Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Freedom isn't free at the State Department


State Department employee scapegoated for linking already published WikiLeaks document to his blog

Al Jazeera
By Peter Van Buren
10/03/2011

On the same day that more than 250,000 unredacted State Department cables haemorrhaged out onto the internet, I was interrogated for the first time in my 23-year State Department career by the State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and told I was under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information. The evidence of my crime? A posting on my blog from the previous month that included a link to a WikiLeaks document already available elsewhere on the Web.

    As we sat in a small, grey, windowless room, resplendent with a two-way mirror, multiple ceiling-mounted cameras, and iron rungs on the table to which handcuffs could be attached, the two DS agents stated that the inclusion of that link amounted to disclosing classified material.

WikiLeaks Julian Assange
In other words, a link to a document posted by who-knows-who on a public website available at this moment to anyone in the world was the legal equivalent of me stealing a Top Secret report, hiding it under my coat, and passing it to a Chinese spy in a dark alley.

The agents demanded to know who might be helping me with my blog ("Name names!"), if I had donated any money from my upcoming book on my wacky year-long State Department assignment to a forward military base in Iraq, and if so to which charities, the details of my contract with my publisher, how much money (if any) I had been paid, and - by the way - whether I had otherwise "transferred" classified information.

    Had I, they asked, looked at the WikiLeaks site at home on my own time on my own computer? 

    Every blog post, every Facebook post, and every tweet by every State Department employee, they told me, must be pre-cleared by the Department prior to "publication". Then they called me back for a second 90-minute interview, stating that my refusal to answer questions would lead to my being fired, never mind the Fifth (or the First) Amendments.

    Why me? It's not like the Bureau of Diplomatic Security has the staff or the interest to monitor the hundreds of blogs, thousands of posts, and millions of tweets by Foreign Service personnel. The answer undoubtedly is my new book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.

    Its unvarnished portrait of State's efforts and the US at work in Iraq has clearly angered someone, even though one part of State signed off on the book under internal clearance procedures some 13 months ago. I spent a year in Iraq leading a State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and sadly know exactly what I am talking about. DS monitoring my blog is like a small-town cop pulling over every African-American driver: Vindictive, selective prosecution. "Ya'll be careful in these parts, 'hear, 'cause we're gonna set an example for your kind of people."

    Silly as it seems, such accusations carry a lot of weight if you work for the government. DS can unilaterally, and without any right of appeal or oversight, suspend your security clearance and for all intents and purposes end your career. The agents questioning me reminded me of just that, as well as of the potential for criminal prosecution - and all because of a link to a website, nothing more.

    It was implied as well that even writing about the interrogation I underwent, as I am doing now, might morph into charges of "interfering with a government investigation". They labelled routine documents in use in my interrogation as "Law Enforcement Sensitive" to penalise me should I post them online. Who knew such small things actually threatened the security of the United States? Are these words so dangerous, or is our nation so fragile that legitimate criticism becomes a firing offence?

    Let's think through this disclosure of classified info thing, even if State won't. Every website on the internet includes links to other websites. It's how the web works. If you include a link to say, a CNN article about Libya, you are not "disclosing" that information - it's already there. You're just saying: "Have a look at this." It's like pointing out a newspaper article of interest to a guy next to you on the bus. (Careful, though, if it's an article from the New York Times or the Washington Post. It might quote stuff from WikiLeaks and then you could be endangering national security.)

    Security at state: Hamburgers and mud

    Security and the State Department go together like hamburgers and mud. Over the years, State has leaked like an old boot. One of its most hilarious security breaches took place when an unknown person walked into the Secretary of State's outer office and grabbed a pile of classified documents. From the vast trove of missing classified laptops to bugging devices found in its secure conference rooms, from high ranking officials trading secrets in Vienna to top diplomats dallying with spies in Taiwan, even the publicly available list is long and ugly.

    Of course, nothing compares to what history will no doubt record as the most significant outpouring of classified material ever, the dump of hundreds of thousands of cables that are now on display on WikiLeaks and its mushroom-like mirror sites. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (an oxymoron if there ever was one) is supposed to protect our American diplomats by securing State's secrets, and over time they just haven't done very well at that.

    The State Department and its Bureau of Diplomatic Security never took responsibility for their part in the loss of all those cables, never acknowledged their own mistakes or porous security measures. No one will ever be fired at State because of WikiLeaks - except, at some point, possibly me. Instead, State joined in the Federal mugging of Army Private Bradley Manning, the person alleged to have copied the cables onto a Lady Gaga CD while sitting in the Iraqi desert.

    That all those cables were available electronically to everyone from the Secretary of State to a lowly Army private was the result of a clumsy post-9/11 decision at the highest levels of the State Department to quickly make up for information-sharing shortcomings.

    Trying to please an angry Bush White House, State went from sharing almost nothing to sharing almost ********** overnight. They flung their whole library onto the government's classified intranet, SIPRnet, making it available to hundreds of thousands of Federal employees worldwide. It is usually not a good idea to make classified information broadly available when you cannot control who gets access to it outside your own organisation. The intelligence agencies and the military certainly did no such thing on SIPRnet, before or after 9/11.

    State did not restrict access. If you were in, you could see it all. There was no safeguard to ask why someone in the Army in Iraq in 2010 needed to see reporting from 1980s Iceland. Even inside their own organisation, State requires its employees to "subscribe" to classified cables by topic, creating a record of what you see and limiting access by justifiable need. A guy who works on trade issues for Morocco might need to explain why he asked for political-military reports from Chile.

    Most for-pay porn sites limit the amount of data that can be downloaded. Not State. Once those cables were available on SIPRnet, no alarms or restrictions were implemented so that low-level users couldn't just download terabytes of classified data. If any activity logs were kept, it does not look like anyone checked them.

    A few classified State Department cables will include sourcing, details on from whom or how information was collected. This source data allows an informed reader to judge the veracity of the information; was the source on a country's nuclear plans a street vendor or a high military officer? Despite the sometimes life-or-death nature of protecting sources (though some argue this is overstated), State simply dumped its hundreds of thousands of cables online unredacted, leaving source names there, all pink and naked in the sun.

    Then again, history shows that technical security is just not State's game, which means the WikiLeaks uproar is less of a surprise in context.

    For example, in 2006, news reports indicated that State's computer systems were massively hacked by Chinese computer geeks. In 2008, State data disclosures led to an identity theft scheme only uncovered through a fluke arrest by the Washington DC cops. Before it was closed down in 2009, snooping on private passport records was a popular intramural activity at the State Department, widely known and casually accepted. In 2011, contractors using fake identities appear to have downloaded 250,000 internal medical records of State Department employees, including mine.

    Wishing isn't a strategy, hope isn't a plan

    Despite their own shortcomings, State and its Bureau of Diplomatic Security take this position: If we shut our eyes tightly enough, there is no WikiLeaks. (The morning news summary at State includes this message: "Due to the security classification of many documents, the Daily Addendum will not include news clips that are generated by leaked cables by the website WikiLeaks.")

    The corollary to such a position evidently goes something like this: Since we won't punish our own technical security people or the big shots who approved the whole flawed scheme in the first place, and the damned First Amendment doesn't allow us to punish the New York Times, let's just punish one of our own employees for looking at, creating links to, and discussing stuff on the web - and while he was at it, writing an accurate, first-hand, and critical account of the disastrous, if often farcical, American project in Iraq.

    That's what frustrated bullies do - they pick on the ones they think they can get away with beating up. The advantage of all this? It gets rid of a "troublemaker", and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security people can claim that they are "doing something" about the WikiLeaks drip that continues even while they fiddle. Of course, it also chills free speech, sending a message to other employees about the price of speaking plainly.

    Now does that make sense? Only inside the world of Diplomatic Security, and historically it always has.

    For example, Diplomatic Security famously took into custody the colour slides reproduced in the Foreign Service Journal showing an open copy of one of the Government's most sensitive intelligence documents, albeit only after the photos were published and distributed in the thousands.

    Similarly DS made it a crime to take photos of the giant US Embassy compound in Baghdad, but only after the architecture firm building it posted sketches of the Embassy online; a Google search will still reveal many of those images; others who served in Iraq have posted them on their unsecured Facebook pages.

    Imagine this: State's employees are still blocked by a firewall from looking at websites that carry or simply write about and refer to WikiLeaks documents, including TomDispatch.com, which is publishing this piece (That, in turn, means my colleagues at State won't be able to read this - except on the sly).

    In the belly of the beast

    Back in that windowless room for a second time, I faced the two DS agents clumsily trying to play semi-bad and altogether-bad cop. They once again reminded me of my obligation to protect classified information, and studiously ignored my response - that I indeed do take that obligation seriously, enough in fact to distinguish between actual disclosure and a witch-hunt.

    As they raised their voices and made uncomfortable eye contact just like it says to do in any Interrogation 101 manual, you could almost imagine the hundreds of thousands of unredacted cables physically spinning through the air around us, heading - splat, splot, splat - for the web. Despite the Hollywood-style theatrics and the grim surroundings, the interrogation-style was less police state or 1984-style nightmare than a Brazil-like dark comedy.

    In the end, though, it's no joke. I've been a blogger since April, but my meeting with the DS agents somehow took place only a week before the publication date of my book. Days after my second interrogation, the Principal Deputy Secretary of State wrote my publisher demanding small redactions in my book - already shipped to the bookstores - to avoid "harm to US security". One demand: To cut a vignette based on a scene from the movie version of Black Hawk Down.

    The link to WikiLeaks is still on my blog. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security declined my written offer to remove it, certainly an indication that however much my punishment mattered to them, the actual link mattered little. I may lose my job in State's attempt to turn us all into mini-Bradley Mannings and so make America safe.

    These are not people steeped in, or particularly appreciative of, the finer points of irony. Still, would anyone claim that there isn't irony in the way the State Department regularly crusades for the rights of bloggers abroad in the face of all kinds of government oppression, crediting their voices for the Arab Spring, while going after one of its own bloggers at home for saying nothing that wasn't truthful?

    Here's the best advice my friends in Diplomatic Security have to offer, as far as I can tell: Slam the door after the cow has left the barn, then beat your wife as punishment. She didn't do anything wrong, but she deserved it, and don't you feel better now?

    Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now in Washington, he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, We Meant Well. His new book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books), is published today.


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Suicide of a Superpower


Take it from one who knows:  The Great Survivor

The American Conservative
By Patrick Buchanan
10/03/2011

This generation of Americans has been witness to one of the most stunning declines of a great power in the history of the world.
 
    In 2000, the United States ran a surplus. In 2009, it ran a deficit of $1.4 trillion—10 percent of the economy. The 2010 deficit was almost equal, and the 2011 deficit is projected even higher. The national debt is surging to 100 percent of GDP, portending an eventual run on the dollar, a default, or Weimar inflation. The greatest creditor nation in history is now the world’s greatest debtor.

Pat Buchanan
In the first decade of what was to be the Second American Century, a net of zero new jobs were created. Average households were earning less in real dollars at the end of the decade than at the beginning. The net worth of the American family, in stocks, bonds, savings, home values, receded 4 percent.

Fifty-thousand plants and factories shut down. As a source of jobs, manufacturing fell below healthcare and education in 2001, below retail sales in 2002, below local government in 2006, below leisure and hospitality, i.e., restaurants and bars, in 2008—all for the first time.

    In April 2010, three of every four Americans, 74 percent, said the country is weaker than a decade ago, and 57 percent said life in America will be worse for the next generation than it is today.

    Who did this to us? We did it to ourselves.

    We abandoned economic nationalism for globalism. We cast aside fiscal prudence for partisan bidding for voting blocs. We ballooned our welfare state to rival the socialist states of Europe. And we launched a crusade for democracy that has us tied down in two decade-long south Asian wars.

    In 2009, Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress the cause of the grave financial crisis was trade-related imbalances. Pressed by Sen. Chris Dodd, Volcker added, “Go back to the imbalances in the economy. The United States has been consuming more than it has been producing for many years.”
 
    For decades, Japan’s trade surplus with the United States was the largest on earth. In the 21st century, China’s trade surplus with the United States began to dwarf Japan’s. In 2008, China exported five times the dollar volume of goods to America as she imported, and her trade surplus with America set a world record between any two nations—$266 billion. In August 2010, China’s trade surplus with the United States set a new all-time monthly record, $28 billion.

    Nor was it all in toys and textiles. In critical items that the Commerce Department defines as advanced technology products (ATP), the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 hit a record $95 billion. China today has the trade profile of an industrial and technological power while the manifest of U.S. exports to China, aircraft excepted, reads like the exports of the Jamestown Colony to the mother country.

    What was the impact of this tsunami of imports on employment? During the first decade of the 21st century, U.S. semiconductors and electronic-component producers lost 42 percent of their jobs; communications-equipment producers lost 48 percent of their jobs; textile and apparel producers lost, respectively, 63 percent and 61 percent of their jobs.

    At every election, politicians decry America’s deepening dependence on foreign oil. But the U.S. trade deficit in manufactures, $440 billion in 2008, was $89 billion larger than the U.S. deficit in crude oil. Why is a dependence on the oil of Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf a greater concern than a dependence on a rival power for computers and vital components of our high-tech industries and weapons systems?

    As Auggie Tantillo, Executive Director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Committee, argues:
Running a trade deficit for natural resources that the United States lacks is something that cannot be helped, but running a massive trade deficit in man-made products that America easily could produce itself is a choice—a poor choice that is bankrupting the country and responsible for the loss of millions of jobs.
    The consequences of these trade “imbalances”: De-industrialization of America. A growing dependence on China for the necessities of our national life and the loans to pay for them. A loss of millions of the best jobs Americans ever had. A median wage and family income that have been stagnant for a decade. A steep decline in the global purchasing power of the dollar. A loss of national dynamism. A debt bomb that went off in our face in September 2008.

    “It’s time to stop worrying about the deficit—and start panicking about the debt,” the Washington Post editorial began, “The fiscal situation was serious before the recession. It is now dire”:
In the space of a single fiscal year, 2009, the debt soared from 41 percent of the gross domestic product to 53 percent. This sum, which does not include what the government has borrowed from its own trust funds, is on track to rise to a crushing 85 percent of the economy by 2018.
    Focusing on the “public debt”—that held by citizens, corporations, pension funds, and foreign governments—understates the true national debt, which is $14 trillion. But even that does not reflect the “structural deficit” the nation faces from legislated commitments to Social Security, Medicare, and government and military pensions.

    According to David Walker, former head of the Government Accountability Office, these unfunded liabilities total $60 trillion, with Medicare accounting for $38 trillion. With the first wave of Baby Boomers reaching eligibility for full Social Security benefits in 2011, and the entire generation moving onto the rolls by 2029, an Everest of debt will begin to rise out of the sea and be visible to the world.

    What are the risks of the exploding U.S. public debt?

    Chinese, Japanese, and Gulf governments and sovereign wealth funds will suspect, as some already do, that they are holding U.S. paper on which America will one day default or cheapen by inflation. As their fears rise, our creditors will stop buying and start selling U.S. debt, or demand a higher rate of interest commensurate with their rising risk. The Fed will have to raise rates to attract borrowers, tumbling the economy into recession.

    Once the vicious cycle begins, warns Walker, interest on the U.S. debt will become the largest item in the federal budget.

    Is the new Congress aware of the peril? For the departed Congress was surely not. The lead story in the Post that same morning in December 2009 that the alarmed editorial on the national debt ran began thus: “The Senate cleared for President Obama’s signature on Sunday a $447 billion omnibus spending bill that contains thousands of earmarks and double-digit increases for several Cabinet agencies.” Total cost of the Senate bill—“$1.1 trillion, including average spending increases of 10 percent for dozens of federal agencies.”

    Democrats claimed the gusher of money was needed to make up for the neglect of the Bush years. But the Bush years had been the fattest years for federal spending since the Great Society, and Bush had added his trillion-dollar wars and trillion-dollar tax cuts. By the end of his presidency, even conservatives were calling Bush our first Great Society Republican.

    “The lessons of history… show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”

    These words about Depression-era welfare are from Roosevelt’s 1935 State of the Union. FDR feared this self-reliant people might come to depend permanently upon government for the necessities of their daily lives. 

    And, as with narcotics, such a dependency would destroy the national fiber and spirit.

    Yet late in 2010 came news that 41.8 million Americans were on food stamps and the White House was predicting that the number would rise to 43 million in 2011.

    It did. By December 2010, 42.9 million Americans were on food stamps and in Washington, D.C. more than a fifth of the population was getting food stamps. One in seven Americans cannot feed himself.

    To chart America’s decline, this program is a good place to begin.

    As a harbinger of the Great Society, in 1964, a Food Stamp Act was signed into law by LBJ appropriating $75 million for 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three cities. The Food Stamp Act became law half a decade after J.K. Galbraith in his bestseller had declared America to be the world’s Affluent Society. No one was starving in the 1960s.

    When Nixon took office in 1969, 3 million Americans were receiving food stamps at a cost of $270 million. Then CBS ran a program featuring a premature baby near death and told us it was an infant starving in America. The nation demanded action, and Nixon acted. When he left office in 1974, the food stamp program was feeding 16 million people at a cost of $4 billion.

    Fast forward to 2009. The cost to taxpayers of the food stamp program hit $56 billion. The number of recipients and cost of the program continued to soar in 2010. First among the reasons is family disintegration. Forty-one percent of America’s children are born out of wedlock. Among black Americans it is 71 percent. 

    Food stamps feed children abandoned by their fathers. Taxpayers are taking up slack for millions of deadbeat dads.

    What a changed country we have become. A less affluent America survived a Depression and world war without anything like 99 weeks of unemployment insurance, welfare payments, earned income tax credits, food stamps, rent supplements, day care, school lunches, and Medicaid. The expectation was that almost everyone, with hard work and by keeping the nose to the grindstone, could make his or her own way.

    No more. We have accepted today the existence in perpetuity of a permanent underclass of scores of millions who cannot cope and must be carried by society—fed, clothed, housed, tutored, medicated at taxpayer’s expense their entire lives. We have a dependent nation the size of Spain in our independent America. We have a new division in our country, those who pay a double or triple fare, and those who ride forever free.

    There has been a precipitous decline in the character of our people. We are not only not the people our parents were. We are not even the people we used to be. FDR was right about what would happen if we did not get off the narcotic of welfare. Our country has undergone a “spiritual and moral disintegration, fundamentally destructive to the national fibre.”

    In his Economic Consequences of the Peace, written after the Paris conference of 1919 that produced the Treaty of Versailles, John Maynard Keynes wrote, “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” Keynes agreed.

    Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

    Thinking back on what a nickel could buy in one’s boyhood, and what a dollar buys today, calls to mind the insight of Lenin and Keynes. In 1952, a Coke cost a nickel, as did a candy bar. Movies cost 25 cents, as did a gallon of gas or a pack of cigarettes, though you could pick up a carton for $2.

    On the Internet the other day, a bargain was offered by the state of Kentucky: “Cut your smoking costs by as much as 60%. On an annual basis the savings are enormous. Premium Brand Name cigarettes like Camel and Marlboro as low as $43.99 per carton.”

    Who is guilty of this debauching of the dollar? Well, who has had custody of the currency since 1913?

    For the financial crisis that wiped out trillions in wealth and dumped us into the deepest recession since the 1930s, many have felt the lash of public anger. The Bush Republicans and Barney Frank Democrats who prodded lenders into making subprime mortgages to people who could not afford the houses they were buying. Fannie and Freddie. The Wall Street banks. The AIG geniuses.

    Yet the Federal Reserve, though it controls the money, and every financial crisis is a monetary crisis, has escaped indictment.

    “[T]he very people who devised the policies that produced the mess are now posing as the wise public servants who will show us the way out,” writes Tom Woods, whose Meltdown traced the Fed’s role in every financial crisis since the creature was spawned on Jekyll Island.

    The “forgotten depression” of 1920-21 was brought on by the Fed’s printing of money for Wilson’s war. 

    When, at war’s end, the Fed tightened, production fell 20 percent between mid-1920 and mid-1921. Why did we not read of that depression? Because Harding refused to intervene. He let businesses and banks fail and prices fall. The fever broke, and America, after slashing Wilson’s wartime tax rates, took off into the Roaring Twenties.

    Then, as Milton Friedman related in a Monetary History of the United States, for which he won a Nobel Prize, the Fed began to expand the money supply in the mid-1920s. Cash poured into equity markets where stocks could be bought on 10 percent margin. The market soared. When the market stalled and stocks began to fall, the margin calls went out. Panic ensued. Banks in the thousands closed. A third of the money supply was wiped out. Thus did the Federal Reserve cause the Depression. Smoot and Hawley were framed.

    Of the financial collapse that brought on the recession of 2008-2010 Woods writes, “The Fed was the greatest single contributor… . [M]ore dollars were created between 2000 and 2007 than in the rest of the republic’s history.” When the Fed tightened, that bubble, too, burst. Many argue that were it not for the independence and vision of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the economy might have gone into the abyss after the Lehman Brothers collapse. But who brought us to the brink of the abyss?

    We were blind-sided. We never saw it coming.

    So said Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein of the financial crisis of 2008, likening the probability of such a collapse to four hurricanes hitting the East Coast in a single season. Blankfein was reminded by the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Committee that hurricanes are “acts of God.” But Blankfein was supported by Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, “Somehow, we just missed… that home prices don’t go up forever.”

    Backing Blankfein’s plea of incomprehension is this undeniable truth: the crisis that killed Lehman Brothers would have killed them all, had not the Treasury and Federal Reserve given them cash transfusions of hundreds of billions in bailout money.

    Yet there were Americans who warned of the housing bubble being created. Some predicted the empire of debt was coming down. Just as today there are those warning that the United States, with deficits running at 10 percent of GDP, is risking a run on the dollar or default on the national debt. Among them are Rudolph Penner, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, and David Walker.

    With the public debt having risen in 2009 from 41 to 53 percent of GDP, Penner and Walker believe it imperative that we get the deficit under control. Yet it is difficult to see how, politically, this can be done.

    There are three ways to do it. The first is through rapid economic growth that increases tax revenue and reduces outlays for the safety-net programs such as unemployment insurance. But growth comes slowly and can take us only so far. To close a deficit of 10 percent of GDP, major cuts in federal spending and tax hikes seem unavoidable.

    Yet consider. The five largest items in the federal budget are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, and interest on the debt. With trillion-dollar deficits projected through the Obama years, interest on the debt, which has to be paid, must go up.

    And with seniors angry over Medicare cuts to finance health coverage for the uninsured, it would seem suicidal for the Democrats to cut Medicare again. The same holds for Medicaid. Is the Democratic Party, decimated in 2010, going to cut health benefits for the people who stood loyally by that party in defeat? Is the Democratic Party going to grab the third rail of American politics and agree to cut Social Security?

    Any cuts in major entitlement programs* by House Republicans would require the acquiescence of Harry Reid’s Senate and Obama’s White House. And how likely is that?

    As for defense, Obama has himself deepened America’s involvement in Afghanistan to 100,000 troops and the Pentagon has to replace weaponry and machines destroyed or depreciated in a decade of war.

    Where, then, are the big budget cuts to come from?

    Will Congress or the White House cut homeland security, the FBI, or the CIA after the near disaster over Detroit, Christmas Day 2009, and the failed bombing of Times Square? Will Democrats and Republicans come together to cut veterans’ benefits, spending for our crumbling infrastructure of roads and bridges, or education when Obama is promising every child a chance at a college degree?

    Will Reid’s Senate approve of cuts in food stamps, unemployment insurance, or the Earned Income Tax.

    Credit when joblessness is still near double digits? Will a Senate that increased the budget of each department by an average of 10 percent for 2010 agree to take a knife to federal agencies or salaries when federal bureaucrats and beneficiaries of federal programs are the most reliable voting blocs in the Democratic coalition?

    Not only has Obama promised not to raise taxes on the middle class, any broad-based tax increase would be hemlock for him and his party and never be approved by a Republican House.

    Obama is caught in a dilemma from which there appears no escape. Democrats are the Party of Government. 

    They feed it and it feeds them. The larger government becomes, the more agencies established, the more bureaucrats hired, the more citizens receiving benefits or checks, the more deeply entrenched is the Party of Government.

    For 80 years, this has been the Democratic formula for success. “Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect” was the pithy depiction of that policy attributed to FDR aide Harry Hopkins. And herein lies Obama’s dilemma. How does the leader of the Party of Government preside over an era of austerity, where federal employees and federal benefits are radically reduced, to avert a default on the debt?

    Republicans, too, have drawn a line from which they cannot retreat.

    They will not vote for a tax increase. Not only would that violate a commitment almost all have made to the people who elected them, it would seem suicidal. Republicans who sign on to tax hikes cannot go home again. 

    For allied to the party today are Tea Party irregulars who shoot deserters and defectors in Washington’s tax battles and budget wars.

    Republicans are not going to cross these people, for they have before them examples of what happens to those who do. Sen. Arlen Specter voted for the Obama stimulus and faced an instant primary challenge from former Rep. Pat Toomey who took a 20-point lead, forcing Specter to quit the party to survive. Specter is gone and Toomey is in the Senate. Tea Party people are not schooled in the Gerald Ford politics of compromise and consensus.

    Conservatives are resisting tax hikes because they believe government has grown too immense for the good of the nation. Indeed, many prefer to run the risk of a debt default rather than transfer more wealth from the people and the private institutions that produce it to feed a government that cannot control its appetite.

    Where does that leave President Obama—and us?

    If taxes are off the table, defense and war costs are rising, and cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the other entitlements are politically poisonous, how do we reduce a deficit of $1.3 or $1.5 trillion? America is facing not just a gridlock in government, but a deadlock of democracy, a crisis of the system and of the state itself.

    On Nov. 2, 2010, in the third national election in four years, Americans voted again to get rid of a ruling regime. The nation is taking on the aspect of the French Fourth Republic, which shifted from one party and premier to another until the call went out from an exasperated nation to General de Gaulle to come and take charge of affairs. Both parties have lost the mandate of heaven. We are in uncharted waters. The country is up for grabs.

    Ours is the world’s oldest constitutional republic, the model for them all. But if our elected leaders are incapable of imposing the sacrifices needed to pull the nation back from devaluation or default, is democracy really the future of mankind? Or is the model for the future the state capitalism of a China that weathered the storm better and has returned to 10-12 percent annual growth?

    We have a system failure rooted in a societal failure. For behind the disaster lay greed, stupidity, and incompetence on a colossal scale. “Avarice, ambition,” warned John Adams, will “break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

    America’s fiscal crisis is a test of whether democracy is sustainable. Adams, like others of the Founding Fathers, did not think so. “Remember, that democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

* The best way to "save" Social Security and Medicare is to prevent the government from looting both programs.  Why is this so hard for Americans to understand?  There are no such things as "entitlement programs," this a Rovian propaganda creation of the Bush regime and perpetuated by the Obama administration, GOP, senate and congress in order to further loot Social Security and Medicare, both of which would be far into the black and self-sustaining had they not been continually emptied of worker contributions by the legislators and successive administrations over the years.  In actuality, both tremendously successful programs are funded by mandatory deductions from payroll checks from all Americans throughout their working lives and must now be repaid, a huge problem for the administration and congressional and senate "lawmakers" as the coffers are now near empty.  - Ed.,  The 5th Estate.




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Obama Impeachment a Possibility, says Ron Paul


Impeachment unlikely but puts Obama on notice for murdering American citizen regardless of what he is; could set precedent

Politico
By Dan Hirschhorn
10/03/2011

Ron Paul said Monday that President Barack Obama’s targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki might be an impeachable offense.

    Asked at a Manchester, N.H. town hall meeting about last week’s killing of the American-born Al Qaeda leader, the Texas congressman said impeachment would be “possible,” but that he wants to know more about how the administration “flouted the law.”

    Paul called the killing a movement toward “tyranny.”

Obama:  "Oh gosh, busted.  Who's next on the list?"
“I put responsibility on the president because this is obviously a step in the wrong direction,” Paul said. “We have just totally disrespected the Constitution.”

The comments once again put Paul at odds with his Republican rivals over foreign policy and the war on terror in the latest indication of how his foreign policy views stray far from Republican orthodoxy even in a GOP that’s taken on an increasingly isolationist bent. 

    Candidates like Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney — who included the president in a list of people he commended in a statement released Friday — have generally been supportive of the killing. No one else in the field has spoken out against it.

    But Paul’s stuck with the civil libertarians who’ve criticized the targeted killing of an American citizen without public due process.

    Paul, speaking at the University of New Hampshire’s Manchester campus as part of a brief swing through the state, also made another pitch for eliminating the federal income tax.

    “If our lives and our liberty are our own, we ought to be able to keep the fruits of our labor,” he said.

    But he modulated a bit when asked about eliminating social welfare programs, offering a caution that he said “might be a bit too pragmatic for some.”

    “I have an ideal of what we should strive for and a goal, and that would be no social services,” he said. “But for me it’s trying to work our way out of this. … I don’t argue we should drop those cold. I don’t even believe in closing down the Federal Reserve in one day.”


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BP's liability escalates


After destroying the Gulf of Mexico, BP does "hide in plain sight" routine coming up with the most outlandish drilling plans - even by industry standards:  more deep sea drilling in Gulf now rather than later, while continuing to screw it's victims

Al Jazeera
By Dahr Jamail
10/03/2011

If you got caught humping another woman - [if] you're both naked and caught in the act - you'd want BP to explain to your wife how it didn't happen."

    This colorful analogy was proposed by Dean Blanchard, a seafood distributor on Grand Isle, Louisiana, to explain oil giant BP's continuing machinations to evade liability in the aftermath of the April 2010 disaster.
 
Obama silent as BP continues to spill oil in Gulf, screw victims
During a recent discussion in his office, Blanchard told Al Jazeera that the fishing waters off Louisiana are only producing one per cent of the shrimp they formerly produced. 
 
"Half of the local fishermen have shut down," he stated. "They are dying. And [as] for the fishing, every day they are hauling dead porpoises in front of my place. I have a claim filed with BP, but none of us in the seafood business are being paid."

    Speculating that he may soon have to close down his company, Blanchard spoke for hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents who remain angry and frustrated when he added: "I worked 30 years to establish my business, and now BP has destroyed my life."

Fallout and responsibility

    In a key investigative report released on September 14, the US government heaped most of the blame for the oil disaster on BP, which now faces a raft of criminal and civil litigation and billions of dollars in potential damages.

   The report concluded that BP violated federal regulations, ignored safety concerns and crucial warnings, and made careless decisions during the cementing of the well nearly two kilometers underwater.

    "That report summarised what we already knew, and it will help establish the punitive damage case against the defendant [BP]," New Orleans-based attorney Stuart Smith, representing more than 1,000 cases against BP, told Al Jazeera.

    Smith has been litigating against oil companies for 25 years, and in 2001 was lead counsel in a case that resulted in a $1bn verdict against ExxonMobil.

    "The fastest way to lose a toxic tort case is to rely on the government or the defendant to collect the evidence," explained Smith, whose firm has spent more than $2m for its client's cases by collecting samples and data and having them analyzed by experts.
 
Obama:  sold BP oil spill victims out
As litigation against BP continues to mount, several studies have confirmed Smith and Blanchard's concerns about the deep impact of BP's oil disaster

One recent study carried out by experts at Auburn University concluded that mats of oil that remain submerged on the seabed could pose a long-term risk to coastal ecosystems. Large quantities of tar balls and oil mats have washed ashore, or have been uncovered by recent storms, at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, as well as at several beaches in Louisiana and in Pensacola, Florida. A recent Al Jazeera over-flight of the area near BP's capped Macondo well, the origin of the April 2010 disaster, revealed a long swathe of oil and sheen.

    Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and MacArthur Fellow, has - since autumn of 2010 - been conducting tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants.

    "Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline," Subra told Al Jazeera. "We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation."

    In response to the question of what local, state and federal governments are doing about the ongoing chemical exposures, Subra declared: "There is a lack of concern by the government agencies and the [oil] industry. There is a leaning towards wanting to say it is all fixed and let's move on, when it is not."

    Blanchard, who perceives the federal government's inadequate response to the BP disaster as evidence of its collusion with the oil giant, meanwhile joked: "We're fixing to have a fundraiser to try to buy our politicians back from BP."

Health effects

    On June 1, 2010, BP board chairman Henric Svanberg announced, in accordance with the company's pledge to provide $20bn in compensation to persons harmed by the disaster: "I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don't care, but that is not the case in BP. We care about the small people."

BP's continuing spills in Gulf now worlds largest catastrophe
According to attorney Stuart Smith, however, neither oil companies nor the US government properly tends to citizens who suffer as a result of their policies.

"I've spent 25 years suing the oil and gas industry, and the government has never been on the side of the people," Smith informed Al Jazeera. "But the extent to which they've behaved that way this time is unbelievable. The government has not even acknowledged any health impact [from the disaster]."

    Over the course of his career, Smith has represented a number of chemical plant employees with a condition known as toxic encephalopathy, a degenerative neurological disorder that can result in permanent brain damage. Caused by exposure to toxic substances, symptoms of the condition include memory loss, concentration difficulties, fatigue, seizures, depression, light-headedness, headaches and nausea. Similar symptoms are now being experienced by residents of the Gulf Coast.

    Indeed, since July 2010, Al Jazeera has spoken with scores of Gulf residents, fishermen, and clean-up workers who have blamed negative health effects on the chemicals from BP's oil and dispersants.

    "The government knew about … peer-reviewed studies of what happens when people are exposed to these chemicals, and millions have been exposed," Smith stated. "Peer-reviewed scientific literature shows that you'll have these health problems, and yet the government does nothing."

    Al Jazeera recently spoke with Steven Aguinaga, a 33-year-old father of three who confirmed that he acquired "critically high levels of chemicals" in his body after swimming with his friend Merrick Vallian at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in July 2010.

Fearless leader takes break from kissing ass on BP
"At the time I had no knowledge of what dispersants were, but within a few hours, we were drained of energy and not feeling good," said Aguinaga. "I've been extremely sick ever since."

Al Jazeera has covered this subject extensively, and, given that BP has just confirmed filing a plan with US regulators to pursue its first deepwater oil work in the Gulf of Mexico since the April 2010 disaster, concerns of future problems persist. According to BP's application, the company wants to drill four new wells at a depth of 1770 metres (244 metres deeper than the Macondo well) in an area approximately 300km off the Louisiana coast.

Ecological litigation

    A biological study published on September 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that effects of the oil on a small Louisiana marsh fish, the killifish, could be an early warning sign of trouble ahead for fish populations.

    "The message that seafood is safe to eat doesn't necessarily mean that the animals are out of the woods," said Andrew Whitehead, an assistant professor of biology at Louisiana State University and a lead researcher in the study, which found that the fish were being exposed to oil in the sediment. The study indicates that the same kinds of health and reproduction problems are likely to occur in the Gulf as were witnessed among herring, salmon, and other animal populations in the aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster, which prompted significant losses among various species.

    Doug Inkley, a senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, said in a written statement: "This study is alarming because similar health effects seen in fish, sea otters, and harlequin ducks following the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska were predictive of population impacts, from decline to outright collapse."

    Unfortunately for BP, the Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD) is now suing the company for $19bn. A group that utilises the law to protect the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive, CBD has an unparalleled record of legal successes, winning 93 per cent of its lawsuits.
 
Hundreds of thousands of animals killed, continue to die
"We have sued them under the Clean Water Act," Kieran Suckling, the executive director and founder of the CBD, told Al Jazeera. "The way the Act works is it levies a fine based on the number of gallons [of oil] spilled and how malicious or criminal BP was acting when the spill occurred."

According to Suckling, BP "should be made to pay $19bn under the Clean Water Act and in so doing be found to be criminally negligent. That $19bn should [consist of] entirely new funds, not including anything they've already put out, and those funds should be dedicated to Gulf Coast restoration."

    CBD estimates that "approximately 6,000 sea turtles, 26,000 dolphins and whales, 82,000 birds, and countless fish and invertebrates may have been harmed by the disaster."

    Cyn Sarthough, meanwhile, is the executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), an environmental group active in all of the states along the Gulf of Mexico. GRN, like CBD, sues companies and government organisations that violate environmental laws.

    "Much of our litigation is against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), the group that was formerly the Minerals Management Service (MMS)," Sarthough told Al Jazeera. "There is also a challenge to BP's original oil spill response plan. We are engaged in this with several other claimants … [The plan BP] had in place was inappropriate and failed to meet safety requirements because it grossly exaggerated BP's response capabilities."

BP's liability: 'From bad to disastrous'

   The Gulf Coast-based law firm Brent Coon and Associates (BCA) is considered one of the world's foremost experts on BP, and has successfully sued the oil giant in the past.

    Brent Coon was the lead attorney in a case against BP for a 2005 explosion at its refinery in Texas that killed 15 workers. His firm forced BP to accept full responsibility and to compensate the victims and their families.

    BCA now represents more than 5,000 claimants from BP's Gulf disaster and has been appointed by the Plaintiff's Steering Committee to head several key sub-committees relating to discovery.

Despite high hopes, reality is Gulf likely damaged forever
"We represent a cross section of claimants, who range from people who worked within the oil industry, to shrimpers, captains, deck hands, restaurant and condominium owners," Coon told Al Jazeera in April. "We want full restitution and reparations for harm done by BP."

    Coon reiterated that other companies involved in the disaster, such as Halliburton and Transocean, need to be held accountable as well. He remarked:

    "From what I've seen, after representing thousands of people who were made sick or died from petrochemical industry hazards over the years, companies like BP, Exxon, Citgo, Shell, and others do not mind killing people as the cost of doing business, even when it's their own employees. I've seen it time and time again."

    Coon additionally argued that, "[u]nless you criminally prosecute these people and make them pay for their decisions, they do not have a sufficient deterrent for the way they do business. Unless the government steps in and criminally prosecutes these bastards and hold them accountable, nothing is going to change".

   According to Coon's calculations, BP will be forced to pay out another $10-20bn to cover economic claims. Some experts expect the total could be much more than that, even as high as $30bn.

    Lawyer Stuart Smith agrees, writing recently that the federal government report on the 2010 disaster has caused the "state of BP's legal liability" to go "from bad to disastrous."

    He believes the report presents "incriminating new evidence" that "increases the likelihood that criminal charges will be brought" against the oil giant, and predicts the new findings will push BP to offer large settlements to spill victims, particularly commercial fishermen and charter boat captains.

    "The company wants to put this nightmare in its rearview mirror as quickly as possible," added Smith, "both from a PR and business perspective." Corroborating this viewpoint is a recent Reuters report citing an anonymous BP insider as declaring: "We would like ********** settled as soon as we can, otherwise you have lingering reputation issues and investor uncertainty."

    Judge Carl Barbier, who will be hearing the civil damages claims against BP, has set a trial date for February 2012. According to Reuters, another source close to BP has anticipated: "I expect that early next year you will see the mother of all settlements."

    If BP is found to have been grossly negligent, which the company denies, it could be fined over $21bn in Clean Water Act fines alone.

    Given that the latest government report links the accident to BP's cost-cutting efforts, Professor Zygmunt Plater at Boston College Law School said claimants could receive a multiple of any compensatory award, which would mean that even at a 1:1 punitive-to-economic damage ratio, BP may have to offer at least an additional $5bn to cover punitive awards.

    Smith is urging people with ongoing litigation against BP to stay the course: "Clients that hold out will, in the end, be compensated, because BP won't want to go to trial [since] the punitive damages will be so great."

    He, along with Coon, feels his clients are going to get what they deserve.

    "In light of this latest federal report, I think it may take more than $30bn to cover all the cases," said Smith. 

    "One thing's for sure, BP is feeling the heat. We'll see early next year just how much the company will put on the table to make all this liability disappear, like so many gallons of crude."


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The 5th Estate is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


American Airlines stock falls on bankruptcy rumors


This is what happens when you treat your clients like shit; allow TSA to sexually assault and terrorize your passengers

Agence France Presse
10/03/2011

Rumors that American Airlines parent AMR Corp would file for bankruptcy protection sent the company's stocks plummeting Monday.

    At 1745 GMT, the stock was down 34.1 percent to $1.95, as the airline, continued to struggle with a high debt load and sluggish demand growth, according to analysts.

Bankruptcy:  Don't expect any sympathy from clients
Morningstar analyst Basili Alukos said the selling comes after an "abnormal" number of pilot retirements in the past two months, with the pilots seeking to sell off their own stocks in the company out of fears it would fail.

"There is a lot of speculation that they were trying to sell their shares as fast as they could before the company faces more financial problems and file for bankruptcy," Alukos said.

    Some 200 pilots have departed in recent months, compared to the normal average of 12 per month, he said.

    AMR stock was down 76 percent from the beginning of the year.

    The bankruptcy talk "is not a new speculation," Alukos added, saying that American Airlines has a disadvantage to its competitors on fuel and labor costs that management has not been able to overcome.

    AMR reported a loss of $286 million for the second quarter.

    Even so, the airline announced in July the largest-ever single order for aircraft, 200 Boeing 737s and 260 Airbus A320 jets, both more fuel efficient than the aircraft it currently operates.

    Currently American and sister American Eagle have a fleet of 900 aircraft.


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Click here to find out more!


Pakistan's blasphemy laws have left even judges in fear of their lives


Moving back in time; Pakistan spirals down toward Sharia law, embrace ignorance

The Guardian
By Delcan Walsh
10/03/2011

So he's going to swing – perhaps. On Saturday a Pakistani judge sentenced Mumtaz Qadri, the police bodyguard who assassinated the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, to death by hanging. The young policeman smiled and thanked God. "My dream has come true," he reportedly said.

    It was a predictably theatrical turn from Qadri, a former nobody who murdered Taseer in cowardly fashion – shooting the governor 27 times in the back – and who has since revelled in the notoriety of his blood-stained celebrity. Equally predictable, alas, was the reaction on the streets outside.

Archaic laws applied haphazardly
Close to the courtroom in Rawalpindi, angry young men attacked a monument to the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, defacing her image on the spot where she died in a suicide bombing in 2007. Down in Lahore, turbaned men with long sticks surged through the ancient Anarkali bazaar, thrashing traders who refused to shutter their shops in sympathy for Qadri.

Meanwhile the clerics engineering the protests – old men with soft palms and tinder-dry beards – issued po-faced statements decrying the sentence. Qadri was a good Muslim, they insisted, and Taseer got what he deserved.

    The governor had offended them by advocating reforms to Pakistan's antiquated blasphemy laws. In particularly they hated him for defending Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother-of-five sentenced to death under those laws last November. He deserved to die, they said.

    Taseer's wife and children, in contrast, were silent. They stayed at home, busy worrying about their son and sibling, Shahbaz. The 27-year-old was kidnapped in August as he purred through Lahore in a sports Mercedes – his father's old car, in fact. Word has it he is being held in the tribal badlands of Waziristan; whether his captors are religious extremists, common criminals, or both, remains unclear.

    The family is also reeling from character assaults. When Taseer was still alive, conservatives circulated photos of his children, lifted from their Facebook pages, showing them engaged in objectionable activity, such as dating and swimming in a swimming pool. After Taseer died, Qadri's lawyers aired allegations about his sex life, drinking habits and apparent taste for pork – proof, they said, of a licentiousness that justified his cold-blooded murder.

Smeared after death: Taseer's family terrorized
The distasteful spectacle is partly a product of Pakistan's social gulf. The Taseers inhabit the gilded bubble of a tiny elite whose westernised lives play out in Hello!-style photospreads of society magazines. In fact the Taseers own one of the most popular magazines. But it also goes to the heart of a bigger ideological crisis.

    In theory, Pakistan is a country that welcomes all creeds and castes. But in practice it is proving to be anything but. Ask Faryal Bhatti, a teenage girl recently expelled from school for the crime of bad spelling.

    A week ago last Thursday, the 13-year-old Christian girl was sitting an Urdu exam which involved a poem about the prophet Muhammad when she dropped a dot on the Urdu word naat (a devotional hymn to the prophet), accidentally turning it into lanaat, or damnation. Spotting the error, her teacher scolded her, beat her and reported the matter to the principal. The news soon flamed through her community in Havelian, 30 miles north of Islamabad.

    Mullahs raged against Bhatti in their sermons; a school inquiry was hastily convened to examine the matter. 

    Bhatti was expelled; her mother, a government nurse, was banished to another town, and the family has since fled Havelian in fear of their lives. All over a missing dot.

Pakistan moving quickly back to dark ages
What accounts for such madness? In some parts Taseer's death has inspired a McCarthyite atmosphere in which nobody wants to seen to be soft on blasphemy. But there is also a more profound reason. Devotion to the prophet Muhammad is central to the faith of the Barelvi Sunnis, who make up the majority of Pakistani Muslims. Even a whiff of insult to the prophet can whip up feverish anger.

    The core problem, in fact, is that the blasphemy furore exposes the fragility of the Pakistani state – ideological, legal and security-wise. The mixing of religion and politics has long troubled Pakistan, but over the past 30 years that dangerous cocktail has been spiked by the army's 30-year-old policy of nurturing extremists – hence men like Qadri who believe they have a right to kill in the name of God.

    Meanwhile President Asif Ali Zardari's government has shown zero leadership when it comes to reforming the blasphemy law – in fact, cowardly ministers have run a mile from any suggestion of change. And those who do dare to stand up for progress – or just the rule of law – live in fear of the next Qadri-style hit.

    In truth, Taseer's baby-faced killer is unlikely to be hanged any time soon. A lengthy appeals process is just starting, and the Zardari government has imposed an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment. But the judge who sentenced him, Pervez Ali Shah, faces perhaps shorter odds.

    Judges who rule the "wrong" way on blasphemy face immense dangers in Pakistan. In 1997 extremists burst into the chambers of a high court judge who acquitted an accused blasphemer three years earlier, and shot him dead. Justice Shah will be fearing a repeat.

    Reporters at Qadri's hearing on Saturday noted that the judge slipped from the courtroom via the back door.

    He knows he is a marked man. Now only time will tell if the discredited Pakistani state can stand up for at least one good man.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The 5th Estate is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.






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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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