24 May, 2008


Aaargh!! Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wants to build nuclear power stations
Is Italy flirting with fascism?
The right is noisier than ever. But this is not a return to the dark days of Mussolini Is Italy going fascist? Is Berlusconi like Mussolini?

Berlusconi government incites racist pogroms
By Stefan Steinberg
23 May 2008

On Wednesday, May 21, at an extraordinary sitting in the city of Naples the recently nominated cabinet of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi passed harsh new laws directed against immigrants. The new decrees follow several weeks of state organised raids and violence directed against Italy.s immigrant community.

The special meeting of the Berlusconi cabinet had been scheduled to take place in the city of Naples in order to deal first and foremost with the city.s longstanding rubbish crisis. In the event, Berlusconi designated the garbage dumps in the region as military areas in order to stop residents from protesting against toxic waste. He combined this with playing the racist card, stressing that the .struggle against foreign criminals. was the top priority of his government and used the meeting in Naples to pass a number of extremely repressive laws.

The Berlusconi government consists of rightist and extreme-right parties, including the post-fascist National Alliance and the separatist and openly racist Northern League. In the run-up to the recent Italian federal elections, the multi-millionaire media tycoon deliberately made xenophobia the keystone of his election campaign. One of Berlusconi.s main election planks was to identify immigrants, and in particular the Roma community, as a chief source of Italy.s economic and social problems.

Immediately after the victory of the Berlusconi alliance in the parliamentary elections the Italian police and paramilitary carabinieri began a series of raids against foreigners. At the start of May the police began picking up and arresting foreign workers and their families. Hundreds of migrants from Eastern Europe, Albania, Greece, North Africa and China were detained and charged with a number of offences, including illegal entry into Italy. Fifty-three of those detained in the first weeks of the police crackdown were immediately taken to the border for expulsion in an orchestrated media operation.

Police and security forces also began moves to shut down Roma encampments in a number of locations across Italy. In a well-publicised action a few weeks ago the police launched a raid against a Roma camp located under the Milvio bridge on the banks of the Tiber River, in the Italian capital of Rome. Police have maintained a strong presence in the area since transporting away caravans as police and immigration officials undertake the deportation of those who lack proper residency papers.

The police operation was given a seal of approval by Rome.s new mayor, the former fascist Gianni Alemanno. In his own election campaign to become mayor Alemanno had vowed to dismantle the .nomad camps. where the Roma live in .third-world conditions.. In a recent visit to such a camp he declared his .horror. at what he had seen and reported: .There are no words to describe what I saw..

In fact, the horrific conditions in such camps are entirely due to the neglect of the Italian authorities. Roma encampments in Italy are regularly deprived of any access to running water or electricity.

The head of the Northern League and Berlusconi.s new minister of institutional reforms and federalism, Umberto Bossi, also weighed in to defend the police raids. .This operation against illegal immigrants is what people want,. he said recently. .They ask us for security and we have to give it to them..

The pogrom in Naples

The attacks on the Roma community then peaked with a deliberate provocation. On May 14 gangs attacked a Roma camp in the Ponticelli district of Naples and burnt it to the ground. The attack followed sensational reports in the television channels and newspapers belonging to the Berlusconi media empire in which an Italian woman claimed that a 16-year-old Roma girl had tried to abduct her child. In the wake of the often contradictory reports and testimonies over the alleged .abduction,. a crowd assembled and began shouting insults and issuing threats against the Roma living in the Ponticelli camp. Its inhabitants were then rapidly shifted out of the camp by police.

An agitated mob then used petrol bombs to burn the camp down. Witnesses reported on the flames bursting out from the buildings and caravans set ablaze. According to a number of press reports, however, the local Naples Mafia.the Camorra.played a leading role in the pogrom.

An eyewitness writes in the Corriere della Sera: .A group of youths stands nearby.... The leader is the great-nephew of [Naples suburb] Ponticelli.s .mayor,. Ciro Sarno, the Capo of a Camorra clan that has put down roots here. The youth winks to his group and off they ride on their mopeds. Ten minutes later fresh clouds of smoke rise from the nomad camps..

Both the Berlusconi government and the criminal Camorra gangs stand to benefit from the latest pogroms in Naples. Gerardo Marotta, a lawyer, told the L.Unita newspaper this week that the origin of the rubbish crisis in Naples was the use of the region by industries of the north as a cheap way to get rid of toxic waste. .For more than 40 years the industries of the north of Italy have saved the cost of cleaning up their toxic waste by entrusting the job to the Camorra, who disposed of it in illegal dumps in the south,. he said.

By instigating racist pogroms in Naples the Camorra gangs have been able to deflect attention away from their own role in the city.s rubbish scandal. At the same time the pogroms are welcome fodder for the Berlusconi government in order to divert attention from the intense social crisis in Naples and the country as a whole.

The mob violence in Naples was preceded by a systematic xenophobic campaign led by the government and media outlets and was subsequently applauded by leading members of the Berlusconi government. Prior to the latest pogroms, Northern League leader Umberto Rossi is on record declaring, .It is easier to destroy rats as wipe out the gypsies.. Following the burning down of the Roma camp on the outskirts of Naples, Rossi justified the pogrom with the words: .People are going to do what the political class cannot..

His fellow party member and the new Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni responded by declaring that the best way to prevent attacks on foreigners, such as that which took place in Naples, was to increase the powers of the state. This was the aim of the measures passed by the Italian cabinet on Wednesday. Provisions of the new decree stipulate:

1. For the first time unauthorised entry into Italy is designated a crime, making it possible for the authorities to immediately deport or imprison any foreigner lacking the proper residency and status papers. Deportation or imprisonment is also possible on the vaguely defined grounds that a foreign citizen is a .threat to society..

2. Local authorities are to be empowered to check on the living conditions of citizens from other EU nations before granting them right of residence. In addition to a residency permit, migrants will also be required to produce evidence that they have employment in Italy that guarantees an income sufficient to support themselves and their families.

3. The new bill, which takes immediate effect, also allows the authorities to confiscate any property let out to illegal immigrants.

In order to implement the new measures, Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa has declared he is considering deploying troops to tackle urban crime and the Interior Ministry has announced plans to open up special camps for the incarceration of .criminal foreigners..

Although the new Italian law is regarded by legal experts as a violation of European Union law on the free movement of citizens across the continent, reaction by EU officials has either been muted or sought to play down the racist violence in Italy.

In the European parliament the Italian the centre-right grouping EPP-ED.European People.s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats.rejected a general debate on the pogroms talking place in Italy. In November last year the chairman of the same group notably came to the defence of Franco Frattini (formerly an EU commission vice president and now foreign minister in Berlusconi.s cabinet) who for years has been urging the EU to seal its external borders against .illegal immigration..

For his part, the chair of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, reacted to the state-sponsored racist attacks in Italy with a mealy-mouthed statement in which he declared: .The current situation in Italy is difficult. But we don.t want to conceal the fact that the issue of minority protection and integration of Roma in society is not a uniquely Italian problem in Europe..

The role of the Prodi government and Communist Refoundation

The initial government campaign against Italy.s immigrant and Roma community was instigated in 2007 by the previous .centre-left. government headed by Romano Prodi. The latest draconian laws passed by the Berlusconi cabinet also have their origin in legislation passed by the Prodi cabinet last year.with the full support of Communist Refoundation (Rifondazione Comunista.RC), a successor organisation to the Italian Communist Party.which has been presented as a role model by the petty-bourgeois left all over Europe.

Following a brutal attack on an Italian woman allegedly carried out by a Romanian citizen last autumn, the media and right-wing opposition led by Berlusconi and Bossi began a systematic campaign against foreigners in general and the Roma community in particular. At the time the newspaper Corriere della Sera ran a headline .The Invasion of Nomads..

The first to respond to the right-wing campaign was the mayor of Rome and general secretary of the newly founded Democratic Party (DP), Walter Veltroni, who went public with the comment that the Roma were guilty of 75 percent of the city.s petty crime.

At the beginning of November 2007 Veltroni then urged the Prodi government to pass a new decree Nr. 181 (decreto espulsion.deportation decree), which permits the authorities to deport European citizens who represent .a threat to public security.. The decree was directed primarily against Romanian immigrants, mainly Sinti and Roma, and permitted the police to deport entire groups of Romanians .for reasons of public security..

On November 2, decree Nr. 181 was signed by the Italian president at that time and former leader of the Italian Communist Party, Giorgio Napolitano, and the decree was then supported in public by the minister for social solidarity, Paolo Ferrero, the only member of Communist Refoundation in the Prodi cabinet.

To ensure support for his measure Prodi made the vote on the deportation decree a vote of confidence in his government. At the end of November, Communist Refoundation General Secretary Franco Giordano made an appeal for support for the decree, which was then passed by 160 votes to 158. With just one exception all of the members of RC in the Senate voted in favour of the measure.

In supporting the repressive immigration decree, RC members merely expressed their hope that it would not lead to mass deportations. On November 7, 2007, when the Romanian prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu met with Prodi and the Pope in Rome to discuss the repatriation of Romanian citizens, former Communist Refoundation leader Fausto Bertinotti (at the time president of the Chamber of Deputies), declared his satisfaction with the assurance given by Interior Minister Giuliano Amato (DP) that there would be no mass deportations (La Repubblica, November 7, 2007).

While Bertinotti was making his comments the police and Italian Interior Ministry were already finalising a list of approximately 5,000 .unwanted immigrants. in Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin and Florence for immediate deportation.

The list, drawn up for use by the Prodi government, has now been taken out of the back drawer for implementation by the new Berlusconi government.

The latest state-initiated racist pogroms in Italy represent a devastating indictment of the policies of Communist Refoundation, who argue that the best way to combat the right wing is to adopt their programme. It is the Prodi government and Communist Refoundation in particular which bear a large measure of responsibility for the recent attacks on Roma and other immigrants.


Rome Diary: Italy's Leap Into the Dark

Gaither Stewart

From Tom Paine's Corner

Smells, Signals and Symptoms of Fascism: Anatomy of a .Sugary Sweet Dictatorship.

.The more powerful a state and hence the more political a nation, the less inclined it is to explain the general principle governing social ills and to seek out their causes by looking at the principle of the state... (Karl Marx, Critical Notes on .The King of Prussia and Social Reform.)

(As a premise to this diary of events, notes and comments covering a period of one month following the whimsical and perverse electoral choice of this country of 60 million people, I remind readers that since the times of Machiavelli Italy has often been a political guidepost in Europe. Therefore, Italy.s peculiar preference today for an updated form of Fascism that once cost them so dearly and is furthermore headed by an accused crook is worth a close look.)

April 12-13, 2008 Silvio Berlusconi and his People of Freedom Party (PDL) in alliance with the neo-Fascist National Alliance (AN) and the autonomist and populist Northern League (Lega Nord) swept general elections this weekend with an 11-point advantage. A nightmare for many Italians and an unbelievable twist of irony for the rest of the world, the 72-year old media magnate.false hair, face lifts and lifted shoes, and besides Italy.s richest man.thus becomes the nation.s Prime Minister for the fourth time. Even before assuming office, irrepressible Berlusconi is ensconced in power where he will remain for a five-year term . and mortality permitting most likely longer.

Today Berlusconi has more powers concentrated in his hands than in any Italian political leader since Benito Mussolini. In this cool April, a full month before he is to assume office, he is making pronunciamientos right and left on domestic and foreign issues and is in contact with his favorite foreign leaders, George Bush and Vladimir Putin.

Italy.s new quasi two-party system creates a totally different scenario from the diffused power of its traditional broad coalition parliamentary governments. This time electors opted for the compact coalition led by Berlusconi. In a watertight alliance with the (post) Fascist Right, Berlusconi has a solid Parliamentary majority allowing him to establish in effect a one-man government, while at one stroke he eliminated from Parliament the Communist Left opposition he so hates.

Italy.s government-in-the-making is so far Right as to make Berlusconi.s previous governments appear leftist in comparison. Since his first government in 1994 and his two subsequent governments during the 2001-2006 legislature, Italy has in fact witnessed a steady degeneration of its representative political system.

In place of expression through the usual plethora of parties, Berlusconian populism embodies the political spirit of Italy. His Italian form of populism however already today displays symptoms of a further mutation, this time to something much uglier: to authoritarianism or worse, with tendencies toward Fascism pure and simple.

One might wonder why one of the world.s richest men wants to continue in what in chaotic Italy.s reality is a backbreaking job? As of many dictators, one says that Berlusconi above all wants to be loved. A dangerous cliché indeed. Not for a minute do I believe that being loved is the point. Not for Silvio Berlusconi. In his world, love is for sale. He wants to be admired . and envied. But above all it.s a question of power. As others of his ilk Berlusconi suffers from an insatiable need to command. In the final analysis he wants it all. Humility and measure do not exist in his character or vocabulary. In his every manifestation Berlusconi appears as an unlikely Saviour of the nation and the statesman he so wants to be. The total egoist, he recognizes no differences between what he controls politically or what he possesses. As Italian philosopher Norberto Bobbio once wrote, .Berlusconi is the classic tyrant who thinks that what common mortals only dream, for him is permitted. The characteristic of the tyrant is the belief that he can do anything..

The identity of the Italian has been shaky since the unification of Italy a century and a half ago. For that reason the Fascist state which ruled Italy from 1922-1944 remains in the dna of many Italians, the eternal puppets of unpredictable power. If one speaks of the erosion of civil liberties and a nascent police state in Great Britain, so much the more so in Italy today. In these times of uncontrollable immigration, globalization, the loss of jobs and lack of opportunities, dwindling incomes and pressures from the European Union itself to obey the rules, the images of an Italy that once counted on the world scene remain fixed in the popular memory. That fabled Italy is Berlusconi.s obsession. And a majority of Italians seem to believe he can bring it back.

No wonder the super capitalist, globalist European Union (EU) has Italy under strict observation. And well it should. For official Europe neither trusts nor understands Italy. Today, the Italy that has often marked new social-political directions for the Continent, seems ready to veer off into some uncontrollable and uncharted direction, poised to make an unpredictable leap into the dark.

In the popular imagination, Italy is still Europe.s most loved country, .the land where lemon trees bloom,. Goethe romantically wrote. But Goethe was a poet and never understood Italy either. He would be chagrined that this Italy stands on the edge of an abyss. The Alps separating Italy from the rest sometimes seems to be demonic, dooming Italy to outrageous behavior.

Yet, after the victory of the Right, Italy today is surprisingly calm.

April 28 Today Gianni Alemanno, a fiery exponent of the neo-Fascist National Alliance Party (Alleanza Nazionale), the political heir of Mussolini.s Fascist Party and Berlusconi.s chief political ally, was elected Mayor of Rome. He is the first rightwing Mayor in over 60 years. His program: security, zero tolerance toward illegal immigrants and the others of society. Alemanno comes from the ranks of the neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Italiano-MSI) that immediately after World War II emerged like a Phoenix from the ashes of Benito Mussolini.s German puppet state, the Italian Social Republic in north Italy. Alemanno.s upset victory reconfirms Italy.s bent for the reckless and the irrational.

April 30 Today, two days later, Gianfranco Fini, President of National Alliance, and the personal heir in a direct line from Mussolini.s Fascist Party and the neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement, was elected (actually appointed by Silvio Berlusconi) President of the incoming Chamber of Deputies. Signs of the times: On a walk through Rome while campaigning for his Fascist colleague, Alemanno, an arrogant Fini allegedly demanded to see immigrants. residence permits.

Thus, neo-Fascists now occupy two chief positions of power.the Presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, third in the state political hierarchy, and the Mayorship of Rome, in power and prestige worth more than several ministries. Again, .they. are climbing, climbing to the top.

May 5 Symptoms of the times: The victim of a beating by a Fascist-Nazi goon squad died in a Verona hospital today. On the same day at the opening of the huge Turin Book Fair.now competing with the Frankfurt Book Fair.the radical Left of the Turin Social Forum burned an Israeli flag in protest against Israel.s .guest of honor. role at this year.s book show. In the evening in the nation.s major talk show the neo-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Fini, said that the events in Turin were much more .serious. than the murder in Verona. While in Verona, he reasoned, there was no ideological reference in the young man.s murder, in Turin .the radical Left was trying to justify with anti-Zionist slogans its authentic anti-Semitism and political-religious prejudices..

In effect, the President of the Chamber is laying the groundwork for repressions of dissent like those he (Fini) commanded in Genoa in 2001 (at the infamous G-8 conference where state police under neo-Fascist control terrorized, beat and tortured anti-capitalist protesters, for which all police perpetrators have since been exonerated).

May 5 Though the new Berlusconi cabinet is not yet complete, we learned today that George Bush is scheduled to return to Rome on June 11 to visit his friend .Silvio.. Italy.s new .Sugary Sweet Dictatorship. must beef up relations with Washington and with Berlusconi.s dear friend .George. after the two-year hiatus of cool relations between the USA and Italy.s outgoing Center Left government. Bush will doubtless ask his vassal for more Italian military support in the East. And Berlusconi is always proud to send Italian ragazzi into the battlefields on American missions. At the same time, Berlusconi needs US support for upgrading Italy.s relations with Israel without offending sensibilities of the Arab world with which the Center Left government had closer relations.

May 5 The media today refer to reports of an Italian intelligence agency (AISI) according to which North-East Italy with its magnificent cities of Verona, Vicenza, Padua, and Treviso has the highest density of militant Nazi Skinheads in the country. The .Skinhead Front., originally modeled on British skinheads in the 1980s, counts several hundred activists. Their symbols are swastikas, Nazi flags and Celtic crosses. Their look is that of the .metropolitan warrior,. whose hobbies are the martial arts and weights, and their values, class-consciousness and nationalism, echoing the physical force of ancient Roman legionaries.

As a rule Nazi Skins are thugs with shaved heads and a low cultural level. Their Nazi Skinhead credo is a violent subculture typical of populist roughnecks: xenophobic, racist and anti-Semite, which they display mainly on city streets and in the soccer stadiums. Nazi Skins originate among youth of the hinterland who dedicate Saturday night to .boot parties. as they call their physical aggressions of which the violent murder in downtown Verona is an example. Theirs is a double militancy: boot parties and physical battles in the stadium. Like mercenary goon squads anywhere they are always available to be exploited politically.

Among Italy.s 80,000 organized violent soccer fans.called ultras.according to the Interior Ministry 15,000 are of the violent Right, organized in 63 groups and organizations, guided by obsessive socio-political slogans and military strategies. They constitute reservoirs of violence and embryonic political cells, as were Mussolini.s squadracci goon squads who took care of political murders. Soccer hooligans are capable of alliances with ultras of other teams in common causes and are fearless. In Rome some months ago ultras of two teams allied to attack police barracks. As every city in Italy is aware, who controls the ultras controls a potentially powerful militia.

The Nazi Skinheads also head the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Italy, profanation of Jewish cemeteries and graffiti on the walls of Italy praising the Duce, Hitler and the crematorium ovens. Intolerance and aggression against weaker parts of society, against the others of society, emerge from this subculture of violence masked under the slogan of exacting justice alone. Fascist-organized nocturnal patrols of vigilantes bearing the colorful label of .City Angels. claim they protect .honest citizens. in Bologna or Milan from vicious immigrant predators.

The same racial intolerance and anti-Semitism are not only fashionable among Nazi Skinheads and the ultras of Fascist origin. In the hinterland of big northern cities they originate also in the rural reservoir of the Northern League whose leader Umberto Bossi likes to warn in these days that if the Left wants conflicts they should be careful, for he has 300,000 men in the North ready for them . and he means armed.

The Skinheads who assassinated the man in Verona allegedly over a cigarette are members of a faction of the extreme rightist .Veneto Skinhead Front.. It is composed of a couple dozen youths and of the Verona soccer fan club. A spontaneous loose organization of like-minded youth, they spout the same Fascist ideologies and treasure the same Nazi symbols. From week to week their aggressions have mounted. Beatings because of the look of the other. Beatings to maintain control of the territory. In house searches, Verona police have found cassettes of films of their aggressions, cassettes for downloading and for sale.

Founded in 1986, the original Veneto Skinhead Front maintains relations with other Right groups in Europe. Its members have been involved in clashes with the police and Left militants and participate in neo-Nazi manifestations throughout Europe.
A film, Nazi Rock, narrates the rites and violence of the radical Right rooted in and around the beautiful city of Verona at the foot of the Alps and near Lake Garda. Its leader was a certain Piero Puschiavo, leader of rock band playing music called Nazi Rock because the song lyrics are a mix of racism, hate for immigrants, defense of roots and national identity and nostalgia for the old Fascist Republic of Salò on the western shores of Lake Garda, as well as for Adolf Hitler of whom they admire .everything except that he lost..

The former rock leader is now the coordinator in the Region of Veneto for the Tricolor Flame Social Movement, an extreme rightist splinter group headed by a long time Fascist who doubts the gas chambers ever existed. This same Luca Romagnoli was an honored guest at a Berlusconi political manifestation in December 2006 before two million spectators, when Berlusconi took Romagnoli.s hand and stroked the flag of the Flame movement. There has always been an alarming affinity and feeling between the extreme rightist organizations and Silvio Berlusconi.

When Berlusconi let Italy.s Fascists out of the closet, he also liberated the grassroots of their affiliated extremist movements who feel liberated of past Nazi-Fascist crimes. Legitimated by the national political system. They feel they were right all along. Thus they are now doubly aggressive, as if to compensate for the post-war years when they were in the closet, negated by the Italian Republic constitutionally based on anti-Fascism.

If the violence on the Right continues growing at today.s pace (and there is much supportive data ignored or underplayed by the media) then there is real cause for alarm. Especially when it happens in the Region of Veneto, in the city of Verona, famous for Romeo and Juliet and art and opera lovers. Or in nearby Treviso where a Northern League leader incited (jokingly, one says) hunters to shoot at immigrants. Local heroes in this milieu are Alessandra Mussolini, the dictator.s granddaughter, a member of Parliament and part of Berlusconi.s coalition, and Roberto Fiore, head of the extreme Right and the violent Forza Nuova organization. This violent Fascist Right is closely linked with the autonomist-separatist Northern League, in rich north Italy Berlusconi.s chief ally and his biggest vote getter. The folkloristic Northern League considers the Rome Mayor.s Celtic Cross a symbol of their ancient Celtic ancestors . not of the SS, as it was.

May 7 Today, reflections on Italy.s extreme Right are in order. For Berlusconi.s System Italy is incongruously under the fire of its own radical Right, Europe.s most powerful and aggressive Right. The Right of past golpes. The Right the rest of the European Right mistrusts. The Right to the Right of Right that has insinuated itself into public opinion, political parties, the press and into the government itself. This Right, largely concealed today, still resembles that of Central American reactionaries or the Right of Chilean and Argentinean generals. This powerful radical Right of the Right is capable of shifting the axis of public discussion and of attracting dark forces and ideas into its own field, while it goes about dismantling piece by piece the construction of the public spirit that secular, Catholic, Liberal, Communist and Socialist builders of modern Italy have realized in the 60 years since the creation of the Italian Republic.

The radical Right is a transversal force. Stealthily it also passes through Center Right parties. It insinuates itself in the Center. In Italy this Right is stronger and more rooted than the radical Right in other European countries. Powerful before the April elections and now certified and empowered by the Berlusconi-Fascist win, it is broadening its base and is capable of making an imprint on the government.

For three-quarters of a century this radical Right has been violent. It is very visible in parts of the Northern League in the hinterlands of north Italy, linked to the diffused mood of xenophobia and the demand for separatism. League people in the backcountry of Lombardy and Veneto love to speak of their ready arms and of separation from Roma ladrona (thieving Rome). They have their flags and their Parliament and call North Italy Padania for the valley of Italy.s greatest river, the Po, separating North Italy from the rest.

Nonetheless this Right is most dangerously nested in the viscera of the neo- post-Fascist National Alliance, AN. Parts of the second party of the government coalition have never digested the party.s .democratic. reforms and its move toward the Center. Therefore it is no surprise when the AN President and top leaders.members of the new government and the political establishment.assume radical Right positions, as did Chamber President Fini concerning the Turin anti-Israeli manifestations.
Here one wonders if the dog (Berlusconi) is wagging its tail, or the tail (AN), the dog.

Gullible people believe that on the way to legitimacy Fini and his ANI morphed into Democrats. In my view nothing could be more false. As writer Ignazio Silone said of Socialists (Once a Socialist, a Socialist forever!), the same goes for Fascists. Although during Stalinism many Communists reneged their faith and became ferocious anti-Communists, I have never noted that Fascists, despite Mussolini or Hitler, genuinely mutate into Communists.

May 8, 2008 The scene: the splendid Quirinal Palace, the former palace of the Popes of Rome sitting atop the Roman hill of the same name with the city of Rome sprawling at its feet, today the official seat and residency of the Italian Presidency. This evening President Giorgio Napoletano (a former Communist) swore in the new cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi in a traditional ceremony repeated with the formation of each of Italy.s new governments, for Berlusconi the fourth time.

Berlusconi had promised a cabinet of twelve ministers. Today he named 21. Pressures from his coalition allies who gave him their votes forced him to add nine ministers without portfolio, that is, ministers without budgets. Particularly conspicuous are the four ministers of the post-Fascist National Alliance and the four of the Northern League proudly wearing their folkloristic green neckties.

In the cabinets.in Italy called .governments..that I have experienced this must be the weakest and the most colorless, except its four young and glamorous women. Berlusconi boasts that the Right has the most beautiful women . and he may be right in that. Except for a few key ministries.finance, interior, justice and foreign affairs.headed by Berlusconi.s most trusted allies, the new cabinet is marked by an absence of strong personalities capable of disagreement with the Leader. For today it.s a one-man show in Italy. The very composition of this cabinet mirrors Berlusconi.s objective of one-man rule.

Berlusconi has cleared the path of all obstacles in his ascent toward the top. He controls the executive and legislative branch completely. After naming his own man Justice Minister, he has made peace with the judiciary via a closer relationship with the President of Italy who is President of Superior Council of the Magistracy, the control organ of the judiciary. Berlusconi created his own party, Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom), changing party names, leaders and programs at will of the nation.s biggest political party. On national TV, Italians saw him sprawled over the hood of an automobile one evening on a Milan piazza, , when he casually announcd to his disciples the formation of his new party to replace his Forza Italia (Let.s Go Italy!). He preferred the name, Popolo della Libertà, which was quickly adopted. He then crushed the radical Left opposition with a tailored electoral law which obliterated the Communists he so hates and reduced the trade unions to bickering bureaucracies. After taming Parliament (which he scorns anyway) by naming personally a closed list of candidates who were promptly elected by the .sovereign people., he created a weak cabinet and a working relationship with the relatively powerless President. As chief of government he has much control over the three public television networks, in addition to his own three networks. For the realization of his neo-corporatism, he has established close relationships with the business world and named the outgoing President of the Association of Italian Industrialists as his roving Ambassador For Made In Italy. Since in his previous government he successfully resolved his conflicts with justice by passing laws ad personam and strengthened his media control, no one any longer speaks of his enormous conflict of interests as big as a New Year.s hangover.

Berlusconi.s goal is alteration of the Constitution to make of Italy a Presidential system with wide powers concentrated in the hands of the President, powers comparable to presidents of USA or Russia . if not more. That is the state he dreams of heading. Today the grim reality is that he has the parliamentary numbers and the political clout to accomplish it.

Such are the macchinations of a man of unlimited ambition whose greatest regret must be that he was not born American or Russian so that he could rule over an empire. Instead, for many, he remains the Milan businessman of jokes, songs and back-slapping bonhomie and vulgarity, albeit much more cunning than the others.

Though the label Sugary Sweet Dictatorship (Dolce Dittatura is now of common usage in the Italian press) is an oximoron of the first order, it eloquently describes Italy.s complex history and its maddening contemporary reality which few mortals comprehend. Berlusconi however does. And for a time, limited only by his mortality, Silvio Berlusconi will continue to dictate to the nation in one way or another.

Still, Italy today is strangely politically calm.

May 9 Contradictorily, Italy is in Marxian terminology a political nation. Especially so during the 20th century when it followed Mussolini.s Fascist dream. Shortly afterwards Italy then boasted of the West.s biggest Communist party, a third of the population voting Communist. Since both Fascists and Communists provided extensive political education, one believed that Italians were politically sophisticated. Reality is, they are no less gullible than .the people. everywhere. Last century in the 70s and 80s millions of frustrated and passionate people were tempted by the illusion of armed revolution. And today, ahead of most of the western world, over 80% of Italians vote in each election. Yet. their gullibility, their capricious volatile nature and frustration led them to vote again for Berlusconi and his Right dream.

The first goal of Berlusconi.s Sweet Dictatorship is to de-politicize the nation. His ready optimism in the face of grim realities reflects his efforts to erode political awareness by the constant creation of false values and false consciousness. Like Marx.s Prussian (Critical Notes on the King of Prussia and Social Reform), Berlusconi wants to make of Italy an unpolitical nation. His aim is to reduce the political system, the bourgeoisie and working classes, to uninformed and politically uneducated masses. Such is the nature of an unpolitical society.

May 9 Today, in a positive comment on my recent article about the winds of the Right blowing over Europe, a reader raises the question of equating Right and Fascism. His question is pertinent. The answer is .no., they are not always the same. There are conservative movements of the Right, that though socially unjust do not merit the term Fascism. But, I would add, they often do.

Antonio Gramsci, whom historian Eric Hobsbawm labeled Europe.s most original Communist thinker of the 20th century and who co-founded the Italian Communist Party, defined Fascism thus: a movement of the petty bourgeoisie reacting to a loss of political importance in society. It has two faces, one revolutionary, the other conservative. It starts by emphasizing its first face but it soon allies with capitalism and turns on its revolutionary wing.

Today as in Gramsci.s times, Italian Fascism is ALSO a rural phenomenon. Actually .rural. today means the densely populated areas of the small towns in north and south Italy as well as the workers suburbs of Milan and Rome where Berlusconi.s great electoral reservoir is found. That same spirit then spreads to the cities and to the nation. (This .rural. container is little different from the banlieues of Paris and of heartland America.)

Fascism is thus only partly a class phenonenon because it overflows and breaks the dikes of every organizational framework, again, as is happening in Italy today, as is happening in the USA. The phenomenon of Fascism unleashes elemental and uncontrollable social forces. Ultimately these forces underline the decay of society and the political system inherent in its low cultural level.

Sixty years have passed since Mussolinian Fascism collapsed. Yet the basic characteristics of Fascism remain unchanged everywhere, in any climate or latitude. So how can we label what is happening here? Today? In 2008? Is it a revolution, one wonders? Is .Sugary Sweet Dictatorship. enough? How will history designate it? What are its characteristics? What adjective most effectively describes the Berlusconi System-government that was officially sworn in today: authoritarian, totalitarian, corporatist, or Fascist? All four names are current in Italy.

Authoritarianism in politics is defined as a form of social control characterized by strict obedience to the authority of the state, a control enforced by oppressive measures if need be, marked by an inevitable erosion of civil liberties. The authoritarian government is undemocratic and exists quite well without the consent of the governed.

Totalitarianism is more method. It describes the workings of a state that regulates both public and private sectors. A modern totalitarian regime may maintain itself in power by propaganda disseminated through controlled mass media and the creation of false consciousness, or also by a personality cult, invasive rules, regulations and laws, the restriction of free discussion and dissent, the use of mass surveillance, terror, false-flag operations and the strategy of tension.

Fascism is a combination of the above, both total and authoritarian, characterized by a centralized, autocratic state governed by a dictatorial chief, close control of economy and society and aggressive repression of opposition. Fascism is nationalistic to the extreme, reducing the interests of the individual to the interests of the nation, promoting a kind of national rebirth by with .cults. of unity, exceptionalism and supremacy over other nations and races. Integral characteristics of Fascism include: patriotism, nationalism, militarism, populism, anti-liberalism, anti-Communism, state planning and corporatism.

What major state-government today most closely corresponds is obvious.

Corporatism as such is an integral component of the Fascist state as conceived by Italy.s Benito Mussolini. Corporatism implies the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism and militarism, in effect a dictatorship of the extreme Right. In practice corporatism and Fascism are one and the same.

Berlusconism: The Sugary Sweet Dictatorship

Each of the four terms.authoritariansim, totalitariansisn, Fascism and coporatism.comprise characteristics of several contemporary .democratic. governments in the USA and Europe.especially apparent in the USA and Berlusconian Italy. Berlusconi is not satisfied with even a quasi Presidential form of government, crtainly not with a parliamentary system with which he has no patience. For him decisionism and authoritarianism are synonymous, the system he believes .the people. desire.

In practice, his ideal system is a leap forward toward dictatorship, soft, sweet or sugary as it may be. In his entourage, in his party, in his Parliament and cabinet, in his Italy, the most loyal to the Chief occupy the crucial positions. While his other appointments are very young, very inexperienced, with no political back-up and no specific capabilies that qualify them for their jobs. The smell of power, the sensation of power and the extensive privileges and emoluments that go with power make Berlusconi.s men subservient to the Leader.

Berlusconi.s system has been defined as a new .corporate Right.. Despite internal differences and nuances among his allies, they all accept the indisputed Leader as the unifier of their diverse identities. In the breakdown of the new Italian Right, the particular presence of the Northern League stands out. This Northern League-Fascist imprint, populist and rich in Fascist overtones, in turn influences Berlusconi, sweeping him farther rightwards. The stamp of this anomalous majority is destined to influence today.s Italian political system so out of tune with the rest of the European Right.

It is a trusim that the smell of Power is a strong cement. Whatever internal conflicts might arise in this Right, they will have little effect on the endurance of Berlusconi.s regime ... and regime it will be. Populism and soft dictatorship are here to stay. Berlusconi wants no battle with anyone. Not even with the almost tame opposition. As he repeats to all his people, he wants to avoid mistakes, as if they were pulling off the great train robbery of the century. A quiet legislature with no scrapes, no errors, no internecine warfare. Much more than the .saviour of the nation. and the .statesman of the century., his aim is to push through constitutional changes for a genuine Presidential system . with him at the helm. His .magnificent obsession. remains the Quirinal Palace, the Presidential Palace on the hill.

Far in advance of the swing to the Right in the bigger countries of West Europe.Germany, Great Britain and France.events in these days dramatize Italy.s vigorous leap to the extreme Right, marked by a drift toward authoritarianism, a leap accompanied by a squeeze on mass organizations and the crushing of dissent. Some observers wonder if the elimination of the (radical) Left from the Rome Parliament.a Left still present in all other European parliaments.was a decision of the Right, or of the bourgeoisie, or of capitalism . or of all three together. Or was it the Trilateral or the Bilderbergers? However that may be, it smacks suspiciously of a top-level plan.

Today I received disturbing information from an old friend concerning a plot: In 2006 after the Center Left was elected in Italy, a highly placed DC operative told this friend, .Wait a little longer. After Chirac leaves in France, we will have our man at the Elysée Palace. Then Italy will see good old Silvio telling his jokes again ... and they will all sing the chorus to the neocon song.. This brings to mind earlier years in post-war Europe when the Company was running rampant and paying off anyone on the way! And decades later when one of them said to me in an off-the-cuff interview about Italy: .We run things here..

The Italian Left was in fact severely punished by an electoral law which neither Center Right nor Center Left bothered to touch. It is also true that the Americanized Center Left Democratic Party which lost the elections, has renounced Social Democracy, becoming more Center than Left. It now seems that all parties to the Right of the radical Left intended simplifying the political spectrum by expelling that Left and eliminating opposition to Italy.s market-driven society.

The authoritarian temptation is a system modeled on the USA. A system without opposition is the dream of aspirant regimes. Perhaps Berlusconi.s Italy is not yet identifiable as Fascism, which was something with different historic roots and characteristics.albeit something terrible with its corporatism, militarism, nationalism and racist laws.something that perhaps cannot be repeated today.Nonetheless, Italy has fallen headlong into the snakepit of a still unpredictable authoritarianism.

Today a certain Italy is only dangerously calm.

May 9 While Berlusconi reflects on the nomination of Under Secretaries I want to recall the history of Fascism which still fascinates Italians as if it happened yesterday. Both culturally or politically, Italy.s present is intertwined and permeated with the idea of Fascism.

Flashback: Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), the Fascist dictator from 1922-1943, centralized all power in himself as the leader, il Duce. In his thirst for grandeur and his attempt to create a new Italian empire, he allied with Nazi Germany and led Italy into disaster and to his own downfall. After Italy.s military defeat by the Allies, Mussolini.s colleagues turned on him and held him under arrest until German paratroopers rescued him and took him to German-occupied north Italy. Like a modern Napoleon on Elba, Mussolini established a tiny German-dependent puppet state, the Italian Social Republic or Repubblica Sociale Italiana-RSI, called also the Republic of Salò for the charming town of Salò on the western shores of Lake Garda where it was headquartered.

Germany supported the little Fascist state, which had no economy nor government, in order to maintain order, combat Italian partisans and persecute Jews. Italians loyal to Mussolini and rural youth recruited in north Italy around Lake Garda and the Veneto Region then engaged in a civil war against Italian partisans, a war in which Mussolini promised to turn Milan into the Stalingrad of Italy. To re-gain popular support he made many promises.to remove the monarchy and pursue the real ideology of Fascism depicted as progressive and social. Still, he maintained close personal relations with Hitler, urging him to destroy Great Britain, a prerequisite for peace in Europe, he believed. As the war drew to an end, both Germany and victorious Allies raped and devastated Italy, the fault of Fascism and Mussolini.s grandeur complexes. After a humiliated Mussolini lost the support of his people and his German masters, he was captured by Italians partisans, summarily executed and his body hung by his feet on a Milan piazza.

In this atmosphere supporters of Mussolini in 1946 created the neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Italiano, or MSI). For 25 years the MSI existed as a paralegal movement until in a tactical move during the Cold War it removed some of its Fascist symbols and recognized Italian democracy. But it still included extremist organizations infiltrated by rogue Italian and American intelligence engaged in false flag operations such as the masscre at the Bologna train station in 1980 that killed 80 people: the aim was to terrorize people into voting for authoritarian government and to cast the blame on the Communist Party.

I had the personal testimony of Fascists associated with Gladio, NATO.s top secret stay-behind paramilitary Cold War organization. Gladio, intelligence agencies and the extreme Right operating with CIA assistance have been accused for the 1978 abduction and murder of the Christian Democratic leader, Aldo Moro, guilty of attempting to bring the Italian Communist Party into the national government. Though Red Brigadists executed the Moro crime, I have long believed that that second edition of the Red Brigades.by then most of the original organizers were in jail.was maneuvered by the CIA and Italian intelligence. MSI organizations were implicated in rightwing coup d.états attempts in the 1970s and 80s and were engaged in violence during the lead years of terrorism, gli anni di piombo. Finally, in 1995 the MSI changed its name to the National Alliance Party (AN) and became Berlusconi.s chief and most loyal ally and coalition partner.

AN President and the neo-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Gianfranco Fini, is thus the direct heir of Mussolinian Fascism. He personally fostered the transformation of MSI to Alleanaza Nazionale, which he describes as neo-liberal rightwing and centrist-oriented. Unconvinced neo-Fascist hardliners instead founded parallel movements such as that of the Duce.s granddaughter Alessandra Mussolini.s Alternativa Sociale (Social Alternative). She is on Berlusconi.s team and was elected to Parliament in his ranks.

For 50 years the MSI stood for intransigent anti-Communism, a strong executive, aggressive government, opposition to the superpowers in international politics, and a third way between liberal capitalism and socialism. The MSI-AN dna remains the same though Fini and its leaders are subservient to Berlusconi who has incorporated all those themes as his own. Berlusconi.s Peoples Freedom Party is absorbing also the MSI-AN organization, a two-way process by which it too becomes the heir of Mussolinian Fascism.

One doubt remains in my mind. Considering the complex history of the Fascist MSI-AN, who, I wonder, is absorbing whom? Berlusconi, Fini? Or is Fini, surreptitiously, bit by bit perhaps assimilating Berlusconi?

May 11 Speaking to the national assembly of Alleanza Nazionale in Rome to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Giorgio Almirante, the founder of the neo-Fascist MSI, Gianfranco Fini proclaimed: .We won!. The AN President meant the final victory of the Right and in effect he summed up of the iedological battles of the 20th century for the souls and allegiance of the European working man ... and perhaps he meant too the vindication of Benito Mussolini. .The radical Left no longer exists,. Fini added triumphantly, .but we are here and we have carried Right thought to the nation. Therefore we must assume in its stead the defense of workers and social themes.. (Mussolini.s program!)

In an irresistable return to the Fascist-Nazi prediliction for ritual, Fini then read out one by one the names of Italy.s Fascist heroes-saints, including that of Almirante, the spiritual father of Italian neo-Fascism. .We are not the sons of a minor god,. Fini said to the notables of Italy.s political world. Though no one present asked, I had the thought that many must have remembered just whose sons they are.

In harmony with Fini.s script, the neo-Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni of the Northern League, in another part of Rome announced stringent new measures against illegal immigrants, declaring them criminals to be arrested and deported. In effect, the Left press noted, new racial laws! Italy.s borders are to be closed to Roma gypsies and to the .perfidious. Romanians, widely considered the Mexicans of Italy. The latter caused the Bucarest govrnment, now part of the EU, to remind Rome that blocing borders is a flagrant violation of the EU.s Schengen accords permitting the free movement of the Union.s peoples from one country to the other.

May 12 Today Berlusconi filled in the last empty slots in his political power network with the nomination of 37 Under Secretaries attached to the various ministries, including eight for himself and eight more to his neo-Fascist allies. While in Bologna in the north the political battle over the use of neo-Fascist vigilantes raged, in the Rome Viminal Palace the Interior Minister prepared a government decree making illegal immigration a crime.

May 13 Les jeux sont faits! The Berlusconi government system, the Sugary Dictatorship, is in place. The wheels of state can now begin to turn. Where it will stop, well, no one really knows. But we can speculate on what all this means.

May 14 Racial laws are returning. TV newscasts show eerie scenes of flames rising against nighttime skies in the suburbs of Rome and Milan and Naples. Dangerous old words are again fashionable.tight police control, armed traffic police, special commissars, oppression, deportation, revolt, ghettos, camps. Nightmare alley images of fires rising in the night do not lie. Away with the Roma gypsies is the mood! Gypsy camps are burning in the night. Incited by the mood of intolerance from above, citizen vigilantes armed with clubs and organized criminals of the Camorra are invading makeshift Roma camps around the big cities. Molotov coctails ignite the shacks and tents and ramshackled cars and vans. It.s Krystal Nacht for Italy.s gypsies who have been here forever, many Italian citizens. Hitler, one recalls, began with the expulsion of the gypsies, the perfidious Zigeuner.

May 15 As the the new government of Silvio Berlusconi inaugurates Italy.s Third Republic, the attempt to quantify the Fascist role is pertinent. For the number of neo-Fascists installed in key positions in the Sweet Dictatorship is staggering. Here, from the top down, are those who trace their political geneaology straight back to Mussolini,: Fianfranco Fini occupies the third power position in Italy, the Presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, while Gianni Alemanno is solidly entrenched as the Mayor of Rome. Alleanza Nazionale occupies four major ministries, and has another eight Under Secretaries infilrating other ministries. The web of power then extends downwards, down into city, provincial, and regional administrations, into the media world, the world of business and finance, and the enormous bureaucratic network of commissions and committees and consultants and lobbies that ultimately influence the direction of a nation. Especially in the rich north the fascistoid Northern League occupies a like number of positions. And over all the power structure, Berlusconi.s falange! the corporatist authoritarian People of Freedom Party, Italy.s biggest political organization today.

The longterm significance of the march to power of System Berlusconi (the person Silvio Berlusconi and his People of Freedom Party, the neo-Fascist AN and the populist Northern League, their cabinet, their Parliament, their media and public and private organizations) is the defeat of even the century-old idea of a working class movement in Italy. It seems to extinguish the faintest glimmer of hope for even a mild form of modern Socialism. A sad spectacle, the caged Left, trapped in a dark corner of extra-parliamentary opposition, today adrift and deprived of feasible ideas for its rebirth.

Instead, basking in the limelight, Berlusconi.s People of Freedom prance around the political stage, unbridled arrogance surging from their very pores while their electoral promises begin to dissipate. And freedom for whom? One asks. From whom? The freedom for longer work days, proclaims the Right. Freedom for more productivity, advise the new state ministers. Freedom for longer work hours at Europe.s lowest pay, complains the Left. Freedom of precarious six-month work contracts so as not to be bound to a lifetime of toil, proclaim hypocrites. Freedom for wives and mothers to work longer hours exactly as their husbands . at lower pay. Freedom to labor and work instead of long and dreary university study. Freedom to serve people and nation in the armed forces in Afghanistan in support of Berlusconi.s precious friend, President George Bush.

May 15 official Italy seems calm today.

An eerie political calm seems to reign over the riotous, unruly, anarchic peninsula state of Italy which, according to Giovanni Giolitti, five time Prime Minister early last century, was not at all difficult to govern. Though, as he said, it was useless.

As in Cold War years, so in the Berlusconi era the fear of leftist Communists and the desire of many Italians to be a normal nation has led to today.s unconscious toleration of the rise of a nascent form of authoritarian government with many characteristics of Fascism.


May 23, 2008 GAITHER STEWART is a Senior Special Contributing Editor and European Correspondent at Cyrano's Journal, a novelist and journalist. His stories, essays and dispatches are read widely on many leading venues. His fiction, Icy Current Compulsive Course, To Be A Stranger and Once In Berlin are published by Wind River Press

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posted by u2r2h at Saturday, May 24, 2008 0 comments

21 May, 2008

The NSA bootskin

National Security Agency - Echelon Spy fake terror

NSA logo -- noble looking version. NSA Agents take pride in their work but -- as the 911 inside job shows -- the servants of state are not in control. They have been subordinated to the fake war on terror where countless civilians are slaughtered for domination of resources and hegemony over minds. Today, the American Way is to limit freedom and -- worse than East Germany -- to spy on civic society in order to gain control over the natural trend towards socialism, to protect the modern owners and their hierarchy of artificial money, to prevent democracy and public institutions. The privatisation of public equity is the source of perverse money-creation! The benefits of peace and industriousness are not supposed to be enjoyed by the general public. The NSA is purporting this criminal attitude and instrumental in preventing remedy.

Jewelry and Watches: National Security Agency (NSA) Seal Gold Plated Cu, Mens Jewelry
NSA National Security Agency (NSA) Seal Gold Plated cufflinks

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posted by u2r2h at Wednesday, May 21, 2008 0 comments

17 May, 2008


Oil Consumption - Facts and Figures

US Military 144 mio barrels www.energybulletin.net/13199.html

Total world production/consumption (as of 2005)
is approximately 84 million barrels per day

US 20mio per day
China 7mio per day
Germany 2.6mio per day

Top 150 Non-Publicly listed companies

CompanyCountrySectorEstimated Market Value as of Dec 2005 ($bn)Type
1Saudi AramcoSaudi ArabiaOil gas781State owned
2Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex)MexicoOil gas415State owned
3Petróleos de Venezuela SAVenezuelaOil gas388State owned
4Kuwait Petroleum Corporation KuwaitOil gas378State owned
5Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) MalaysiaOil gas232State owned
6SonatrachAlgeriaOil gas224State owned
7National Iranian Oil Company IranOil gas220State owned
8Japan PostJapanPostal services156State owned
9PertaminaIndonesiaOil gas140State owned
10Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NigeriaOil gas120State owned
11Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)UAEOil gas103State owned
12INOCIraqOil gas102State owned
13Libya National Oil CompanyLibyaOil gas99State owned
15State Grid Corporation of ChinaChinaElectric utilities87State owned
16Nippon Life Insurance Company JapanInsurance87Mutual
17Kohlberg Kravis Roberts CoUnited StatesPrivate equity83Partnership
18Qatar PetroleumQatarOil gas78State owned
19State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company United StatesInsurance76Mutual
20European Investment BankLuxembourgBanking73State owned
21United States Postal ServiceUnited StatesPostal services72State owned
22Carlyle GroupUnited StatesPrivate equity71Partnership
23Norinchukin BankJapanBanking66Co-operative
25Blackstone GroupUnited StatesPrivate equity60Partnership
26Texas Pacific GroupUnited StatesPrivate equity59Partnership
27Permira Advisers LLPUnited KingdomPrivate equity54Partnership
28Koch IndustriesUnited StatesConglomerates52Family owned
29Bain Capital, LLCUnited StatesPrivate equity49Partnership
30Cargill, Inc.United StatesConglomerates48Family owned
31CVC Capital Partners Limited United KingdomPrivate equity46Partnership
32Apollo Advisors, LPUnited StatesPrivate equity45Partnership
33FMR CorpUnited StatesAsset management42Family owned
34Warburg Pincus LLC United StatesPrivate equity42Partnership
35Boehringer Ingelheim GmbHGermanyPharmaceuticals41Family owned
36Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company JapanInsurance41Mutual
37Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company JapanInsurance41Mutual
38Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona (”la Caixa”)SpainBanking37Nonprofit
39Kaiser PermanenteUnited StatesHealthcare 36Nonprofit
40Crédit MutuelFranceBanking35Mutual
41The Capital Group CompaniesUnited StatesAsset management35Partnership
42Bertelsmann AGGermanyMedia34Family owned
43Groupe Caisse d’EpargneFranceBanking34Mutual
44BC Partners LimitedUnited KingdomPrivate equity34Partnership
45Apax PartnersUnited KingdomPrivate equity33Partnership
46Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation EgyptOil gas33State owned
47China Development BankChinaBanking33State owned
48CinvenUnited KingdomPrivate equity32Partnership
49Japan Racing AssociationJapanEntertainment32State owned
50Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations FranceBanking32State owned
51Mars IncUnited StatesFood & beverages32Family owned
52Deutsche Bahn AGGermanyRailroads31State owned
53Silver Lake PartnersUnited StatesPrivate equity31Partnership
54Hellman Friedman CapitalUnited StatesPrivate equity31Partnership
55National Football LeagueUnited StatesEntertainment29Association
56Vanguard GroupUnited StatesAsset management29Mutual
57Madison Dearborn PartnersUnited StatesPrivate equity28Partnership
58Deloitte Touche TohmatsuUnited StatesProfessional services27Partnership
59First Reserve CorporationUnited StatesPrivate equity27Partnership
60Thomas H. Lee Equity Partners United StatesPrivate equity27Partnership
61General Atlantic PartnersUnited StatesPrivate equity27Partnership
62China RailwaysChinaRailroads25State owned
63Groupe Banque PopulaireFranceBanking25Mutual
64Trump OrganizationUnited StatesReal estate25Family owned
65PriceWaterhouseCoopersUnited StatesProfessional services25Other
66Empresa Colombiana de Petróleos (Ecopetrol)ColombiaOil gas24State owned
67China Southern Power GridChinaElectric utilities23State owned
68Loterias y Apuestas del Estado (LAE)SpainEntertainment23State owned
69IKEA International A/SSwedenRetailers22Other
70Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco)ChileMetals mining22State owned
71La Française des JeuxFranceEntertainment22State owned
72Cox EnterprisesUnited StatesMedia21Family owned
73MassMutual Financial GroupUnited StatesInsurance21Mutual
74Suntory GroupJapanFood & beverages21Family owned
75Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad de MadridSpainBanking21Nonprofit
76Ernst Young InternationalUnited StatesProfessional services21Partnership
77KPMG InternationalNetherlandsProfessional services21Co-operative
78State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR)AzerbaijanOil gas20State owned
79Otto GmbH Co KG GermanyRetailers20Family owned
80Providence Equity PartnersUnited StatesPrivate equity20Partnership
81Agricultural Bank of ChinaChinaBanking20State owned
82Nationwide Building SocietyUnited KingdomBanking20Mutual
83Votorantim GroupBrazilConglomerates20Family owned
84Clayton, Dubilier Rice, Inc.United StatesPrivate equity20Partnership
85Welsh, Carson, Anderson Stowe United StatesPrivate equity20Partnership
86Vattenfall ABSwedenElectric utilities19State owned
87Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company United StatesInsurance18Mutual
88Maruhan CorporationJapanEntertainment18Family owned
89Tchibo Holding AGGermanyFood & beverages18Family owned
90Ferrero S.p.A.ItalyFood & beverages18Family owned
91Comisión Federal de ElectricidadMexicoElectric utilities18State owned
92Landesbank Baden-WürttembergGermanyBanking18State owned
93JSC Russian RailwaysRussiaRailroads18State owned
94Camelot Group plcUnited KingdomEntertainment17Other
95USAAUnited StatesInsurance17Mutual
96Citic GroupChinaConglomerates16State owned
97Bayerische LandesbankGermanyBanking16State owned
98Health Care Service CorporationUnited StatesHealthcare 16Mutual
99Sumitomo Life Insurance CompanyJapanInsurance16Mutual
100SC Johnson Son, Inc United StatesConsumer goods15Family owned
101La PosteFrancePostal services15State owned
102REWE GroupGermanyGrocery retailers15Co-operative
103KfW BankengruppeGermanyBanking14State owned
104B. Braun Melsungen AGGermanyHealthcare 14Family owned
105De Beers Consolidated Mines LimitedSouth AfricaMetals mining14Family owned
106Liberty Mutual Holding Company Inc. United StatesInsurance13Mutual
107British Broadcasting CorpUnited KingdomMedia13State owned
108Glencore InternationalSwitzerlandTrading13Other
109Edeka GroupGermanyGrocery retailers13Co-operative
110New York State LotteryUnited StatesEntertainment13State owned
111Louis Dreyfus GroupFranceConglomerates13Family owned
112Poste Italiane SpAItalyPostal services13State owned
113Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer FrançaisFranceRailroads13State owned
114Hydro-Québec CanadaElectric utilities13State owned
115Schwarz GroupGermanyGrocery retailers13Family owned
116El Corte Inglés SA SpainRetailers13Family owned
117Carlson CompaniesUnited StatesHospitality12Family owned
118ALDI GroupGermanyGrocery retailers12Family owned
119Global Hyatt CorporationUnited StatesHospitality12Family owned
120Dr August Oetker KGGermanyFood & beverages12Family owned
121Vitol Holding BVNetherlandsTrading12Other
122Deutsche Zentral-GenossenschaftsbankGermanyBanking12Co-operative
123NascarUnited StatesEntertainment12Family owned
124Shanghai Automotive Industry CorporationChinaAutomobiles parts12State owned
125Gie Pari Mutuel UrbainFranceEntertainment12State owned
126Auchan SAFranceGrocery retailers12Family owned
127Northwestern Mutual LifeUnited StatesInsurance12Mutual
128China FAW Group CorporationChinaAutomobiles parts12State owned
129EWE AGGermanyElectric utilities11State owned
130Highmark IncUnited StatesHealthcare 11Nonprofit
131Taiwan Power CompanyTaiwanElectric utilities11State owned
132Tennessee Valley AuthorityUnited StatesElectric utilities11State owned
133Dongfeng Motor CorporationChinaAutomobiles parts11State owned
134TIAA-CREFUnited StatesAsset management11Other
135Independence Blue CrossUnited StatesHealthcare 11Nonprofit
136TC Ziraat Bankasi ASTurkeyBanking11State owned
137HSH Nordbank AGGermanyBanking11State owned
138New York LifeUnited StatesInsurance11Mutual
139Major League BaseballUnited StatesEntertainment11Association
140Société Civile des MousquetairesFranceGrocery retailers11Other
141Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (Nord/LB) GermanyBanking10State owned
142Association des Centres Distributeurs E. LeclercFranceGrocery retailers10Co-operative
143National Basketball AssociationUnited StatesEntertainment10Association
144Groupama SAFranceInsurance9Mutual
145Würth GruppeGermanyIndustrial supplies9Other
146Ascension HealthUnited StatesHealthcare 9Nonprofit
147Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA PortugalBanking9State owned
148WestLB AGGermanyBanking9Other
149Blue Shield of CaliforniaUnited StatesInsurance9Nonprofit
150Indian RailwaysIndiaRailroads9State owned
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posted by u2r2h at Saturday, May 17, 2008 0 comments

08 May, 2008

CHOMSKY to be facing 911 truth

May 7, 2008 at 06:45:49

William Blum to Noam Chomsky: How Could It NOT Matter Whether 9/11 Was a False-Flag Op?

by Kevin Barrett

Noam Chomsky is widely considered America's leading scholarly critic of the crimes of empire. But William Blum, as Chomsky himself says, has written "far and a way the best book on the topic." That book is called Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. It lays out the evidence that millions of people have been murdered, and tens of millions had their lives ruined, in what Blum calls the "American holocaust" of military and CIA attacks on indigenous populations all over the world - all of them blatantly unconstitutional, because in no case did Congress ever declare war.

Blum and Chomsky agree in their analysis of the crimes of empire. But Blum is out ahead of Chomsky in questioning the official story of 9/11. On March 2nd, 2007, Blum appeared on my GCN radio show Dynamic Duo and displayed an open mind regarding the evidence that 9/11 was an inside job.

Now he's going even further. On May 2nd, 2008, Blum sent me an email regarding my upcoming interview with Noam Chomsky. Blum wrote: "Will you ask Chomsky why he thinks that it wouldn't be important to expose that 9-11 was an inside job?"

That is, of course, the million-dollar question that so many of us have been wanting to ask Noam Chomsky, who is on the record saying it "doesn't matter" whether or not 9/11 was an inside job. Here are some choice Chomsky quotes:

.Whether [Islamic terrorists] were involved or not nobody knows. It really doesn.t matter much.. (.An Evening with Noam Chomsky: The War on Terror.. MIT 10/18/2001

Yet he admits "The evidence (against al-Qaida) is surprisingly thin." (Noam Chomsky, 9/11)

But .Even if (inside job) were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? I mean, it doesn.t have any significance.. (Noam Chomsky on 911 conspiracy part 2, YouTube).

William Blum, like the rest of us, is puzzled by Chomsky's apparent inability to understand that exposing the 9/11 inside job would help end the crimes of empire.

Blum and I will discuss Chomsky's odd 9/11 views on the radio this Friday, May 9th (joined by former head of the SDI "Star Wars" Missile Defense Program under two US presidents, Col. Bob Bowman.)

And you can bet this topic will come up when when I interview Noam Chomsky in early June.

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posted by u2r2h at Thursday, May 08, 2008 0 comments

07 May, 2008

IRAN - fall attack?

May 6, 2008
Condi Stomps the Mullahs
Philip Giraldi

The war drums are again beating. It's beginning to look like the neocons have cranked up their useful idiots in the Bush administration for a fall offensive, target Iran. And maybe also Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians.

The bad guys' list, which is remarkably similar to a roll call of Israel's enemies, seems to have expanded both vertically and horizontally at a time when the U.S. military is using paper clips and chewing gum to hold together its efforts in Iraq. The critique of Iran has sharpened and intensified and new friends of Iran have been discovered in Afghanistan and Gaza. Even Venezuela is accused of being a tad too close to the mullahs, criticized by the State Department for having "deepened relations" with Iran and establishing a weekly flight connecting Caracas with Tehran via Iran Airlines. Lest there be any misunderstanding, doing business or even talking nice with Iran will not be tolerated.

It is not clear where the resources for a new war will come from, particularly if Tehran is audacious enough to resist, but some in the White House and Pentagon seem convinced that unleashing death by means of bombers and cruise missiles is enough to bring the hated mullahs to their knees. It is surely no coincidence that Iran was featured in the annual State Department report on terrorism that came out on Wednesday, which says,

"Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Elements of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts throughout the region and continued to support a variety of groups in their use of terrorism to advance their common regional goals. Iran provides aid to Palestinian terrorist groups, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq-based militants, and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan."

That summary includes just about everybody that the United States dislikes, and all of them are now conveniently linked to Iran.

Iran was also excoriated last week by the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the director of the CIA, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Everyone was on message: "Iran is killing our troops!" And then there is the supporting chorus from Israel, with Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz claiming that "Iran will have nuclear bomb technology by the end of this year." And from Sen. Hillary Clinton: "I will obliterate Iran." In George Orwell's 1984 there was an obligatory "Two Minutes Hate" every day in which the enemies of the Oceania state were pilloried. Iran currently endures much more than the required two minutes.

One of the most discouraging aspects of the new wave of Iran bashing is the climbing on board by the so-called realists in the Bush administration. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is frequently cited as a force for reason and restraint, presumably reflecting the misgivings of some flag officers for a broadening conflict in the Middle East. But the more demonstrative of those officers, most particularly in the person of Adm. William Fallon, have been removed and replaced by those more amenable to the wishes of the administration, namely Gen. David Petraeus, whose moral code appears to be limited to whatever the White House tells him to think. Gates said last week that the dispatch of a second aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf would serve as a "reminder" to Iran. His words were echoed by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, who warned Iran that "it would be a mistake to think we are out of combat power." Sounds a bit like "all options are on the table."

Meanwhile, the chief of operations for the senior U.S. military staff, Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, broadened the indictment of Iran, citing Tehran's support for the Taliban: "There is indication that the Iranian support of the Taliban has continued." Ham did not provide any details of what Iran sends or how much, a hallmark of accusations directed against the mullahs. Nor does he appear to be aware of the fact that the Sunni Taliban and Shi'ite Iranians are hardly close friends, having a long and bitter history that features massacres on both sides, including the killing of 11 Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998 by the Taliban.

The intelligence community has also been widely considered pragmatic in its approach to the Middle East, but consider CIA Director Michael Hayden's latest: "It is my opinion, it is the policy of the Iranian government, approved to highest level of that government, to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq." It is worth asking what precisely Hayden means as director of Central Intelligence when he refers to something as "his opinion." Does he have hard evidence that the Iranians have put out an order to kill Americans? Or is he saying that Iran's leaders, fearful of the presence of 150,000 U.S. troops next door and a naval flotilla on its doorstep, would like to see the enterprise fail so the soldiers and sailors will depart? And what does "to facilitate the killing of Americans" actually mean?

But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tops the field. Known for her inability to articulate a foreign policy based on U.S. national interest, Rice sits on the political fence most of the time, a Gucci boot dangling on either side, but recently it was believed that she was preaching moderation. Not so any more. The worst national security adviser and worst secretary of state in memory has now added to her laurels. Her understanding of what is taking place in the Middle East places her only one notch above the comprehension level exhibited by her boss.

Last Tuesday, Rice spoke in Washington at the annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee. She said, "But perhaps of deepest concern, the leaders of Hamas are increasingly serving as the proxy warriors of an Iranian regime that is destabilizing the region, seeking a nuclear capability, and proclaiming its desire to destroy Israel." Rice also described a new "belt of extremism" that includes Hamas, the Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah in Lebanon, militants in Iraq, and "radicals even increasingly in places like Afghanistan." Per Secretary Rice, that it is "supported overwhelmingly by Iran and to a certain extent Syria, but particularly Iran, gives this conflict a regional dimension it has not had before."

Rice's problem is that she is spokesman for a worldview that has blinders on. For her, there are no degrees of bad guy, and as they are all terrorists anyway, it is impossible to talk to them. All who oppose U.S. or Israeli policy are subsumed into the same enemy, which conveniently reduces foreign policy to a simple formula that neatly lumps together a whole range of groups with different antecedents and objectives. It is a vision that guarantees failure and that actually makes more terrorists than it succeeds in eliminating, as Rice's own annual report on terrorism concedes. While Rice's ignorant message was undoubtedly reassuring to the American Jewish Committee, it should not comfort the vast majority of Americans who are not threatened by Hamas, Hezbollah, Iraqi militants, Syria, or the Taliban. Nor are Americans threatened by Iran unless U.S. policymakers and their neocon drivers make it so by firing the first shot. And there is no hope from the Democrats. Barack will do whatever it takes to make The Lobby like him, and Hillary's finger is already on the trigger. Eighty million Iranians will be obliterated as soon as that 3 a.m. phone call comes in. One presumes that John McCain will not even wait for the phone call.


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posted by u2r2h at Wednesday, May 07, 2008 0 comments

03 May, 2008

AIDS -- people of colour -- DoD MacArthur 1969 1981

Since I Gave Up Hope, I Feel Better

By William Blum

1 May 2008

"More than any time in history, mankind now faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -- Woody Allen

Food riots, in dozens of countries, in the 21st century. Is this what we envisioned during the post-World War Two, moon-landing 20th century as humankind's glorious future? It's not the end of the world, but you can almost see it from here.

American writer Henry Miller (1891-1980) once asserted that the role of the artist was to "inoculate the world with disillusionment". So just in case you -- for whatever weird reason -- cling to the belief/hope that the United States can be a positive force in ending or slowing down the new jump in world hunger, here are some disillusioning facts of life.

On December 14, 1981 a resolution was proposed in the United Nations General Assembly which declared that "education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights". Notice the "proper nourishment". The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1. The United States cast the only "No" vote.

A year later, December 18, 1982, an identical resolution was proposed in the General Assembly. It was approved by a vote of 131-1. The United States cast the only "No" vote.

The following year, December 16, 1983, the resolution was again put forth, a common practice at the United Nations. This time it was approved by a vote of 132-1. There's no need to tell you who cast the sole "No" vote.

These votes took place under the Reagan administration.

Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the "right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food". The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a "right to food". Washington instead championed free trade as the key to ending the poverty at the root of hunger, and expressed fears that recognition of a "right to food" could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions.[1]

The situation of course did not improve under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2002, in Rome, world leaders at another U.N.-sponsored World Food Summit again approved a declaration that everyone had the right to "safe and nutritious food". The United States continued to oppose the clause, again fearing it would leave them open to future legal claims by famine-stricken countries.[2]

Along with petitioning American leaders to become decent human beings we should be trying to revive the population control movement. Birth rates must be radically curbed. All else being equal, a markedly reduced population count would have a markedly beneficial effect upon global warming and food and water availability (not to mention finding a parking spot and lots of other advantages). People, after all, are not eating more. There are simply more/too many people. Some favor limiting families to two children. Others argue in favor of one child per family. Still others, who spend a major part of each day digesting the awful news of the world, are calling for a limit of zero. (The Chinese government recently announced that the country would have about 400 million more people if it wasn't for its limit of one or two children per couple.[3])

And as long as we're fighting for hopeless causes, let's throw in the demand that corporations involved in driving the cost of oil through the roof -- and dragging food costs with it -- must either immediately exhibit a conspicuous social conscience or risk being nationalized, their executives taken away in orange jumpsuits, handcuffs, and leg shackles. The same for other corporations and politicians involved in championing the replacement of food crops with biofuel crops or exploiting any of the other steps along the food-chain system which puts bloated income ahead of putting food in people's mouths. We're not speaking here of weather phenomena beyond the control of man, we're speaking of men making decisions, based not on people's needs but on pseudo-scientific, amoral mechanisms like supply and demand, commodity exchanges, grain futures, selling short, selling long, and other forms of speculation, all fed and multiplied by the proverbial herd mentality -- a system governed by only two things: fear and greed; not a rational way to feed a world of human beings.

The Wall Street Journal reports that grain-processing giant Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said its quarterly profits "jumped 42%, including a sevenfold increase in net income in its unit that stores, transports and trades grains such as wheat, corn and soybeans. ... Some observers think financial speculation has helped push up prices as wealthy investors in the past year have flooded the agriculture commodity markets in search of better returns."[4] At the same time, the French Agriculture Minister warned European Union officials against "too much trust in the free market. We must not leave the vital issue of feeding people to the mercy of market laws and international speculation."[5]

It should be noted that the price of gasoline in the United States increases on a regular basis, but there's no shortage of supply. There are no lines of cars waiting at gas stations. And demand has been falling as financially-strapped drivers cut back on car use.

Intelligence agents without borders
When Andreas Papandreou assumed his ministerial duties in 1964 in the Greek government led by his father George Papandreou, he was shocked to discover an intelligence service out of control, a shadow government with powers beyond the authority of the nation's nominal leaders, a service more loyal to the CIA than to the Papandreou government. This was a fact of life for many countries in the world during the Cold War, when the CIA could dazzle a foreign secret service with devices of technical wizardry, classes in spycraft, vital intelligence, unlimited money, and American mystique and propaganda. Many of the world's intelligence agencies have long provided the CIA with information about their own government and citizens. The nature of much of this information has been such that if a private citizen were to pass it to a foreign power he could be charged with treason.[6]

Leftist Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa declared in April that Ecuador's intelligence systems were "totally infiltrated and subjugated to the CIA," and accused senior Ecuadoran military officials of sharing intelligence with Colombia, the Bush administration's top (if not only) ally in Latin America. The previous month missiles had been fired into a camp of the Colombian FARC rebels situated in Ecuador near the Colombian border, killing about 25. One of those killed was Franklin Aisalla, an Ecuadorean operative for the group. It turned out that Ecuadorean intelligence officials had been tracking Aisalla, a fact that was not shared with the president, but apparently with Colombian forces and their American military advisers. "I, the president of the republic, found out about these operations by reading the newspaper," a visibly indignant Correa said. "This is not something we can tolerate." He added that he planned to restructure the intelligence agencies so he would have greater direct control over them.[7]

The FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) is routinely referred to in the world media as "Marxist", but that designation has not been appropriate for many years. The FARC has long been basically a criminal organization -- kidnapings for ransom, kidnapings for no apparent reason, selling protection services to businesses, trafficking in drugs, fighting the Colombian Army to be free to continue their criminal ways or to revenge their comrades' deaths. But Washington, proceeding from its declared ideology of "If you ain't with us, you're against us; in fact, if you ain't with us you're a terrorist", has designated FARC as a terrorist group. Every stated definition of "terrorist", from the FBI to the United Nations to the US criminal code makes it plain that terrorism is essentially a political act. This should, logically, exclude FARC from that category but, in actuality, has no effect on Washington's thinking. And now the Bush administration is threatening to add Venezuela to its list of "nations that support terrorism", following a claim by Colombia that it had captured a computer belonging to FARC after the attack on the group's campsite in Ecuador. A file allegedly found on the alleged computer, we are told, suggests that the Venezuelan government had channeled $300 million to FARC, and that FARC had appeared interested in acquiring 110 pounds of uranium.[8] What next? Chavez had met with Osama bin Laden at the campsite?

Amongst the FARC members killed in the Colombian attack on Ecuador were several involved in negotiations to free Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate who also holds French citizenship and is gravely ill. The French government and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez have been very active in trying to win Betancourt's freedom. Individuals collaborating with Chavez have twice this year escorted a total of six hostages freed by the FARC into freedom, including four former Colombian legislators. The prestige thus acquired by Chavez has of course not made Washington ideologues happy. If Chavez should have a role in the freeing of Betancourt -- the FARC's most prominent prisoner -- his prestige would jump yet higher. The raid on the FARC camp has put an end to the Betancourt negotiations, at least for the near future.

The raid bore the fingerprints of the US military/CIA -- a Predator drone aircraft dropped "smart bombs" after pinpointing the spot by monitoring a satellite phone call between a FARC leader and Chavez. A Colombian Defense Ministry official admitted that the United States had provided his government with intelligence used in the attack, but denied that Washington had provided the weapons.[9] The New York Times observed that "The predawn operation bears remarkable similarities to one carried out in late January by the United States in Pakistan."[10]

So what do we have here? Washington has removed a couple of dozen terrorists (or "terrorists") from the ranks of the living without any kind of judicial process. Ingrid Betancourt continues her imprisonment, now in its sixth year, but another of Hugo Chavez's evil-commie plans has been thwarted. And the CIA -- as with its torture renditions -- has once again demonstrated its awesome power: anyone, anywhere, anytime, anything, all laws domestic and international be damned, no lie too big.

"After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" T.S. Eliot
Barack Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on April 28, during which he was asked about his earlier statement that the US government had invented the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, "as a means of genocide against people of color".

Wright did not offer any kind of evidence to support his claim. Even more important, the claim makes little sense. Why would the US government want to wipe out people of color? Undoubtedly, many government officials, past and present, have been racists, but the capitalist system at home and its imperialist brother abroad have no overarching ideological or realpolitik need for such a genocide. During the seven decades of the Cold War, the American power elite was much more interested in a genocide of "communists", of whatever color, wherever they might be found. Many weapons which might further this purpose were researched, including, apparently, an HIV-like virus. Consider this: On June 9, 1969, Dr. Donald M. MacArthur, Deputy Director, Research and Engineering, Department of Defense, testified before Congress:

Within the next 5 to 10 years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory [resistant] to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.[11]

Whether the United States actually developed such a microorganism and what it did with it has not been reported. AIDS was first identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1981. It's certainly possible that the disease arose as a result of Defense Department experiments, and then spread as an unintended consequence.

If you think that our leaders, as wicked as they are, would not stoop to any kind of biological or chemical warfare against people, consider that in 1984 an anti-Castro Cuban exile, on trial in a New York court, testified that in the latter part of 1980 a ship traveled from Florida to Cuba with "a mission to carry some germs to introduce them in Cuba to be used against the Soviets and against the Cuban economy, to begin what was called chemical war, which later on produced results that were not what we had expected, because we thought that it was going to be used against the Soviet forces, and it was used against our own people, and with that we did not agree."[12]

It's not clear from the testimony whether the Cuban man thought that the germs would somehow be able to confine their actions to only Russians. This was but one of many instances where the CIA or Defense Department used biological or chemical weapons against Cuba and other countries, including in the United States against Americans, at times with fatal consequences.[13]

Breaking the media barrier
"You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized, disrespected, and you go from Iraq to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bungling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts ... If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form. You think the American people are going to vote for a pro-war John McCain who almost gives an indication he's the candidate of perpetual war, perpetual intervention overseas?"

Thus spaketh Ralph Nader as he announced his presidential candidacy to a national audience on NBC's Meet the Press in February. The next day his words appeared in the Washington Post, Kansas City Star, Associated Press, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, International Herald Tribune, and numerous other publications, news agencies, and websites around the world. And other parts of his interview were also repeated, like this in the Washington Post: "Let's get over it and try to have a diverse, multiple-choice, multiple-party democracy, the way they have in Western Europe and Canada."

This is why Ralph Nader runs for office. To get our views a hearing in the mainstream media (which we often, justifiably, look down upon but are forced to make use of), and offer Americans an alternative to the tweedledumb and tweedledumber political parties and their cookie-cutter candidates with their status-quo-long-live-the-empire souls. Is Nader's campaign not eminently worthwhile? But as always, he faces formidable obstacles, amongst which is what H. L. Mencken once observed: "The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth."

Here are a couple of campaigns to contribute time and money to:

Ralph Nader -- http://www.votenader.org/
Cindy Sheehan, running for Congress in San Francisco against Nancy "Impeachment is off the table" Pelosi -- http://www.cindyforcongress.org/

"Building a new world" conference
May 22-25, Radford University, Radford, Virginia, 5-hour drive from Washington, DC. Cindy Sheehan, Kathy Kelly, Michael Parenti, David Swanson, Gareth Porter, William Blum, Medea Benjamin, Gary Corseri, Mike Whitney, Kevin Zeese, Robert Jensen, and others. Room and board available at reasonable rates. Full details at: http://www.wpaconference.org/

[1] Washington Post, November 18, 1996

[2] Reuters news agency, June 10, 2002

[3] Washington Post, March 3, 2008

[4] "Grain Companies' Profits Soar As Global Food Crisis Mounts", Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2008, p.1

[5] Washington Post, April 27, 2008, p.13

[6] William Blum, Killing Hope, pages 217-8

[7] New York Times, April 21, 2008

[8] New York Times, March 4, 2008

[9] Agence France Presse, March 24, 2008

[10] New York Times, April 21, 2008

[11] Hearings before the House Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, "Department of Defense Appropriations for 1970"

[12] Testimony of Eduardo Victor Arocena Perez, on trial in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, transcript of September 10, 1984, pp. 2187-89.

[13] William Blum, Rogue State, chapters 14 and 15

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posted by u2r2h at Saturday, May 03, 2008 0 comments

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