Saturday, November 08, 2008

Masonic theory that put Knox in the dock

The Meredith Kercher prosecutor says she was the victim of a ritual crime. But has he been duped by a blogger?

By Peter Popham
Saturday, 1 November 2008

This has been a very good week for Giuliano Mignini, the balding, avuncular-looking 58-year-old prosecutor in the Meredith Kercher case. Assaulted from across the Atlantic by amateur investigators and “Free Amanda” agitators, opposed across the court room by some of Italy’s cleverest lawyers, he carried the day. Judge Paolo Micheli bought his whole package, sending one suspect, Rudy Guede, to jail for 30 years and committing Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for trial.

To the bitter disappointment of the two students accused along with Guede of killing their friend, he also refused them bail, warning that they “might kill again”.

Mr Mignini decided only a few days after Meredith died that the murder was the culmination of an orgy in which Amanda, Raffaele and one other person were involved. And in court on 19 October he explained in more detail what he meant.

The murder, Il Tempo newspaper reported him telling the court, “was premeditated and was in addition a ‘rite’ celebrated on the occasion of the night of Hallowe’en. A sexual and sacrificial rite ... In the intention of the organisers, the rite should have occurred 24 hours earlier” – on Hallowe’en itself – “but on account of a dinner at the house of horrors, organised by Meredith and Amanda’s Italian flatmates, it was postponed for one day. The presumed assassins contented themselves with the evening of 1 November to perform their do-it-yourself rite, when for some hours it would again be the night of All Saints.”

Mr Mignini saw the scene so clearly in his mind that he was able to describe it to the judge in detail: Meredith on her knees before the wardrobe, Rudy holding her immobile, Raffaele grasping one arm, Amanda in front of her, pricking her throat teasingly with the knife – until the blade in her hand struck home. “To prove it,” he told the judge triumphantly, “the only thing missing was a video camera in the room.”

Given such a weighty consensus, the outside world would be forgiven for sorrowfully shaking its head at the terrible things young people get up to these days. One would take for granted that Mr Mignini must have excellent sources – witness testimony, forensic findings, even confessions – for his shocking description.

The last place you would look for such sources, however, is in a conspiracy theorist’s blog. Yet that is where the theory of the sacrificial rite finds its fullest expression. In a blog posted last August, Gabriella Carlizzi, a prolific Roman blogger, claimed that Meredith’s murder had been ordered by the dark masters of an esoteric Masonic sect, the Order of the Red Rose, to which she thinks both Meredith and Amanda may have belonged.

“This is just my personal opinion,” she begins modestly, “and it may have no value to the investigators, but my research in America and England has reinforced my idea that this case must be interpreted from an esoteric point of view.”

Meredith and Amanda went to two universities, Leeds and Seattle, which “have become recruitment bases for Masonic orders, both deviant and non-deviant, and of Esoteric Schools,” she claims. These Schools brainwash their initiates into believing that it is right to offer “even the sacrifice of their own lives in a secret ritual, sacrifices often made voluntarily”.

Death, for these sad dupes, is no problem: they have become convinced “that life goes on after physical death, a barrier which, once overcome, allows them to cross the threshold of ‘mystery’ and ascend to the ‘superior ranks’ which rule humanity from beyond.”

Presuming that Leeds and Seattle host such secret organisations – Leeds is immediately suspect because of its rose symbol, even though it’s the wrong colour – and presuming also (because there is no evidence for it) that the two women belonged to them, the murder is easily explained: one of them had to die and the other had to kill, in a ritual of sacrifice. “It matters little which dies and which stays alive,” she explains. “What is of fundamental importance is the single motivation that both of them have ‘obeyed’ and of which both then become ‘victims’.”

Meredith’s murder, she concludes, is “a crime which has all the characteristics of a ritual culminating in human sacrifice, to which the victim may have submitted voluntarily.” Daringly, she also drags Meredith’s bereaved father into the scenario. “I ask myself if someone in Meredith’s family was aware of the presumed membership of the girl to the Esoteric School of the Red Rose.” Why so? Because “on the eighth day (you see the esoteric symbolism) after the death of his daughter... he left a single red rose (in her memory) in the cloister of Perugia cathedral.”

The similarities between the “human sacrifice” blog and Mr Mignini’s account might be considered a coincidence, except for the fact that Ms Carlizzi and the prosecutor know each other well. Ms Carlizzi has been giving unsolicited advice to criminal investigations up and down Italy for many years. The wealthy Roman wife of an architect, and a devout Christian, she was for years the disciple of a charismatic priest called Padre Gabriele. Gabriele died in 1984, and she claims has been sending her messages from the other side. “It’s he who lights me up with intuitions,” she explained to Corriere della Sera. “Then I investigate, I dig. And when I have concrete elements I go to the judges.”

No crime is too ghastly or notorious for her. Single-handedly, for example, she has succeeded in re-opening the Monster of Florence investigation, which lay dormant for years. For 11 years in the Seventies and Eighties, the city of Florence was terrorised by a serial killer who attacked lovers in cars at lonely spots in the surrounding countryside, shot or hacked them to death, then cut off and carried away the woman’s genitals and left breast.

The Monster of Florence was Italy’s most sensational criminal, the direct inspiration for Hannibal, Thomas Harris’s sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. And he drove Florence’s investigators crazy.

Ruthless, athletic, highly professional and deranged, he eluded them every time. When finally they managed to pin the crimes on a doddering old incestuous rapist far too short and slow to have committed the murders, few were surprised when the conviction was overturned on appeal. The Monster has never been found. And in Italy, which is a paradise for conspiracy theorists, that fact is an invitation to people like Ms Carlizzi to dream a little, and to hook up with her saint.

One day early in 2002, Ms Carlizzi telephoned a Florentine journalist, Mario Spezi, with a new theory about the Monster. The Order of the Red Rose was behind the crimes, she told him, but the Monster himself was a person who had completely evaded suspicion until now: a wealthy Perugian doctor, Francesco Narducci, who had drowned, through accident or suicide according to the courts, in Lake Trasimeno in 1985.

Ms Carlizzi told Spezi that Narducci had in fact been killed by the Order of the Red Rose, to which Narducci himself belonged, because he was about to expose its nefarious activities to the police. And to hide the evidence for the crime, another body had been substituted for the doctor’s, then dumped in the lake.

As a career crime reporter in Florence, Mr Spezi had a long familiarity with barmy conspiracy theories, and he thanked the lady kindly but said he was not interested in following it up. Ms Carlizzi was not discouraged and took her tale to Mr Mignini, who found it grippingly plausible. He alerted the Florentine policeman in charge of the Monster file, chief inspector Michele Giuttari, that at last they might be on the brink of solving the mystery, and the two of them went to work.

As Narducci had died 17 years before, the trail was stone cold, but forensic and other evidence seems to be of secondary importance in these investigations. What is required is a gripping story line – Gabriella Carlizzi’s speciality. According to Mignini and Giuttari, Narducci “had been murdered because he was a member of the satanic sect behind the Monster of Florence killings,” Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi write in their book on the Monster affair, entitled The Monster of Florence, published in June this year: “He had been named custodian of the grisly fetishes” – the breasts and genitalia of victims – “(but) shaken by the reality into which he had fallen, the young doctor became indecisive, unreliable, prey to depression, and difficult to trust. The leaders of the sect decided he had to be eliminated.”

Ms Carlizzi’s burst of heaven-sent illumination was thus bountifully endorsed – and meanwhile the hunt for Narducci’s “killer” goes on. And given the length of time that has elapsed – the last Monster murder was committed in September 1985 – no one can blame the investigators if their inquiry is stronger on ideas than solid clues.

Over in Perugia, however, Mr Mignini does not have quite that licence, as the crime happened just one year ago today. And when he told the court that “the only thing missing was a video camera in the room” to record the supposed sacrificial murder, he was not entirely correct. Also missing was a convincing weapon, any material evidence of the alleged rite, confessions, testimony by witnesses (by Rudy, for example, the West African found guilty last week, who had nothing to lose and much to gain by confirming the rite scenario) and evidence of previous involvement by the three accused in such behaviour.

Mr Mignini’s case against Knox and Sollecito rested on Amanda’s partial admission that she was in the flat when her friend died, later retracted; a carving knife found in Raffaele’s kitchen (too big to have been the murder weapon, say the defence) and some hotly disputed evidence of DNA at the crime scene.

Mr Mignini does, however, have the benefit of a cracking story. And in Italy that counts for a lot.

Behind the scenes: Conspiracy theorists

Giuliano Mignini

The Italian prosecutor took just days to decide that Meredith Kercher’s death was the murderous culmination of an orgy in which Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and one other were allegedly involved. Mr Mignini’s vivid accounts could land him in hot water as they appear to be influenced by the speculation posted by a friend, the prolific Roman blogger Gabriella Carlizzi.

Gabriella Carlizzi

Ms Carlizzi has posted a complicated and seemingly highly unlikely conspiracy surrounding Meredith’s demise involving Masonic sects, symbols and life beyond death. Mr Mignini and Ms Carlizzi have previously worked together and at one point convinced a senior Italian police officer to examine a conspiracy theory about the identity of the Monster of Florence, one of Italy’s most notorious serial killers.

A prolific writer on the internet and an all-round conspiracy |theorist, Ms Carlizzi has been giving unsolicited advice to criminal investigations up and |down Italy for many years. The wealthy, religious Roman believes a priest who died in 1984 lights her up with illuminations which she uses as a starting point for her investigations into some of Italy’s most heinous crimes. Her postings on Meredith Kercher’s murder, which she starts by saying are just her personal opinion, claim to be based on research in both America and England and conclude by suggesting Meredith’s death was a human sacrifice.


The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

By Andrew Malone
Last updated at 12:48 AM on 03rd November 2008

When Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing themselves after using GM crops, he was branded a scaremonger. In fact, as this chilling dispatch reveals, it's even WORSE than he feared.

The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father's body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home.

As flames consumed the corpse, Ganjanan, 12, and Kalpana, 14, faced a grim future. While Shankara Mandaukar had hoped his son and daughter would have a better life under India's economic boom, they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.

Indian farmer

Human tragedy: A farmer and child in India's 'suicide belt'

Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours earlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.

Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years' earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out.

There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on - they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless - as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.

Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.

As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. 'He was a loving and caring man,' she said, weeping quietly.

'But he couldn't take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.'

Shankara's crop had failed - twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India's ancient story.

But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.

Prince Charles

Distressed: Prince Charles has set up charity Bhumi Vardaan Foundation to address the plight of suicide farmers

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts - and no income.

So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.

The crisis, branded the 'GM Genocide' by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a 'global moral question' - and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.

Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning 'the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming... from the failure of many GM crop varieties'.

Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.

The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace 'the future' and follow suit.

So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the 'suicide belt' in Maharashtra state.

What I found was deeply disturbing - and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.

For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.

Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide - a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.

It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed.

Pro-GM experts claim that it is rural poverty, alcoholism, drought and 'agrarian distress' that is the real reason for the horrific toll.

But, as I discovered during a four-day journey through the epicentre of the disaster, that is not the full story.


Death seeds: A Greenpeace protester sprays milk-based paint on a Monsanto research soybean field near Atlantic, Iowa

In one small village I visited, 18 farmers had committed suicide after being sucked into GM debts. In some cases, women have taken over farms from their dead husbands - only to kill themselves as well.

Latta Ramesh, 38, drank insecticide after her crops failed - two years after her husband disappeared when the GM debts became too much.

She left her ten-year-old son, Rashan, in the care of relatives. 'He cries when he thinks of his mother,' said the dead woman's aunt, sitting listlessly in shade near the fields.

Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.

The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.

But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were 'magic seeds' - with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.

Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.

The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.

In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.

But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers' lives have slid back into the dark ages.

Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years - up to 17 million acres - many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.

Far from being 'magic seeds', GM pest-proof 'breeds' of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.

Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.

With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.

Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.

When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.

But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That's because GM seeds contain so- called 'terminator technology', meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.

As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.

Take the case of Suresh Bhalasa, another farmer who was cremated this week, leaving a wife and two children.

As night fell after the ceremony, and neighbours squatted outside while sacred cows were brought in from the fields, his family had no doubt that their troubles stemmed from the moment they were encouraged to buy BT Cotton, a geneticallymodified plant created by Monsanto.

'We are ruined now,' said the dead man's 38-year-old wife. 'We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.'

Villagers bundled him into a rickshaw and headed to hospital along rutted farm roads. 'He cried out that he had taken the insecticide and he was sorry,' she said, as her family and neighbours crowded into her home to pay their respects. 'He was dead by the time they got to hospital.'

Asked if the dead man was a 'drunkard' or suffered from other 'social problems', as alleged by pro-GM officials, the quiet, dignified gathering erupted in anger. 'No! No!' one of the dead man's brothers exclaimed. 'Suresh was a good man. He sent his children to school and paid his taxes.

'He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.'

Monsanto has admitted that soaring debt was a 'factor in this tragedy'. But pointing out that cotton production had doubled in the past seven years, a spokesman added that there are other reasons for the recent crisis, such as 'untimely rain' or drought, and pointed out that suicides have always been part of rural Indian life.

Officials also point to surveys saying the majority of Indian farmers want GM seeds - no doubt encouraged to do so by aggressive marketing tactics.

During the course of my inquiries in Maharastra, I encountered three 'independent' surveyors scouring villages for information about suicides. They insisted that GM seeds were only 50 per cent more expensive - and then later admitted the difference was 1,000 per cent.

(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is 'only double' the price of 'official' non-GM seed - but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by 'unscrupulous' merchants, who often also sell 'fake' GM seeds which are prone to disease.)

With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. 'We just want to escape from our problems,' one said. 'We just want help to stop any more of us dying.'

Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.

India's farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.

This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. 'I told him that we can survive,' his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. 'I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.'

But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children's schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.

Cruelly, it's the young who are suffering most from the 'GM Genocide' - the very generation supposed to be lifted out of a life of hardship and misery by these 'magic seeds'.

Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.

Civilian Inmate Labor Programs Are Now Mainstream.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Civilian Inmate Labor Program is a program of the United States Army provided by Army Regulation 210-35[1]. The regulation, first drafted in 1997, underwent a "rapid act revision" in January 2005; it provides policy for the creation of labor programs and prison camps on Army installations. The labor would be provided by persons under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Labor programs

Labor programs set forth by the Civilian Inmate Labor Program regulation involve the use of minimum and low security inmates from facilities under the control of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, with a few apparent exceptions for State-held and locally-held inmates, on installations controlled by the Army.

The regulation states that labor programs benefit the Army and the corrections facilities by supplying "a source of labor at no direct cost to the Army," giving "meaningful work to inmates" and alleviation to "overcrowding in nearby corrections facilities" and by making use of otherwise unused land and buildings.

The regulation indicates that the inmates could perform labor as allowed by 18 USC 4125(A)[2].

[edit] Prison camps

The regulation also sets forth policy for the creation of prison camps on Army installations. These would be used to keep inmates of the labor programs resident on the installations.

In January 2006, Kellogg, Brown and Root reported that they had received a contract from the Department of Homeland Security to expand ICE DRO facilities "in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."[3] A February news article comments that the "new programs" mentioned could include the Civilian Inmate Labour Program.[4] ICE has "joint federal facilities" with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.[5]

See also

External links

  1. ^ "AR 210-35 Civilian Inmate Labor Program" (PDF) (2004). Retrieved on 2006-03-09.
  2. ^ "18 USC TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE" (text) (2001). Retrieved on 2006-03-09.
  3. ^ Hunt, Katherine (2006). "KBR awarded Homeland Security contract worth up to $385M". Retrieved on 2006-03-09.
  4. ^ Parry, Nat (2006). "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'". Retrieved on 2006-03-09.
  5. ^ "Office of Detention and Removal (DRO)" (2006). Retrieved on 2006-03-09.
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Not Everyone Is Celebrating...

By Art Lady

I don't want to rain on anyone parade, but in the interest of truth, I'm forwarding this. We are dems, I'll admit it. We aren't celebrating.

It's pretty hard to shove the truth back into the can once it's been opened. Will most of the people we know who are celebrating and believe we had a real victory, still be celebrating if America continues to head down the path into a full blown police state? If the Patriot Act and other nefarious bills and signing statements put into effect by W and his gang of criminals remain in place, will everyone still be celebrating? If the effects and abuses of all this legislation continue to escalate, will people still be celebrating?

Before we were given a huge dose of the truth, and chose the red pill of truth over the blue pill of deception, we adored Clinton. We thought he was the greatest president we ever had, with the exception of JFK. Then we found out what he actually did while he was in office, we found out the true ramifications of NAFTA and other legislation he passed, which paved the way for ALL the deplorable fascist legislation and signing statements put into place by W. We found out about much nefarious legislation put in place over the last 100 years, without our knowledge, right under American citizens noses. Then we found out the Clintons are members in good standing of the Bilderberg Group, a secret society that is no longer quite so secret. What are government officials doing when they unlawfully attend the 'secret' meetings of secret societies, forbidden by our constitution and the Logan Act?

Why did Obama attend Bilderberg last summer? Clinton promised he would pass NAFTA at the Bilderberg meeting he attended in '91. This discovery was made via FOIA in black and white documents hidden in plain sight. It was the first piece of legislation he passed upon taking office. How many people are happy with the effects of NAFTA? Who's happy that most of our jobs and industry mysteriously left America? What promise did Obama make? What will he pass upon taking office?

What will it take for all those who are celebrating now to realize we have a one party political system consisting of democrats and republicans pretending to be a 2 party system? Who was it that started the erroneous belief which says: "we must vote for the lesser of 2 evils?" Who started the belief that only these 2 parties are viable? Why isn't the long standing popular belief something more along the lines of "We should vote our conscience, vote according to our hearts, our gut intuitive feelings and nothing else". Is it possible there are those invisible to us at the top of the pyramid who started the whole lesser of 2 evils belief? I received an email not long ago which said there are 50 girls to choose from for Miss America and the question asked was; "why don't we have 50 candidates running for President in population of 300 million? Damn good question!

Do we really want freedom? Do we have freedom or do we only have the choices provided to us by the select few? Where did our belief systems originate? Are they really ours or did they originate somewhere else and filter down? Do we want truth or ignorance? Do we want compassionate and honorable people in government and positions of power who are looking out for the best interests of ALL citizens, or do we want the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the Bilderberg Group, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Malta, the Trilateral Commission, the Council On Foreign Relations, the 'secret' sector of the military industrial complex and the many other 'secret societies' who are looking out for themselves and RULE from behind the scenes? No, we aren't celebrating Obama's win whether it's a real win or not. For the last 5++ years I've done my best to avoid feeling guilty for having brought a child into the Matrix we live in. Prior to that I did my best to avoid feeling guilty that we have a son with high functioning autism who we allowed to get the very vaccines that probably gave it to him.

Anyone ever wonder what the true message of the film "The Matrix" is really all about? I don't wonder anymore. Just as L. Frank Baum was desperately trying to tell us some 'truth' via his book "The Wizard Of Oz", so were those who funded the making of "The Matrix" desperately trying to tell us something. We got this piece of info from someone who knows the people who funded the film very well and knows WHY they did it. No, we aren't celebrating.

Because we try to live each day with a positive attitude and positive expectation, we do our best to never feel defeated no matter what. We're praying that truth, love, compassion, honor, honesty, education, empathy, awareness, and other attributes manage to push above the muck of illusion and delusion. We're praying these attributes will somehow light the way to true victory and shine through as we deserve them to. We are praying for this kind of true victory so our son and all future generations will be set free from the Matrix. We pray the majority of American citizens will chose to take the red pill too.

Obama: return to elite status quo

Larry Chin
Online Journal
November 8, 2008

The election triumph of Barack Obama and the return of power to the Democrats was a cause for a split second of relief, but not elation.

What the world learned is that it will not be subjected to a McCain-Palin presidency, which certainly would have ushered in horrors, violence, and insanity that likely would have dwarfed those of Bush-Cheney.

But the arrival of Obama as the new imperial figurehead of the Anglo-American empire is not a victory of, or for, the people. It will not signify a dramatic upheaval, in any way, and by no means is any sort of revolution at hand.

Nor is Obama’s ascendancy about “you.” It is about “them.”

This election was a necessary rotation of management, scripted at the highest levels of the Anglo-American elite.

The shifting of the deck chairs

The empire — bloated, sickened, and on the verge of systemic collapse from eight years of sucking on its own Bush-Cheney poisons — is retrenching for its own survival.

Eight years of Bush-Cheney delivered unprecedented power, control and trillions in loot. But in the end, the bottom-line results proved insufficient. Bush-Cheney did not make good on their promise to conquer the Middle East, secure all of the energy, and maintain American primacy. Their hubris and reckless arrogance has proven to be too big an international public relations nightmare to cover up.

Although the Republicans did steal millions of votes, as predicted and tracked by Bradblog, Black Box Voting, and Greg Palast. It became clear, as election night unfolded, that Obama would be permitted a win, encoded on Republican voting technology, and beamed across a corporate media that had already begun to favor Obama and the Democrats months earlier.

The “change” that a Barack Obama presidency will bring to America and the world will be one of style, not substance: a return to the centrist corporate globalism of the Clinton and Carter eras, complete with regurgitated Democratic Party elites from those administrations, and new neoliberal politicians touting similar ideologies.

Obama’s coming wars

As noted by Mike Ruppert and other seasoned observers, Obama is no savior, but the momentary pause offered by the imperial shift at the top has some value. It buys humanity some time. Time to prepare to face the worsening decline that Obama himself will oversee.

The velvet gloves will be slipped back over the iron fists, but the fists will still be wielded aggressively. Within months, the global conquest that Bush-Cheney started will resume under the vastly more convincing and adored Obama, who has consistently stated his intention to intensify the war in Afghanistan, and “kill ‘terrorists’” across the Middle East.

Many expect Obama to prove “how tough he is” immediately upon entering the White House, for political reasons.

Obama is also perfectly positioned to introduce wars justified by popular humanitarian pretexts, such as in Darfur and other energy-rich geography in Africa.

As written in the biting and definitive indictment of the Obama foreign policy promise by Michel Chossudovsky, The Democrats endorse the “Global War on Terrorism”: Obama “goes after” Osama, there will be no change of direction under Obama:

“9/11 constitutes for Obama the main justification for waging a humanitarian war in the Middle East and Central Asia. In this regard, his position does not differ from that of the Bush administration.

“Withdraw from Iraq, but remain in Afghanistan. Confront Iran, challenge Russia . . . Apart from the rhetoric of ‘bringing the troops home’ from war torn Iraq, which may or may not be carried out, what distinguishes the Democrats from the Republicans?

“A more articulate, knowledgeable and charismatic president?

“A more dignified and diplomatic approach to US foreign policy?

“An opportunity to the US ruling elite to ‘present a different face to the world that could revive illusions to its democratic pretensions, not only internationally but within the United States as well.’ . . .

“A spurious and counterfeit ‘humanitarian’ approach to Empire, which serves to mask the truth and gain popular support.

“A less reckless Commander in Chief, who has an understanding of geopolitics and is capable of taking foreign policy decisions. A more carefully thought out military agenda than that experienced during the Bush administration? But no substantive shift in direction.

“A means to quelling mounting dissent and opposition to the ruling corporate establishment by providing the illusion that the Democrats constitute a Real Alternative.

“A means to sustaining the illusion that African-Americans can move up the social ladder in America and that their fundamental rights are being upheld.

“A means to undermining real progressive movements by further embedding civil society organizations, trade unions and grass roots organizations, not to mention “Leftist” intellectuals into the realm of the Democratic Party.

“A distraction from the extensive war crimes committed under successive US administrations.

“A ‘human face’ to war and globalization?”

Obama will not only maintain the bipartisan Washington consensus “war on terrorism” deception, he will improve upon it. As a pacifying force, he will perpetuate the cover-up, and retrieve the “squandered opportunity” presented by the false-flag operation of 9/11: a world united behind imperial war.

March of the elites

The true nature of Obama’s administration will be evident the moment Obama introduces members of his transition team and cabinet.

Legions of corrupt elites — legendary war criminals, think tank assets and intelligence/security advisors — guided the campaigns of Obama, Clinton and the Republican candidates.

Which of these same figures will now run Obama’s CIA, his Department of Homeland Security (which he will not dismantle), his National Security Council and his Defense Department?

What Wall Street elites and former investment bank CEOs will be tapped to oversee the Treasury? Who will be the ambassador to the United Nations?

Which Republicans will Obama “reach across the aisle” to bring in? How many “Bushies”?

How many members of the conservative Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) will be given free reign?

How many members of the Council on Foreign Relations, how many Bilderbergers, will run the show?

They’re still here

Lost in the election noise, and clouded by Obama euphoria, is the fact that Bush and Cheney have nearly two months left in power. More than ample time to commit some final atrocities and crimes.

As tracked by Mike Ruppert, Catherine Austin Fitts and others, trillions of dollars are being systematically sucked, and suckered, out of the financial system. The global financial meltdown, along with other forms of destruction and cover-up, is the Bush-Cheney machine’s scorched-earth farewell.

And it is not over yet. Will any bombs go off before Obama takes office? Who will George W. Bush pardon on his way out?

A call for sobriety and vigilance

The style shift from Bush-Cheney neofascism to “classic” neoliberalism under Obama may feel like “change.” It is not.

The reality of the continuing global crisis — and Obama’s role as its latest figurehead — demands even more astute opposition, even more aggressive demands for justice, and a redoubled effort to end war and imperial criminality.

Those who opposed Bush-Cheney must now refuse to drink the Obama Kool-Aid, and face the new challenge of battling a retrenched empire, a newly pacified population, and a naïve, hopeful and easily manipulated population that will be lost in even thicker denial; one that believes that “the bad guys are gone,” the worst is over, and that its salvation has been delivered.

“Obamanomics” Will Accelerate Economic Collapse and Great Depression Version 2.0

November 8, 2008

The Arrivals pt.50 (The Arrival of Jesus The Messiah)

DHS Checkpoint Blog Entry 11: The French Connection

While driving Eastbound on SR86 in Southern Arizona on September 4, 2008, I was seized by three armed federal Homeland Security agents at an internal suspicionless checkpoint located over 40 miles North of the Southern border.

Agent LeBlanc, the K9 agent, ran his drug sniffing dog around and on my vehicle while searching for drugs and people absent suspicion.

His supervisor, Agent DeLeon? just stood there allowing his subordinate to not only utilize a drug sniffing dog on my vehicle at what is supposed to be an immigration checkpoint but also allowed LeBlanc's drug dog to board my vehicle and sniff around the truck bed absent probable cause or consent.

Such an action turned a cursory dog sniff into a full-fledge drug search absent reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

Additionally, with no visible name tag, the field supervisor was out of uniform and refused to spell his name which wouldn't have been necessary if his name tag had been visible.

The grandeur that is Rahm

Joseph Cannon
November 8, 2008

"Come, O come Ema-a-anuel… We know you really work for Israel…"

Let’s take a further look at Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s new gatekeeper. This is from a 2006 Counterpunch story by John Walsh titled How Rahm Emanuel Has Rigged a Pro-War Congress. Walsh discusses the race for Henry Hyde’s seat, in a conservative Illinois district in which an anti-war Democrat, Christine Cegelis, was — at first — doing surprisingly well.

Enter Rahm Emanuel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who dug up a pro-war candidate, Tammy Duckworth. Although she had both her legs blown off in Iraq, she has remained committed to "staying the course" in Iraq (2). Duckworth had no political experience and did not live in the 6th District, but Rahm Emanuel raised a million dollars for her and brought in Dem heavyweights Joe Lieberman, Barak Obama, John Kerry, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton to support her. Despite all this help and with the Cegelis campaign virtually penniless, Duckworth barely managed to eke out a victory by a measly four percentage points.

Duckworth made her national debut when she was given the opportunity to offer a rebuttal to a Bush pro-war address:

AP, in its story on the exchange where Duckworth was supposed to differ with W on Iraq, concluded thus: "She offered no proposal for an immediate withdrawal or a timetable for withdrawal."

This, it seems, is Emanuel’s strategy: Present pro-war Dems as anti-war Dems. Criticism of Bush’s handling of the war replaces criticism of the war. This is from Walsh’s follow-up piece:

However a very recent profile in Fortune (9/25/2006), "Rahm Emanuel, Pitbull Politician," by Washington Bureau chief Nina Easton notes: "On Iraq, Emanuel has steered clear of the withdraw-now crowd, preferring to criticize Bush for military failures since the 2003 invasion. ‘The war never had to turn out this way,’ he told me at one of his campaign stops. In January 2005, when asked by Meet the Press’s Tim Russert whether he would have voted to authorize the war — ‘knowing that there are no weapons of mass destruction’ — Emanuel answered yes.

This stance puts Emanuel in line with Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Careless listeners took the Great One’s words as a condemnation of the Iraq invasion; in fact, he offered nothing of the kind. Obama condemned the way Bush prosecuted the war. The Lightbringer said one thing and progressives heard another: That’s magic.

Back to Walsh:

The war on Iraq benefited Israel by laying waste a country seen to be one of its major adversaries. Emanuel’s commitment to Israel (4) and his Congressional service to it are not in doubt. The most recent evidence was his attack on the U.S. puppet Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al Maliki, because Maliki had labeled Israel’s attack on Lebanon as an act of "aggression." Emanuel called on Maliki to cancel his address to Congress; and he was joined by his close friend and DSCC counterpart, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who asked; "Which side is he (Maliki) on when it comes to the war on terror?"

On the side of the angels, at least in that particular instance. The invasion of Lebanon was an obscenity.

It is well-known that Emanuel was a civilian volunteer for Israel during the first Gulf War, at which his time his job was to "rust-proof brakes," or so we are told. His history gets odder:

…immediately upon his return from his desert sojourn, Emanuel at once became a major figure in the Clinton campaign "who wowed the team from the start, opening a spigot on needed campaign funds."(3) How did he do that after being isolated overseas, and with no experience in national politics?

After his White House stint, Emanuel worked for Wall Street financier Bruce Wasserstein, where he made quite a pile very quickly — over $18 million in two-and-a-half years.

Next Emanuel won a seat in Congress in 2002, and by 2006 he was chair of the DCCC. Another near miraculous rise.

In a previous post, I mentioned that the Israelis often say "He had a horse" when someone like Emanuel wows the world with a "near miraculous" rise. If you have a horse, you have a Powerful Someone-Or-Other secretly pulling for you. There’s a lot of horsepower behind Rahm Emanuel — and I don’t think the stable is painted red, white and blue.

Congressional wires. Rahm has remarkable knowledge of, and sway over, Congress. That’s the main reason why so many inside-the-beltway types have applauded Obama’s choice: With Rahm at the helm, the usual White House/Capitol Hill tensions should be kept to a minimum.

But how did Emanuel achieve this august position?

I’m reminded of a couple of earlier posts (here, for example) which looked into the strange tale of Foxcom and Jack Abramoff. Forgive a bit of self-quotation:

But you may recall that another Abramoff partner — congressman Bob Ney, chairman of the House Administration Committee — arranged for an Israeli communications firm called Foxcom to install communications equipment (which, in this case, basically means wireless connections) in the Capitol building. Ney seems to have done so at the bidding of Abramoff, who received the usual substantial lobbying fee.

By applying a liberal dose of grease, Foxcom managed to edge out another firm whose security arrangements had been cleared by the FBI and the NSA. For some reason, the Israeli company really, really wanted to set up the wireless network used by your congressfolk.

Bottom line: Whatever else he may be, Abramoff is one of those Israel-ueber-alles types. Seems to me that he went out of his way to curry favor with Ney and Savafian, both of whom were awfully well-positioned to help anyone who wanted to "listen in" on both Capitol Hill and the White House.

Am I speculating? Yeah. Is my speculation outside the limits of possibility or probability? Judge for yourself.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi thus weighed in on the Foxcom contract:

Telecommunications security experts note that equipment that can be used to enhance or improve a signal can also be used to redirect the phone conversation to another location for recording and analysis. The possibility that someone in the Israeli Embassy might be listening to congressmen’s private phone conversations is intriguing to say the least.

Let me quickly state that I have found no hard evidence that Foxcom is a Mossad front. But if someone with Giraldi’s background considers the idea possible or even likely, then who am I to disagree?

Similarly, I’ve seen nothing (aside from a few crankish postings on deep-dish conspiracy sites) linking Emanuel to either Foxcom or Abramoff. A shared loyalty to Israel may offer the only linkage necessary. If private congressional communications are being directed to Emanuel, he would indeed hold great sway over Capitol Hill.

The Beat Goes On: More Atrocity as Afghanistan Braces for Obama Surge

Written by Chris Floyd

While America continues its giddy, self-congratulatory celebration of "change," Afghans find themselves mired in the tragically familiar: yet another round of mourning for yet another massacre of innocent civilians in yet another blind, bludgeoning air strike by American forces.

This time almost 40 people, including 10 women and 23 children, were ripped to shreds of bone and viscera when an American missile struck a wedding party in the remote village of Wech Bakhtu, according to Washington's own hand-picked native satrap, President Hamid Karzai. As the Guardian and National Post report:
The bombing on Monday of Wech Baghtu in the southern province of Kandahar destroyed an Afghan housing complex where women and children had gathered to celebrate. Body parts littered the wreckage and farm animals lay dead.

Abdul Jalil, a 37-year-old grape farmer whose niece was getting married, said at the scene of the bombing that US troops and Taliban fighters had been fighting about half a mile from his home.

A short while later fighter planes bombed the complex, killing 23 children, 10 women and four men, he claimed.

"In the bombing, mostly women and children were killed," said villager Hyat Ullah. "Some lost their head. Some lost their hand. They were in very bad condition."
Such mass slaughters of civilians are now a regular occurrence in the occupied land. At last 18 people -- three women and 15 children -- were killed by an allied air strike in Helmand in mid-October. Some 90 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in a night raid on the village of Azizabad in September -- an atrocity that the Pentagon at first tried, My Lai-like, to cover up completely, but was eventually forced to partially acknowledge, admitting "only" 33 civilian deaths in a report that contradicted the eyewitness evidence gathered by the Afghan government, NGOs and UN investigators who detailed the much larger true death toll. In July, Americans bombed yet another wedding party in Nangahar, killing 47 civilians -- including the bride, as the NY Times notes.

In deploring the new slaughter at Wech Bakhtu, Karzai pleaded with the incoming U.S. president, Barack Obama, to "end civilian casualties in Afghanistan" after he takes over the American war machine in January. But there is little chance of that happening. Obama has pledged to send even more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Obama took a great deal of heat during the campaign for brief remarks last year that actually acknowledged the carnage being wrought by U.S. strikes:

"We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."
His opponents, including that great "progressive," Hillary Clinton, somehow turned this into an indication of Obama's "weakness" on "defense" -- although it was in fact a forthright commitment to more war. But far more noteworthy than Obama's acknowledgment of the obvious, however, was his idea that increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan will somehow reduce the number of bombing runs and missile strikes that are taking such a horrific toll on civilians. Because of course the opposite is true. More U.S. troops on the ground will mean more "close air support" to back them up, and bail them out, when they are under fire.

This is precisely what happened Monday at Wech Bakhtu, as the NY Times reports:

Zalmay Ayoby, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said the strike on Monday took place when Taliban and American-led forces were engaged in a firefight near the village of Wech Bakhtu. He said that an air strike was called in after the Taliban opened fire on a coalition unit, and that a missile struck a compound where a wedding party was being held.
Most of the civilian slaughters by American and allied air power have occurred while in support of ground forces. It is inevitable that more ground troops will draw more fire, necessitating more air support. This in turn guarantees an increase in civilian casualties; for despite the modern myths about "precision bombing" and "smart weapons," bombs and missiles are indiscriminate killers, targeting is an inexact science -- and the lives of an occupied people are always cheap.

This is not hard to figure out. And Obama, who is, as we are constantly told -- correctly, I think -- one of the most intelligent men ever elected president, must know it. He must know that putting more troops into Afghanistan will mean "more air-raiding [of] villages and killing civilians." Perhaps he is counting on the bipartisan backing of this "good war" in the American political and media establishments (including most of the "progressosphere") to circumvent the "enormous pressures" that will inevitably be caused by his planned "surge."

Meanwhile, innocent Afghans will continue to die at the hands of their "liberators" -- even as these "liberators" blame the survivors for the attacks on their families. As the Guardian notes:

Jalil said US forces came into his village after the bombing run. "The Americans came and told us 'you are sheltering the Taliban', and I told the Americans 'come inside and see for yourself, you are killing women and children'," Jalil said.

And the National Post reports:

This latest reported attack, after a series of incidents which have killed innocent Afghans, drew anger from villagers.

"Now you can see how the Americans are coming and bombing women, children, everyone ... all innocent people," said Mohamed Asim. "I want to ask the Americans, did you come to stabilize and bring peace to our country, or have you come to destabilize and destroy our country?"

Come January, how will Barack Obama answer that question? We can only look to his own words on the campaign trail. As we noted here last month:

The Democratic candidate's stated polices on the conflict dovetail exactly with those of Rove, Bush and McCain: Thousands of more troops. More military hardware. More drone missile strikes, not only in Afghanistan but in Pakistan as well. Obama has also pledged to pressure the Europeans to send more troops and hardware of their own to Afghanistan, with "fewer restrictions" on their combat operations.
In other words, he will answer it with steel, fire and blood.

Obama's First Appointment - An Ominous Portent

Barky's First Choices - No Seat At The
Table For Labor And The Third World

By Webster G. Tarpley
WASHINGTON DC -- Obama's first appointments have confirmed the grimmest suspicions about the new regime.
The naming of the vicious thug Rahm Emanuel as the new Martin Bormann of the regime has caused much consternation, even among the netroots or nutroots crowd over at the Daily Kos. Rahm is a former member of the Israeli Defense Force whose ruling passion is that he is a warmonger. In 2006, when Rahm ran the Democratic congressional money machine, he made sure that only warmongers committed to the open-ended prosecution of the Afghan and Iraq wars could get any Democratic Party financing for their races. Many contests were lost as a result. A tragic case was that of grass-roots antiwar activist Christine Cegelis of Ohio, who was defeated in the Democratic primary by Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who advocated endless hostilities there. Duckworth lost to the Republican by several points. If the $300,000 Rahm gave Duckworth had been shared with anti-war candidate Bob Bowen in Florida, a Democratic seat could easily have been added. Rahm is also a product of the filthy and corrupt Illinois bipartisan Combine, which I have described in my books.
A co-chair of the transition team is Valerie Jarrett, who served as Barky's travelling schoolmarm during the campaign. Jarrett also comes from the Daley wing of the Illinois combine. She has provided graft and related support for Michelle Obama's foundation-funded operations. Jarrett is also an integral part of the Chicago housing graft community, a region also inhabited by Barky's original godfather, the convicted felon and thief Tony Rezko. Jarrett is discussed in detail in my Obama biography. She is joined on the transition team by John Podesta, a Clinton-era retread who worked for Sen. Tom Daschle, the senator from Citibank, the biggest employer in South Dakota. Podesta also worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a close personal friend of Weatherman terrorist bombers Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
Another Daschle-Citibank retread is transition co-chair Tom Rouse, who was the chief of staff for Daschle when he was the weakest Democratic majority leader in recent memory, surrendering to Bush on point after point. Chief strategist remains David Axelrod of the corrupt Illinois Combine, who was taught his mindbending skills in the infamous "1313" Rockefeller-funded think tank at the University of Chicago.
Obama's transitional council of economic advisers is also notable. The dominant figures here are all Wall Street derivatives merchants and their quackademic apologists and politician clients. The key people here are plutocrat Warren Buffet, Obama moneybags and Hyatt heiress Penny Pritzker, Goldman Sachs-Citibank alum Robert Rubin, woman-hating thug and failed Harvard president Larry Summers, Google spook Eric Schmidt, and Roger Ferguson, the former vice president of the Federal Reserve board. The most obscene is Trilateral Commission bigwig Paul Adolf Volcker, the bringer of the 22% prime rate of 1981 and the destroyer of the US indsutrial base. What is truly notable about this list is that there is not one single labor leader. No Sweeney of the AFL-CIO, no Hoffa of the Teamsters, no UAW, not even the unsavory Andy Stern of the SIEU, all big Obama backers. Note the difference to the New Deal, when labor reps were indispensable. With Barky, only derivatives monsters and their stooges need apply. Also notable by their absence are leaders of women's groups, small business associations, the congressional black caucus, retirees groups like the AARP ­ there is not even a token face representing any of these groups, all of which have a vital interest in economic policy. Read the ill omens if you have eyes to see. The Obama regime is shaping up as of the bankers, by the bankers, for the bankers. This is not the FDR New Deal ­ this is the Mussolini fascist corporate state.
We are also told that Barky has been on the phone to foreign leaders about matters of economic. Let us read the tea leaves: whom did Barky call? Here is the list: Australia, the British, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea.
Notice now who is NOT on the list. Start with the great world powers who have been snubbed: Russia and China, both of whom are bigger holders of US Treasury bonds than most of those who are on the list. Saudi Arabia, who might have needed reassurance that Barky is not a commie, are also snubbed. Forget ideology, and behold the ineptitude. Most glaring of all is the lack of any phone call to a leading third world or developing sector country, other than Mexico, which is a branch of NAFTA. No calls were made to Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, India or a long list of other leading states. Nobody in Africa, nobody in south Asia, and nobody in South America got a call. Not even those who will be coming to the pseudo-Bretton Woods conference set for Washington later this month. The best we can hope for regarding that conference is that it end in a stalemate, dividing the world between a US-UK dominated derivatives bloc and a Brazil-India- Russia-China-South Africa anti-derivatives bloc interested in real physical commodity production, not fictitious capital.
Obama, in summation, is acting just like the abject puppet of the Wall Street derivatives merchants and warmongers which we have argued him to be.
Webster G. Tarpley is the author of Obama ­ The Postmodern Coup: The Making of a Manchurian Candidate, and Barack H. Obama: The Unauthorized Biography, both available from

Emanuel Will Further American Imperialism

With the selection of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, Barack Obama pays back a critical supporter and constituency and signifies that his administration will not change from Bush in foreign policy except in certain minor ways.
Will Obama reduce military expenditures? Will he reduce the number and scope of missions to which we are obligated? The bottom line is this-- for over 100 years we've used our military to support our standard of living... mainly for the rich, but for all of us, rich and poor. We've crushed resistance in the Americas to our agricultural interests, and we've done the same in the Middle East for our energy interests
I'll keep this short. It doesn't matter if we can keep up this American imperial system. We can, until enough countries refuse to denominate their oil transactions in USA dollars.
The more intelligent members of our community will have to correct my mistakes. Rahm Emanuel will not just be the gatekeeper, he'll be the one of the first five to have President Obama's ear. Emanuel's record is one of imperialism and gathering votes without regard for morality. He is a very capable practitioner of realpolitik.
Will Rahm Emanuel help continue and expand our empire? He will. He already has.

Emanuel: From Clinton to Obama

Rahm Emanuel, who turns 49 this month, grew up in the upscale Chicago suburb of Wilmette, son of an Israeli physician who moved to the U.S.

His brother Ari is a Hollywood agent and the inspiration for Ari Gold, the Type A superagent on the HBO series Entourage.

Emanuel has been cited as an inspiration for presidential aide Josh Lyman on the drama The West Wing.

His start in politics came after college, when he worked for Paul Simon's 1984 Senate campaign and Richard Daley's run for Chicago mayor in 1989.

Then he went to work for a little-known Arkansas governor who wanted to be president.

He made his strongest mark under Clinton by pressing the centrist portions of the president's agenda, including welfare reform, tough-on-crime measures and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Midway through Clinton's second term, Emanuel left for Chicago to work in investment banking. The firm he joined was soon sold, and Emanuel made millions, giving him the financial security to get back into politics.

Clinton appointed Emanuel to mortgage giant Freddie Mac's board, a post that paid him at least $292,774 in director's fees, according to a financial-disclosure report Emanuel filed in 2002 when he ran for Congress. Emanuel served on the board when Freddie Mac misstated its earnings by $5 billion for 2000-02.

He was vice chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority and also served on the boards of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Slim-Fast, whose founder, S. Daniel Abraham, is a major Democratic donor.

Obama's Change Leaves By The Back Door

By Tom Eley

07 November, 2008

Three days after Barack Obama's election victory, the initial moves by the president-elect to prepare his administration already show that his policies will be determined not by popular expectations, but by the domestic and foreign policy interests of the American financial and corporate elite.

Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are well aware that these policies—further measures to secure the social interests and personal wealth of the financial aristocracy at public expense and the continued use of military violence in the Middle East and Central Asia—clash with the will of the electorate, which sought to reverse these policies by sweeping the Republicans out of power. That is why the Democrats are seeking to dampen expectations of a serious change of course.

The personnel of Obama's transition team and his first major appointment stand in obvious contradiction to his campaign rhetoric about "change," "new politics," and "building a movement from the ground up." The individuals selected are all fixtures of the political establishment, with close ties to powerful corporate and financial interests.

Obama's transition team, which will assist in assembling his cabinet, is headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton and one of Washington's most successful corporate lobbyists. Co-chairing the transition team are Valerie Jarrett, a long-time Obama advisor, Chicago real estate executive and influential figure within the Chicago Democratic Party machine, and Pete Rouse, a Washington insider and Obama's senate chief of staff. (See: "A closer look at Obama's transition team").

Obama's first appointee is Rahm Emanuel, who will serve as his chief of staff. The Illinois Congressman is a leading member of the right-wing Democratic Leadership Council. While running for Congress in 2002, he supported Bush's bill to authorize military force against Iraq. A former investment banker, he has close ties to financial interests and is one of the biggest recipients of campaign cash from banks and investment firms.

Sources close to Obama have leaked names on the list of candidates for the position of treasury secretary—no doubt as a means of reassuring Wall Street. Included are former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, former Clinton treasury secretary and current Citigroup executive Robert Rubin, another former Clinton treasury secretary, Lawrence Summers, and Timothy Geithner, the New York Federal Reserve Bank president.

All of these individuals played leading roles in the deregulation of the banks and investment houses that facilitated the super-profits and massive CEO compensation packages of the 1990s and first half of the current decade, and contributed to the financial collapse that is now plunging the US and the rest of the world into the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Geithner has played a central role in the government bailout of Wall Street banks and other major firms, such as insurance conglomerate AIG and the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

As Federal Reserve chief under Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, Volcker was responsible for the high interest rate "shock therapy" which decimated American industry in the early 1980s and led to the impoverishment of entire regions.

There is much speculation that Obama will ask current Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on in the same capacity, at least on an interim basis. Gates recently gave a speech expanding the doctrine of "pre-emptive war" to include the use of first-strike nuclear attacks.

Other names broached for the positions of defense secretary and secretary of state include former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell, outgoing Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and Anthony Lake, who as Clinton's national security advisor played a key role in organizing the US-NATO war against Yugoslavia.

Obama's actions since Election Day have been calculated to signal to the ruling elite his readiness to defend their interests and not be swayed by the will of the electorate. To underscore his intention to seek a consensus with the defeated and discredited Republican minority, he will meet on Monday with Bush. The traditional White House meeting between a president-elect and the outgoing president normally takes place much later in the transition period between administrations.

To demonstrate that his first priority is shoring up the major banks, Obama's first post-Election Day meeting will be held today with his top economic policy advisers. The meeting will include Volcker, Rubin and Summers, along with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, former Clinton labor and commerce secretaries Robert Reich and William Daley, Clinton economic advisor Laura Tyson, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, XEROX CEO Anne Mulcahy, Residence by Hyatt CEO Penny Pritzker, former Bush administration Securities and Exchange Commissioner William Donaldson, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Meanwhile, a series of statements by leading Democratic figures have emphasized their intention to pursue a "centrist" policy—by which they mean a conventional, i.e., right-wing, policy.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, spelled this out in no uncertain terms on Wednesday, advising Obama that he must "bring people together to reach consensus" on issues like the economy and the war. "A new president must govern from the middle," she said.

Leon Panetta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton, said, "He's got to lower some expectations, indicate the limits he's confronting."

A basic premise of the talk about lowering expectations and delaying making good on campaign promises for health care reform, middle class tax cuts and other social measures is the claim that massive increases in the budget deficit preclude such outlays. Of course, the worsening budget crisis is the direct result of the allocation of more than $2 trillion in taxpayer money to bail out the banks, with the auto companies and other industries lining up for similar government handouts.

No Democratic leader has explained why there are unlimited taxpayer funds available for the banks, but no money to address the increasingly desperate economic situation facing the working class, including millions of home foreclosures, soaring utility shut-offs, collapsing retirement accounts and mounting layoffs.

The media has joined in the effort to dampen expectations. Newsweek warns, "Obama Won't Meet Everybody's Expectations." The San Francisco Chronicle explains, "Surely, President-Elect Barack Obama must prepare his supporters for the difficult circumstances that he, and this country," must undergo.

Yesterday's New York Times published an article, "Obama Aides Tamp Down Expectations," describing Obama's efforts to "temper hopes that he would be able to solve the nation's problems." "The economic crisis" the Times notes, "will certainly complicate Mr. Obama's more ambitious domestic efforts."

On the same day, under the headline "Next Administration Shows Signs It will Seek Middle Ground with Business on Thorny Issues," the Wall Street Journal reassured the moneyed elite that in an Obama administration, "a bill that would make it easier for unions to organize workers, efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and a slew of contemplated taxes will likely take a back seat." The article continued, "Several of Mr. Obama's top economic advisers, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin—are moderates and reassuring figures to the business community."

Obama's first moves as president-elect have underscored some basic political facts. First, there is a fundamental contradiction between the hopes and aspirations of the vast majority of people who voted for him out of anger and disgust with the Bush administration and the Republicans, and the class character of the Democratic Party and the social and economic interests it defends.

Second, these moves underscore the cynical and fundamentally anti-democratic character of the electoral process itself, in which promises are made by candidates who know full well that, once in office, their polices will be determined not by election promises but by the demands of the ruling elite and the exigencies of American imperialism.

A closer look at Obama’s transition team

By Joe Kishore

Barack Obama's transition team is a collection of Washington insiders, former Clinton administration officials, corporate and banking executives, and individuals with roots in the Chicago Democratic Party political machine.

The Obama-Biden Transition Project is led by three co-chairmen. They are John Podesta, former chief of staff for Bill Clinton; Valerie Jarrett, a long-time Obama adviser, Chicago real estate executive and influential figure in the Chicago Democratic Party; and Pete Rouse, Obama's Senate chief of staff.

John Podesta

Podesta, chief of staff for Clinton from 1998 to 2001, will serve as the Transition Project's leader. Podesta is a long-time Washington insider, where he served, beginning in the early 1980s, as legal counsel for a number of congressional committees. As is the custom in Washington, Podesta made use of his political influence to establish a lucrative Washington lobbying firm, the Podesta Group.

Podesta authored a recent book entitled The Power of Progress: How America's Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country. The lobbying firm of this "progressive" includes among its top clients the oil giant BP, defense industry corporations Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, biotech firms Genentech and Amgen, Swiss pharmaceuticals corporation Novartis Interational AG, and Wal-Mart.

Podesta has the dubious distinction of having been ranked the third most powerful lobbyist in Washington DC by the Washingtonian. According to the newspaper, BP, whose "pipeline problems and refinery fires have created regulatory and public relations issues," has turned to Podesta, who "has quietly been guiding BP through congressional hearings."

For Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, Podesta has been busy "trying to sell Congress and the Pentagon on another version of their Stryker troop transport vehicle."

Podesta is president and chief executive officer of the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank. The center was set up with substantial funding from billionaire investor and Obama adviser Warren Buffet.

Valerie Jarrett

Jarrett began her political career in 1987 under then-Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. She became deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard Daley and later served as Chicago's commissioner of the Department of Planning and chair of the Chicago Transit Board.

Jarrett has also held leading positions on the Chicago Stock Exchange (member of the board from 2000 to 2007 and chairman from 2004 to 2007), the University of Chicago Medical Center (chairman of the board of trustees), the University of Chicago (vice chairman of the board of trustees) and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (board of trustees).

Jarrett is the CEO of The Habitat Company, a real estate development firm in Chicago. She has been a top executive at the company since 1995, becoming CEO in 2007. Habitat has worked closely with the Chicago city administration to oversee public housing, receiving millions in local and federal subsidies.

A Boston Globe article from June 27, 2008 ("Grim Proving Ground for Obama's Housing Policy," by Binyamin Appelbaum) describes the state of one 504-unit public housing complex, Grove Parc Plaza, located in Obama's former state Senate district.

"About 99 units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale—a score so bad the buildings now face demolition."

"Grove Parc has become a symbol," the newspaper noted, "for some in Chicago of the broader failures of giving public subsidies to private companies to build and manage affordable housing—an approach strongly backed by Obama as the best replacement for public housing."

The Globe reports "thousands of apartments" throughout Chicago, overseen by Habitat, that are characterized by similar disrepair. The Habitat Company "managed Grove Parc Plaza from 2001 until this winter and co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems."

There is some talk that Jarrett will be named housing secretary in the Obama administration.

Pete Rouse

Pete Rouse is an interesting case, whose political trajectory says much about the Obama campaign. Rouse was the chief of staff to Tom Daschle, the former Democratic leader in the Senate. Rouse was known as the "101st senator" in Washington circles due to the power he commanded, particularly when Daschle was the majority leader. He has worked on Capitol Hill for over 30 years.

After Daschle lost his seat in 2004, Rouse decided to take a position as chief of staff for Obama, then just beginning his first term in the Senate. The fact that an individual with Rouse's history and political ties decided to throw in his lot with a freshman senator with little political power or influence indicates that Obama was being groomed at an early stage by sections of the Democratic Party establishment, including Daschle, for bigger things.

Rouse has been a strong advocate of bipartisanship and "reaching across the aisle" to work with Republicans.

Also included on the Transition Project are:

* Carol Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for eight years in the Clinton administration. After 2001, Browner took a position at the Albright Group, a firm headed by former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that advises businesses on policy.

* William Daley, brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Daley was special counsel to President Clinton on trade (helping pass the North American Free Trade Agreement) and Clinton's secretary of commerce from 1997 to 1998. After leaving government, Daley took a position as president of SBC Communications and later served as Midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase and Bank One. He serves on the boards of directors of airline manufacturer and defense contractor Boeing and drug giant Merck.

* Michael Froman is president and CEO of CitiInsurance, a branch of banking giant Citigroup. During the 1990s, Froman served in the US Department of Treasury as deputy assistant secretary for Eurasia and the Middle East, and later as chief of staff.

* Federico Peña was secretary of transportation (1993 to 1997) and secretary of energy (1997 to 1998) under Clinton. After leaving government, he took a post in Vestar Capital Partners, an investment firm.