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Thu, 28 Oct 2021
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The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy's Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

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New York Stock Exchange
As the Economic Elite continue their plunder, the people in Greece riot and the big banks score yet another big blow against the people of the United States.

Democracy throughout the world is under attack. Many people can make the argument that our democracy here in America is only an illusion, but even the illusion of democracy is crashing down. Tragedies are currently playing out across the world on an epic scale. Unprecedented economic and environmental catastrophes have become the norm. Billions of people, the overwhelming majority of humanity, have been sentenced to a slow death due to a concentration of wealth and resources within humanity's economic top 0.5%. Ultimately, short-sighted greed has proven to be humanity's most severe disease.

I: Democracy Vs. Oligarchy: Lessons from History

The experiment known as democracy is devolving into fascism before our eyes; the "iron law of oligarchy" is once again asserting itself. From the Founding Fathers on, we have known that you cannot have a concentration of vast wealth and Democracy at the same time - and we currently have the greatest concentration of wealth in the history of the United States. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

Syringe

Iran expelling tens of thousands of Afghan heroin mules

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© Reuters
Police officers in Tehran, Iran inspect a bag of Afghan-origin morphine among 1,114 kilograms of morphine seized from drug traffickers.
Thousands of Afghans have protested in the eastern city of Jalalabad against the alleged executions of a number of Afghan refugees in Iran.

Demonstrators rallied in front of the Iranian consulate, shouting slogans and throwing eggs.

This is the fifth and largest anti-Iran protest in Afghanistan in a fortnight.

Protesters say Iran has expelled 80,000 Afghans in recent months and executed many on drug smuggling charges. Iranian reports say officials deny the charge.

Several thousand Afghans have been arrested by the Iranian authorities and hundreds are reported to be on death row, correspondent say.

Cult

Pedophiles and Popes: Doing the Vatican Shuffle

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When Pope John Paul II was still living in Poland as Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, he claimed that the security police would accuse priests of sexual abuse just to hassle and discredit them. (New York Times, 3/28/10). For Wojtyła, the Polish pedophilia problem was nothing more than a Communist plot to smear the church.

By the early 1980s, Wojtyła, now ensconced in Rome as Pope John Paul II, treated all stories about pedophile clergy with dismissive aplomb, as little more than slander directed against the church. That remained his stance for the next twenty years.

Today in post-communist Poland, clerical abuse cases have been slowly surfacing, very slowly. Writing in the leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza, a middle-aged man reported having been sexually abused as a child by a priest. He acknowledged however that Poland was not prepared to deal with such transgressions. "It's still too early. . . . Can you imagine what life would look like if an inhabitant of a small town or village decided to talk? I can already see the committees of defense for the accused priests."

While church pedophiles may still enjoy a safe haven in Poland and other countries where the clergy are above challenge, things are breaking wide open elsewhere. Today we are awash in a sludge of revelations spanning whole countries and continents, going back decades---or as some historians say---going back centuries. Only in the last few weeks has the church shown signs of cooperating with civil authorities. Here is the story.

Bad Guys

Lehman Bros. laundered vast amounts of Mexican cocaine cartel's drug money

Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, former governor of the Mexican state that holds Cancun and dozens of other Caribbean beach resorts, has been extradited to New York on charges of accepting bribes from a violent drug cartel that smuggled hundreds of tons of cocaine into the U.S. and then laundering the bribe money through Lehman Brothers.


Wall Street

Was Last Week's Market Crash a Direct Attack By Financial Terrorists?

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© Unknown
In a market where 70 percent of all trades are executed by computer algorithms via High Frequency Trading, Goldman Sachs has the power to make the market crash or rise at will.

Last week, the U.S. stock market suffered the greatest sudden drop in its history, for reasons that nobody on Wall Street can seem to decipher. But of all the explanations being examined - a tech glitch, Greek debt worries and fraud have all been discussed--the most troubling is not being given sufficient attention.

Coming on the very day that Congress considered two key financial reforms, the timing of the "flash crash" raises concerns that Wall Street is resorting to extreme tactics in its efforts to intimidate politicians who want to rein in the capital markets casino. Thursday's market plunge could have been an act of financial terrorism. Wall Street has both the motive and the means: Goldman Sachs, which is currently under investigation for a very different kind of fraud, has the trading power to make just such a market crash occur, and has much to lose from financial reforms moving through Congress.

MIB

Pandora's Briefcase: Operation Mincemeat and spycraft in World War Two

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© John Ritter
In the months before the invasion of Sicily, British spies fooled German spies with a caper inspired by a detective novel.
It was a dazzling feat of wartime espionage. But does it argue for or against spying?

On April 30, 1943, a fisherman came across a badly decomposed corpse floating in the water off the coast of Huelva, in southwestern Spain. The body was of an adult male dressed in a trenchcoat, a uniform, and boots, with a black attaché case chained to his waist. His wallet identified him as Major William Martin, of the Royal Marines. The Spanish authorities called in the local British vice-consul, Francis Haselden, and in his presence opened the attaché case, revealing an official-looking military envelope. The Spaniards offered the case and its contents to Haselden. But Haselden declined, requesting that the handover go through formal channels - an odd decision, in retrospect, since, in the days that followed, British authorities in London sent a series of increasingly frantic messages to Spain asking the whereabouts of Major Martin's briefcase.

Wall Street

Stock Market Collapse: More Goldman Market Rigging

stock market
© Uknown
Last week, Goldman Sachs was on the congressional hot seat, grilled for fraud in its sale of complicated financial products called "synthetic CDOs." This week the heat was off, as all eyes turned to the attack of the shorts on Greek sovereign debt and the dire threat of a sovereign Greek default. By Thursday, Goldman's fraud had slipped from the headlines and Congress had been cowed into throwing in the towel on its campaign to break up the too-big-to-fail banks. On Friday, Goldman was in settlement talks with the SEC.

Goldman and Wall Street reign. Congress appears helpless to discipline the big banks, just as the European Central Bank appears helpless to prevent the collapse of the European Union. . . . Or are they?

Bad Guys

Plan for Congressional Audits of Fed Dies in Senate

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Last-minute maneuvering in the Senate allowed the Federal Reserve to sidestep legislation that would have exposed its interest-rate decision-making to congressional auditors.

Pressure from the Obama administration led Senate lawmakers to alter a provision pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) that was gaining momentum despite opposition from the Treasury and the Fed. It would have largely repealed a 32-year-old law that shields Fed monetary policy from congressional auditors.

The compromise, endorsed by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) and the Treasury, would require the Fed to disclose more details about its lending during the financial crisis. It would also require a one-time audit of those loans and a one-time review of Fed governance. A formal vote was pushed back until next week.

Blackbox

July 7 inquest 'should not investigate MI5 role'

An inquest into the July 7 bombings should not investigate the role of MI5 because it would be impossible without handing over documents that would endanger national security, it has been claimed.

MIB

Private Jihad: How Rita Katz got into the business of inventing Muslim terrorists and hystericizing America

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© SITE
Rita Katz, Executive Director of the SITE Intelligence Group. Rita's paranoid hobbies include hyping Islamofascism, making people hysterical, manipulating data and pretending to be Muslim so she can frame innocent Muslims for crimes that never took place.
Rita Katz is tiny and dark, with volatile brown eyes, and when she is nervous or excited she can't sit still. She speaks in torrents, ten minutes at a stretch. Everybody who works in intelligence calls her Rita, even people who don't know her well. She sometimes telephones people she hasn't met - important people in the government - to tell them things that she thinks they ought to know. She keeps copies of letters from officials whose investigations into terrorism she has assisted. "You and your staff . . . were invaluable additions to the investigative team," the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.'s Salt Lake City Division wrote; the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boise said, "You are a rare and extraordinary gem that has appeared too infrequently throughout the course of history." The letters come in handy, she told me, when she meets with skepticism or lack of interest; they are her establishment bona fides.

Katz, who was born in Iraq and speaks fluent Arabic, spends hours each day monitoring the password-protected online chat rooms in which Islamic terrorists discuss politics and trade tips: how to disperse botulinum toxin or transfer funds, which suicide vests work best. Occasionally, a chat-room member will announce that he is turning in his user name and password and going to Iraq to become a martyr, a shaheed. Several weeks later, his friends will post a report of the young man blowing himself up. Katz usually logs on at six in the morning. When she has guests for dinner, she leaves a laptop open on the kitchen counter, so she can check for updates. "It is completely addicting," she says. "You wake up thinking, I've been offline for seven hours, but the terrorists have been making plans."