Saturday, May 30, 2009
IF THIS CAME TO PASS CHRISTIANS CAN KISS HOME SCHOOLING GOODBYE,ARTICLE 29 STATES IF THIS TREATY IS RATIFIED NO TEACHING JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO SALVATION IN SUNDAY SCHOOLS OR ANY OTHER PLACE,CHRISTIANS THIS IS DANGEROUS AND IF THIS TREATY EVER COMES UP WE MUST BLOCK IT AT ALL COSTS.THE U.N. WOULD BE TELLING US WITH THEIR CHILDRENS SURVICE WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR CHILD.
JOHN LOEFFLER INTERVIEWS
CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN U.N OFFICIAL TEXT
UNCRC ARTICLE BY ARTICLE
20 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD MAY 31.09
Ten things you need to know about the structure of the CRC:
It is a treaty which creates binding rules of law.It is no mere statement of altruism.1.Its effect would be binding on American families, courts, and policy-makers.2.
Children of other nations would not be impacted or helped in any direct way by our ratification.3.The CRC would automatically override almost all American laws on children and families because of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in Article VI.4.The CRC has some elements that are self-executing, while others would require implementing legislation. Federal courts would have the power to determine which provisions were self-executing.5.The courts would have the power to directly enforce the provisions that are self-executing.6.Congress would have the power to directly legislate on all subjects necessary to comply with the treaty.This would constitute the most massive shift of power from the states to the federal government in American history.7.A committee of 18 experts from other nations, sitting in Geneva, has the authority to issue official interpretations of the treaty which are entitled to binding weight in American courts and legislatures. This effectively transfers ultimate authority for all policies in this area to this foreign committee.8.
Under international law, the treaty overrides even our Constitution.9.Reservations, declarations, or understandings intended to modify our duty to comply with this treaty will be void if they are determined to be inconsistent with the object and purpose of the treaty.10.
Ten things you need to know about the substance of the CRC:
Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.11.A murderer aged 17 years and 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.12.Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.13.The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.14.A child’s right to be heard would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.15.According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.16.Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.17.Christian schools that refuse to teach alternative worldviews and teach that Christianity is the only true religion fly in the face of article 29 of the treaty.18.Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.19.Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.20.
-Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 26 Pacta sunt servanda:Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.
United States Constitution, Article VI: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child says: the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations.Available at http://www.unicef.org/crc/ on 12/2/2008.
-Vienna Convention Article 26 (supra);
United States Supreme Court, Whitney v. Robertson, 124 U.S. 190 (1888): By the Constitution of the United States, a treaty and a statute are placed on the same footing, and if the two are inconsistent, the one last in date will control, provided the stipulation of the treaty on the subject is self-executing.
-Vienna Convention (supra) and Article 2 (g):party means a State which has consented to be bound by the treaty and for which the treaty is in force
-United States Constitution, Article VI (supra, Note 1)
-Arlene Bowers Andrews, Implementing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, 171 (Greenwood Publishing Group 1999): The Convention is generally regarded as having two classes of rights for the purposes of self-execution, one class that is self-executing and one that is not self-executing.
-United States Supreme Court, Medellin v. Texas, 552 U.S. ___ (2008), at 170 L.Ed. 2d 190, 219,And whether the treaties underlying a judgment are self-executing so that the judgment is directly enforceable as domestic law in our courts is, of course, a matter for this Court to decide.
-Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Humanitarian Action and Human Rights, Frequently Asked Questions on International Humanitarian, Human Rights, and Refugee Law, (2002), available at http://www.icva.ch/doc00001023.html#24:
Human rights law also contains provisions obliging states to implement its rules, whether immediately or progressively. States must adopt a variety of legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures that may be necessary to give effect to the rights provided for in the various treaties. This includes providing for a remedy before domestic courts for violations of specific rights and ensuring that the remedy is effective. The fact that a state has a federal or devolved system of government does not affect a state's obligation to implement human rights law.
United States Supreme Court, Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957):To the extent that the United States can validly make treaties, the people and the States have delegated their power to the National Government and the Tenth Amendment is no barrier.
-United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 43 (amended) and 44. Available at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm.
-Vienna Convention, Article 27:A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.
-Vienna Convention, Article 19, available at available at http://www.jus.uio.no/lm/un.law.of.treaties.convention.1969/19.html; also
Louis Henkin, U.S. Ratification of Human Rights Conventions: The Ghost of Senator Bricker, The American Journal of International Law, Vol 89 No 2, 343-344 (Apr. 1995):
Reservations designed to reject any obligation to rise above existing law and practice are of dubious propriety: if states generally entered such reservations, the convention would be futile. The object and purpose of the human rights conventions, it would seem, are to promote respect for human rights by having countries—mutually—assume legal obligations to respect and ensure recognized rights in accordance with international standards. Even friends of the United States have objected that its reservations are incompatible with that object and purpose and are therefore invalid.
…By adhering to human rights conventions subject to these reservations, the United States, it is charged, is pretending to assume international obligations but in fact is undertaking nothing.
-United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 37(a):
No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 8 (2006): The right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (arts. 19; 28, para. 2; and 37, inter alia), CRC/C/GC/8, (2006):
The Committee is issuing this general comment to highlight the obligation of all State parties to move quickly to prohibit and eliminate all corporal punishment…. Addressing the widespread acceptance or tolerance of corporal punishment of children and eliminating it, in the family, schools and other settings, is … an obligation of State parties under the Convention.
-United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 37(a), (supra)
-The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Guide for Children and Young People (April 2008), available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/04/01081649/1:You have the right to choose your own religion and beliefs. Your parents should help you think about this.
Geraldine Van Bueren, International Rights of the Child, Section B, University of London, 29-30 (2006):
Unlike earlier treaties, the Convention on the Rights of the Child does not include a provision providing for parents to have their children educated in conformity with their parents’ beliefs. In addition, the child’s right to freedom of expression and the right of the parents to initially give direction and later only guidance, strengthens the argument that children are entitled to participate in decisions so that their education conforms to their own convictions.... The second question is whether a child has the right to choose a religion.
Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, parents do have the right to provide direction to the child. Such parental power, however, is subject to two restraints:
• First, such direction should take into account the evolving capacities of the child, as expressly required by the Convention.
• Second, the direction should not be so unyielding that it equals coercion.
It can also be argued that the right to freedom of religion in the Convention on the Rights of the Child ought to be read together with article 12 which gives the child the right to express his own views in the matter of choice of religion.
-United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 3(1): In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
Geraldine Van Bueren, International Rights of the Child, Section D, University of London, 46 (2006):
Best interests provides decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child's or the parents', providing it is based on considerations of the best interests of the child. Thus, the Convention challenges the concept that family life is always in the best interests of children and that parents are always capable of deciding what is best for children.
-United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 12(1): State parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group: Human rights law also contains provisions obliging states to implement its rules, whether immediately or progressively. States must adopt a variety of legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures that may be necessary to give effect to the rights provided for in the various treaties. This includes providing for a remedy before domestic courts for violations of specific rights and ensuring that the remedy is effective.
Geraldine Van Bueren, International Rights of the Child, Section D, 137: State parties are obliged to assure to children who are capable of forming views the rights to express those views in all matter affecting the child and to give those views due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.By incorporating a reference to all matters affecting the child there is no longer a traditional area of exclusive parental or family decision making.
-ibid., at 36:[T]he United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, criticized Egypt and Indonesia on the proportion of their budget spent on defence, as compared to the proportion spent on children’s social expenditure.
The Committee also criticized Austria, Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and others failing to spend enough tax dollars on social welfare for children:
Paragraph 46, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Austria, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 38th sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.251 (2005).
Paragraph 17 and 18, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Australia, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 40th sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.268 (2005).
Paragraphs 18 and 19, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Denmark, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 40th sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/DNK/CO/3 (2005).
Paragraph 10, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 31st sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.188(2002).
-United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 31(1): States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
-American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law: Children's Rights in America: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Compared with United States Law, p. 182.
-Paragraph 52, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Ireland, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 43rd sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/IRL/CO/2 (2006):
While noting that social, personal and health education is incorporated into the curricula of secondary schools, the Committee is concerned that adolescents have insufficient access to necessary information on reproductive health. The education is optional and parents can exempt their children.
Paragraph 14, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 8th sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.34 (1995).
-Katie Hatziavramidis, Parental Involvement Laws for Abortion in the United States and the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child: Can International Law Secure the Right to Choose for Minors?, 16 Tex. J. Women & L. 185, 202-203 (Spring 2007):
The unmistakable trend in the United States is to consistently increase anti-choice legislation, particularly with respect to minors. Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United States holds a strong possibility of assisting minors who seek abortions without parental interference.  The Convention may offer the best hope for securing adolescent reproductive freedoms on a global level. If enough diplomatic pressure were exerted on the United States to compel it to ratify the treaty, the CRC could provide significant improvements in the outlook for reproductive freedom for minors.
Paragraph 3, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Columbia, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 42nd sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/COL/CO/3 (2006):The Committee notes with appreciation…decisions of the Constitutional Court on…the partial decriminalization of abortion.
Paragraph 55, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Chile, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 44th sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/CHL/CO/3 (2007):The Committee…is concerned over the high rate of teenage pregnancies, the criminalization of the termination of pregnancies in all circumstances….
SOME ARTICLES OF THE TREATY
Article 3: The Best Interest Principle
It’s usually looked upon as a positive means of holding countries accountable to protect children. But the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is so much more than that.When the UNCRC was brought up for ratification in 1995, the core group of Senators in opposition concluded that this treaty marked a significant departure from the originally constituted relationship between state and child. They found, in fact, that it was literally incompatible with the right of parents to raise their children as well as a wholesale giveaway of U.S. sovereignty.
Widespread concerns about the UNCRC stem from the treaty’s repeated emphasis on one key principle used to guide all decisions affecting children: consideration of the best interests of the child.This principle underlies all of the rights found in the Convention. Article 3 of the CRC provides that in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.In other words, policies affecting children at all levels of society and government should have the child’s best interest as the primary concern.The trouble occurs when this principle appears as a guiding principle for parents in article 18(1), which states that Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.
Who knows best?
The Convention’s emphasis on the best interests principle is a sharp break from American law.In the 1993 case of Reno v. Flores, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the best interests of the child is not the legal standard that governs parents or guardians exercise of their custody. In the 2000 case of Troxel v. Granville, the Court struck down a grandparent visitation statute because decisions about the child were made solely on the judge’s determination of the child’s best interests, without regard to the wishes of the parent.The Court’s decisions in Reno and Troxel reflect a fundamental tenet of American family law, which recognizes that parents typically act in the best interests of their children. Indeed, United States case law is replete with examples of parents fighting for the best interests of their children, ranging from a child’s right to an education to the right of personal injury compensation. Except in cases where a parent has been proven to be unfit, American law presumes that the parent is acting in the best interests of the child, and defers to that parent’s decision.
The UNCRC’s Brave New World
But the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child changes all of that. The treaty supplants this traditional presumption in favor of parents with a new presumption in favor of the state.According to Geraldine van Bueren, an international scholar who assisted in the drafting of the CRC, the language of best interests provides decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child’s or the parents’, providing it is based on considerations of the best interests of the child.So instead of placing the burden of proof on the government to prove that a parent is unfit, the Convention places the burden of proof on – yes, parents. Any parent who claims that other interests might just be more important than the state’s characterization of the best interest of the child could end up battling the state to protect their rights as a parent.
Where do we go from here?
There is a solution to this dilemma. The strongest, most effective way of protecting children and parents from an alarming state-based agenda is to amend the Constitution to protect parental rights. This can only take place through the concerted efforts of millions of dedicated parents across the United States.
Two immediate action items
Maybe you’ve already signed the petition to protect parental rights. If so, we encourage you to take the next step of telling your friends about this important issue. And if you haven’t yet joined the campaign, consider joining today. Article written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, Feb. 12, 2008.
Article 9: A Child's Right to a Family -- Almost
Last week, we began our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) by looking at the Convention’s central focus on the best interests of the child,which allows the government to substitute its will for that of the parents. This principle is significant as we turn our attention to one of the first rights that the CRC grants to children: the right to remain in their family.
THE RIGHT TO A FAMILY… ALMOST
At first glance, Article 9 of the CRC may appear harmless and even idyllic: a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. But despite references to competent authorities and judicial review,a closer examination quickly reveals that the emphasis on the child’s best interests grants the government broad latitude to intervene in the family.There are many broad and diverse opinions when it comes to what makes a good parent. Parents may read a popular parenting book, attend a parenting class, or turn to their own parents or a trusted mentor for advice. Likewise, there is also a broad range of opinions when it comes to when a child should be removed from the home. Clearly a child who is being sexually or physically abused should be saved from that circumstance, but what about more complex issues? Should children be separated from their parents if they are spanked? What about parents who are disabled or have a physical handicap? What about families who are too poor to provide the best quality of living for their children? There are many answers that could be given about what is in the best interests of the child,depending on the person who is being asked.
This is why the Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that the best interests test could only be applied when a family is broken, such as in divorce proceedings when the dispute is between two parents. When the family is intact, however, courts are required to prove that a parent is unfit to raise the children, which requires a state to satisfy a much higher burden of proof. Article 9 destroys this distinction and uses the same test for families that are broken and families that are intact. By analogy, the best interests standard treats the government as if it were the other parent in a divorce-proceeding, placed on the same footing as the child’s natural parents in a battle for custody of the child.
TRAMPLING ON PARENTAL RIGHTS
In 1980, the Supreme Court of Washington heard the case of a fifteen-year-old girl who had enlisted state social workers in her quest to live separately from her parents. The girl had resisted her parents’ efforts to discipline her through grounding, and claimed that there was conflict within her home,though when asked by a judge about the nature of this conflict, the girl simply replied: I just feel that there’s a communication gap there.In an imposing display of judicial power, the court ruled that the conflict between the parents and the child was so severe that it justified the child being placed under the custody of the state, even though the parents were fit and their behavioral standards were not unreasonable.Twenty-eight years later, families in the United States are still at risk of losing their children if the government believes it can do a better job. In 2004, a social worker hastily accused the parents of one-year-old Julia of child abuse after learning that she had suffered fifteen bone fractures in a period of five months. The parents had no previous record of abuse, the government never presented evidence that they had ever harmed their daughter, and several medical experts testified that the little girl had a brittle bone disease that was responsible for the fractures. But despite the evidence, the family court took little Julia away from her family and placed her in a foster home, citing her best interests.Julia remained in foster care until this past December, when her family finally won her back. She is now four-years-old, and has spent the last three years living with strangers in a foster home, but her family is overjoyed to finally welcome her home.More recently an autistic boy was forcibly removed from his home despite the evidence being clear that the parents have always stood by and tried to help their son.Read about this tragic story on our blog here.
Julia’s happy ending was three long years in the coming - all because of government officials who claimed to act in the best interests of the child, without bothering to prove that Julia’s parents were unfit to raise her. Her story is a warning of the insidious sub-plot that runs through Article 9 of the CRC, which grants the government a dangerous power over the lives of its citizens.But Julila’s story is more than just a warning. It is also a reminder that the battle for parental rights is more than just a battle to change the Constitution: it is a battle to protect real people, to save young lives that are in no danger, except from the government that claims to protect them. Innocent children and loving parents deserve far better than justice that comes three years too late.Please forward this message onto your friends and urge them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.Article written by Peter Kamakawiwoole, Feb.25, 2008.
In Re Sumey, 94 Wash. 2d 757 (Wash. S.C. 1980)
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Family wins custody battle in court
http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=647184&category=REGION&newsdate=12/14/2007 Autistic Boy Removed from his Home Because the Government Disagreed with the Parents.
Article 13, part 1: Homeschooling Illegal?
This week, we continue our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by considering Article 13, which states that the child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.The crux of this article is the child’s right to information.Children access information through what they are taught and what they discover on their own. This week, we will consider the Convention’s implications on what children are taught.
Article 13 is far more sweeping than any right articulated by our Constitution or Supreme Court, guaranteeing all children the right to seek information of all kinds. International author and commentator Marian Koren explains that although the state should generally refrain from interfering in the family,the State also has a positive obligation in supporting the possibilities for children to seek information or to express their views.Ultimately,it is the duty of the State to respect the rights of the child and his freedom to thought, conscience, belief, expression and opinion. (emphasis in original)Although the United States has not yet ratified the CRC, there is a growing sentiment that the state should bear the responsibility for ensuring that children are properly educated, instead of parents. A striking example occurred this past February, when a California court declared in In Re Rachel L. that parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,unless they are certified by the state to teach. In so ruling, the court declined to follow the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision in Wisconsin v. Yoder and its 2000 ruling in Troxel v. Granville, which guarantee parents the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
Rachel L., like Article 13, presumes that it is ultimately the state’s duty to ensure that the child’s right to information is respected. The California court quoted repeatedly from an earlier California decision in 1952, which concluded that children must be educated in traditional public or private schools, subject to state standards and regulations: anything less would take from the state all-efficient authority to regulate the education of the prospective voting population.(emphasis added)The language of all-efficient authority is not the language of liberty. According to Dr. Martin Guggenheim, Professor of Law at New York University,our future as a democracy depends on nurturing diversity of minds. The legal system’s insistence on private ordering of familial life ultimately guards against state control of its citizens. There may be questions over the best way to educate children, but according to Guggenheim, the American answer is that unless the answers are so clear that there is no room to disagree, parents are free to decide for themselves what they believe will best serve their children.Thankfully, the public outcry to this decision led California courts to decide to rehear the Rachel L. decision this summer, allowing parents - at least for the moment - to continue teaching their children at home. But only time will tell whether the California courts will have a change of heart, or whether the damaging decision will simply be repeated. The strong words of the first Rachel L. decision suggest that this is a real possibility.America’s legal heritage has consistently held that parents, not the state, have the right to decide whether their children would best benefit from public schooling, a private school, or even learning at home, but this recent decision from California highlights just how tenuous this freedom can be. If we wish to secure these freedoms, we must act now to place parental rights beyond the reach of judges by protecting them within the Constitution.Article written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, April 21, 2008.
Marian Koren, The Right to Information: Too Vague to Be True? in Monitoring Children’s Rights, Eugeen Verhellen, ed. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1996): 675.In Re Rachel L., 73 Cal.Rptr.3d 77 (Ca.App. 2008)(VACATED)Martin Guggenheim, What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights (2005): 24-27, 43.
Article 14: Religion Is Child Abuse?
This week, we continue our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with Article 14, which says that the government shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,and shall also respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.Proponents of the CRC, such as law professor Jonathan Todres, has commented that Article 14 provides for the role of parents in teaching religion to their children, while ensuring that the government does not impose restrictions on any child’s right to freedom of religion. Nevertheless, a deeper understanding of this provision reveals that the purportedly pro-parent language is really another avenue for government power, not a shield to protect parental rights.
How much direction is too much direction?
On its face, this article may seem to support the role of parents, but such a position is merely wishful thinking. The Convention merely recognizes the parents’ primary role to provide direction to the child, and there is considerable disagreement on what this direction should entail. For example, according to Faulkner University law professor John Garman, Article 14 is one of the few clauses in the CRC that actually brings the parents into play to provide direction to the child.But another CRC proponent, law professor Cynthia Price Cohen, disagrees. According to Cohen, one of the earliest drafts of Article 14 included two paragraphs that protected the right of parents to guide the exercise of this right and to respect the liberty of the child and his parents with regard to the child’s religious education. When the final text was adopted, however, all language protecting the rights of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of the child was omitted. This omission makes no sense if the purpose of Article 14 was to protect the rights of parents to instruct their children.
Religious indoctrination as abuse?
The danger to parents is compounded by a growing movement among American and international academics to prevent parents from indoctrinating their children with religious beliefs. For example, British scientist and bestselling author Richard Dawkins recently described religious indoctrination of young children as a form of child abuse.Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, Dawkins writes,I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place.Dawkins is not alone in his analysis. In 1998, bestselling author and professor of psychology Nicholas Humphrey, teaching at New York University at the time, argued for censorship of parents, who have no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith.Both authors advocate an outside solution to protect children from indoctrination: intervention by the government. In The God Delusion, Dawkins quotes from Humphrey, who writes that children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense, and we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. Humphrey bluntly adds that parents rights have no status in ethics and should have none in law – parenting is a privilege that operates within parameters set by society to protect the child’s fundamental rights to self determination.If parents step beyond these boundaries by indoctrinating their children,the contract lapses – and it is then the duty of those who granted the privilege to intervene.(emphasis added)
Some have called for international talks on whether children should be involved in religion. Innaiah Narisetti of the Center for Inquiry (a U.N. NGO) said, The time has come to debate the participation of children in religious institutions,continues Narisetti.While some might see it as a matter better left to parents, the negative influence of religion and its subsequent contribution to child abuse from religious beliefs and practices requires us to ask whether organized religion is an institution that needs limits set on how early it should have access to children.Narisetti also said that The UN must then take a clear stand on the issue of the forced involvement of children in religious practices; it must speak up for the rights of children and not the automatic right of parents and societies to pass on religious beliefs, and it must reexamine whether an organization like the Vatican should belong to the UN.
The fundamental interest of parents
This aggressive censorship of parents captures the true spirit of Article 14. According to law professor Bruce Hafen, the language of Article 14 views parents as trustees of the state who have only such authority and discretion as the state may grant in order to protect the child’s independent rights,and is consistent with what the state deems as the child’s evolving capacities.Such a calloused view of parents stands in stark contrast to our own legal tradition, which has long upheld the fundamental interest of parents, as contrasted with that of the State, to guide the religious future and education of their children.America’s legal heritage has consistently held that parents have a fundamental right to teach their children about religion, shielded from well-intentioned but intrusive interference from the state. The danger of Article 14 is that it disrupts this crucial balance, tipping the scales in favor of the government and those who claim to know better in our society. If we wish to secure these freedoms, we must act now to place parental rights into the text of our Constitution.Please forward this message onto your friends and urge them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.Article written by Peter Kamakawiwoole, May 5, 2008.
Jonathan Todres,Analyzing the Opposition to the U.S. Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child,in The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (2006): 24.Cynthia Price Cohen, Role of the United States in Drafting the Convention on the Rights of the Child,Loyola Poverty Law Journal (1998): 30-31.
Bruce Hafen, Abandoning Children to their Autonomy, Harvard International Law Journal (1996): 470.Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 232 (1972).
Article 18, Part 1: Government-Supervised Parenting
During our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, most of the articles we have considered have focused on the relationship between the state and the child. Article 18 is therefore unique in its emphasis on the responsibilities of parents, and the supervised relationship that these parents have with the state.
Article 18 is also one of the more complex articles in the Convention, divided into three sections that address distinct facets of the relationship between parents and the state. This week, we will focus on the first section, which says that States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child, and that parents are primarily responsible for their children. As parents,the best interests of the child will be their basic concern.The danger of Article 18 is that it places an enforceable responsibility upon parents to make child-rearing decisions based on the best interests of the child, subjecting parental decisions to second-guessing at the discretion of government agents.
Obligations on Parents?
Article 18 stands out because it affects not only the relationship between the UN and the nation that ratifies the Convention, but also the relationship between private individuals and their government: a relationship that is usually changed through legislation at a local level. In fact, the UN’s Implementation Handbook for the CRC explains that when article 18 was being drafted, the delegate from the United States of America commented that it was rather strange to set down responsibilities for private individuals, since the Convention could only be binding on ratifying governments.But instead of paying heed to this objection, the drafters of the CRC rejected it, making the Convention enforceable against private individuals and requiring that parental rights be translated into principles of parental responsibilities. The Handbook itself notes that if the actions of parents could be shown to impair the child’s physical, psychological, or intellectual development, the parents – not the state – can be found to be failing in their responsibilities. (emphasis added).The end result is parental involvement under state supervision. According to Chris Revaz, Article 18 recognizes that parents and legal guardians have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child, with the best interest of the child as their basic concern, but also invests in the state a secondary responsibility to provide appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in meeting their responsibilities.Roger Levesque opines that such supervision attempts to regulate the relationship between child and state, essentially relegating the role of parental and familial involvement to a position of secondary importance.
Enforcing the Best Interest Standard
As a previous article in our series has already discussed, the best interests of the child is a significant theme in the Convention, providing decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child’s or the parents’.The inevitable result, according to Levesque, is that by placing the burden on the State to take affirmative steps toward ensuring the fulfillment of children’s rights, the Convention assumes responsibility and invokes the State as the ensurer and protector of rights.This point is echoed by Law Professor Bruce Hafen, who warns that the Convention’s emphasis on the best interests of the child creates an arguably new standard for state intervention in intact families.According to Hafen, legal authors in Australia have already suggested that under the CRC, parental childrearing rights are subject to external scrutiny and may be overridden when the parents are not acting in the best interests of the child.Hafen warns that this conclusion – though inapposite to America’s cultural and legal heritage – is consistent with the CRC’s apparent intent to place children and parents on the same plane as co-autonomous persons in their relationship with the state.This is a far cry from America’s legal heritage, which has long held that parents have a fundamental right to oversee the upbringing and education of their children, free from government control. Article 18 makes it plain, however, that under the Convention, it is the state that is ultimately responsible for the fate of its children, and has authority to supervise its parents.Article written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, June 24, 2008.
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm.Cris Revaz,An Introduction to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child,in The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: An Analysis of Treaty Provisions and Implications on U.S. Ratification (2006): 10-11.Roger Levesque, International Children’s Rights Grow Up: Implications for American Jurisprudence and Domestic Policy (1994): 214.Bruce and Jonathan Hafen, Abandoning Children to their Autonomy (1996): 461-462, 464.United Nations Children’s Fund, Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (2002): 245-246, 46, 246.
Giving the State a Grasp on Your Kids.Part II of an in-depth look at Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
When Kevin and Peggy Lewis volunteered their child for special education services, they never dreamed they would need a lawyer if they wanted to change their minds.
After their son developed several learning issues, including an inability to focus in class and difficulty processing and understanding oral and written communication, the Lewis's turned to the Cohasset Middle School in Massachusetts for help.1 But after a year in the school's special education program, their son was not improving academically, and felt harassed by school officials who were closely monitoring and reporting on his behavior - everything from chewing gum in class to forgetting his pencil.2 Initially, the Lewis's requested that the school pay for private tutoring, but as their relationship with the administration continued to decline, the exasperated parents finally decided to withdraw their son from the school's program and to pay for private tutoring out of their own pockets.3 Apparently, that option wasn't good enough for the school.In December 2007, Cohasset hauled Kevin and Peggy into court, claiming that the parents were interfering with their son's constitutional right to a free and appropriate education.4 After a day-and-a-half of argument, the judge sided with the school in an unwritten opinion.5 This is truly devastating to all parents who have children on an IEP,Peggy said, referring to the individual education plans for special education students.What it means in fact when you sign an IEP for your child, you sign away your parental rights. . . . Now Cohasset has their grasp on my kid.6
Help for Parents
At first glance, it seems odd that a school would take parents to court to compel them to accept state services. After all, as observers of the case commented, schools usually objects when parents demand more aid for their children, not when the parents try to withdraw their child from the program.7 But according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ,once parents have asked the state for assistance in raising their children, the state has both the responsibility and the authority to see the job through - even if the parents no longer support the state's solution.In addition to imposing legally-enforceable responsibilities on parents, Article 18 of the Convention also requires states to render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities, and to establish institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.8 At first glance, the offer of assistance to parents may appear harmless, and even generous, but appearances are often deceiving. While the government may claim to offer services to parents on a purely voluntary basis, parents soon discover that government assistance isn't always free.
When voluntary doesn't mean voluntary
For examples of this dangerous trend, one need look no further than the nation of Sweden, the first western nation to ratify the Convention.In addition to mandatory sex-education, free child care for working parents, and a national ban on corporal punishment, Sweden's local municipalities are also required by law to offer parents a broad array of voluntary services that promote the favourable development of children and young persons.9 Unfortunately, according to Swedish attorney and activist Ruby Harrold-Claesson, voluntary care in no way is voluntary since the social workers threaten the parents to either give up their child voluntarily or the child will be taken into compulsory care.10 If the state determines at a later date that the voluntary services are not helping, the municipality has both the responsibility and the authority to physically take a child into care and place him in a foster home, a children's home or another suitable institution.11 According to Harrold-Claesson, since the emergence of such programs,children are being taken from their parents on a more routine basis.12 Unfortunately, these disturbing trends are not confined to Sweden. Even here in the United States, voluntary services for parents are often the first step toward state control of families.
Holding Children Hostage
As a young mother of three,Katianne H.faced tremendous difficulties in making ends meet.13 Although she was never unemployed, Katianne had difficulty putting her job ahead of the needs of her young family. So when her three-month-old son Xavier developed severe allergies to milk and soy protein, her pediatrician recommended that she relieve some of the pressure placed upon her by requesting that her son be placed in temporary out-of-home care.14 Thinking such a placement was truly voluntary, Katianne agreed.Within a few months, Xavier was weaned from the feeding tube to a bottle, but when Katianne sought to bring him home, the state refused.It would take more than two-and-a-half years - and a decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court - before Katianne would win her baby boy back.15 In a unanimous ruling, the court said the child should have been returned to his mother as soon as his medical condition was resolved. Instead, state authorities drew up a detailed plan requiring the mother to maintain steady employment, attend therapy and parenting classes, pay her bills on time, keep her house clean, improve her time management, and be cooperative with social workers. When she failed to fully comply with all these obligations within fifteen months, her parental rights were terminated.16 The Court condemned the state for keeping Xavier out of the home once the reasons for his removal had been resolved,and warned that a child should never be held hostage to compel a parent's compliance with a case plan when the child could safely be returned home.17
A familiar pattern
According to studies, scholars, lawyers, and advocates, voluntary placement in the United States - like voluntary placement in Sweden - is often the first step toward the state getting a grasp on children. Here are just a few examples from within our own borders:
·A 1994 study in New Jersey found that parents often report signing placement agreements under the threat that court action against them will be taken if they do not sign,particularly parents who have language or other barriers making it difficult or impossible for them to read and understand the agreement they were signing.18 There are also no clear legal standards to protect a family once it has entered the system,even if it enters voluntarily: existing legislation grants judges and caseworkers virtually unrestricted dispositional authority.19
·In 1998, Melville D. Miller, President and General Counsel of Legal Services of New Jersey, warned that when parents sign voluntary placement agreements, parents give the state custody of their children without any decision by the court that they have abused or neglected them.20 In addition, voluntary placement often waives a family's opportunity for free legal representation in court, leaving families - particularly poor families - with no assistance in advocating for what they need when disputes with the state arise.21
·In 1999, Dr. Frank J. Dyer, author and member of the American Board of Professional Psychology, warned that parents can be intimidated into voluntarily signing placement agreements out of a fear that they will lose their children,and that in his professional counseling experience, birth parents frequently complain that if they had known from the outset that the document that they were signing for temporary placement of their children into foster care gave the state such enormous power over them, they would have refused to sign and would have sought to resist the placement legally.22
·The Child Welfare League of America, in its 2004 Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System, reassures parents that the state do[es] not have to pursue termination of parental rights,as long as the state feels that there is a compelling reason why terminating parental rights would not be in the best interest of the child.23 If parents and social workers disagree about the fate of a child in voluntary placement, the CWLA simply states that if you decide to bring your child home, and the agency believes that this would interfere with your child's safety, it has the right to ask the court to intervene. You also have the right to explain to the court why your child's safety would not be in jeopardy if he came home.24
·The National Crittenton Foundation, in a web booklet published for young, expectant mothers who are currently in the foster care system, warns in large, bold print that by signing a voluntary placement agreement,you will most likely lose all custody of your baby, even if you want to regain custody of your baby after you turn 18.25
Never Too Late
If one can learn anything from the stories of the Lewises, Katianne, and the plight of Swedish parents, it is that the government wields incredible power over parents who have voluntarily accepted its aid when caring for their children. These parents are often poor, struggling, and searching for the means to keep their families together, but instead of helping them, the open hand of the state can easily become a clenched fist, either bullying parents into submission or forcibly taking their children from them.Thankfully, it is not too late to protect children and their families by protecting the fundamental right of parents to raise their children, and to reject government programs that are unneeded or unwanted. The state should only interfere with the family for the most compelling reasons - not because loving parents were misled about the true nature of voluntary care.Please consider sending this message to your friends and urging them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.This article was written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, Jan. 29, 2009.
1. James Vazniz,Cohasset schools win case v. parents,The Boston Herald (December 15, 2007)
2. James Vazniz, Parents want son out of special ed, The Boston Herald (December 13, 2007)
3. Vazniz, Cohasset schools win case v. parents.
4. Vazniz, Parents want son out of special ed.
5. Vazniz, Cohasset schools win case v. parents.
6. Vazniz, Cohasset schools win case v. parents.
7. Vazniz, Cohasset schools win case v. parents.
8. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 18.2.
9. Ruby Harrold-Claesson, Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims,The Nordic Committee on Human Rights (2005)
10. Harrold-Claesson, Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims.
11. Harrold-Claesson, Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims.
12. Harrold-Claesson, Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims.
13. Katianne is the name given to the mother by the Nebraska Supreme Court, which decided her case in In Re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d 13 (Neb. 2007).
14. In re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d at 21.
15. Nebraska Supreme Court returns boy to mother,Omaha World Herald (October 19, 2007)
16. Nebraska Supreme Court returns boy to mother.
17. In re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d at 26.
18. Emerich Thoma,If you lived here, you'd be home now: The business of foster care, Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, Vol. 10 (1998)
19. Thoma, If you lived here, you'd be home now.
20. Melville D. Miller, You and the Law in New Jersey (Rutgers University Press, 1998): 200.
21. Miller, You and the Law in New Jersey,200.
22. Frank J. Dyer, Psychological Consultation in Parental Rights Cases(The Guilford Press, 1999): 26.
23. Child Welfare League of America (CWLA),Placements to Obtain Treatment and Services for Children,A Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System (2004): 5
24. CWLA, Placements to Obtain Treatment and Services for Children,p. 5.
25. The National Crittenton Foundation, Crittenton Booklet for Web,pp. 11-12.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,(DEMONIC ANGELS IN HIGH PLACES) against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.(SPIRTIUAL DEMONIC PERSONS)
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
LUKE 4:5-7(BECAUSE SATAN OFFERS WORLD POWER, WORLD ORDERERS HAVE ACCEPTED SATANS GIFT)
5 And the devil, taking him (JESUS) up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.James Paul Warburg appearing before the Senate on 7th February 1950
Like a famous WWII Belgian General,Paul Henry Spock said in 1957:We need no commission, we have already too many. What we need is a man who is great enough to be able to keep all the people in subjection to himself and to lift us out of the economic bog into which we threaten to sink. Send us such a man. Be he a god or a devil, we will accept him.And today, sadly, the world is indeed ready for such a man.
Bilderberg Plan For Remaking the Global Political Economy 2009
Politics / Global Financial System May 26, 2009 - 06:19 PM By: Global_Research
Andrew G. Marshall writes: From May 14-17, the global elite met in secret in Greece for the yearly Bilderberg conference, amid scattered and limited global media attention. Roughly 130 of the world’s most powerful individuals came together to discuss the pressing issues of today, and to chart a course for the next year. The main topic of discussion at this years meeting was the global financial crisis, which is no surprise, considering the list of conference attendees includes many of the primary architects of the crisis, as well as those poised to solve it.
The Agenda: The Restructuring of the Global Political Economy
Before the meeting began, Bilderberg investigative journalist Daniel Estulin reported on the main item of the agenda, which was leaked to him by his sources inside. Though such reports cannot be verified, his sources, along with those of veteran Bilderberg tracker, Jim Tucker, have proven to be shockingly accurate in the past. Apparently, the main topic of discussion at this years meeting was to address the economic crisis, in terms of undertaking, Either a prolonged, agonizing depression that dooms the world to decades of stagnation, decline and poverty ... or an intense-but-shorter depression that paves the way for a new sustainable economic world order, with less sovereignty but more efficiency.Other items on the agenda included a plan to continue to deceive millions of savers and investors who believe the hype about the supposed up-turn in the economy. They are about to be set up for massive losses and searing financial pain in the months ahead, and There will be a final push for the enactment of Lisbon Treaty, pending on Irish voting YES on the treaty in Sept or October, which would give the European Union massive powers over its member nations, essentially making it a supranational regional government, with each country relegated to more of a provincial status. Shortly after the meetings began, Bilderberg tracker Jim Tucker reported that his inside sources revealed that the group has on its agenda, the plan for a global department of health, a global treasury and a shortened depression rather than a longer economic downturn.Tucker reported that Swedish Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister, Carl Bildt,Made a speech advocating turning the World Health Organization into a world department of health, advocating turning the IMF into a world department of treasury, both of course under the auspices of the United Nations.Further, Tucker reported that,Treasury Secretary Geithner and Carl Bildt touted a shorter recession not a 10-year recession ... partly because a 10 year recession would damage Bilderberg industrialists themselves, as much as they want to have a global department of labor and a global department of treasury, they still like making money and such a long recession would cost them big bucks industrially because nobody is buying their toys.....the tilt is towards keeping it short.After the meetings finished, Daniel Estulin reported that,One of Bilderberg’s primary concerns according to Estulin is the danger that their zeal to reshape the world by engineering chaos in order to implement their long term agenda could cause the situation to spiral out of control and eventually lead to a scenario where Bilderberg and the global elite in general are overwhelmed by events and end up losing their control over the planet.
On May 21, the Macedonian International News Agency reported that, A new Kremlin report on the shadowy Bilderberg Group, who this past week held their annual meeting in Greece, states that the West’s financial, political and corporate elite emerged from their conclave after coming to an agreement that in order to continue their drive towards a New World Order dominated by the Western Powers, the US Dollar has to be totally destroyed.Further, the same Kremlin report apparently stated that,most of the West’s wealthiest elite convened at an unprecedented secret meeting in New York called for and led by David Rockefeller,to plot the demise of the US Dollar.
The Secret Meeting of Billionaires
The meeting being referred to was a secret meeting where, A dozen of the richest people in the world met for an unprecedented private gathering at the invitation of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to talk about giving away money, held at Rockefeller University, and included notable philanthropists such as Gates, Buffett, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Eli Broad, Oprah Winfrey, David Rockefeller Sr. and Ted Turner. One attendee stated that, It wasn’t secret,but that, It was meant to be a gathering among friends and colleagues. It was something folks have been discussing for a long time. Bill and Warren hoped to do this occasionally. They sent out an invite and people came.Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer said, Given how serious these economic times are, I don't think it's surprising these philanthropists came together, and that, They don't typically get together and ask each other for advice.The three hosts of the meeting were Buffet, Gates and David Rockefeller. [See: Appendix 2: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting].Bilderberg founding member David Rockefeller, Honourary Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Honourary Chairman and Founder of the Trilateral Commission, Chairman of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society, former Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan.At the meeting, participants steadfastly refused to reveal the content of the discussion. Some cited an agreement to keep the meeting confidential. Spokesmen for Mr. Buffett, Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Gates, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Soros and Ms. Winfrey and others dutifully declined comment, though some confirmed attendance. Reports indicate that, They discussed how to address the global slump and expand their charitable activities in the downturn.
The UK newspaper The Times reported that these leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population,and that they discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.Interestingly,The informal afternoon session was so discreet that some of the billionaires’ aides were told they were at security briefings.Further, The billionaires were each given 15 minutes to present their favourite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an umbrella cause that could harness their interests, and what was decided upon was that, they agreed that overpopulation was a priority. Ultimately,a consensus emerged that they would back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat, and that,They need to be independent of government agencies, which are unable to head off the disaster we all see looming.One guest at the meeting said that,They wanted to speak rich to rich without worrying anything they said would end up in the newspapers, painting them as an alternative world government.
The Leaked Report
Bilderberg investigative reporter Daniel Estulin reportedly received from his inside sources a 73-page Bilderberg Group meeting wrap-up for participants, which revealed that there were some serious disagreements among the participants. The hardliners are for dramatic decline and a severe, short-term depression, but there are those who think that things have gone too far and that the fallout from the global economic cataclysm cannot be accurately calculated if Henry Kissinger's model is chosen. Among them is Richard Holbrooke. What is unknown at this point: if Holbrooke's point of view is, in fact, Obama's.The consensus view was that the recession would get worse, and that recovery would be relatively slow and protracted,and to look for these terms in the press over the next weeks and months. Estulin reported, that some leading European bankers faced with the specter of their own financial mortality are extremely concerned, calling this high wire act unsustainable, and saying that US budget and trade deficits could result in the demise of the dollar.One Bilderberger said that,the banks themselves don't know the answer to when (the bottom will be hit).Everyone appeared to agree,that the level of capital needed for the American banks may be considerably higher than the US government suggested through their recent stress tests.Further,someone from the IMF pointed out that its own study on historical recessions suggests that the US is only a third of the way through this current one; therefore economies expecting to recover with resurgence in demand from the US will have a long wait.One attendee stated that, Equity losses in 2008 were worse than those of 1929,and that,The next phase of the economic decline will also be worse than the 30s, mostly because the US economy carries about $20 trillion of excess debt. Until that debt is eliminated, the idea of a healthy boom is a mirage.
According to Jim Tucker, Bilderberg is working on setting up a summit in Israel from June 8-11, where the world’s leading regulatory experts can address the current economic situation in one forum. In regards to the proposals put forward by Carl Bildt to create a world treasury department and world department of health under the United Nations, the IMF is said to become the World Treasury, while the World Health Organization is to become the world department of health. Bildt also reaffirmed using climate change as a key challenge to pursue Bilderberg goals, referring to the economic crisis as a once-in-a-generation crisis while global warming is a once-in-a-millennium challenge.Bildt also advocated expanding NAFTA through the Western hemisphere to create an American Union, using the EU as a model of integration.The IMF reportedly sent a report to Bilderberg advocating its rise to becoming the World Treasury Department, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner enthusiastically endorsed the plan for a World Treasury Department, although he received no assurance that he would become its leader.Geithner further said, Our hope is that we can work with Europe on a global framework, a global infrastructure which has appropriate global oversight.
Bilderberg’s Plan in Action?
Reorganizing the Federal Reserve
Following the Bilderberg meeting, there were several interesting announcements made by key participants, specifically in regards to reorganizing the Federal Reserve. On May 21, it was reported that US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is believed to be leaning heavily towards giving the Federal Reserve a central role in future regulation, and it is understood that the Fed would take on some of the work currently undertaken by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. On Wednesday, May 20, Geithner spoke before the Senate Banking Committee, at which he stated that, there are important indications that our financial system is starting to heal. In regards to regulating the financial system, Geithner stated that, we must ensure that international rules for financial regulation are consistent with the high standards we will be implementing in the United States. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.Bloomberg reported that, The Obama administration may call for stripping the Securities and Exchange Commission of some of its powers under a regulatory reorganization,and that, The proposal, still being drafted, is likely to give the Federal Reserve more authority to supervise financial firms deemed too big to fail. The Fed may inherit some SEC functions, with others going to other agencies.Interestingly, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro’s agency has been mostly absent from negotiations within the administration on the regulatory overhaul, and she has expressed frustration about not being consulted.It was reported that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was set to discuss proposals to change financial regulations last night at a dinner with National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers [who was also present at Bilderberg], former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker [also at Bilderberg], ex-SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor who heads the congressional watchdog group for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Federal Reserve is a privately owned central bank, owned by its shareholders, consisting of the major banks the make up each regional Fed bank (the largest of which is JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York). This plan would essentially give a privately owned bank, which has governmental authority, the ability to regulate the banks that own it. It’s the equivalent of getting a Colonel to guard a General to whom he is directly answerable. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. It is literally granting ownership over the financial regulator to the banks being regulated.
As Market Watch, an online publication of the Wall Street Journal, reported, The Federal Reserve, created nearly 100 years ago in the aftermath of a financial panic, could be transformed into a different agency as the Obama administration reinvents the way government interacts with the financial system.Referring to Geithner’s Senate appearance, it was reported that, Geithner was also grilled on the cozy relationships that exist between the big banks and the regional Federal Reserve banks. Before Geithner joined the administration, he was president of the New York Fed, which is a strange public-private hybrid institution that is actually owned and run by the banks. In response, Geithner insisted that the private banks have no say over the policies of the New York Fed, but he acknowledged that the banks do have a say in hiring the president, who does make policy. The chairman of the New York Fed, Stephen Friedman, was forced to resign earlier this month because of perceived conflicts of interest due to his large holdings in Goldman Sachs..
The IMF as a Global Treasury
The Bilderberg agenda of creating a global treasury has already been started prior to the Bilderberg meeting, with decisions made during the G20 financial summit in April. Although the G20 seemed to frame it more in context of being formed into a global central bank, although it is likely the IMF could fill both roles.Following the G20 meeting at the beginning of April, 2009, it was reported that,The world is a step closer to a global currency, backed by a global central bank, running monetary policy for all humanity,as the Communiqué released by the G20 leaders stated that, We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity,and that, SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century.Essentially, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body. [See Appendix 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World]Following the Bilderberg meeting, President Obama has asked Congress to authorize $100 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help create a $500 billion global bailout fund, which would give the IMF the essential prerogative of a global treasury, providing bailouts for countries in need around the world. Further, the bill would allow the IMF to borrow up to $100 billion from the U.S. and increase the U.S. fiscal contribution to the IMF by $8 billion.Elaborating on the program, it was reported that,World leaders began on the global bailout initiative, called the New Arrangement for Borrowing (NAB), at the G-20 summit in early April. The president agreed at that time to make the additional funds available.Obama wrote that,Treasury Secretary Geithner concluded that the size of the NAB is woefully inadequate to deal with the type of severe economic and financial crisis we are experiencing, and I agree with him.
With the G20 decision to increase the usage of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), forming a de facto world currency, it was recently reported that, Sub-Saharan Africa will receive around $10 billion from the IMF in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to help its economies weather the global financial crisis,and that, As part of a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the world economic downturn agreed at April's G20 summit, the IMF will issue $250 billion worth of SDRs, which can be used to boost foreign currency reserves.Recent reports have also indicated that the IMF’s role in issuing SDRs goes hand in hand with the Bilderberg discussion on the potential collapse of the US dollar, and, Transforming the dollar standard into an SDR-based system would be a major break with a policy that has lasted more than 60 years.It was reported that,There are two ways in which the dollar’s role in the international monetary system can be reduced. One possibility is a gradual, market-determined erosion of the dollar as a reserve currency in favor of the euro. But, while the euro’s international role – especially its use in financial markets – has increased since its inception, it is hard to envisage it overtaking the dollar as the dominant reserve currency in the foreseeable future.However,With the dollar’s hegemony unlikely to be seriously undermined by market forces, at least in the short and medium-term, the only way to bring about a major reduction in its role as a reserve currency is by international agreement.This is where the SDRs come into play, as One way to make the SDR the major reserve currency relatively soon would be to create and allocate a massive amount of new SDRs to the IMF’s members. This is, interestingly, exactly what is happening with Africa and the IMF now. Former IMF Managing Director Jacques de Larosière recently stated that the current financial crisis, given its scope, presents a unique opening to improve institutions, and there is already a danger that the chance might be missed if the different actors cannot agree to changes by the time economic growth resumes.He is now an adviser with BNP Paribas, a corporation highly represented at Bilderberg meetings, and he was head of the Treasury of France when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was President of France, who is a regular of the Bilderberg Group.
The Guardian Covers Bilderberg
The British paper, the Guardian, was the only major mainstream news publication to provide ongoing coverage of the Bilderberg meeting over the weekend. His first columns were satirical and slightly mocking, referring to it as, A long weekend at a luxury hotel, where the world's elite get to shake hands, clink glasses, fine-tune their global agenda and squabble over who gets the best sun loungers. I'm guessing that Henry Kissinger brings his own, has it helicoptered in and guarded 24/7 by a CIA special ops team. However, as the weekend dragged on, his reporting took a change of tone. He reported on the Saturday that,I know that I'm being followed. I know because I've just been chatting to the plainclothes policemen I caught following me, and he was arrested twice in the first day of the meetings for attempting to take photographs as the limousines entered the hotel.He later reported that he wasn’t sure what they were discussing inside the hotel, but that he has a sense of something rotten in the state of Greece, and he further stated,Three days and I've been turned into a suspect, a troublemaker, unwanted, ill at ease, tired and a bit afraid.He then went on to write that, Bilderberg is all about control. It's about what shall we do next? We run lots of stuff already, how about we run some more? How about we make it easier to run stuff? More efficient. Efficiency is good. It would be so much easier with a single bank, a single currency, a single market, a single government. How about a single army? That would be pretty cool. We wouldn't have any wars then. This prawn cocktail is GOOD. How about a single way of thinking? How about a controlled internet?,and then,How about not.
He makes a very astute point, countering the often postulated argument that Bilderberg is simply a forum where people can speak freely, writing: I am so unbelievably backteeth sick of power being flexed by the few. I've had it flexed in my face for three days, and it's up my nose like a wasp. I don't care whether the Bilderberg Group is planning to save the world or shove it in a blender and drink the juice, I don't think politics should be done like this,and the author, Charlie Skelton, eloquently stated,If they were trying to cure cancer they could do it with the lights on.He further explained that,Bilderberg is about positions of control. I get within half a mile of it, and suddenly I'm one of the controlled. I'm followed, watched, logged, detained, detained again. I'd been put in that position by the power that was up the road. On Sunday, May 17, Skelton reported that when he asked the police chief why he was being followed, the chief responded asking, Why you here? to which Skelton said he was there to cover the Bilderberg conference, after which the chief stated, Well, that is the reason! That is why! We are finished! Do reporters get followed around and stalked by police officers when they cover the World Economic Forum? No. So why does it happen with Bilderberg if all it is, is a conference to discuss ideas freely? On the Monday following the conference, Skelton wrote that,It isn't just me who's been hauled into police custody for daring to hang around half a mile from the hotel gates. The few journalists who've made the trip to Vouliagmeni this year have all been harassed and harried and felt the business end of a Greek walkie-talkie. Many have been arrested. Bernie, from the American Free Press, and Gerhard the documentarian (sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons character) chartered a boat from a nearby marina to try to get photos from the sea. They were stopped three miles from the resort. By the Greek navy.As Skelton said himself,My dispatches on the 2009 conference, if they mean anything at all, represent nothing more acutely than the absence of thorough mainstream reporting.
Skelton’s final report on Bilderberg from May 19, showed how far he had gone in his several days of reporting on the meeting. From writing jokingly about the meeting, to discovering that he was followed by the Greek State Security force. Skelton mused, So who is the paranoid one? Me, hiding in stairwells, watching the pavement behind me in shop windows, staying in the open for safety? Or Bilderberg, with its two F-16s, circling helicopters, machine guns, navy commandos and policy of repeatedly detaining and harassing a handful of journalists? Who's the nutter? Me or Baron Mandelson? Me or Paul Volker, the head of Obama's economic advisory board? Me or the president of Coca-Cola? Skelton stated that, Publicity is pure salt to the giant slug of Bilderberg. So I suggest next year we turn up with a few more tubs. If the mainstream press refuses to give proper coverage to this massive annual event, then interested citizens will have to: a people's media.Amazingly, Skelton made the pronouncement that what he learned after the Bilderberg conference, was that, we must fight, fight, fight, now – right now, this second, with every cubic inch of our souls – to stop identity cards, as, It's all about the power to ask, the obligation to show, the justification of one's existence, the power of the asker over the subservience of the asked.He stated that he learned this from the random searches, detentions, angry security goon proddings and thumped police desks without number that I've had to suffer on account of Bilderberg: I have spent the week living in a nightmare possible future and many different terrible pasts. I have had the very tiniest glimpse into a world of spot checks and unchecked security powers. And it has left me shaken. It has left me, literally, bruised.Pointedly, he explains that,The identity card turns you from a free citizen into a suspect.
Who was there?
Royalty of the Netherlands, the largest shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell
Among the members of the Bilderberg Group are various European monarchs. At this years meeting, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was present, who happens to be the largest single shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest corporations. She was joined by one of her three sons, Prince Constantijn, who also attended the meeting. Prince Constantijn has worked with the Dutch European Commissioner for the EU, as well as having been a strategic policy consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton in London, a major strategy and technology consulting firm with expertise in Economic and Business Analysis, Intelligence and Operations Analysis and Information Technology, among many others. Prince Constantijn has also been a policy researcher for RAND Corporation in Europe. RAND was initially founded as a global policy think tank that was formed to offer research and analysis to the US Armed Forces, however, it now works with governments, foundations, international organizations and commercial organizations. Also present among European Royalty was Prince Philippe of Belgium, and Queen Sofia of Spain.
As usual, the list of attendees was also replete with names representing the largest banks in the world. Among them, David Rockefeller, former CEO and Chairman of Chase Manhattan, now JP Morgan Chase, of which he was, until recently, Chairman of the International Advisory Board; and still sits as Honourary Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chairman of the Board of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, Honourary Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, which he founded alongside Zbigniew Brzezinski; also a founding member of the Bilderberg Group, prominent philanthropist and is the current patriarch of one of the world’s richest and most powerful banking dynasties. Also present was Josef Ackermann, a Swiss banker who is CEO of Deutsche Bank, also a non-executive director of Royal Dutch Shell; Deputy Chairman of Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering corporation; he is also a member of the International Advisory Council of Zurich Financial Services Group; Chairman of the Board of the Institute International of Finance, the world’s only global association of financial institutions; and Vice Chairman of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum. Roger Altman was also present at the Bilderberg meeting, an investment banker, private equity investor and former Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration. Other bankers at this years meeting include Ana Patricia Botin, Chairman of the Spanish bank, Banco Español de Crédito, formerly having worked with JP Morgan; Frederic Oudea, CEO and newly appointed Chairman of the Board of French bank Societe Generale; Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, an Italian banker and economist, formerly Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance; Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman of Investor AB; Marcus Wallenberg, CEO of Investor AB; and George David, CEO of United Technologies Corporation, who also sits on the board of Citigroup, member of the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, and is Vice Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. [For more on the Peterson Institute, see: Appendix 1]Canadian bankers include W. Edmund Clark, President and CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, also a member of the board of directors of the C.D. Howe Institute, a prominent Canadian think tank; Frank McKenna, Deputy Chairman of TD Bank Financial Group, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, former Premier of New Brunswick; and Indira Samarasekera, President of the University of Alberta, who is also on the board of Scotiabank, one of Canada’s largest banks.
Of course, among the notable members of the Bilderberg Group, are the world’s major central bankers. Among this years members are the Governor of the National Bank of Greece, Governor of the Bank of Italy, President of the European Investment Bank, James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, and Nout Wellink, on the board of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank was also present. There is no indication that the Governor of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke was present, which would be an odd turn of events, considering that the Federal Reserve Governor is always present at Bilderberg meetings, alongside the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William C. Dudley. I have contacted the New York Fed inquiring if Dudley visited Greece or went to any meetings in Greece between May 14-17, or if another senior representative from the New York Fed went in his stead. I have yet to get a response.
The Obama Administration at Bilderberg
The Obama administration was heavily represented at this years Bilderberg meeting. Among the attendees were Keith B. Alexander, a Lieutenant General of U.S. Army and Director of the National Security Agency, the massive spying agency of the United States; Timothy Geithner, US Treasury Secretary and former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan; General James Jones, United States National Security Advisor; Henry Kissinger, Obama’s special envoy to Russia, longtime Bilderberg member and former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor; Dennis Ross, special advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; David Patraeus, Commander of CENTCOM, (U.S. Central Command, in the Middle East), Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House's National Economic Council, former Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration, former President of Harvard University, former Chief Economist of the World Bank; Paul Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System and Chair of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board; Robert Zoellick, former Chairman of Goldman Sachs and current President of the World Bank; and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.
Other Notable Names
Among many others present at the meeting are Viscount Étienne Davignon, former Vice President of the European Commission, and Honourary Chairman of the Bilderberg Group; Francisco Pinto Balsemão, former Prime Minister of Portugal; Franco Bernabè, CEO of Telecom Italia and Vice Chairman of Rothschild Europe; Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden; Kenneth Clarke, Shadow Business Secretary in the UK; Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services (MI6); Donald Graham, CEO of the Washington Post Company; Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, Secretary-General of NATO; John Kerr, member of the British House of Lords and Deputy Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell; Jessica Matthews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute; Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister; J. Robert S. Prichard, CEO of Torstar Corporation and President Emeritus of the University of Toronto; Peter Sutherland, former Director General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), first Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and is currently Chairman of British Petroleum (BP) and Goldman Sachs International as well as being a board member of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, Vice Chairman of the European Roundtable of Industrialists, and longtime Bilderberg member; Peter Thiel, on the board of directors of Facebook; Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell; Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times newspaper; and Fareed Zakaria, US journalist and board member of the Council on Foreign Relations. There were also some reports that this years meeting would include Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as Wall Street Journal Editor Paul Gigot, both of whom attended last years meeting.
Clearly, it was the prerogative of this year’s Bilderberg meeting to exploit the global financial crisis as much as possible to reach goals they have been striving toward for many years. These include the creation of a Global Treasury Department, likely in conjunction with or embodied in the same institution as a Global Central Bank, both of which seem to be in the process of being incorporated into the IMF.
Naturally, Bilderberg meetings serve the interests of the people and organizations that are represented there. Due to the large amount of representatives from the Obama administration that were present, US policies revolving around the financial crisis are likely to have emerged from and serve the interests of the Bilderberg Group. Given the heavy representation of Obama’s foreign policy establishment at the Bilderberg meeting, it seemed surprising to not have received any more information regarding US foreign policy from this year’s meeting, perhaps having to do with Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, the US recently decided to fire the general who oversaw the Afghan war, being replaced with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former Green Beret who recently commanded the military's secretive special operations forces in Iraq. From 2003 to 2008, McChrystal led the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military's most sensitive forces, including the Army's Delta Force,and who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh singled out as the head of VP Cheney’s executive assassination wing.So, given these recent changes, as well as the high degree of representation Obama’s foreign policy establishment held at Bildebrerg this year, there were likely to have been some decisions or at least discussion of the escalation of the Afghan war and expansion into Pakistan. However, it is not surprising that the main item on the agenda was the global financial crisis. Without a doubt, the next year will be an interesting one, and the elite are surely hoping to make it a productive one.
APPENDIX 1: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting
Peter G. Peterson, one of the guests in attendance at the secret billionaires meeting, was the former United States Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon administration, Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc., from 1977 to 1984, he co-founded the prominent private equity and investment management firm, the Blackstone Group, of which he is currently Senior Chairman, and in 1985, he became Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, taking over when David Rockefeller stepped down from that position. He founded the Peterson Institute for International Economics and was Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 2000-2004. The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a major world economic think tank, which seeks to inform and shape public debate, from which, Institute studies have helped provide the intellectual foundation for many of the major international financial initiatives of the past two decades: reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), adoption of international banking standards, exchange rate systems in the G-7 and emerging-market economies, policies toward the dollar, the euro, and other important currencies, and responses to debt and currency crises (including the current crisis of 2008–09).It has also made important contributions to key trade policy decisions such as the development of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, APEC, and East Asian regionalism.It has a prominent list of names on its board of directors. Peter G. Peterson is Chairman of the board; George David, Chairman of United Technologies is Vice Chairman, as well as being a board member of Citigroup, and was a guest at this year’s Bilderberg meeting; Chen Yuan, Governor of the China Development Bank and former Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China (China’s central bank); Jessica Einhorn, Dean of Washington's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, former Visiting Fellow of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), former Managing Director of the World Bank, and currently on the board of Time Warner and the Council on Foreign Relations; Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, former Vice President at the World Bank, former Managing Director at the IMF, former Vice Chairman of Citigroup, and has also been a regular participant in Bilderberg meetings; Carla A. Hills, former US Trade Representative, and was the prime negotiator of NAFTA, she sits on the International Advisory Boards of American International Group, the Coca-Cola Company, Gilead Sciences, J.P. Morgan Chase, member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, and played a key part in the CFR document, Building a North American Community,which seeks to remodel North America following along the lines of the European Union, and she has also been a prominent Bilderberg member; David Rockefeller also sits on the Peterson Institute’s board, as well as Lynn Forester de Rothschild; Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, who is at every Bilderberg meeting; Paul A. Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System, regular participant of Bilderberg meetings, and current Chair of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Honourary Directors of the Peterson Institute include Bilderbergers Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, a prime architect of the current crisis; Frank E. Loy, former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and is on the boards of Environmental Defense, the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, Resources for the Future, and Population Services International; George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State in the Reagan administration, President and Director of Bechtel Group and former Secretary of the Treasury.
APPENDIX 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World
Jeffrey Garten, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, former Dean of the Yale School of Management, previously served on the White House Council on International Economic Policy under the Nixon administration and on the policy planning staffs of Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance of the Ford and Carter administrations. He also was a managing director of Lehman Brothers and the Blackstone Group, is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As early as 1998, Garten wrote an article for the New York Times in which he advocated the creation of a global central bank.Amid the current financial crisis, Garten wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he advocated for the establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless,acting as a global central bank. In late October, Garten wrote an article for Newsweek in which he said that world leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.Three days after the publication of Garten’s Newsweek article, it was reported that, The International Monetary Fund may soon lack the money to bail out an ever growing list of countries crumbling across Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia, raising concerns that it will have to tap taxpayers in Western countries for a capital infusion or resort to the nuclear option of printing its own money. Further, The nuclear option is to print money by issuing Special Drawing Rights, in effect acting as if it were the world's central bank.[For a detailed look at the moves to create a global central bank, regional currencies, a global reserve currency and a world governing body, see: Andrew G. Marshall, The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government: Global Research, April 6, 2009]
 CFP, Annual Elite Conclave, 58th Bilderberg Meeting to be held in Greece, May 14-17. Canadian Free Press: May 5, 2009:
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 James Quinn, Tim Geithner to reform US financial regulation. The Telegraph: May 21, 2009:
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 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The G20 moves the world a step closer to a global currency. The Telegraph: April 3, 2009:
 Marie Magleby, Obama Wants U.S. to Loan $100 Billion to Global Bailout Fund. CNS News: May 20, 2009:
 Joe Bavier, Sub-Saharan Africa to receive $10 bln in SDRs-IMF. Reuters: May 25, 2009:
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 MATTHEW SALTMARSH, Former I.M.F. Chief Sees Opportunity in Crisis. The New York Times: May 22, 2009:
 Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: in pursuit of the world's most powerful cabal. The Guardian: May 13, 2009:
 Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: They're watching and following me, I tell you. The Guardian: May 15, 2009:
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Andrew G. Marshall is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is currently studying Political Economy and History at Simon Fraser University.Andrew G. Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Andrew G. Marshall,Global Research, 2009.
Rabbis: Soldiers must refuse IDF orders By MATTHEW WAGNER
May 27,09 Israel.jpost
Leading religious Zionist rabbis called Wednesday evening on IDF soldiers and officers to disobey orders to dismantle and evacuate outposts and settlements in Judea and Samaria. The holy Torah prohibits taking part in any act of uprooting Jews from any part of our sacred land, wrote the group of rabbis that included Hebron-Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, Beit El Chief Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Yitzhar Rabbi David Dudkevitch, Rabbi Haim Steiner of Yeshivat Mercaz Harav and Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef, the eldest son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. We call on all security personnel to refuse expulsion orders. A soldier or a policeman who is asked to take part in an uprooting operation is obligated to refuse this order, which goes against Torah values,they said. The rabbis met in a synagogue at the Givat Asaf outpost located at the entrance to Beit El in Samaria. The meeting was called after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak initiated a plan to dismantle 26 outposts deemed to be illegal.Harel Cohen, a spokesman for the spiritual leaders - who call themselves Yesha Rabbis (Yesha is the acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza) - said that in recent days, many soldiers had contacted their rabbis to ask them what they should do if they were ordered to dismantle outposts or settlements.
There are a lot of high-ranking IDF personnel who either live in an outpost or have family and friends who do,Cohen said.They are facing a very difficult situation.Many kippa-wearing officers had been talking about the difficult situation, a senior source in a religious pre-military academy said. However, he said that he doubted there would be much insubordination. Over the past two decades, due in part to a fundamental change in religious Zionist rabbis' outlook toward military service, which is seen as a religious duty, there has been a sharp rise in the number of religious Zionists who serve as career officers in IDF combat units. The soldiers are torn between their duty to serve the state and their religious faith in maintaining Greater Israel, including Judea and Samaria. Unlike Yesha Rabbis, many religious Zionist rabbis opposed insubordination during the 2005 Gaza disengagement as long as the soldiers were not directly involved in dismantling or evacuating settlements. The IDF mostly respected religious soldiers' and officers' requests not to take a direct part in the operation.Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva in the capital's Old City, and Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Ya'acov Ariel were leading spiritual leaders who opposed insubordination. Heads of religious pre-military academies, such as Rabbi Eli Sadan of Eli and Rabbi Rafi Peretz of Atzmona, also advised their graduates not to disobey orders, instead urging them to maintain the unity of the Jewish people.Rabbi Mordechai Rabinovitzh, who signed Wednesday's declaration, called it a wake-up call.
I think it is a crying shame that not one single senior officer resigned rather than take part in the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif [in 2005], Rabinovitzh said. Soldiers need to show they are not simply robots and that if they are given an inherently immoral order to exile Jews, they must refuse.Rabinovitzh rejected the claim made by religious Zionist rabbis opposed to refusing military orders that rampant insubordination would undermine the unity and cohesion needed to maintain armed forces.Throwing innocent people out of their homes is an immoral act. When soldiers commit immoral acts, it leads to corruption and a complete breakdown of the moral fiber,he said. Rabinovitzh also rejected the argument often put forward by more integrationist religious Zionists that settlers are the messengers of the Jewish people and that if a majority of Jews are opposed to maintaining outposts, they must respect this.Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak made their decision to destroy outposts without a cabinet vote. They claim that the law gives them the power to forcibly remove people from their homes. But even if there were a cabinet vote or the majority of Israelis favored dismantling outposts, which I don't believe they do, it would still be immoral and prohibited,he said. MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) called on Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to launch criminal investigations against Yesha Rabbis.The rabbis' call to refuse military orders undermines Israeli democracy,Pines-Paz said.This is dangerous incitement that is liable to break up the IDF. I call on settlement leaders to distance themselves from these rabbis' declaration. And I call on the attorney-general to open investigations against the rabbis for allegations of incitement.
President Obama Names Vatican Ambassador Who Backed Pro-Abortion Pols
by Steven Ertelt LifeNews.com Editor May 28, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- President Barack Obama has nominated an ambassador to the Vatican, but the potential diplomat has supported pro-abortion politicians, including Obama himself. Obama has nominated Catholic college professor Miguel Diaz, who reportedly is pro-life but has compromised his views by backing Obama and others.
Diaz is a theology professor at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota.The nomination will likely cause heartburn for pro-life advocates because Diaz served as a member of Obama’s Catholic advisory board during his presidential campaign.That someone like Diaz can claim to follow the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church and assist an abortion advocate in becoming president won't go unnoticed as the Senate confirmation process takes place.Obama isn't alone in earning Diaz's support, as he also endorsed pro-abortion Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius and her nomination to become Obama's health secretary.Diaz was one of several Catholic college professors to support her bid, which prompted Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick Reilly to say they were giving comfort and aid to those whose stated goals are to advance policies directly opposed to Catholic teachings on life issues.Given Gov. Sebelius’s abortion record and the concerns of her own bishop, it is sad that some of her strongest supporters are speaking out from their platforms on Catholic campuses,he said.Meanwhile, Diaz is a member of the speakers bureau for the fake pro-life Catholic organization Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a pro-Obama front group that was repeatedly criticized during the presidential election for deceiving voters on Obama's pro-abortion position.The group eventually came under fire from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, who said it had done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.Catholic writer Deal Hudson has commented on the nomination and said his pro-abortion actions may go as far as prompting Vatican officials to reject the nomination.It will be interesting to watch how the confirmation process proceeds with Prof. Diaz,he said on his blog Inside Catholic.
Questions will be asked about his suitability as a U. S. diplomat to the Holy See. The Holy See itself may express reservations about his visible support for a pro-abortion Catholic like Sec. Sebelius,he said.Diaz is the co-editor of the book From the Heart of Our People: Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology and author of On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives.Diaz taught Religious Studies and Theology at Barry University, the University of Dayton and the University of Notre Dame prior to his current post and he holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame.
SIGNS IN THE SUN, MOON AND STARS
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
Ministers promote space as cure for economic ills
ANDREW WILLIS 29.05.2009 @ 17:46 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – EU ministers agreed on the need for further development in the European space sector on Friday (29 May), saying greater research and commercial activity in the area would help lift Europe out of its current recession. The agreement followed the convening of the sixth space council in Brussels, attended by representatives from the European space agency, the European commission and member states.Investment in space research is vital at a time of economic crisis, said Czech education minister Miroslava Kopicova whose country holds the EU's rotating six-month presidency until the end of this June.Some may consider this a luxury but we must bear in mind the benefits this can have in terms of improvements of quality of life as a whole. Ever euro invested in space policy will be multiplied many times over, she said.Part of the agreement centred on the need to push global monitoring for environment and security (GMES) from the research stage into the operational stage.
The technology has been developed to help monitor phenomena such as natural disasters or the mapping of international shipping lanes and harvest distributions. While Europe's GALILEO system provides satellite navigation services, GMES will supply information on the state and evolution of the environment once it is up and running.
The Earth observation system will use airborne satellites and a system of sensors on the ground and in the sea to record data. European industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen presented ministers with a proposal on moving GMES into the operational stage. It must now be ratified by the council and the European parliament under the co-decision procedure.This proposal marks a turning point for GMES. It opens the door for the necessary operation of funding for the period between 2011-2013,he said. With this proposal GMES is no longer an initiative with unclear boundaries, it is gradually becoming a programme with its own legal identity, an earth observation programme for the European union.
The discussions on space came at the tail-end of a two-day ministerial council on improving the competitiveness of European businesses. On Thursday ministers adopted conclusions on better regulation, highlighting the need to improve the regulatory framework and increase its transparency.Implementation of the small business act – launched in June last year – was also discussed, as was a European patent system and corresponding single court system to solve patent disputes. Ministers agreed to wait for a decision by European court of justice on the legality of the single court system before revisiting the topic whose aim is to reduce patenting costs for European businesses.
KNOWLEGE AND WORLD TRAVEL INCREASED
4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro,(WORLD TRAVEL,IMMIGRATION) and knowledge shall be increased.(COMPUTERS MICROCHIPS ETC)
MARK KLEIN VIDEO
Cybersecurity: Obama’s Promise to Trash the Constitution
Kurt Nimmo Infowars May 29, 2009
During a speech today on cybersecurity,Obama told a whopper. He said the government’s effort to protect us from cyber bad guys will not include monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic. We will preserve and protect the personal privacy and civil liberties that we cherish as Americans.Is it possible Obama has never heard of Mark Klein, the retired AT&T communications technician who said years ago that the company shunted all Internet traffic — including traffic from peering links connecting to other Internet backbone providers — to semantic traffic analyzers, installed in a secret room inside the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco? There are similar rooms in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, all sucking up internet data.
Whistleblower Mark Klein
Klein explained that the multinational corporation is doing this at the behest of the NSA. It is vacuum-cleaner surveillance approach that grabs everything. Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of [the Bush] administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA’s spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA’s charter or with FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act],said Klein in 2006. After the NSA showed up in 2002 at AT&T’s Folsom Street facility, Klein began connecting the dots. You might recall there was a big blowup in the news about the Total Information Awareness [TIA] program, led by Adm. [John] Poindexter, which caused the big upsetness in Congress, because what Poindexter was proposing to do was draw in databases from everywhere — and this was in The New York Times — draw in Internet data, bank records, travel records, everything into one big conglomeration which could be searchable by the government so they could find out everything about what anybody’s doing at any time of day,Klein told PBS. And all this would be done without any warrants. This is how it was presented by Poindexter himself in The New York Times, and that caused a great upset, brouhaha, in Congress.On January 16, 2003, Senator Russ Feingold introduced legislation to suspend the activity of the Total Information Awareness program pending a Congressional review of privacy issues involved. In February 2003, Congress passed legislation suspending activities of the IAO (Information Awareness Office) pending a Congressional report of the office’s activities.Congress acted after William Safire published an article in the New York Times claiming [TIA] has been given a $200 million budget to create computer dossiers on 300 million Americans (see You Are a Suspect, November 14, 2002). Of course, the program didn’t go away. Legislators included a classified annex to the Defense Appropriations Act that preserved funding for TIA’s component technologies, if they were transferred to other government agencies. TIA projects continued to be funded under classified annexes to Defense and Intelligence appropriation bills.
Total Information Awareness — the all-seeing terrorist spotting algorithm-meets-the-mother-of-all-databases that was ostensibly de-funded by Congress in 2003, never actually died, and was largely rebuilt in secret by the NSA, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman,Ryan Singel wrote for Wired on March 10, 2008. There’s been no real debate in Congress or in the press about whether the government should be allowed to track every Americans phone calls, emails and web browsing.Jon Stokes, writing for Ars Technica, notes that TIA technology is nothing new. TIA-like efforts are still going on Stokes wrote in 2005, and the government has been trying to use new technology, like database tech and voice recognition, for domestic surveillance for a long time. And when I say a long time, I mean well before the current administration came into office.It really got a boost under Clinton in 1995 when the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) was passed.CALEA mandated that the telcos aid wiretapping by installing remote wiretap ports onto their digital switches so that the switch traffic would be available for snooping by law enforcement.In other words, Mark Klein had but scratched the surface. Truman created the NSA in 1952, supposedly to serve as America’s ears abroad, but the agency has long served as a secret Stasi-like organization dedicated to snooping on Americans. The NSA, writes Siobhan Gorman for the Wall Street Journal, and other intelligence agencies were found to be using their spy tools to monitor Americans for political purposes.The NSA’s predecessor, the Armed Forces Security Agency, launched Project SHAMROCK in 1945. It obtained copies of all telegraphic information exiting or entering the United States with the full cooperation of RCA, ITT and Western Union. A sister project known as Project MINARET involved the creation of watch lists,by each of the intelligence agencies and the FBI, of those accused of subversive domestic activities. The watch lists included such notables as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Jane Fonda, Joan Baez and Dr. Benjamin Spock, according to Patrick S. Poole, writing for Nexus Magazine in 1999. The FBI, the NSA, and other intelligence agencies were actively involved in creating the watch lists.
NSA has attempted to keep up on technology as the secretive agency continues to snoop on subversives and others the government considers miscreants. In February, trade publications reported the agency is offering billions to any firm able to offer reliable eavesdropping on Skype IM and voice traffic. Skype is particularity troublesome because it utilizes P2P networks, that is to say peer-top-peer (no central server owned and operated by a telecom required). The government and the corporate media may tell you they want to crack down on P2P — for instance, the vastly popular BitTorrent — because of copyright infringement, but a more practical reason is because the government has yet to figure out how to crack the file sharing protocol. Skype and BitTorrent account for a large amount of traffic on the internet.
If you think Obama will roll back the government’s massive and unconstitutional snoop program, think again. On April 3, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss one of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s landmark lawsuits against illegal spying by the NSA. The DOJ demanded that the entire lawsuit be dismissed based on both the Bush administration’s claim that a state secrets privilege bars any lawsuits against the executive branch for illegal spying, as well as a novel sovereign immunity claim that the Patriot Act bars lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance (see the EFF press release, Obama Administration Embraces Bush Position on Warrantless Wiretapping and Secrecy). In March, Obama’s coordinator for cybersecurity programs, Rod Beckstrom, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, quit because he opposed the role of the NSA in the so-called cybersecurity initiative. Beckstrom said the threats to our democratic processes are significant if all top level government network security and monitoring are handled by the NSA. Obama’s moves drew praise from key lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who vowed to work with the president to implement new security measures as needed, CQPolitics reported shortly after his cybersecurity speech.Obama said his cybersecurity adviser — who will be a member of both the National Security Staff and the National Economic Council staff — will head a new office within the White House.We applaud President Obama for highlighting the extraordinarily serious issue of cybersecurity,Sens. Johns D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.V., and Olympia J. Snowe , R-Maine, said in a joint statement. No other president in American history has elevated this issue to that level and we think him for his leadership.No other president so far has had the power to shut down the internet. The Rockefeller-Snowe bill, S 778, would grant Obama dictatorial power declare a so-called cyber emergency and pull the plug, or at least cripple networks deemed a threat. The U.S. government is not seriously worried about Chinese hackers or mischievous kids in Latvia (as Rockefeller cited as a danger) but rather fear free and unfettered speech and activism on the part of its own citizens. Obama’s promise is merely an effort to string you along with a big fat lie. He has absolutely no respect for you or the Bill of Rights.
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse:(CHLORES GREEN) and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword,(WEAPONS) and with hunger,(FAMINE) and with death,(INCURABLE DISEASES) and with the beasts of the earth.(ANIMAL TO HUMAN DISEASE).
New hemorrhagic virus surfaces in Africa
IRIN May 29, 2009
A lethal, newly identified hemorrhagic virus that killed four of the five people it infected in September and October 2008 has been given the working title of Lujo.
Lujo, a member of the arenavirus family, which currently has 22 known species, was named to reflect its geographic origins: the primary case came from the Zambian capital, Lusaka, and secondary infections occurred in Johannesburg after the patient was transferred to the South African city for treatment.Dr Lucille Blumberg, deputy director of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, told IRIN that humans were most frequently infected with this virus by inhaling dust infected with rodent excreta, or ingestion. The name Lujo still has to be approved by various committees before it becomes official.The fifth person to be infected with the Lujo virus - a nurse at Morningside Clinic, Johannesburg - survived after being treated with the antiviral drug, ribavirin, usually prescribed for Lassa fever, a hemorrhagic virus first identified in 1969.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Weather system loses tropical depression status Fri May 29, 5:00 pm ET
MIAMI – The National Hurricane Center says a weather system moving over the Atlantic has lost its tropical depression status.The National Weather Service had counted the depression, which formed Thursday, as the first of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins Monday.The system has maximum sustained winds near 30 mph, and is moving east-northeast near 18 mph. Forecasters say what's left of the depression is moving into colder waters and they expect it to dissipate Friday night or Saturday.Around 5 p.m. EDT Friday, the system was centered about 305 miles south-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
EU leaders to debate risk of fresh gas crisis
ANDREW RETTMAN 29.05.2009 @ 17:26 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU leaders will at an upcoming summit talk about Russian proposals to help Ukraine pay for gas, but funds are unlikely to come forward, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said.The commission chief on Friday morning (29 May) had a "long" phone call with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in which the Russian said that Ukraine might default on gas payments, risking a fresh EU supply crisis.Russia in January cut off gas to Ukraine in a row over prices and debts, causing massive outages in eastern EU states, which get almost all of their gas from Russia via Ukraine.Mr Putin's warning comes after similar rumbles from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week and a pledge on Thursday by Italy's Silvio Berlusconi to raise the issue at the EU leaders' meeting in Brussels on 18 June.It's difficult with our budget now if not impossible to have some support from the community budget to Ukraine, Mr Barroso said, on the margins of a press conference with the European Investment Bank.I've promised Prime Minister Putin I will raise the issue at the meeting of EU heads of state and government to see what we can do in a situation that is of course mainly a problem between Russia and Ukraine.The commission's energy spokesman, Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, earlier on Friday said Ukraine has not formally applied for any EU help.EU monitors put in place at gas metering stations in Russia and Ukraine to investigate earlier Russian claims that Ukraine was stealing EU-bound gas went home in March but could be redeployed at any time, he added.The spokesman played down the gravity of the situation, noting that a gas outage in summer would be less serious than the January crisis, when Europe was hit by freezing weather.At this time of the year it's maybe not as critical as we're not in the middle of winter,Mr Espuny said.
Heavier EU involvement in the Ukraine gas business is a complicated prospect.
Ukraine fears that Russia is trying to paint it as an unreliable EU energy partner in order to boost political support for new Russian pipelines bypassing its transit system. Kiev is also concerned that international involvement in its gas trade could be used by Russian companies to grab a stake in its pipelines.Russia earlier this year slated the EU for planning to invest in Ukraine's pipelines without consulting it first. The EU investment scheme foresees shifting pipeline ownership away from Ukraine's indebted Naftogaz firm to a new company, reducing Russia's proximity to Naftogaz assets.
EU plans to juggle regional aid rules for cash-strapped member states
VALENTINA POP 29.05.2009 @ 17:46 CET
EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS – The European Commission is next week set juggle with EU regional aid rules allowing member states to claim full reimbursement for projects during 2009 and 2010, with plans to claim the money back later. The reimbursement plans for projects aimed at boosting employment and regional development , as well as infrastructure projects, is likely to be capped at €14 billion on a 'first come, first served' basis.The cap of €14 billion is being pushed by net contributors to the EU budget such as Germany, UK or the Netherlands, who are wary of skyrocketing bills they would have to pay these two years if the temporary full financing of regional and local projects is approved. The proposal, still in the drafting process, will be put forward by the EU commission next Wednesday (3 June) and would allow member states to file for full reimbursement this year and next for projects under the European Social Fund and most likely under the structural and cohesion funds, which represent the biggest chunk of the EU budget.With the credit crunch and the economic crisis hitting member states, regional and local authorities, as well as small and medium enterprises find it difficult to get the necessary loans to co-finance projects, even if they already started paying for them.Currently, EU governments have to co-finance projects by 15-20 percent in the poorer member states and up to 50 percent in the wealthier ones. The €14 billion cap would apply to the extra 15-50 percent of co-financing in 2009 and 2010 and would be given to those member states that apply first.The idea is to combat the financial crisis by bringing money now in order to increase liquidity and stimulate the implementation of projects,commission spokesman Dennis Abbott told EUobserver.
He added that this will not be extra money, but still tapped from the €347 billion envelope for structural funds in 2007-2013.The net gain in 2009-2010 will of course be compensated in the following years by a higher rate of national co-financing,Mr Abbott said.He emphasized that the extra funding, if made available, would be not be handed out upfront, but under the same reimbursement rules which currently apply for regional projects. He rejected criticism that the money would be easily misspent.The projects are subject to the same triple auditing rules as before – by national authorities, the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors - it's not handing out money without proper checks.The measure would mostly help Italy and Spain, who were likely to lose money by the end of 2009, because they were unable to spend it in the past two years due to tougher control rules introduced by the EU commission.
Loonie shoots higher, ends May up 9.3 percent By Frank Pingue – Fri May 29, 4:54 pm ET
TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada's currency raced higher versus the U.S. dollar on Friday and touched its highest level in nearly eight months as commodity prices surged and upbeat economic data sideswiped the greenback.After hoarding U.S. dollars during the worst of the global financial crisis, investors have started to unload the currency because of continuing signs that the worst of the global recession may have passed.It really was less of a Canadian dollar story and more of a U.S. dollar story as the U.S. dollar itself was weak across the board, said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank Financial.The Canadian dollar was just moved along with the other commodity, cyclical, risk-type currencies ... in conjunction with the better appetite for global risk.A good chunk of the Canadian dollar's surge came after data showed the U.S. economy contracted less than initially expected in the first quarter, which diminished the safe-haven allure of the greenback.That data helped add to gains already under way as signs of economic strength from Japan and India overnight gave a bid to Canada's currency.The Canadian dollar rose to C$1.0898 to the U.S. dollar, or 91.76 U.S. cents, shortly after midday, its highest level since October 6, extending its torrid climb since falling to a four-year low in early March.Other factors helping to fuel the rally were a jump in oil prices to a six-month high and a three-month high in gold prices.The currency retreated a touch but still ended the session at C$1.0917 to the U.S. dollar, or 91.60 U.S. cents, which was nearly 2 U.S. cents above Thursday's close of C$1.1148 to the U.S. dollar, or 89.70 U.S. cents.
The Canadian dollar has now stormed 19.7 percent above its March low, a move credited to a combination of higher prices for key Canadian commodities, some upbeat economic data and lower demand for the U.S. dollar.The Canadian dollar rallied 9.3 percent in May, its biggest monthly gain since at least October 1950, according to Bank of Canada data that dates back to 1950.The Canadian dollar did not appear to be affected by a report that showed Canada's current account deficit widened to a record high in the first quarter as the global recession shrank the country's surplus in goods trade.
The next Canadian data due out is Monday's gross domestic product report, which is expected to show the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 6.6 percent in the first quarter.It will be the last piece of data ahead of the Bank of Canada's scheduled interest rate announcement on Thursday.
BONDS PRICES GET LATE BOOST
Canadian bond prices, mixed for much of the session, ended higher across the curve alongside the bigger U.S. Treasury market as dealers moved back into government debt after a steep selloff earlier in the week.It's mostly just a correction of the huge selloff we had earlier this week, said Sheldon Dong, fixed income analyst at TD Waterhouse Private Investment. Plus, this is the last day of the month so you might have a bit of portfolio index buying ... and that's why you got that late afternoon rally.Dong said the Canadian bond market will take its cue from Monday's domestic GDP data and Thursday's Bank of Canada rate announcement and accompanying statement. The benchmark two-year government bond ended up 8 Canadian cents at C$100.03 to yield 1.234 percent, while the 10-year bond rose 65 Canadian cents to C$103.00 to yield 3.394 percent. The 30-year bond jumped 60 Canadian cents to C$116.10 to yield 4.035 percent.Canadian bonds underperformed their U.S. counterparts across most of the curve. The 30-year bond yield was about 31 basis points below the U.S. 30-year yield, compared with about 42 basis points on Thursday.(Editing by Peter Galloway)
EU registers drop in CO2 emissions
ELITSA VUCHEVA 29.05.2009 @ 17:33 CET
Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU fell by 1.2 percent – or the equivalent of 59 million tonnes of CO2 – between 2006 and 2007, but a number of member states are still lagging behind the targets set by the UN's Kyoto Protocol on fighting climate change, the EU environment agency said on Friday (29 May).Seventeen EU Member States reduced their emissions in 2007, with only Spain and Greece among the older member states not doing so, according to the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency (EEA).But among the member states having joined the EU since 2004, only Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Poland reduced their emissions in 2007 compared to 2006. In the 15 old member states, which alone produce around 80 percent of the bloc's gases, emissions fell by 1.6 percent, or a total cut of five percent since 1990.Under the Kyoto Protocol, these countries should achieve an average eight percent reduction from the 1990 levels in the 2008 – 2012 period.The recent emission reductions among the EU-15 give us the confidence that we will successfully reach our Kyoto target, EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said.But the study also showed that some member states – such as Spain and Italy – are still lagging far behind their emission targets for 2012.If member states fail to comply with the set targets, they will have to face sanctions both under the Kyoto protocol and the EU's own rules, Mr Dimas warned.If they don't comply, they have to pay,he said at a press conference in Brussels.
According to the EEA, the reduction was mainly due to a warmer weather in 2007 – which led to lower emissions from households, as well as to a decreased level of emissions from manufacturing industries, iron and steel production.But at the same time, it said emissions from air conditioning, refrigeration and transport increased, with those of road transport alone rising by 24.7 percent.The presentation of the figures came as more than 190 nations will in December this year meet in Copenhagen to try to work out a new climate treaty to replace Kyoto and fight climate change more efficiently.For its part, the EU in March 2007 set itself the target to cut its own emissions by 20 percent below its 1990 levels by 2020.
Lithuanian recovery not far off, says minister
ANDREW WILLIS 29.05.2009 @ 09:12 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Revised data released by the Lithuanian statistics office on Thursday (28 May) points to a sharper economic contraction in the first quarter of this year than previously estimated, but the country's economy minister says things are improving. Recovery is not far away, Dainius Kreivys told EUobserver in an interview in Brussels.We already have some stabilisation signs, including in the sector of exports,he said.The small Baltic country's open economy has experienced a roller-coaster ride in recent times, recording impressive growth of 8.9 percent GDP in 2007, but set for a contraction of 11 percent this year, according to statistics produced by the European Commission earlier this month. Like other EU member states, the Lithuanian government now finds itself caught between the conflicting needs of reducing an escalating budget deficit and stimulating a lagging economy. And while the former is clearly important, Mr Kreivys stresses that the country's economy cannot simply be left to flounder.We are not just sitting and waiting for other economies to recover,says Mr Kreivys, who points out that the country's low level of debt as a percentage of GDP – only 15.6 percent in 2008 – leaves the government with more room to manoeuvre than others.
To boost growth, the Lithuanian government launched a stimulus plan this year equal to approximately 5 percent of the country's GDP, significantly higher than many other European states.Of this, roughly 2 percent of GDP will go into a cash pool designed to increase market liquidity and help struggling businesses that are currently starved of credit.The rest will go on major infrastructural developments and building renovation projects, helping to ease the construction sector's downturn that, together with falling exports, has plunged the country into its worst recession since the break up of the Soviet Union.
Construction and real estate
The main wobbles developed in the real estate market,says Mr Kreivys when speaking about the causes of the country's recession.Almost unlimited credit provided by western banks, primarily Swedish, overheated the construction and real estate sectors in the Baltic state in recent years. Since the onset of the credit crunch in 2007 however, property prices in the country's capital Vilnius have fallen by up to 50 percent, compared to 7 percent in neighbouring Poland. We had such a big drop because Scandinavian banks cut the refinancing of the sector,says Mr Kreivys.
Real challenges remain
As well as getting the country's construction sector back on its feet, other real challenges remain. Thursday's revised data from the national statistics office show the economy contracted by 13.6 percent of GDP in the first quarter of this year when compared the same period in 2008, a downward revision from the previous estimate of 12.6 percent. While the government is currently pausing to see what the global economy does, Mr Kreivys does not rule out the need for further budget cuts in the coming months, unlikely to prove popular with citizens that have already staged violent protests once this year. Added to this, recent rumours suggested that Lithuania might be forced to follow its neighbour, Latvia, and go cap-in-hand to the International Monetary Fund. Mr Kreivys is adamant this is not the case, however. There is no need,he says.There is also the question of how well the country's new president-elect, Dalia Grybauskaite, who served as budget commissioner in Brussels until recently, will work with the government following her inauguration this summer.
I think that having such a strong president and a strong government will help our country to recover faster,says Mr Kreivys.
Stock market soars in late-day rally By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer – Fri May 29, 5:53 pm ET
NEW YORK – Wall Street sealed the third month of its spring rally with a huge advance. The fourth month looks a little less certain.Stocks shot higher right before the closing bell Friday after fluctuating on a mix of economic data. Analysts said the surge was the work of short-sellers who had bet that stocks would fall and then had to rush to buy when those bets turned out to be wrong.A jump in commodities prices, which came on expectations that an improving economy will lift demand for raw materials, also fed the advance.Friday's big win gave the major market indexes their third straight monthly gain and longest winning streak since October 2007. But May was the shakiest month of the spring rally that started in early March with the first signs that the economy's slide was slowing. When trading resumes Monday, investors are expected to show more of their recent skepticism about how strong the recovery will be once the recession has ended.New worries are weighing on investors including climbing interest rates and a weaker dollar. Crude oil prices recently hit a six-month high above $66 a barrel, while the dollar on Friday sank to its lowest level in months against the euro and British pound. Some analysts say these developments are simply the consequence of a recovery in the economy and the financial markets, but others say the trends could threaten the economy's health in the long term.
Another more short-term obstacle is General Motors Corp.'s expected bankruptcy filing on Monday. The market has been factoring in the likelihood of a GM bankruptcy for months, but investors still are unsure what the fallout might be for auto suppliers and other companies.Technically, the market is looking quite good, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at the brokerage house Avalon Partners Inc. Although, I suspect we'll probably stay within this trading range for another couple of weeks.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.53, or 1.2 percent, to 8,500.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 12.31, or 1.4 percent, to 919.14, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 22.54, or 1.3 percent, to 1,774.33.All three indexes rose sharply for the week and, more importantly, had their third straight monthly gain. The Dow is up 4.1 percent for May, the S&P 500 index is up 5.3 percent, and the Nasdaq is up 3.3 percent.Wall Street's advance since it hit 12-year lows on March 9 has been stunning, even with the unsteadiness the market has shown in May.The Dow is up 29.8 percent, while the S&P 500 index is up 35.9 percent and the Nasdaq is higher by 39.9 percent.Even with those gains, stocks are still down from their peak in October 2007, two months before the start of the recession. The Dow is off 40 percent, the S&P 500 index is lower by 41.3 percent and the Nasdaq is down by 37.9 percent.Friday's economic data prevented the market from finding a direction for much of the day. Commerce Department's report on first-quarter gross domestic product showed the economy contracted at an annual rate of 5.7 percent, a bit more than analysts' forecasts. Also, personal spending was revised lower. But the drop in GDP was smaller than the 6.1 percent estimated last month, and the report showed corporate profits rising.The report points to recovery, Cardillo said. And what you have here is a market that continues to look for recovery.
The Chicago-area purchasing executives monthly report of Midwest manufacturing activity showed a bigger decrease in May than in April. Analysts had anticipated a smaller contraction. The report is viewed as a precursor to the Institute for Supply Management's national manufacturing index, due Monday.But helping counteract that disappointing report was the University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment, which showed a larger-than-expected increase in May. Another report earlier in the week suggested an upswing in consumer confidence, too.Besides the ISM report on Monday, the coming week has a series of critical economic data that will help determine the market's next move, including pending home sales, retailers' sales figures and, next Friday, the government's employment report for May.Government bonds rose Friday, pushing yields lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.46 percent from 3.62 percent late Thursday.
The 10-year yield hit a six-month high of 3.75 percent on Wednesday. Spiking interest rates earlier this week stoked concerns about Americans' ability to borrow and refinance mortgages. Oil prices have been jumping to six-month highs as the dollar tumbles. Light, sweet crude rose $1.23 to settle at $66.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold and silver prices rose as well. Wall Street is a little ambivalent about crude's advance. On one hand it poses the threat of inflation, and if energy is too expensive that could curb the economy's rebound. However rising commodities prices are often seen as an indicator of economic health as business activity picks up.Rising commodities prices have also driven some of the best performers in the stock market over the past month: Metal and coal producers, miners and pipelines.
Technology stocks have also gained in recent weeks.
The weakening dollar is also drawing more investors, like Robert Pavlik of Banyan Partners LLC, to the stocks of multinational companies. Those companies can export more and earn higher overseas revenues when the dollar is down, he said.The worst performers in May were companies tied to the housing market and discretionary spending, such as construction companies, home improvement retailers, furniture makers and consumer electronics sellers. And financial stocks, while holding up, have not been leading the market higher as they were in March and April.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 9.37, or 1.9 percent, to 501.58.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining stocks by more than 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 5.84 billion shares, up from Thursday's 5.59 billion.Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.2 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.4 percent.The Dow Jones industrial average closed the week up 223.01, or 2.7 percent, at 8,500.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 32.14, or 3.6 percent, to 919.14. The Nasdaq composite index rose 82.32, or 4.9 percent, to 1,774.33.The Russell 2000 index, which tracks the performance of small company stocks, rose 23.96, or 5 percent, for the week to 501.58.The Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index — which measures nearly all U.S.-based companies — ended at 9,408.25, up 339.57, or 3.7 percent, for the week. A year ago, the index was at 14,217.05.
Congress's Afterthought, Wall Street's Trillion Dollars.Fed's Bailout Authority Sat Unused Since 1991 By Binyamin Appelbaum and Neil Irwin Washington Post Staff Writers Saturday, May 30, 2009
On the day before Thanksgiving in 1991, the U.S. Senate voted to vastly expand the emergency powers of the Federal Reserve.Almost no one noticed.The critical language was contained in a single, somewhat inscrutable sentence, and the only public explanation was offered during a final debate that began with a reminder that senators had airplanes to catch. Yet, in removing a long-standing prohibition on loans that supported financial speculation, the provision effectively allowed the Fed for the first time to lend money to Wall Street during a crisis.That authority, which sat unused for more than 16 years, now provides the legal basis for the Fed's unprecedented efforts to rescue the financial system.Since March 2008, the central bank's board of governors has invoked its emergency powers at least 19 times: to contain the wreckage of Bear Stearns and ease the fall of American International Group, to preserve Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, to limit losses at Bank of America and Citigroup, to lend more than $1 trillion.The repeated use of the once-dusty law has surprised and alarmed a wide range of people, including economists and members of Congress. It has even raised worries among presidents of the regional banks that make up the Federal Reserve system.Many critics are concerned that an institution not accountable to voters is risking vast amounts of public money and choosing which companies get help. Others are concerned that the Fed's new role will interfere with its basic responsibility for regulating economic growth.There is also a question about the roots of the crisis: Did investment banks take greater risks in the past two decades because they knew the Fed could rescue them? The 1991 legislation, authored by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), was requested by Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms in the wake of the 1987 market crisis, and it would save some of them a generation later.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and other leaders of the central bank have argued that the emergency authority has allowed it to rescue the financial system and that without it, the economy would be in far worse shape. And they argue that they are using the power as Congress intended.This provision was designed as a last resort to make sure credit flows when times are tough and credit isn't being extended, said Scott Alvarez, the Fed's general counsel.That's exactly what it's being used for today.Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that the actions taken by the Fed have been necessary and important but that those actions should have been taken by an agency accountable to voters. He said he was not aware of the Fed's emergency power until September, and he favored removing much of that authority from the Fed once the crisis has passed.This is a democracy, and there is a problem with too much power going to an entity that is not subject to democratic powers,Frank said.
Politics of Independence
The Fed, by law and tradition, is insulated from political pressure. Members of its Board of Governors are appointed to 14-year terms, allowing them to take painful, unpopular actions to help the economy. That independence has become a valuable political tool for the Bush and Obama administrations, which have worked with the Fed to create vast rescue programs outside the reach of Congress. The most recent example is the Fed's agreement to spur up to $1 trillion in new lending by funding the purchase of securitized loans. By necessity, the Fed was the institution everybody looked to because they had the balance sheet and the legal authority to act, said Phillip L. Swagel, an assistant Treasury secretary in the George W. Bush administration who is to become a professor at Georgetown University's business school.
But the government's reliance on the Fed has roused critics.
There's no accountability,said Walker F. Todd, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland whose writings raised some of the earliest questions about the 1991 law.How much power do you want to concentrate in a few people who are not directly accountable to the political process? Those criticisms have been heightened by the Fed's refusal to disclose which firms have benefited from many of the emergency programs, such as the names of the companies that have used the Fed's commercial paper funding facility to issue short-term debt. Fed officials argue that disclosure could spark runs on those firms by alerting investors to the depth of their problems. Legislation pending before Congress would require the Fed to disclose more information. Other bills would impose additional oversight. The mounting political pressure has alarmed some experts, who worry that the autonomy necessary to make monetary policy will be forever damaged. What the Fed has done is almost irreparable,said Allan H. Meltzer, a Carnegie Mellon University economist who is a leading historian of the Fed.It's going to be hard to get them to unlearn it. Now Congress will look to the Fed every time a constituent has a hard time getting a loan.
Without a Net?
The Fed has always served as a lender of last resort for commercial banks. During the Depression, it was authorized by Congress to lend on an emergency basis to other companies that couldn't get money anywhere else. From 1932 to 1936, it made only 123 loans. A broader program launched in 1936 was more successful, and the Fed would make thousands of loans to businesses before Congress terminated the program in 1958.
The original authority survived, but by then, a new generation of Fed officials had lost the will to lend. Intermittently, other parts of the government would press the Fed to dust off its powers -- to save the Penn Central Railroad in 1970, to rescue New York City in 1975, to rescue property and casualty insurers in the 1980s -- but in each case, the Fed demurred out of concern for its independence. Ernest T. Patrikis, former general counsel at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, recalled that in some cases the Fed went so far as to conduct legal research into its options, but never further than that. We always knew about it, but we always knew it would only be used in extreme cases,said Patrikis, now a partner at the law firm White & Case.The wind shifted in the late 1980s. During the stock market crash of October 1987, some commercial banks had refused to lend money to investment banks. A few years later, the collapse of Drexel Burnham Lambert, then the nation's fifth-largest investment bank, renewed concerns about the absence of a safety net beneath Wall Street.Rodgin Cohen, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, suggested to several of his clients the idea of modifying the 1932 law to allow lending to investment banks, according to people involved in the discussions. Cohen is a legendary figure on Wall Street, building a career as perhaps the preeminent legal adviser on banking mergers, in part through his command of the minutiae of federal regulations.
Dodd, at the time chairman of the securities subcommittee of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, agreed to insert the language into a bill whose primary purpose was to reform the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which guarantees commercial bank deposits.Dodd declined to comment for this story, but at the time, he said the legislation gave the Fed "greater flexibility to respond in instances in which the overall financial system threatens to collapse.During a meeting to discuss the bill's final language, a representative of the Federal Reserve was asked to comment. Donald L. Kohn, then the director of the Fed's Division of Monetary Affairs, said the agency had no objections, according to people in attendance that day. The Fed has extensive regulatory authority over commercial banks, to keep them from needing its safety net. But after Dodd's language passed into law, the Fed did not seek new regulatory authority over investment banks, nor did Congress move to provide new authority.Instead, over the next two decades, federal officials would emphasize that investment banks had an incentive to be cautious because they were operating without a safety net.
Opening That Window
Sixteen years later, Kohn, now the Fed's vice chairman, appeared on March 4, 2008, before the Senate Banking Committee. Dodd, now the chairman, asked whether the Fed was considering using its emergency authority to help restore the flow of money through the capital markets. Kohn responded that he would be very cautious about lending Fed money to institutions other than banks or, as he put it,opening that window more generally.But by then, the Fed already was on the verge of invoking the emergency lending authority for the first time since the 1930s. Fed lawyers had started to dust off past research on the emergency-powers law during the fall of 2007, shortly after the earliest indications that the financial system was breaking down. Initially, the goal was to understand how the power might be used in a crisis, without any specific company or lending program in mind. By March, however, the Fed was focused on a particular program. Wall Street firms once again were struggling to borrow money. Lenders were charging much higher interest rates if borrowers pledged mortgage-backed securities rather than Treasurys. On March 11, the Fed's Board of Governors invoked the emergency-powers law for the first time since the Great Depression, allowing firms to swap their securities for Treasurys, preserving their ability to raise money without requiring them to sell the securities at large losses.
The Fed's biggest concern: Invoking a law that could be used only in a financial crisis might deepen the fear in the markets. The answer: The Fed, in its press release announcing the facility on March 11, didn't mention where the legal authority came from. Three days later, on a bright Friday morning, the Fed governors and staff gathered again in a giant, formal conference room built during the Great Depression. They were bleary-eyed, having stayed up all night grappling with the deterioration of the investment bank Bear Stearns. The markets were soon to open. Moments later, the four governors present voted unanimously to support the sale of Bear Stearns to J.P. Morgan Chase, breaking the fall of an investment bank for the first time.
Sarkozy cancels Sweden visit over Turkey
ELITSA VUCHEVA 29.05.2009 @ 09:12 CET
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has cancelled a visit to Sweden scheduled for next Tuesday (2 June) in order to avoid a clash on the question of Turkey's EU membership just days before the European elections and a month before Stockholm takes over the EU's rotating presidency.Officially, Mr Sarkozy's office said the trip was cancelled for agenda reasons.But the French president, who is an outspoken opponent of Turkey's entry to the European Union, did not want to highlight the strong divergence of views on this topic with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Le Monde reported on Thursday (28 May).Sweden favours further EU enlargement, including to Turkey. On Monday this week, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt told Le Figaro newspaper that the EU had a strategic interest in Turkey's EU integration and warned against closing the door to Ankara.If we judge Cyprus to be in Europe, although it is as in island along Syria's shores, it is hard not to consider that Turkey is in Europe, Mr Bildt said, referring to Mr Sarkozy's repeated statements that Turkey is not a European country and does not belong to Europe.Additionally, Mr Sarkozy probably did not appreciate that Mr Bildt expressed views different from his on the economy, French newspapers comment.In the Figaro interview, Mr Bildt said: My vision of Europe is not as defensive as I observe it with other people.In a reference to aid plans for the car industry - very much promoted by Mr Sarkozy - the Swedish top diplomat said that for him, spending taxpayers' money to subsidise existing structures is a very good way of wasting money.The French president's trip to Sweden was cancelled the day after the interview was published.
Nicolas Sarkozy cancelled his visit because of the Carl Bildt interview, one minister told Le Monde.The president wanted to avoid a clash on Turkey and did not want that his visit to Sweden interferes with the elections [five days later]. There are [also] too many dossiers that are too important to prepare with the Swedish EU presidency to spoil that visit,another official told the paper.The upcoming Swedish EU presidency is the real reason behind the cancellation, rather than the context of the European elections, according to Le Figaro journalist Pierre Rousseiln.Nicolas Sarkozy does not fear confrontation,he wrote in his blog, adding that defending his position in Sweden could even have been beneficial for Mr Sarkozy ahead of next Sunday's vote.If he refused to go to Stockholm, he did it to avoid a clash just a month before the Swedish EU presidency starts and it is a sign that Mr Sarkozy is expecting a number of difficulties during Sweden's six-month term at the head of the bloc, Mr Rousselin wrote.The French president's office is currently working on rescheduling the visit for another date before the end of June.
NATO/EU Enlargement and the Confrontation with Russia
Daniel Saarinen Infowars May 29, 2009
Russia has traditionally been a conservative power throughout its history. It has no natural geographical defenses on its frontiers, and the country stretches across eleven time zones. Russia has historically adapted to this vulnerability by acquiring buffer territories to provide even greater strategic depth for their defense. This vulnerability has led to numerous invasions by great powers in the past. The Tatars, Napoleon, Charles XII and Hitler all did their worst to the Russians. This history shapes the Russian soul to be defensive and paranoid about potential danger on its borders. Russia never experienced the Renaissance, Reformation and the Enlightenment. This has caused Russia to become more culturally distant from the West since the 17th century.In the West, there was a growing dislike of the naked tyranny of the Czars since the Enlightenment, and even before. The totalitarianism of the East was viewed as a grave threat to the commercial empires of the West. When Russia is strong, it is a terrible enemy to face. This is why in the post-WWII era an entire defensive military alliance was created to face down the singular power of Moscow.
Another part of the conflict is the different sources of power that the antagonists draw upon. Russia controls the Central Asian Heartland, and is the predominant land power on the Earth. America and its European satellites are the predominant commercial sea powers of the Earth. This asymmetry leads both factions to take extreme measures to counter the predominant strength of the enemy. The amalgamated financial power of the banking elite in the West controls the commanding heights of the world economy. All nations on the periphery of this control system are beholden to it, and do not participate in the global economy on an equal basis. Russia knows this, and views the advance of the European economic bloc with fear. They are determined not to be brought into the New World Order of NATO and the EU as a subservient client state of the financial powers. After the South Ossetia war, the orders were given by the money masters to attack Russian markets as punishment for its victory in the Caucasus. The Moscow stock market was imploded on command. To counter this form of strength, Russia is investing in its traditional mode of foreign policy: pure force.
Globalism vs. Realism
The problem of perception is almost insurmountable. Russia interacts with the world on the basis of a sort of realism mixed with opportunism. They only seek objectives that they can guarantee with force. NATO and the EU are pursuing policies that only post-modern nihilistic powers would consider. The expansion of the blocs to countries that are not suitable members causes alarm and confusion in Russia, because it does not make any kind of strategic sense unless the goal is to surround and isolate Russia. The inclusion of the Visegrad Four (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) was reasonable, and made sense to the Russians and was not viewed as being too threatening. These states were traditionally western, and had not been part of the Russian sphere of influence except for during the Cold War.The problem in the eyes of Russia is the expansion into old Bessarabia (Balkans and South-East Europe), and former Ottoman territories that have Slavic and orthodox peoples living there. Russia views itself as the guardian of Christendom and feels a paternal responsibility towards the Slavic Christians in this area and has traditionally held great influence there. Seeing these groups pulled into the Economic and Military blocs of the West has piqued the paranoid nerves of the Russian elite. This is not normal Realistic behavior on the part of NATO and the EU.The problem for NATO and the EU is that for every action they take, threatening or not in their eyes, Russia responds with force and blackmail. They don’t realize that this is just the product of the asymmetry that exists between the West and Russia. Russia cannot fight the West in terms of propaganda or economics, so all they can rely on is force and the resources they directly control in order to enforce their will. The inability to accept that Russia is motivated by nationalism is crippling the policy and planning of the NATO and EU bloc. It is not reasonable to expect to be able to build military bases right up to Russia’s borders and have no response from them. All overtures that the western bloc makes to Russia are interpreted as attempts to ensnare them into the bottomless monetary pit of the Anglo-American Banking Empire.The issue of deterrence has become the key to this confrontation. Russia has recognized the weakness being introduced into NATO by bringing in these tiny Eastern European states, and even more absurdly Georgia all the way in the Caucasus. The United States is not actually willing to fight Russia directly over these meager allies, and Russia has been convinced of that for decades. The demonstration of punishing Georgia was to destroy the enthusiasm of the tiny Eastern NATO members to thumb their noses at Russia, and to get revenge for the theft of Kosovo from Serbia.
Mitigating Factors and Confidence Building Measures
NATO has included Russia as an observer in order to address some of the Russian fears about NATO expansion and out of area actions. The NATO-Russia Council was founded in 2002 and allows Russia to hear the discussions and to have their opinions immediately heard by the NATO members. The creation of this mechanism has decreased tension somewhat because there is less of a question about whether either side understands what the other is doing or what the other wants. This is a mitigating factor in the perception problem between the West and Russia. The importance of this should not be over played though. As time goes on Russia sees that even though they have a voice in the NATO structure and their opinions are known, they have no value.Since the EU is an economic and political entity, communication with Russia is easier. There are Russian Ambassadors in all of the EU states. The EU and Russia entered into a Partnership and Co-operation Agreement in 1994 shortly after the creation of the EU. This agreement normalized economic policy between the EU and Russia and allowed for expanded trade and cooperation. In late 2008 the EU and Russia began new negotiations at a summit about a new agreement that is yet to take shape. Russia will act to exploit the cracks between EU economic needs, and the military demands of the trans-Atlantic alliance. This gap is closing, and to the Russians this is more evidence of hostile unified purpose.
NATO and the EU are on a collision course with Russia. This conflict is not about whether Russia is good, or if there is democracy in Russia. This is about the grand schemes of the global banking elite that are using the United States and NATO as a weapon to enforce their program around the world. The actions of NATO and the EU are not within the bounds of realism, and invoke all sorts of fears in Russia. Some of these are justified and some are not. If the western blocs are not acting rationally in the context of history, the logical thing for the Russians to believe is that they are in danger. The real way for the West and Russia to de-escalate the burgeoning conflict is for the West to leave Central Asia and the Caucasus. Our presence there is unnatural, and very expensive to maintain. Returning to a rational spheres of influence system of international relations would give confidence and security to all the parties involved. The human energy of the great powers could then be devoted to progress and development rather than destruction and oligarchy.
North Korea to move intercontinental missile: report By Jack Kim and Neil Chatterjee MAY 29,09
SEOUL/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – North Korea is preparing to move an intercontinental ballistic missile from a factory near Pyongyang to a launch site on the east coast, a South Korean newspaper quoted a source in Washington as saying on Saturday.U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at a forum in Singapore, warned on Saturday that provocations by the communist state would not go unanswered.We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region or on us,Gates told a meeting of Asian Defense ministers in Singapore. We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state.Increasingly belligerent North Korea has warned of war on the Korean peninsula, saying it was no longer bound by an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and threatened further provocations in response to U.N. Security Council censure.The factory north of Pyongyang is the same place where the North manufactured the long-range rocket it fired on April 5 before moving it to the east-coast Musudan-ri missile range for assembly and launch, the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said.Regional powers are waiting to see what the North might do next after it conducted a nuclear test on Monday. South Korea is on alert on the assessment Pyongyang may make provocative moves using conventional weapons at their heavily armed border.North Korea has warned of an intercontinental ballistic missile test in anger over U.N. Security Council punishment for what Pyongyang said was a satellite launch on April 5.Preparations to move an ICBM from the Saneum Weapons Research Center near Pyongyang by train have been captured by U.S. spy satellites, Dong-a Ilbo quoted a source in Washington knowledgeable about the issue as saying.The research lab is the North's main center of research and manufacture of long-range missiles, the newspaper said.South Korea's Defense ministry could not immediately comment on the report.
REAL PAIN SANCTIONS NEEDED
In New York, the United States and Japan circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to key members, condemning the claimed nuclear test and demanding strict enforcement of sanctions imposed after the North's first atomic test in October 2006.
Gates said North Korea was not a direct military threat now but said sanctions that bring home real pain were needed against Pyongyang.If (the North Koreans) continue on a path they are on, I think the consequences for stability in the region are significant and I think it poses the potential, the potential for some kind of an arms race in this region,Gates said.Western diplomats said permanent Security Council members Russia and China have agreed in principle that North Korea should be sanctioned for its nuclear test, but it was not clear what kind of penalties they would support. Both are generally reluctant to approve sanctions.U.S. officials have urged China to pressure North Korea to step back from nuclear brinkmanship and return to stalled disarmament talks. But many Chinese analysts say Washington overstates Beijing's sway over Pyongyang, as well as their government's willingness to use that influence.North Korea fired a short-range missile on Friday from the Musudan-ri missile base, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed government source as saying. The missile appeared to be a modified surface-to-air missile with a range of up to 160 km (99 miles), Dong-a Ilbo said.The two Koreas have fought two deadly naval clashes on their disputed maritime border in the past 10 years and the North has warned another could happen. A U.S. Defense official said the United States had observed above average activity in the past 24 hours at a site in North Korea that has previously been used to test fire long-range missiles. South Korea's Defense Ministry said it had seen the number of Chinese fishing boats near the peninsula in the Yellow Sea drop sharply in recent days and is watching the North's activities for indications of aggression. In Singapore, Gates will meet with the Defense ministers of South Korea and Japan to discuss responses to North Korea's further provocations, South Korea's Defense ministry said.(Additional reporting by Nopporn-Wong Anan and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
US officials: North Korea may launch new missiles By ERIC TALMADGE and ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writers MAY 29,09
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea threatened to retaliate if punitive U.N. sanctions are imposed for its latest nuclear test, and U.S. officials said there are new signs Pyongyang may be planning more long-range missile launches.Washington warned on Saturday the U.S. would respond quickly to any moves that threaten America or its Asian allies.We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in Asia — or on us, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at a regional defense meeting in Singapore. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of his speech.With tensions rising, the communist nation punctuated its barrage of rhetoric with yet another short-range missile launch on Friday — the sixth this week.Perhaps more significantly, officials in Washington said there are indications of increased activity at a site used to fire long-range missiles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because methods of gathering information about North Korea are sensitive.U.S. spy satellites detected signs the North was preparing to transport a long-range missile by train to its northeastern Musudan-ni launch pad, an official at South Korea's Defense Ministry said Saturday. The official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the missile was from an armament factory near Pyongyang.South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the latest test launch Friday was a surface-to-air missile designed to defend against aircraft or other missile attacks. It said the missile was believed to be a modified version of the Russian SA-5.
The nuclear test and flurry of missile launches, coupled with the rhetoric from Pyongyang that it won't honor a 1953 truce ending the fighting in the Korean War, have raised tensions in the region and heightened concerns that the North may provoke a skirmish along the border or off its western coast — the site of deadly clashes in 1999 and 2002.But officials said the heavily fortified border remains calm and the U.S. defense secretary said Washington does not see the situation as a crisis warranting any more troops to augment the 28,000 U.S. forces already in South Korea.
North Korea remained strident.
There is a limit to our patience,its Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried on the North's official Korean Central News Agency.The nuclear test conducted in our nation this time is the Earth's 2,054th nuclear test. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have conducted 99.99 percent of the total nuclear tests.
North Korea said it conducted the test in self-defense. It has asserted the United States is planning a pre-emptive strike to oust the regime of leader Kim Jong Il and warned it would not accept sanctions or other punitive measures being discussed by the Security Council.If the U.N. Security Council makes a further provocation, it will be inevitable for us to take further self-defense measures, the Foreign Ministry said. It reiterated that it no longer sees the truce as valid, but it has made that claim several times in the past.The draft of a U.N. resolution being negotiated in response to the North's second nuclear test calls on all countries to immediately enforce sanctions imposed after the North's first test in 2006.They include a partial arms embargo, a ban on luxury goods, and ship searches for illegal weapons or material. The sanctions have been sporadically implemented, with many of the 192 U.N. member states ignoring them.The partial draft, obtained Friday by The Associated Press after it first appeared on the Inner City Press Web site, would have the council condemn the North's May 25 nuclear test in the strongest terms ... in flagrant violation and disregard of the 2006 resolution.A list of proposals was sent Wednesday to the five permanent veto-wielding council members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — and the two countries most closely affected by the nuclear test, Japan and South Korea.U.S. officials said Friday its initial air sampling from near the underground test site was inconclusive. At least one more test will be conducted.
North and South Korea technically remain at war because they signed a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953. North Korea disputes the U.N.-drawn maritime border off its west coast and has positioned artillery guns along the west coast on its side of the border, Yonhap said.From the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, about a dozen Chinese ships could be seen pulling out of a North Korean port and heading elsewhere, possibly to avoid any skirmishes. Yonhap reported that more than 280 Chinese fishing vessels were in the area earlier this week, but the number is now about 140. It was not clear if the Chinese vessels, in the area for the crabbing season, were told by the North to leave or if they did so on their own.South Korean and U.S. troops facing North Korea raised their surveillance Thursday to its highest level since 2006, when the North first tested a nuclear device. A squadron of F-22 stealth fighters — the most advanced in the U.S. Air Force — were due to arrive Saturday on the southern Japan island of Okinawa, and Friday's missile launch may have been the North's attempt to show it has the means to shoot them down, or at least make any incursion into its airspace risky.Its other launches this week were of land-to-sea missiles, a warning that it can strike warships that come too close. Talmadge reported from Seoul, National Security Writer Gearan reported from Washington; Associated Press writers Jae-soon Chang in Seoul, Lara Jakes aboard a U.S. military jet, National Security Writer Robert Burns in Washington, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
NKorea fires short-range missile, warns of action by Daniel Rook – Fri May 29, 6:36 pm ET
SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea fired another short-range missile on Friday and threatened fresh steps if world powers impose sanctions for its nuclear test, amid signs it may be readying a new long-range launch.The United States said it was sending its North Korea envoy to the jittery region, where Chinese fishing boats were fleeing a sensitive part of the Yellow Sea in fear of potential naval clashes.The communist North, which has warned it could launch an attack on the South, vowed to respond to any fresh sanctions imposed by the United Nations.If the UN Security Council provokes us, our additional self-defence measures will be inevitable, the North's foreign ministry said in a statement carried by official media.The world will soon witness how our army and people stand up against oppression and despotism by the UNSC and uphold their dignity and independence.Tensions have been running high since Kim Jong-Il's regime said it tested a nuclear bomb on Monday for the second time and renounced the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953.North Korea test-fired another missile off its east coast Friday, the sixth this week, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.There was no immediate confirmation but the agency's reports of five launches earlier this week were later confirmed by Pyongyang.In Washington, two US defence officials said that satellite photos suggest North Korea may now be preparing to launch a long-range ballistic missile.
Vehicle movements at two missile sites resemble work done before North Korea fired a long-range rocket last month, the officials told AFP on condition of anonymity.One of the sites is in the east of the country and the other is in the west, the officials added, without giving further details.With US and South Korean troops on high alert, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was due to consult his counterparts from South Korea and Japan on Saturday at a regional conference in Singapore.Stephen Bosworth, the US special envoy on North Korea, and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg will head Sunday to Tokyo and later visit China, South Korea and Russia, the State Department said.The countries were part of six-nation talks that agreed in 2007 to provide aid and security guarantees to North Korea in return for denuclearisation.
Pyongyang stormed out of the accord last month in protest after the UN Security Council unanimously condemned its long-range missile launch.The Council has been discussing a potential resolution -- stronger than last month's statement -- to condemn the North's nuclear test. But it was not yet clear if that would include new sanctions.Gates, en route to Singapore, accused the North of very provocative, aggressive actions. But he also tried to calm nerves, stressing the United States was not planning any military action.Gates said he was unaware of any unusual troop movements in the North, which has around 1.1 million soldiers, compared with 680,000 South Korean and 28,500 US troops south of the border. I don't think there is a need for us to reinforce our military presence in the South. Should the North Koreans do something extremely provocative militarily, then we have the forces to deal with it, he added.The North may take further steps following its latest verbal statement, which aims to send a strong warning to the Security Council, said Professor Yang Moo-Jin at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies. The North may put its military on a war footing, test-fire a long-range missile and restart the plutonium reprocessing facilities at Yongbyon, he told AFP. The North could also stage a third nuclear test but this would come much later than the other steps, Yang said.In a possible sign of trouble ahead, Chinese fishing boats were leaving the tense border area in the Yellow Sea where the two Koreas fought deadly naval clashes in 1999 and 2002, South Korea's defence ministry said.As this could be a signal foreboding a possible provocation by the North, we are watching the situation closely,ministry spokesman Won Tae-Jae said.
Pyongyang warned Wednesday it could not guarantee the safety of US or South Korean ships after Seoul said it was joining a US-led international effort to stop the trade in weapons of mass destruction.But some experts question North Korea's military capabilities. A US official in Washington said on condition of anonymity that initial US radioactivity tests had not yet confirmed Pyongyang's nuclear test.
North Korea could unleash land invasion By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer MAY 29,09
WASHINGTON – North Korea's nuclear threats are grabbing the world's attention. But if the North were to strike South Korea today, it would probably first try to savage Seoul with the men and missiles of its huge conventional army.The attack might well begin with artillery and missiles capable of hitting South Korea's capital with little or no warning. North Korea's vast cadre of commandos could try to infiltrate and cause chaos while the South tried to respond.The hair-trigger nature of the danger is reflected in the pledge of preparedness that American ground forces stationed just below the North-South divide have lived by for decades: Fight tonight.
If it came to war, destruction — civilian and military — would be heavy, even if the North held back whatever nuclear weapons it may have. The consensus American view, generally shared by allies, is that the South would prevail but at enormous human cost, including a refugee crisis on the Korean peninsula.Fears of military conflict have increased this week, particularly regarding disputed waters off the western coast, after North Korea conducted an apparent nuclear test on Monday and then renounced the armistice that has kept relative peace between the Koreas. It has held since the two sides fought to a standstill — with the U.S. and the U.N. backing the South and China and Russia supporting the North — in the 1950-53 Korean War.The North is threatening to respond in self defense if the U.N. Security Council imposes more sanctions as punishment for the nuclear test, which Washington and others say violated previous U.N. resolutions.At the outset of the Korean War, which began 59 years ago next month, North Korean armor rolled across the border, catching the South by surprise. An emergency U.S. defense effort initially crumbled, and the North's forces almost succeeded in pushing the Americans off the tip of the peninsula.U.S. and South Korean forces have had nearly six decades to anticipate how a renewed attack might unfold and how they would respond. The expectation is that the North would slip commandos, commonly called special operating forces, across the Demilitarized Zone that divides the North and South or into southern waters aboard small submarines to carry out sabotage and assassination.In congressional testimony in March, the commander of U.S. forces in Korea, Gen. Walter L. Sharp, estimated that the North has more than 80,000 such commandos. He said it is the largest special operating force in the world, with tough, well-trained and profoundly loyal troops who are capable of clandestine missions such as sabotaging critical civilian infrastructure as well as attacking military targets.
The South has had glimpses of the commando capabilities. Until recent years the North would routinely infiltrate agents across the DMZ. One of its submarines ran aground in South Korea during a failed spying mission in 1996.Sharp said North Korea's army is the world's fourth largest with 1.2 million troops on active duty, backed by as many as 7 million reserves, with an estimated 1,700 military aircraft, 800 naval vessels and more than 13,000 artillery pieces. The numbers do not tell the entire story, though. Much of the North's equipment is old and decrepit, and it lacks the high-tech reconnaissance capabilities of the South.Sharp did not mention chemical weapons, but it is widely believed the North has a chemical capability that it could unleash in the early stages of a land war to demoralize defending forces and deny the use of mobilization centers, storage areas and military bases.Complicating the defensive calculations of the South and its American allies is the immutable fact that Seoul, with a population of about 10 million, lies about 35 miles south of the DMZ — within easy range of much of the North's artillery.It's a very, very direct route. That's always been the problem, right from the early days, said Kerry Brown, an Asia analyst at London's Chatham House think tank.It's very vulnerable to a sudden, savage all-out military attack.Robert W. RisCassi, a retired four-star Army general who commanded U.S. forces in Korea from 1990-93, said in a telephone interview Friday that the North's navy is no match for the South's and its air forces are weak and overmatched. Resources, including fuel, are a major limitation for the North.They don't fly enough hours to be really proficient,RisCassi said of the North Korean air force.North Korea can be reached by U.S. Air Force F-16 jets from bases in northern Japan in about 30 minutes, and a squadron of new-generation F-22 fighters should deploy to the southern Japan island of Okinawa on Saturday. North Korea has been shrilly critical of the F-22 deployment, announced well before this week's nuclear test, because the fighters — which are difficult to detect on radar and capable of cruising at supersonic speed — are seen by the North as a threat to its air defenses.The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, based just south of Tokyo, has two destroyers focused on North Korea at all times, meaning they are either in the Sea of Japan or can get there on short notice.
RisCassi said Kim Jong Il, the reclusive leader of North Korea, lost any bolt-out-of-the-blue invasion option he may have enjoyed when U.S. and South Korean forces were placed on heightened alert earlier this week. Whether he wants to play that card, no one knows, but I think he knows that if he plays it, he's going to lose and he's going to lose North Korea,RisCassi said. Although the U.S. has a relatively small ground force of about 28,500 troops in South Korea, the key to American support in the event of a sudden invasion would air and naval power. The U.S. has fighters, bombers and an array of other Air Force and Navy warplanes not only stationed in South Korea but also at bases in Japan, Guam and elsewhere in the Pacific. Associated Press writers Raphael G. Satter in London and Eric Talmadge in Seoul contributed to this report.
Gates: North Korean should weigh moves carefully By LARA JAKES, Associated Press Writer MAY 29,09
SINGAPORE – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned North Korea on Saturday that the United States would respond quickly if moves by the communist government threaten America or its Asian allies.We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region — or on us, Gates told an annual international meeting of defense and security officials from Asia and the Pacific Rim.Gates called North Korea's nuclear program a harbinger of a dark future but said he does not consider it a direct military threat to the United States at this point.He also compared North Korea's nuclear program to Iran's, but noted that North Korea's program is farther along. Gates called for genuinely tough sanctions against both countries that bring home real pain for their failure to adhere to international norms.Gates offered no specifics on how the U.S. might respond to North Korea, militarily or otherwise, and has said there are no current plans to deploy more U.S. forces to the region.Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said this week that the U.S. would need about 90 days to get more troops to the region if called up.An estimated 28,000 U.S. troops already are stationed in South Korea, part of about 250,000 soldiers in the U.S. Pacific Command.Gates' speech delivered his harshest words to date to North Korea since Pyongyang detonated an underground nuclear device Monday, followed by several short-range missile launches over the last few days.The choice to continue as a destitute, international pariah, or chart a new course, is North Korea's alone to make,Gates said.The world is waiting.
The Pentagon chief focused most of his comments on U.S. priorities like high-seas piracy and the war in Afghanistan. Despite his warning, he appeared to take care in the half-hour speech to avoid ratcheting up the rhetoric in the weeklong war of words between North Korea and nations alarmed by its show of weaponry.The U.N. Security Council is considering tough sanctions to punish North Korea for its nuclear test. In turn, North Korean leaders said they would respond in self-defense to the as-of-yet unspecified sanctions but did not say how.Western security experts suggest that Washington's best strategy may be to resist getting egged into action by North Korea's talk.North Korea is talking war but planning how to best avoid it while maintaining the maximum international turmoil, David Fulghum, senior military editor of Aviation Week, said in a statement.The rationale, believe U.S. analysts and military officials, is that constant provocation of the West is the only road to relevance.Gates' also spoke broadly about bolstering diplomatic relations with China and cited common challenges the two sometimes-adversaries face: counterterrorism, piracy, energy security and disaster relief.It is essential for the United States and China to find opportunities to cooperate wherever possible,he said.He praised South Korea and Japan for becoming economic powerhouses that need little U.S. military assistance. Gates was to meet later Saturday with the two nations' top defense officials in talks likely to focus on North Korea.And Gates urged nations to remain involved in the war in Afghanistan, saying that extremists nestled in the rocky Afghanistan-Pakistan border are probably to blame for much of the terror threats throughout the rest of Asia.
I know some in Asia have concluded that Afghanistan does not represent a strategic threat for their countries,he said.But the threat from failed or failing states is international in scope. ... Failure in a place like Afghanistan would have international reverberations — and, undoubtedly, many of them would be felt in this part of the world.In talking about the Obama administration's commitment to the region, Gates appeared to voice a veiled general apology for previous U.S. military decisions, but he avoided detailing them.In our efforts to protect our own freedom — and that of others — we have from time to time made mistakes, including at times being arrogant in dealing with others,he said.But we always correct course. Our willingness to do so is one of our enduring strengths.
Russia: Village accidentally shelled; no injuries Fri May 29, 2:42 pm ET
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – A Russian naval ship carrying out target practice off the Russian Baltic Sea coast accidentally rained shell fragments on a village near St. Petersburg, officials said Friday.Nobody was injured when the fragments from shells fired by an anti-submarine ship in the Gulf of Finland fell on houses in the village of Zelyonaya Roshcha, close to the border with Finland, regional military prosecutor Igor Lebedev said. An investigation has begun, Lebedev said.Russia's NTV television said that the ship fired its six-barrel anti-aircraft gun near the shore, and the exploding shells rained shards of metal on the village. It showed metal fragments several centimeters (inches) long which were spread all over the area.Some people thought that a war started, one villager, Yuri Mikhailov, was quoted as telling the RIA Novosti news agency.It was like a hail of steel.
Arms body breaks 12 years of deadlock on nukes By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS, Associated Press Writer – Fri May 29, 7:05 pm ET
GENEVA – The 65-nation Conference on Disarmament broke a dozen years of deadlock Friday and opened the way to negotiate a new nuclear arms control treaty.Diplomats welcomed the adoption of a program of work as a breakthrough for the conference, which has been stalemated since it wrote the nuclear test ban treaty in 1996.The program refers to nuclear disarmament in general, but it indicates a top candidate for a new treaty is one to ban production of so-called fissile materials — highly enriched uranium and plutonium — needed to create atomic weapons.Ambassador Idriss Jazairy of Algeria, who as chairman of the conference pushed for adoption of the program, said the breakthrough came in part because of support by the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China.Terrific result, British Ambassador John Duncan wrote in a tweet on the Twitter micro-blogging site. He credited Jazairy with getting international work on nuclear disarmament restarted in Geneva.Even North Korea, which only this week tested its second nuclear bomb, endorsed the program of work.An Myong Hun, a diplomat with the North Korean delegation, told the conference, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has decided to support the draft decision in order for the conference to be able to start its substantive work.This decision was taken even though the U.N. Security Council continues to criticize North Korea, An said, adding that moves to acquire a nuclear arsenal were solely for self-defense.He said it remains the country's policy to achieve total nuclear disarmament, but nuclear weapons states have to lead the way.Iran, which has been accused of trying to develop nuclear weapons, said it had sent the accord to Tehran, but had yet to receive instructions.
Garold Larson, the head of the U.S. delegation, joined in the praise for Jazairy and other mediators and said delegates were looking forward to the work, which will surely be challenging.The United States has long backed proposals for a fissile materials treaty, but was credited with helping break the logjam by shifting its position to support a verifiable accord.President Barack Obama said in Prague, Czech Republic, last month, The United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons.On Friday, Obama welcomed an agreement by the conference to open the way to negotiate a new nuclear arms control treaty.He said the decision signals a commitment to work together on what he calls a fundamental challenge. He also said he's committed to working with other governments to help complete the treaty quickly, saying such a treaty is an essential element of his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Previously the Bush administration had rejected verification, arguing that inspections and monitoring were insufficient.Russia and China also joined in the endorsement of the program and expressed hope for substantive work to get under way.
The program also takes into account a concern of many non-nuclear nations that the negotiations should consider existing stockpiles of fissile materials. The accord balances different interests of countries that have been deeply divided over the future path of arms negotiations since the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was approved nearly 13 years ago. The conference in earlier years negotiated a treaty on chemical weapons. Many non-nuclear countries have long wanted the conference to negotiate nuclear disarmament, but the United States led objections by arguing that it was unsuitable for a negotiations among many countries. It noted it already has been negotiating effectively with the Russians to reduce their stockpiles and that such talks between two powers was the best way to go.By coincidence, the U.S. and Russia are scheduled to continue talks in Geneva next week on extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expires at the end of the year.The Conference on Disarmament also set up a working group on the prevention of an arms race in outer space,a favorite proposal of Russia and China, which have cited fears that the United States was trying to weaponize space.Another working group will tackle a concern of non-nuclear countries, that they be given assurances by other countries of protection against the use or threat of attack with nuclear weapons.