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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

With Autonomy, H-P Bought An Old-Fashioned Accounting Scandal. Here's How It Worked.

HP Shares Plunge After A $8.8 Billion Writedown Of Accounting Problems At Autonomy- Abram Brown 11/20/2012

Whitman: $8.8 billion worth of vaporware:-

The story was first told to me late last year, and like a lot of stories of financial impropriety inside a huge company, it was almost impossible to nail down. Hewlett-Packard‘s Autonomy division, my source told me, was vaporware writ large: A $10 billion software company with an overhyped flagship product that was literally being given away because customers didn’t have a use for it.

Today, Meg Whitman admitted as much. H-P announced it was writing off 88% of the purchase price for Autonomy and accused “some former members of Autonomy’s management team” of using “accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures” to hide the software company’s true performance and value.

In the release, H-P identified one of the oldest accounting tricks in the book, a variation on the one “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap used to accelerate revenue at Sunbeam — by getting customers to “buy” products now, under terms that really just borrowed from the future.

I spoke to my source again this morning and he detailed what he saw at H-P, from his position deep within the 300,000-employee company.

“What I saw was exactly what Meg Whitman wrote in her internal memo to employees,” my source said. “There was really sketchy accounting going on.”

Autonomy was founded as Cambridge Neurodynamics in 1991 by Michael Lynch, a Cambridge-educated computer scientist, according to this flattering profile by the Guardian after he left H-P in May. The company was based on the then-hot concept of Bayesian search, named after 18th-century mathematician Thomas Bayes, and ultimately developed an all-encompassing software package it called IDOL — Intelligent Data Operating Layer.

H-P today said it stands behind IDOL and well it should. Otherwise it would have to write off the entire $10 billion it paid for Autonomy. But my source doesn’t think much of the product, which is supposed to find all of a company’s data, wherever it resides, and whether or not it can be identified by specific words. (Typical example: Finding documents that contain the phrase “flightless bird” when you’re looking for “penguin.”)

“It’s the primary smoke and mirrors that Autonomy has used to make people think they’ve got something very impressive,” he told me. “It’s a fancy search engine.”
I attempted to reach Lynch this morning, unsuccessfully. His spokeswoman told Reuters he is still  reviewing H-P’s allegations. H-P said it has referred the information it uncovered in a forensic accounting to fraud officials in the U.S. and the U.K.

Here’s what my source observed personally. Autonomy grew through acquisitions, buying everything from storage companies like Iron Mountain to enterprise software firms like Interwoven. They’d then go to customers and offer them a deal they couldn’t refuse. Say a customer had $5 million and four years left on a data-storage contract, or “disk,” in the trade. Autonomy would offer them, say, the same amount of storage for $4 million but structure it as a $3 million purchase of IDOL software, paid for up front, and $1 million worth of disk. The software sales dropped to the bottom line and burnished Autonomy’s reputation for being a fast-growing, cutting-edge software company a la Oracle, while the revenue actually came from the low-margin, commodity storage business.

“They would basically give them software for free but shift the costs around to make it look like they got $3 million in software sales,” said my source, who directly observed such deals.

Lynch’s management team also was practiced at the art of wringing attractive-looking growth out of a string of ho-hum acquisitions. The typical strategy was to bolt IDOL and other software onto a company’s existing products and try and convince customers to pay more for the “new” products. If that failed, they’d milk the existing customer base by halting development and outsourcing support, my source says, using the cash from the runoff business to fund more acquisitions.

“Mike Lynch was famous for saying Autonomy never put an end of life on any product,” said my source. “But the customers were screaming.”

Now, my source has never been a Mike Lynch fan. In sales meetings, he says, Lynch “loved to do vague and theoretical academic-type presentations to show what a visionary he was.”

And Autonomy may have some powerful features my source didn’t appreciate. The Defense Department reportedly is a customer. But from his perch within the company, it looked like a lot of vaporware wrapped up in fancy Cambridge talk and the kind of accounting tricks managers have engaged in since the dawn of publicly traded stock.

With its announcement today, H-P seems to agree. The company accused former managers of “a willful effort” “to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company in order to mislead investors and potential buyers. These misrepresentations and lack of disclosure severely impacted HP management’s ability to fairly value Autonomy at the time of the deal.”

Calling customers wouldn’t necessarily have uncovered the problem, my source says.

“I think these companies are embarrassed to admit they spent $10 million on software that doesn’t actually work,” he said.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2012/11/20/with-autonomy-h-p-bought-an-old-fashioned-accounting-scandal/

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ford under fire over grants payment



By Press Association, Nov 6, 2012

Car giant Ford has been criticised for accepting millions of pounds from UK taxpayers in the run-up to announcing the closure of its last British assembly plant, with the loss of 1,400 jobs.

The vehicle manufacturer received cash from the regional growth fund (RGF) to help develop its Dagenham base, and was given an £80 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its factory in Turkey, before revealing it would shut its plant at Swaythling in Southampton.

Production of Ford's Transit van will switch from Swaythling to Turkey, having been based in Southampton - the company's last UK vehicle assembly plant - for 40 years.

The Government said the regional growth fund cash helped protect jobs - and argued the money could still have been granted even if ministers knew about the plan to shut Swaythling next July. But Labour's former innovation and skills secretary John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen, said: "It is extraordinary that a regional growth fund grant was made to Ford without the Government being aware of the wider Ford strategy.
"I think that is a weakness of the regional growth fund compared with the old regional development agency structures, which were much more likely to ensure bits of Government dealing with major companies were aware of the whole of the company's strategy. By dividing the regional growth fund into separate grants, there is no sense of engagement with the company."

Shadow business minister Iain Wright claimed it was a "huge failing of the RGF" that the money was approved without the Government knowing of the company's plans to shut Swaythling.

But Business Minister Michael Fallon claimed the RGF cash would protect hundreds of jobs: "We announced on October 19 our conditional offer of £9.3 million to support Ford's investment of £156 million into Dagenham to build an all-new engine series at the plant. That investment - and it may be of no comfort to those in the Southampton area - will safeguard some 450 jobs and create 50 new jobs while supporting many more in the supply chain and wider economy."

It emerged at the weekend that the EIB loaned Ford £80 million to invest in Turkey as part of its moves to prepare the country's economy for possible European Union membership. The money, part of which came from British taxpayers, was signed off by the EIB, whose governors include Chancellor George Osborne.

Mr Fallon backed the EIB cash, saying the loan was "not based on the cessation of production at Southampton". He added: "It is incorrect to imply the EIB loan is responsible itself for exporting jobs from the UK."

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes (Romsey and Southampton North), who led today's Westminster Hall debate, said the revelation Turkey would benefit from Swaythling's demise sparked concern and anger. She believed the firm had "a moral duty to declare its hand" before applying for cash.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Evangelicals, excluded from proposed Russian religious hatred law, voice displeasure


BY BARRY DUKE – OCTOBER 1, 2012

RUSSIA, increasingly sinking into a mire of religious fervour, is apparently contemplating a new law that would carry a three-year jail sentence for anyone insulting any of the four recognised religions in the country: Russian orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism.

According to this Persecution Blog report, if such a law is enforced, life will be made intolerable for evangelical Christians.


Wally Kulakoff, a representative of Russian Ministries in Moscow, said that, because the Duma has openly proclaimed that there are only four traditional religions in Russia, Protestants are left out in the cold.

Kulakoff pointed out that evangelical Christians insult many when they say God had a son

He became the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Islam says that they have a god who does not have a son, and anyone who claims God had a son has no right to live on this earth. Now, who is insulting who

Kulakoff added:

Non-traditional religion in Russia with be chastised, prohibited, [and] will have to go underground. There will be no room for the Protestant church

Russian Ministries School is training next-generation church leaders – young people who are already leaders in their community. If this law is passed and it’s interpreted harshly, Kulakoff says:

Then Russian Ministries’ School Without Walls goes underground and will continue to have an impact, but in another form. Rather than [operating] openly, it’ll be more excluded and secluded.
Kulakoff warned that the proposed law could have far-reaching impact, saying that the greatest insult to the Orthodox Church is to have a Bible translation that they didn’t authorise

That means Russia will say you can only use one Bible …  the more modern, the more contemporary translations will be illegal

[This is clearly a response to the hypocrisy of the west - just a different set of red lines]

Source:- Freethinker/


Monday, 24 September 2012

US debt collectors cash in on $1 trillion in student loans

RT Sunday, 9 September 2012
young people trapped for life

WASHINGTON — Most US college students hope to land a good job with a high salary after graduation. But for some the reality is very different. Many find themselves faced with insurmountable debt — and a loan industry that’s happy to cash in on their misfortune. ­

As the number of people taking out government-backed student loans has soared, so has the number of borrowers who have fallen behind in making payments.

MORE AND MORE SINKING INTO HOLE

Around 5.9 million people nationwide have fallen at least 12 months behind in their payments. This number has grown by a third in the last five years, according to a State Higher Education Finance survey.

Many who can’t repay their loans feel they have no choice but to default. It’s a decision that can be disastrous — ruining a borrower’s credit and increasing the amount they owe. It can also result in penalties of up to 25 per cent of the balance.

SCARY SCENARIO

Despite the scary consequences, young adults across America have chosen to default on their loans. And that decision has resulted in a cat-and-mouse game with the government.

“I keep changing my phone number. In a year, this is probably my fourth phone number,” former student Amanda Cordeiro told the New York Times.

Cordeiro receives up to seven calls a day from debt collectors attempting to recover her $55,000 in overdue student loans. But phone calls are just the beginning.

NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Since the federal government imposes no statute of limitations for collecting loan repayments, escaping the debt is nearly impossible.

“You are going to pay it, or you are going to die with it,” said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com.

As America’s poor economy causes companies and small businesses to close their doors, the debt collection industry is booming.

Conserve, a debt collection agency in New York, expects to double its payroll in the next three years.

“There is great opportunity,” the company’s president and founder Mark E. Davitt, told the New York Times.

It’s easy to see where that opportunity comes from.

$1 TRILLION IN OUTSTANDING LOANS

The nationwide student loan balance is more than $1 trillion. It’s a number that makes borrowers cringe.

However, debt collectors are more than grateful for the astronomically high amount of debt among college graduates.

Debt collectors used to receive a steady and reliable income from credit card debt, but the slowing economy has made collection a challenge.

Now, student loans are filling that hole. In fact, many are calling students the “new oil well” for the debt collection industry.

“While the Department of Education debt collection contract has been one of the most highly sought-after contracts within the ARM industry for years, I believe it is now THE most sought-after contract within this industry, centered within the most sought-after market — student loans,” mergers and acquisitions specialist Mark Russell wrote on Insidearm.com.

WIN-WIN SITUATION FOR SOME

It’s a win-win situation for both the government and collection agencies. Government officials estimate they will collect 76 to 82 cents on every dollar of loans made in fiscal 2013 that end up in default. Borrowers then have to pay collection costs, which go straight to the debt agencies.

In addition to the balance, borrowers are charged for collection costs, which go straight to the debt agencies.

The rewards trickle down to other areas, too.

COLLUSION WITH GOVERNMENT

Educational Credit Management Corp. (ECMC), a Minnesota based agency, benefits from its 18-year-old agreement with the US government, according to Bloomberg News.

The company charges fees to borrowers and earns commissions from taxpayers when it collects on defaulted student loans. And the rewards are lucrative.

ECMC’s debt collectors earn financial perks as a reward from extracting money from defaulted borrowers. In 2010, the company’s top performers received bonuses equivalent to as much as 10 times their base salaries, which range from $33,000 to $46,000.

'CLOSEST THING TO DEBTORS' PRISON'

It’s a never-ending cycle between borrower and lender — and the winner is almost always the lender. After all, it’s nearly impossible to hide from the government.

“It’s the closest thing to debtors' prison that there is on this Earth,” former student Patrick Writer said of his federal loan.



Monday, 13 August 2012

Help for Heroes slammed by troops for subsidising building projects rather than helping injured veterans

Mail Online
Charity accused of becoming 'too cosy' with the MoD, and 'wrongly focusing' on veteran recovery centres. It recently spent £20million renovating flagship centre Tedworth House, Wilts, a Grade II-listed building.

A BBC probe unearthed cases of soldiers having to pay for their own physiotherapy and prosthetic limbs.

Mother of double amputee Ben Parkinson, who carried the Olympic torch in Doncaster, said injured soldiers are not always getting the help they need

Injured soldiers and their families last night criticised military charity Help for Heroes for spending millions on care facilities that they say should be funded by the Ministry of Defence.

They said that the charity’s funds should instead be targeted at the veterans themselves to help with practical care.

Help for Heroes is planning to spend £153million on building and servicing five regional MoD Personnel Recovery Centres to provide training and resources to injured servicemen and women.

Mr McBean, 25, who lost an arm and a leg when he stepped on a Taliban landmine and is a Help for Heroes patron, said: ‘Rather than £100million being spent on limbs for every single guy who has been injured, and the future, instead the MoD somehow managed to get all these “Gucci” buildings out of it.’

Diane Dernie, the mother of Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson – another double amputee – said: ‘We find it difficult to see these buildings, these edifices that are being paid for by charity.

‘If there’s building work, if there’s need for a location then that should be the MoD’s responsibility. Charities should be there, we think, to support the guys, to support the families.’

The criticism was uncovered in an investigation by the BBC’s Newsnight and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Many contributors paid tribute to the charity’s ‘good intentions’ but said it was overly reliant on the MoD’s advice on where to spend its funds.

Last night the charity said it was ‘deeply upset’ by the ‘misleading nature’ of the report.
It said: ‘We work closely in partnership with the MoD but continue to drive the agenda and challenge the status quo.
‘We are fiercely independent and, far from getting our orders from the senior officers, we listen to the wounded themselves and then see how best we can support them.
‘We have committed over £121million-worth of support, the largest single contribution in British military history, both directly to individuals and to provide world-class facilities that would not otherwise have existed.’

Newsnight also found that some wounded veterans have complained that following their discharge from the forces they have been denied access to recovery centres, with one ex-Royal Marine corporal saying they felt like a ‘burden’ and had to beg to get what they needed, which they found ‘degrading’.



Libor: An opaque scandal erodes confidence in major banks


Jul 24, 2012 JOHN STODDER, MBJ national affairs correspondent

Last month, one of the biggest financial scandals in history came to light, involving many of the most pre-eminent banks in the world. But public reaction has been so muted that a Los Angeles Times columnist was compelled to ask, “Why aren’t more people furious about the Libor scandal?”

In fact, people are.

The news media soon will be full of stories of outrage concerning the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), the daily interest calculation that underlies hundreds of trillions of dollars in loans and option transactions; about how Barclays and other international banks managed to manipulate it to bolster profits and buttress their stock prices, and how the manipulations subverted capitalism, robbed pensioners. Regulators, congressional investigators and plaintiffs’ attorneys are massing around the scandal, ready to attack both banks and U.S. and U.K. bank regulators who, some allege, knew about a persistent pattern of rate manipulation and cartel-like behavior but turned a blind eye.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, for example, will be grilled about how much he knew about Libor manipulations when he headed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. According to the Washington Post, the New York Fed had received “occasional anecdotal reports from Barclays of problems with Libor” beginning in 2007, enough that in 2008, Geithner asked British officials whether the rate was being manipulated.

According to numerous media reports, officials in California, Connecticut, Florida, New York and Maryland are looking into possible legal action against the banks, blaming Libor manipulation for higher borrowing costs and lower investment yields that affected public treasuries. Joe Dear, head of the California Public Employee Retirement System, the nation’s biggest public pension fund, which has been beset by falling investment yields since 2008, called for prosecuting bank executives if it is shown that the Libor manipulations affected long-term investors such as pension funds.

Libor, explained

Every weekday morning before 11 a.m. GMT executives at up to 19 large banks, including three U.S.-based banks that participate in the London Interbank money market, provide what the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), which runs the Libor-fixing process, terms its “lowest perceived rate” for inter-bank loans at that moment. It is an estimate of what interest they would be charged that day for unsecured loans from other banks.

The rates are averaged together with the four highest and four lowest figures tossed out. The results are reported as that day’s Libor rates, published by Thomson Reuters.

The Libor rates immediately become that day’s benchmarks for pricing a vast number of loans, securities and derivatives around the world.

Libor affects the health of pension plans and city and state budgets, the profits and losses for derivative traders, and rates for mortgages, student loans, auto loans and small-business lending.

From at least 2005 until 2009, according to investigators for the U.S, U.K. and the European Union, some of the participating banks gamed the Libor rate. When Libor rates rose, consumer and business borrowing became more expensive. When Libor rates fell, investment yields were reduced. When Libor rates were manipulated, there were winners and losers, depending on the direction of the manipulation. What was clearly sacrificed, however, was the integrity of the banking system.

First up, Barclays

Barclays was the first and so far the only bank to admit it manipulated the Libor rate between 2005 and 2009, in a settlement with U.S. and U.K. regulators in June. Its CEO, Robert Diamond, Jr., has resigned despite claiming he knew nothing about the false submissions. The bank has agreed to pay U.K. and U.S. regulators $453 million in civil fines.

Investigators believe it would have been impossible for Barclays to increase its profits and or reduce losses from false reports without acting in collusion with other banks. According to the New York Times’ DealBook, HSBC, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase are among other Libor-setting banks being investigated. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the EU Competition Commission views the collusion as “a cartel arrangement.” Investigators say two motives influenced Barclays’ manipulation of the Libor rate. E-mails throughout the four-year period show bank traders brazenly requesting bank executives’ help in forestalling an anticipated move in the Libor rate to protect profits from a particular trading position, then thanking those executives, saying things like, “Dude. I owe you big time!”

Then, as the financial crisis of 2007-2008 evolved, the banks had institutional incentives to manipulate the rates. When the Libor rate is published, the individual banks’ submissions are published along with it. The bankers knew that investors, analysts and regulators could use that information to gauge each bank’s financial health during the financial crisis beginning in 2008. Quoting a lower borrowing rate conveyed that the bank had more reserves than it really had, and tended to boost Barclays’ stock price at a time when reserves were thin.

Much still remains to be discovered about both the scandal itself and its effects on the economy, leading into and following the Wall Street collapse. At this point, it is unclear who the winners and losers were, but it is possible that some of the financial institutions preparing to sue for losses will learn, when all the facts are known, that the unplanned effect of Libor manipulation was to improve their financial positions.

The biggest cost to be borne by businesses and investors is arguably going to be destroyed confidence in the banking system, and in the leadership of the major banks. As many commentators have noted, the Barclays’ emails show major, respected institutions infected with greed – a dramatic change from the staid image of bankers as risk-averse professionals who cared about the soundness of their banks above all. The banks were permitted to establish Libor, a crucially important benchmark for capital, without any regulatory oversight only because every financial entity that used Libor as a benchmark for pricing loans assumed the world’s leading bankers could be trusted. That presumption of trustworthiness is gone, but it is uncertain what can replace it. ••• John Stodder is national affairs correspondent for The Mississippi Business Journal. Source article:- MBJ Business blog

Friday, 10 August 2012

UK trade deficit hits record high as exports sink


BRITAIN’S trade deficit hit a record high in June, as exports tumbled during a month in which economic activity was disturbed by the Queen’s Jubilee. The trade gap widened to £4.3bn in June, up from £2.7bn in May, as shipments of goods collapsed by 8.4 per cent. Exports of services rose 1.7 per cent, failing to offset the slump in goods shipments. Services produced a surplus of £5.8bn, while the trade in goods registered £10.1bn shortfall. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said June was affected by May’s bank holiday being moved back a month, coupled with events surrounding the Queen’s Jubilee. For the second quarter, exports fell 3.3 per cent from their level a quarter earlier (excluding oil and erratic items). Imports slipped by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter, suggesting that economic troubles are taking their toll on trade. “Looking through the monthly volatility, it is clear that the Eurozone woes are having a major impact on our exporters,” said Mark Gregory, Ernst & Young’s chief economist. “Export volumes to EU countries fell by 3.7 per cent in the three months to June, in contrast to a fall of 2.4 per cent to non-EU countries.” Exports to France crashed by £269m in June, by £233m to the Netherlands, and by over £100m to both Italy and Spain. Bucking the trend, exports to Germany rose by £109m. “In the short-term the outlook for exports remains fragile,” Gregory added.
Source Article:- City AM

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Through the Ages


Alfred Rosenberg
The Track of the Jew through the Ages
Translated with Notes and Introduction by Alexander Jacob
Historical Review Press, 2012


English language translations of any of Alfred Rosenberg’s works are going to be of value to scholars and laymen with an interest in the Third Reich or the philosophy of National Socialism. This volume is of particular interest because it is Rosenberg’s first published work as a refugee from Bolshevism, who fled his native Estonia to Germany, having seen a great deal of the excesses of the Jewish champions of the Russian proletariat.

This adds significantly to the small corpus of Rosenberg literature available in English. Other volumes available from Historical Review Press, are: Alfred Rosenberg’s Political Essays (also translated by Dr. Jacob); and his philosophical magnum opus, The Myth of the Twentieth Century. Dr. James B. Whisker’s The Philosophy of Alfred Rosenberg was published by Noontide Press in 1990 and has valuable material particularly on Rosenberg’s religious world-view. Selected Writings of Alfred Rosenberg, part of the “Roots of the Right” series (London: Jonathan Cape, 1971) has a collection of essays on religion, history, culture, race, Jews, and Rosenberg’s State-conception. The Memoirs of Alfred Rosenberg is worth reading, written while awaiting lynching at Nuremberg for thought-crime. This can be read online at:

http://archive.org/details/NoneRosenbergMemoirs

Another good source, Barbara Lane and Leila Rupp’s translations in Nazi Ideology Before 1933: A Documentation (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1978), includes articles by Rosenberg on “The Russian Jewish Revolution” (1919), “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Jewish World Policy,” an extract from a 1923 book on The Protocols; and “The Folkish Idea of State,” an extract from a 1924 book by Rosenberg.

From a historical perspective The Track of the Jews shows the sources from which Rosenberg derived his ideological anti-Semitism: his encounter with Jewish Bolsheviks in Russia. Dr. Jacob states that Rosenberg was already in Germany in 1918 and had joined the German Workers Party in 1919, several months prior to Hitler.

At 26, Rosenberg’s mentor in Germany was the well-known dramatist Dietrich Eckart, who was also to mentor Hitler. Rosenberg’s first work as a writer and editor was for Eckart’s periodical, Auf gut Deutsch, then for the NSDAP newspaper Münchener Beobachter, purchased by the party from the Thule Society in 1920. After Eckart’s death in 1923, Rosenberg assumed an editorial role (Jacob, p. i.).

In 1933, Rosenberg became head of the foreign political department of the party and in 1934 headed philosophical education within the NSDAP. In 1941, with the invasion of the USSR, he was appointed Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. (Jacob, p. ii.), and was to take fatal responsibility — at Nuremberg — for the half-witted Slavophobic policy of the Third Reich in the Eastern Territories, despite his resistance to it.

Despite the ministerial appointments and party roles, Rosenberg, I think it fair to say, was one of those sincere idealists, like the economist Gottfried Feder and the agricultural minister Walther Darré, who was sidelined in favour of careerists, opportunists, and functionaries. However, like Julius Streicher, who welded little or no influence under the Third Reich, Rosenberg’s reputation as the NSDAP philosopher alone would have assured his lynching at Purim 1946 (as Streicher described it). His own disillusionment with the way National Socialism was applied under the Third Reich, with the ascendancy of opportunists, is recounted in his memoirs.

What, however, of the content of The Track of the Jew? At first glance one might get the impression that it is standard anti-Semitic fare and has nothing to say other than what is repeated over the Internet a million times and often in maniacal ways. However, Rosenberg applies his scholarly discipline to present a volume that is thoroughly documented, not overstated, not fanatical in presentation, drawing mainly from Jewish sources. This is augmented by Dr. Jacob’s many footnotes, accompanying those of Rosenberg, that explain the significance of each personality.

Rosenberg states that Jews are a race, and he concedes no positive traits them. He establishes a dichotomy between the Germanic and the Semitic that is metaphysical and biological. The Jews are Semites, and their religious fanaticism and intolerance is a reflection of the Semitic race, which includes the Arabs and Islam.

Much of the volume is devoted to a study of the Jewish religion, especially the Talmud. Rosenberg frequently reminds his readers that the Jew is not the product of the Talmud, but vice-versa. The Talmud is examined under the heading “The Jewish Mind.” Rosenberg carefully documents a bizarre penchant for hair-splitting over doctrinal details, which brings to mind Marxist doctrinal interpretation. In the past, such discussions were indignantly denounced as “anti-Semitic lies” about Judaism. Now we have books by heretical Jews such as Dr. Israel Shahak (Jewish History, Jewish Religion, and Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel) and Evelyn Kaye (The Hole in the Sheet) that confirm these claims.

Of particular interest are the details on usury. Jews were not only welcomed into states throughout history but were accorded privileges under law far above those of Christian subjects. Jews were granted the rights to be judged under their own laws by their own authorities, even to the point of exempting them from Christian judgements and testimony. According to Rosenberg, usury, privileges, the crass display of wealth, and undisguised hatred of Christ were the causes of anti-Semitism. These contentions broadly align with what the Jewish writer Bernard Lazare stated a few decades earlier his book Antisemitism.

One learns, for example, that Jews were originally permitted membership in the craft guilds, and much effort was made by Christian rulers to assist the Jews into taking up crafts and agriculture, with little success. Eventually they even started giving up haggling in the markets and focused on usury. The many laws that were passed against this parasitism were of little avail, and the princes and bishops found themselves in hock to Jewish money-lenders, who were so arrogant as to enter churches during communion to collect their interest.

In France under Louis IX, interest rates were set, for example, at 40%. However, such laws were circumvented. (Rosenberg, p. 78). Under Charles VII (1388) they had been permitted to take 80% at compound interest. “And when a loud murmuring went through the people, the king passed an edict according to which the Jews were protected from all complaints for ten years” (Rosenberg, p. 80). In 1394 an incident, which Rosenberg states was of itself unimportant, sparked a reaction against Jewish usury, and they were driven out of France (Rosenberg, p. 81).

The revelations regarding the character of the Talmud were primarily from Jewish converts to Christianity. However, Rosenberg states that even here the intolerance of the Jewish character was merely grafted onto the Church, and the most fanatical Inquisitors were Jewish converts. This reflects Rosenberg’s sympathy for heretical Christian sects, discussed in more detail in Dr. Whisker’s Philosophy of Alfred Rosenberg, and his anti-Catholicism, despite the Church being the primary — albeit often insufficient — bastion against Judaization.

However, Rosenberg alludes in the Track of the Jew to the thoroughly non-Jewish person and doctrine of Christ, and the demand that the New Testament must be divorced from the Old. He documents the Talmudic teachings that Christ was the son of a whore who is in hell stuck in excrement, and so forth. If read elsewhere, one would assume them to be the rantings of a Satanist. Again, there is no serious doubt as to the authenticity of these teachings among Orthodox Jewry.

Rosenberg devotes a great deal of attention to Freemasonry. The cosmopolitan doctrines of Masonry were inherently at odds with National Socialism or any doctrine that upholds national values. It was the largely Masonic revolution in France that opened the doors to Jews that had been closed since their excesses in Medieval times. Jews entered Masonry like they were soon to enter the socialist movements. Whether Masonry is nothing more than a Jewish tool is another matter. However, Masonic doctrines were certainly well-adapted to subverting traditional societies in favor of the new dispensation under which live today, and Jews used Masonry to great advantage. Masonry and the revolutionary movement converged in the French Revolution, then in the Young Europe movement of Mazzini et al. (Rosenberg, p. 112). (A more specific account of Masonry’s role in Marxism, including Marx’s own Masonic affiliations, is a matter documented by this reviewer in a forthcoming Arktos book.)

Rosenberg’s account of Adolph Cremieux’s Alliance Universlle Israélite as an example of Jewish philanthropy as a political force (p. 116) would have benefitted from a discussion of The Protocols of Zion, which is not mentioned at all in The Track of the Jews. Rosenberg would have known of The Protocols at this time, as they had been introduced to Germany by Russian émigrés in 1918. However, they were not published in a German edition until 1920. Rosenberg did devote a book to the subject in 1923. (To digress somewhat, despite the offhanded way by which The Protocols are dismissed as a “Czarist forgery,” under other circumstances an anonymous letter to the London Times would not be sufficient to “prove” anything. If The Protocols are similar to a satirical work by the French propagandist Joly, then perhaps this is because Joly was a protégée of Cremieux, who was not only head of the Alliance Universlle Israélite, but of Grand Orient Masonry and other Orders linked to Martinism and the Illuminati.)

Zionism is discussed only briefly by Rosenberg (pp. 128–35), as is the Bolshevik Revolution (pp. 135–44). Perhaps, however, like The Protocols of Zion, Rosenberg thought that extended discussions of such subjects were best left for other times and places. What is surprising is that Rosenberg grants nothing positive to Czarism, and feels that revolution against the Czar was justified, albeit a calamity because it had been taken over by Jewish interests. Jewry at the time had no greater enemies than the Church and the Czar, and the latter was — and continues to be — vilified by sources that, in the English-speaking world, began with Jacob Schiff funding of an American journalist, George Kennan, to do a popular hatchet job on Czarism.

Rosenberg concludes the volume with a philosophical or, better yet, a metaphysical discussion of the gulf between the Jewish and the German mentalities and how this manifests in culture. He focuses for this purpose on a critical evaluation of Heinrich Heine.

In conclusion Rosenberg makes some recommendations on how to deal with the “Jewish problem.”

Rosenberg urges attacking the economic roots of Jewish power: :

The goals are clear, now briefly the means: Economically the Jew has acquired power through interests, usury, money. Earlier, directly, now through banks and stock-exchanges. The breaking of the finance slavery, a means that has not succeeded for so long, is sounded today again as a battle cry. If this could be achieved even only partially the axe would have been laid to the life-tree of the Jew. (Rosenberg, pp. 188–89)

Rosenberg also recommends denying Jews citizenship and civil rights in their host countries. He insists, however, on a distinction between “human rights” and “civil rights.” Much of what he recommends involves the abrogation of the “civil rights” of the Jews in Germany, while insisting that their “human rights” — namely the right to life – should be maintained, should they choose to remain in a state where all influence will be denied to them.

For Rosenberg, the ultimate solution to the Jewish Question is Zionism: “Zionism must be actively supported” to transport “a certain number of German Jews” to Palestine (Rosenberg, p. 189). Whether Rosenberg supported a Jewish state within Palestine, a Jewish-dominated Palestine as per present day Israel, or some other arrangement, is not stated. Whatever the case, he shows little sympathy to the Jews’ fellow Semites. Thus on Rosenberg’s account, German Nazism had much in common Jewish Nazism (Zionism).

Kerry Bolton

http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/08/through-the-ages/#more-29481

Standard Chartered shares tumble



August 7, 2012

Shares in Standard Chartered tumbled as much as 20 per cent in morning trading after the New York State financial regulator accused the UK merchant bank of hiding $250bn of transactions with the Iranian government.

The New York state Department of Financial Service claimed on Monday that the bank had concealed about 60,000 transactions with Iranian clients from US regulators, violating sanctions against the Iranian government, and labelled the UK bank a “rogue institution”.

StanChart’s shares dived on fears that the bank could lose its clearing licence for US dollars, which could wipe 30-40 per cent off the group’s earnings, according to analysts at Sanford C Bernstein.

“If you lose your US dollar clearing permission, you cannot be a wholesale bank in Asia. If you lose that licence, you cannot be a trade bank,” said Chirantan Barua, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein.

Other analysts thought it unlikely that StanChart would be stripped of its clearing licence. “It’s difficult to think that the bank could lose its licence, but you can’t rule it out,” said Chintan Joshi, at Nomura, which downgraded the bank from “buy” to “neutral” on Monday night.

StanChart, led by chief executive Peter Sands, issued a trenchant rebuttal to the US regulator, claiming that the DFS did not present “a full and accurate picture of the facts”.

The statement said: “As we have disclosed to the authorities, well over 99.9 per cent of the transactions relating to Iran complied with the U-turn regulations [which enable non-US countries to trade with Iran using dollars]. The total value of transactions which did not follow the U-turn was under $14m.”

The drop in its London share price accelerated losses on Standard Chartered’s dual listing in Hong Kong, with the group’s fall more than doubling after the London open.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Chinese territory’s banking regulator, said it was “reviewing the order concerning the Standard Chartered Bank issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services, to see if there are issues that have relevant implications for Hong Kong”.

The Financial Services Authority in London could not be reached for comment.

Shares in the group were down 16 per cent at £12.31 just before 9am.

By Duncan Robinson
Financial Times

Friday, 27 July 2012

Bank secrecy masks a world of crime and destruction



The Observer, Sunday 22 July 2012

Banks seem willing to exploit the loopholes found in tax havens and it’s costing the British taxpayer dear.

Last week’s US Senate report into industrial-scale money laundering at banking giant HSBC reads like a John Grisham novel. Terrorists vie with Mexican drug lords for a place in the report’s often breathless narrative that is as absorbing as it is alarming.

But while the headlines have been about cocaine cartels, the most troubling aspect of the Senate’s investigation is that the criminal, often violent, activities of the drug lords were facilitated by a byzantine, albeit legal, infrastructure that made tracking their activities near impossible.

This is particularly true of the subsidiary set up in the Cayman Islands by HSBC’s Mexico division that handled some 60,000 accounts. According to the report, the drug lords used these accounts to fuel their jet-set lives. But, staggeringly, HSBC’s oversight was so lax it knew nothing about who was behind 41% of the accounts.
This lack of transparency is troubling. Tax avoidance is big business. A report by the TUC found that the UK’s four largest banks – HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS – have some 1,200 subsidiaries in tax havens. At a time when the banks are in the dock following a spate of scandals that have exploded the arguments for “light-touch regulation”, the lack of oversight afforded by structuring transactions through tax havens threatens further scandals.

As we report today, new research by the campaign group Tax Justice Network suggests a global plutocracy has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary $21tn of wealth offshore in tax havens.

This gargantuan sum is difficult to comprehend, but it becomes more understandable at a parochial level. According to an earlier report by the PCS union, the Tax Justice Network and War on Want, the use of tax havens costs the UK taxpayer at least £16bn a year, double the annual budget of the Department for International Development.

That many of the tax havens depriving UK taxpayers of billions of pounds are crown dependencies and British overseas territories should be a subject of acute national embarrassment. It should also be a source of profound concern. Tax havens perpetuate wealth inequalities by depriving governments of legitimate revenues that should be used to address social problems. As Carl Levin, who chaired the Senate committee into the HSBC scandal, said: “Ultimately, the rest of us are forced to pay more on our tax bills to make up for those who shirk their taxpaying responsibilities.”

Tax havens also allow companies to avoid accountability through their opaque structures. And, as the Senate report highlights, by facilitating money laundering, they perpetuate criminal behaviour including corruption, piracy, terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, counterfeiting, bribery and extortion.
What is to be done? Experts suggest the UK should embrace a range of remedies, from pressing for automatic information-sharing agreements with other countries to increasing the level of corporate transparency in its own crown dependencies and overseas territories.

A publicly available registers of trusts – the vehicles commonly used for tax avoidance in tax havens – would also be a positive step. So, too, would a decision by the UK government to support “country by country” reporting, whereby companies are required to show the profits and the tax they pay in each country within which they operate, an accounting initiative that would encourage transparency and accountability and highlight when tax havens were being used.

Politicians must also step forward. Ed Miliband has made the right noises by calling for Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to reveal the identity of British tax evaders with money hidden on the islands. But more needs to be done to make more accountable those in the City who push tax havens. Highly remunerated executives must be held responsible for what happens on their watch in these often poorly supervised territories. For this reason, tax campaigners are pushing for a new law that recognises a crime of “wilful blindness”. Under this scenario, executives and their financial advisers would be held accountable if they failed to ask searching questions of those clients for whom they opened dubious accounts in tax havens.

Admittedly, what constitutes wilful blindness would be difficult for legislators to define. But HSBC’s chronic failure to know its customers in the Cayman Islands might just provide a definitive case study.

Source:- Observer - Editorial.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Kerry Bolton’s Revolution from Above


Alexander Jacob - London: Arktos, 2011

To those who suffer from the general malaise that is induced by American globalism today, Kerry Bolton’s new book provides a useful guide to the specific financial elites that have been directing geopolitics since the early twentieth century, beginning with the Jewish bankers Warburg and Schiff and continuing, through the CIA, with the American Council on Foreign Relations, the Institute for Policy Studies, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the foundations of Rockefeller, Ford, and Soros.

Carefully documented with references to the standard literature on these various bodies that constitute the present plutocracy of America, this work shows us how the American ambition to rule the world began indeed with President Wilson’s efforts, during and after the first World War, to end European imperialism and institute a new age of world-democracy. Wilson’s anti-imperialism also allowed America to work in sympathetic, especially financial, collaboration with the Bolsheviks during the first years of their reign of terror.

Indeed, the Cold War between American and Russia was begun only because the Bolshevik rule was transformed into a nationalistic dictatorship under Stalin and the pro-American Jewish communist leader, Leon Trotsky, was forced into exile from Russia in 1929. Since that time, America’s globalist aims have been tinged with Trotskyist internationalism and, as is well-known, even the so-called “Neo-Conservatives” of today are former Trotskyists who have transformed themselves into bourgeois capitalists.

Bolton maintains that most of the socialist revolutions of the world were simply used by the plutocratic elites to effect their own agenda of an international world order based on commercial exploitation. He devotes a lengthy chapter (Ch. 6: “Revolution from Above”) to show how the Americans supported the Bolsheviks during the Revolution and the Civil War that followed it because they hoped to achieve commercial gains from the Soviets that they could not have contemplated during the closed Tsarist regime.

The next chapters, in which Bolton demonstrates the “socialistic” techniques used by the oligarchic elites, are focused on the American leftist movements of the sixties that aimed, through feminism, drugs, and degenerate art, to destroy the family and all national authority as obstacles to the establishment of a world tyranny.

But these social evils had in fact been combated, successfully, for decades, by the Stalinist Soviet Union, which rightly considered the entire West as “decadent,” and it would have been useful if Bolton had highlighted this as indeed one of the reasons why America, in league with the Hungarian Jewish speculator billionaire George Soros, engineered the various Eastern European “color” revolutions that brought down the Soviet Union in 1989 and threaten the Russian Federation today.

Bolton goes on to show how even the “Arab Spring” revolts were, partially at least, products of secret American interventions in order to promote democracy and capitalism in the Middle East. While this cannot be denied given the fact that shady American organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute do operate in these vulnerable areas, it is less clear what the American elites that already supported moderate dictators like Mubarak in the past hope to gain by revolutions against the latter and by the installation of more Islamist governments in their place.

The final chapters consider the other internationalist agendas of today, such as family planning and global warming, that serve to facilitate the establishment of a world government. This world government, Bolton predicts, will be a “World Collectivist State” that is “communistic in organisation but run by oligarchs” (p. 251).

The question of how the Marxist notion of a collectivist workers’ utopia with a total aversion to private property was turned into a bourgeois one with monstrous acquisitions of private wealth is not specifically addressed. But we may infer from the conduct of the American Trotskyists who turned into “Neo-Conservatives” that Trotskyism was only used by the American Jews to counter Stalinism while they continued to pursue their own Jewish oligarchic ambitions. Indeed, a major fault of Bolton’s work is his failure to observe that the vast majority of the oligarchic organizations determining the agendas of globalism were, and are, predominantly Jewish. He also does not seem to have noted the chronological coincidence between the western cooperation with the Russian Revolution of October 1917 and the triumph of Zionism (itself a movement of international scope and ambition)[1] in the British Balfour Declaration of November 1917, both of which served as preparatory steps for the establishment of Wilson’s world-democracy.

Indeed, we may wonder whether the globalism that Bolton, as well as many others, rightly despises is not inextricably linked to Zionism itself and, when Bolton decries the “creation of a ‘World State’ built on the edifice of Mammon” (p. 8), whether it may not have been more pertinent to mention, instead of a god derived from classical mythology, the actual god of the Jews.

Another question that arises in connection with Bolton’s view of the globalist threat — namely, how capitalism, based on private property and individualism, can lead to a “collectivist” state — is more difficult to answer. Bolton attempts to do this by highlighting the interlocking institutions that have directed education in America towards an “international viewpoint” (p. 28) as well as the methods of indoctrination adopted by the American elite organizations that sponsored, first, abstract art, atonal music and jazz in the forties and fifties (under the guidance of the Jewish Marxist Theodor Adorno, the Institute of Social Research in New York and the CIA’s Council for Cultural Freedom) and, then, the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll revolution of the sixties.

Timothy Leary, the drug guru who was funded by the CIA, for instance, was not just a “hippy” but apparently sought to “set up new social forms” that corresponded to “the possibilities of expanded consciousness” (p. 121). The problem with such pleasure-indoctrinations (Aldous Huxley’s alternative to George Orwell’s indoctrinations of pain), however, is that they are not collectivist in any economic sense but only in a cultural one.

The danger of the American oligarchic world-rule today is, thus, no longer a problem pivoted on the old Marxist categories of collectivism and capitalism but rather one of the erosion of aristocratic social cultures by a universal proletarian one. In other words, whereas Marx focused mainly on the economic and social independence of the working classes, the American plutocrats used the Cultural Marxists to destroy the culture of all classes as a necessary condition of their international commercial gains and rule.

Bolton’s early reference (Chapter 2: “Plato: The Father of Collectivism”) to the collectivist aspects of Plato’s ideal republic is, in this respect, quite unfortunate since it seems to give the present Jewish-American world-order an excellent classical precedent. I feel obliged therefore to correct here this misleading impression. Plato’s ideal republic is, in fact, a eugenic one which is to be ruled by guardians who are “good and noble” and who unite in themselves “philosophy and spirit and swiftness and strength” (Jowett translation). The education of these guardians is aimed at controlling the intellectual and passionate aspects of the soul through a regimen of well-chosen music (as well as literature) and gymnastics. Particular care should be taken to see that the guardians do not “grow up amid images of moral deformity” which might allow them to develop “a festering mass of corruption in their own soul.” This is the very opposite of the education and art propagated by the oligarchic elites of the American world order.

As regards the equalization of the sexes, too, Plato takes care to first point out the differences between men and women: “all the pursuits of men are the pursuits of women also, but in all of them a woman is inferior to a man.” However, “those women who have such qualities [as those of the male guardians] are to be selected as the companions and colleagues of men who have similar qualities and whom they resemble in capacity and in character.”

The apparently “communistic” recommendation of the sharing of wives and children in Platonic eugenic republic is also restricted to the noble guardians of it: “’that the wives of our guardians are to be common, and their children are to be common, and no parent is to know his own child, nor any child his parent.” The reason for this is that guardians will therefore not stoop to base actions through envy. Since all guardians “have nothing but their persons which they can call their own, suits and complaints will have no existence among them; they will be delivered from all those quarrels of which money or children or relations are the occasion.”

The more important reason for the establishment of a communal life among the guardians, however, is to instil, from the top down, a common nationalistic feeling among all the citizens of the state. Plato’s cultivation of a national aristocracy thus has something in common with the National Socialist, Walther Darré’s attempt to create a new aristocracy in Neuadel aus Blut und Boden (1930), and also with the effort to preserve the integrity of the upper castes in the caste-system of India. It has nothing to do with Marxist, or modern Jewish American, notions of the equality of the sexes or of any economic cooperatives.

Besides, Plato’s political guardians are obliged to be philosophers, for they must always have in their minds the ideal of “another and a better life than that of a ruler, and then you may have a well-ordered State; for only in the State which offers this, will they rule who are truly rich, not in silver and gold, but in virtue and wisdom, which are the true blessings of life. Whereas if they go to the administration of public affairs, poor and hungering after their own private advantage, thinking that hence they are to snatch the chief good, order there can never be; for they will be fighting about office, and the civil and domestic broils which thus arise will be the ruin of the rulers themselves and of the whole State.” Aristocratic elevation is thus an indispensable Platonic political ideal and the entire eighth and ninth books of the Republic are devoted to a study of the inevitable ruin of nations that abandon timocracy (or aristocracy) for oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny (the chief characteristics of the present American world order).

We see, from Plato’s model of the development of states as well as Bolton’s revelations of the American oligarchic networks, that the destruction of the aristocratic rule of Europe at the end of the first World War has indeed driven the world into the hands of a primarily Jewish plutocracy that relentlessly works for “democracy” in order to establish its own “tyranny”. The reader of Bolton’s fascinating book should certainly be grateful to the author for having carefully unraveled the socio-political mechanisms of an anti-aristocratic oligarchy that can only rule the world by essentially destroying it.

Note

1. Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, for instance, remarked in his work on the projected Jewish state, Der Judenstaat (1896) that “The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.”

Monday, 7 May 2012

Pot heads may cause new Holocaust.

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/new-yorkers-seek-new-zionist-high-from-israeli-gas-mask-bongs-1.425809 It’s A Real Gas, Man I think this is a HOOT! The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports: “Israel has a shortage of civilian gas masks, but you wouldn’t know it from walking down Manhattan’s St. Mark’s Place, where the masks are on sale in half a dozen stores for a mere $25 each. The Israeli model 4A1 gas masks on display in the East Village — where storefront noodle shops bump up against vintage clothing stores — might not protect you from a chemical weapons attack. That’s because their protective filters have been removed and replaced with foot-long acrylic bongs meant for smoking marijuana. Ha’aretz goes on: “Gas mask bongs, used by pot aficionados to intensify the drug’s impact, started flooding American head shops about a decade ago, some insiders say. That is roughly around the same time that the Israeli government recalled millions of masks it had distributed to civilians during the 2003 invasion of Iraq that the United States led. It’s hard to say whether that timing is coincidental. But it is clear that the black gas masks with circular glass eyeholes, sold in American head shops, are authentic Israeli masks, down to the telltale rubber-triangle seal of Shalon Chemical Industries Ltd., the Tel Aviv-based company that makes all the civilian gas masks of Israel. ‘They’re the real deal,’ said Tony Lomeli, manager of RDD USA, a Los Angeles military surplus dealer that sells Israeli 4A1s for use as survival gear.” So—in light of the impending Israeli attack on Iran, the Jews in Israel are scrambling for gas masks, which may well be needed in view of the thousands of rockets and missiles that are pointed at the small country from all around it, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, etc. some of which this time might contain for real nerve gas and other chemical agents. But they’re short on masks—because some hebe spirited them out of Israel, converted them to marijuana-smoking bongs, and they’re now being sold in head shops in New York. I swear to God, you couldn’t make this stuff up! Back to Ha’aretz: “Though the masks themselves all look alike, the attached bongs vary. Some are long and straight, others end in a bubble. One mask-attached bong spotted in a display on St. Mark’s Place was shaped like a human face. Though the appeal of the gas mask bongs may lie partially in their spooky aesthetic, they are valued mostly for the way they force smoke into the lungs. The seal around the user’s face, designed to keep out chemicals during an attack, locks in the marijuana smoke, forcing the smoker to inhale it all at once. ‘It’s kind of a step above a bong,’ said Rick Cusick, associate publisher of the marijuana-themed magazine High Times. ‘It makes for a slam dunk kind of thing.’” So it’s just possible that while Israeli citizens huddled in shelters in Tel Aviv and Herzliya will be sucking in sarin or anthrax, their Brooklyn cousins will be sucking in reefer fumes through the masks that might have saved them, just to put a few shekels in some profiteering hebe’s pocket. Like, far out, man.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Community Security trust said jump - 'how high?' said May

The cool Mrs Theresa May is acting like a hothead New Labour’s first rule of government was a point blank refusal to be outflanked from the Right when it came to law and order. Theresa May leaves the Houses of Parliament after making a statement defending the Home Office's handling of the Abu Qatada affair By Peter Oborne Telegraph Every one of the great principles which for centuries have underpinned the criminal justice system in Britain came under attack: trial by jury, habeas corpus, free speech, even the separation of powers between executive and judiciary. Tony Blair, who had trained as a barrister, took the view that ancient liberties like a fair trial and the presumption of innocence belonged were Dickensian. He licensed a series of home secretaries, from David Blunkett to John Reid, to wage war on the judges, and undermined the judiciary’s standing and independence. It is greatly to the credit of Theresa May that when the Conservatives were in opposition she resisted this calculated populism and stood up for traditional liberties. Almost her first act in office was to put an end to ID cards, and early on she displayed a level-headed and unexcitable statesmanship of a kind that the Home Office had not experienced for many years. For some reason, Mrs May has “immatured” in power. The first sign that something was going wrong was when the Supreme Court sensibly ruled that sex offenders would be given the right to appeal against having to register with the police. Mrs May expressed outrage, announcing that she was “appalled’ by the ruling and would set the bar for appeals as high as she could. The came her hysterical call for the abolition of the Human Rights Act at last autumn’s Conservative Party conference, in the course of which she alerted her audience to the case of an illegal immigrant “who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat”. Embarrassingly for Mrs May, further investigation showed that her telling of the cat story was exaggerated. It turned out that the immigrant she cited, a Bolivian man named Camilo Soria Avila, did indeed own a cat. But his feline companion was only one factor taken into account by the immigration tribunal that allowed him to stay in this country on human rights grounds. A second example of Mrs May’s recklessness with the facts was more serious. It concerns Sheikh Raed Salah, a distinguished Palestinian politician, who was invited to address a meeting in the House of Commons. Mrs May banned the sheikh on the grounds that he had supported terrorism, had once written an anti-Semitic poem, and constituted a grave threat to public order. But, to the Home Secretary’s consternation, he was able to enter Britain unhindered last June. Sheikh Salah was imprisoned, and later detained under close house arrest. Earlier this month Mr Justice Ockelton of the Upper Immigration Tribunal found that the Home Secretary had been ''under a misapprehension as to the facts’’, that the sheikh did not hold the views she attributed to him, and that he represented no threat of any kind. More devastating, it now emerges that Mrs May made her decision on the basis of information provided by a single source, the Community Security Trust, an organisation that combats anti-Semitism in Britain. She appears to have made no serious attempt to check its allegations, and reached her decision in a matter of minutes. There are no two ways about it. Mr Justice Ockelton’s ruling, which received very little publicity, was humiliating for Mrs May, and damaging to Britain. It is important that we should be seen as a disinterested broker in the Middle Eastern peace process. To jail a distinguished visiting Palestinian on the basis of such limited testimony looks like evidence of bias. And now along comes the Abu Qatada affair, which threatens to pin down Mrs May as a serial bungler. To her credit she has resisted the temptation to deport Qatada immediately. When the appalling Conservative MP Charles Walker urged her in the Commons to press on without delay ''in getting this scumbag and his murderous mates on a plane and out of this country’’ the Home Secretary was dismissive. She very correctly insisted that, whatever her personal inclinations, she would respect the rule of law. Nor should she be blamed over the muddle over the date set for Qatada’s appeal. Mrs May has gallantly volunteered to shoulder the blame, but it is surely not her job to engage in such recondite technical questions as the difference between a legal month and an actual one. Her legal advisers should accept responsibility, if a mistake has been made, something that is not yet certain. Mrs May has not, however, displayed the cool, calm deliberation one would expect from a Home Secretary properly conscious of the gravity of her office. Lawyers for Qatada have asserted that he is liable to be tortured or, at the very least, convicted on the basis of evidence gathered under torture. This claim may be wrong, but it is a serious one. It was therefore disgraceful of Mrs May to exploit the prospect of Qatada’s imminent departure to his native Jordan as some kind of propaganda coup. There is a common calculation underlying the Home Secretary’s handling of Abu Qatada, Sheikh Salah and the cat at last year’s Tory conference. In each case Mrs May appears to have been extremely poorly briefed. She has acted in haste, without making sure of the facts, or even the lawful basis for her action. It may be she has been calculating that none of this matters. Mrs May is a renowned moderniser who once informed Conservative conference that the Tories must lose their image as the ''nasty’’ party. This modernising mission seems, in Mrs May’s mind, to involve an attack on the criminal justice system. Certainly New Labour gloried in its wars with the judiciary. It may have lost the fight in the courts, but it always won the battle of public opinion. Yesterday, the newspaper proprietor Rupert Murdoch arrived in Britain in preparation for next week’s Leveson hearing. For more than two decades his newspapers were openly hostile to the rule of law. They did not merely break the law themselves, but collaborated with Labour and Tory ministers in vicious battles against the judiciary, at one point threatening a ''name and shame’’ campaign against ''liberal judges’’ and other vulnerable minorities. Sometimes we may not like the decisions judges make, or the people they protect, but it is nevertheless important to recall the rule of law is at the heart of everything we are and do. It protects property, contract, freedom. Without it democracy is impossible. Every Home Secretary faces a choice between courting popularity and doing the right thing. Mrs May needs to return to the lucid rectitude of her early days in office.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

FABRICATING A "SMOKING GUN" TO ATTACK IRAN?

FABRICATING A "SMOKING GUN" TO ATTACK IRAN? Israeli Spies Disguised as Iranian Soldiers on Mission Inside Iran By Julie Lévesque Global Research, March 27, 2012 URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29981 A report published in The Sunday Times on March 25 suggests that “Israel is using a permanent base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch cross-border intelligence missions in an attempt to find ‘smoking gun’ evidence that Iran is building a nuclear warhead.” (Israeli spies scour Iran in nuclear hunt, The Sunday Times, March 25, 2012) Western sources told the Times Israel was monitoring “radioactivity and magnitude of explosives tests” and that “special forces used Black Hawk helicopters to carry commandos disguised as members of the Iranian military and using Iranian military vehicles”. The sources believe “Iranians are trying to hide evidence of warhead tests in preparation for a possible IAEA visit”. (Cited in Report: Israeli soldiers scour Iran for nukes, Ynet, March 25, 2012) The number of Israeli intelligence missions at the Parchin military base in Iran has increased in the past few months, according to the article. During that period, Tehran has been negotiating with the IAEA which had requested to visit Parchin. According to Iran's permanent representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, both parties had agreed in early February that the visit would take place in March. (Gareth Porter, Details of Talks with IAEA Belie Charge Iran Refused Cooperation, IPS, March 21, 2012) The IAEA requested to visit Parchin in late January and late February, after having agreed to a visit in March. The IAEA thus requested to visit the military complex exactly at the same time Israel was intensifying its secret operations to allegedly search for a “smoking gun”. A few years ago it has been suggested that Israel was the source of fake intelligence, a stolen laptop, related to Iran’s alleged nuclear program. The New York Times reported in 2005 on what was presented as “the strongest evidence” Iran was building nuclear weapons: American intelligence officials called the leaders of the international atomic inspection agency to the top of a skyscraper overlooking the Danube in Vienna and unveiled the contents of what they said was a stolen Iranian laptop computer. They presented them as the strongest evidence yet that, despite Iran's insistence that its nuclear program is peaceful, the country is trying to develop a compact warhead to fit atop its Shahab missile, which can reach Israel and other countries in the Middle East. (William J. Broad and David E. Sanger Relying on Computer, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran's Nuclear Aims - New York Times, November 13, 2005) In 2010, an investigative report suggested that those documents were fake: The warhead shown in the schematics had the familiar "dunce cap" shape of the original North Korean No Dong missile, which Iran had acquired in the mid-1990s [...] The laptop documents had depicted the wrong re-entry vehicle being redesigned [...] The origin of the laptop documents may never be proven conclusively, but the accumulated evidence points to Israel as the source. As early as 1995, the head of the Israel Defense Forces' military intelligence research and assessment division, Yaakov Amidror, tried unsuccessfully to persuade his American counterparts that Iran was planning to "go nuclear." By 2003-2004, Mossad's reporting on the Iranian nuclear program was viewed by high-ranking CIA officials as an effort to pressure the Bush administration into considering military action against Iran's nuclear sites, according to Israeli sources cited by a pro-Israeli news service." (Gareth Porter, Exclusive Report: Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent, Global Research, November 18, 2010). The fact that Israeli intelligence officers were on a secret mission in Parchin, dressed up as Iranians and driving Iranian military vehicles, while the IAEA was pressuring Tehran to visit that precise location, raises serious questions. The stated goal of those secret missions is the search for a smoking gun. The smoking gun allegations regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction have proven that such evidence can be fabricated and used to launch so-called pre-emptive wars.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Bloody Road From Damascus to Teheran

The Bloody Road to Damascus: The Triple Alliance’s War on a Sovereign State James Petras March 2012 Introduction There is clear and overwhelming evidence that the uprising to overthrow President Assad of Syria is a violent, power grab led by foreign-supported fighters who have killed and wounded thousands of Syrian soldiers, police and civilians, partisans of the government and its peaceful opposition. The outrage expressed by politicians in the West and Gulf State and in the mass media, about the ‘killing of peaceful Syrian citizens protesting injustice’ is cynically designed to cover up the documented reports of violent seizure of neighborhoods, villages and towns by armed bands, brandishing machine guns and planting road-side bombs. The assault on Syria is backed by foreign funds, arms and training.Due to a lack of domestic support ,however, to be successful, direct foreign military intervention will be necessary. For this reason a huge propaganda and diplomatic campaign has been mounted to demonize the legitimate Syrian government. The goal is to impose a puppet regime and strengthen Western imperial control in the Middle East. In the short run, this will further isolate Iran in preparation for a military attack by Israel and the US and, in the long run, it eliminates another independent secular regime friendly to China and Russia. In order to mobilize world support behind this Western, Israeli and Gulf State-funded power grab, several propaganda ploys have been used to justify another blatant violation of a country’s sovereignty after their successful destruction of the secular governments of Iraq and Libya. The Larger Context: Serial Aggression The current Western campaign against the independent Assad regime in Syria is part of a series of attacks against pro-democracy movements and independent regimes from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. The imperial-militarist response to the Egyptian democracy movement that overthrew the Mubarak dictatorship was to back the military junta’s seizure of power and murderous campaign to jail, torture and assassinate over 10,000 pro-democracy protestors. Faced with similar mass democratic movements in the Arab world, the Western-backed Gulf autocratic dictators crushed their respective uprisings in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The assaults extended to the secular government in Libya where NATO powers launched a massive air and sea bombardment in support of armed bands of mercenaries thereby destroying Libya’s economy and civil society. The unleashing of armed gangster-mercenaries led to the savaging of urban life in Libya and devastation in the countryside. The NATO powers eliminated the secular regime of Colonel Gadhafi and along with having him murdered and mutilated by its mercenaries.Nato oversaw the wounding, imprisonment, torture and elimination of tens of thousands of civilian Gadhafi supporters and government workers.NATO backed the puppet regime as it embarked on a bloody pogrom against Libyan citizens of sub-Saharan African ancestry as well a sub-Sahara African immigrant workers – groups who had benefited from Gadhafi’s generous social programs. The imperial policy of ruin and rule in Libya serves as “the model” for Syria: Creating the conditions for a mass uprising led by Muslim fundamentalists, funded and trained by Western and Gulf State mercenaries. The Bloody Road From Damascus to Teheran According to the State Department ‘The road to Teheran passes through Damascus’: The strategic goal of NATO is to destroy Iran’s principal ally in the Middle East; for the Gulf absolutist monarchies the purpose is to replace a secular republic with a vassal theocratic dictatorship; for the Turkish government the purpose is to foster a regime amenable to the dictates of Ankara’s version of Islamic capitalism; for Al Qaeda and allied Salafi and Wahabi fundamentalists a theocratic Sunni regime, cleansed of secular Syrians, Alevis and Christians, will serve as a trampoline for projecting power in the Islamic world; and for Israel a blood-drenched divided Syria will further ensure its regional hegemony. It was not without prophetic foresight that the uber-Zionist US Senator Joseph Lieberman demanded days after the ‘Al Queda’ attack of September 11, 2001: “First we must go after Iran, Iraq and Syria” before considering the actual authors of the deed. The armed anti-Syrian forces reflect a variety of conflicting political perspectives united only by their common hatred of the independent secular, nationalist regime which has governed the complex, multi-ethnic Syrian society for decades. The war against Syria is the principle launching pad for a further resurgence of Western militarism extending from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, buttressed by a systematic propaganda campaign proclaiming NATO’s democratic, humanitarian and ‘civilizing’ mission on behalf of the Syrian people. The Road to Damascus is Paved with Lies An objective analysis of the political and social composition of the principle armed combatants in Syria refutes any claim that the uprising is in pursuit of democracy for the people of that country. Authoritarian fundamentalist fighters form the backbone of the uprising. The Gulf States financing these brutal thugs are themselves absolutist monarchies. The West, after having foisted a brutal gangster regime on the people of Libya, can make no claim of ‘humanitarian intervention’. The armed groups infiltrate towns and use population centers as shields from which they launch their attacks on government forces. In the process they force thousands of citizens from their homes, stores and offices which they use as military outposts. The destruction of the neighborhood of Baba Amr in Homs is a classic case of armed gangs using civilians as shields and as propaganda fodder in demonizing the government. These armed mercenaries have no national credibility with the mass of Syrian people. One of their main propaganda mills is located in the heart of London, the so-called “Syrian Human Rights Observatory” where it coordinates closely with British intelligence turning out lurid atrocity stories to whip up sentiment in favor of a NATO intervention. The kings and emirs of the Gulf States bankroll these fighters. Turkey provides military bases and controls the cross-border flow of arms and the movement of the leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. The US, France and England provide the arms, training and diplomatic cover. Foreign jihadist-fundamentalists, including Al Qaeda fighters from Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, have entered the conflict. This is no “civil war”. This is an international conflict pitting an unholy triple alliance of NATO imperialists, Gulf State despots and Muslim fundamentalists against an independent secular nationalist regime. The foreign origin of the weapons, propaganda machinery and mercenary fighters reveals the sinister imperial, ‘multi-national’ character of the conflict. Ultimately the violent uprising against the Syrian state represents a systematic imperialist campaign to overthrow an ally of Iran, Russia and China, even at the cost of destroying Syria’s economy and civil society, fragmenting the country and unleashing enduring sectarian wars of extermination against the Alevi and Christian minorities, as well as secular government supporters. The killings and mass flight of refugees is not the result of gratuitous violence committed by a blood thirsty Syrian state. The Western backed militias have seized neighborhoods by force of arms, destroyed oil pipelines, sabotaged transportation and bombed government buildings. In the course of their attacks they have disrupted basic services critical to the Syrian people including education, access to medical care, security, water, electricity and transportation. As such, they bear most of the responsibility for this “humanitarian disaster”, (which their imperial allies and UN officials blame on Syrian security and armed forces). The Syrian security forces are fighting to preserve the national independence of a secular state, while the armed opposition commits violence on behalf of their foreign pay-masters – in Washington, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Ankara and London. Conclusions The Assad regime’s referendum last month drew millions of Syrian voters in defiance of Western imperialist threats and terrorist calls for a boycott. This clearly indicated that a majority of Syrians prefer a peaceful, negotiated settlement and reject mercenary violence. The Western-backed Syrian National Council and the Turkish and Gulf States-armed “Free Syrian Army” flatly rejected Russian and Chinese calls for an open dialogue and negotiations which the Assad regime has accepted. NATO and Gulf State dictatorships are pushing their proxies to pursue violent “regime change”, a policy which already has caused the death of thousands of Syrians. US and European economic sanctions are designed to wreck the Syrian economy, in the expectation that acute deprivation will drive an impoverished population into the arms of their violent proxies. In a repeat of the Libya scenario, NATO proposes to “liberate” the Syrian people by destroying their economy, civil society and secular state. A Western military victory in Syria will merely feed the rising frenzy of militarism. It will encourage the West, Riyadh and Israel to provoke a new civil war in Lebanon. After demolishing Syria, the Washington-EU-Riyadh-Tel Aviv axes will move on to a far bloodier confrontation with Iran. The horrific destruction of Iraq, followed by Libya’s post-war collapse provides a terrifying template of what is in store for the people of Syria: A precipitous collapse of their living standards, the fragmentation of their country, ethnic cleansing, rule by sectarian and fundamentalist gangs, and total insecurity of life and property. Just as the “left” and “progressives” declared the brutal savaging of Libya to be the “revolutionary struggle of insurgent democrats” and then walked away, washing their hands of the bloody aftermath of ethnic violence against black Libyans, they repeat the same calls for military intervention against Syria. The same liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists who are calling on the West to intervene in Syria’s “humanitarian crises” from their cafes and offices in Manhattan and Paris, will lose all interest in the bloody orgy of their victorious mercenaries after Damascus, Aleppo and other Syrian cities have been bombed by NATO into submission. James Petras latest book ,The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack (Clarity Press:Atlanta2012)2ND EDITION

Saturday, 10 March 2012

What the Greek Rescue is Really About

What the Greek Rescue is Really About The Daily Reckoning Presents What the Greek Rescue is Really About Dan Denning In today’s Daily Reckoning, we’ll do something we can barely stand to do: we’re going to write one more time about Greece. If you can stand to read it, you may come to the same conclusion we reached. That conclusion is simple: what’s going on Europe has nothing to do with solving a debt crisis and everything to do with preserving a corrupt system based on limitless debt and growing government power. The sooner you understand that fact, the sooner you’ll be able to prepare for what happens next. There are two options for what happens next, and we’ll get to those shortly. First, though, doesn’t it strike you as strange that all of Europe can be brought to its knees by tiny little Greece? Greek GDP is just 2.4% of Europe’s GDP. In economic terms, Greece doesn’t matter. Its lack of growth or economic competitiveness shouldn’t be factors that can destroy Europe’s 13-year single currency experiment. Yet, Greece obviously does matter; otherwise the European financial markets wouldn’t be celebrating the latest €130 billion bailout that’s on its way to Athens. So here’s our question: Why do Greek finances matter to anyone outside of Greece? If you rule out the obvious things that don’t matter, that leaves everything else. Or as Sherlock Holmes was fond of saying, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” First, let’s see why the possible explanations for Greece’s importance to the world are actually impossible. Take the issue of debt reduction. As we wrote last week, the deal before Europe would reduce Greek debt to 120% of GDP by 2020. The IMF says that level is sustainable. Back in a universe where common sense prevails, you can see that the plan is a joke, at least in terms of debt reduction. A plan to reduce Greek’s debt to 120% of GDP...EIGHT YEARS FROM NOW...is not a serious plan about debt. Therefore, the plan cannot be about debt reduction. Will the plan make Greece more competitive in the long run? Well, probably not. In order to get more money by March 20th, the Greek Parliament had to agree to certain structural reforms. Some of those reforms might even be a good idea. But cutting the minimum wage isn’t going to be popular. And with Greek GDP shrinking by 7% in the fourth quarter, years of austerity won’t make Greece more competitive. The lifestyle of the Greeks will be destroyed and the debt will remain. Therefore, the plan cannot be about making Greece more competitive. Does saving Greece save the euro? Not at all. The euro would be better off without Greece and Greece would be better off without the euro. The Germans are even planning for a euro that doesn’t include Greece. With its own currency, Greece could default, devalue, inflate and start over. Argentina did it in the last 10 years. It’s not rocket science. Therefore, saving Greece is not about saving the euro. If saving Greece is not about saving the euro, and if it’s not about reducing Greek debt, and if it’s not about making Greece a more competitive economy...then just what IS it about? Well, now that we’ve rule out what’s impossible, let’s look at what’s left. Saving Greece means preventing a technical default...even though Greece has already defaulted in a real-world sense. So why is avoiding a technical default so important to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? The current plan certainly looks like a default. Under the plan, €100 billion worth of Greek debt would disappear, thanks to a debt swap agreement with private sector investors. The ECB has twisted enough arms to get creditors to accept a 70% haircut on their current Greek debt without actually calling it a default. And yet, bizarrely, Greece’s creditors could be forced to accept this not-a-default default losses recourse to the credit default insurance they purchased. That’s right; they might lose 70% of their capital and still be denied a payout on the default insurance they purchased. That would be like an insurance company refusing to honor a fire insurance policy because only 70% of your house burned to the ground. It gets kind of wonky here. But really, it’s about who gets to make the rules. To you and me and everyone else in the universe where common sense prevails, a non-voluntary 70% loss on your government bonds is a default. But you and I don’t get to decide what constitutes a credit default. That honour belongs to the International Swaps Derivatives Association (ISDA). The important thing to keep in mind here is that the ISDA is a trade group made up of banks and financial firms. Those are the firms that have the most to lose if Greek bonds default. It’s in the interest of the members of the ISDA that a non-voluntary credit event in Greece NOT be called a default. It gets even murkier here. The ISDA essentially represents the global banking system. In Europe, the banking system is full of government bonds. Those bonds are nominally assets. If Greece defaults, it sets a precedent for how other countries might deal with unsustainable debt levels. This imperils the collateral of Europe’s entire banking system. If you want to put it in simpler terms, let’s say that Europe’s banking system is full of rotting meat. Some investors bought that meat thinking they were going to get prime rib. But they can smell the stink of the meat from a mile away. They want to be compensated for the bad meat. The ISDA, which owns the freezer in which the meat went bad, says, “Well, we’ve decided the meat isn’t bad after all. And you have less of it than you thought anyway, as of now.” This is a crude analogy. But this is exactly what happened last week. A “determinations committee” of the ISDA ruled that Greece’s default is not a default. The committee determined that “no credit event has yet occurred” for holders of credit default protection on Greece. You can see the basic problem: everyone else knows that if Greece defaults (officially), the value of other government bonds in Spain and Italy and Portugal will plummet too. A Greek default wouldn’t be important because of the size of the default (although French and German banks would stand to lose a fair bit). It would be important because it would begin the process of blowing up bank balance sheets all over Europe. When you realize that the ISDA and the ECB and the EU are in league to save their financial skins, you realize that the Greek rescue plans is about preventing other countries from realizing that default is an option. In fact, it’s not even about preventing the realization. It’s about making it impossible for a country to default on its obligations...even if it means erasing the word “default” from the English language. If the centralized European Welfare State model is to survive, banks must not take losses on their government bond holdings. Individual and private investors, on the other hand, will be forced to take losses through a “collective action clause.” This clause allows your securities to be revalued without your consent if a majority of other bondholders agree to it. Now we’re coming to the real nuts and bolts of what’s at stake. The technocrats in Europe are at war with private investors. The members of the ISDA are in league with the technocrats to preserve their system. That part is easy to understand. The technocrats are employed by government and get to spend your money. This system is good for them. It’s good for the members of the ISDA too. Loaning money to the government is good business. Collecting rent off the expansion of credit is easy money. They want the system to last as well. Who is the system not good for? Everybody else who’s on the outside looking in. Investors who want their capital to be productive are out of luck. And taxpayers who question the value of austerity measures and debt reduction plans that don’t really reduce debt are also out of luck. No wonder they are angry. We’ve come a long way, then. Greece isn’t about saving Greece. The only reason something so small and insignificant could matter so much is that it matters in a way no one is willing to say. It’s about the subversion of sovereignty and democratic processes by removing decisions from people and giving them to trans-national financial elites. It’s about preserving a global system that’s based on the accumulation of debt and growing government power because there are two groups of people who benefit tremendously from that system, even if most people don’t. This is simply the latest example of corrupt government operatives colluding with the financial elite to steal money, liberty and big chunks of “the pursuit of happiness” from “we, the people.” Regards, Dan Denning, for The Daily Reckoning

Thursday, 8 March 2012

BBC promotes guilt complex

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16942741 A link from BBC about survivor tales. Sounds believable if you are naive enough until she tells how the other Jews were ordered off the train and taken off to concentration camps, the date September 1938 !!!!! Mmmmm I think not, if your going to lie at least get basic facts checked. I can believe they were ordered off the train for a customs examination at the border, that was pretty normal in those days, and obviously the Reich wanted to prevent the smuggling out of large amounts of money and precious metals and the like, certainly not taking them off to KZ's Another story to heap on the guilt.