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Sat, 22 Jan 2022
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Bad Guys

NATO Preps for World War?

World War III
© The Daily Bell
According to reliable sources, China has attempted to warn Russia of US and NATO plans to initiate a global armed conflict. This conflict has reportedly moved from the drawing board to an activation stage. According to both Chinese and Russian Intelligence Sources, the US and NATO plans include among other, the deliberate implosion of the US- and EU Economies, destroying the worlds financial systems, and the launching of a massive conventional war throughout North America, Africa and Asia, as well as the Middle East. The war plans include the release of biological warfare agents designed to kill millions if not billions of people. The NATO strategists rely on their ability to sue for peace when the coming conflict is at its highest, to call for the establishment of a "New World Order" under the pretext of preventing the destruction of the planet and civilization as we know it. - NSNBC by Dr. Christof Lehmann
Dominant Social Theme: The world is a dangerous place and the West has to be prepared to defend its citizens from terrorism - any place, any time.

Free-Market Analysis: Are we headed toward world war? Dr. Christoff Lehmann seems to think so. He comes with significant credentials, at least if his Internet bio is to be believed. And regardless of the credibility of Lehmann himself, the current global environment is poisonous and almost anything seems possible.

Comment: We will leave this item on the table as one of a number of possibilities that our future may hold. But please take it with a grain of salt. Having surfed alternative news websites for years, Sott editors have learned that information coming from 'reliable sources' or reports quoted as hearsay are often incorrect.


Cult

Immunity and Impunity in Elite America

greenwald book cover
© Glen Greenwald
How the Legal System Was Deep-Sixed and Occupy Wall Street Swept the Land

Mark Karlin: Although your book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, is primarily on the increasingly adverse climate for civil liberties at the federal level, needless to say, your title seems made to order for what is happening with Occupy Wall Street. Protesters are getting arrested, while the elite perpetrators of Wall Street malfeasance and fraud go free. Is this a localized application of "how the law is used to destroy equality and protect the powerful"?

Glenn Greenwald: Actually, what is happening with the Occupy Wall Street protests is as perfect an illustration of the book's argument as anything I could have imagined. The book's central theme is that law is no longer what it was intended to be - a set of rules equally binding everyone to ensure that outcome inequalities are at least legitimate - and instead has become the opposite: a tool used by the politically and financially powerful to entrench their own power and control the society. That's how and why the law now destroys equality and protects the powerful.

What we see with the protests demonstrates exactly how that works. The police force - the instrument of law enforcement - is being used to protect powerful criminals who have suffered no consequences for their crimes. It is simultaneously used to coerce and punish the powerless: those who are protesting and who have done nothing wrong, yet are subjected to an array of punishment ranging from arrest to pepper spray and other forms of abuse.

That's what the two-tiered justice system is: elites are immunized for egregious crimes while ordinary Americans are subjected to merciless punishment for trivial transgressions.

Dollar

Ex-Goldman director Gupta reportedly facing criminal charges

Case broadens reach of a probe into country's most powerful businesses
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© Unknown

Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta will surrender to the FBI on Wednesday to face criminal charges related to an ongoing insider trading investigation, sources close to the case told The New York Times and Reuters.

Gupta was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam's trial earlier this year. He has denied wrongdoing.

The case against Gupta broadens the reach of the probe into the country's most powerful businesses, according to The New York Times. Most of the people charged with insider trading in the last two years worked on Wall Street, the newspaper noted.

Aside from being a director at Goldman Sachs, Gupta also sat on the board of Procter & Gamble and led one of the world's most powerful consulting companies, McKinsey & Company, the Times reported.

Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11-years in prison this month.

Gupta's attorney, Gary Naftalis, called any charges against Gupta "totally baseless."

"The facts demonstrate that Mr. Gupta is an innocent man and that he has always acted with honesty and integrity," he said in a statement to NBC News. "He did not trade in any securities, did not tip Mr. Rajaratnam so he could trade, and did not share in any profits as part of any quid pro quo."

"Mr. Gupta lost his entire investment in the fund at the time of the events in question, negating any motive to deviate from a lifetime of probity and distinguished service," his attorney said.

Bad Guys

Libya: Bodies of 53 Gaddafi supporters 'found executed' in Sirte

Mahari hotel executions
© Human Rights Watch
Bodies lie under sheets at the Mahari hotel, Sirte, Libya, 23 October 2011.
The bodies of 53 Gaddafi loyalists have been found at a hotel in the Libyan city of Sirte after apparently being executed, a human rights group says.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the victims - some of whom had their hands bound - died about a week ago.

It is the latest accusation of atrocities in Libya committed by both sides during the eight-month conflict.

Vader

Wartime Contracting Panel Seals Records for Next 20 Years

Image
© Unknown
Established by Congress to investigate and expose government waste, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has decided to not reveal its volumes of materials to the public for another two decades.

After three years of work, the commission officially shut down last week, having concluded that the U.S. misspent between $31 billion and $60 billion in contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But it won't allow its records to be opened for public review at the National Archives until 2031, because some of the documents contain "sensitive information," according to one official.

Bell

Debts of states over $4 trillion: Budget group

California State Capitol
© Reuters/Max Whittaker
The exterior shot of the State Capitol is seen as California legislators work late into the night to pass a $40 billion budget in the building in Sacramento, California February 17, 2009.
The total of U.S. state debt, including pension liabilities, could surpasses $4 trillion, with California owing the most and Vermont owing the least, according to an analysis released on Monday.

The nonprofit State Budget Solutions combined states' major debt and future liabilities, primarily for pensions and employee healthcare, unemployment insurance loans, outstanding bonds and projected fiscal 2011 budget gaps. It found that in total, states are in debt for $4.2 trillion.

The group, which follows state fiscal conditions and advocates for limited spending and taxes, said the deficit calculations that states make "do not offer a full picture of the states' liabilities and can rely on budget gimmicks and accounting games to hide the extent of the deficit."

Briefcase

Message From Muammar Gaddafi

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Gaddafi Unplugged and Uncensored

Translated by Professor Sam Hamod, Ph.D.

Recollections of My Life: Col. Mu'ummar Qaddafi

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

2 + 2 = 4

The Devil According To NATO - Gaddafi At Home

NATO was right: REVEALED! The daily life of the 'brutal dictator', surrounded by incredible luxury and brutalizing small children..


Propaganda

Naked, Bloody Imperialism or "We Came, We Saw, He Died"

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Libya's new 'pro-Western' leaders
Among the many comments we have read and received on the alleged death of Gaddafi, the one most often repeated goes something like this: 'Gaddafi was a brutal dictator who deserved what he got'. The widely-held belief (at least in Western nations) that Gaddafi was a 'brutal dictator' is the result of over 30 years of (primarily) US, British and French propaganda against the former Libyan leader. The reasons for this long-running propaganda campaign are many, but chief among them is the fact that Gaddafi was not only fiercely independent as regards his native land, but he persistently sought to bring financial independence to other African nations.

It's The Media Stupid!

The average person in the street seems to find it difficult to grasp the idea that the 'national interests' of democratic governments often run counter to democratic ideals and that, in pursuing such interests, governments will attempt to maintain the appearance of remaining faithful to democratic ideals. Another way to say this is that governments will lie about their undemocratic activities in order to maintain a facade of democracy and thereby avoid disturbing the population. (For those who may have, understandably, forgotten the core democratic principles, check this link for a short refresher course.)

The maintenance of a democratic façade while pursuing undemocratic 'interests' is today only possible with the committed and almost unanimous connivance of the mainstream media, which unfailingly disseminates government propaganda to the people, and which the people in turn accept as gospel truth in the belief that the press is free and independent of government control. But virtually all Western mainstream media outlets today are owned by a handful of powerful corporations and mega-wealthy individuals who count high level members of Western governments among their close friends and confidants. The truth of this can easily be verified by anyone with a computer and a little time to do some research of their own. The extent of the actual freedom of the 'free press' can also be ascertained by revisiting the way in which the Western media blindly accepted and reported as truth government lies prior to and after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is reasonable then to conclude that the Western media, by and large, acts as a 'Ministry of Propaganda' for Western governments, especially in situations where government(s) are pursuing policies that are at variance with democratic ideals.

So, in light of all that, let's consider the question: "was Gaddafi really a 'brutal dictator'?"

Bad Guys

The Myth of Greek Profligacy: Destroying the Livelihoods of Thirteen Million People

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© Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Greek Crisis: Protesters outside parliament on May 5 in Athens, Greece.
Historically, Greeks are very good at constructing myths. The rest of the world? Not so much. Reading the press, one gets the impression of a bunch of lazy Mediterranean scroungers, enjoying one of the highest standards of living in Europe while making the frugal Germans pick up the tab. This is nonsensical propaganda, designing to justify the continued collective execution being inflicted on Athens for the sins of its fathers and grandfathers. As if Greece is the only country ever to cook its books in the European Union! The heart of the problem is in the antiquated revenue system that supports that state, which results in a budget shortfall consistently about 10 per cent of GDP. The top 20 per cent of the income distribution in Greece pay virtually no taxes at all, the product of a corrupt bargain reached during the days of the junta between the military and Greece's wealthiest plutocrats. No wonder there is a fiscal crisis.

So it's not a problem of Greek profligates, or an overly generous welfare state, both of which suggest that the standard IMF style remedies being proposed here are bound to fail, as they are doing right now. In fact, given the non-stop austerity being imposed on Athens (which simply has the effect of deflating the economy further and thereby exacerbating the very problem the Greeks are trying to eliminate), the Greeks really are getting close to the point where they should just default and shift the problem back to those imposing the austerity. It can't be worse than the slow execution they are facing today.

In reality, the Greeks have one of the lowest per capita incomes in Europe (€21,100), much lower than the Eurozone 12 (€27,600) or the German level (€29,400). Further, the Greek social safety nets might seem very generous by US standards but are truly modest compared to the rest of the Europe. On average, for 1998-2007 Greece spent only €3530.47 per capita on social protection benefits - slightly less than Spain's spending and about €700 more than Portugal's, which has one of the lowest levels in all of the Eurozone. By contrast, Germany and France spent more than double the Greek level, while the original Eurozone 12 level averaged €6251.78. Even Ireland, which has one of the most neoliberal economies in the euro area, spent more on social protection than the supposedly profligate Greeks.