-burning marks war anniversary
20.03.09. AP / ICH. American flags were set on fire Friday to chants of "no, no for occupation" as followers of an anti-U.S. Shiite cleric marked the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war.


In Israel, recession pressures boil over into looting
19.03.09. LA Times. First came the employees, shortchanged two months' pay and laid off by the supermarket called God's Blessing. They rifled through their shuttered workplace, helping themselves to crates full of groceries. / .. Within hours the parking lot was jammed with ordinary shoppers. They left car engines running and brought their children to help pick the shelves clean. Finally even the shelves were hauled away, leaving latecomers to scrounge the floor for leftover fruit.


Kyrgyz protest against president
27.03.09. al jazeera. More than 1,000 people have rallied in the streets of Kyrgyzstan to protest against the government of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the nation's president, ahead of a July presidential election. / The demonstrators accused Bakiyev's government of rampant corruption and said the president had failed to implement economic reforms.

VIDEO: Frustrated Kyrgyz take to the streets - 27 March 09


European Journal | Latvia: Anti-Government Protests


VIDEO: 101 East - Fight the power - 19 Mar 09 - Part 1


Montenegrins protest over possible factory closure (25.03.09. IHT)

South Africa

Protesting chokka fishermen force labour office to close (17.03.09. epherald. + video)


Recession crime wave hits Britain
06.03.09. Telegraph. Senior officers revealed a 63 per cent increase in reported financial crime compared to this time last year, with more than 10,000 victims across UK at a cost running into "hundreds and hundreds of millions of pounds".

Warning after Goodwin's home attacked
25.03.09. independent / legitgov. An emailed statement warned today of further attacks on bankers after the home of former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin was damaged by vandals. VIDEO

Anti-capitalist group boasts of attack on Sir Fred Goodwin's home


Five Reasons Why Americans Won't Resist
24.03.09. Mickey Z., ICH. With the stakes never higher than they are now, why aren't activists ramping up the pressure and looking beyond tactics that are allowed by those in power? Here are my five guesses. …
= = =
Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. March 4-5, 2009
March 4-5, 2009, polling report. public opinion polls - Those show much more public support for the Obama administration than is evident among Wall Street investors--or millionaire TV journalists.

United States threatened by riots and social unrests
05.03.09. But the Big Bailout will probably end as Big Bang: With no changes on the more-growth-more-capital-more financial market power mentality there will be no escape from the vicious circle. A global monetary reform seems to be the last exit from chaos and before social unrests will inevitably start. Are the US awaiting the next revolution?

BUDGET BACKLASH: Thousands Rally At City Hall
06.03.09. WCBSTV. Organizers Say 50,000 On Hand For 'Rally For New York'. Taxpayers Furious With Budget Cuts Take Frustration To Streets Of NYC

Protesters target U.S. foreclosed-homes auctioneer
08.03.09. Reuters. An auction of foreclosed homes in New York City on Sunday drew protesters who blamed banks for an epidemic of home losses and called for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

Gun Makers and Retailers Post Strong Sales Increases
09.03.09. adage / ICH. Smith & Wesson is reporting pistol sales up 40%, and Sturm, Ruger & Co. reported an 81% increase in firearm revenue.

New York City: Over 50,000 Gather to Protest Budget Cuts (10.03.09. socialist state alternative)

Americans Are Raring for a Fight Against Corporate Power
16.03.09. Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown/alternet. 3/4 of Americans want to see a huge worker protection bill pass through Congress, and the greedy corporations are running scared.

Poll: More view Afghan war as 'mistake'
16.03.09. USA Today. In the poll taken Saturday and Sunday, 42% of respondents said the United States made "a mistake" in sending military forces to Afghanistan, up from 30% in February. That's the highest mark since the poll first asked the question in November 2001 when the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban government that sheltered al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks.

Connecticut Senator Draws Voters’ Ire for His Bonus Role
19.03.09. NY Times. Across Connecticut, anger is erupting against Mr. Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, whose stature in Washington once reflected the state’s beneficial ties with the financial industry. Now, he finds himself a symbol of the political establishment’s coziness with tainted corporations and a target of populist wrath over their excesses.

Local Protests Against AIG Launched (20.03.09. Wash. D.C)

Group protests bank exec bonuses
20.03.09. centre daily (Texas). On Thursday evening, more than two dozen people protested outside the State College offices of Merrill Lynch, carrying signs decrying corporate excess.

ECONOMY-US: At Failed Firms, No Bad Deed Goes Unrewarded
20.03.09. IPS / ICH. Thousands of angry U.S. workers took to the streets Thursday to protest some major banks and insurance companies that have handed out extravagant bonuses on the taxpayers' dime, as the U.S. House of Representatives voted to get some of the bonus money back.

As the Public Simmers, Obama Lets Off Steam
20.03.09. NY Times. To win the White House, Barack Obama grew adept at navigating obstacles. But few of those challenges tested his communications and political skills as much as this week’s outbreak of populism [ Protesters visit AIG officials' lavish Conn. homes
21.03.09. AP / legitgov. A busload of activists representing working- and middle-class families paid visits Saturday to the lavish homes of American International Group executives to protest the tens of millions of dollars in bonuses awarded by the struggling insurance company after it received a massive federal bailout. About 40 protesters sought to urge AIG executives who received a portion of the $165 million in bonuses to do more to help families. In addition to AIG executive James Haas' colonial house, protesters on Saturday also visited the Fairfield home of AIG executive Douglas Poling.

Hundreds protest federal government spending in Ridgefield
21.03.09. news times. ... about 300 strong, lining both sides of Main Street in front of Ballard Park on Saturday for a "Tea Party" protest against President Barack Obama's $3.5 trillion budget and the government's effort to "stimulate" the sagging U.S. economy through spending.

AT&T workers protest in Connecticut (22.03.09. fierce telecom.)

VIDEO: Taxpayers Gather to Protest

Hundreds of Suffolk workers protest potential layoffs
24.03.09. newsday. Shouting "Union strong, Levy wrong," several hundred county employees rallied at the Legislature Tuesday, protesting the widespread job cuts proposed by County Executive Steve Levy.

Wednesday March 25th Spontaneous Geithner Protest in New York City (24.03.09.

Martial-Law Gun Rights Bill Passes Idaho House
24.03.09. istock analyst. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, today persuaded the Idaho House to vote 61-9 in favor of his legislation that would prevent the government from seizing guns in cases of "extreme emergency." / HB 229 declares that during a such states including martial law, invasion or insurrection, "No government authority will have the right to come and pick up our arms and ammunition."

Chicago Residents Protest New Parking Meter Rate Hike (25.03.09. all headline news)

Row over lunch prices sparks protest at Vermont Secondary College (26.03.09. herald sun)

BU students protest SUNY tuition hikes
(26.03.09. news 10 now)

Iraq Veterans Against the War



You can watch this superb news programme live; jazeera also does excellent special programmes, many of which are sited in this research.


Tariq Ali, The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power (Hardcover), Grove 2005.

Andrew Bacevich,
The Limits of Power, Holt McDougal, 2009

Joseph Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, Free Press, 2005

Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order , Gobal Research (2nd edition), 2003

Fritz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
Although socialism has seemingly collapsed in the years since Fanon's work was first published, there is much in his look into the political, racial, and social psyche of the ever-emerging Third World that still rings true .”

David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule the World , Berrett-Koehler Publishers (2nd edition) 2001

Chalmers Johnson:

Blowback, Holt (2nd edition), 2004

Sorrows of Empire
, Holt, 2004

Naomi Klein, Shock Doctrine , Picador (paperback) 2008

David Loyn, Butcher and Bolt, Two Hundred Years of Failure in Afghanistan , Windmill (paperback) 2009

Ilan Pappe, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld Publications 2007

Philippe Sands, Torture Team, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008

Danny Schechter, Plunder (Paperback) Cosimo, Sept. 2008

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy , Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008

Index Research

For relevant research, please see the sidebar of Index Research here.


There are 13 research articles on all facets of the war in Afghanistan through December 2009, which can be found at the sidebar at Index Research.

Especially economically relevant is Index on Economics and Peril in Afghanistan, October 2008 Timeline whch has extensive research on the US Military Industrial Complex, Contracts, Contractors

Environment: 5 research articles on the environment.

Iran: 3 articles. There is one also one article under Lebanon
about weapons used by US-Israel in the war on Lebanon.

Missile Shield (US-NATO): US-NATO 'Missile Shield' Programme: Index Timeline Part II (updated 18.03.09)

Pakistan: Index Research on Pakistan, October 2008”> Index Research on Pakistan, October 2008 . (Focus on Drones and Civilian Deaths)

Palestine Palestine: Wake up America (Updated 02/06/08)

USA: (most relevant)

Who Is The President Elect - Obama or AIPAC?(updated 18.03)

Index Research: The Pentagon and Oil

(Updated 25.03.08)

US Surveillance: These Boots Are Made for Walking

The U.S. War on Children

Security Company Death Squads Timeline

SOS: The United States of Terror

U.S. Martial Law Timeline (Updated through January 2009)

Totalitarianism and Obedience

PNAC: Part II - "Special Interests" - The Persian Gulf (Updated 03/03/08)

PNAC: Part I - Blueprint for Imperialism

Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the United Kingdom

The url to Will Economic Crisis Lead To A Police State World? is:

The shorter url is:

S. Meyer is a member of the BRussels Tribunal Advisory Committee. You can see this work published here.
With thanks for support and help to Danny Schechter, Winston Weeks and Musafir


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , ,

Obama’s Iraq: NO ‘CHANGE’ (updated 23.07.09)

THE BATTLE FOR BASRA TIMELINE: Footsteps to U.S. War in Iran?

Haditha: Crime and Punishment (updated 20.03.09)

Iraq: New U.S. Base - Wasit(updated 17.08.08)


Iraq Oil Reality vs the NY Times

Iraq Oil: The Vultures are Waiting(Updated 11.11.09)

The Iraq Oil Crunch: Index Timeline (updated 03.01.08

IRAQ: Green Zone Blowback: Index Timeline(update 06.01.09)

Index on Iraq: a journey in hell

Iraq: The "Grateful" Dead

Haditha: The Mai Lai of Iraq

The Haditha Doctor and The Media Dissemblers

Front Page Slander

Camp Falcon : What Really happened?(Updated 28.02.07)

US/UK Bases in Iraq, Part II. The South (updated 06/06/08)

Iraq: The Assassination of Academics : The Jalili Report

Iraq: The Occupation is the disease

Iraq's US/UK Permanent Bases : Intentional Obfuscation

Iraq: Security Companies and Training Camps

US Bases in Iraq: Part I: Baghdad (updated 06/06/08)

Iraq: Victims of Violence (Updated 03/03/07)

Prisons and Torture in Iraq (Updated 12/12/06)

Basra Shadowlands

Iraq: Unseen Dead

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]