Monday, December 24, 2007

This Coming Financial Storm May Be One For The History Books


Crisis may make 1929 look a 'walk in the park'
Ambrose Evans-PritchardLondon Telegraph Monday, December 24, 2007
As central banks continue to splash their cash over the system, so far to little effect, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues things are rapidly spiralling out of their control
Twenty billion dollars here, $20bn there, and a lush half-trillion from the European Central Bank at give-away rates for Christmas. Buckets of liquidity are being splashed over the North Atlantic banking system, so far with meagre or fleeting effects.
As the credit paralysis stretches through its fifth month, a chorus of economists has begun to warn that the world's central banks are fighting the wrong war, and perhaps risk a policy error of epochal proportions.
"Liquidity doesn't do anything in this situation," says Anna Schwartz, the doyenne of US monetarism and life-time student (with Milton Friedman) of the Great Depression.
"It cannot deal with the underlying fear that lots of firms are going bankrupt. The banks and the hedge funds have not fully acknowledged who is in trouble. That is the critical issue," she adds.
Lenders are hoarding the cash, shunning peers as if all were sub-prime lepers. Spreads on three-month Euribor and Libor - the interbank rates used to price contracts and Club Med mortgages - are stuck at 80 basis points even after the latest blitz. The monetary screw has tightened by default.
York professor Peter Spencer, chief economist for the ITEM Club, says the global authorities have just weeks to get this right, or trigger disaster.
advertisement"The central banks are rapidly losing control. By not cutting interest rates nearly far enough or fast enough, they are allowing the money markets to dictate policy. We are long past worrying about moral hazard," he says.
"They still have another couple of months before this starts imploding. Things are very unstable and can move incredibly fast. I don't think the central banks are going to make a major policy error, but if they do, this could make 1929 look like a walk in the park," he adds.
The Bank of England knows the risk. Markets director Paul Tucker says the crisis has moved beyond the collapse of mortgage securities, and is now eating into the bedrock of banking capital. "We must try to avoid the vicious circle in which tighter liquidity conditions, lower asset values, impaired capital resources, reduced credit supply, and slower aggregate demand feed back on each other," he says.
New York's Federal Reserve chief Tim Geithner echoed the words, warning of an "adverse self-reinforcing dynamic", banker-speak for a downward spiral. The Fed has broken decades of practice by inviting all US depositary banks to its lending window, bringing dodgy mortgage securities as collateral.
Quietly, insiders are perusing an obscure paper by Fed staffers David Small and Jim Clouse. It explores what can be done under the Federal Reserve Act when all else fails.
Section 13 (3) allows the Fed to take emergency action when banks become "unwilling or very reluctant to provide credit". A vote by five governors can - in "exigent circumstances" - authorise the bank to lend money to anybody, and take upon itself the credit risk. This clause has not been evoked since the Slump.
Yet still the central banks shrink from seriously grasping the rate-cut nettle. Understandably so. They are caught between the Scylla of the debt crunch and the Charybdis of inflation. It is not yet certain which is the more powerful force.
America's headline CPI screamed to 4.3 per cent in November. This may be a rogue figure, the tail effects of an oil, commodity, and food price spike. If so, the Fed missed its chance months ago to prepare the markets for such a case. It is now stymied.
This has eerie echoes of Japan in late-1990, when inflation rose to 4 per cent on a mini price-surge across Asia. As the Bank of Japan fretted about an inflation scare, the country's financial system tipped into the abyss.

9/11 Tapes Were Kept Out


CIA 'kept' tapes from 9/11 probe
BBC NewsSunday, December 23, 2007
A leaked memorandum from the former 9/11 commission says it made repeated requests to the CIA for information on the interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects.
But ex-commission executive director Philip Zelikow says the CIA did not hand over tapes that have since come to light, the New York Times reported.
The CIA later erased the footage, which allegedly contains images of abuse.
The memo urges a further investigation into whether the agency acted illegally by withholding the recordings.
The CIA says there was no specific request for the tapes, which reportedly contained images of interrogation techniques including water-boarding, which simulates drowning. The CIA denies torture.
'Clearly obstructed'
The agency filmed the footage in 2002 and erased it in 2005, a year after the commission ended its work.
The commission conducted an internal review earlier this month after the deleted CIA tapes came to light.
A copy of Mr Zelikow's findings, dated 13 December, was obtained by The New York Times.
His memorandum notes the commission asked the CIA in 2003 and 2004 for "documents", "reports" and "information" relating to interrogations.
But, the report says, a CIA director replied in 2004 that it had already "produced or made available for review" all relevant material.
Mr Zelikow's seven-page findings conclude "further investigation is needed" to determine if the CIA's withholding of the tapes violated federal law.
It notes that it is illegal to "knowingly and wilfully" withhold or "cover up" a "material fact" from a federal inquiry.
The CIA insisted on Saturday it had gone to great lengths to help the commission, which was set up to investigate al-Qaeda's 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.
The agency's spokesman Mark Mansfield said: "Because it was thought the commission could ask about tapes at some point, they were not destroyed while the commission was active."
But one of the commission chairmen, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, told the New York Times the CIA had "clearly obstructed" the commission's work.
The CIA and the Department of Justice have already launched an inquiry into the erasing of the tapes.
The agency said the footage was deleted to protect the identities of agents and because it was no longer of intelligence value.

An Undeclared War Against The American People


NORTHCOM: Constitution Not Important
Lee RogersRogue GovernmentDecember 21, 2007
The United States government is now actively directing the attention of the U.S. military towards the American people. Using the phony war on terror, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) are creating a militarized control grid specifically to enslave the American people. One thing is clear, neither of these agencies abide by the Constitution. In fact, both agencies by themselves are unconstitutional and should be abolished. Despite this, it is expected that they would at least try to follow the supreme law of the land which is the Constitution regardless of the unconstitutionality of the institutions themselves. Amazingly, NORTHCOM is now openly admitting that they do not follow the Constitution. NORTHCOM recently issued a press release talking about how they handle intelligence oversight and they stated that their goal in conducting intelligence oversight includes ensuring that presidential directives and executive orders are abided by during intelligence gathering operations. Of course, they don’t specifically mention anything about abiding by the Constitution. This is disturbing considering the hundreds of unconstitutional executive orders issued by George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and others. In fact some even argue that executive orders by themselves aren’t constitutional. If NORTHCOM is saying that the oversight of their intelligence gathering operations consist of ensuring these executive orders and directives are followed, than they are not concerned with following the Constitution. The following is taken from NORTHCOM’s press release on a recent intelligence oversight conference.
Safeguarding the privacy rights of U.S. persons is critical to the Department of Defense agencies that conduct intelligence activities in support of the nation’s homeland defense and homeland security.
To ensure the rights of all U.S. persons are protected, DoD established an Intelligence Oversight program to ensure that all military intelligence, counterintelligence, and intelligence related activities are conducted in accordance with applicable laws, presidential executive orders and DoD directives and regulations.
In its continuing effort to ensure compliance with the DoD IO program, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command sponsored the 1st Annual World-Wide Intelligence Oversight Conference Dec. 4-6 at Joint Task Force North Headquarters on Fort Bliss, Texas.
They admit that intelligence operations will be conducted in accordance with applicable laws, presidential executive orders and DoD directives and regulations. There are countless unconstitutional executive orders, so this admission means that they are not concerned with following the Constitution. If applicable laws include the Constitution, than how can they follow the Constitution and the many executive orders that are unconstitutional and unapplicable as it applies to the supreme law of the land?
NORTHCOM has already admitted that their goal is to form a militarized police state by the year by 2020 that will likely be used to control the domestic population of people within the United States, Canada and Mexico. They describe an apparent martial law apparatus for the coming North American Union superstate. NORTHCOM has also already conducted various martial law type exercises in preperation for a potential domestic insurrection. NORTHCOM has also stated that these exercises will continue and that they will become more sophisticated.
As reported by Blackanthem Military News, NORTHCOM is already starting to integrate their operations with various U.S. and Canadian federal agencies including with the Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. Northern Command is cementing a vast network of relationships critical to protecting the homeland against attacks or natural disasters and providing a unified response should one occur, its commander said today.
Since it was established a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Northern Command has formed critical partnerships with the Department of Homeland Security, about 60 other U.S. and Canadian federal agencies and the states, Air Force Gen. Victor E. “Gene” Renuart Jr. said.
This is all very bad news for the American people who simply want the government to follow the Constitution. Not only is NORTHCOM admitting that they do not follow the Constitution but they are working to destroy the sovereignty of all three North American countries by integrating and forming partnerships with institutions within the different countries. Combined this with the fact that the Department of Homeland Security is attempting to implement a multi-billion dollar domestic spy satellite system along with all sorts of other unconstitutional surveillance programs and there is little doubt that a militarized control grid is being built around the American people.
NORTHCOM and the Department of Homeland Security should be abolished immediately. These institutions themselves are unconstitutional, they perform unconstitutional activities and NORTHCOM now has admitted that they don’t follow the Constitution. These institutions will no doubt be used to further descend this country into absolute tyranny.

This Guy Has Got To Go!


Chertoff Attacks Bill of Rights, Corporate Media Ignores Story
Kurt NimmoPrison Planet Friday, December 21, 2007
Do a Google news search on “National Applications Office.” As of this morning, the search engine returns a measly ten results, never mind that the National Applications Office, described as a subset of the Ministry of Homeland Security, will “coordinate access to spy-satellite data for non-military domestic agencies, including law enforcement,” according to Nick Juliano of Raw Story, citing a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal.
“Chertoff insists the scheme to turn spy satellites — that were originally designed for foreign surveillance — on Americans is legal, although a House committee that would approve the program has not been updated on the program for three months,” in other words there is no “legal framework,” but then the neocons don’t need no stinkin’ legal framework.
Even so, Chertoff said not to worry, because “warrants will be obtained when required before collecting satellite intelligence, and the program won’t use technology to intercept verbal communications.”
Of course, capturing verbal communications is not the job of the Ministry, but rather the NSA. Chertoff takes us for morons — and, apparently, a lot of us are — when he promises to obtain warrants and obey the Constitution, sort of the same way Bush’s massive snoop program obtains warrants. Chertoff is simply attempting to mollify us, not that the corporate media is following this story. Naturally, this makes perfect sense, as there are other, more important stories to report on, for instance the pregnancy of Britney Spears’ sixteen year old sister.
But wait a minute. Chertoff wasn’t finished. In addition to the eye in the sky, our Lavrentiy Beria of the neocon commissariat promised “a cyber-security strategy, part of an estimated $15 billion, multiyear program designed to protect the nation’s Internet infrastructure,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Replace the words “cyber-security strategy” with “cyber snoop strategy” and you’ll get a better idea of what Chertoff and the Ministry have in mind. “The program has been shrouded in secrecy for months and has also prompted privacy concerns on Capitol Hill because it involves government protection of domestic computer networks.” in other words, “domestic computer networks,” that is to say the network you are using to read this, will be protected from thought crime.
“Both areas put Homeland Security in the middle of a public debate over domestic spy powers, kicked off by the revelation two years ago that the National Security Agency had been eavesdropping on some conversations in the U.S. without a warrant.”
Some? As we know, the NSA is employing a vacuum cleaner approach, grabbing everything going over domestic networks, both telephonic and internet, and running keyword algorithms on it all to ferret out al-Qaeda associations. Of course, in this context, al-Qaeda is anybody who disagrees with the government, not strictly a couple mythical guys in a CIA constructed cave complex in Afghanistan.
Back in April, the Ministry demanded Verisign hand over the “master keys” to the internet, an effort that drew about as much attention from the corporate media as the current “cyber-security strategy” and the Ministry’s eye in the sky.
“If it succeeds, the US will be able to track DNS Security Extensions (DNSSec) all the way back to the servers that represent the name system’s root zone on the Internet,” Nick Farrell wrote at the time. “Effectively it would mean that US spooks could snoop on anyone in the Worldwide wibble and place control of the Interweb tubes firmly in the paws of the US government.”
If the U.S. and the Ministry controlled the DNS root zone, they would be able not only to snoop more effectively, but would be able to control DNS lookups. Put in layman’s terms, this means the Ministry would be able control a wide range of internet activity, from email delivery to surfing the net. Imagine a “no-fly” list for the internet.
As for the Ministry’s “satellite surveillance tools,” operated by the newly created National Applications Office, it’s all about real-time snooping.
“The spy surveillance satellites are considered by military experts to be far more powerful than those currently available to civilian officials,” notes Wikipedia. “For example, they can take color photos, see through cloud cover and forest canopies, and use different parts of the light spectrum to locate traces left by chemical weapons. However, the full capabilities of these systems are among the most carefully held governmental secrets.” In October, Congress filed an injunction against the NAO, fretting over civil liberty issues, that is to say at least some of our Congress critters are worried about the Ministry using secretive government technology to further erode the Constitution.
Bureaucrats and underwear drawer snoopers fear not. Because, as should be expected, Congress will flip somersaults like a well-trained dog, afraid of being seen as rolling out a red carpet for al-Qaeda.
“If the plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the United States one of the world’s most closely monitored nations,” writes Tim Shorrock. It has nothing to do with Muslim miscreants and everything to do with keeping tabs on the sort of people who hand out sandwiches to Halliburton employees.
In fact, dropping Halliburton’s name in here is entirely appropriate, as the NAO effort will be subcontracted. “The intelligence-sharing system to be managed by the NAO will rely heavily on private contractors, including Boeing, BAE Systems, L-3 Communications and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC),” Shorrock continues. “These companies already provide technology and personnel to U.S. agencies involved in foreign intelligence, and the NAO greatly expands their markets. Indeed, at an intelligence conference in San Antonio, Texas, last month, the titans of the industry were actively lobbying intelligence officials to buy products specifically designed for domestic surveillance.”
Finally, recall Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of National Intelligence and the National Reconnaissance Office, instructing us to surrender any antiquated reverence for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. “I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already are willing to give up, in terms of anonymity,” declared Kerr in October.
“Anonymity has been important since the Federalist Papers were written under pseudonyms,” explains Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The government has tremendous power: the police power, the ability to arrest, to detain, to take away rights. Tying together that someone has spoken out on an issue with their identity is a far more dangerous thing if it is the government that is trying to tie it together.”
Indeed, it is all about people speaking out. It has absolutely nothing to do with al-Qaeda, now a perennial boogieman used to scare school children and intellectually flabby adults alike. The Ministry, NRO, NAO, working with the likes of Boeing, BAE Systems, L-3 Communications and Science Applications International Corporation, are dismantling the Constitution and erecting a high-tech control grid.
But never mind. Didn’t you know that MTV’s Tila Tequila is bisexual? I mean, who has the time to worry about the Bill of Rights when we are offered such lurid spectacles?

Vice Presidential Fire


SOC Science: Mars Rover Still Exploring


Mars rovers find new evidence of 'habitable niche'
Science Blog Sunday, December 23, 2007
Inch by power-conserving inch, drivers on Earth have moved the Mars rover Spirit to a spot where it has its best chance at surviving a third Martian winter -- and where it will celebrate its fourth anniversary (in Earth years) since bouncing down on Mars for a projected 90-day mission in January 2004.
Meanwhile, researchers are considering the implications of what Cornell's Steve Squyres, principal investigator for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission, calls "one of the most significant" mission discoveries to date: silica-rich deposits uncovered in May by Spirit's lame front wheel that provide new evidence for a once-habitable environment in Gusev Crater.
Squyres and colleagues reported the silica deposits at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in early December in San Francisco.
On the other side of Mars, Spirit's still-healthy twin Opportunity is creeping slowly down the inside of Victoria Crater, where layers of exposed rock are confirming findings made at the much smaller Eagle and Endurance craters -- and where deeper layers could offer new insight into the planet's history.
Spirit, which has been driving backward since its right front wheel stopped turning in March 2006, was exploring near a plateau in the Gusev Crater known as Home Plate when scientists noticed that upturned soil in the wake of its dragging wheel appeared unusually bright.
Measurements by the rover's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and mini-thermal emission spectrometer showed the soil to be about 90 percent amorphous silica -- a substance associated with life-supporting environments on Earth.
"This is one of the most powerful pieces of evidence for formerly habitable conditions that we have found," said Squyres, Cornell's Goldwin Smith Professor of Planetary Science, in a Dec. 11 interview with the BBC.
On Earth, silica deposits are found at hot springs, where hot water dissolves silica in rock below the surface, then rises and cools, causing the silica to precipitate out near the surface; and at fumaroles, where hot acidic water or vapors seep through rock, dissolving away other elements but leaving silica behind.
"Either place on Earth is teeming with microbial life," said Squyres. "So this is, either way, a representation of what in the past was a local habitable environment -- a little habitable niche on the surface of Mars."
The discovery was reminiscent of Spirit's journey to winter safety last year, when it uncovered (and briefly got mired in) patches of bright soil that contained high levels of sulfur -- another possible indicator of past hydrothermal activity.
Unlike last year, though, Spirit enters this Martian winter handicapped by dusty solar panels -- the result of giant dust storms in June and July. So the rover's power levels, which currently range between approximately 290 and 250 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour; full power for the rovers is 800-900 watt-hours) -- could drop to dangerous levels in the dwindling winter sunlight.
Spirit's perch is currently at a 15-degree tilt on the north-facing slope of the Home Plate plateau, said Jim Bell, Cornell associate professor of astronomy and leader of the mission's Pancam color camera team. As the sun moves lower in the Martian sky, drivers will nudge the rover to a steeper angle.
"The fact that we've gotten to a good tilt, and we're going to get to a better tilt, is a good sign," said Bell. Still, he added, any work the rover does over the winter -- collecting Pancam images of its surroundings, for example -- will be strictly low-exertion.
"Most of 2008 is going to be a quiet time for Spirit," he said. "It's really about survival."

"Resistance Is......................"


Borg Hive Technology Now Nearly Main Street
Kurt NimmoTruthNewsDecember 19, 2007
“All over the world, systems that directly connect silicon circuits to brains are under development, and some are nearly ready for commercial applications, according to a new report from the World Technology Evaluation Center and announced by a news release of the University of Southern California (USC),” writes ZDNet blogger Roland Piquepaille. “Some of the conclusions of this report about brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are quite surprising. For example, North America researchers focus almost exclusively on invasive BCIs while noninvasive BCI systems are mostly studied in European and Asian labs.”
By “invasive,” Mr. Piquepaille means they plant this stuff right in your gray matter. Of course, we are told all of this is for the betterment of man, sort of like that cure for cancer or the one for the common cold. It is indeed odd that the rate of cancer has skyrocketed over the last decade and new, more virulent and deadly forms of influenza viruses are appearing all the time, complete with warnings that if a really bad outbreak occurs we’ll be slapped under martial law.
Sure, a couple lucky souls may receive a “BCI” for damaged regions of the hippocampus, as this program must be sold to the public, but when you see DARPA stamped on something, be afraid. “This is a project funded by the EU Future Emerging Technology Program to develop a hierarchical, distributed-control, multiple-degrees-of-freedom robotic hand for replacement of lost limbs. The hand is designed to respond to signals from the human nervous system. It is included in the DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics program.”
DARPA and the European Union?
Of course, that’s only kid’s stuff, as the real scary totalitarians will soon begin developing this wonderful technology. “Future BCI research in China is clearly developing toward invasive BCI systems, so BCI researchers in the US will soon have a strong competitor.”
Prediction: China will take “invasive” to the limit. Imagine millions of Chinese workers, already fair to middling in the passive department, cranking out lead dusted toys and plastic spiked pet food with nary a bleat of protest, let alone need for breaks or, for that matter, sleep and entertainment.
It’s the ultimate technocratic Borg Hive, that much closer to realization.
In Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley predicted an era when “most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.” But if DARPA, the EU, and China have their way, the very act of loving and dreaming will likely become impossible with the right silicon-based, nanotechnological BCI system in place.
You will be assimilated.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ron Paul Owns Neil Cavuto

Anyone who really listens to Ron Paul can't tell me he is our only hope! What an intellect and what a freedom fighter!!! God Bless Ron Paul!!

Doomsday Vault On the Islands Of Norway???





"Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic
Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t
by F. William Engdahl

One thing Microsoft founder Bill Gates can’t be accused of is sloth. He was already programming at 14, founded Microsoft at age 20 while still a student at Harvard. By 1995 he had been listed by Forbes as the world’s richest man from being the largest shareholder in his Microsoft, a company which his relentless drive built into a de facto monopoly in software systems for personal computers.
In 2006 when most people in such a situation might think of retiring to a quiet Pacific island, Bill Gates decided to devote his energies to his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest ‘transparent’ private foundation as it says, with a whopping $34.6 billion endowment and a legal necessity to spend $1.5 billion a year on charitable projects around the world to maintain its tax free charitable status. A gift from friend and business associate, mega-investor Warren Buffett in 2006, of some $30 billion worth of shares in Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway put the Gates’ foundation into the league where it spends almost the amount of the entire annual budget of the United Nations’ World Health Organization.
So when Bill Gates decides through the Gates Foundation to invest some $30 million of their hard earned money in a project, it is worth looking at.
No project is more interesting at the moment than a curious project in one of the world’s most remote spots, Svalbard. Bill Gates is investing millions in a seed bank on the Barents Sea near the Arctic Ocean, some 1,100 kilometers from the North Pole. Svalbard is a barren piece of rock claimed by Norway and ceded in 1925 by international treaty (see map). On this God-forsaken island Bill Gates is investing tens of his millions along with the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto Corporation, Syngenta Foundation and the Government of Norway, among others, in what is called the ‘doomsday seed bank.’ Officially the project is named the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard island group.
Doomsday Seed VaultThe seed bank is being built inside a mountain on Spitsbergen Island near the small village of Longyearbyen. It’s almost ready for ‘business’ according to their releases. The bank will have dual blast-proof doors with motion sensors, two airlocks, and walls of steel-reinforced concrete one meter thick. It will contain up to three million different varieties of seeds from the entire world, ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future,’ according to the Norwegian government. Seeds will be specially wrapped to exclude moisture. There will be no full-time staff, but the vault's relative inaccessibility will facilitate monitoring any possible human activity.
Did we miss something here? Their press release stated, ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future.’ What future do the seed bank’s sponsors foresee, that would threaten the global availability of current seeds, almost all of which are already well protected in designated seed banks around the world?
Anytime Bill Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto and Syngenta get together on a common project, it’s worth digging a bit deeper behind the rocks on Spitsbergen. When we do we find some fascinating things.
The first notable point is who is sponsoring the doomsday seed vault. Here joining the Norwegians are, as noted, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the US agribusiness giant DuPont/Pioneer Hi-Bred, one of the world’s largest owners of patented genetically-modified (GMO) plant seeds and related agrichemicals; Syngenta, the Swiss-based major GMO seed and agrichemicals company through its Syngenta Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation, the private group who created the “gene revolution with over $100 million of seed money since the 1970’s; CGIAR, the global network created by the Rockefeller Foundation to promote its ideal of genetic purity through agriculture change.
CGIAR and ‘The Project’
As I detailled in the book, Seeds of Destruction1, in 1960 the Rockefeller Foundation, John D. Rockefeller III’s Agriculture Development Council and the Ford Foundation joined forces to create the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, the Philippines. By 1971, the Rockefeller Foundation’s IRRI, along with their Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and two other Rockefeller and Ford Foundation-created international research centers, the IITA for tropical agriculture, Nigeria, and IRRI for rice, Philippines, combined to form a global Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR).
CGIAR was shaped at a series of private conferences held at the Rockefeller Foundation’s conference center in Bellagio, Italy. Key participants at the Bellagio talks were the Rockefeller Foundation’s George Harrar, Ford Foundation’s Forrest Hill, Robert McNamara of the World Bank and Maurice Strong, the Rockefeller family’s international environmental organizer, who, as a Rockefeller Foundation Trustee, organized the UN Earth Summit in Stockholm in 1972. It was part of the foundation’s decades long focus to turn science to the service of eugenics, a hideous version of racial purity, what has been called The Project.
To ensure maximum impact, CGIAR drew in the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Development Program and the World Bank. Thus, through a carefully-planned leverage of its initial funds, the Rockefeller Foundation by the beginning of the 1970’s was in a position to shape global agriculture policy. And shape it did.
Financed by generous Rockefeller and Ford Foundation study grants, CGIAR saw to it that leading Third World agriculture scientists and agronomists were brought to the US to ‘master’ the concepts of modern agribusiness production, in order to carry it back to their homeland. In the process they created an invaluable network of influence for US agribusiness promotion in those countries, most especially promotion of the GMO ‘Gene Revolution’ in developing countries, all in the name of science and efficient, free market agriculture.
Genetically engineering a master race?
Now the Svalbard Seed Bank begins to become interesting. But it gets better. ‘The Project’ I referred to is the project of the Rockefeller Foundation and powerful financial interests since the 1920’s to use eugenics, later renamed genetics, to justify creation of a genetically-engineered Master Race. Hitler and the Nazis called it the Ayran Master Race.
The eugenics of Hitler were financed to a major extent by the same Rockefeller Foundation which today is building a doomsday seed vault to preserve samples of every seed on our planet. Now this is getting really intriguing. The same Rockefeller Foundation created the pseudo-science discipline of molecular biology in their relentless pursuit of reducing human life down to the ‘defining gene sequence’ which, they hoped, could then be modified in order to change human traits at will. Hitler’s eugenics scientists, many of whom were quietly brought to the United States after the War to continue their biological eugenics research, laid much of the groundwork of genetic engineering of various life forms, much of it supported openly until well into the Third Reich by Rockefeller Foundation generous grants.2
The same Rockefeller Foundation created the so-called Green Revolution, out of a trip to Mexico in 1946 by Nelson Rockefeller and former New Deal Secretary of Agriculture and founder of the Pioneer Hi-Bred Seed Company, Henry Wallace.
The Green Revolution purported to solve the world hunger problem to a major degree in Mexico, India and other select countries where Rockefeller worked. Rockefeller Foundation agronomist, Norman Borlaug, won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work, hardly something to boast about with the likes of Henry Kissinger sharing the same.
In reality, as it years later emerged, the Green Revolution was a brilliant Rockefeller family scheme to develop a globalized agribusiness which they then could monopolize just as they had done in the world oil industry beginning a half century before. As Henry Kissinger declared in the 1970’s, ‘If you control the oil you control the country; if you control food, you control the population.’
Agribusiness and the Rockefeller Green Revolution went hand-in-hand. They were part of a grand strategy which included Rockefeller Foundation financing of research for the development of genetic engineering of plants and animals a few years later.
John H. Davis had been Assistant Agriculture Secretary under President Dwight Eisenhower in the early 1950’s. He left Washington in 1955 and went to the Harvard Graduate School of Business, an unusual place for an agriculture expert in those days. He had a clear strategy. In 1956, Davis wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review in which he declared that “the only way to solve the so-called farm problem once and for all, and avoid cumbersome government programs, is to progress from agriculture to agribusiness.” He knew precisely what he had in mind, though few others had a clue back then--- a revolution in agriculture production that would concentrate control of the food chain in corporate multinational hands, away from the traditional family farmer. 3
A crucial aspect driving the interest of the Rockefeller Foundation and US agribusiness companies was the fact that the Green Revolution was based on proliferation of new hybrid seeds in developing markets. One vital aspect of hybrid seeds was their lack of reproductive capacity. Hybrids had a built in protection against multiplication. Unlike normal open pollinated species whose seed gave yields similar to its parents, the yield of the seed borne by hybrid plants was significantly lower than that of the first generation.
That declining yield characteristic of hybrids meant farmers must normally buy seed every year in order to obtain high yields. Moreover, the lower yield of the second generation eliminated the trade in seed that was often done by seed producers without the breeder’s authorization. It prevented the redistribution of the commercial crop seed by middlemen. If the large multinational seed
companies were able to control the parental seed lines in house, no competitor or farmer would be able to produce the hybrid. The global concentration of hybrid seed patents into a handful of giant seed companies, led by DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred and Monsanto’s Dekalb laid the ground for the later GMO seed revolution. 4
In effect, the introduction of modern American agricultural technology, chemical fertilizers and commercial hybrid seeds all made local farmers in developing countries, particularly the larger more established ones, dependent on foreign, mostly US agribusiness and petro-chemical company inputs. It was a first step in what was to be a decades-long, carefully planned process.
Under the Green Revolution Agribusiness was making major inroads into markets which were previously of limited access to US exporters. The trend was later dubbed “market-oriented agriculture.” In reality it was agribusiness-controlled agriculture.
Through the Green Revolution, the Rockefeller Foundation and later Ford Foundation worked hand-in-hand shaping and supporting the foreign policy goals of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and of the CIA.
One major effect of the Green Revolution was to depopulate the countryside of peasants who were forced to flee into shantytown slums around the cities in desperate search for work. That was no accident; it was part of the plan to create cheap labor pools for forthcoming US multinational manufactures, the ‘globalization’ of recent years.
When the self-promotion around the Green Revolution died down, the results were quite different from what had been promised. Problems had arisen from indiscriminate use of the new chemical pesticides, often with serious health consequences. The mono-culture cultivation of new hybrid seed varieties decreased soil fertility and yields over time. The first results were impressive: double or even triple yields for some crops such as wheat and later corn in Mexico. That soon faded.
The Green Revolution was typically accompanied by large irrigation projects which often included World Bank loans to construct huge new dams, and flood previously settled areas and fertile farmland in the process. Also, super-wheat produced greater yields by saturating the soil with huge amounts of fertilizer per acre, the fertilizer being the product of nitrates and petroleum, commodities controlled by the Rockefeller-dominated Seven Sisters major oil companies.
Huge quantities of herbicides and pesticides were also used, creating additional markets for the oil and chemical giants. As one analyst put it, in effect, the Green Revolution was merely a chemical revolution. At no point could developing nations pay for the huge amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They would get the credit courtesy of the World Bank and special loans by Chase Bank and other large New York banks, backed by US Government guarantees.
Applied in a large number of developing countries, those loans went mostly to the large landowners. For the smaller peasants the situation worked differently. Small peasant farmers could not afford the chemical and other modern inputs and had to borrow money.
Initially various government programs tried to provide some loans to farmers so that they could purchase seeds and fertilizers. Farmers who could not participate in this kind of program had to borrow from the private sector. Because of the exorbitant interest rates for informal loans, many small farmers did not even get the benefits of the initial higher yields. After harvest, they had to sell most if not all of their produce to pay off loans and interest. They became dependent on money-lenders and traders and often lost their land. Even with soft loans from government agencies, growing subsistence crops gave way to the production of cash crops.5
Since decades the same interests including the Rockefeller Foundation which backed the initial Green Revolution, have worked to promote a second ‘Gene Revolution’ as Rockefeller Foundation President Gordon Conway termed it several years ago, the spread of industrial agriculture and commercial inputs including GMO patented seeds.
Gates, Rockefeller and a Green Revolution in Africa
With the true background of the 1950’s Rockefeller Foundation Green Revolution clear in mind, it becomes especially curious that the same Rockefeller Foundation along with the Gates Foundation which are now investing millions of dollars in preserving every seed against a possible “doomsday” scenario are also investing millions in a project called The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
AGRA, as it calls itself, is an alliance again with the same Rockefeller Foundation which created the “Gene Revolution.” A look at the AGRA Board of Directors confirms this.
It includes none other than former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as chairman. In his acceptance speech in a World Economic Forum event in Cape Town South Africa in June 2007, Kofi Annan stated, ‘I accept this challenge with gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and all others who support our African campaign.’
In addition the AGRA board numbers a South African, Strive Masiyiwa who is a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. It includes Sylvia M. Mathews of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Mamphela Ramphele, former Managing Director of the World Bank (2000 – 2006); Rajiv J. Shah of the Gates Foundation; Nadya K. Shmavonian of the Rockefeller Foundation; Roy Steiner of the Gates Foundation. In addition, an Alliance for AGRA includes Gary Toenniessen the Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation and Akinwumi Adesina, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation.
To fill out the lineup, the Programmes for AGRA includes Peter Matlon, Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation; Joseph De Vries, Director of the Programme for Africa’s Seed Systems and Associate Director, Rockefeller foundation; Akinwumi Adesina, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation. Like the old failed Green Revolution in India and Mexico, the new Africa Green Revolution is clearly a high priority of the Rockefeller Foundation.
While to date they are keeping a low profile, Monsanto and the major GMO agribusiness giants are believed at the heart of using Kofi Annan’s AGRA to spread their patented GMO seeds across Africa under the deceptive label, ‘bio-technology,’ the new euphemism for genetically engineered patented seeds. To date South Africa is the only African country permitting legal planting of GMO crops. In 2003 Burkina Faso authorized GMO trials. In 2005 Kofi Annan’s Ghana drafted bio-safety legislation and key officials expressed their intentions to pursue research into GMO crops.
Africa is the next target in the US-government campaign to spread GMO worldwide. Its rich soils make it an ideal candidate. Not surprisingly many African governments suspect the worst from the GMO sponsors as a multitude of genetic engineering and biosafety projects have been initiated in Africa, with the aim of introducing GMOs into Africa’s agricultural systems. These include sponsorships offered by the US government to train African scientists in genetic engineering in the US, biosafety projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank; GMO research involving African indigenous food crops.
The Rockefeller Foundation has been working for years to promote, largely without success, projects to introduce GMOs into the fields of Africa. They have backed research that supports the applicability of GMO cotton in the Makhathini Flats in South Africa.
Monsanto, who has a strong foothold in South Africa’s seed industry, both GMO and hybrid, has conceived of an ingenious smallholders’ programme known as the ‘Seeds of Hope’ Campaign, which is introducing a green revolution package to small scale poor farmers, followed, of course, by Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds. 6
Syngenta AG of Switzerland, one of the ‘Four Horsemen of the GMO Apocalypse’ is pouring millions of dollars into a new greenhouse facility in Nairobi, to develop GMO insect resistant maize. Syngenta is a part of CGIAR as well.7
Move on to Svalbard
Now is it simply philosophical sloppiness? What leads the Gates and Rockefeller foundations to at one and the same time to back proliferation of patented and soon-to-be Terminator patented seeds across Africa, a process which, as it has in every other place on earth, destroys the plant seed varieties as monoculture industrialized agribusiness is introduced? At the same time they invest tens of millions of dollars to preserve every seed variety known in a bomb-proof doomsday vault near the remote Arctic Circle ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future’ to restate their official release?
It is no accident that the Rockefeller and Gates foundations are teaming up to push a GMO-style Green Revolution in Africa at the same time they are quietly financing the ‘doomsday seed vault’ on Svalbard. The GMO agribusiness giants are up to their ears in the Svalbard project.
Indeed, the entire Svalbard enterprise and the people involved call up the worst catastrophe images of the Michael Crichton bestseller, Andromeda Strain, a sci-fi thriller where a deadly disease of extraterrestrial origin causes rapid, fatal clotting of the blood threatening the entire human species. In Svalbard, the future world’s most secure seed repository will be guarded by the policemen of the GMO Green Revolution--the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations, Syngenta, DuPont and CGIAR.
The Svalbard project will be run by an organization called the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT). Who are they to hold such an awesome trust over the planet’s entire seed varieties? The GCDT was founded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Bioversity International (formerly the International Plant Genetic Research Institute), an offshoot of the CGIAR.
The Global Crop Diversity Trust is based in Rome. Its Board is chaired by Margaret Catley-Carlson a Canadian also on the advisory board of Group Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, one of the world’s largest private water companies. Catley-Carlson was also president until 1998 of the New York-based Population Council, John D. Rockefeller’s population reduction organization, set up in 1952 to advance the Rockefeller family’s eugenics program under the cover of promoting “family planning,” birth control devices, sterilization and “population control” in developing countries.
Other GCDT board members include former Bank of America executive presently head of the Hollywood DreamWorks Animation, Lewis Coleman. Coleman is also the lead Board Director of Northrup Grumman Corporation, one of America’s largest military industry Pentagon contractors.
Jorio Dauster (Brazil) is also Board Chairman of Brasil Ecodiesel. He is a former Ambassador of Brazil to the European Union, and Chief Negotiator of Brazil’s foreign debt for the Ministry of Finance. Dauster has also served as President of the Brazilian Coffee Institute and as Coordinator of the Project for the Modernization of Brazil’s Patent System, which involves legalizing patents on seeds which are genetically modified, something until recently forbidden by Brazil’s laws. Cary Fowler is the Trust’s Executive Director. Fowler was Professor and Director of Research in the Department for International Environment & Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He was also a Senior Advisor to the Director General of Bioversity International. There he represented the Future Harvest Centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in negotiations on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources. In the 1990s, he headed the International Program on Plant Genetic Resources at the FAO. He drafted and supervised negotiations of FAO’s Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources, adopted by 150 countries in 1996. He is a past-member of the National Plant Genetic Resources Board of the US and the Board of Trustees of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, another Rockefeller Foundation and CGIAR project. GCDT board member Dr. Mangala Rai of India is the Secretary of India’s Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), and Director General of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR). He is also a Board Member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which promoted the world’s first major GMO experiment, the much-hyped ‘Golden Rice’ which proved a failure. Rai has served as Board Member for CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), and a Member of the Executive Council of the CGIAR.
Global Crop Diversity Trust Donors or financial angels include as well, in the words of the Humphrey Bogart Casablanca classic, ‘all the usual suspects.’ As well as the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations, the Donors include GMO giants DuPont-Pioneer Hi-Bred, Syngenta of Basle Switzerland, CGIAR and the State Department’s energetically pro-GMO agency for development aid, USAID. Indeed it seems we have the GMO and population reduction foxes guarding the hen-house of mankind, the global seed diversity store in Svalbard. 8
Why now Svalbard?
We can legitimately ask why Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation along with the major genetic engineering agribusiness giants such as DuPont and Syngenta, along with CGIAR are building the Doomsday Seed Vault in the Arctic.
Who uses such a seed bank in the first place? Plant breeders and researchers are the major users of gene banks. Today’s largest plant breeders are Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow Chemical, the global plant-patenting GMO giants. Since early in 2007 Monsanto holds world patent rights together with the United States Government for plant so-called ‘Terminator’ or Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT). Terminator is an ominous technology by which a patented commercial seed commits ‘suicide’ after one harvest. Control by private seed companies is total. Such control and power over the food chain has never before in the history of mankind existed.
This clever genetically engineered terminator trait forces farmers to return every year to Monsanto or other GMO seed suppliers to get new seeds for rice, soybeans, corn, wheat whatever major crops they need to feed their population. If broadly introduced around the world, it could within perhaps a decade or so make the world’s majority of food producers new feudal serfs in bondage to three or four giant seed companies such as Monsanto or DuPont or Dow Chemical.
That, of course, could also open the door to have those private companies, perhaps under orders from their host government, Washington, deny seeds to one or another developing country whose politics happened to go against Washington’s. Those who say ‘It can’t happen here’ should look more closely at current global events. The mere existence of that concentration of power in three or four private US-based agribusiness giants is grounds for legally banning all GMO crops even were their harvest gains real, which they manifestly are not.
These private companies, Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical hardly have an unsullied record in terms of stewardship of human life. They developed and proliferated such innovations as dioxin, PCBs, Agent Orange. They covered up for decades clear evidence of carcinogenic and other severe human health consequences of use of the toxic chemicals. They have buried serious scientific reports that the world’s most widespread herbicide, glyphosate, the essential ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide that is tied to purchase of most Monsanto genetically engineered seeds, is toxic when it seeps into drinking water.9 Denmark banned glyphosate in 2003 when it confirmed it has contaminated the country’s groundwater.10
The diversity stored in seed gene banks is the raw material for plant breeding and for a great deal of basic biological research. Several hundred thousand samples are distributed annually for such purposes. The UN’s FAO lists some 1400 seed banks around the world, the largest being held by the United States Government. Other large banks are held by China, Russia, Japan, India, South Korea, Germany and Canada in descending order of size. In addition, CGIAR operates a chain of seed banks in select centers around the world.
CGIAR, set up in 1972 by the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation to spread their Green Revolution agribusiness model, controls most of the private seed banks from the Philippines to Syria to Kenya. In all these present seed banks hold more than six and a half million seed varieties, almost two million of which are ‘distinct.’ Svalbard’s Doomsday Vault will have a capacity to house four and a half million different seeds.
GMO as a weapon of biowarfare?
Now we come to the heart of the danger and the potential for misuse inherent in the Svalbard project of Bill Gates and the Rockefeller foundation. Can the development of patented seeds for most of the world’s major sustenance crops such as rice, corn, wheat, and feed grains such as soybeans ultimately be used in a horrible form of biological warfare?
The explicit aim of the eugenics lobby funded by wealthy elite families such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harriman and others since the 1920’s, has embodied what they termed ‘negative eugenics,’ the systematic killing off of undesired bloodlines. Margaret Sanger, a rapid eugenicist, the founder of Planned Parenthood International and an intimate of the Rockefeller family, created something called The Negro Project in 1939, based in Harlem, which as she confided in a letter to a friend, was all about the fact that, as she put it, ‘we want to exterminate the Negro population.’ 11
A small California biotech company, Epicyte, in 2001 announced the development of genetically engineered corn which contained a spermicide which made the semen of men who ate it sterile. At the time Epicyte had a joint venture agreement to spread its technology with DuPont and Syngenta, two of the sponsors of the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Vault. Epicyte was since acquired by a North Carolina biotech company. Astonishing to learn was that Epicyte had developed its spermicidal GMO corn with research funds from the US Department of Agriculture, the same USDA which, despite worldwide opposition, continued to finance the development of Terminator technology, now held by Monsanto.
In the 1990’s the UN’s World Health Organization launched a campaign to vaccinate millions of women in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines between the ages of 15 and 45, allegedly against Tentanus, a sickness arising from such things as stepping on a rusty nail. The vaccine was not given to men or boys, despite the fact they are presumably equally liable to step on rusty nails as women.
Because of that curious anomaly, Comite Pro Vida de Mexico, a Roman Catholic lay organization became suspicious and had vaccine samples tested. The tests revealed that the Tetanus vaccine being spread by the WHO only to women of child-bearing age contained human Chorionic Gonadotrophin or hCG, a natural hormone which when combined with a tetanus toxoid carrier stimulated antibodies rendering a woman incapable of maintaining a pregnancy. None of the women vaccinated were told.
It later came out that the Rockefeller Foundation along with the Rockefeller’s Population Council, the World Bank (home to CGIAR), and the United States’ National Institutes of Health had been involved in a 20-year-long project begun in 1972 to develop the concealed abortion vaccine with a tetanus carrier for WHO. In addition, the Government of Norway, the host to the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Vault, donated $41 million to develop the special abortive Tetanus vaccine. 12
Is it a coincidence that these same organizations, from Norway to the Rockefeller Foundation to the World Bank are also involved in the Svalbard seed bank project? According to Prof. Francis Boyle who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 enacted by the US Congress, the Pentagon is ‘now gearing up to fight and win biological warfare’ as part of two Bush national strategy directives adopted, he notes, ‘without public knowledge and review’ in 2002. Boyle adds that in 2001-2004 alone the US Federal Government spent $14.5 billion for civilian bio-warfare-related work, a staggering sum.
Rutgers University biologist Richard Ebright estimates that over 300 scientific institutions and some 12,000 individuals in the USA today have access to pathogens suitable for biowarfare. Alone there are 497 US Government NIH grants for research into infectious diseases with biowarfare potential. Of course this is being justified under the rubric of defending against possible terror attack as so much is today.
Many of the US Government dollars spent on biowarfare research involve genetic engineering. MIT biology professor Jonathan King says that the ‘growing bio-terror programs represent a significant emerging danger to our own population.’ King adds, ‘while such programs are always called defensive, with biological weapons, defensive and offensive programs overlap almost completely.’ 13
Time will tell whether, God Forbid, the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Bank of Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation is part of another Final Solution, this involving the extinction of the Late, Great Planet Earth.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Closing Up The Blog For A Little Bit



I'm off to enjoy some much needed R & R with family. I'll probably be off this blog until after the holiday, though if anything interesting pops up I'll make a quick addition.

Please take the time to enjoy friends and family. Try and avoid the overt commercialism that Christmas has become known for. Celebrate the joy of living, and celebrate the moment. Although SOC is a blog that hilites the negative socio-economic trend taking place in this once great nation; you should still take time to appreciate the bounty that we've all mostly enjoyed from this great experiment in Republic Capitalism. Eat, drink and be merry. And tell the aetheistic-socialists to shut up for awhile............

Expatriation Is Getting More Publicity These Days


Exit U.S .

By Mike Muehleck
One and a half million U.S. households are preparing to move out of the U.S. The vast majority of émigrés are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. And some may not ever return.
No, we are not talking about the next major deployment of National Guard units to the Middle East. In fact, none of the emigrants are government workers or corporate employees leaving for temporary overseas assignments. These folks are malcontents or adventurers. They consist entirely of private citizens and their families packing up and leaving the good ol' USA solely at their own initiative.
This news comes from a Zogby International poll of 115,000 Americans conducted over the past two years. Bob Adams, CEO of New Global Initiatives, commissioned the poll when he realized that no reliable database tracks the movement of Americans out of the country. A recent Barron's article, written by Bob Adams, breaks down the Zogby/New Global Initiatives data as follows:
1.6 million (U.S. households) have already made the decision to leave
1.8 million are seriously considering and likely to leave
7.7 million are somewhat serious about leaving and may do so
3.0 million are seriously considering purchase of non-U.S. property
10.0 million are somewhat serious about purchase of non-U.S. property
Adding it all up, some 10% of all U.S. households are looking to leave the country, while another 11% are considering living outside the U.S. at least part time.
"That Can't Be Right"
"Incredulous" is the word that best describes the reaction of people when they hear Adams' conclusions. I brought the subject up the other night while barbequing and drinking beer with some American business people I know here in Bangkok. Even this well-traveled group greeted the poll results with skepticism. They asked, "How did he get thes data? Who did they interview?"
Maybe I was missing something, I thought to myself. So I decided to give Bob Adams a call. I reached him one evening at his home in Panama. "It's happening," Adams insisted, when asked about this new wave of emigration.
"And we really can't say exactly why."
While Adams' survey includes destinations all over the world, the survey's findings corroborate Adams' first-hand observations in Panama. Adams says the recent American immigrants to Panama are different from previous ones. Ten years ago, the typical American ex-pat in Panama was likely to be a retiree who had previously been in Panama. Perhaps they had been on a military assignment or with the Canal Zone administration. These folks tended to live in "American only" enclaves for social and security reasons and had fairly little interaction with the local population. These older ex-pats frequently used the words "tropical paradise" to describe why they moved to Panama.
But today's immigrants tend to be a lot younger, professionally employed, and more likely to meld into the international community than earlier transplants. These folks generally say they moved to Panama for adventure, a lower cost of living, or to escape the growing intrusiveness of the American political and legal systems.
Adams' interest in the topic of American emigration is the result of serendipity. Having lived and worked overseas for four decades, Adams decided it was time to settle down. He identified Panama as the best candidate. As he was preparing to move, he noticed the poor quality of Web sites catering to potential immigrants to Panama. So he set up his own site, RetirementWave.com. He intended to create an impromptu guide to assist like-minded people in the decision to move to Panama. But it quickly turned into an unpaid job responding to inquiries from interested parties worldwide. Adams realized he could reach an audience that extends beyond Central American real estate investors.
Why Do People Emigrate?
Why do people leave home for strange foreign lands? While a handful might claim to leave for political or religious reasons, most seek greater economic opportunity. All of my grandparents emigrated from Germany or Lithuania in the early 1900s. My wife's Chinese grandparents, for example, emigrated from China to Siam in the same generation. None moved to new lands because of a burning desire to be "free." They all moved because they wanted to make more money and thus enjoy a better life.
If you Google the word "emigration," and you'll mostly get sites that detail the emigration from Europe to the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th century. Google "American emigration" and you get a link to Adams' New Global Initiatives Web site and not much else. Most economic oriented sites only discuss the effects of legal and illegal immigration into the U.S. It's hard to find any thoughts about the economic, political, and demographic effects of younger Americans leaving for greener pastures overseas.
If people emigrate to find economic opportunity, might Adams' survey portend bad news for the U.S.? Current U.S. GDP is $44,000 per person versus Panama's $8,000. It seems unlikely that people are leaving for immediate financial gains. Still, Panama is a young country demographically, with a median age of 26. Panama's GDP grew at an 8% clip last year. It doesn't have the U.S. baby boomers' $55 trillion unfunded pension liability. Neither is it involved in difficult, expensive Middle East nation-building. So we should not be surprised if a growing number of 20-to -40-year-old Americans are willing and eager to abandon the wealth that "has been" to pursue the wealth that "might be."
Investors might want to consider a similar tactic.

Sobering Predictions About Oil


Offshore Riches

By Dan Amoss
The world gets about one-third of its daily oil supply from offshore wells. Over the next decade, this share should grow even larger. Dr. Michael Smith, CEO of EnergyFiles Ltd., has published the most comprehensive research I've seen on the world oil supply situation. He's a very experienced geologist and now consults for the industry. I featured his work in the May issue of Strategic Investments.
In a recent publication, Dr. Smith notes:
Rigs are more costly than ever, and new drilling technologies are very expensive with high startup costs that have led to a consolidation of service providers. Meanwhile, shortages of opportunity, the profitability of the industry, and the historic actions of OPEC with its oil conservation policies have ensured that even the most expensive and marginal of offshore drilling projects go ahead.
In the nearby chart depicting Dr. Smith's global oil supply forecast, you can see that offshore sources provide about a third of total supply. The gray bars in this chart are historical and projected discovery volumes, the solid black area is onshore production, and the solid red area is offshore production. If the declining trend in discovery volume (gray bars) continues downward, oil supply will have a very hard time keeping up with demand. This is likely, in Dr. Smith's view, to open up a supply gap by the middle of the next decade - i.e., the "post-peak" part of Peak Oil.
So what, besides higher prices and lower consumption, will be the free market's main response to Peak Oil? Accelerated exploration and drilling activity.
Deepwater oil drilling in particular should continue growing rapidly. After reaching their peak production rates, offshore wells tend to decline much faster than onshore wells. This tendency means that offshore oil production is more drilling-intensive than onshore production. So the offshore drilling industry is likely to remain very busy for decades to come – a likelihood which will spur growing demand for products and services throughout the offshore drilling production-chain. Floating production systems (FPS), for example, will enjoy booming demand.
Considering the costs and engineering involved, it doesn't make sense to lay oil and gas pipelines underneath 5,000 feet of ocean water, so the industry is increasingly turning to FPS solutions. A recent issue of Petroleum Review provides figures:
The FPS concept has proved to be a cost-effective method of developing both marginal and world-class offshore fields worldwide. According to the Douglas-Westwood database, by year-end 2006, there had been a total of 290 FPS installations in the various regions of the world. Of these, 187 are currently installed and operational. To date, the Western Europe region has seen the greatest number of FPS installations - 22% of the total - followed by Latin America (21%) and Asia (20%).
Oil Demand Increasingly Supply Constrained
Credit Suisse's energy research team recently published a report that explains why it expects oil prices to average roughly $70 per barrel over the rest of the decade - one of the most bullish oil forecasts on the Street. The team writes:
Production shortfalls, notably in Mexico and the North Sea, longer project development times, restricted global reinvestment, and the maturing of Russia's Brownfield renaissance, are all [contributing to] global oil decline rates…Decline rates are generally lower in OPEC countries and are currently highest in countries such as the U.K., Norway, and Mexico… Offshore decline rates are meaningfully higher [emphasis added]. If we combine our assumptions for decline rates with our list of new projects in both OPEC and non-OPEC, we [face] a potential production shortfall by 2010.
It is possible that we are not capturing all of the reinvestment trends currently taking place, and the data for OPEC are notoriously incomplete, but the implication is clear: Either supply needs to decline less quickly, or net new investment needs to rise to prevent a supply squeeze around the end of the decade… This piece of our market analysis again suggests that the resolution of the oil cycle will need to take place mostly on the demand curve [emphasis added], where changes are slower to take effect, but where there is still room to moderate consumption growth in the next five years.
Translation: Demand growth will be increasingly constrained by available supply…and oil prices will likely rise.

From The Silver Boys



THE HUMBLE APPROACH
By James R. Cook
C. S. Lewis wrote that pride was the greatest sin. Perhaps that’s true, but, without a doubt, pride is the greatest danger in your financial affairs. We all have some degree of ego. Usually, success in life causes our pride to swell. Financial statements and egos often grow apace. However, too much self-importance inevitably meets with a painful leveling experience. Pride cometh before a fall. This certainly applies to investing where the humble approach works best. One dangerous aspect of a large ego is that the person who has it can’t recognize it in themselves. Only years later do they come to realize they once were overly prideful.
Futures trading in silver offers a classic example of pridefulness. It’s a known fact that 90% of amateurs or small traders lose money in futures. They are up against big trading firms, dealers and banks. Nevertheless, they keep trying. It can only be ego that makes them think they can outsmart the rest of the market. High leverage means they are up against the big boys, on a shoestring. That’s mighty egotistical. One West Coast firm had thousands of margin calls in the most recent silver downturn. Their clients lost a lot of money. Hopefully, these people gained enough humility that they won’t try it again.
You are bordering on arrogance when you think you can beat the futures market. Furthermore, you have to be pretty egotistical to think you can pick a junior silver stock and hit a home run. The world is full of large egos who are trying to make a big score in stocks. Unfortunately, only one mining company in a hundred that has a silver claim will ever prove out. Other types of silver investments, such as SLV funds, undermine your patience. You think you’re smart enough to time your way to big profits, but premature selling will invariably limit your gains. These funds are too easy to sell, and a small gain inevitably proves too tempting. A friend of mine sold recently at a loss. It’s hard to imagine losing money in silver these days. It’s what happens when you’re impatient and have silver that’s too easy to trade.
Owning physical silver is a more modest, conservative and humble way to go. Fortunately, this humble approach offers the greatest opportunity for gains and the least risk. By purchasing actual physical silver, and taking it into your possession, you put yourself in the best position to capitalize on a rise in the silver price. By owning it outright, you are far more likely to continue holding for the time period necessary to maximize profits. Too much ego drives the other silver investments where so many investors think they can beat the odds or repeal human nature. Humility is your greatest asset in money making and pride your greatest enemy. Use the humble approach with silver and give yourself the best chance to prosper.
SAY IT AIN’T SO, WARREN
By James R. Cook
V. I. Lenin first coined the phrase "useful idiots" during the Bolshevik Revolution. It describes someone manipulated by a political movement. Liberals have found a "useful idiot" in Warren Buffett, who testified before congress recently that taxes are too low. The so-called "Sage of Omaha" sounded more like a socialist than a capitalist. Despite his investment genius his philosophical underpinnings reflect the bankrupt notions of the far left.
Mr. Buffet likes to come off as a humble guy who doesn’t want any publicity. Perhaps at one time this was true. However, all that praise and attention is bound to make an ego grow. The "Oracle of Omaha" struck a rich publicity vein when he said he wasn’t paying enough taxes. The liberal media loved it. They turned it into front page news. Soon Mr. Buffet was grandstanding before congress, promoting tax hikes and loving the limelight.
It’s universally accepted around the world that low tax rates lead to dramatic economic gains. It’s been tried extensively and it works. High taxes siphon off money that would otherwise be saved and invested. Doesn’t Mr. Buffet understand that if the entrepreneurial class is allowed to keep more of the money it earns, it will result in more new technologies, new companies, new jobs and new wealth? Does he seriously think this money does more good in the hands of a government that’s notorious for waste and inefficiency?
Private individuals build and create with the money they earn and save. Government only makes a bigger mess. Mr. Buffet thinks that rich people owe it to humanity to pay higher taxes. Among the government horror stories that Mr. Buffet should familiarize himself with is the worsening social condition of the subsidized underclass that tax dollars supposedly help. How much better for the free market to provide them jobs and opportunity. You have to wonder how a man so successful in his investments could endorse big government and high taxes that serve to damage free enterprise.


WHY SILVER? WHY SILVER EAGLES?
By
Israel Friedman
Late November 2007
(Israel Friedman is a friend and mentor to Theodore Butler. Mr. Friedman has owned and studied silver for 30 years. Investment Rarities does not necessarily endorse these views, which may or may not prove to be correct. Silver can go up and silver can go down.)
It’s hard to write about silver in the same newsletter where Ted Butler writes. Mr. Butler fights for the good of the silver investor and he fights against manipulation, plus he makes a very convincing case for why to own silver. I know based upon the statistics, Mr. Butler is right about the manipulation of the silver market. Mark my words; some day they will be studying Mr. Butler’s articles in the universities and business schools.
Speaking about manipulation, I’m surprised that the CFTC and COMEX directors don’t intervene and stop this manipulation. It’s so obvious, looking at the actions of the 4 or less traders in gold and silver, that this group is managing the price. No good will come from this, and I hope they will not close down the COMEX in the future. If Mr. Butler’s arguments are correct and the directors of COMEX don’t do anything, as public company directors, they will be responsible.
I’m very surprised that the CFTC and the COMEX doesn’t release the names of the big shorts. I remember when the Hunt Brothers and then Warren Buffett bought silver, their names were in the newspapers daily. Please make the shorts names public, and we will ask the right questions. It’s the fair thing to do.
I’m going to tell you why silver is the best investment available today. The first question you have to ask yourself is why silver should be good for the future. Here’s what determines that;
Is silver a necessary metal?
Are world stocks of silver lower than 5 years ago?
Are world stocks of silver likely to be lower in 5 years?
Is there a chance, at some point, to have a shortage in silver?
If the answers will be yes on those 4 questions, the probabilities are that owning silver will enrich you in the future.
Based upon this formula, the answers for gold are "no" for all the 4 questions, so in the future, we could see devastation for gold prices. And if gold prices hold, or move higher, the comparisons will even be better for silver. Take into consideration this point – silver is a rare and strategic metal and industry cannot do without silver. Today we are left with a minimal supply and this can produce a worldwide shortage of silver.
Money cannot solve a shortage of material, only material can. When the industrial users come into the market for real material, the shorts will be destroyed. At that time we will have a bigger scandal than the subprime mortgage crisis of today. In my opinion, we need a shortage to put silver in a free market. When this occurs the real value will come and no one can predict what the price will be.
Mr. Butler has a modest view on future prices, and my opinion is more extreme. I can see very high prices. If I tell you the price you will need a seatbelt, not to fall from your chair. With this kind of opinion on future silver prices, what is the best single form for buying and holding real silver? Looking at my crystal ball, considering that a silver shortage is likely, and that silver prices will then reach or exceed the price of gold; I think silver Eagles are the best way to own silver. Why?
I can see silver prices so high, that the risk of imitation or phony silver coming to market will be great. Great price increases always bring out frauds and crooks. People will want to be sure they are buying the real thing. Coins are more difficult to counterfeit than paper instruments. At current silver prices, there has been no big incentive to counterfeit silver Eagles or other forms of silver. Because the US Mint produces silver Eagles, an added level of protection against counterfeiting is present. The US Government does not sit still on counterfeiting.
Because Silver Eagles are sold at a premium to the price of silver from the Mint to wholesalers, few if any of the 160 million regular silver Eagles minted and sold since 1986 have been, or will ever be melted for their silver content. The same with millions of more expensive Proof Eagles and commemorative silver coins issued by the Mint. Silver Eagles that are sold by investors are bought by other coin investors. Therefore, the silver used in Eagle production is taken off the market, in my opinion, forever.
But the premium on Silver Eagles will explode someday, because the Mint will stop making them in the future. When the silver shortage comes, and prices start to escalate wildly, the US Government will not wish to aggravate the shortage by continuing to take silver off the market. By then, the users will be screaming for relief from high silver prices and the mint will see this.
According to Mr. Butler, before the gold and silver Eagle program began in 1986, it was decided that, in order not to hurt domestic miners, only metal purchased from domestic miners would be used in the Eagle program, so government owned metal wasn’t dumped on the market.
But the Silver Users Association, fearing higher silver prices because of demand for Silver Eagles, lobbied behind the scene to change things to their advantage. They couldn’t kill the program completely, but the silver users were still successful. Gold was left unchanged in that domestic production was to be used, but silver was changed so that only silver from the Strategic Defense Stockpile was to be used for Eagles, until it ran out, which it did in 2001. Since then, the US Mint has had to buy more than 50 million ounces of silver to produce silver Eagles.
It will not take much convincing by the silver users to get the US Mint to cease production of Silver Eagles, when the silver shortage hits. So a premium could develop, if and when that happens. The same kind of premium that develops when an artist dies and it becomes known there will be no more new works of art from him. Now some may say, what kind of numismatic premium could develop on a modern bullion coin with a total amount in existence of more than 160 million? I say, a very big premium. The Silver Eagle is no ordinary coin. It is the world’s leading silver bullion coin. The US Government guarantees its purity and weight. It is recognized everywhere. In the years to come, people from all over, including India and China, will want to buy them. It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful coin in the world.
At any point in time, very few old Silver Eagles are available for sale in any large quantities. That’s because Silver Eagles are widely held by many small investors and coin collectors. Many are given as gifts and hold sentimental value. Grandparents, like me, set them aside for their grandchildren. Silver Eagles are not a trading vehicle, they are mostly held for the long term. The market relies on the fact that new coins from the Mint will always be available for sale, in order to satisfy new demand. But always isn’t forever.
When the shortage comes and silver explodes, the price will be so high that most people won’t be able to afford even a 100 ounce bar. Then, there will be much more demand for silver in one-ounce denominations, just like there is for gold today. That extra demand will put a bigger premium on the smaller pieces compared to bigger bars. The best small piece is the Silver Eagle and it will have the biggest premium of any other one-ounce choice. Also, it will be easier to sell in one-ounce pieces when prices are sky-high.
I think the premium on Silver Eagles will go to such crazy levels, that out of respect for Mr. Butler, I will not say a number, because he thinks it will sound too extreme. Instead, I will be very conservative and just say that in the future, when the silver shortage comes, the premium on Silver Eagles to the price of silver will be much greater than the total cost of an Eagle today. If that comes true, it’s like buying silver at today’s price for free.
To those who are inclined to own silver, buy Silver Eagles. To the gold investors, please change some gold into Silver Eagles. If anyone is lucky enough to buy, say, 1000 Silver Eagles or more, in 15 years it will be worth a sum that will shock you. Don’t think for one minute that I have a financial interest in selling Eagles. I don’t work for the Mint or for commissions. I write for love of silver and my friend Ted Butler.

An Interesting Piece From Financial Philosopher Bill Bonner


To Err is Human

By Bill Bonner
Mistakes are always being made. In a properly functioning economy, these errors are made...and corrected. People go broke. Investments go bad. Projects are cancelled...discarded...and rejected.
But in the last quarter century, interest rates were generally falling. It was a very forgiving economy. Mistakes were still made. But the cost of being wrong went down. You could pay more for a house than you should have paid...but no problem; you could refinance at lower interest! And then, the price would go up – problem solved. Or, you could overpay for a stock. Again, falling interest rates were generally pushing up stock prices – you almost couldn't lose.
Then, in the five years from the summer of '02 to the summer of '07, mistakes practically vanished. People might have wanted to go broke – but the credit industry wouldn't let them. Central banks and the lenders kept showing up with more money! You could buy a house...or a Structured Investment Vehicle; no matter how dumb you were, you'd be rescued by easy money and rising asset prices. You might even look like a genius.
Looking at the economy itself, as the flood of money gushed in...mistakes disappeared beneath the surface. Typically, in the United States, there was about one quarter of correction – with negative growth – to every four or five quarters of expansion. But more recently, the ratio of correction to growth fell to only one quarter out of every 19. Are we approaching the perfection of the human race, with fewer errors than ever before...or are there a lot more mistakes in need of correction?
We will not leave you on the edge of your seats. An unanswered question is like an unconsummated marriage; you have the burden of it without the satisfaction. So here it is:
Instead of fewer errors in the last six years, investors made more of them.
It is not from success that we learn, but from failure. So, we are grateful to the Soviet Union. It showed what you could do with central planning and price controls. At first, prominent economists in the West believed the numbers coming from Moscow. Then, they noticed that the figures were a little fishy. Finally, with the Soviet economy on the brink of collapse, they realized they had been bamboozled. The Soviets had managed to create a value-subtracting economy. They took raw materials from the ground...added labor, organization, skills and capital...and transformed them into finished products – which were worth less than the raw materials themselves! The harder they worked, the poorer they got.
They weren't the first to prove that price controls don't work. Every time they are tried – by everyone from Emperor Diocletian to Richard Nixon to Robert Mugabe – the result is disaster. Why? Because controlled prices are liars. They will tell you whatever you want to hear; they mislead investors, businessmen and consumers.
Once, almost three decades ago, we were on a plane from Moscow to Minsk, in White Russia. Seated next to us was a young woman with a toilet seat on her lap.
"What are you doing with the toilet seat," we wondered.
"Oh...I couldn't find one in Minsk. So, I went to Moscow to get one."
Further investigation showed that price controls had caused toilet seats to disappear from the market in Minsk...while they had reduced the price of an airline ticket to about $10. The young woman did the reasonable thing, under the circumstances. So did the Soviet economy; it self-destructed a few years later.
Western economists love to tell tales like this. It makes them feel superior. But few notice that their own central banks control the most important price of all – the price of credit. Nor do they notice that an artificially-low price of credit caused an entire generation of Americans – and Englishmen, too – to make errors. They borrowed too much and spent too much. So great were these errors that their entire economies started walking backward – destroying wealth for the average person, subtracting value from Americans' houses...wages...and other assets.
Yes, it's true. The average person in America is poorer now than he was five years ago...and maybe even poorer than he was 30 years ago. As we have pointed out many times in The Daily Reckoning , he has more debt...higher expenses (prices of food and fuel have soared)...but he had more or less the same real income.
How is it possible for a booming economy to make people poorer? Well, that is what mistakes are all about. Setting the price of credit too low, the feds caused a whole generation of Americans to misjudge how rich they were. They did what people do when they think they are richer than they really are – they over-spent. Over-borrowed. Over-leveraged themselves. In short, they over-did it.
And even if they saw they weren't actually richer...they believed the promises of modern 'zoo capitalism.' Since the Reagan/Thatcher revolutions, people have come to believe in a new kind of capitalism – in which the dangerous beasts were all behind bars. It was Capitalism Without Fear...growth without recession...boom without bust...creation without destruction. It was capitalism presided over by central bankers – with the power to set the price of money wherever they want. Deficits didn't matter, people believed; Dick Cheney said so. It was capitalism without mistakes, where no matter how stupid you were...no matter how high you reached...or whatever dopey thing you jumped into...you landed in honey.
It was almost too marvelous.

Computer Privacy


The Feds Can NOT Demand Your Encrypted Files
Suppose that you want to send a message to someone that only this person will be able to read. A mathematical process called encryption makes this possible.
Encryption scrambles the message using mathematical formulas that make the message unreadable to anyone except for someone possessing the key to "decrypt" it. Even the CIA's supercomputers can't decipher messages created with numerous encryption programs, at least not without an exhaustive effort.
This development deeply concerns law enforcement officials around the world. And it's not surprising why: A technology now exists by which you can keep information secret, even from the government.
In this age of warrantless wiretapping, ever-present video surveillance, and terrorist profiling, there are still limits (imposed by technology, not law) to where government watchdogs can and cannot go.
Encryption is useful in many situations. You can encrypt an email message you send to someone to insure that only the intended recipient can read it. You can also send someone a confidential message on a CD or USB stick that only that person can decipher. You can also insure that prying eyes can't read the confidential files on your personal computer.
This latter capability is particularly important if you travel internationally. For instance, U.S. Customs officials can seize and copy any laptop's contents carried across U.S. borders. There's no arrest, warrant or probable cause required.
What happens, though, if you encrypt your laptop's contents before Customs officials want to examine them? Can custom agents force you to reveal your "passphrase" that converts unreadable gibberish into intelligible - and potentially incriminating - text or images?
Recently, a federal judge in Vermont said that Customs officials don't have this right. The judge ruled that a man charged with transporting child pornography on his laptop across the Canadian border could legally refuse to disclose his encryption passphrase to prosecutors. To force him to do so, the judge ruled, would amount to forced self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits this.
While prosecutors are appealing the decision, it sends a very important pro-privacy message. Simply encrypting the contents of your personal computer - a process made simple using programs such as Pretty Good Privacy can provide a legally unassailable barrier to privacy invasion.
Incidentally, in other countries, this protection may not apply. For instance, in the United Kingdom, if police or Customs officials demand access to your laptop files, you must provide them with the passphrase. Failure to comply can result in up to a five-year prison sentence.
The message should be crystal clear. Encrypt your files. Better yet, use a program such as PGP Desktop that encrypts your entire hard disk. That way, not only will you protect your confidential files, but you'll also shield all other data on your hard disk. That means not-quite-deleted files, Internet surfing logs, etc. won't be visible, either.