Wednesday, August 5, 2015

FrankenMarket Unfurls?  (Rall Rage - Ted Rall Fired for Telling the Truth)  U.S. Is Oligarchy (Economic Hit Men Revealed)  Wall Street Is So Corrupt That It Reeks When It Walks (Private Companies Run U.S. Drone Warfare)   Liquidity As Weapon of Coercion Brings Greek Coup  (Conspiracy Theory Redux)  No Inflation in US.?  (Dream On!)

Are you watching the economic news in China?

The U.S.?


Remember:  These are not "dumb" guys (about their interests).

Only mute to us.
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FrankenMarket unfurls?

“Here’s where we are in the larger story. World economies can’t grow anymore, at least not like they used to. We are not going to see 3, 4 or 5 percent real growth. The pie is no longer expanding like it used to, and here’s the problem. The banking overlords got used to a certain take or lifestyle. They became addicted to a certain amount of skim, and when everything is expanding, the banks can skim, and there is enough left over for things like middle class and 401ks to go up and pensions to be funded. When the economy is not growing fast enough, and the skimming continues, then there is not enough left over for other people. That’s where we are in the story. That’s step one. Step two is will the banks convert all of their loans into physical hard assets, and the answer is yes.”

The economy and banks are more debt filled than ever, and Dr. Martenson goes on to point out, “There is one thing we have a lot less of, and that’s trust. I don’t know anybody who loves these markets. Everybody is highly distrustful of them. All of the big money people that I talk with, all them have one foot right next to the exit. Everybody is convinced they will be able to get out just a little faster than the next guy. I think they are mistaken in that regard. Without that trust, and without that ability that the authorities are going to be able to contain it, I think we could see a very vicious downturn, something that gets out of control of the central planners. Markets have a way of winning out in the end.”

According to Dr. Martenson, watching the Fed to see when or if it will raise interest rates is not what people should be focusing on. Dr. Martenson explains, “Here’s what they should be focusing on. After 6 years of pumping trillions of dollars into the market, do we have the organic growth we need to pay off the loans that are already in circulation? The answer is no, we are not getting the growth. If we are not getting the growth and we have all these structural problems, that’s what people need to be focused on. That’s called reality. You can smell the fear, and they are afraid of this market going down. This is a Franken market of the Fed’s own creation.”

Don't watch this video if you're not already lyng down.

Or drinking heavily.

"Trickle up" economics explained in full.

(Don't watch this one unless you have a cliff handy.)

Pour that cold one NOW.

The latest news on the un-prosecutability of "white-collar crime" seems about right to me.

After all, we got the blacks in to ensure the let-up on the white crime reporting (prosecution), didn't we? Why else have them?


U.S. Prosecution of White Collar Crime Hits 20-Year Low
Speed of Glacier Retreat Worldwide 'Historically Unprecedented'
"LA Times" Fires Ted Rall – Evidence Blows Up In Newspaper’s Face
These cartoons (1 of 4) by longtime

These cartoons (1 of 4) by longtime "LA Times" cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job.(art:  Ted Rall/LA Times)

The story:  On July 27, the "LA Times" fired their long-time columnist and cartoonist Ted Rall for fabricating a story of police misconduct. The "LA Times" ’ evidence? A tape recording provided by the LAPD. Problem was, the tape was muffled – possibly tampered with.

When audio experts cleaned the garbage interference on the tape – uh, oh! – the LAPD and "LA Times" accusations fell to pieces.

These cartoons (2 of 4) by longtime

These cartoons (2 of 4) by longtime "LA Times" cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job. (art: Ted Rall/LA Times)

The details: On May 11, Ted Rall wrote his umpteenth column in the "LA Times," LAPD's Crosswalk Crackdown:  Don't Police Have Something Better to do? about gang violence:  the gang is the LAPD. This was Rall’s lightest jab of all, a satirical remembrance of when, 14 years earlier, a cop put him in handcuffs for a simple jaywalking ticket.

Unbeknownst to Rall, the jaywalker-stalker cop had recorded this big bust. The LAPD dropped the tape on the "Times."

These cartoons (3 of 4) by longtime

These cartoons (3 of 4) by longtime "LA Times" cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job. (art:  Ted Rall/LA Times)

The police source said the recording and other info proved Rall was lying. That the tape proved that Rall had never been handcuffed – nor, as Rall wrote in his column, was there a group of onlookers complaining about the cop’s overkill.

In other words, ‘they’ said and the "Times" accepted that Rall just made up the whole handcuff-and-crowd thing to smear the LAPD. On that basis, "LA Times" editor Nick Goldberg printed and signed a big-splash editorial saying, in effect, Rall had committed the unpardonable sin of fabricating a story – and Rall was fired.

These cartoons (4 of 4) by longtime

These cartoons (4 of 4) by longtime "LA Times" cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job. (art: Ted Rall/LA Times)

This, of course, would end Rall’s career as a syndicated newspaper columnist and cartoonist. 

And I was going to have to fire Rall too. Rall is a journalism fellow of the Palast Investigative Fund, the not-for-profit foundation that backs our work. If the charges were true, I wouldn’t hesitate to fire Rall’s lying ass – but only after I break his pen and cut off his fingers.

I demanded a copy of the recording for our audio experts to review – and asked Rall to do the same.

Oh, Mama! To my surprise – and Rall’s glee – the crowd that he had allegedly fantasized about suddenly came alive – with three women shouting, “Why’d you handcuff him?” and “Take off his handcuffs!”– the handcuffs that were supposedly fabricated by Rall. (One woman helpfully suggested to the officer, “Don’t forget to ride his ***hole!”)

Listen to it yourself, or read the true transcript. Check this against the LAPD’s incomplete transcript.

As an investigative reporter, I was astonished that the "LA Times" did not even bother to do an independent analysis of the tape. Rall told me that a "Times" reporter, Paul Pringle, told him the "Times" simply accepted the recording transcript as truthful because it came from the LAPD. 

And the LAPD hates hates hates Rall. 

I can’t blame them, given Rall’s reports and caustic drawings – the truth hurts. The LA police union wrote that it “applauds [the] "LA Times" firing of cartoonist Rall,” whose drawings drew blood from the police force infamous for its gang-style beating of the handcuffed Rodney King.

Rall said that reporter Pringle told him that, to bolster their case against Rall, the LAPD source said that the arresting cop, Will Durr, never used handcuffs in petty violation stops. However, by coincidence, a news report about that very same cop

Durr, handcuffing a driver on a routine traffic stop appeared in … The "LA Times."


My calls to the "Times" ’“investigative reporter” Pringle went unanswered. "LA Times" opinion editor Nicolas Goldberg, whom I know and have long respected, said he was not authorized not go on record to defend his paper. The smell of panic in the "Times" ’ executive suite is getting stronger.

So I called the LAPD. Did they drop the garbled tape and false transcript on their critic? Oddly, spokesman Officer Mike Lopez, who knew the story well, could not confirm the LAPD was the source. Then was it stolen from official police files? 

Would the LAPD conduct an internal affairs investigation of the theft or misuse of confidential police files?

Ironically, the "LA Times" is the biggest metropolitan daily in the USA with the guts to print Rall – and even pick up a Palast story or two. Clearly, the heat from The Heat is on. I really do hope that, in light of this new information, the paper will do the right thing and retract their statement. 

Whatever the original justification for the "Times" ’ printed attack, to let it stand uncorrected now, in light of the new uncontroverted evidence, would violate core standards of journalistic ethics.

As for the Palast Fund, with the evidence now in hand, we will fight this attack on our journalist.

And, if the "Times" won’t carry Rall’s reports, will. Sign up here and get his reports and ’toons free of charge.

Why am I supporting Rall? Because this is not about jaywalking. This is about killing. Police killings. And the ability of journalists to report just the facts, ma’am, free of fear of retribution by the police or media executives.

Rall’s career was gunned down by a phony transcript of a recording of a bust.

This follows close on the shooting death of an unarmed 29-year-old homeless veteran by an LAPD officer on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Brendon Glenn was known as a sometimes surly, but ultimately harmless, alcoholic. Near midnight on May 6, after he appeared to accost a local resident, two cops wrestled Glenn to the ground. 

The original statement by the LA chief of police, Charlie Beck, stated that “an altercation occurred between the two officers and the suspect. During that physical altercation, an officer-involved shooting occurred.” But security camera tape would later reveal that just wasn’t true.

In fact, film from a local store camera revealed that, for reasons unknown, one cop stepped away from his partner who had Glenn on the ground, then turned and fired two mortal shots into the homeless man.

An associate of the Palast investigations team, investigative reporter and former CBS news anchor Bree Walker, has been reviewing the case.

What Walker and every other newsperson has to worry about now is, will reporting the full story of police violence result in a slander and smear campaign against the investigating reporter? 

The police believe they have silenced Rall, that his public pillorying by the "Times" “serves as an example” – a warning to troublesome journalists.  Rall, to their dismay, is proving more of an example of undeterred courage.

 (Ted Rall’s new book-length comic, Snowden, will be released on August 25. Pre-order it from AmazonB&N & others – or make a tax-deductible donation and get a copy signed by Ted. 100% of proceeds will go to Rall’s defense.)


# jimmyjames 2015-08-05 10:02

Everyone tries to silence honest reporting. Politicians, CIA, and FBI. Why not the LAPD? Lord knows that there is open season on investigative reporters - that is why there are so few of them. Especially the mainstream media moguls who police their own. Which, of course, is one of the main reasons our democracy is going to hell in a hand basket.

# tomtom 2015-08-05 11:22

Yes, this is too much like the Governor of the State of Veracruz' recent hit on one journalist for offending him. The bad boys in the LAPD run in the same circles. They're Serving and Protecting the wrong people. White America is waking up to what has been, for centuries, normal justice. I don't need more proof, I'm a white male and I've seen the psycho-hate in the eyes of police, from LA to Miami. We're facing a deadly problem and it isn't diminishing. We need to stand with our courageous citizens who do stand up to these thugs, who bully the good cops into submission and collusion

# DurangoKid 2015-08-05 11:45

Remember way back when Gary Webb exposed the CIA dealing cocaine in LA? What was the "LA Times" ' response to that?

Jimmy Carter:  The U.S. Is an "Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery"

By Jon Schwarz
August 02, 2015

"The Intercept" - Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, “look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”

Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing like Citizens United.

HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, “unlimited money in politics.” It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. … Your thoughts on that?
CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and Congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.

I’ve added Carter’s statement to this list of politicians acknowledging that money controls politics. Please let me know if you have other good examples.

(Thanks to Sam Sacks for pointing this out.)

EU’s Greek Debt Austerity Plan Rejected By The IMF

Paul Craig Roberts

July 30, 2015

I have maintained since the so-called Greek Debt “crisis” began back in 2010, I believe it was, that the imposition of austerity on Greece could not possibly work and that the only solution was to write down the debt to a level that Greece could service and introduce reforms that loosen the hold the oligarchs have on the Greek economy. The current Greek government has taken the same position, and now the IMF has joined us.

The IMF has said that debt relief measures, that is, write-downs, are necessary and that this necessary measure goes far beyond what the Eurozone has offered so far. Asked if the plan could succeed without debt relief, the director of the IMF said, “categorically, no.”

This has been obvious from the beginning to any economist worthy of the name. The fact that
it has taken five years to establish an elementary fact shows how rapacious are the rich. Moreover, it proves in my opinion that the “crisis” was never about debt. It was about using the debt as a weapon to establish that creditors are not responsible for their mistakes when they over-lend, and to force the centralization of member states’ tax and spending policies in the EU.

The Greek Coup:  Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion

August 2nd, 2015

by Ellen Brown

“My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains, or his signature, would be on the contract.” — The Godfather (1972)
In the modern global banking system, all banks need a credit line with the central bank in order to be part of the payments system. Choking off that credit line was a form of blackmail the Greek government couldn’t refuse. Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is now being charged with treason for exploring the possibility of an alternative payment system in the event of a Greek exit from the euro. The irony of it all was underscored by Raúl Ilargi Meijer, who opined in a July 27th blog:
The fact that these things were taken into consideration doesn’t mean Syriza was planning a coup . . . . If you want a coup, look instead at the Troika having wrestled control over Greek domestic finances. That’s a coup if you ever saw one.
Let’s have an independent commission look into how on earth it is possible that a cabal of unelected movers and shakers gets full control over the entire financial structure of a democratically elected Eurozone member government. By all means, let’s see the legal arguments for this.
So how was that coup pulled off? The answer seems to be through extortion. The European Central Bank threatened to turn off the liquidity that all banks – even solvent ones – need to maintain their day-to-day accounting balances. That threat was made good in the run-up to the Greek referendum, when the ECB did turn off the liquidity tap and Greek banks had to close their doors. Businesses were left without supplies and pensioners without food. How was that apparently criminal act justified? Here is the rather tortured reasoning of ECB President Mario Draghi at a press conference on July 16:

There is an article in the [Maastricht] Treaty that says that basically the ECB has the responsibility to promote the smooth functioning of the payment system. But this has to do with . . . the distribution of notes, coins. So not with the provision of liquidity, which actually is regulated by a different provision, in Article 18.1 in the ECB Statute:  “In order to achieve the objectives of the ESCB [European System of Central Banks], the ECB and the national central banks may conduct credit operations with credit institutions and other market participants, with lending based on adequate collateral.” This is the Treaty provision. But our operations were not monetary policy operations, but ELA [Emergency Liquidity Assistance] operations, and so they are regulated by a separate agreement, which makes explicit reference to the necessity to have sufficient collateral. So, all in all, liquidity provision has never been unconditional and unlimited. [Emphasis added.]
In a July 23rd post on Naked Capitalism, Nathan Tankus calls this “a truly shocking statement.” Why? Because all banks rely on their central banks to settle payments with other banks. “If the smooth functioning of the payments system is defined as the ability of depository institutions to clear payments,” says Tankus, “the central bank must ensure that settlement balances are available at some price.”
How the Payments System Works
The role of the central bank in the payments system is explained by the Bank for International Settlements like this:
One of the principal functions of central banks is to be the guardian of public confidence in money, and this confidence depends crucially on the ability of economic agents to transmit money and financial instruments smoothly and securely through payment and settlement systems. . . . [C]entral banks provide a safe settlement asset and in most cases they operate systems which allow for the transfer of that settlement asset.
Internationally before 1971, this “settlement asset” was gold. Later, it became electronic “settlement balances” or “reserves” maintained at the central bank. Today, when money travels by check from Bank A to Bank B, the central bank settles the transfer simply by adjusting the banks’ respective reserve balances, subtracting from one and adding to the other.
Checks continue to fly back and forth all day. If a bank’s reserve account comes up short at the end of the day, the central bank treats it as an automatic overdraft in the bank’s reserve account, effectively lending the bank the money in the form of electronic “liquidity” until the overdraft can be cleared. The bank can cure the deficit by attracting new deposits or by borrowing from another bank with excess reserves; and if the whole system is short of reserves, the central bank creates more to maintain the liquidity of the system.
The most dramatic exercise of this liquidity function was seen after the banking crisis of 2008, when credit was frozen and banks had largely stopped lending to each other. The US Federal Reserve then stepped in and advanced over $16 trillion to financial institutions through the TAF (Term Asset Facility), the TALF (Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility), and similar facilities, at near-zero interest. Toxic unmarketable assets were converted into “good collateral” so the banks could remain solvent and keep their doors open. 
Liquidity as a Tool of Coercion
That is how the Fed sees its role, but the ECB evidently has other ideas about this liquidity tool. Whether a country’s banks are allowed to “access monetary policy operations” is seen by the ECB not as mandatory but as discretionary with the central bank. And as a condition of that access, if a country’s bonds are “below investment grade,” the country must be under an IMF program — meaning it must subject itself to forced austerity measures. According to ECB Vice President Constâncio at the same press conference:

[W]hen a country has a rating which is below the investment grade which is the minimum, then to access monetary policy operations, it has to have a waiver. And the waiver is granted if there are two conditions. The first condition is that the country must be under a programme with the EU and IMF; and second, we have to assess that there is credible compliance with such a programme. [Emphasis added]
Liquidity is provided only on “adequate collateral” — usually government bonds. But whether the bonds are “adequate” is not determined by their market price. Rather, political concessions are demanded. The government must sell off public assets, slash public services, lay off public workers, and subject its fiscal policies to oversight by unelected bureaucrats who can dictate every line item in the national budget.
Tankus observes:
Europe now has a system where liquidity and insolvency problems can occur and can be deliberately generated (at least in part) by the central bank. Then the Troika can force that country into an “IMF program” if it wants to continue having a functioning banking system. Alternatively, the central bank can choose to simply “suspend convertibility” to the unit of account [i.e. cut off the supply of Euros] and force the write down of deposits [haircuts and bail-ins] until the banks are solvent again.
Pushed to the Cliff by the Financial Mafia
Were liquidity and insolvency problems intentionally generated in Greece’s case, as Tankus suggests? Let’s review.
First there was the derivatives scheme sold to Greece by Goldman Sachs in 2001, which nearly doubled the nation’s debt by 2005.
Then there was the bank-induced credit crisis of 2008, when the ECB coerced Greece to bail out its insolvent private banks, throwing the country itself into bankruptcy.
This was followed in late 2009 by the intentional overstatement of Greece’s debt by a Eurostat agent who was later tried criminally for it, triggering the first bailout and accompanying austerity measures.
The Greek prime minister was later replaced with an unelected technocrat, former governor of the Bank of Greece and later vice president of the ECB, who refused a debt restructuring and instead oversaw a second massive bailout and further austerity measures. An estimated 90% of the bailout money went right back into the coffers of the banks.
In December 2014, Goldman Sachs warned the Greek Parliament that central bank liquidity could be cut off if the Syriza Party were elected. When it was elected in January, the ECB made good on the threat, cutting bank liquidity to a trickle.
When Prime Minister Tsipras called a public referendum in July at which the voters rejected the brutal austerity being imposed on them, the ECB shuttered the banks.
The Greek government was thus broken Mafia-style at the knees, until it was forced to abandon its national sovereignty and watch its public treasures sold off piece by piece. Suspicious minds might infer that this was a calculated plot designed from the beginning to throw Greece’s prized assets onto the auction block, a hostile takeover and asset stripping for the benefit of those well-heeled entities in a position to purchase them, including the very banks, hedge funds and speculators instrumental in driving up Greek debt and destroying the economy.
No Sovereignty Without Control Over Currency and Credit
In the taped conference call for which Yanis Varoufakis is currently facing treason charges, he exposed the trap that eurozone countries are now in. It seems there is virtually no legal way to break free of the euro and the domination of the troika. The government has no access to the critical data files of its own banks, which are controlled by the ECB.
Varoufakis said this should alarm every EU government. As Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King warned in 1935:

Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nation’s laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation.
For a nation to regain control of its currency and credit, it needs a central bank with a mandate to serve the interests of the nation. Banking should be a public utility, serving the economy and the people.
(Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at
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But not to worry about the above (Greece).

I understand that Chicago has already received the same gentle care from its owners (bankers).

Not to mention Detroit.

Corporate Killers: Private Companies at the Heart of US Drone Warfare

By Abigail Fielding-Smith, Crofton Black, Alice Ross and James Ball, Guardian UK

01 August 15

Corporate staff are reviewing top-secret data and helping uniformed colleagues decide whether people under surveillance are enemies or civilians

he overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private-sector contractors to the heart of its drone operations to analyse top-secret video feeds and help track suspected terrorist leaders, an investigation has found.

Contracts unearthed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal a secretive industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, placing a corporate workforce alongside uniformed personnel analysing intelligence from areas of interest.

While it has long been known that US defence firms supply billions of dollars’ worth of equipment for drone operations, the role of the private sector in supplying analysts for combing through intelligence material has remained almost entirely unknown until now.

Approximately one in 10 people involved in the effort to process data captured by drones and spy planes are non-military. And as the rise of Islamic State prompts what one commander termed “insatiable” demand for aerial surveillance, the Pentagon is considering further expanding its use of contractors, an air force official said.

Companies that stand to reap the benefits include BAE Systems and Edward Snowden’s former employer Booz Allen Hamilton.

The US dependence on armed contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan has attracted close scrutiny, partly because of the notorious 2007 incident in which employees of the company then known as Blackwater killed 14 civilians in Baghdad. But the use of private companies in drone operations has so far happened largely under the radar.

The contractors review live footage gathered by drones and spy planes flying over areas of interest, and help uniformed colleagues decide whether people they spot are potential enemies or civilians.

Though private contractors do not formally make life-and-death choices – only military personnel operate armed drones and take final targeting decisions – there is concern that they could creep in to this function without more robust oversight.

Even now, contractors are aware that any errors of analysis they make could lead to the wrong people getting killed. “A misidentification of an enemy combatant with a weapon and a female carrying a broom can have dire consequences,” one told the bureau.

The ability to transmit live footage from above the villages and towns through which its enemies move has become central to the US war machine, and the air force has struggled to keep up with demand. Each day, armed and unarmed drones and surveillance planes gather 1,100 hours of video data – all of which needs to be analysed.

Most of the time the analysts are conducting long-term surveillance – establishing what constitutes “normal” in a particular place. Some monitor images as they unfold in near-real time, while others scrutinise individual shots more closely to make sense of them.

In so-called “kinetic” situations – those that entail lethal force – the assessments passed on by the analysts can affect whether someone on the ground is seen as a threat.

Missions include long-term surveillance of suspected militants and their resources – known in military jargon as “high-value targets” – and gathering intelligence for special forces or standard military operations on the ground.

Almost exclusively ex-military, contractors say they are more experienced in what they are looking at than their uniformed counterparts, who are frequently moved between posts.

Some openly advertise their skills on sites such as LinkedIn: one even boasted of assisting with the “kill/capture of high-value targets”.

Another contractor suggested that at times their skills in effect placed them within the military chain of command.

“It will always be military bodies or civilian government bodies as the overall in charge of the missions … however, you will have experienced contractors act as a ‘righthand man’ many times because typically contractors are the ones with subject matter expertise, so the military/government leadership lean on those people to make better mission-related decisions,” the analyst said.

By analysing and cross-referencing a database of millions of federal spending records, military contracts, interviews with current and former contractors and online job ads, the bureau has identified 10 companies that have supplied the US government with image analysts in the past five years.

The contracts identified relate only to operations of conventional military and special forces. CIA contracts, which cover the agency’s controversial operations in Pakistan and Yemen, remain classified, so any role of the private sector in their controversial drone operations remains unknown.

The companies involved are a mixture of large defence contractors and smaller tech and intelligence-focused firms, and offer image analysis alongside other services ranging from logistics to translation.

Among the largest known users of image analysis contractors are branches of the Special Operations Command, which conducts drone operations and supports commando raids on the ground. A 16 May swoop on the Isis commander Abu Sayyaf, in which Sayyaf was killed and his wife captured, was supported by Predator surveillance, according to media reports.

Federal transaction records show that a company called Zel Technologies is supplying analysts to Air Force Special Operations Command (Afsoc) in a contract worth $12m in its first year. According to a copy of the contract obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Zel is providing more than 100 analysts. The contract also requires Zel to provide experts “in the areas of the Horn of Africa, Arabian peninsula, Somalia, Syria, Iran, north Africa, Trans-Sahel region, Levant region, Gulf states, and territorial waters”.

A further Afsoc contract details how an Ohio-based firm called MacAulay-Brown was tasked to “support targeting, information operations, deliberate and crisis action planning, and 24/7/365 operations”.

Meanwhile, New York-based L-3 Communications won a contract with Special Operations Command (Socom) in 2010 that was to bring in $155m over five years.

Booz Allen Hamilton, which has been given a contract for supporting special operations, posted a job ad calling for personnel “providing direct intelligence support to the global war on terror”. British defence company BAE Systems, too, has advertised for video analysts to be “part of a high ops tempo team”.

Laura Dickinson, a specialist in military contracting at George Washington University law school, called for the Pentagon to make more information available about the role and scope of private contractors in drone operations.

“We urgently need more transparency,” she said. “The issue is not that some contractors may be doing imagery analysis. The problem is the ratio of contractors to government personnel. If that ratio balloons, oversight could easily break down, and the current prohibition on contractors making targeting decisions could become meaningless.”‬

A spokeswoman for the air force said ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) was “vital to the national security of the United States and its allies”, and in “insatiable demand” from combatant commanders. She said this demand was the reason for increasing use of contractors, which she said was a “normal process within military operations”.‬

On the issue of whether private contractors’ assessments risk pre-empting the military’s official decisions, she said the service had thorough oversight and followed all appropriate rules.‬

“Current AF [air force] judge advocate rulings define the approved roles for contractors in the AF IRS’s processing, exploitation and dissemination capability,” she said.

“Air force DCGS [distributed common ground system] works closely with the judge advocate’s office to ensure a full, complete and accurate understanding and implementation of those roles. Oversight is accomplished by air force active duty and civilian personnel in real time and on a continual basis with personnel trained on the implementation of procedural checks and balances.”

The Pentagon declined to comment.

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August 2, 2015

Lioying in the Dust of 9/11

Add another body to the death toll:

"Paul Lioy, 68; cited health effects of dust from 9/11 attacks" by Margalit Fox "New York Times"   July 19, 2015

NEW YORK — Paul J. Lioy, an environmental scientist widely known for his analysis of the dust spawned by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and for his studies of its health effects over time, died July 8 after collapsing at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. He was 68.

The cause had not been determined, his wife, Jean Lioy, said.

I'm thinking assassination.

Dr. Lioy was an internationally renowned authority on exposure science, a field concerned chiefly with pollutants and toxins that straddles environmental science and occupational health. He was the author of “Dust: The Inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath,” a book for a general readership published in 2010.

At his death he was a professor of environmental and occupational health of the Rutgers University School of Public Health, in Piscataway, N.J., as well as the department’s deputy director for government relations.

From his home in Cranford, N.J., Dr. Lioy could see the plumes of dust that rose from the ruins of the trade center towers Sept. 11, 2001. A million tons of dust would rain down on Lower Manhattan.

Once his initial horror at the spectacle subsided, the scientist in him began to wonder just what was in that dust.

He was one of the first scientists to gather samples from the scene, arriving to find a fluffy gray dust so profuse, The "New York Times" reported, that he and his colleagues simply scooped it from the windshields of nearby cars and secured it in Teflon bags.

“It had a weird texture and color to it,” Dr. Lioy told The "Times" in 2005.

Oh, this guy knew something!

Even a decade after Sept. 11, Dr. Lioy and his colleagues faced empirical questions about the long-term health consequences of the attacks....


The deaths of so many involved in 9/11 is starting to reach JFK-like odds. 

Not only that, the remains that were picked through only resulted in chump change for the heroes of 9/11. 

That is from the same government that told residents and citizens the air was safe and to return to your homes. Wipe the dust up with a wet cloth and you'll be fine. Gotta get Wall Street going again.

Look what else was found in the dust:

"Never-before-seen photos of Cheney, Bush on 9/11 released" by Jennifer Smith Globe Correspondent  July 26, 2015

In the critical hours after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, hundreds of photographs were taken as the Bush administration began to grasp the extent of the unfolding tragedy. More than 350 of those never-before-seen photos have been released after a Boston-based documentary producer’s Freedom of Information requests over a decade.

The photos of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney include meetings in the president’s Emergency Operations Center, as well as Cheney traveling to Camp David.

The images were released as part of a FOIA request from Colette Neirouz Hanna, coordinating producer for Kirk Documentary Group, which makes films for PBS’s “Frontline.”

Hanna said many of the images now available for viewing on the “Frontline” website are of significant public and journalistic value.

“They take us back to that day firsthand, watching and learning what actually happened in those first 24 hours and how the government responded,” Hanna said in an e-mail Saturday. “Even 14 years later, they are a remarkable and important contribution to the historical record.”

Hanna has lived in Boston for almost 12 years, reporting on and producing films about 9/11 and its aftermath. She found out how difficult it was to obtain images from 9/11 while working on “Frontline” films such as “Bush’s War,” “Cheney’s Law,” and “The Dark Side.”

The thing about Frontline is not only is it funded by corporations and Congre$$, it transmits the official narrative while posing as serious investigative journalism.

She said she made countless requests for photos depicting the response to the attacks, all denied, and “one of the biggest challenges was the secrecy that seemed to surround the office of the vice president and the Bush administration.”

Cheney had been central to much of the governmental response, Hanna said.

“We knew he had a photographer assigned to take pictures of almost everything he did . . . from inside the secret bunker under the White House to the ‘undisclosed secure locations’ where he spent the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001.”

While he was in that bunker that fateful day he was directing the war drills.

Five years after the Bush administration concluded, the records were finally open to FOIA requests on Jan. 20, 2014, she said. Ready for the embargo to be lifted, Hanna said she was one of the first to submit a request.

The first batch of images was released June 19, the rest on July 24, including the images from Sept. 11, 2001. The full range of photos is available on the US National Archives’ flickr page.

Though the photos were released too late for any current “Frontline” projects, “I can just imagine how much more vivid the scenes would have been,” Hanna wrote. “The grief and anguish in the vice president’s face as he sits at the bunker conference table with his wife and first lady Laura Bush, watching the day’s events unfold, would have been an amazing addition to any of our films.”

And it would have backed up the official narrative in a most emotionally visceral way.


What will they come up with next, passports surviving fireballs and floating to earth?

Remember the first WTC attack?

"$5.2m awarded in ’93 Trade Center blast" Associated Press  July 18, 2015

NEW YORK — A 71-year-old Colorado woman severely injured in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was left elated and then disappointed this week after a court reinstated a $5.2 million jury award for her injuries but the owner of the now-destroyed twin towers delayed payment by announcing another appeal.

‘‘She feels victimized again,’’ Linda Nash’s lawyer, Louis Mangone, said Friday after it was learned that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to challenge a unanimous ruling Tuesday by the Manhattan Appellate Division in Nash’s favor.

The appeals court said another court erred when it vacated Nash’s award after the Port Authority attacked her case on a legal theory related to other injury cases.

The Port Authority in an e-mail declined to comment on the case.

Nash of Durango, Colorado, was awarded the damages in 2009 at a trial in which she testified she was working for Deloitte & Touche as a senior actuarial and benefits consultant when she got out of her car to return to work and was knocked unconscious by the February 1993 explosion in a parking garage beneath the trade center


Related: FBI terrorists among us: 1993 WTC Bombing

They are still up to the same tricks 22 years later, maybe even more so.

And there's no inflation?

Dream on, little dreamers.

I Sure Am Glad There's No Inflation

1. Inflation is near-zero.

2. This worries the Federal Reserve terribly, because stable prices are deflationaryand deflation is (for reasons that are never explained) like the financial Black Plague that will wipe out humanity if it isn't vanquished by a healthy dose of inflation (i.e. getting less for your money).

Those of us outside the inner circles of power are glad there's no inflation, because we'd rather get more for our money (deflation) rather than less for our money(inflation).You know what I mean:  the package that once held 16 ounces now only holds 13 ounces. A medication that once cost $79 now costs $79,000. (This is a much slighter exaggeration than you might imagine.)

Our excellent F-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft cost us taxpayers $54 million a piece. Now the replacement fighter, the wallowing collection of defective parts flying in close proximity known as the F-35 costs $250 million each--unless you want an engine in it. That'll cost you extra, partner.

Despite all these widely known examples of rampant inflation, every month we're told there's no inflation. Just to reassure myself there's no inflation, I looked up a few charts on the St. Louis Fed's FRED database.

The consumer price index is up 38% from 2000.
 Now if somebody were to give me a choice between getting 10 gallons of gasoline and 10 gallons minus 3.8 gallons of gasoline, I'd take the 10 gallons. So how the heck can a 38% increase be near-zero inflation?

If I took $38 of every $100 you earned, would you reckon I'd taken next to nothing from you? Do you earn 38% more than you did in 2000? If so, congratulations; most people can't answer "yes."(Right click on figures below to enlarge.)

Urban-area rents are up 56% from 2000. Now this is even worse inflation, because you just paid $156 for what used to cost you only $100.
State and local government taxes are up 75% since 2000. And this doesn't even include the rip-off fishing license fees that have gone through the roof, the boat registration fees that have shot to the moon, and the legal-looting parking ticket that used to be $12 and is now $60.
Taxes naturally rise with the economic expansion due to rising population, which has gone up about 13.8% since 2000: from 281 million residents of the USA to 320 million in 2015. So taxes rising a few percentage points each year along with growth and population would make sense. But 75%?
I've got a real treat for all you parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents who are planning to put the kids through college: the costs have only risen about 100% since 2000. That means instead of scraping up $80,000 per kid (assuming they can get all their required classes and grind the thing out in four years) you now need to scrape up $160,000 per kid.
The price index for college tuition grew by nearly 80 percent between August 2003 and August 2013. Now to make this apples to apples with the rest of the data here, we need to add in the nearly 5 missing years: from 1/1/2000 to 8/1/2003 and from 8/1/2013 to 8/1/2015. I'd say putting the increase at 100% is being conservative.
I sure am glad there's no inflation, because these "stable prices" the Federal Reserve keeps jaw-jacking about are putting us in a world of hurt. If we had honest-to-goodness inflation, that would push us right over the edge.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

But what would this guy know?

After all, he's about as detested by the neolib/cons as Assange, Snowden and Greenwald.

Unless it's all a joke on US.

In which case, go watch wrestling and have another all-meat pizza.

Or, for real fun, watch this last video.

Feeling better?

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