Secret Meetings of World's Top Bankers, US Drones Conduct Assassinations in Pakistan
Revealing News Articles
December 7, 2009
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on two secret meetings of the world's top bankers, US use of drone aircraft for illegal assassinations in Pakistan, continued use of a black jail by the US military in Afghanistan, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
G30, Ripe for Conspiracy Theorists
December 4, 2009, Wall Street Journal blog
If you want to encourage the kind of conspiracy theories that have prospered in the wake of last year's financial crisis – those that describe a secret cabal of elites running the world – try doing the following: Have a group of 30 high-powered economists, government officials and bankers meet under the auspices of an international group that shares ideas on how to run the global financial architecture. Have your Board of Trustees led by an influential former Federal Reserve chairman who's now working as a senior advisor to the president of the United States. Name the former vice chairman of bailout behemoth AIG as the group's Chairman and CEO (It helps that he [is] former governor of the Bank of Israel). Ensure that membership includes the likes of these: A former Treasury Secretary and president of Harvard who also now works as a top presidential economic advisor; Citigroup's senior vice chairman; a former IMF deputy managing director and the current governor of the Bank of Israel; and top representatives of the world's four most important central banks. Hold two days of closed-door meetings at the New York Fed. Do not publicize a list of attendees and leave everyone guessing about the agenda. These were the circumstances surrounding Friday's start to the 62nd plenary meetings of the Group of 30, whose formal name is "The Consultative Group on International Economic and Monetary Affairs, Inc."
Note: The article interestingly then goes on to claim that this secret meeting of the world's top bankers is not really anything to worry about, that they are really working for the public good. If so, why not have the meeting open and widely covered by the press? For many other revealing articles from major media reports on secret societies and secret meetings of the most rich and powerful people in our world, click here.
Public servants on $20m a year
December 3, 2009, BBC News blog
Twice a year, the chairmen and chief executives of Europe's biggest banks gather in secret. They meet under the auspices of a hush-hush club formed after World War II, whose operations are so mysterious that even the grandees who attend it seem unclear what it's really called. One bank supremo told me its name was the Instituts d'Etudes Financieres ... another that it went by the moniker IIEB. Either way, what I can tell you is that it attracts a pretty high calibre of banker - and that its last meeting was just a few weeks ago at the plush London hotel, Claridges, where the main item on the agenda was the topical question of bankers' bonuses. Present were ... Stephen Green of HSBC, Philip Hampton of RBS, Marcus Agius of Barclays and David Mayhew of JP Morgan Cazenove, and their counterparts from Germany, Italy, France and so on. Now, let's be clear: the idea that banks would ever collude to solve a mutual problem would be an outrageous and unwarranted slur. That said, they would dearly love a collective agreement to cease hostilities on bankers' pay, because they know there is a one-to-one correlation between each million pound bonus they pay and damage to their reputations. But although they explored whether they could reach an entente on capping bankers' pay, they abandoned the ambition as a hopeless cause. Why? Because they can't get the Americans into the room. So what is the going rate for RBS's top profit generators? Last year, when the bonus pool was �900m [over $1.3 billion] for the investment bank, several hundred of its executives earned more than a million pounds each. [This year] quite a number of its top traders will be expecting $10m plus.
Note: You can bet that the money for this year's bonuses is coming out of taxpayers' pockets through the huge bailouts. So here is yet another secret meeting of the world's top bankers not being reported in the major media except for this BBC blog. For many other revealing articles from major media reports on secret societies and secret meetings of the most rich and powerful people in our world, click here.
Lending Declines as Bank Jitters Persist
November 25, 2009, Wall Street Journal
U.S. lenders saw loans fall by the largest amount since the government began tracking such data, suggesting that nervousness among banks continues to hamper economic recovery. Total loan balances fell by $210.4 billion, or 3%, in the third quarter, the biggest decline since data collection began in 1984, according to a report released ... by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The FDIC also said its fund to backstop deposits fell into negative territory for just the second time in its history, pushed down by a wave of bank failures. The decline in total loans showed how banks remain reluctant to lend, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars the government has spent to prop up ailing banks and jump-start lending. The issue has taken on greater urgency with the U.S. unemployment rate hitting 10.2% in October. "There is no question that credit availability is an important issue for the economic recovery," FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair told reporters Tuesday. "We need to see banks making more loans to their business customers." She said large banks -- which account for 56% of industry assets and received a large share of the government's bailout funds -- accounted for 75% of the decline.
Note: The big banks were given trillions in bailout funds with a mandate to increase loans and stimulate the economy. Why are they still giving out so few loans? Where did the huge amounts of our taxpayer money go? Why isn't the government demanding accountability with such huge sums of taxpayer money? For lots more on major manipulations by the big bankers, click here.
Mark Pittman, Reporter Who Challenged Fed Secrecy, Dies at 52
November 30, 2009, Bloomberg News
Mark Pittman, the award-winning reporter whose fight to make the Federal Reserve more accountable to taxpayers led Bloomberg News to sue the central bank and win, died Nov. 25 in Yonkers, New York. He was 52. Pittman suffered from heart-related illnesses. "He was one of the great financial journalists of our time," said Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics. "His death is shocking." A former police-beat reporter who joined Bloomberg News in 1997, Pittman wrote stories in 2007 predicting the collapse of the banking system. That year, he won the Gerald Loeb Award from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the highest accolade in financial journalism, for "Wall Street's Faustian Bargain," a series of articles on the breakdown of the U.S. mortgage industry. Pittman's push to open the Fed to more scrutiny resulted in an Aug. 24 victory in Manhattan Federal Court affirming the public's right to know about the central bank's more than $2 trillion in assistance to financial firms.
Note: To see a one-minute video of mind-blowing US Congressional testimony on a CIA dart gun which can easily cause a heart attack, click here. The poison from this gun is undetectable on autopsy. Could such a weapon be used by the rich and powerful bankers who might want to silence someone who threatens literally billions of dollars of profits, someone like Mark Pittman?
C.I.A. to Expand Use of Drones in Pakistan
December 4, 2009, New York Times
The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.'s drone program in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas. More C.I.A. drone attacks have been conducted under President Obama than under President George W. Bush. The political consensus in support of the drone program ... and its secrecy have obscured just how radical it is. For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for killing in a country where the United States is not officially at war. The drone warfare pioneered by the C.I.A. in Pakistan and the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan is the leading edge of a wave of push-button combat that will raise legal, moral and political questions around the world, said P. W. Singer, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and author of the book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century. So far, only the United States and Israel have used the planes for strikes, but that number will grow. It is impossible to judge whether the program violates international law without knowing whether Pakistan permits the incursions, how targets are selected and what is done to minimize civilian casualties.
Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities behind the "war on terror," click here.
Release of secret reports delayed
November 29, 2009, Boston Globe
President Obama will maintain a lid of secrecy on millions of pages of military and intelligence documents that were scheduled to be declassified by the end of the year. The missed deadline spells trouble for the White House's promises to introduce an era of government openness, say advocates, who believe that releasing historical information enforces a key check on government behavior. They cite as an example the abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War, including domestic spying and assassinations of foreign officials, that were publicly outlined in a set of agency documents known as the "family jewels." The White House has given the agencies ... an extension beyond Dec. 31 of an undetermined length - possibly years. It will be the third such extension: Clinton granted one in 2000 and Bush granted one in 2003. The documents, dating from World War II to the early 1980s, cover the gamut of foreign relations, intelligence activities, and military operations. The records in question are held by the Central Intelligence Agency; the National Security Agency; the departments of Justice, State, Defense, and Energy; and other security and intelligence agencies. None of the agencies involved responded to requests for comment. Steven Aftergood, a specialist on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington [said] "If binding deadlines can be extended more or less at will, then any new declassification requirements will be similarly subject to doubt or defiance."
Note: These documents are all more than 25 years old. Why can't the public know what their government is trying to hide from them? For lots more on government secrecy, click here.
Afghans Detail Detention in 'Black Jail' at U.S. Base
November 29, 2009, New York Times
An American military detention camp in Afghanistan is still holding inmates ... without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The site, known to detainees as the black jail, consists of individual windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day. Former detainees said that their only human contact was at twice-daily interrogation sessions. While Mr. Obama signed an order to eliminate so-called black sites run by the [CIA] in January, it did not also close this jail, which is run by military Special Operations forces. Military officials said as recently as this summer that the Afghanistan jail and another like it at the Balad Air Base in Iraq were being used to interrogate high-value detainees. And officials said recently that there were no plans to close the jails. All three former detainees interviewed by The New York Times complained of being held for months after the intensive interrogations were over without being told why. Human rights researchers say they worry that the jail remains in the shadows and largely inaccessible both to the Red Cross and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Note: For many revealing reports from major media sources on the worsening threats to civil liberties, click here.
The Secret US War in Pakistan
November 23, 2009, The Nation magazine
At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus. The previously unreported program, the military intelligence source said, is distinct from the CIA assassination program. "This is a parallel operation to the CIA," said the source. "They are two separate beasts." Blackwater's presence in Pakistan is "not really visible, and that's why nobody has cracked down on it," said the source. Blackwater's operations in Pakistan, he said, are not done through State Department contracts or publicly identified Defense contracts. "It's Blackwater via JSOC, and it's a classified no-bid [contract] approved on a rolling basis. Some of these strikes are attributed to [the CIA], but in reality it's JSOC. So when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes."
Note: Don't miss this key report in it's entirety. Why haven't other major media outlets mentioned the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) drone operations in Pakistan, running parallel to the CIA's?
Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades
November 29, 2009, New York Times
With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs. Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare. There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times. In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. – Everytown, U.S.A. – nearly 40 percent of children receive aid. While use is greatest where poverty runs deep, the growth has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust.
Note: For more from reliable sources on the impacts and realities of the Wall Street financial crisis, click here.
A list for those who complain
November 29, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
In spring 2007, as one of many American air travelers who were inconvenienced when our names popped up on a federal "watch list," I never could get straight answers from my government. Was this a mistake, or was I being flagged for some reason? How many Americans were on that watch list? What were the criteria for getting on it? I filed my appeal with the Department of Homeland Security's Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP). The Department of Homeland Security received 75,315 requests for redress under the TRIP program as of Oct. 31. Of those requests, 49,826 have been adjudicated, 7,217 are under review, and 18,272 are awaiting supporting documentation, according to the DHS. "Absolutely, the system didn't work as well as it should have," said Suzanne Trevino, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration. Once an airline receives a passenger's control number, along with full name, date of birth and gender, that information is transmitted to the government for clearance. Fewer than 2,500 known and suspected terrorists are actually on the "no fly" list, according to Trevino. And less than 10 percent of them are Americans. [Yet] the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center has acknowledged that its watch list has more than 1 million entries of names and aliases representing about 400,000 people [with] with an average of 1,600 people who presented a "reasonable suspicion" being added every day.
Note: For many revealing reports from major media sources on the worsening threats to civil liberties, click here.
Health care lessons from Europe
November 29, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Critics point to Canada and Britain as the poster children of what could happen here with a "government takeover" of health coverage. But three other wealthy nations - the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany - offer much closer parallels, as well as lessons. Health care systems in the three nations more closely resemble the U.S. system of insurance-based coverage. Holland and Switzerland rely exclusively on private insurance, and all three rely on private doctors. The three European nations deliver universal coverage and world-class quality at a fraction of what Americans spend. All of them require that everyone purchase insurance, make sure everyone can afford it and ban insurers from such practices as refusing to cover the sick that are common in the United States. European health care is universal, but contrary to popular perception, it is not all nationalized. Most of Europe spends about 10 percent of its national income on health care and covers everyone. The United States will spend 18 percent this year and leave 47 million people uninsured. Europe has more doctors, more hospital beds and more patient visits than the United States. Take Switzerland: 4.9 doctors per thousand residents compared with 2.4 in the United States. And cost? The average cost for a hospital stay is $9,398 in relatively high-cost Switzerland and $17,206 in the United States.
Note: Maybe it boils down to whether we want our health controlled more by profit motive or by government bureaucracies One thing is for sure, the average U.S. citizen is getting much less for a greater cost than those in other developed countries.
Jung at Heart
November 12, 2009, Washington Post
Starting in 1912, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), a specialist in the treatment of schizophrenia, began to experience strange dreams and frightening visions. He ... concluded that he had entered what we would now call a midlife crisis, a period in which he was being compelled to reexamine his life and explore his deepest self. To do this, he ... began a remarkable visionary text, illustrated with his own bizarre paintings: The Red Book. This he composed during a state of "active imagination" -- that is, of reverie or waking dream. As he said, he wanted to see what would happen when he "switched off consciousness." When Jung emerged from this period of crisis, he brought with him the first inklings of his most important contributions to psychology -- positing the existence of a collective unconscious common to all human beings. Gradually, Jung also shifted the focus of psychoanalytic therapy. Early on he had speculated that our libidinal energies are either outer-directed or inner-directed, i.e., people are primarily extroverts or introverts. But this was just a beginning. Jung soon directed his clinical attention to the second half of life and to the process he called individuation. According to editor Shamdasani, "The Red Book" presents "the prototype of Jung's conception of the individuation process." In Jung's view a successful life was all about balance, wholeness.
Note: For more on the fascinating book about Jung's hidden life, read the New York Times article available here.
Moving towards a united Christianity
December 2, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
In the past two months, relations between the three main Christian churches have moved in more promising directions than perhaps during the past 50 years of uninspiring liberal dialogue. By opening a new chapter of theological engagement and concrete co-operation with Orthodoxy and Anglicanism, Pope Benedict XVI is changing the terms of debate about church reunification. In time, we might witness the end of the Great Schism between east and west and a union of the main episcopally-based churches. Indeed, when Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005, one of his first acts was to drop the title of patriarch of the west. Closer church ties will be greatly helped by concrete co-operation. Last week's Rome visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury has advanced Catholic-Anglican relations. Benedict emphasised the importance of Anglicanism in promoting the unity of all episcopally-based Christian churches. Significant was the fact both the pope and the archbishop spoke in favour of a different model of socio-economic development that does not rely exclusively on the state or the market. Rather, it accentuates mutualist principles of reciprocity and gift-exchange and the absolute sanctity of human and natural life which is relational, not individualist or collectivist. This shared social teaching is key in further developing concrete links and bonds of trust among Christians of different traditions. Moves towards church reunification are signs of a revivified Christian Europe, one which can use its shared faith to transform the continent and the whole world.
Note: In other inspiring religious news, a Protestant church in New York City held a "healing ceremony" with Native Americans to apologize for their decimation and dislocation centuries ago. For a USA Today story on this landmark news, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
The Lights Over Phoenix
March 22, 2007, CNN News
Ten years ago in Arizona's capital, thousands of people reported seeing a massive, v-shaped line of lights. Some government officials later said military flares caused the confusion. But Gary Tuchman spoke with one former governor who's now saying they didn't look like flares to him. GARY TUCHMAN, CNN REPORTER: Fife Symington ... was the Republican governor of Arizona for six years. FIFE SYMINGTON: If you had been here ten years ago, and looked at the lights and the view, you would have been astounded. TUCHMAN: Governor Symington is referring to what is now known as the Phoenix lights -- an object videotaped by many and seen by thousands over several nights in the Arizona sky in 1997. It was described by witnesses as larger than a football field and silent. The governor, a Vietnam Air Force veteran, had never publicly acknowledged seeing it until now. SYMINGTON: I suspect that unless the Defense Department proves us otherwise, that it was probably some form of alien spacecraft. TUCHMAN: So why didn't he say anything then? Partly he says, because he didn't want people to panic. UFO enthusiasts were not amused, especially since the governor was believed to have seen nothing. But now he's coming out. SYMINGTON: The lights were really brilliant. And it was just fascinating. It was enormous. It just felt otherworldly. TUCHMAN: Symington will be talking about this in an updated film about UFOs called 'Out of the Blue.' Governor Symington says he did tell his family, friends, and staff about what he saw early on. SYMINGTON: I still behind the scenes tried to investigate it, but I got nowhere.
Note: To watch this fascinating three-minute CNN broadcast, click here. For more on the intriguing Phoenix lights, click here. For lots more on the powerfully revealing UFO documentary Out of the Blue, arguably the best UFO documentary ever made, click here. Learn about dozens of top military brass who have publicly testified on a major cover-up of UFOs and more. For a two-page summary of this powerful witness testimony, click here.
The Umbrella Assassin
October 4, 2006, PBS
The investigation into the assassination of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, murdered with a poison-filled pellet shot into his leg (possibly with a converted "umbrella gun") at a bus stop in Britain in 1978, was the most unusual and significant case that medical doctor and forensic specialist Christopher C. Green participated in during his twenty year career as an investigative officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. The reason it was so unique, he says, is that "we had pretty much all of the story from a forensic point of view. We had the body, the thing in the body that he was hit with -- the pellet -- and the stuff from the pellet. We knew that the material used to kill him, ricin, had been under development by a foreign service linked to the incident. We also knew that he had been a target of assassination attempts in the past. The story of him being a target was very well known. So we had information on the means, motive, and the opportunity." In the Markov case, "we had 80 percent of the story," says Green, who is now a professor of diagnostic radiology and psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Wayne State University's Detroit Medical Center, where he uses brain imaging techniques to watch how the brain functions as people make decisions. His current work, he says, is a logical outgrowth of his service at the CIA -- where he still serves as a consultant. At the CIA, Green studied how the brain responds to chemicals and neurological agents.
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