Saturday, 28 June 2008

fortis warns of us banking system collapse

Fortis is a large bank and insurer in the Netherlands and Belgium. It took over ABN Amro last year, together with RBS and another bank. Last Thursday, its share lost 17% because Fortis attracted foreign capital.
I was shocked when I read the following, which was brought out 4hours ago:

American ‘meltdown’ reason for money injection Fortis.

28th of June, 9:10

BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM - Fortis expects a complete collapse of the US financial markets within a few days to weeks. That explains, according to Fortis, the series of interventions of last Thursday to retrieve € 8 billion. « We have been saved just in time. The situation in the US is much worse than we thought », says Fortis chairman Maurice Lippens. Fortis expects bankruptcies amongst 6000 American banks which have a small coverage currently. But also Citigroup, General Motors, there is starting a complete meltdown in the US »

This fits in the picture, with the other press releases last week, like the short advise of Goldman Sachs and some other of the same messages last week.
Although gold has rallied a lot lost week: first thing monday morning: short Dow, long Gold?
Or will there be a rate cut, which undermines (delays) everything?

Original press release:


Amerikaanse ’meltdown’ reden geldinjectie Fortis

28 Jun 08, 09:10

BRUSSEL/AMSTERDAM (DFT) - Fortis rekent binnen enkele dagen tot weken op het volledig instorten van de Amerikaanse financiële markten. Dat verklaart volgens de bankverzekeraar de serie ingrepen van donderdag om zich met €8 miljard te versterken. „We zijn op het nippertje gereed. Het gaat in de Verenigde Staten veel slechter dan gedacht”, zegt Fortis-chairman Maurice Lippens, die volhoudt dat topman Votron aanblijft. Fortis verwacht faillissementen onder 6000 Amerikaanse banken die nu weinig dekking hebben. „Maar ook Citigroup, General Motors, er begint een complete meltdown in de VS.”
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U.S. ‘meltdown’ reason geldinjectie Fortis

June 28 08, 09:10

BRUSSELS / AMSTERDAM (DFT) - Fortis expects within the next few days to weeks to complete the collapse of the U.S. financial markets. That explains the bank insurers interventions of the series Thursday at dealing with € 8 billion. « We are ready at the last minute. It goes in the United States much worse than thought, « said Fortis chairman Maurice Lippens, who maintains that CEO Votron to live. Fortis expects bankruptcies of 6000 U.S. banks that now lack coverage. « But Citigroup, General Motors, there begins a complete meltdown in the U.S.. »
Fortis took yesterday € 1.5 billion with a share issue. At the end of last year was the Belgian-Dutch group € 13 billion of new shares for the takeover of ABN Amro, for which it paid € 24 billion. Lippens bases its concern on interviews with bankers. « Two months ago we knew not so bad that it is in America. And it will be much worse. We have a thick mattress needed for the next eighteen months to come when we can bring to ABN Amro. «

Two weeks ago reported the U.S. investment bank and adviser to Fortis Merrill Lynch certainly € 6.2 billion in additional capital was needed. The VEB yesterday demanded clarification of Fortis: CEO Jean-Paul Votron stopped in late april Fortis maintains that after the purchase of ABN Amro does not need on the capital market. In one year € 30 billion in market capitalization destroyed. After Votron last confession kelderde the share price by 19.4%, although yesterday climbed by 4.4% to € 10.65.
The massive unrest around the bank insurers, especially with our neighbours in Belgium as a bomb broken. While the fuss arose in the Netherlands to the limited financial world, it is with our neighbours the call of the day. Not only is the bank dominates the streetscape, but by the mokerslag for the Belgian volksaandeel are also hundreds of thousands of small investors hit hard.
All Belgian newspapers opened yesterday with real rampenkoppen, where the free fall of the bank insurers was wide coverage. ‘Fortis crashes, « » Rampdag for Fortis’ and’ Fortis loses 5.3 billion, « opened three leading newspapers.
The panic around the group across the border so great that the national regulator CFBA has had reassuring words to speak to the desperate savers. « The emergency of Fortis is no reason to bank run and money to get off, » said a CFBAwoordvoerder. « The bank complies with all legal requirements, but has itself just very sharp targets. »
Maurice Lippens claims that all major shareholders yesterday « unanimously support » have pledged.
Like arrows in the Netherlands focus mainly on CEO Jean-Paul Votron, who are heavily vertild appears to have complied with the takeover of ABN Amro. But while the Netherlands in Brussels calling his bonus of € 2.5 million to be paid back in Belgium is demanding his departure.
Who makes such big mistakes, must bear the consequences and therefore resign, « said Huybregtse chairman of the Flemish federation of Investment and Investors. The fall of the share is for him a confirmation that the takeover of ABN Amro far too expensive and was poorly timed.
« The former shareholders of ABN Amro are now taking a bath in champagne », stressed Huybrechts. « Who makes major mistakes, must go. Fortis is a really volksaandeel and with confidence that you can not cope reckless. «
The Belgian newspaper the Standard is tough on the CEO: « The kredietcrisis has affected all banks, but it is no excuse. Fortis is much sharper fall, « says the commentator. « Fortis has always denied that there was still a capital increase. They were therefore either lies or ignorance. Both are equally bad, so must Votron the honour to itself. He is the only one who has earned something to the whole operation. «
According to Belgian media wanted Fortis announce Thursday that the bonus Votron would be removed, but this is at the last moment not yet happened. Also, all press speculation about his succession, with the name of Filip Dierckx.
Votron itself will of being firm. « The shareholders are behind me and also in the top of the group, I only support for this I have put in operation, » said the under fire lying Fortis chief executive.
The refund of the now controversial bonus points he resolutely. « What I do with my money, my case. The bonus had nothing to do with ABN Amro, but was about the year 2007, « said Votron. The CEO is a willing part of his salary in Fortis documents.
Votron may also still rely entirely on chairman Lippens, who denies that the bank itself on the takeover of ABN Amro has completed. « Votron remains simply the CEO. At present intervention, which is difficult, that’s really show leadership. «

Sunday, 22 June 2008

cuba asks us for counter-terrorism cooperation

Cuba asks United States to help fight terrorism

June 18, 2008

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL open debate on “Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts,” reported by Carla Stea

While the cost of the post 9/11 ‘War on Terror’ is estimated by Nobel Laureate economist George Stiglitz to approach several trillions of dollars, to be paid by U.S. taxpayers, and the members of the United Nations Security Council denounce terrorism in all its forms, little attention is given to the fact that the United States has harbored and protected international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, considered one of the most notorious terrorists of the western hemisphere.

Cuban Ambassador Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz stated before the Security Council on March 25, 2008: “ Cuba reiterates its request to the Security Council and to its Counter-Terrorism Committee to address in an expeditious manner the detailed information that our country has provided and to take all the relevant steps in accordance with the relevant adopted resolutions. In fulfillment of such resolutions, this organ must demand that the United States Government immediately sentence Luis Posada Carriles for his terrorist acts or extradite him to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , where he has been long wanted by the justice. The fight against terrorism should be carried out in full. Terrorism must be rejected in all circumstances. It will not be possible to eradicate terrorism if some terrorist acts are condemned while others are silenced, tolerated or justified, or simply the issue is manipulated to foster mean political interests. Double-standards and
impunity cannot prevail in addressing this sensitive issue. The Security council cannot continue to keep conspiratorial silence on this blatant affront to the victims of terrorism in the entire world”

Earlier Ambassador Diaz had stated: “For years our delegation has been submitting, on a regular basis, exhaustive and detailed information to the Security Council and the Counter-Terrorism Committee on the terrorist actions of several individuals and organizations against Cuba , and about the conspiratorial protection that the United States Government spares them. However, we do not know of any actions taken for a fact, not even to assess the information submitted, or of any investigation conducted on the several resolutions adopted by this organ that the United States has failed to meet. We have addressed this conference room more than once to alert to the release of the international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. The Counter-Terrorism Commission has been informed of this in a timely and comprehensive manner. Posada Carriles..was released last year, in spite of the fact that there was enough evidence linking him to some of the most infamous
crimes of the 20th century, including the downing of Flight 455 Cubana de Aviacion in 1976, the Iran-Contra scandal and the bombings in Havana hotels in 1997. Despite Posada Carriles’s notorious hideous actions, the US Government only charged him with minor migration crimes. That would have been the right time to indict such a notorious terrorist for his long criminal record. There is plenty of evidence to prove it. The FBI’s and the CIA’s classified documents, and the very confessions of Posada, are enough evidence to indict him as a confessed terrorist. There is no doubt today that the true intention was to prevent the details of his criminal actions under CIA orders from becoming public. A new smoke screen was raised last November 6 when the US Government filed an appeal to the Federal Court to release Posada Carriles. This act constitutes a new maneuver to disguise the guilt of the confessed international terrorist.”

Ambassador Diaz subsequently mentions Orlando Bosch, who “also enjoys freedom in Miami, while he makes public statements bragging about his numerous terrorist acts against the Cuban people,” and Ambassador Diaz then describes terrorist organizations operating in Miami and elsewhere in the USA , recruiting, training and funding terrorists planning terrorist actions against Cuba . Ambassador Diaz refers to Security Council resolution 1373, which calls upon all States to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts, while at the same time requests that any person participating in such acts is brought to justice. Ambassador Diaz then states: “Does this not apply to the United States?"

gates enforces usaf control amidst war of factions

June 9, 2008

Gates names Gen. Norton Schwartz Air Force Chief of Staff

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has appointed General Norton A. Schwartz, current commander of the US Transportation Command, to replace General T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley to be Air Force Chief of Staff. Gates also nominated Michael Donley, the current Director of Administration and Management for the Department of Defense, to replace Michael Wynne as Secretary of the Air Force. Gates fired Moseley and Wynne, an unprecedented move, for lapses in nuclear weapons security. WMR reported that Moseley and Wynne were part of an alternate chain-of-command that took orders from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and was responsible for a number of nuclear incidents, including last August's unauthorized movement of six nuclear-armed advanced cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana for possible operations in the Middle East.

WMR also reported that the alternate chain-of-command included a number of individuals with close links to Israel. Gates has stated that his firings of top Air Force military and civilian officers may not be over and that some individuals are facing disciplinary action.

Gates' choice of Schwartz as Moseley's replacement is likely to provide cover for further firings within the Air Force. In 2005, Schwartz received the Military Leadership Award from the Jewish Community Centers Armed Forces & Veterans Committee. At the awards ceremony, Schwartz said he was "proud to be identified as a Jewish as well as an American military leader."

Gates' firing of the Air Force's top leadership was seen by a number of military observers as a slap at the pro-Israeli and neo-con cell operating within the Air Force. The fact that Gates fired the two top Air Force leaders during the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a group that is sensitized over the upcoming trial of two of its past officials for being involved in an Israeli espionage ring within the Defense Department, meant that Gates was forced to walk a delicate tightrope after his sacking of Wynne and Moseley. The Schwartz appointment is seen as one way Gates will cover himself after he begins to fire more individuals in the alternate chain-of-command, a move that otherwise may have earned him charges of anti-Semitism from the powerful AIPAC lobby and its influential constituents.


June 10, 2008

New Air Force Secretary a loyal foot Gates soldier

Air Force insiders have told WMR that incoming Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, although a promoter of wasteful expenditures benefiting defense contractors, is a loyal foot soldier for Defense Secretary Robert Gates who is purging Air Force ranks of a parallel chain of command that took its orders directly from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and by-passed Gates and the non-Air Force members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Last week, Gates abruptly fired Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley for failing to safeguard the Air Force's nuclear stockpile. WMR exclusively reported on last August's movement of six nuclear-armed cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Three high-level Air Force officers leaked the unauthorized movement of the nuclear missiles to Air Force Times. As previously reported by WMR, Moseley, Wynne, and other civilian and military Air Force officers were part of the rival chain of command that authorized the movement of the cruise missiles to Barksdale for ultimate use against Iran.

It is now being reported that deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs J. Scott Carpenter has revealed that the Joint Chiefs and Defense Department opposed a plan last August by Cheney that would include a U.S. military strike on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps camps inside Iran that would provoke an Iranian response that would, in turn, provide a reason for Cheney to launch a strategic attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, possibly including the use of the six nuclear armed cruise missiles moved from Minot to the Barksdale Middle East staging base at the end of last August.

Carpenter's revelations about the military-Cheney rift last August are the first from an identified official of the administration. WMR's sources all spoke last year and earlier this year on conditions of strict anonymity.

WMR previously reported that both Admiral William Fallon, the commander of the US Central Command, and Admiral John Stufflebeem, the then-commander of the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, were both opposed to any military strike on Iran in August. This year, Fallon was forced to retire and Stufflebeem lost a star and was forced out of the Navy due to a supposed 18-year old sex scandal as a result of retaliation by the pro-Iran war hawks in Cheney's office. General David Petraeus, who replaced Fallon, was and remains a supporter of Cheney's desire to strike Iran.

In his effort to purge the pro-Cheney hawks from the Pentagon, Gates nominated Air Force General Norton Schwartz to replace Moseley and Donley to replace Wynne. Donley was a protege of the late Texas Senator John Tower and was slated to become Air Force Secretary in 1991, however, Tower's death in a 1991 plane crash removed Donley's chief advocate and scuttled his promotion. Described as corrupt by a former Air Force insider, Donley is, nevertheless, a member of the old Reagan-Bush 41 Pentagon/National Security Council team and will walk in lock-step with Gates. Donley was reportedly involved in the whitewash of the 1985-86 President's Blue Ribbon Panel on Defense, also known as the Packard Commission, that was designed to reduce costs in Pentagon acquisition programs and contracting. Donley is described as a sycophant to the defense contracting industry.

WMR has learned that similar to the military, the US Intelligence Community is also divided into rival camps. Some factions are loyal to Cheney and the neocons, others are adamantly opposed to the neocons, and some sway back and forth as far as loyalty in concerned.

sam sales to iran may trigger early israeli strikes

Israel's dry run 'attack on Iran' with 100 jet fighters

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Israel has mounted a major long-range military air exercise – involving more than 100 F15 and F16 fighters – as a rehearsal for a potential strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, American officials have indicated.

The fighters, along with refuelling tankers and helicopters able to rescue downed pilots, were mobilised during the first week of June over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in an exercise monitored by foreign intelligence agencies.

The tankers and helicopters flew 900 miles from their bases in Israel – roughly the same distance as that between Israel and Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, the US officials said.

Israeli government officials declined to give details yesterday and referred inquiries to the statement by the Israeli military carried in yesterday's New York Times, which broke the story of the exercise. This said only that the Israeli Air Force "regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel".

Two weeks ago Shaul Mofaz, Israeli Transport Minister and a former military chief of staff and defence minister, became the first senior figure to suggest publicly that Israel might launch its own strike on Iran.

Mr Mofaz, whose remarks were blamed for a record single-day rise of $11 a barrel in the price of oil, said in an interview: "If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons we will attack." Mr Mofaz, speaking on 6 June, the day after the military exercise, added: "Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable."

Other ministers, from the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert down, have made it clear that Mr Mofaz was not speaking for the government. He was widely blamed for exploiting the issue of Iran in his concerted effort to position himself as a future leader of the ruling Kadima party if Mr Olmert should fall as a result of the police investigation he faces over corruption allegations.

But asked in the context of Iran in an interview with Der Spiegel this week if he subscribed to the doctrine that Israel can act on its own if it feels threatened, Mr Olmert said: "Israel always has to be in a position to defend itself against any adversary and against any threat of any kind."

The exercise – which was probably planned at least two months in advance – has come to light as the West awaits a formal response to the new incentive package offered to Iran by the EU's foreign affairs envoy Javier Solana on behalf of the big powers in return for halting uranium enrichment, a possible route to building a nuclear weapon.

The New York Times reported "several" US officials as saying they did not believe that the Israeli government had concluded that it must attack Iran and that they did not think that such a strike was imminent. But the officials also said they had been told that Israel had prepared plans for striking nuclear targets in Iran and could carry them out if needed.

Expectations within the Israeli security establishment that the US might launch its own strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if the diplomatic process had run into the ground appear to have receded since publication of the US National Intelligence Estimate in December. The NIE said that Iran had halted work on weapons design in late 2003, though it added that it was unclear if that work had resumed.

While Israel might expect greater US support for a unilateral strike during the remaining months of a Bush administration, that is not thought to be the key element in the timing of any decision on whether to make such a strike. A more critical pressure for a decision would be an expectation that Iran was about to master the technical know-how to produce nuclear weapons and also that it was enhancing its air defences.

Mike McConnell the director of national intelligence, said in February that Iran was close to acquiring Russian-produced SA-20 surface-to-air missiles. American military officials are said to believe that this would disturb plans for an Israeli attack, putting pressure on it to act before the missiles are fielded.

One view in Israel yesterday was that the exercise in the Mediterranean was one of four or five carried out each year, but that the scale and intensity of this one – which apparently included a lengthy combat rescue mission – was greater than usual.

This may partly reflect the recent appointment to head the air force of Maj-Gen Ido Nehushtan, the Israel Defence Force's former head of planning. He is thought likely to have drawn up the contingency plans for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Last September Israel bombed a site in Syria said by US officials to have contained a nuclear reactor built with the help of North Korea. And in 1981 Israeli jets – in a move criticised at the time by the US – attacked Saddam Hussein's suspected nuclear weapons plant at Osirak.

But the difficulties of destroying any such plant in Iran are widely thought to be much greater, with much of the infrastructure buried underground. It is not clear that all of the facilities have been detected.


Wednesday, 18 June 2008

royal bank of scotland warns of global crash

RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor

5:42pm BST 18/06/2008

The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks.

« A very nasty period is soon to be upon us - be prepared, » said Bob Janjuah, the bank’s credit strategist.
A report by the bank’s research team warns that the S&P 500 index of Wall Street equities is likely to fall by more than 300 points to around 1050 by September as « all the chickens come home to roost » from the excesses of the global boom, with contagion spreading across Europe and emerging markets.
RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert
RBS warning: Be prepared for a ‘nasty’ period

Such a slide on world bourses would amount to one of the worst bear markets over the last century.
RBS said the iTraxx index of high-grade corporate bonds could soar to 130/150 while the « Crossover » index of lower grade corporate bonds could reach 650/700 in a renewed bout of panic on the debt markets.
« I do not think I can be much blunter. If you have to be in credit, focus on quality, short durations, non-cyclical defensive names.
« Cash is the key safe haven. This is about not losing your money, and not losing your job, » said Mr Janjuah, who became a City star after his grim warnings last year about the credit crisis proved all too accurate.
RBS expects Wall Street to rally a little further into early July before short-lived momentum from America’s fiscal boost begins to fizzle out, and the delayed effects of the oil spike inflict their damage.
« Globalisation was always going to risk putting G7 bankers into a dangerous corner at some point. We have got to that point, » he said.
US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank both face a Hobson’s choice as workers start to lose their jobs in earnest and lenders cut off credit.
The authorities cannot respond with easy money because oil and food costs continue to push headline inflation to levels that are unsettling the markets. « The ugly spoiler is that we may need to see much lower global growth in order to get lower inflation, » he said.

# Morgan Stanley warns of catastrophe

« The Fed is in panic mode. The massive credibility chasms down which the Fed and maybe even the ECB will plummet when they fail to hike rates in the face of higher inflation will combine to give us a big sell-off in risky assets, » he said.
Kit Jukes, RBS’s head of debt markets, said Europe would not be immune. « Economic weakness is spreading and the latest data on consumer demand and confidence are dire. The ECB is hell-bent on raising rates.
« The political fall-out could be substantial as finance ministers from the weaker economies rail at the ECB. Wider spreads between the German Bunds and peripheral markets seem assured, » he said.
Ultimately, the bank expects the oil price spike to subside as the more powerful force of debt deflation takes hold next year.

Friday, 13 June 2008

germans doubt eurocurrency


Support for euro in doubt as Germans reject Latin bloc notes

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard


Euro notes and coins
X-factor: German bank customers are favouring notes that start with the distinctive ?X? serial numbers, which show they have come from Berlin

Notes printed in Berlin have more currency for bank customers who fear a 'value crisis'

Ordinary Germans have begun to reject euro bank notes with serial numbers from Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, raising concerns that public support for monetary union may be waning in the eurozone’s anchor country.

Euro notes and coins
X-factor: German bank customers are favouring notes that start with the distinctive ‘X’ serial numbers, which show they have come from Berlin

Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper says bankers have detected a curious pattern where customers are withdrawing cash directly from branches, screening the notes to determine the origin of issue. They ask for paper from the southern states to be exchanged for German notes.
Each country prints its own notes according to its economic weight, under strict guidelines from the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. The German notes have an « X »’ at the start of the serial numbers, showing that they come from the Bundesdruckerei in Berlin.
# More on currencies
Italian notes have an « S » from the Instituto Poligrafico in Rome, and Spanish notes have a « V » from the Fabrica Nacional de Moneda in Madrid. The notes are entirely interchangeable and circulate freely through the eurozone and, indeed, beyond.
People clearly suspect that southern notes may lose value in a crisis, or if the eurozone breaks apart. This is what happened in the US in the Jackson era of the 1840s when dollar notes from different regions traded at different values.
« The scurrilous idea behind this is that if the eurozone should succumb to growing divergences, then it is best to cling to most stable countries, » said the Handelsblatt.
« There are no grounds for panic. The Italian state is not Bear Stearns, » it said.
Germans appear to be responding to a mix of concerns. Many own property in Spain or Portugal and have become aware of the Iberian housing slump.
A spate of news articles in the German press has begun to highlight the economic rift between the North and South of eurozone.
There is criticism of comments from Italian, Spanish, and French politicians that threaten the independence of the ECB, viewed as sacrosanct in Germany.
But the key concern appears to be price stability. Germany’s wholesale inflation rate reached 8.1pc in May, the highest level in 26 years.
The cost of bread, milk and other staples has rocketed, adding to the sense that prices are spiralling out of control. Ordinary people are blaming the new currency - the « Teuro » - a pun on expensive - for their travails in the supermarket, even though the recent spike in farm goods and energy prices has nothing to do with monetary union.
Inflation touches a very sensitive nerve in Germany. Holger Schmeiding, from Bank of America, said the country had suffered two traumatic sets of inflation in living memory, first in Weimar in 1923 and then in 1948.
« People suffered a 90pc haircut on financial assets in the currency reform of 1948. The inflationary effects of two world wars were catastrophic, » he said.
A group of leading German professors warned at the outset of EMU that the euro would tend to be weaker than old Deutsche Mark, and that it would fuel inflation over time. German citizens were never given a vote on the abolition of the D-Mark, which had become a symbol of Germany’s rebirth after the war.
Many have kept a stash of D-Marks hidden in mattresses to this day. A recent IPOS poll showed that 59pc of Germany now had serious doubts about the euro.

central bank body warns of great depression

June 9, 2008

Central bank body warns of Great Depression

by Gill Montia

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the organisation that fosters cooperation between central banks, has warned that the credit crisis could lead world economies into a crash on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

In its latest quarterly report, the body points out that the Great Depression of the 1930s was not foreseen and that commentators on the financial turmoil, instigated by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, may not have grasped the level of exposure that lies at its heart.

According to the BIS, complex credit instruments, a strong appetite for risk, rising levels of household debt and long-term imbalances in the world currency system, all form part of the loose monetarist policy that could result in another Great Depression.

The report points out that between March and May of this year, interbank lending continued to show signs of extreme stress and that this could be set to continue well into the future.

It also raises concerns about the Chinese economy and questions whether China may be repeating mistakes made by Japan, with its so called bubble economy of the late 1980s.

morales contre directive ue

source: La Libre Belgique

Non à la directive européenne de la honte

Evo Morales

Au nom du peuple de Bolivie, de tous mes frères du monde, je fais appel à la conscience des dirigeants et citoyens pour que ne soit pas approuvé le texte de la "directive retour".

Président de la République de Bolivie

11 juin 2008

Jusqu'à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, l'Europe était un continent d'émigrants. Des dizaines de millions d'habitants partirent aux Amériques pour coloniser, échapper aux famines, aux crises financières, aux guerres ou aux totalitarismes européens et à la persécution des minorités ethniques. Aujourd'hui, je suis avec préoccupation le processus de la dite "directive retour".

Ce texte, validé le 5 juin dernier par les ministres de l'Intérieur des 27 pays de l'Union européenne, doit être approuvé le 18 juin par le Parlement européen. Je perçois qu'il durcit de manière drastique les conditions de détention et d'expulsion des migrants sans papier, quelqu'ait été leur temps de séjour dans les pays européens, leur situation de travail, leurs liens familiaux, leur volonté et le succès de leur intégration.

Les Européens sont arrivés dans les pays d'Amérique latine et d'Amérique du Nord, en masse, sans visa, ni conditions imposées par les autorités. Ils furent toujours bienvenus, et le demeurent, dans nos pays du continent américain, qui absorbèrent alors la misère économique européenne et ses crises politiques. Ils vinrent sur notre continent en exploiter les richesses et les transférer en Europe, avec un coût très élevé pour les peuples premiers de l'Amérique. Comme par exemple dans le cas de notre Cerro Rico de Potosi et de ses fabuleuses mines qui donnèrent sa masse monétaire au continent européen entre le XVIe et le XIXe siècle. Les personnes, les biens, les droits des migrants européens furent toujours respectés. Aujourd'hui, l'Union européenne est la principale destination des migrants du monde, conséquence de son image positive d'espace de prospérité et de libertés publiques. L'immense majorité des migrants viennent dans
l'Union européenne pour contribuer à cette prospérité, non pour en profiter. Ils occupent les emplois de travaux publics, dans la construction, les services aux personnes et dans les hôpitaux, que ne peuvent ou ne veulent occuper les Européens. Ils contribuent au dynamisme démographique du continent européen, à maintenir la relation entre actifs et inactifs qui rend possible ses généreux systèmes de solidarité sociale et dynamisent le marché interne et la cohésion sociale. Les migrants offrent une solution aux problèmes démographiques et financiers de l'UE.

Pour nous, nos émigrants représentent l'aide au développement que les Européens ne nous donnent pas - vu que peu de pays atteignent réellement l'objectif minimum de 0,7 pc du PIB d'aide au développement. L'Amérique latine a reçu, en 2006, 68 milliards de dollars de transferts financiers de ses émigrés, soit plus que le total des investissements étrangers dans nos pays. Au niveau mondial, ces transferts atteignent 300 milliards de dollars, qui dépassent les 104 milliards de dollars octroyés au nom de l'aide au développement. Mon propre pays, la Bolivie, a reçu plus de 10 pc de son PIB en transferts de fond des migrants (1,1 milliard de dollars), soit un tiers de nos exportations annuelles de gaz naturel.

Il apparaît que les flux de migration sont bénéfiques pour les Européens et, de manière marginale, aussi pour nous du Tiers-Monde, vu que nous perdons des millions de personnes de main-d'oeuvre qualifiée en laquelle, d'une manière ou d'une autre, nos Etats, bien que pauvres, ont investi des ressources humaines et financières. Il est regrettable que le projet de "directive retour" complique terriblement cette réalité. Si nous concevons que chaque Etat ou groupe d'Etats puisse définir ses politiques migratoires en toute souveraineté, nous ne pouvons accepter que les droits fondamentaux des personnes soient déniés à nos compatriotes et à nos frères latino-américains.

La directive retour prévoit la possibilité d'un enfermement des migrants sans papier jusqu'à 18 mois avant leur expulsion - ou "éloignement" selon le terme de la directive. Dix-huit mois ! Sans procès, ni justice ! Tel qu'il est, le projet de directive viole clairement les articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 et 9 de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'Homme de 1948. Et en particulier l'article 13 qui énonce : "1. Toute personne a le droit de circuler librement et de choisir sa résidence à l'intérieur d'un Etat. 2. Toute personne a le droit de quitter tout pays, y compris le sien, et de revenir dans son pays." Et, pire que tout, il existe la possibilité d'emprisonner des mères de familles et des mineurs, sans prendre en compte leur situation familiale ou scolaire, dans ces centres de rétention où nous savons que surviennent des dépressions, des grèves de la faim, des suicides.

Comment pouvons-nous accepter sans réagir que soient concentrés dans ces camps nos compatriotes et frères latino-américains sans papiers, dont l'immense majorité travaillent et s'intègrent depuis des années ? De quel côté est aujourd'hui le devoir d'ingérence humanitaire ? Où est la "liberté de circuler", la protection contre les emprisonnements arbitraires ? Parallèlement, l'Union européenne tente de convaincre la Communauté andine des nations (Bolivie, Colombie, Equateur, Pérou) de signer un "Accord d'association" qui inclue en son troisième pilier un traité de libre-échange, de même nature et contenu que ceux qu'imposent les Etats-Unis. Nous subissons une intense pression de la Commission européenne pour accepter des conditions de profonde libéralisation pour le commerce, les services financiers, la propriété intellectuelle ou nos services publics. De plus, au nom de la "protection juridique", on nous reproche notre processus
de nationalisation de l'eau, du gaz et des télécommunications réalisés le Jour des travailleurs.

Je demande, dans ce cas : où est la "sécurité juridique" pour nos femmes, adolescents, enfants et travailleurs qui recherchent un horizon meilleur en Europe ? Promouvoir d'un côté la liberté de circulation des marchandises et des flux financiers, alors qu'en face nous voyons des emprisonnements sans jugement pour nos frères qui ont essayé de circuler librement... Ceci est nier les fondements de la liberté et des droits démocratiques. Dans ces conditions, si cette "directive retour" devait être approuvée, nous serions dans l'impossibilité éthique d'approfondir les négociations avec l'Union européenne et nous nous réservons le droit d'imposer aux citoyens européens les mêmes obligations de visas qui nous ont été imposées le 1er avril 2007, selon le principe diplomatique de réciprocité. Nous ne l'avions pas exercé jusqu'à maintenant, attendant justement des signaux positifs de l'UE.

Le monde, ses continents, ses océans, ses pôles, connaissent d'importantes difficultés globales : le réchauffement global, la pollution, la disparition lente mais sûre des ressources énergétiques et de la biodiversité alors qu'augmentent la faim et la misère dans tous les pays, fragilisant nos sociétés. Faire des migrants, qu'ils soient sans papiers ou non, les boucs émissaires de ces problèmes globaux, n'est en rien une solution. Cela ne correspond à aucune réalité. Les problèmes de cohésion sociale dont souffre l'Europe ne sont pas la faute des migrants, mais le résultat du modèle de développement imposé par le Nord, qui détruit la planète et démembre les sociétés des hommes.

Au nom du peuple de Bolivie, de tous mes frères du continent et des régions du monde comme le Maghreb et les pays de l'Afrique, je fais appel à la conscience des dirigeants et députés européens, des peuples, citoyens et militants d'Europe, pour que ne soit pas approuvé le texte de la "directive retour". Telle que nous la connaissons aujourd'hui, c'est une directive de la honte. J'appelle aussi l'Union européenne à élaborer, dans les prochains mois, une politique migratoire respectueuse des droits de l'Homme, qui permette le maintien de cette dynamique profitable pour les deux continents, qui répare une fois pour toutes l'énorme dette historique, économique et écologique que les pays d'Europe ont envers une grande partie du Tiers-Monde, et qui ferme définitivement les veines toujours ouvertes de l'Amérique latine. Vous ne pouvez pas faillir aujourd'hui dans vos "politiques d'intégration" comme vous avez échoué avec votre supposée
"mission civilisatrice" du temps des colonies.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

house comittee to review impeachment resolution

House votes to send impeachment resolution to Judiciary Committee

By Nick Juliano

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to send articles of impeachment against President Bush to the Judiciary Committee for review.
The impeachment resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, requested a recorded vote on the motion around 3 p.m. Wednesday, and 24 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in voting to send the impeachment measure to the committee.
The motion passed 251-166.
“It is imperative that Members of Congress have a thorough opportunity to read the Articles of Impeachment and study the documentation,” Kucinich said in a news release Tuesday. “When they do, I am confident that they will agree that it is both appropriate and necessary for the Judiciary Committee to begin hearings on the Resolution.”
Kucinich took to the floor of the House Monday evening to read his 35 articles of impeachment, accusing Bush of war crimes, breaking his oath of office and misleading Americans to launch an illegal invasion of Iraq. The Ohio Democrat said impeachment was the only way to keep Bush from launching another invasion of Iran.
The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), already has before it articles of impeachment aimed at Vice President Dick Cheney. Since receiving that impeachment measure in November, the committee has done nothing.
Democratic leaders in the House seem determined to block the latest impeachment measure as well, and it remains all-but-impossible that the House would proceed with impeachment hearings before Bush leaves office.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sticking by her earlier pledge to make sure impeaching Bush and Cheney is an option that remains strictly “off the table.”

Friday, 6 June 2008

ivashov bout new chief of staff

New chief of staff to ‘revive Russia’s ailing military’

19:21 | 03/ 06/ 2008

MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - Gen. Nikolai Makarov’s appointment as chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces suggests higher priority will be given to modernizing the military, a top Russian military expert said on Tuesday.
Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Nikolai Makarov has been appointed chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. He replaces Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, who has been appointed deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council.
In an interview with RIA Novosti, Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, said the appointment of Gen. Makarov, former chief of Armed Forces Arms Procurement, indicates that he may « reverse the negative, destructive trends that are now plaguing the Armed Forces, and stop the technical degradation of the Army and Navy. »
He said the Russian military « has an acute shortage of new weaponry and military equipment, ammunition, and other technical systems. »
Gen. Ivashov said with the right political and financial support, Gen. Makarov would be able to turn the Armed Forces around and make them more operationally effective and improve combat readiness.
He said that former General Staff chief Gen. Yury Baluyevsky had disagreed with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov over military reforms.
The new chief of the General Staff told President Dmitry Medvedev earlier on Tuesday that he was fully aware of the responsibility delegated to him and would do everything to achieve the goals set for the Armed Forces, working in conjunction with the Defense Ministry and the Security Council.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

bye to habes corpus

US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships

 Report says 17 boats used
 MPs seek details of UK role
 Europe attacks 42-day plan

Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor

The Guardian, Monday June 2 2008

The United States is operating « floating prisons » to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.
Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.
Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.
The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.
It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.
According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as « floating prisons » since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.
Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.
Reprieve will raise particular concerns over the activities of the USS Ashland and the time it spent off Somalia in early 2007 conducting maritime security operations in an effort to capture al-Qaida terrorists.
At this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100 individuals were « disappeared » to prisons in locations including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.
Reprieve believes prisoners may have also been held for interrogation on the USS Ashland and other ships in the Gulf of Aden during this time.
The Reprieve study includes the account of a prisoner released from Guantánamo Bay, who described a fellow inmate’s story of detention on an amphibious assault ship. « One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo ... he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo. »
Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s legal director, said:
« They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.
« By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them. »
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, called for the US and UK governments to come clean over the holding of detainees.
« Little by little, the truth is coming out on extraordinary rendition. The rest will come, in time. Better for governments to be candid now, rather than later. Greater transparency will provide increased confidence that President Bush’s departure from justice and the rule of law in the aftermath of September 11 is being reversed, and can help to win back the confidence of moderate Muslim communities, whose support is crucial in tackling dangerous extremism. »
The Liberal Democrat’s foreign affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, said: « If the Bush administration is using British territories to aid and abet illegal state abduction, it would amount to a huge breach of trust with the British government. Ministers must make absolutely clear that they would not support such illegal activity, either directly or indirectly. »
A US navy spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, told the Guardian: « There are no detention facilities on US navy ships. » However, he added that it was a matter of public record that some individuals had been put on ships « for a few days » during what he called the initial days of detention. He declined to comment on reports that US naval vessels stationed in or near Diego Garcia had been used as « prison ships ».
The Foreign Office referred to David Miliband’s statement last February admitting to MPs that, despite previous assurances to the contrary, US rendition flights had twice landed on Diego Garcia. He said he had asked his officials to compile a list of all flights on which rendition had been alleged.
CIA « black sites » are also believed to have operated in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland and Romania.
In addition, numerous prisoners have been « extraordinarily rendered » to US allies and are alleged to have been tortured in secret prisons in countries such as Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.

Guardian on Monday June 02 2008 on p1 of the Top
stories section. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008