Monday, 29 September 2008

beekiller pesticide

Soil Association
urges ban on pesticides to halt bee deaths

Alison Benjamin

The Guardian

Monday September 29 2008

The Soil Association has urged the government to ban pesticides linked to honeybee deaths around the world.

The chemicals are widely used in UK agriculture but have been banned as a precaution in four other European countries. Last week the Italian government issued an immediate suspension after it accepted that the pesticides were implicated in killing honeybees, joining France, Germany and Slovenia.

Peter Melchett, the Soil Association's policy director, said: "It is typical of the lax approach to pesticide regulation in the UK that we look like being one of the last of the major farming countries in the EU to wake up to the threat to our honeybees."

The pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, are approved to kill insects on a range of crops in the UK including oilseed rape, barley and sugar beet. Their use on oilseed rape is of particular concern to beekeepers as the crop's yellow flower is very attractive to honeybees.

Germany suspended sales of the pesticides in May after 700 beekeepers along the Rhine reported that two-thirds of their bees had died following the application of clothianidin. In France, imidacloprid has been banned on sunflowers since 1999 and as a sweetcorn treatment since 2003, after a third of honeybees were wiped out. The Soil Association is calling on the environment secretary, Hilary Benn, to ban the pesticides in a letter sent today.

Imidacloprid and clothianidin are produced by a division of the chemical manufacturer Bayer. Imidacloprid is its bestselling pesticide and is used in 120 countries. Bayer has always maintained that neonicotinoids are safe for bees if correctly applied. "Extensive internal and international scientific studies have confirmed that neonicotinoids do not present a hazard to bees," Utz Klages, a spokesman for Bayer CropScience, said recently.

The National Farmers' Union said it was opposed to any ban on pesticides. Paul Chambers, NFU plant health adviser, said: "Banning pesticides using the precautionary principle is not based on good science. Pests and disease are the problems facing honeybees in the UK. The government needs to put more money into researching honeybee health."

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also attributed the decline in honeybee populations to a variety of factors. A Defra spokesman said: "There are no plans to ban pesticides."

Beekeepers worldwide have reported catastrophic losses of from 30% to 90% of their honeybee colonies during the last two years. Two-thirds of all major crops rely on pollination, mainly by honeybees.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

time spaced out by chinese ;-)

China space mission article hits Web before launch

Thursday September 25 2008

BEIJING (AP) - A news story describing a successful launch of China's long-awaited space mission and including detailed dialogue between astronauts launched on the Internet Thursday, hours before the rocket had even left the ground.

The country's official news agency Xinhua posted the article on its Web site Thursday, and remained there for much of the day before it was taken down.

A staffer from the Web site who answered the phone Thursday said the posting of the article was a ``technical error'' by a technician. The staffer refused to give his name as is common among Chinese officials.

The Shenzhou 7 mission, which will feature China's first-ever spacewalk, is set to launch Thursday from Jiuquan in northwestern China between 9:07 a.m. EDT and 10:27 p.m. EDT.

The arcticle, dated two days from now on Sept. 27, vividly described the rocket in flight, complete with a sharply detailed dialogue between the three astronauts.

Excerpts are below:

``After this order, signal lights all were switched on, various data show up on rows of screens, hundreds of technicians staring at the screens, without missing any slightest changes ...

'One minute to go!'

'Changjiang No.1 found the target!'...

``The firm voice of the controller broke the silence of the whole ship. Now, the target is captured 12 seconds ahead of the predicted time ...

'The air pressure in the cabin is normal!'

``Ten minutes later, the ship disappears below the horizon. Warm clapping and excited cheering breaks the night sky, echoing across the silent Pacific Ocean.''

birds in danger worldwide

Catastrophic fall in numbers reveals bird populations in crisis throughout the world

By Michael McCarthy

Monday, 22 September 2008

The birds of the world are in serious trouble, and common species are in now decline all over the globe, a comprehensive new review suggests today.

From the turtle doves of Europe to the vultures of India, from the bobwhite quails of the US to the yellow cardinals of Argentina, from the eagles of Africa to the albatrosses of the Southern Ocean, the numbers of once-familiar birds are tumbling everywhere, according to the study from the conservation partnership BirdLife International.

Their falling populations are compelling evidence of a rapid deterioration in the global environment that is affecting all life on earth – including human life, BirdLife says in its report, State of The World's Birds.

The report,released today with an accompanying website at the BirdLife World Conservation Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, identifies many key global threats, including the intensification of industrial-scale agriculture and fishing, the spread of invasive species, logging, and the replacement of natural forest with monocultural plantations.

It goes on to suggest that in the long term, human-induced climate change may be the most serious stress.

Based in Cambridge, BirdLife International is a global alliance of conservation organisations working in more than 100 countries and territories which is now the leading authority on the status of birds, their habitats and the issues and problems affecting them.

When brought together, as in its new report, the regional pictures of bird declines combine to present a startling picture of a whole class of living things on a steep downward slope.

A remarkable 45 per cent of common European birds are declining, with the familiar European turtle dove, for example, having lost 62 per cent of its population in the last 25 years, while on the other side of the globe, resident Australian wading birds have seen population losses of 81 per cent in the same period.

Twenty common North American birds have more than halved in number in the last four decades, while in Asia, the millions of white-rumped vultures which once filled the skies have crashed by 99.9 per cent and the species is now critically endangered.

"Many of these birds have been a familiar part of our everyday lives, and people who would not necessarily have noticed other environmental indicators have seen their numbers slipping away, and are wondering why," said Dr Mike Rands, BirdLife's chief executive.

All the world's governments have committed themselves to slowing or halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010, but reluctance to commit what are often trivial sums in terms of national budgets means that this target is almost certain to be missed, according to the report.

"Birds provide an accurate and easy-to-read environmental barometer, allowing us to see clearly the pressures our current way of life are putting on the world's biodiversity," Dr Rands said.

"Because these creatures are found almost everywhere on earth, they can act as our eyes and ears, and what they are telling us is that the deterioration in biodiversity and the environment is accelerating, not slowing.

"Effective biodiversity conservation is easily affordable, requiring relatively trivial sums at the scale of the global economy. For example, to maintain the protected area network which would safeguard 90 percent of Africa's biodiversity would cost less than $1bn a year. Yet in a typical year, the global community provides about $300m.

"The world is failing in its 2010 pledge. The challenge is to harness international biodiversity commitments and ensure that concrete actions are taken now."

The State of the World's Birds report can be found at

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

paulson wants unchallenged authority


Dirty Secret Of The Bailout: Thirty-Two Words That None Dare Utter

September 22, 2008

02:06 PM

A critical - and radical - component of the bailout package proposed by the Bush administration has thus far failed to garner the serious attention of anyone in the press. Section 8 (which ironically reminds one of the popular name of the portion of the 1937 Housing Act that paved the way for subsidized affordable housing ) of this legislation is just a single sentence of thirty-two words, but it represents a significant consolidation of power and an abdication of oversight authority that's so flat-out astounding that it ought to set one's hair on fire. It reads, in its entirety:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

In short, the so-called "mother of all bailouts," which will transfer $700 billion taxpayer dollars to purchase the distressed assets of several failed financial institutions, will be conducted in a manner unchallengeable by courts and ungovernable by the People's duly sworn representatives. All decision-making power will be consolidated into the Executive Branch - who, we remind you, will have the incentive to act upon this privilege as quickly as possible, before they leave office. The measure will run up the budget deficit by a significant amount, with no guarantee of recouping the outlay, and no fundamental means of holding those who fail to do so accountable.

Is this starting to sound familiar? Robert Kuttner cuts through much of the gloss in an article in today's American Prospect:

The deal proposed by Paulson is nothing short of outrageous. It includes no oversight of his own closed-door operations. It merely gives congressional blessing and funding to what he has already been doing, ad hoc. He plans to retain Wall Street firms as advisors to decide just how to cut deals to value and mop up Wall Street's dubious paper. There are to be no limits on executive compensation for the firms that get relief, and no equity share for the government in exchange for this massive infusion of capital. Both Obama and McCain have opposed the provision denying any judicial review of decisions made by Paulson -- a provision that evokes the Bush administration's suspension of normal constitutional safeguards in its conduct of foreign policy and national security. [...]

The differences between this proposed bailout and the three closest historical equivalents are immense. When the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the 1930s pumped a total of $35 billion into U.S. corporations and financial institutions, there was close government supervision and quid pro quos at every step of the way. Much of the time, the RFC became a preferred shareholder, and often appointed board members. The Home Owners Loan Corporation, which eventually refinanced one in five mortgage loans, did not operate to bail out banks but to save homeowners. And the Resolution Trust Corporation of the 1980s, created to mop up the damage of the first speculative mortgage meltdown, the S&L collapse, did not pump in money to rescue bad investments; it sorted out good assets from bad after the fact, and made sure to purge bad executives as well as bad loans. And all three of these historic cases of public recapitalization were done without suspending
judicial review.

Kuttner's opposition here is perhaps the strongest language I've seen used, pushing back on this piece of legislation, in any publication of repute, and even here, Section 8 is not cited by name or by content. McClatchy Newspapers also alludes to Section 8 with concern, citing the "unfettered authority" that Paulson would be granted, and noting that the "law also would preclude court review of steps Paulson might take, something Joshua Rosner, managing director of economic researcher Graham Fisher & Co. in New York, said could be used to mask previous illegal activity." Jack Balkin also gives the matter the sort of attention it deserves on his blog, Balkinization.

But elsewhere, the conversation is muted. The debate over whether Congress is going to pass the Paulson bailout package, or pass the Paulson bailout package really hard seems to have boiled down to a discussion of time and concessions. The White House has made it clear that they want this package passed yesterday. Congressional Democrats seem to be of different minds on the matter, with some pushing back hard, and others content to demand a small dollop of turd polish to make the package seem more aesthetically pleasing, at which point, they'll likely roll over and pass the bill. Neither candidate, John McCain or Barack Obama, seem all that amenable toward the bailout, but neither have either demonstrated that they are willing to risk their candidacies to do much more than exploit the issue for electoral purposes.

Sunday morning came and went, with Paulson traipsing dutifully from studio to studio, facing nary a question on Section 8. Front page articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal detail the wranglings, but make no mention of this section of the legislation. On TV, cable news networks are stuck in the fog of the ongoing presidential campaign.

Throughout the coverage, one catches a whiff of what seems like substantive pushback on this power grab, but it largely amounts to a facsimile of journalistic diligence. Most note, in general terms, that the bailout represents a set of "broad powers" that will be granted to the Department of the Treasury. Yet the coverage offsets these concerns through the constant hyping of the White House's overall message of "urgency."

But one cannot overstate this: Section 8 is a singularly transformative sentence of economic policy. It transfers a significant amount of power to the Executive Branch, while walling off any avenue for oversight, and offering no guarantees in return. And if the Democrats end up content with winning a few slight concessions, they risk not putting a stop-payment on the real "blank check" - the one in which they allow the erosion of their own powers.

Over in the Senate, Christopher Dodd has proposed a bailout legislation of his own, which critically calls for "an oversight board that not only includes the chairman of the Federal Reserve and the SEC, but congressionally appointed, non-governmental officials" and would require the President to appoint an "independent inspector general to investigate the Treasury asset program." In Dodd's legislation, Section 8 is effectively stripped from the bill.

Nevertheless, the fact that Section 8 of the Paulson plan seems to strike few as a de facto dealbreaker can and should astound. The failure of Congress to hold the line on this point would be truly embarrassing. But if we make it through this week with nobody in the press specifically informing the public about the implications of this single sentence - in the middle of a complicated bill, in the middle of a complicated time - then right there, you have the single largest media failure of this year.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

tarpley on financial crisis


NO To The Paulson-Bernanke Derivatives Scam Bailout
Bail Out the American People, Not Wall Street!

An Economic Recovery Strategy for Protectionists,
Dirigists, Mercantilists, and Populists

By Webster G. Tarpley


WASHINGTON DC -- The grand theft bailout now being rammed through Congress by Treasury Secretary Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, and other officials of the Bush regime with the help of accomplices Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other parliamentarians is a monstrosity for the ages, combining every hideous feature of monetarism, elitism, oligarchism, and sheer feckless incompetence. It is to all intents and purposes a national suicide note of the United States of America, a contract with the devil that absolutely guarantees irrevocable national decline. For any person of goodwill there can be only one impulse at the present moment, and that is to stop this bailout -- to block it, to sabotage it, to bottle it up, to load it with killer amendments, and to do everything legally possible to stop this insane design from going through.


In political terms, McCain is now running well to the left of Obama on this issue, with a much stronger populist profile. McCain has attacked the outrageous greed and corruption of Wall Street. Obama does not dare attack Wall Street, since these are his masters. Obama, sounding like Milton Friedman, only attacks Washington. Obama has said that he will support whatever Paulson demands. That is not a surprise, since Paulson represents Goldman Sachs, and Obama is a wholly owned property of Goldman Sachs, which is his single biggest source of campaign contributions. Obama is a creature of Brzezinski, Soros, and Rockefeller, and without them he has no existence; Obama is an abject Wall Street puppet, an agent of finance capital. This week, both senators will have to decide how they vote on the odious derivatives bailout. Obama will surely vote in favor of it, since this is what Wall Street demands. If McCain votes against it, he will most probably propel
himself into the White House on the model of Give 'Em Hell Harry in 1948. Filthy corrupt Democrats like Schumer are already attacking McCain as the new Huey Long. Huey Long, the Louisiana populist of the 1930s, had many positive features, and we could certainly use a good dose of Huey Long in this country to counteract the elitism, oligarchism, condescension, and arrogant snobbery of foundation operatives like Obama. The bailout is already very unpopular ­ 72% of all voters are opposed to it ­ and it will become more and more hated when it becomes clear that it is also a failure. McCain's course is clear. Will he have the brains and guts to cross Obama's T on this vital issue?


Paulson is a ruthless and brutal eco-freak usurer who learned his trade at the Goldman Sachs stock-jobbing operation. He is now the leading member of the committee of public safety which rules in Washington, and which includes Gates, Rice, and Mullen. He now demands the astronomical sum of 700 billion dollars for the bailout of mortgage-backed derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and other poisonous derivatives. Make no mistake -- this is not a bailout of homeowners who are threatened with foreclosure; it is a bailout of the lunatic house of cards which desperate bankers have built on these mortgages using derivatives. The entire crisis is not a crisis of subprime mortgages, it is a crisis of the derivatives bubble which was launched by Wendy Gramm of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Greenspan of the Fed with the connivance of Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs and Citibank, and others in the Clinton
administration, some 15 years ago.

These derivatives now amount to a total worldwide notional value that can be estimated between 1 quadrillion and two quadrillion US dollars. This sum is so large that it dwarfs the total value of the entire planet earth and all those who live here. Compared to the cancerous, bloated, and fictitious mass of derivatives which is at the root of this crisis, the $700 billion demanded by politicians, large as this may seem, is nothing but a drop in the bucket. And a drop in the bailout bucket is what it will be. The mass of world derivatives between $1 and $2 quadrillion represents an insatiable black hole which is capable of putting an end, not just to civilization, but the human life itself. The moral choice could not be clearer: humanity will either destroy the derivatives bubble in our time, or the derivatives bubble will surely destroy humanity. Those are the stakes in the current exercise.

Paulson and Bernanke, both lawyers for the Wall Street jackals, lampreys, vultures and hyenas, argue that the public interest demands a bailout of their cronies at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia, and the other large money center institutions. Before the American public antes up $700 billion just for openers in the game of genocidal poker which run by the infernal croupiers Paulson and Bernanke, we would be very well advised to examine the veracity of this premise.


It is of course true that the healthy functioning of the United States economy requires a viable and flexible system of commercial banks. No one should doubt the necessity of commercial banks.
Andrew Jackson was clinically insane on this point, and he still has not a few followers around today. But it ought to be clear that without the services of a well developed commercial banking system, it is impossible to organize business activities as essential as payments, deposits, checking, payrolls, and the discounting of short-term commercial paper, bills of exchange, bills of lading, and all the credit instruments that are intimately connected with real productive activity. Without a functioning commercial banking system, the economic heart of the United States would stop beating, as it briefly did at the end of the Hoover administration in March of 1933. Without commercial banks, no wheel of a factory or railroad can turn, and no commodities can move to show up in supermarkets.


But when we look at institutions like J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America, we become aware that these large money center institutions have become detached from any conceivable connection to the world of production, wages, transportation, and all other useful and productive activities. These institutions are not commercial banks any more in any meaningful sense of the term. Ten years ago, in the midst of the Asian financial crisis and the aftermath of the Russian GKO state bankruptcy collapse, the boss of JP Morgan Chase went on television to announce that his bank was specialized in the "risk business." The risk business meant that JP Morgan Chase, had simply given up on the traditional activity of commercial banks, which was primarily to provide loans to corporations for productive investment in plant and equipment that would also create well-paid industrial jobs. J.P. Morgan Chase decided long ago that that activity was nowhere near
profitable enough to be continued.

Instead, J.P. Morgan Chase devoted itself more and more to the issuance, sale, and purchase of derivatives. As early as 1992, the best definition of J.P. Morgan Chase was that it was no longer a commercial bank but rather a derivatives monster. In 2002, the J.P. Morgan Chase derivatives monster came very close to imploding, collapsing in on itself like the hopeless black hole that it still remains to the present day. According to the most recent report of the Comptroller of the Curreny of the US Treasury dated September 30, 2007, JP Morgan Chase today has between $90 trillion and $100 trillion of derivatives. In reality this is a very low-ball estimate, and the real derivatives exposure is some multiple of this figure ­ perhaps $300 or $400 trillion, especially now that Bear Stearns, a smaller black hole of derivatives has been absorbed. But even a mere $90 trillion is already six times the US GDP (currently estimated between $14 and $15 trillion).


The question of the derivatives is once again the central issue of the crisis. Most people may not even know what derivatives are, although by now many have some idea that they are dangerous and toxic. French President Jacques Chirac once defined derivatives as financial aids, and he was right. A share of stock supposedly represents part ownership in a corporation. A corporate bond is a debt instrument issued by a corporation, with some claim to a part of the assets in case of bankruptcy liquidation. That means that the stocks and bonds are paper, but paper that is at only one remove from the real world of production, consumption, employment, and wages. The derivative is something radically different.

A derivative represents paper based on paper, no longer a stock or bond, but a future, option, or index that is based on some stock, bond, or other form of paper. Derivatives are therefore at least one step further removed from the world of tangible physical commodity production of useful items which humanity requires in order to survive and to conduct civilization as we know it. In addition to the options, futures, and indices, we have all the possible permutations and combinations of the above, with new variations that are almost infinite. Even to catalogue these would take a book. In addition to these exchange traded derivatives, there is a much larger class of derivative which does not appear on the Chicago Board Options Exchange or analogous institutions in all the money centers of the world. The second and larger class represents the counterparty derivatives, including such things as collateralized debt obligations, mortgage backed securities,
structured notes, credit default swaps, and the myriad of other derivative products.

These derivatives were originally supposed to be used as a hedge against risk, but before too long they began to represent the biggest single source of risk and the entire lunatic edifice would finance. By now, to repeat this point yet again, the total world derivatives of in excess of one quadrillion dollars -- that is to say, 1000 billion dollars, and may be already approaching the neighborhood of $1.5 quadrillion or even more. One of the inherent problems of derivatives is that nobody knows this exact figure, since derivatives are not reportable in many countries and tend to escape regulation by the proper financial authorities.


You cannot eat derivatives. You cannot live in a derivative. You cannot wear derivatives as clothing, nor can you drive a derivative work. You cannot sail in them or fly in them. They cannot be used as tools of any useful trade. They are not computers, not machine tools, not pharmaceutical equipment, not agricultural implements.

Derivatives are therefore totally outside the realm of capital goods production needs, no matter how these may be defined.


J.P. Morgan Chase, therefore, performs no useful or productive social function, and there is absolutely no reason in the world why the people of the United States should want to bail out this pernicious and socially destructive institution. It has probably been several decades since J.P. Morgan Chase created a single modern productive job. J.P. Morgan Chase's strategic commitment in favor of the derivatives bubble means essentially that we can easily dispense with most of the functions of this self-styled "bank," really a casino. Instead of being bailed out, J.P. Morgan Chase ought therefore to be seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and put through chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the course of that bankruptcy reorganization, the entire derivatives book of J.P. Morgan Chase must be deleted, shredded, used as a Yule log, or employed to stoke a festive bonfire of the derivatives. The world did much better when there were no derivatives, and will
get along just fine without them.

Derivatives were of very dubious legality in general and were illegal in some of their specific forms until the mid-1990s.


According to Paulson's pact with the devil published in the New York Times on September 20, 2008, the Secretary of the Treasury is supposed to be empowered by Congress to spend $700 billion on mortgage related securities, obligations, and instruments. That last word instruments is the favorite euphemism of television commentators and journalists who want to propose a derivatives bailout without using this word, which has now become to some degree unmentionable and taboo, presumably because of its highly negative connotations left over from the crises of more than a decade ago. Accordingly, one very good killer amendment that ought to be added to this pact with the devil should state that not one penny of taxpayer money should ever be used to finance the purchase of derivatives, no matter how they may be euphemistically referred to.


Paulson wants to buy up derivatives. But at what price? Derivatives have no intrinsic value. Like the rasbucknik in the old L'il Abner comic strip, derivatives have negative value, since somebody has to be paid to cart them away. Counterparty derivatives currently have no price, since there is no market where they are trading, and nobody would want to buy them if there were such a market. Collateralized debt obligations were selling at 5 cents on the dollar a few weeks ago, but that was well before the current crisis broke in its full fury. So how will Paulson know how much to pay for the derivatives he wants to purchase? Will he use the discredited Black-Sholes model, which led to the bankruptcy of the Long Term Capital Management hedge fund ten years ago? Given all this, the only price which can be assigned to the mass of derivatives is not their notional value, but rather a big fat ZERO. Anything else is stealing from the government.


Let us now leave behind the category of the commercial banks and move on to institutions like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the stock jobbing operations or counting houses that like to call themselves investment banks these days, even though they do not have the status of a commercial bank and are not members of the Federal Reserve. Why should any public money at all be used to prolong the noxious lives of these sociopathic and pernicious institutions? A short examination of what these so-called investment banks do will reveal that there is no public interest in keeping these creatures alive, and that, once again, touch better off without them.

Investment banks used to assist corporations and floating issues of stocks or bonds on the financial markets. Investment banks were supposed to function as the advisers of industrial corporations and other corporations as they sought to raise capital needed for new plant, equipment, and jobs. But today, these functions have virtually disappeared. The investment banks do a certain amount of work in initial public offerings for IPOs of new securities, but these are almost always of a financially speculative nature. The main thing is that investment banks now place bets on certain classes of assets in the hope of turning a purely speculative profit for themselves. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley maintain trading desks and engage in purely speculative trading of assets which they themselves own, and most of the time these assets represent derivatives of one kind or another. In recent times, the most important asset class which Goldman Sachs and Morgan
Stanley have been trading is probably future indices on commodities, especially oil. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley between them have in the past year by various estimates accounted for about half of the speculative activity in the commodities markets of London, New York, and other money centers which brought about the doubling of the per barrel price of oil between July 2007 and July 2008, increasing the cost of gasoline to almost five dollars per gallon.


In a very real sense, American motorists filling their gas tanks at the pump at exorbitant prices have been involuntarily subsidizing the speculative derivatives activity of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. How bitterly ironic that the same American motorists should now be taxed in order to permit their tormentors to live on and to continue to mercilessly loot them. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley found that even the very weak regulatory regime maintained here in the United States under the auspices of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission was too onerous for them because it slightly constrained their rapacious quest for speculative profits at the expense of the American people. These two investment banks therefore created a new speculative commodity exchange, the ICE or Intercontinental Exchange located in London, with a regulatory regime is virtually nonexistent. The ICE or Intercontinental Exchange in London is where about half of the world
futures contracts in oil have been trading in recent months.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, like their now-defunct brethren Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch, have also made many speculative investments in the area of mortgage backed securities based on predatory subprime mortgages. The adjustable rate mortgages that underlie these derivatives should have been declared illegal long ago. But now let us imagine what will happen if a hapless victim of these predatory lending practices is forced into foreclosure in the current world economic great depression.

Goldman Sachs will send the bailiff to your door to throw you, your family, and your belongings out on the street, even though you have been taxed to permit Goldman Sachs to continue its sociopathic existence. You will in effect be robbed out of one pocket even as you are being pushed out the door and made homeless by the same institution which has been the beneficiary of your forced charity.

Surely any politician daring to come forward to suggest the public bailout of Goldman Sachs so that it can continue to enforce foreclosures against the American citizens who are paying the bill for the financial excesses of this bandit institution ought to be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. Yet this is exactly what Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, and Frank are proposing to force through the U.S. Congress in the coming week. This represents a new low in public morality.

With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the situation is slightly different, but the same criteria ought to apply. Fanny and Freddie worked very well during the three decades after the formation of Fannie Mae in 1938 as an agency of the federal government -- a hillbilly cousin of the US treasury, as it used to be called.

Things began to go wrong in 1968 when Fannie Mae was privatized, under the pernicious influence of the doctrines of the monetarist Milton Friedman of the infamous Chicago school of pseudo-economics and obscurantism. Fanny and Freddie have now been placed under the control of conservators, but they ought to be nationalized as part of a permanent state sector of the US economy, and operated as the public utility that they were intended to be. The salaries of their officials ought to be determined by the government-wide GSA schedule. Fannie and Freddie have guaranteed mortgages, and ought to continue to do so. But they have no obligation to guarantee mortgage backed securities or any other form of newfangled derivatives which were never mentioned in their charter.

Accordingly, Fannie and Freddie thought to strip away the mortgage backed securities that have been used to package or bundle the mortgages that they now hold. The mortgages represent a valuable asset for the future, under conditions of economic recovery which we intend to organize. But that extra layer of derivatives paper represents a useless additional tax on the public treasury, which the US government has no obligation to maintain. In short, it is time to separate the socially useful core of actual mortgages representing residential and commercial properties from the harmful and speculative overlay of the mortgage-backed security. By this kind of financial engineering, speculators can receive condign punishment, even as the public treasury is believed of an extra layer useless payment which would only reward speculative crimes.

If anyone should inquire as to the ultimate philosophical causes of the current George Bush world economic depression, the answer is simple: this depression is a direct result of the influence of Milton Friedman and the Chicago school, who are themselves to kind of come down American version of the Viennese school of Friedrich von Hayek. Ludwig von Mises, and other charlatans masquerading as economists. The common denominator of the Chicago school is the Vienna school which is represented by the right-wing anarchist thesis that government is always bad and the private sector, especially speculators, are always good. This absurd thesis is now being consigned to the dustbin of history. Friedman and von Hayek, if they were alive today, would doubtless demand the full fury of the free market the unleashed against the American people. This would lead, not to a recovery, but merely to death on a large scale.

The implications of the Chicago school and the Vienna school under current circumstances are nothing short of genocidal, and even the financiers are hastily dumping the discredited doctrines of Friedman and from Hayek as they rush to get their hands into the public till through bigger and better bailouts in an endless series. There is nothing anywhere in the world left today that might resemble a free market, only an endless list of cartels, trusts, monopolies, oligopolies, duopolies, and other conspiracies in restraint of trade. In fact, there has been nothing even vaguely resembling a free market in most of the world in the past several centuries. What is collapsing today in September 2008 is the delusion that such a thing as a free market might exist in the modern world.

The same negative judgment applies to the lunatic doctrines of Joseph Schumpeter, who preached the madness of creative destruction as a way out of the world economic depression of the 1930s.
Schumpeter's doctrines today are nothing less than a public menace, and persons who demand a deflationary crash of the world economy by preaching the Andrew Mellon formula of liquidating labor, liquidating stocks, liquidating bonds, liquidating real estate, etc., are to be put in a padded cell. This is even worse than Herbert Hoover. It was tried in 1932-33, and it turned out to be a bottomless pit already then, so it does not need to be tried again.


Scribblers like Friedman and von Hayek were paid by finance oligarchs to wage a relentless war against that heritage of the Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal, the set of policies which allowed humanity to survive the Great Depression of the 1930s. The current crisis would not have been possible in the present form if the institutional safeguards enacted during the New Deal had been left in place, as they should have been. These safeguards represent permanent features of civilization, and they need to be restored. The best example is the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act under the Clinton administration in 1999. The Glass-Steagall Act was a classic piece of New Deal legislation which established that being a commercial bank and being a stockbroker are mutually exclusive activities that could not be legally combined in the same company.
Commercial banking was one thing, and stock brokerage was something completely separate. Naturally, the greedy financiers and their spokesmen clamored for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and they finally got their wish. Now less than 10 years later all of the Wall Street banks, seemingly without notable exceptions, are bankrupt and insolvent institutions that cannot not survive without a massive infusion of taxpayer money. We need to restore Glass- Steagal, which will mean among other things that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will not be eligible to become bank holding companies after all. If you don't like your tax bill next year, you should thank Newt Gingrich and others who made it their business to destroy and roll back the achievements of the New Deal in the name of the despicable ideology of monetarism as preached by Friedman and von Hayek. Newt, by the way, is now calling for an immediate deflationary crash to find out what the real prices of
housing might be. This is like doing experiments on your own flesh, and Newt should go to the funny farm.


Another example is the uptick rule. This New Deal measure meant that it was illegal to sell a stock short if it were continuously in decline. The speculator had to wait until there was an uptick, meaning a trade in which the stock in question increased in price; only then could a short sale be carried out. Another piece of bitter irony inherent in the present crisis is that this uptick rule was abolished by the feckless and incompetent Chairman Cox of the Securities and Exchange Commission at the beginning of last summer, just in time for the explosion of the world credit crisis which has led to the current world economic depression. Incredibly enough, Chairman Cox of the SEC has been unable to pull himself together long enough to permanently re-impose the uptick rule.

Instead, he has drawn up a list of 799 financial institutions and banks whose stock will now be illegal to sell short for at least 10 days, although one suspects that this prohibition will be prolonged indefinitely. This crackpot expedient reveals the true nature of the current monetarist regime. Shorting and destroying General Motors, which actually produces something useful, is fine, but no shorting of JP Morgan Chase, which is a public menace that produces nothing but toxic paper. The long-term roots of the current crisis go back to August 15, 1971, when Nixon, Kissinger, Arthur Burns and George Shultz wantonly destroyed the Bretton Woods system of fixed currency parities, ushering in the new world of financial risk which is now collapsing around us.


The present crisis ought to provide the death warrant for the failed Federal Reserve System. When the Fed was created back under Woodrow Wilson, its Rockefeller and Morgan sponsors promised that the Fed would protect us against all future financial panics. The Fed failed once in 1929-1933, and now it is failing again for a second time. The Fed is worthless as a firewall against depression. We must therefore seize the Fed, audit it, nationalize it, and operate it in the future as a bureau of the US Treasury. From now on, we must go back to the Constitution, meaning that the size of the money supply and short-term interest rates will have to be determined by public laws of the United States, passed by the House and the Senate and signed by the president. Using this method, we can mandate new initial credit issues of $1 to $2 trillion to be used exclusively as low interest (.5% to 1%) and long-term (30 to 40 year maturities) credit for productive purposes
only ­ manufacturing, farming, mining, commerce, energy production, infrastructure, and the other things we need. We should stop having the Fed lend money to Citibank at 2% and then having the Treasury borrow that same money back for 4% to 5% in the form of Treasury paper. Nationalize the Fed, and let the Treasury finance itself, cutting out the parasitical middlemen like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman, Citibank, and the rest. The taxpayers will be the big winners.


The Paulson-Bernanke $700 billion is roughly comparable (factoring in about 2000% inflation from 1932 to 2008) to the Herbert Hoover Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which started with $2 billion real 1932 dollars, but failed because it tried to prop up insolvent banks and shore up collapsing financial values. Under FDR, the RFC was put under Jesse Jones, who used it to create real plant and equipment with great success. Under Jones, the RFC contributed decisively to US economic recovery by building up the Metals Reserve Company, the Rubber Reserve Company, the Defense Plant Corporation, the Defense Supplies Corporation, the War Damage Corporation, the U.S. Commercial Company, the Rubber Development Corporation, and the Petroleum Reserve Corporation. In other words, the RFC under Jones rebuilt the industrial infrastructure which we have been using down to the present day. Most of these investments represented added physical commodity production.
Today, this could be repeated to produce infrastructure and energy plants for civilian use.


It is time to forget about paper and the price of paper, and to concentrate on production ­ securing the tangible physical commodities and hard commodity production which are necessary for human life and civilization. It is impossible to prop up financial values in a panic, and it is foolish to try. To secure a decent future, we must now enact the following measures. Any of these points, all of which seek to defend the general welfare and the public interest, can and should be used as killer amendments to be attached to the current bailout monstrosity as a means of bringing it down.

Stop all foreclosures on homes, farms, businesses, factories, mines, transport systems, for a period of at least five years or for the duration of the present world economic depression, whichever takes longer. If you throw a family out of their home or shut down a family farm, taxicab company, trucking firm, ferry, airline, railroad, or factory of any kind because of debt, you will be on your way to Leavenworth. All politicians now say that we have to keep families in their homes. Excellent! A uniform federal law with real teeth is the way to do it.

Seize bankrupt banks and financial institutions. Put them through Chapter XI bankruptcy, and cancel the hopelessly unpayable parts of their debts, starting with their derivatives book.
Wipe out all derivatives, whether exchange traded or counterparty, without compensation. They have always been illegal. They are now a threat to all of our lives. Not one penny of public money must go to buy derivatives.

Securities transfer tax or Tobin tax on all financial transactions, including stocks, bonds, foreign exchange, etc. This is a sales tax on finance oligarchs who need to start paying their fair share. This will take the life out of the booze for many speculators.
Stop oil, food and commodity speculation with comprehensive re- regulation including position limits, 50 to 100% margin requirements depending on market conditions, and by distinguishing between legitimate hedgers and predatory speculators.

No tax increases on households. Surtax for foundations like the Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Annenberg, and Gates Foundations, who use their funds not for charity but for subversion and divide and conquer social engineering to divide and weaken the American people in defense of the financier interest.

Restore business confidence and credit with new credit issue through the nationalized Federal Reserve, operating under the legal auspices of the US Treasury. Use credit as a public utility. Provide cheap, long-term credit for productive purposes only, not parasitical speculation or financial services.

Institute an absolute guarantee for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, WIC, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the other remaining elements of the social safety net. No "entitlement reform" under any circumstances. Austerity for bankers, not people. Use the proceeds from the Securities Transfer Tax to replenish the Social Security Trust Fund and preserve the other vital programs through the end of the twenty-first century.

Using New Deal methods, it is possible to stop a depression cold in a single day. We did it before, and we can do it again. Only 28% of the American people now support the monstrous derivatives bailout, with 37% opposed and 35% unsure, according to Rasmussen on Sept. 22. This is an issue powerful enough to crystallize the current party re-alignment in the same way that slavery in the territories did in 1860, or the last depression did in 1932. Within a month, the current empty husks of the gutted Democratic and Republican Parties could collapse, and be replaced by the pro-Wall Street Bailout Party led by Obama and his phalanx of rich elitists and Malthusian fanatics from both parties, and the pro-middle class and pro-worker Anti-Bailout Party with support from right-wing Republicans, libertarians, and working class Democrats. Who will have the brains and guts need to assert leadership over the Anti- Bailout Party? Will it be McCain? Or Hillary Clinton?
Or someone else? We will soon

Monday, 22 September 2008

financial wmd (see chart)

The Real Reason for the Global Financial Crisis…

the Story No One’s Talking About Stock-Markets / Credit Crisis 2008

Sep 18, 2008 - 03:44 PM

By: Money_Morning

Stock-Markets Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleShah Gilani writes: Are you shell-shocked? Are you wondering what's really going on in the market? The truth is probably more frightening than even your worst fears. And yet, you won't hear about it anywhere else because “they” can't tell you. “They” are the U.S. Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department, and they can't tell you what's really going on because there's nothing they can do about it, except what they've been trying to do – add liquidity. At the exchange rate yesterday (Wednesday), 35 trillion British Pounds was equivalent to U.S. $62 trillion (hence, the 35 trillion Pound gorilla). According to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association , $62 trillion is the notional value of credit default swaps (CDS) out there, somewhere, in the market.

This isn't the first time Money Morning has warned readers about the dangers of credit default swaps. And it won't be the last.

The Genesis of a Derivative Boom

In the mid-1980s, upon arriving in New York from Chicago with an extensive background trading options and futures (the original derivatives), I was offered a job at what was then Citicorp [today's Citigroup Inc. ( C )]. The offer was for an entry-level post in the bank's brand new OTC (over-the-counter, meaning not exchange traded) swaps and derivatives group. When I asked what the economic purpose of swaps was, the answer came back: “To make money for the bank.”

I declined the position.

It used to be that regulators and legislators demanded theoretical, empirical, and quantitative measures of the efficacy of new tradable instruments being proposed by exchanges. What is their purpose? How will they benefit the capital markets and the economy? And, what safeguards will accompany their introduction?

Not any more. In the early 1990s, in order to hedge their loan risks, J. P. Morgan & Co. [now JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM )] bankers devised credit default swaps.

A credit default swap is, essentially, an insurance contract between a protection buyer and a protection seller covering a corporation's, or sovereign's (the “referenced entity”), specific bond or loan. A protection buyer pays an upfront amount and yearly premiums to the protection seller to cover any loss on the face amount of the referenced bond or loan.
Typically, the insurance is for five years.

Credit default swaps are bilateral contracts, meaning they are private contracts between two parties. CDSs are subject only to the collateral and margin agreed to by contract. They are traded over-the-counter, usually by telephone. They are subject to re-sale to another party willing to enter into another contract. Most frighteningly, credit default swaps are subject to “ counterparty risk .”

If the party providing the insurance protection – once it has collected its upfront payment and premiums – doesn't have the money to pay the insured buyer in the case of a default event affecting the referenced bond or loan (think hedge funds), or if the “insurer” goes bankrupt ( Bear Stearns was almost there, and American International Group Inc. ( AIG ) was almost there) the buyer is not covered – period. The premium payments are gone, as is the insurance against default.

Credit default swaps are not standardized instruments. In fact, they technically aren't true securities in the classic sense of the word in that they're not transparent, aren't traded on any exchange, aren't subject to present securities laws, and aren't regulated. They are, however, at risk – all $62 trillion (the best guess by the ISDA) of them.

Fundamentally, this kind of derivative serves a real purpose – as a hedging device. The actual holders, or creditors, of outstanding corporate or sovereign loans and bonds might seek insurance to guarantee that the debts they are owed are repaid. That's the economic purpose of insurance.

What happened, however, is that risk speculators who wanted exposure to certain asset classes, various bonds and loans, or security pools such as residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities (yes, those same subprime mortgage-backed securities that you've been reading about), but didn't actually own the underlying credits, now had a means by which to speculate on them.

If you think XYZ Corp. is in trouble, and won't be able to pay back its bondholders, you can speculate by buying, and paying premiums for, credit default swaps on their bonds, which will pay you the full face amount of the bonds if they do actually default. If, on the other hand, you think that XYZ Corp. is doing just fine, and its bonds are as good as gold, you can offer insurance to a fellow speculator, who holds the opinion opposite yours. That means you'd essentially be speculating that the bonds would not default. You're hoping that you'll collect, and keep, all the premiums, and never have to pay off on the insurance. It's pure speculation.

Credit default swaps are not unlike me being able to insure your house, not with you, but with someone else entirely not connected to your house, so that if your house is washed away in the next hurricane I get paid its value. I'm speculating on an event. I'm making a bet.

The bad news is that there are even worse bets out there. There are credit default swaps written on subprime mortgage securities. It's bad enough that these subprime mortgage pools that banks, investment banks, insurance companies, hedge funds and others bought were over-rated and ended up falling precipitously in value as foreclosures mounted on the underlying mortgages in the pools.

What's even worse, however, is that speculators sold and bought trillions of dollars of insurance that these pools would, or wouldn't, default! The sellers of this insurance (AIG is one example) are getting killed as defaults continue to rise with no end in sight.

And this is only where the story begins.

The Ticking Time Bomb

What is happening in both the stock and credit markets is a direct result of what's playing out in the CDS market. The Fed could not let Bear Stearns enter bankruptcy because – and only because – the trillions of dollars of credit default swaps on its books would be wiped out. All the banks and institutions that had insurance written by Bear would not be able to say that they were insured or hedged anymore and they would have to write-down billions and billions of dollars in losses that they've been carrying at higher values because they could say that they were insured for those losses.

The counterparty risk that all Bear's trading partners were exposed to was so far and wide, and so deep, that if Bear was to enter bankruptcy it would take years to sort out the risk and losses. That was an untenable option.

The Fed had to bail out Bear Stearns.

The same thing has just happened to AIG . Make no mistake about it, there's nothing wrong with AIG's insurance subsidiaries – absolutely nothing. In fact, the Fed just made the best trade in its history by bailing AIG out and getting equity, warrants and charging the insurance giant seven points over the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) on that $85 billion loan!

What happened to AIG is simple: AIG got greedy. AIG, as of June 30, had written $441 billion worth of swaps on corporate bonds, and worse, mortgage-backed securities. As the value of these insured-referenced entities fell, AIG had massive write-downs and additionally had to post more collateral. And when its ratings were downgraded on Monday evening, the company had to post even more collateral, which it didn't have.

In short, what happened in one small AIG corporate subsidiary blew apart the largest insurance company in the world.

But there's more – a lot more. These instruments are causing many of the massive write-downs at banks, investment banks and insurance companies. Knowing what all this means for hedge funds, the credit markets and the stock market is the key to understanding where this might end and how.

The rest of the story will be illuminated in the next two installments. Next up: An examination of the AIG collapse, followed by a look at how bad things could get, and what we can do to fix the problem at hand. So stay tuned.

[ Editor's Note : Contributing Editor R. Shah Gilani has toiled in the trading pits in Chicago, run trading desks in New York, operated as a broker/dealer and managed everything from hedge funds to currency accounts. In his new column, " Inside Wall Street ," Gilani promises to take readers on a journey through the "shadowy back alleys" of the U.S. capital markets - and to conduct us past the "velvet rope" that guards Wall Street's most-valuable secrets - in an ongoing search for the investment ideas with the biggest profit potential. If the whipsaw markets we're experiencing lead to the so-called market “Super Crash” that many analysts fear, shrewd investors won't have to worry. The reason: They will be able to capitalize on the once-in-a-lifetime profit plays that we detail in a new report. For a copy of that report – which includes a free copy of CNBC analyst Peter D. Schiff's New York Times best-seller, " Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse " – please click here .]

News and Related Story Links:

By Shah Gilani
Contributing Editor

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2008 Monument Street Publishing

mysterious fire at marriot

pakistan daily

What Was Mysterious Activity Going on in the Marriott Hotel Islamabad by United States Marines

Sunday, 21 September 2008 12:18

Marriott Hotel has now become a ghost house which was yesterday the most beautiful and prestigious hotels in the Islamabad. While the condemnation of the blasts and the deaths and the loss of property is going on from all the quarters, some intriguing news is also pouring in.

After the blast, mysteriously fire was started at the fourth and fifth floors. It was said that this fire was the result of gas pipeline burst running through the hotel. The million dollar question is that was the gas pipeline not running through the other floors? Why the fire broke out from the fourth and fifth flours? That is the question which perhaps holds the key to the mystery as why the hotel was targeted yesterday, in which more than 60 people died including many foreigners.

Though it would never get confirmed but the fire on the fifth and fourth floor of the hotel broke out because those flours were housing the mysterious steel boxes under the heavy guard of United States marines and no one including the Pakistani security forces and the security men of the hotel were allowed to go near with the them. These boxes were shifted inside the hotel when the Admiral Mike Mullen met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and others in Islamabad.

It is said that one member of parliament Mumtaz Alam who belongs to the PPP, the ruling party was there eye witnessed the whole scene when the white truck of US embassy came to the gate of Marriot Hotel and US marines themselves unloaded the steel boxes from the trucks and shifted them to the fourth and fifth floors without passing through them the scanners at the entrance of the hotels. When the truck was there, all the entrance and the exit passage way to the hotels were closed.

And now this blast has occurred at the Marriott, while that mysterious activity was going on.

nypost: dow was going to loose 22%


September 21, 2008

The market was 500 trades away from Armageddon on Thursday, traders inside two large custodial banks tell The Post.

Had the Treasury and Fed not quickly stepped into the fray that morning with a quick $105 billion injection of liquidity, the Dow could have collapsed to the 8,300-level - a 22 percent decline! - while the clang of the opening bell was still echoing around the cavernous exchange floor.

According to traders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, money market funds were inundated with $500 billion in sell orders prior to the opening. The total money-market capitalization was roughly $4 trillion that morning.

The panicked selling was directly linked to the seizing up of the credit markets - including a $52 billion constriction in commercial paper - and the rumors of additional money market funds "breaking the buck," or dropping below $1 net asset value.

The Fed's dramatic $105 billion liquidity injection on Thursday (pre-market) was just enough to keep key institutional accounts from following through on the sell orders and starting a stampede of cash that could have brought large tracts of the US economy to a halt.

While many depositors treat money market accounts as fancy savings accounts, they are different. Banks buy a variety of short-term debt, including commercial paper, with the assets. It is an important distinction because banks use the $1.7 trillion commercial-paper market to fund their credit card operations and car finance companies use it to move autos.

Without commercial paper, "factories would have to shut down, people would lose their jobs and there would be an effect on the real economy," Paul Schott Stevens, of the Investment Company Institute, told the Wall Street Journal.

Cracks started to show in money market accounts late Tuesday when shares in one fund, the Reserve Primary Fund - which touted itself as super safe - fell below the golden $1 a share level. It had purchased what it thought was safe Lehman bonds, never dreaming they could default - which they did 24 hours earlier when the 158-year-old investment bank filed Chapter 11.

By Wednesday, banks sensed a run on their accounts. They started stockpiling cash in anticipation of withdrawals.

Banks, which usually keep an average of $2 billion in excess reserves earmarked for withdrawals, pumped that up to an astounding $90 billion by Wednesday, Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrighton ICAP, told The Journal.

And for good reason. By the close of business on Wednesday, $144.5 billion - a record - had been withdrawn. How much money was taken out of money market funds the prior week? Roughly $7.1 billion, according to AMG Data Services.

By Thursday, that level, fed by the incredible volume of sell orders pouring in from institutional investors like pension funds and sovereign funds, had grown to $100 billion. It was still not enough to stem the tidal wave.

The banks knew something drastic had to be done. So did Paulson.

The injection of capital into the market was followed up by calls from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to major money market players like Bank of New York Mellon and State Street in Boston informing them that federal money was in the market and they should tell their clients the Feds would be back with a plan to stem the constriction in the credit market.

Paulson knew the $105 billion injection was not a real solution. A broader, more radical answer was needed.

Hours after Paulson made his round of calls to calm the industry, word leaked out that an added $1 trillion bailout of banks was being readied. Investors cheered. At about 3 p.m., news of the plans was filtering up and down Wall Street, fueling a 700-point advance in the Dow Jones industrial average through 4 p.m. Friday.

By that time, Paulson had announced the plan. It included insurance on money market accounts, a move that started in quiet Thursday morning, when the former Goldman Sachs executive saved the country from a paralyzing meltdown.

pakistan: les usa jouent a khyber gagne

« L’attentat d’Islamabad, c’est le 11-Septembre du Pakistan »

Acculée en Afghanistan, l’OTAN organise un attentat au Pakistan

par Thierry Meyssan*

Le slogan comparant l’attentat d’Islamabad et le 11-Septembre est plus réaliste qu’il n’y paraît. Ce carnage non-revendiqué sert en effet exclusivement les intérêts de l’OTAN : l’Alliance atlantique doit prendre le contrôle de toute urgence de la passe pakistanaise de Khybar pour approvisionner ses troupes en Afghanistan. Dans le cas où l’Alliance ne parviendrait qu’à rétablir partiellement sa logistique, Washington envisage de sacrifier les troupes alliées.

22 septembre 2008

Beyrouth (Liban)

Un attentat d’une violence sans précédent dans le pays a ravagé l’hôtel Marriott d’Islamabad, le 21 septembre 2008. Un camion piégé, contenant une puissance explosive estimée à au moins 600 kg de TNT et diverses munitions, a creusé un vaste cratère, tué plus de 60 personnes et blessé plus de 226 autres. Commentant l’événement à la télévision, le rédacteur en chef du Daily Times a déclaré : « C’est le 11-Septembre du Pakistan ». Ce cri a été repris par l’ensemble des agences de presse occidentales. Bien qu’il n’ait pas été revendiqué, l’attentat a été attribué par les autorités à la mouvance Al-Qaida. En réaction, le président Zardari a annoncé qu’il ne renoncerait pas et intensifierait sa lutte contre le terrorisme.

Replacés dans leur contexte, ces événements n’ont malheureusement rien de surprenant.

Dans la foulée de l’effondrement de l’Union soviétique et de l’indépendance des États d’Asie centrale, les grandes compagnies pétrolières occidentales ont multiplié les plans pour exploiter les hydrocarbures du Bassin caspien. La firme californienne UNOCAL a porté deux vastes projets. Le premier (dit BTC) devait relier la Caspienne à la Mer noire en passant par l’Azerbaïdjan, la Géorgie et la Turquie, notamment avec l’aide du britannique BP ; le second devait relier la Caspienne à l’Océan indien via le Turkmenistan, l’Afghanistan et le Pakistan, principalement avec l’aide du saoudien Delta Oil.

Si le BTC a été construit sans grande difficultés, il n’en fut pas de même pour le pipe-line trans-afghan. UNOCAL se heurta au chaos régnant dans le pays et se rapprocha de la Maison-Blanche pour obtenir la stabilisation de cette région. La firme engagea Henry Kissinger comme consultant, et confia la direction du projet aux ambassadeurs John J. Maresca, Robert B. Oakley et à deux experts Zalmay Khalilzad et Hamid Karzaï. Washington acheta l’aide des talibans, qui contrôlaient la majeure partie du pays. Pour ce faire, le département d’État leur accorda une subvention de 43 millions de dollars en mai 2001. Avec l’accord du G8 (sommet de Gênes, 20-22 juillet 2001), des négociations multilatérales furent alors ouvertes à Berlin avec l’Émirat islamique bien que celui-ci ne soit pas reconnu par la communauté internationale. Cependant, les talibans émirent de nouvelles exigences et elles échouèrent.

Les États-Unis et le Royaume-Uni planifièrent alors une invasion de l’Afghanistan. Fin août 2001, ils concentrèrent leurs forces navales en mer d’Oman et acheminèrent 40 000 hommes en Égypte. Le 9 septembre 2001, le leader tadjik pro-russe Shah Massoud fut assassiné, mais la nouvelle fut gardée secrète. Le 11 septembre 2001, le président Bush accusa les talibans d’être impliqués dans les attentats qui venaient de survenir à New York et Washington et leur adressa un ultimatum. Puis, les Anglo-Saxons renversèrent les talibans et prirent le contrôle du pays lors de l’opération « Liberté immuable » [1].

7 ans plus tard, le pipe-line n’est toujours pas construit et le pays est toujours en proie au chaos. UNOCAL a été absorbé par Chevron avec la bénédiction de Condoleezza Rice ; John J. Maresca est devenu le patron du Business Humanitarian Forum qui s’occupe activement de la culture du pavot en Afghanistan à des fins médicinales (sic) ; Robert B. Oakley est chargé de proposer un plan de réorganisation des institutions militaires ; Zalmay Khalilzad est devenu ambassadeur des États-Unis à l’ONU ; Hamid Karzaï a fait usage de sa double nationalité pour devenir président de l’Afghanistan transformée en narco-État.

Le Pentagone, absorbé par le bourbier irakien, a largement délégué l’occupation militaire de l’Afghanistan à ses alliés de l’OTAN. Pour approvisionner ses troupes, l’Alliance atlantique a signé un protocole avec l’Organisation du Traité de sécurité collective (sommet de Bucarest, 4 avril 2008). La logistique est acheminée via la Russie, l’Ouzbékistan et le Tadjikistan. Commentant cette étrange facilitée accordée à l’OTAN, le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Serguei Lavrov a rappelé l’importance de la coopération internationale contre le terrorisme ; plus direct, l’ambassadeur Zamil Kabulov a déclaré à Vremya Novostei que l’intérêt de Moscou était de voir les Occidentaux s’embourber et mourir en Afghanistan.

Or le 8 août 2008, les États-Unis et Israël ont lancé les troupes géorgiennes à l’attaque des populations russes d’Ossétie du Sud. En riposte, l’armée russe a bombardé les deux aéroports militaires israéliens en Géorgie et le pipe-line BTC. Puis, le président Medvedev a réunit l’Organisation du Traité de sécurité collective qui a abrogé le protocole le liant à l’OTAN. Enfin, les médias publics russes ont soudain remis en cause le lien supposé entre les attentats du 11 septembre 2001 et la colonisation de l’Afghanistan par l’OTAN.

Ce retournement est d’autant plus grave pour l’OTAN qu’elle essuie défaite sur défaite. 54 % du territoire afghan est aux mains des insurgés. Pour leur faire face, le général David McKiernan exige l’envoi de trois brigades supplémentaires (soit 15 000 hommes, qui devraient être prélevés sur le contingent irakien). Mais il n’est évidemment plus question d’envoyer des renforts alors que les 47 600 hommes déjà présents ne sont plus approvisionnés et sont donc en très grand danger.

Pour rétablir sa chaîne logistique, l’Alliance doit impérativement trouver d’urgence une voie d’acheminement. Aucune solution satisfaisante ne peut être effective à brève échéance. Cherchant d’abord à sauver en priorité les GI’s pris au piège, le secrétaire à la Défense Robert Gates a multiplié les considérations ampoulées sur le manque de coordination entre l’ISAF, les Forces spéciales US et l’armée afghane, pour proposer en définitive de modifier la chaîne de commande. Toutes les troupes, y compris alliées, seraient placées directement sous l’autorité du CENTCOM. En d’autres termes, les Alliés n’auraient plus leur mot à dire et le Pentagone pourrait servir les troupes anglo-saxonnes (US, UK, Canada et Australie) et laisser les autres se débrouiller tous seuls (Allemagne, France, Italie, Pays-Bas, etc.).

L’Afghanistan étant fermé à l’Est par une haute barrière montagneuse, le seul corridor d’approvisionnement est la passe de Khyber, située en territoire pakistanais. Elle était utilisée uniquement pour le ravitaillement des troupes en carburant. Lors du week-end prolongé de l’anniversaire de la naissance du prophète (23 avril 2008), une soixantaine de camions citerne se sont entassés au poste-frontière de Torkham. Les insurgés ont attaqué le camion central au RPG et l’ensemble s’est enflammé en un gigantesque brasier. Depuis, les convois ne se déplacent que sous bonne escorte.

Pour sécuriser la passe de Khyber, le Pentagone a bombardé des cibles suspectes en territoire pakistanais, le 3 septembre. L’ultra pro-US Ali Asif Zardari a été élu président du Pakistan, le 5 septembre. Le chef d’état-major interarmes US, l’amiral Mike Müllen, a effectué une visite surprise au Pakistan, le 15 septembre. Il a exigé que le Pakistan cède le contrôle de la passe de Khyber aux États-Unis.

Le 21 septembre, le président Zardari a prononcé son discours d’investiture devant le Parlement. Il s’est engagé à soutenir les efforts du Pentagone contre les « terroristes » afghans. À l’issue de la cérémonie, les membres du gouvernement et les parlementaires ont été invités à l’iftar (rupture du jeûne de ramadan). La plupart d’entre eux étaient furieux à la fois parce que le nouveau président n’avait pas confirmé son engagement de rétablir les juges de la Cour suprême et par ce qu’il avait laissé entendre qu’il abandonnerait la souveraineté sur la passe de Khyber. Au cours de la réception, un camion piégé a frappé le bâtiment voisin (hôtel Marriott). Cet attentat ne pouvait être compris par les parlementaires que comme un avertissement de l’OTAN qui n’hésiterait pas à les éliminer s’ils s’opposaient à ses projets. Au plan médiatique, cet attentat justifie la prise de contrôle US d’une
portion de territoire pakistanais, comme ceux du 11-Septembre avaient justifié l’invasion de l’Afghanistan.

Intervenant à la télévision, Najam Sethi, le rédacteur en chef du quotidien libéral Daily Times, s’est exclamé : « C’est le 11-Septembre du Pakistan ». M. Sethi est un journaliste connu pour son alignement sur Washington dont il a soutenu toutes les incohérences. Ainsi a-t-il approuvé le coup d’État militaire du général Musharraf en 1999 au nom de l’« ordre » et défend-il aujourd’hui le nouveau pion US, Ali Asif Zardari, au nom de la « démocratie » cette fois. Il a fondé le Daily Times avec des capitaux états-uniens, début 2002, à l’issue de l’opération Liberté immuable.

Quoi qu’il en soit, cet attentat marque l’extension de la guerre d’Afghanistan au Pakistan et remet en cause l’équilibre régional.

Monday, 15 September 2008

israeli air force used georgian airfields

Russian units raid Georgian airfields for use in Israeli strike against Iran

DEBKAfile Special Report

September 12, 2008, 5:33 PM

The raids were disclosed by UPI chief editor Arnaud de Borchgrave, who is also on the Washington Times staff, and picked up by the Iranian Fars news agency. The Russian raids of two Georgian airfields, which Tbilisi had allowed Israel to use for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, followed the Georgian offensive against South Ossetia on Aug. 7.

Under the secret agreement with Georgia, the airfields had been earmarked for use by Israeli fighter-bombers taking off to strike Iran in return for training and arms supplies.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that flying from S. Georgia over the Caspian Sea to Iran would sharply trim the distance to be spanned by Israeli fighter-bombers, reducing flying time to 3.5 hours.

Northern Iran and the Tehran region, where most of the nuclear facilities are concentrated, would be within range, with no need to request US permission to pass through Iraq air space.

Russian Special Forces also raided other Israeli facilities in southern Georgia and captured Israeli spy drones, says the report.

Israel was said to have used the two airfields to “conduct recon flights over southern Russia as well as into nearby Iran.” The US intelligence sources quoted by UPI reported that the Russian force also carried home other Israeli military equipment captured at the air bases.

Our sources say that if the Russians got hold of an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle complete with sophisticated electronic reconnaissance equipment, they will have secured some of the IDF’s most secret devices for spying on Iran and Syria.

When this happened before, Russian military engineers quickly dismantled the equipment, studied it and passed the technology on to Tehran and Damascus.

Copyright 2000-2008 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, 12 September 2008

la gent et l'argent de la cia en italie

Enquête sur les réseaux d’influence états-uniens

Quand la CIA finançait les intellectuels italiens

par Federico Roberti

Faisant suite à un article que nous avions publié en 2003 à propos du financement des intellectuels européens durant la Guerre froide, Federico Roberti revient sur le cas précis de l’intelligentsia italienne. Loin d’être superflu, ce bref rappel historique nous montre que les choses n’ont guère changé et que les auteurs à la mode ne sont souvent que des mercenaires de la plume.

5 septembre 2008

En pleine Guerre Froide, le gouvernement des États-Unis consacra de grandes ressources à un programme secret de propagande culturelle adressé à l’Europe occidentale, réalisé avec une extrême discrétion par la CIA. L’acte fondamental en fut l’institution du Congress for Cultural Freedom (Congrès pour la liberté de la culture), organisé par l’agent Michael Josselson entre 1950 et 1967 [1]. À son point culminant, le Congrès avait des bureaux dans trente cinq pays (dont certains hors de l’Europe) et des dizaines d’intellectuels y émargeaient ; il publiait une vingtaine de revues prestigieuses, organisait des expositions artistiques, des conférences internationales de haut niveau et récompensait des musiciens et autres artistes par des prix et reconnaissances variées. Sa mission consistait à dégager les intellectuels européens de l’étreinte du marxisme, en faveur de positions plus compatibles avec l’american way of life,
en facilitant la poursuite des intérêts stratégiques de la politique extérieure étasunienne.

Les livres de certains écrivains européens furent lancés sur le marché éditorial à l’intérieur d’un programme anticommuniste explicite. Parmi eux, en Italie, Pane e Vino (Pain et Vin) de Ignazio Silone, lequel réalisa ainsi sa première apparition porté par le gouvernement étasunien. À vrai dire, pendant son exil en Suisse en temps de guerre, Silone avait été en contact avec Alan Dulles, à l’époque chef des services secrets étasuniens en Europe, et dans l’après-guerre inspirateur de Radio Free Europe, autre création de la CIA sous le masque du National Commette for a Free Europe ; en octobre 1944, Serafino Romualdi, un agent de l’OSS (Office of Strategic Services, le précurseur de la CIA), fut envoyé sur la frontière franco-suisse avec la mission d’introduire clandestinement Silone en Italie. Silone, avec Altiero Spinelli et Guido Piovene, représenta l’Italie à la conférence fondatrice du Congress qui s’était tenu
à Berlin en 1950, pour laquelle Michael Josselson était arrivé à obtenir un financement de 50.000 $ à partir des ressources du Plan Marshall. Elle fut dénoncée publiquement par Jean-Paul Sartre et Albert Camus qui, invités, refusèrent d’y participer.

Au début, parmi les présidents honoraires du Congrès, tous philosophes d’une pensée euro-atlantique naissante, nous trouvons, aux côtés de Bertrand Russell, Benedetto Croce. Celui-ci, à 80 ans, était vénéré en Italie comme un père noble de l’antifascisme, ayant ouvertement défié Mussolini. Au moment du débarquement allié en Sicile, il avait sûrement été un contact utile pour William Donovan, le plus haut responsable des services étasuniens de l’époque.

La section italienne du Congrès, dénommée Association italienne pour la liberté de la culture, fut instituée par Ignazio Silone à la fin de 1951 et devint le centre de lancement, y compris et surtout d’un point de vue logistique et économique, d’une fédération d’environ cent groupes culturels tels que l’Unione goliardica dans les universités (Union estudiantine), le Mouvement fédéraliste européen d’Altiero Spinelli, les Centres d’Action Démocratique, le mouvement Communità d’Adriano Olivetti et divers autres.
Elle publia la prestigieuse revue « Tempo Presente (Temps Présent) dirigée par Silone lui-même et par Nicola Chiaromonte, et d’autres moins connues comme Il Mondo, Il Ponte, Il Mulino et, plus tard, Nuovi Argomenti. Dans son groupe dirigeant, à côté de laïques comme Adriano Olivetti et Mario Pannunzio, se trouvait aussi Ferruccio Parri, le père de la gauche indépendante. Puis, en position plus abritée, des hommes politiques de souche actionniste et libéral-démocrate comme Ugo La Malfa. Un des bureaux du Congrès avait été ouvert à Rome au palais Pecci-Blunt, où Mimì, la maîtresse de maison, animait un des salons les plus fermés et mieux fréquentés de la capitale. À deux pas de la demeure historique du palais Caetani qui, avant de devenir tragiquement célèbre pour avoir vu, sous ses fenêtres, le dernier acte de l’enlèvement de Moro, voyait régner une autre reine des salons, la mécène étasunienne, liée aux milieux du
Congrès, Marguerite Chapin Caetani. Celle ci, avec sa revue Botteghe oscure, fut la promotrice de pas mal de noms de la littérature et de la poésie italiennes du 20ème siècle. Son gendre, le hasard faisant bien les choses, était Sir Hubert Howard, ex-officier des services secrets alliés, spécialisé dans la guerre psychologique et en relation d’amitié très fraternelle avec le neveu du président Roosevelt : ce Kermit Roosevelt qui, d’abord au sein de l’OSS puis recruté par la CIA, fut parmi les tenants les plus acharnés de la guerre psychologique.

Une des plus étroites collaboratrices de Caetani était Elena Croce, fille du philosophe Benedetto, dont le mari Raimondo Craveri, agent des services secrets partisans, désignait les politiciens fiables, après la libération, à l’ambassade étasunienne. Elena, elle, sélectionnait les hommes de culture à qui il valait la peine de parler. Les relations les plus cosmopolites pouvaient se tresser chez eux : on y rencontrait aussi bien Henry Kissinger que le futur président de Fiat, Gianni Agnelli, mais sur tout ce monde régnait le magnat de la finance laïque italienne, fondateur de Mediobanca, (don) Raffaele Mattioli. Les Étatsuniens avaient une telle confiance dans le commandatore Mattioli qu’en 1944, la guerre étant évidemment encore en cours, ils avaient déjà discuté avec lui des programmes pour la reconstruction. En plus de financer abondamment la culture, don Raffaele prêta des attentions aussi discrètes que non désintéressées
même au PCI, avec lequel il avait déjà ouvert des réseaux au cours du Ventennio [2]. Voilà donc qu’en Italie, en plus de la loge P2 et de Gladio [3], il existait aussi un anticommunisme très tenace, mais éclairé, progressiste et même de gauche. Le réseau du Congrès en était la façade publique ou, si l’on préfère, présentable.

Les ressources pour la propagande culturelle euro-atlantique furent trouvées de façon vraiment géniale. Aux débuts du Plan Marshall, chaque pays bénéficiaire des fonds devait contribuer en déposant dans sa propre banque centrale une somme équivalente à la contribution US. Puis un accord bilatéral entre le pays en question et les États-Unis permettait que 5 % de cette somme devint propriété étasunienne : c’était justement cette part des « fonds de contrepartie » (environ 10 millions de dollars annuels sur un total de 200) qui fut mise à disposition de la CIA pour ses projets spéciaux.
Environ 200.000 dollars de ces fonds, qui avaient déjà joué un rôle crucial dans les élections italiennes de 1948, furent destinés à financer les coûts administratifs du Congrès en 1951. La filiale italienne, par exemple, recevait mille dollars mensuels qui étaient versés sur le compte de Tristano Codignola, le dirigeant de la maison d’édition La Nuova Italia.

La liberté culturelle ne revint pas bon marché. En dix sept années de fondation, la CIA allait pomper au Congrès et en projets corrélés au moins dix millions de dollars. Une caractéristique de la stratégie de propagande culturelle fut l’organisation systématique d’un réseau de groupes privés « amis » dans un consortium officieux : il s’agissait d’une coalition de fondations philanthropiques, entreprises et privés qui travaillait en collaboration étroite avec la CIA pour donner à celle-ci une couverture et des canaux de financement dans le but de développer ses programmes secrets en territoire européen. En même temps, l’impression était que ces « amis » n’agissent que sur leur propre initiative. En gardant leur statut de privés, ils apportaient le capital de risque pour la guerre froide, un peu comme ce que font depuis un certain temps les ONG soutenues par l’Occident à peu près partout dans le monde.

L’inspirateur de ce consortium fut Allen Dulles, qui, dès le mois de mai 1949, avait justement dirigé la formation du National Committee for a Free Europe, initiative, en apparence, d’un groupe de citoyens privés américains, et en réalité un des projet les plus ambitieux de la CIA. « Le département d’État est très heureux d’assister à la formation de ce groupe » annonça le secrétaire d’État Dean Acheson. Cette bénédiction publique servait à occulter les vraies origines du Comité et le fait qu’il opérait sous le contrôle absolu de la CIA, qui le finançait à 90 %. Ironie du sort, le but spécifique pour lequel il avait été créé, à savoir faire de la propagande politique, était catégoriquement exclu par une clause de l’acte de fondation.
Dulles était bien conscient que le succès du Comité allait dépendre de sa capacité « à apparaître comme indépendant du gouvernement et représentatif des convictions spontanées de citoyens amants de la liberté ».

Le National Committee pouvait vanter un ensemble d’adhérents de très haut relief public, des hommes d’affaires et des avocats, des diplomates et administrateurs du Plan Marshall, des magnats de la presse et des metteurs en scène : de Henry Ford II, président de General Motors, à madame Culp Hobby, directrice du Moma ; de C.D. Jackson de la direction de Time-Life à John Hughes, ambassadeur près de l’OTAN ; de Cecil B. De Mille à Dwight Eisenhower. Tous ceux là étaient « au courant », c’est-à-dire appartenaient en toute connaissance au club. Son effectif, dès la première année, comptait plus de 400 membres, son bilan se montait à presque deux millions de dollars. Un bilan à part, de 10 millions, fut réservé à la seule Radio Free Europe, qui en l’espace de quelques années allait avoir 29 stations de radiodiffusion et transmettait en 16 langues ; faisant fonction aussi de chaîne pour l’envoi d’ordres au réseau
d’informateurs présents au-delà du Rideau de Fer.

Le nom de la section chargée de recueillir des fonds pour le National Committee était Crusade for Freedom et le jeune acteur qui en était le porte-parole s’appelait Ronald Reagan… [4]

L’utilisation de fondations philanthropiques s’avéra le moyen le plus efficace pour faire parvenir des sommes d’argent conséquentes aux projets de la Cia, sans alarmer les destinataires sur leur origine. En 1976, une commission nommée pour enquêter sur les activités des services secrets étasuniens rapporta les données suivantes, relatives à la pénétration de la CIA dans les fondations : pendant la période 1963-1966, des 700 donations supérieures à 10 000 dollars distribuées par 164 fondations, 108 au moins furent totalement ou partiellement des fonds de la CIA. Il est encore plus remarquable que des financements de la CIA soient présents dans presque la moitié des prodigalités faites par ces 164 fondations, durant cette même période, dans le domaine des activités internationales. On pensait que les fondations prestigieuses, comme Ford [5], Rockefeller et Carnegie, assuraient « la forme de financement occulte la meilleure et la
plus crédible ». Cette technique s’avérait particulièrement opportune pour les organisations gérées de façon démocratique, étant donné qu’elles doivent pouvoir rassurer ses propres membres et collaborateurs ignares, ainsi que les critiques hostiles, d’être en mesure de compter sur des formes de financement privé, authentique et respectable – soulignait une étude interne de la CIA elle-même, remontant à 1966.
De plus, à l’intérieur de la Fondation Ford, on institua une unité administrative spécifiquement habilitée à s’occuper des rapports avec la CIA, qui devait être consultée à chaque fois que l’agence voulait utiliser la fondation comme couverture ou canal financier pour n’importe quelle opération. Cette unité était formée de deux fonctionnaires et du président même de la fondation, John McCloy, lequel avait déjà été secrétaire à la Défense et président, dans l’ordre, de la Banque Mondiale, de la Chase Manhattan Bank, propriété de la famille Rockefeller et du Council on Foreign Relations [6], ainsi qu’avocat de confiance des Sept Sœurs [7]. Beau curriculum, il n’y a rien à dire.

Un des premiers dirigeants de la CIA à soutenir le Congrès pour la liberté de la culture fut Frank Lindsay, vétéran de l’OSS qui, en 1947, avait écrit un des premiers rapports internes où l’on recommandait aux États-Unis de créer une force secrète pour la Guerre froide. Dans les années 1949 à 1951, en tant que directeur-adjoint de l’Office of Policy Coordiantion (OPC), département spécial créé à l’intérieur de la CIA pour les opérations secrète, Lindsay devint responsable de l’entraînement des groupes Stay Behind en Europe, mieux connus en Italie sous le nom de Gladio [8]. En 1953, il passa à la Fondation Ford, sans pour autant perdre ses contacts étroits avec ses ex-collègues des services.

Quand en 1953, Cecil B. De Mille accepta de devenir conseiller spécial du gouvernement étasunien pour le cinéma au Motion Picture Service (MPS), il se rendit au bureau de C. D. Douglas, qui allait plus tard écrire de lui : « Il est complètement de notre côté et (…) il est bien conscient du pouvoir que les films américains ont à l’étranger. Il a une théorie, que je partage pleinement, selon laquelle l’utilisation la plus efficace des films américains s’obtient non pas avec le projet d’une pellicule entière qui aborde un problème déterminé, mais plutôt par l’introduction dans une œuvre « normale » d’un morceau de dialogue approprié, d’une boutade, une inflexion de la voix, un mouvement des yeux. Il m’a dit que chaque fois que je lui donnerai un thème simple pour un pays ou une région déterminés, il trouvera le moyen de le traiter et de l’introduire dans un film ».

Le Motion Picture Service, inondé de financements gouvernementaux au point de devenir un véritable entreprise de production cinématographique, donnait du travail à des réalisateurs-producteurs qui étaient au préalable examinés, et assignés à un travail sur des films faisant la promotion des objectifs des États-Unis, et devant atteindre un public sur lequel il fallait agir à travers le cinéma. Le MPS fournissait des conseils à des organismes secrets sur les films appropriés pour une distribution sur le marché international ; il s’occupait, en outre, de la participation étasunienne aux divers festivals qui se déroulaient à l’étranger et travaillait avec zèle pour exclure les producteurs étasuniens et les films qui ne soutenaient pas la politique extérieure du pays.

Le principal groupe de pression pour soutenir l’idée d’une Europe unie étroitement alliée aux États-Unis était le Mouvement Européen, qui chapeautait de nombreuses organisations, et qui couvrait une série d’activités destinées à l’intégration politique, militaire, économique et culturelle. Conduit par Winston Churchill en Grande-Bretagne, Paul-Henri Spaak en France et Altiero Spinelli en Italie, le mouvement était attentivement surveillé par la CIA à travers une couverture qui s’appelait American Committee on United Europe [9]. La branche culturelle du Mouvement Européen était le Centre Européen de la Culture, dirigé par l’écrivain Denis de Rougemont. Un vaste programme de bourses d’études destinés à des associations d’étudiants et de jeunes fut réalisé, parmi lesquels l’European Youth Campaign, fer de lance d’une propagande pensée pour neutraliser les mouvements politiques de gauche. Quant à ces libéraux
internationalistes fauteurs d’une Europe unie autour de ses propres principes internes, et non conforme aux intérêts stratégiques étasuniens, ils n’étaient pas mieux considérés ensuite que les neutralistes ; voire comme les porteurs d’une hérésie à détruire.

En 1962, la notoriété du Congrès pour la liberté de la culture attira aussi des attentions qui n’avaient rien de ce qi avait été recherché par ses inspirateurs. Pendant le programme télévisé de la BBC, « That Was The Week That Was », le Congrès fut l’objet d’une pénétrante et brillante parodie pensée par Kenneth Tynan. Elle commençait par la boutade : « C’est l’heure, les nouvelles de la Guerre froide dans la culture ». Il continuait ensuite en montrant une carte représentant le bloc culturel soviétique, où chaque petit cercle indiquait une position culturelle stratégique : des bases théâtrales, des centres de production cinématographique, des compagnies de danse pour la production de missiles « balletistiques » intercontinentaux, des maisons d’édition qui lancent d’énormes tirages de classiques à des millions de lecteurs esclavagisés, en somme, où que l’on regardât un endoctrinement massif en plein
développement. Et on demandait : nous, ici en Occident, avons-nous une capacité effective de riposte ?
La réponse était oui, il y a ce bon vieux Congrès pour la liberté de la culture soutenu par l’argent étatsunien qui a équipé un certain nombre de bases avancées, en Europe et dans le monde, fonctionnant comme têtes de pont pour des représailles culturelles. Bases masquées avec des noms de code — comme Encounter — la plus connue des revues parrainées par le Congrès- abréviation, ironisait-on, de Encounterforce Strategy. Entrait alors en scène un porte-parole du Congrès, avec une liasse de revues qui représentaient à ses dires une sorte d’OTAN culturel dont l’objectif était l’enraiement culturel, c’est-à-dire mettre un mur d’enceinte autour des rouges. Avec une mission historique : celle de parvenir au leadership mondial des lecteurs, quoi qu’il arrive, « nous au Congrès ressentons comme notre devoir de tenir nos bases en état d’alerte rouge, 24 heures sur 24 ».
Une satire mordante et impeccablement documentée, qui causa des nuits d’insomnie à Michael Josselson, l’organisateur du Congrès.

Pendant l’été 1964, surgit une question assez préoccupante. Au cours d’une enquête parlementaire sur les exemptions fiscales faites aux fondations privées, dirigée par Wright Patman, on découvrit une fuite d’informations qui identifiait 8 de celles-ci comme des couvertures de la CIA. Elles n’auraient été rien d’autre que des boîtes aux lettres à quoi ne correspondait qu’une adresse, affrêtées par la CIA pour recevoir de l’argent d’elle-même, de façon apparemment légale. Quand l’argent arrivait, les fondations faisaient une donation à une autre fondation largement connue pour ses activités légitimes. Contributions, ces dernières, qui étaient enregistrées comme il se doit selon la norme fiscale en vigueur dans le secteur non lucratif, sur des imprimés appelés 990-A. L’opération se concluait pour finir avec le versement de l’argent à l’organisation prévue par la CIA pour le recevoir.

Les informations filtrées par la commission Patman ouvrirent, ne fut-ce que pour un bref moment, une brèche dans la salle des machines des financements secrets. Certains journalistes particulièrement curieux, comme par exemple ceux de l’hebdomadaire The Nation, réussirent à rassembler quelques morceaux du puzzle, en demandant s’il était légitime que la CIA finançât, par ces méthodes indirectes, divers congrès et conférences dédiés à la « liberté culturelle » ou que quelque important organe de presse, soutenu par l’Agence, offrît de grasses récompenses à des écrivains dissidents de l’Europe orientale.
De façon surprenante (surprenante ?), pas un seul journaliste ne pensa à enquêter ultérieurement. La CIA exécuta une sévère révision de ses techniques de financement, mais ne jugea pas opportun de reconsidérer l’utilisation des fondations privées comme véhicules de financement des opérations clandestines. Au contraire, selon l’Agence, la vraie leçon à tirer à la suite de ce scandale suscité par la commission Patman, était que la couverture des fondations pour distribuer les financements devait être utilisée de façon plus étendue et professionnelle : avant tout en déboursant des fonds même pour des projets réalisés sur le sol des États-Unis. Michael Josselson, à partir de la fin de cette année-là, essaya de protéger sa créature des révélations, en pensant même en changer le nom, et alla jusqu’à chercher à trancher les liens économiques avec la CIA en les remplaçant in toto par un financement de la Fondation
Tout cela ne servit à rien d’autre qu’à différer une sortie désormais inscrite. Le 13 mai 1967 se tint à Paris l’assemblée générale du Congrès pour la liberté de la culture qui en signa la fin substantielle, même si les activités se traînèrent, péniblement et sur un ton plutôt mineur, jusqu’à la fin des années soixante-dix.

En fait il s’était passé ceci : la revue californienne Ramparts, en avril 1967, avait publié une enquête sur les opérations secrètes de la CIA, malgré une campagne de diffamation lancée à ses dépens, au moment où l’agence avait eu connaissance du fait que la revue était sur les traces de ses organisations de couverture. Les découvertes de Ramparts furent promptement relayées dans la presse nationale et suivie d’une vague de révélations, faisant émerger aussi les couvertures à l’extérieur des États-Unis, à commencer par le Congrès et ses revues. Avant même les dénonciations de Ramparts, le sénateur Mansfield avait demandé une enquête parlementaire sur les financements clandestins de la CIA, à laquelle le président Lindon Johnson répondit en instituant une commission de trois membres seulement. La commission Katzenbach, dans son rapport conclusif émis le 29 mars 1967, sanctionnait toute agence fédérale qui aurait
secrètement fourni assistance ou financements, de façon directe ou indirecte, à toute organisation culturelle publique ou privée, sans but lucratif. Le rapport fixait la date du 31 décembre 1967 comme limite pour la conclusion de toutes les opérations de financement secret de la CIA, en lui donnant ainsi l’opportunité de concéder un certain nombre d’attributions finales conséquents (dans le cas de Radio Free Europe, cet apport allait lui permettre de continuer à émettre pendant deux années supplémentaires).

En réalité, comme il s’en déduit d’une circulaire interne sortie ensuite en 1976, la CIA n’interdisait pas les opérations secrètes avec des organisations commerciales étasuniennes ni les financements secrets d’organisations internationales avec des sièges à l’étranger. Nombre des restrictions adoptées en réponse aux événements de 1967, plus que représenter une nouvelle conception des limites aux activités secrètes des services, apparaissent plutôt comme des mesures de sécurité destinées à empêcher de futures révélations publiques qui puissent mettre en danger les délicates opérations de cette même CIA.

On en reparlera ?

Federico Roberti

La principale source des informations présentées dans cet article est le livre de Frances Stonor Saunders : Who Paid the Piper ? : CIA and the Cultural Cold War, 1999, Granta (version française : Qui mène la danse ? La CIA et la guerre froide culturelle, 2003 Denoël).

Cet article a initialement été publié en italien par Eurasia - Rivista di studi geopolitici.

Version française : Marie-Ange Patrizio


[1] « Quand la CIA finançait les intellectuels européens », par Denis Boneau, Réseau Voltaire, 27 novembre 2003.

[2] Les 20 ans du régime fasciste, ndt

[3] « Stay-behind : les réseaux d’ingérence américains », par Thierry Meyssan ; « Le terrorisme non revendiqué de l’OTAN », entretien de Daniele Ganser avec Silvia Cattori, Réseau Voltaire, 20 août 2001, 29 décembre 2006. Rapport Andreotti sur l’Opération Gladio, document daté du 26 février 1991.

[4] « Ronald Reagan contre l’Empire du Mal », Réseau Voltaire, 7juin 2004.

[5] « La Fondation Ford, paravent philanthropique de la CIA » et « Pourquoi la Fondation Ford subventionne la contestation », par Paul Labarique, Réseau Voltaire, 5 et 19 avril 2004.

[6] « Comment le Conseil des relations étrangères détermine la diplomatie US », Réseau Voltaire, 25 juin 2004.

[7] Les « sept sœurs » désigne le groupe des sept sociétés occidentales qui contrôlaient quasiment tous les marchés mondiaux du pétrole, NdT.

[8] Cf. note 3.

[9] « Histoire secrète de l’Union européenne », Réseau Voltaire, 28 juin 2004.