Adonis Diaries

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George W. Bush explains: The financial crisis

“The information and pieces of intelligence I had, the principles that I followed, and the decisions that I took…In a few decades, I hope to be appreciated as a President who kept his promises to protecting his country…A president who took advantage of the influence of America in order to disseminating liberty…Whatever is the verdict of History, I wish I am no longer among the living.” G.W. Bush

I am reading the French version of “George W. Bush: Decisive moments”.  I consider this book an “Official documents”: A President of the USA is not entitled to lie on facts.  It is our duty to mine this document for another set of facts in order to rectify distorted images and impressions.

“In my first budget of 2001, I warned of the two gigantic private societies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These two powerful financial institutions, guaranteed by Federal government, have grown to be potential problems:  They expanded outside their initial guidelines of promoting private properties into functioning within speculative funds.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had huge leverage compared to institutions of same size and initial capital: vast amounts of transactions were done with all kinds of investment enterprises, and they were taking huge risks susceptible of carrying decisive repercussions in the financial markets.”

My plan was to reduce taxes. By 1999, taxes represented the highest share in the GNP since WWII.  President Clinton and Congress had agreed to increase discretionary expenses by 16% in 2001. In March 2001, we witnessed a recession and I begged Congress to act quickly on my tax reduction reforms of 1.35 billion.  Tax reform will not take effect until 2003.(See note 1)

Then, the attack on the Twin Tower in 9/11/2001 devastated our economy.  The US lost 500 billion in a single year, an additional one million workers were out of jobs, airliners had no passengers, and tourism dropped 90%.  Whatever budget surpluses we had vanished in thin air.

In 2003, I advanced a project of laws to tighten regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which enjoyed government support.  It turned out that most high level personnel in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the key deciders, were previous government officials and these enterprises had established vast web connections and interests among the Congress and Senate members, particularly with democrats.  For example, Chris Dodd and Barney Franks who declared: “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not facing any financial crisis.”

In the 2005 budget, I iterated my strong warning: “Enterprises and organizations financed by federal governments are viewed by financial enterprises as enjoying strong leverage compared to other private enterprises.  Consequently, any minor error in government supported financial institutions can send devastating waves in the country economy…”

Treasury secretary John Snow worked closely with Senator Richard Selby, president of banking committee, for stricter regulations that would reduce the portfolio of government guaranteed financial institutions.  The democrats in the Senate opposed the reforms.

Investment bank Bear Stearns was facing serious liquidity problems in March 13, 2007:  This financial institution had borrowed $33 for each dollar in capital as leverage to invest in real estates titles. Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, (a former investment banker of Goldman Sachs), found a buyer in JPMorgan Chase on condition that the government extend a loan of 30 billion to purchasing “toxic titles”. JPMorgan Chase purchased Bear Stearns for $2 a share.

By summer 2008, I had demanded the financial regulation reform 17 times.  In July 2008, Congress adopted the reform, but gave the treasury secretary additional power to injecting capitals Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to maintaining liquidity, if need be. Jim Lockhart realized in August 2008 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were on the verge of bankrapcy.  China and international financial institutions were dead certain that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were financially guaranteed by the Federal government.

Treasury secretary Hank Paulson decided to place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under direct government supervision.  Paulson said: “We’ll act so swiftly and take them by surprise, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t have time to say ouf!”  Amazingly, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac decided not to challenge the decision in court.

On September 2008, Lehman Brothers declared a loss of 4 billion in the last quarter and its stock market dropped from $16 to 3.6.  Bank of America was more interested in acquiring Merrill Lynch, and the British bank of Barclay was faced by a rejection of the British government for the deal.  On Monday Sept. 15, the 158 year-old investment institution closed door.

Question: “Why Lehman was not saved by the government as it did with Bear Stearns?” Plausible answer: Hank Paulson wanted a serious competitor in investment banking to disappear!

“Wall Street gets drunk: It is up to common people to wake up with headaches”

Note 1: Bush claims that tax break on the richest 1% increased from 38.4 to 39.1% (whao), while the poorest 50% of the population enjoyed a reduction from 3.4 to 3.1% (double whao)

Note 2: So far, G.W. Bush keeps the record of worst perpetrator of crimes against humanity in this century: Bush Junior was directly responsible of the death of more than one million Iraqi civilians during his “preemptive war” against a dictator that was no threat to any State anymore.

Conversation with Julian Assange: Conducted by Hans Ulrich Obrist

The professions of my parents were  in theater, and I moved to over 50 cities in Australia of the 70,s and attended 37 schools in rural areas.  You can imagine Tom Sawyer in this modern time:  I rode horses, explored caves, dived and did motorcyclist….

In Adelaide, my mother helped whisk out nuclear documents of the British testing site in Maralinga. At the age of 15 I started decoding systems meant to preventing the dissemination of open programs.

Before the advent of Internet, Australia was kind living in the outback and it was a pleasure to discover the outside world and get inside the Pentagon archives of the 8th Air Force, (the strategic nuclear air force in the USA).

At 17, I had founded an underground magazine and the Federal police rounded us.  I had already set the foundation for Australia Internet using a provider that I created. I used cryptography and mathematics to protect my sources and get inside systems.

You see, there are three kinds of information: Knowledge disseminated by schooling systems, books, and manuscripts that are slowly degrading and in the way out of circulation; information related to the economic industrial functioning of societies such as the “know how” of hydraulic systems …which are protected by lobbies; and the third type of information that are actively censored and prevented from entering the public domain.  “The secret type of information” is a serious handicap for a just, fair, and intelligent interaction among communities.

Until I was 20 of age, I was basically a hacker continuing his university studies in Melbourne.  I edited an underground magazine called “International Subversive”.  In that period, every developed State had its own Internet system and its own network, but they were not interconnected.  For example, you had Arpanet and Well in the US connecting universities, and X.25 connecting telecommunication industries, QSD in France, Altos in Germany…We were a very restricted community of hackers, scientists, and people in power; we were young, active, and motivated and we invested the embryonic internet.

Our phones were bugged and we witnessed six years of legal prosecutions in the US, England and Australia.  We were mostly young geniuses with the faculty of easy adaptation to this newer intellectual horizon, even though many of us did not finish formal higher education.  I was inspired by the book of Alexander Solzhenitsyn “The God of darkness”, Louis Fischer, Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Stephen Spender, Richard Wright and the Black Panthers radical traditions.

1994 witnessed the apogee of the micro-movement “Cypherpunk”  (decoding punk).  True hackers disliked the absurd term of cyberpunk.  The “Cypherpunk” community were mostly from California, Europe and Australia and we had understood the nature of the power relation among individuals and States, mainly based on the science of cryptography. We had no founding members or a guiding philosophy, but had starting principles originating from John Young, Eric Hughes, and Timothy C. May…We formed circles of discussion and we had this concept that with talents in mathematics and programming we can empower individuals to confront the power of States, to say No to public power. We could code and decode as efficiently as States could.  WikiLeaks was a combination of various ideas circulated during the discussion groups.  The economic feasibility in internet communication was not exorbitant to start a internet-type enterprise.

There was abundance of information and the critical problem was “which piece of intelligence is worth saving and analyzing even further”?  We discovered that information with “feeble light” (not widely diffused) must have been undergoing economic censorship to take out of the public domain, thus, highly important to State powers and affecting the safety and stability of the regular people.

Once a State or institution endeavor to censor anything, it means the power-to-be feels threatened by the information.  Unless most power relationships are transformed by financial interests, political censorship will be highly dangerous.  Thus, free expression and free gathering are dangerous to political ideological systems.

Note: Hans Ulrich Obrist is an artist from Switzerland and organizes biennial in Vienna and Berlin.  He is the director of international projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London.

Why Israel committed this Genocide in 1982: In the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila (Beirut)?

Robert Fisk, the credible British investigative reporter wrote in his book “Affliction of a Nation” something to that effect: “By June 5, Israeli forces have cordoned off the city of Saida from all sides, including the sea.  It started shelling the city and bombing from air and sea, and killed over 2,000 civilians.  As Israeli army tried to enter the Palestinian camp of Ain Helweh, 47 Israeli soldiers and officers were made prisoners. The Palestinian leader of the camp, Abu al Zaim, chained the Israeli soldiers around a residence and negotiated the safe exit of the Palestinian fighters from the camp.  As the Palestinian fighters were out of the camp, Abu al Zaim ordered the explosion of the house and the Israeli prisoners were killed.  After this feat, Israel never ventured to enter any Palestinian camp in Lebanon.”

Israel encircled the Capital Beirut and shelled it for over a month.  A deal was struck with Yasser Arafat and 15, 000 Palestinian fighters to vacate Lebanon to Tunisia.  The US and Israel guaranteed the safety of the Palestinian civilians.  Two weeks before the entrance of Israel to the Capital Beirut, the US contingent left Lebanon.  Sharon and his officers had vengeance in mind to the killing of 47 Israeli soldiers in Ain Helweh, but never dared enter the camps.

After the assassination of the elected President to Lebanon Bashir Gemayel, Sharon got the idea of facilitating the entrance of hundreds of Phalanges militias into the Sabra and Chatila camps, supposedly to vendicate the assassination of their “leader” Bashir. Israel discharged about 50 fighters of the stooge Lebanese South army of Major Saad Haddad in a helicopter on the airport.  These soldiers (militias) of the South Army were indeed Israeli/Lebanese and out of control of Saad Haddad who was dying and a smokescreen for the presence of Israel in South Lebanon.  The principal task of the “Saad Haddad” contingent was to control, supply, and initiate the genocide of the Phallenges militias.  Israel had totally cordoned off the two Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila and prevented the Palestinian civilians from exiting the camp.

Robert Fisk reported that on the day he arrived in Beirut, Israel was illuminating the night sky of the neighborhood of the camps.  Already, rumors that mass killing is rampant in the camps, but no firm intelligence pieces were coming out.

After three nights and two days of slaughtering civilian Palestinians (women and children) in the two Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila, where over 2,500 civilians were savagely exterminated, Fisk was among the first reporters to enter the camps.  The stench was preceded with legions of flies invading any orifice, mouth, nose, and ears…Fisk reported gruesome details of what he witnessed, which I might translate in a followed up article.

Robert Fisk joined an Israeli unit of fresh new recruits, which was dispatched to enter the camps where mass genocide had taken place.  The young soldiers were white of fright and constantly warned Fisk to watch out for the “terrorists”.  “I kept telling them: “What terrorists are you referring to?  In these camps there are but slaughtered women and children.  Can’t you smell decomposed bodies?  The terrorists have already done their job, and they are not the Palestinians…”

Apparently, the Israeli soldiers freshly arriving had no idea of what happened in the last three days:  The Israeli government and army officers had done a nice job propagating the menace of “terrorists in general” hiding in the camps… However, the Israeli soldiers who cordoned off the camps were very much aware of what was happening inside.

The US Ambassador Philip Habib admitted that the US and Israel had guaranteed the safety of Palestinian civilians, after the retreat of the Palestinian fighters.  Philip Habib was in San Francisco when he heard the news of the genocide and called President Ronald Reagan for the default of the US on its written guarantee.

You may read detailed accounts of the international reactions to the genocide in the link of note 2.

Note 1: Sharon had detailed the goal of that invasion ten months prior to the invasion.  Sharon told the Israeli military reporter that Israel had in mind to kick the Palestinian fighters out of Beirut, and force them to settle in Jordan so that they establish a Palestinian State in Jordan…The State of Lebanon will be ruled by Christian stooge government…

Note 2:  http://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/reactions-to-a-genocide/

“Heading to Haifa: Want to see my home up close”: Who is Leila Khaled?

No, nothing is written for Leila, nothing is Maktoub for Laila: She will not die a refugee!

It is August 29, 1969.  Leila Khaled and her Palestinian comrade Salim Issawi, another refugee from Haifa, hijacked TWA 840 plane from Rome airport to Tel-Aviv as destination.  The purpose was to take Yitzhak Rabin prisoner and be tried in front of a Palestinian tribunal for crimes against humanity.  Rabin (Ambassador in the USA then) had missed the plane.

Leila and Salim are carrying hand grenades. The Captain and pilot tried several times to redirect the plane to Tripoli (Libya) where the US has a military base. Leila was trained to reading the gauges (the plane has enough autonomy for more than 5-hour flight), and she would correct the flight course.

Leila order the plane to El-Ladd airport.  The smart-ass pilot corrects Leila: “You mean Lod airport in Israel?” “No, it is al Ladd, a name known for millinea, and it is not this stupid Zionist State won’t change it”

Leila orders the pilot to descend at 12,000 feet.  The Israeli air traffic controller is summoned not to mention TWA 840 but call it PFLP, and he finally agreed to obey after the Captain warns him that there are 140 passengers on board.

The controller refuses the landing of the plane and two Israeli Mirage planes are accompanying the civilian plane to prevent it from descending below 12,000 feet.  Leila orders to resume the descent and the Mirage jets made room.

Without warning, Leila orders the pilot to head north to the city of Haifa: “I want to see my home from up close” said Leila.

The plane circled the city twice and was ordered to head to Damascus, where it landed softly. After the passengers exited safely, Leila blew up the cockpit of the plane, and surrendered to the Syrian police.

Three passengers were Israelis and were exchanged for 71 Syrian and Egyptian prisoners three months later.

Life was pleasant in Haifa before April 9, 1948, the 4th birthday of Leila Khaled.

Leila lived in a house on Stanton Street, by the Jewish quarter of Hadar Hacarmel.  On that date of 1949, the Palestinian family of Leila had to vacate the city and seek refuge in Lebanon: Israel has entered the city and 80,000 more Palestinians living in Haifa did the same trip.

The family settled in a camp in Tyre called Bourj al Chemali, where 7,000 Palestinians refugees from Haifa crowded it.  Since that date, Leila would refuse to celebrate her birthday, a day of mourning for her, the nakba for her family.

In 1958, Leila and her sister Nawal are sent to a boarding school in Saida, run by Evangelists, though a Moslem teacher made her memorize verses of the Coran, as Leila was learning to read.

In 1963, at the age of 19, Leila is attending the American University of Beirut (AUB):  Her brother Mohammad, working in Kuwait, paid her tuition.  Her father preferred to pay the tuition of her brother who failed his high school public exam.  Leila could not finish her university degree for lack of financial support and ended up in Kuwait in 1966.

Leila joins the Palestinian Resistance Movement, the main faction of Fateh.

Yasser Arafat is still not ready to train women for military exercises, and Leila tells him that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), headed by Georges Habash, trained both genders and sent them in active duties. She said: “We’ll meet again“, and went ahead and joined the PFLP.

It is September 6, 1970.  Leila does it again and hijacked the Israel El Al plane at the airport of Schiphol (Holland).  Her comrade is Patrick Arguello, originally from Guatemalla and run by dictator Somoza at the time. Patrick had no idea who was his companion boarding as his wife Maria Sanchez.

The attempt failed. Patrick is shot dead and Leila is interrogated by the British police. Leila endures 3 hours of interrogation and kept repeating: “I am the leader of the hijack.  My name is Leila Khaled and a member of the PFLP and from the unit of Rasmieh Odeh, a Palestinian woman prisoner“.

She declare that she want to be considered a prisoner of war.  Scotland Yard officer said: “England is not at war with the Palestinians”. And Leila replies: “Yes, England is at war with us since the declaration of the Balfour document in 1917, promising a homeland for the Jews, in return of a handful of silver coins to prosecute the war against Germany.  England carried out this promise, and is directly responsible for the displacement of million of Palestinians, robbing us from a State and inflicting humiliation, miseries, and indignity on us for decades.” (I developed a bit on that answer).

Four hours later, the officer returns and said: “Three more planes have been successfully hijacked and landed in the Zarka in Jordan.  They want your liberation in return of the passengers.”

In April 1996, Leila is crossing the Allenby Bridge to the West Bank.

A “peace” deal was struck between Rabin and Arafat in Oslo.  The Israeli soldier is interrogating Leila before crossing the border. Leila tells him: “Yes, I belong to a Palestinian organization, I do not agree with this peace deal, and yes I want peace with the Jews. My profession was hijacking Israeli planes. No, I don’t want this peace where I cannot return home without an Israeli soldier interrogating me. Remember young man: I am Leila Khaled.”

“We are refugees, we’ll die refugees” would frequently repeat Leila’s father.  No, nothing is written for Leila: She will not die a refugee. Leila is currently living In Amman (Jordan) by the Jordanian intelligence agency and is married with two kids. She is a member of the Palestinian National Council, and of the Palestinian Women General Union.

Note 1: Article inspired by a chapter of the French book “12 women of the Orient who changed History” by Gilbert Sinoue.

Note 2:  Leila Khaled published her autobiography “My people shall live” in 1973.

Note 3:  After the successive triple hijacking to Zarkat, the Jordanian Monarch Hussein chased out the Palestinian factions into Lebanon, and Lebanon witnessed three decades of bloodshed and calamities.

The Lesser Depression? Who is Paul Krugman?

“You do not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed.”

Paul Krugman published an article on July 21, 2011 in The New York Times.  Krugman is a Nobel laureate in economics and has been frequently explaining the current world financial problems.  I will exhibit a few extracts with my own editing style, and develop my comments.

“These are interesting times, in the worst way. We are currently looking at not one, but two looming crises, either of which could produce a global disaster. In the United States, right-wing fanatics in Congress may block a necessary rise in the debt ceiling, potentially wreaking havoc in world financial markets. Meanwhile, if the plan just agreed to by European heads of State fails to calm markets, we could see falling dominoes all across southern Europe — which would also wreak havoc in world financial markets.”

“We can only hope that the politicians, huddled in Washington and Brussels, succeed in averting these threats. But here’s the thing: Even if we manage to avoid immediate catastrophe, the deals being struck on both sides of the Atlantic are almost guaranteed to make the broader economic slump worse.

“In fact, policy makers seem determined to perpetuate what I’ve taken to calling the Lesser Depression, the prolonged era of high unemployment that began with the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and continues to this day, more than two years after the recession supposedly ended. Why our economies are (still) so depressed.

The great housing bubble of the last decade, which was both an American and a European phenomenon, was accompanied by a huge rise in household debt. When the bubble burst, home construction plunged, and so did consumer spending as debt-burdened families cut back.

Everything might still have been bearable if other major economic players had stepped up their spending, filling the gap left by the housing plunge and the consumer pullback. But nobody did. In particular, cash-rich corporations see no reason to invest that cash in the face of weak consumer demand.

Nor did governments do much to help. Some governments — those of weaker nations in Europe, and State and local governments here — were actually forced to slash spending in the face of falling revenues. And the modest efforts of stronger governments — including the Obama stimulus plan — were, at best, barely enough to offset this forced austerity.  So we have depressed economies. What are policy makers proposing to do about it? Less than nothing.

The disappearance of unemployment from elite policy discourse and its replacement by deficit panic has been truly remarkable. It’s not a response to public opinion. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 53 percent of the public named the economy and jobs as the most important problem we face, while only 7 percent named the deficit. Nor is it a response to market pressure. Interest rates on U.S. debt remains near historic lows.

Yet the conversations in Washington and Brussels are all about spending cuts (and maybe tax increases, I mean revisions). That’s obviously true about the various proposals being floated to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis here. But it’s equally true in Europe.

On Thursday, the “heads of State or governments of the euro area and the E.U. institutions” — that mouthful tells you, all by itself, how messy European governance has become — issued their big statement. It wasn’t reassuring.  For one thing, it’s hard to believe that the “Rube Goldberg statement” can really resolve the Greek crisis, let alone the wider European crisis.

But, even if it does, then what? The statement calls for sharp deficit reductions “in all countries except those under a program” to take place “by 2013 at the latest.” Since those countries “under a program” are being forced into drastic fiscal austerity, this amounts to a plan to have all of Europe slash spending at the same time. And there is nothing in the European data suggesting that the private sector will be ready to take up the slack in less than two years.

For those who know their 1930s history, this is all too familiar. If either of the current debt negotiations fails, we could be about to replay 1931, the global banking collapse that made the Great Depression great. But, if the negotiations succeed, we will be set to replay the great mistake of 1937:  The premature turn to fiscal contraction that derailed economic recovery and ensured that the Depression would last, until World War II finally provided the boost the economy needed.  The European Central Bank  seems determined to make things even worse by raising interest rates.

The lack of wisdom is on full display, as policy elites on both sides of the Atlantic bungle the response to economic trauma, ignoring all the lessons of history. And the Lesser Depression goes on.” (End of quote)

I am wondering: What if Congress agrees to raise the ceiling of the debt?  How the US government used to pay off, in the first place, the nominal portion of its dept?  It is not through the surplus of its economic activities, or the savings of the citizens, or the slashing of military spending…

The US has been borrowing heavily by encouraging foreign State governments, which managed to save money, into purchasing US Treasury Bills and bonds.  Currently, this mechanism of relying on foreign savings is not working, and the Federal Reserve has been manufacturing money and lending it to the US government to cover short-term and urgent immediate deficit.

The dollar has been effectively being devalued consistently by 10% per year since 1945, and this rate in devaluation is increasing rapidly since 2007.

Do you realize what a deficit amounting to 14 trillion means?  It is more than the total worth of France, if sold stock, lock, and land.  Imagine thousand of years of  labor by millions of “French people” to sustaining a country, who could not accumulate enough wealth to pay off the US public deficit!

All these economic and financial decisions are meant to buy short-term leverage, before the inevitable global crisis fall on our head, very shortly.  How can the US people pay-off this huge deficit if not by “creating a preemptive global war”, as were the cases in 1914 and 1939?

The US has nothing much to offer economically for stabilizing world economy and finances.  What Europe needs from the US are two things:

First, releasing the huge ammunition reserves for resuming the small-scale preemptive wars in Libya and the potential unstable regimes around the Mediterranean Sea and parts of Africa.  It is the abundance of the US military hardware and ammunition that is making NATO organization an acceptable agreement to the EU.

Second, the EU hopes that the dollar will maintain its global status for a couple of years before a basket of currencies is agreed upon. What else the US can be of any help for the time being?

These spring uprising of youth movements around the world have a common denominator: “We want to have a direct say in public decisions”

Perpetrators of financial crisis reap the benefits, politically and financially! Any other cause of social upheavals?

Since WWII and till the fall of the Berlin Wall (end of the Soviet Union empire), the capitalist States, especially the USA and England, made it a fantastic profitable business of borrowing money.

You might think that when you borrow at high interest rate, you are really in great trouble:  That is correct on the individual level and for small enterprises.

On a State level, particularly powerful States, with the right of issuing currency and the power of influencing inflation, the US and England managed to generate 6.3% of their GNP just by keeping inflation over 4% during this entire period.

How that?

Lenders or buyers of State treasury bills discovered that inflation actually resulted in negative return on the interest rate they expected to earn “while sleeping”:  The dept of the States were automatically reduced by more than a 50% because of the frequent devaluation of the currencies.   For example, the public dept of the US of 116% dropped effectively to 66%, and the public dept of England dropped to 138% from the high of 216%.

How that again?

The States reimbursed the nominal value that kept being reduced every year from the inflation level.  Practically, an interest rate of 5% is repaid with a currency devaluing at a 10% rate!  It is the State borrower that pocketed the difference in profit.  The end result was that you deposited your money in banks that lent to the State at rates lower than effective inflation rate.

Why investors grudgingly accepted to be fleeced out of their expected profit? 

It appears investors with cash surpluses had no viable alternatives due to capital control and nationalization of banks policies.

The other risky alternative, against the law and liable of prison terms, was to dispatch bag full of gold bars to foreign banks.

Actually, since 1968, the dollars was constantly floating and ceased to be linked to gold reserve:  The European countries had to cover up for the dollar frequent fluctuations since the dollar was the international currency in the “Free World“, fighting this survival battle with communist Soviet Union!

The dollar was the problem of the other productive “Free countries” and never affected the economic well-being or development of the USA.

During that period, developed States instituted vast social network coverage in health care, early retirement and excellent saving retirement plans…:  People in developed countries can go on extended vacation trips with pocketful of money.

Things have changed quantitatively in the 80’s:  Salaries were reevaluated at the rhythm of inflation, still within capital control policies.

Thus, developing States could no longer generate profit from borrowing extensively, though borrowing was still an excellent means of covering larger public dept.  The current US public dept is about 14 trillion or 14,000 billion and increasing like mad.

Things have changed qualitatively in the 90’s:

The power shifted from States to multinational financial institutions.  States covered up the deficits of banks (bankruptcies) under the excuse that economic chaos will befall society if banks are not salvaged by using people tax money!

After the 2007 financial crisis, most developed States extensively salvaged irredeemable banks with practically no financial preconditions.  The States are bankrupts and entirely reliant on banks and international monetary institutions to cover up budget deficits.

For example, the IMF, World Bank, Europe Central Bank and powerful international financial companies are not reluctant in abusing of blackmailing tactics, unbearable constraints, and issuing ultimatum to less developed borrowing States such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland…

The poorer borrowing States are pressured to balance budgets, and specifically by targeting the previously acquired social network  rights, and the reduction in salaries and retirement benefits…

Liberal capitalism was hardly able to force social democratic States to tampering with a single social right acquisition.

Currently, States are hitting all these social network benefits at the same time, as a national requirement for a “package deficit reduction plan“! State Parliaments are happy satisfying inhuman and brutal constraints set by non-elected, unregulated, and uncontrolled foreign financial institutions.

Liberal capitalists  expect the rights of the richest 10% classes to remain intact!  Unemployment is increasing drastically and free paid jobs are the trend, named “extended training periods“…

The irony is that most chairmen of finance ministries, central banks, and public monetary regulation institutions are former high officers in private international financial companies. 

Tax laws and loopholes are vastly privileging the rich classes.  Indignation is mounting:  It is no longer a matter of financial techniques and gimmicks, but a political and social struggle to redress power imbalance. 

The people and their representatives have to regain the political power and start giving priority to the welfare and the due rights of the common working people.

Note: The colonial wars in the previous centuries were undertook under the excuse that the borrowing nations failed to repay their debts. Spain lost its colonies in Cuba, Philippine… to the USA.  The far eastern countries such as Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma… were captured militarily by France and England for failing to repay their debts…

Revisiting the siege of Hama (Syria, 1982):  Who is Robert Fisk?

There is a deep purpose for this essay, besides the obvious account of Robert Fisk on the siege of the city of Hama in 1982, during the reign of the dictator father Hafez al Assad.

In February 18, 1982, Robert Fisk dispatched his eye-witness account on the siege of Hama to the Times. I am basing this story on the Arabic version of Fisk’s book “Afflictions of a Nation”.  I will relate the story in the first person:

On February 17, I headed to Aleppo to visit a couple of Irish friends.  The taxi driver was not allowed to go through Hama and he had to make a detour around Hama city limits.  On my way back, two young Syrian soldiers, barely 19 of age, asked to have a lift to their unit in Hama. I learned from my long stay in Lebanon that the presence of a Syrian soldier in the car can open the way to prohibited places.

One of the soldier said: “The siege and the fighting is on its 17th day, and there are no indication that it will abate anytime soon.”  Brown fumes were spouting from building as tanks T 62 shelled the buildings. A Syrian soldier brought us hot tea, and I noticed that most soldiers had red eyes from lack of sleep. A few of them headed to sleep on the dirt road by the tank.  The secret service agents were everywhere, especially keeping close tab on the soldiers behaviors. My taxi driver was feeling scared and insisted on resuming our trip back to Damascus.

A policeman got a hike in our car, a young peasant girl, and a mother holding her baby. I offered a chocolate bar to the toddler, but the mother snatched it from me and ate it, to the cry of the baby.  The women were tired and particularly hungry from a week-long search of lost relatives in Hama.  Scores of black dressed women were vacating Hama.  An officer joined the ride and said: “A few of my soldiers joined the insurrection. We have been literally fighting underground.  You won’t believe that underground hospitals are fully equipped.  The insurgents have missiles. We tried to arrest a fighting girl, and she blew herself up, killing 20 soldiers.”

As I arrived in Damascus, I was walking to the ministry of information:  minister Iskandar Ahmad Iskandar had invited the foreign press for a meeting.  Before I reach the building, a ton of explosives tore down the ministry. The Syrian radio had announced that I had never been to Hama.  When I met the minister Iskandar a few months later he told me: “I never listen to the Syrian radio. Robert, I never said that you are a liar. This dialogue is between two friends.

No foreign press reporters ever entered Hama, and their account of 10,000 killed during the siege is an over-estimation.  When I visited Hama in 1983, the old quarter of city was completely bulldozed and a vast parking lot taking the place of the narrow streets and old historic building and fortresses.” (end of account)

There is this Syrian painter named Khaled al Khani who is in Paris for a month. Khaled was 7 years of age during the Hama attacks in 1982.  He recalls that the security services grabbed his father working at the hospital; they gauged one of his father’s eyes and then killed him and left the body outside the hospital to rot.

In June 3, 2011, Hama demonstrated and the security services killed 60 citizens.  The mayor struck a deal with the regime.  The deal was for all internal security services to retreat beyond city limits, for the city to take charge of the dismantlement the bronze bust of late Hafez al Assad, in return of the demonstrators not to engage in sit-in and to stay away from public buildings.

In July 1st, a mass demonstration pressured the regime to revise its decisions.  The mayor was sacked and hundred of tanks are cordoning off the city of Hama, and hundreds of families left the city in anticipation of harder days.   The singer Ibrahim Kashoush was found slaughtered by the Assy River because his song said: “It is time for you Bashar to leave.  We prefer to die than be humiliated…” Water and electricity are frequently cut-off and bread is scarce.  But the regime is refraining from entering the city:  The “foreign enemies” might have an excellent excuse to destroying the headquarters of the internal security forces under the pretense: “Hama will not be massacred again. Not on our watch…”

Since 1980, Syria was experiencing Moslem fundamentalist revival, due to the victory of Iran Islamic revolution in 1979, and the growing Islamic resistance to the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.  The Syrian Moslem Brotherhood organization was receiving arms and ammunition from its Turkish counterpart, the Islamic militia of Alp Erslan.

In 1980, the Syrian salafists were demanding that Syria adopt Islam religious laws or shariat.  They plastered their leaflets at night, beginning with “Bism Allah el rahman el rahim” , and signed “The leaders of Islamic revolution in Syria”.  The secret service agents would remove the leaflets at day break. These Islamists claimed responsibility for blowing up the headquarters of the army and air-force intelligence centers,  the Soviet intelligence building in Damascus, and many official centers.

For two years, late Hafez al Assad appointed recognized people of Hama to key positions and waited for the proper timing to enter Hama.  In February 1982, the insurrection in Hama was a full-fledged resistance. Foreign aid workers, living in this poor city of Hama, have been feeling the coming terrors for a while:  The Islamists engaged in a wave of assassinations within Hama, particularly Baath high officials, along with their wives and children within their homes.  Hama is the most inland strategic place of Syria, smack in the center of all major urban cities.  The Syrian army and tanks had cordoned off all entrance to Hama.

There is this consistent trend, and direct links of the timing of Israel “preemptive wars” on Lebanon:  They are planned after internal troubles are fomented in Syria.  About six months before each preemptive war on Lebanon, Israel foment serious political upheavals in Syria, hoping that destabilization might provoke a civil war in Syria.

Unlike Lebanon, a war on Syria requires serious excuses: Syria enjoys the support of a couple of veto power States in the UN, and strong tacit international and regional agreement for a war on Syria must be satisfied.  Consequently, since civil wars in Syria were never forthcoming, Israel tried to draw Syria into a war by attacking Lebanon.  Israel has been longing to destroy Syria’s infrastructure and industrial base since the 1973 war.  Syria refrained from intervening directly in Israel preemptive wars on Lebanon.

For example, in 1977, Israel expected a civil war in Syria to take place as Hafez Assad decided to fight the Palestinian Resistance Movement (PLO) in Lebanon.  The Moslem Sunnis in Syria did not succumb to this temptation, and Israel attacked Lebanon in 1978 and occupied lands.

In February 1982, the Syrian Moslem Brotherhood organization started a civil insurrection in Hama:  It failed. Thus, Israel invaded Lebanon in June  1982.  Syria could not even send reinforcement to its army positioned in Lebanon.  The 17,000 Syrian soldiers in Lebanon had to fend-off Israel invasion in Lebanon with what they had, before retreating to the Bekaa Valley.

In April 2005, Israel expected a civil war in Syria after the assassination of Lebanon ex-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri:  The dictatorial regime of the son Bashar al Assad recovered from this concerted international assault.  Consequently, Israel launched its preemptive war on Lebanon in June 2006.  The war lasted 33 days, and Syria refused to be drawn in.  All that Syria did was receiving thousands of Lebanese refugees, and keeping its borders opened for the flow of goods.

After this failed preemptive war in 2006, and the strategic defeat of Israel by Hezbollah, Israel has been coaxing Syria to engage a limited war on Israel.  For example, air attacking a supposedly atomic facility in Deir el Zour, and assassinating high Syrian officials…  Currently, Syria is in big internal difficulties.  Is it a coincidence that Israel has been frequently threatening to attack Hezbollah in the last three months?

Israel hopes for instigating a civil war in Syria, otherwise, Israel is preparing for another preemptive war against Lebanon this September, for many political reasons, among other reasons the voting in the UN this September for the establishment of a Palestinian State…Israel is again wishing Syria to engage in military actions this time around, on the ground that the weakened Syrian regime thinks of boosting its shrinking popularity…Obviously, this clannish regime of the Assad family is not going to be drawn in a war with Israel.  The thousands Syrian tanks are engaged to cordoning off dozens of cities and major towns…

And Lebanon had to suffer all the consequences of this international and regional tag of war.

Note 1: Robert Fisk is one of the famous journalist reporters who covered Lebanon civil war.  He was the correspondent of the British “Times” in the Middle-East till 1987.  He is currently the correspondent of the British daily “The Independent”.  Fisk wrote two books on the Irish civil war and conflicts, and a book on Lebanon’s civil war “Afflictions of a Nation”.

Note 2:  The Zionist lobby in England took to the street denouncing the accurate accounts of Fisk in the Times: “The Times is the new Arabic secret weapon”

Note 3: Fisk reported that Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was the beginning of the shattering of Israel’s image in the eyes of world community:  Foreign reporters and press declined accepting Israel accounts as accurate or credible.  The foreign press have witnessed the atrocities and countless violations of human rights of the Israeli soldiers and officers against civilians in Lebanon.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2014
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