Thursday, April 30, 2015

China- the new suitor after US and Saudi Arabia, so no troops for Yemen

China- the new suitor after US and Saudi Arabia, so no troops for Yemen

Is Pakistan pivoting away from Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia continues to press Pakistan to provide tangible support for its war in Yemen. Most Pakistanis are pushing back and criticizing the kingdom and its gulf allies in unprecedented candor.

Summary Print Pakistan is facing strong domestic opposition against providing support to the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, and its parliament came to a unanimous decision to stay neutral in the conflict, to the chagrin of Saudi Arabia.


Author Bruce RiedelPosted April 28, 2015


Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his senior army leadership traveled to Saudi Arabia last week for another consultation on Riyadh's request for military support for the campaign against the Houthis. Sharif said after the visit that he was not confronted with a "wish list" and he reiterated Pakistan's commitment to defend the kingdom if it is attacked. But the Pakistani leadership offered no tangible military aid. The prime minister's brother, Shabaz Sharif, has also visited Saudi Arabia separately to try to reassure Gulf leaders, but he could not calm the tensions either. The Sharif government is clearly uncomfortable with saying no to its Gulf benefactors but it faces strong domestic opposition to the war.

The Pakistani parliament's unanimous decision to stay neutral in the Yemen war has been widely praised in the country. A distinguished professor of physics, Pervez Hoodbhoy, wrote an editorial this week titled "Let the Saudis Fume," praising the Sharif government for rejecting the "GCC diktat" and saying no to "an irritated septuagenarian monarch and his angry princes." The article assured Pakistanis that the Gulf Cooperation Council states can not expel Pakistani guest workers or their "petro-countries would grind to a halt."

Hoodbhoy also takes on directly the issue of Saudi-Pakistani potential nuclear collusion, usually a subject off-limits in the media. The nuclear physicist reminds Saudis there are "no other nuclear vendors in town," and that "Pakistan is the only country that can at short notice potentially provide the kingdom with nuclear weapons or a nuclear umbrella" against Iran. His conclusion is that Pakistan should never give the kingdom the bomb.

Other commentators have been scathing about the role Saudi Arabia has played in backing extremist Islamic movements in Pakistan for the last 40 years. Much of the sectarian Sunni-Shiite violence in Pakistan is blamed on Saudi money. Before Yemen, this kind of commentary was rare in Pakistan; the Yemen war has made this rhetoric more frequent, and often satirical.

China has played a role in the drama as well. President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad last week and promised a staggering $46 billion in new investment in Pakistan to build an economic corridor linking western China to the Persian Gulf through Pakistan. China will expand the port of Gwadar in Baluchistan to rival Dubai or Doha as a regional economic hub under this ambitious strategy.

Pakistan has its own security challenges, of course. The Sharif brothers promised Xi that Pakistan will create a new special division of the Pakistani army to protect Chinese workers in Pakistan. The "Special Security Division" will total 10,000 troops and be commanded by a two-star general. Half the men will come from the Special Services Group, Pakistan's elite commando force. The force will have its own organic air support, i.e., troops for protecting China, albeit at home, but not for waging war in Yemen.

The Pakistanis sought assurances from the Chinese that their neutral policy in Yemen would not undercut their alliance with Beijing in any way. According to leaks from Pakistan, the Chinese were adamant that they understand Pakistan's hands-off approach in the Saudi-Iranian regional proxy war. Xi allegedly told Sharif that China will stand by Pakistan if its ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates unravel.

There are some in Pakistan pressing the Saudi cause. Among the most vocal is the political arm of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (Jamaat-ud-Dawa), notorious for the attack on Mumbai in November 2008. Its leader, Hafiz Saeed, has called for Pakistan to send troops to defend the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina from the Houthis. He has formed a coalition of Sunni groups to defend the mosques from danger, claiming that Israel and the United States are using the Houthis and Iran to endanger the holy places. As early as March, Saeed blamed a "Jewish conspiracy" for fomenting the Houthi rebellion. Lashkar-e-Taiba raises funds in the kingdom, so it undoubtedly sees this propaganda as a good way to endear itself in the Gulf. Lashkar-e-Taiba has close connections to the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, which is also very close to its Saudi counterpart.

The battle for Pakistan's support has revealed a degree of animosity toward the Gulf states in the world's second-largest Muslim country that has not been seen so vividly before. Given the huge investments Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have made over the decades in courting Pakistan and its politicians, it should lead to some soul-searching.

Read more:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Yemen; US supplied Arms Bonanza for Houthis-Troops for Riyadh; Quandary for Pakistan

Yemen; US supplied Arms Bonanza for Houthis-Troops for Riyadh; Quandary for Pakistan



Yemen, like Afghanistan, has a long reputation as a quagmire for foreign invaders. Saudi Arabia could break its teeth there if the U.S. does not constrain it. GRAHAM FULLER


Not long before the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, died in 1953, he is purported to have said, and "The good or evil for us will come from Yemen." With the commencement of air strikes on targets in Yemen, it is increasingly likely that the latter part of his prediction will come true. Nothing good—and certainly nothing decisive—will come from the Saudi led "Operation Decisive Storm."


A ground invasion will tie up thousands of Saudi soldiers for what could be months or even years when the Kingdom must also worry about the threat of the Islamic State on its northern borders. It is also worth remembering that the Saudi Army employs a large contingent of soldiers who are ethnically Yemeni. It is an open question as to how these men may or may not respond when ordered to kill fellow Yemenis. At the same time that they are dealing with what will undoubtedly be a protracted and bloody war; the Saudi government will be forced to manage what could be tens of thousands of refugees pouring across its southern border from Yemen.


Military action in Yemen could well lead the House of Saud into the abyss that King Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud may have had in mind before he made his prophetic warning


 MICHAEL HORTON in Counterpunch


Saudis Face Defeat in Yemen and Instability at Home



The Saudis launched this latest aggression invoking the thinnest of pretexts that it wanted to "restore the legitimate government" and protect the "Yemeni constitution and elections."


As CNN's Ali Alahmed sardonically quipped:

"The need to protect constitutions and elections is a rather strange message from the representative of an absolute monarchy … The kingdom's real motives seem clear if one looks at Saudi monarchy's history of not allowing regional competition of any kind, while consistently combating efforts to build democratic governments that empower the people…


The Saudi goal is simple: Prevent the rise of any popularly supported government in the region that seeks self-determination. And the excuse of "resisting Iran's influence," meanwhile, appears to be nothing but sectarian bluster." (What Saudi Arabia wants in Yemen, CNN)


-- the Saudi government, along with its GCC partners, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, and Jordan, has ostensibly launched 'Operation Decisive Storm' to reinstall Hadi who has fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia. The less than clearly articulated goal of the military campaign in Yemen is to reinstall the Hadi led government and to force the Houthis' to lay down their arms and negotiate. It is unlikely that these goals will be achieved. Rather than eroding support for the Houthis, the Saudis and their partners' actions in Yemen, may bolster short term support for the Houthis and former president Saleh who is now nominally allied with the Houthis. Most Yemenis are none too fond of the House of Saud and there are many Yemenis still alive who remember the Egyptians' bloody and disastrous 1962-67 invasion of north Yemen which claimed the lives of twenty thousand Egyptian soldiers and thousands of Yemeni fighters and civilians.


Diplomats who know Saudi Arabia feel that Riyadh is getting into a quagmire .Pakistan is in a quandary .To send troops or not .For the time being no .But a defence protocol requires that Pakistan troops should come to Saudi aid as it has done many times in the past .No could mean possible adverse reaction from Saudis and GCC . But problems at home (see 2nd article) Turbulence in the Gulf would affect everyone including India which has 6 million workers there.


Below are two in depth articles on the subject


K.Gajendra Singh 27 April 2015Delhi





Misdirection in Yemen

Houthi Arms Bonanza Came from Saleh, Not Iran


As the Saudi bombing campaign against Houthi targets in Yemen continues, notwithstanding a temporary pause, the corporate media narrative about the conflict in Yemen is organised decisively around the idea that it is a proxy war between Iran on one side and the Saudis and United States on the other.

USA Today responded like Pavlov's dog this week to a leak by Pentagon officials that it was sending the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to the waters off Yemen, supposedly to intercept Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthis.  It turned out that the warship was being sent primarily to symbolise US support for the Saudis, and the Pentagon made no mention of Iranian arms when it announced the move.  But the story of the US navy intercepting Iranian arms was irresistible, because it fit so neatly into the larger theme of Iran arming and training the Houthis as its proxy military force in Yemen.

News stories on Yemen in recent months have increasingly incorporated a sentence or even a paragraph invoking the accusation that Iran has been arming the Houthis and using them to gain power in the Gulf. The State Department's principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Gerald Feierstein nourished that narrative in Congressional testimony last week depicting Iran as having provided "financial support, weapons, training and intelligence" to the Houthis. Feierstein acknowledged that the Houthi movement is "not controlled directly by Iran", but claimed a "significant growth in Iranian engagement" with the Houthis in the past year.

Like most popular myths the dominant narrative of the Houthi movement as Iranian proxy in Yemen is based on a kernel of truth: the Houthis share the Iranians' dim views of American intentions in the Middle East and have sought to take advantage of the Hezbollah model to enhance their political-military effectiveness.

Houthis rise – myth and reality

But the assumption that the Houthis have been looking to Iran to train their troops or supply their need for weapons ignores the most basic facts of their ascendance. The Houthis built up their military forces from virtually nothing to as many 100,000 troops today through a series of six wars with Yemeni government troops. In the process they have not only become much better trained, but have acquired a vast pool of arms from Yemen's black market. A United Nations Experts' report earlier this year cites estimates that Yemen is awash with 40 to 60 million weapons. The Houthis were also getting a continuing stream of modern arms directly from corrupt Yemeni military commanders from 2004 through 2010




And in their eagerness to conform to the general theme of an Iran vs US-Saudi proxy war in Yemen, the media's treatment of alleged Iranian arms to the Houthis has ignored the fact that the Houthis had forged an alliance by early 2014 with a far larger source of arms: former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. It was that alliance that propelled the Houthis into power last September, not their ties with Iran.

After Saleh was forced to step down as president in 2012, the government supposedly reorganised the military and Saleh's son Ahmed Ali Saleh was ousted as commander of the Republican Guard. But in fact Saleh continued to control the military through his allies in most of the command positions. When the Houthi advanced on Sanaa last September, it was all carefully choreographed by Saleh. The Houthis were able to take one Yemeni military facility after another without a fight and enter the capital easily.

Houthi weapon bonanza – a gift from America

In the process, the Houthis acquired a new bonanza of weapons that had been provided by the United States over the previous eight years.   According to Pentagon documents acquired under the Freedom of Information Act by Joseph Trevithick, the Defence Department had delivered about $500 million in military hardware to the Yemeni military from 2006 on.  The gusher of new US arms included Russian-made helicopters, more than 100 Humvees with the latest armor packages, 100s of pickup trucks, rocket propelled grenades, advanced radios, night vision goggles and millions of rounds of ammunition.

A significant part of that weaponry and equipment was scooped up by Houthi fighters on their way into Sanaa and has been visible in the months since then. When the Houthis advanced into Aden 1 April, residents reported seeing four tanks and three armored vehicles as well as Rocket propelled grenades.  On 29 March, after the Saudi bombing campaign had begun, the Houthis were reported to have had control of the Yemeni Air Force's 16 fighter planes, of which eleven had been destroyed by the bombing.

In light of the reality that the Houthis are already flush with American arms that may be worth as much as hundreds of millions of dollars, the flurry of media excitement over the US Navy sending another warship to intercept an Iranian flotilla of arms is an odd bit of burlesque that ought to be in an embarrassment.

The one concrete allegation that has been invoked by media stories in recent months is the case of a ship called Jihan 1, said to have been laden with Iranian arms, that was intercepted in early 2013.  A Reuters story last December cited a list a list of all the items on board provided by a "senior Yemeni security official," which included Katyusha rifles, RPGs-7s, tons of RDX explosives and surface-to-air missiles.

Jihan 1 – murky claims

But the Hadi government never provided any evidence that the ship was sent by Iran or was intended for the Houthis.  And most of the items mentioned were not even Iranian-manufactured weapons. The one odd exception was a reference to "Iranian-made night vision goggles". That fact suggests that the ship was intended to provide arms to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which carries out large numbers of terrorist bombings and would have needed the large supplies of RDX. The Houthis, on the other hand, are not known to have used that explosive. The UN expert panel formed to support the UN Security Council sanctions against Houthi commanders and Salehreported that it had been "unable to independently confirm the allegation" about the Jihan 1.

The Reuters story, published months after the Houthis had acquired a large portion of the Yemeni army's American arms, quoted a second Yemeni security official as still claiming that Iranian weapons "are still coming in by sea and there's money coming in through transfers".

Reuters further claimed that a "senior Iranian official," contradicting official Iranian denials, had told the news agency that "the pace of money and arms getting to the Houthis had increased since their seizure of Sanaa." The official allegedly said there were hundreds of IRGC personnel training the Houthis and six Iranian military advisers in Yemen. That part of the story appears suspicious to say the least.

The politically convenient story line that the Houthis are proxies of Iran is hardly new. As a US diplomatic cable from Sanaa in 2009 reveals, the Yemeni government had waged a continuing campaign for years during its wars with the Houthis to persuade the United States that Iran and Hezbollah were arming and training the Houthis, but had never produced any real evidence to support the claim.

Ties between the Houthis and Iran undoubtedly exist, driven by a common distrust of American and Saudi roles in Yemen and the Houthis' need for an ideology that would enhance their power.  But the slack-jawed media approach to the story – starting with its refusal to put the allegations of continuing Iran arms smuggling to the Houthis in the context of the Houthis bonanza of US arms – has produced the usual fog of misinformation and confusion.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian writing on US national security policy.  His latest book, "Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare," was published in February 2014.

This article originally appeared in Middle East Eye.


 Yemen's long shadow

Written by Khaled Ahmed | Published on:April 24, 2015 12:17 am


Pakistan was in two minds over going to the aid of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in the Yemen war, its government swearing allegiance but parliament ordaining "neutrality". Then the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Yemen's Houthi rebels, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son, who heads the rebel troops, thus clearly siding with Saudi Arabia and its Arab League friends. It imposed a global asset freeze and travel ban on Abdul Malik al-Houthi and Ahmed Saleh. It demanded that the Houthis withdraw from areas they had seized, including the capital, Sanaa, and "resume negotiations on the democratic transition begun in 2011, when Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to hand over power to [the pro-Saudi] Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi following mass protests".


Islamabad was relieved and supported the resolution. But Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is related to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, went ahead and revealed something that was not generally known. He said in a briefing in Washington that, in 1982, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had signed a military protocol which entitled the kingdom to seek Pakistani troops. He disarmed reporters who had pointed out that remittances from expat Pakistanis — "$13.3 billion in [the] last nine months" — could be jeopardised if the GCC states decided to expel them. A UAE minister had warned Pakistan that if it didn't come to help in the Yemen war it would "pay a heavy price". On April 21, the Arab bombing of Yemen Houthis came to a halt.


People in Pakistan obviously didn't know about the "defence protocol" because a question had been raised about it in the joint session of parliament in March, with members demanding to know the details of such an agreement, "if it existed".


It is not possible to glean from Dar's comment whether the "protocol" was signed with Saudi Arabia or with the GCC, newly formed in 1981 in response to the "Iranian threat". It is quite possible that Pakistan had agreed, under pressure some say, to provide "military teeth" to the GCC. This happenedunder the military ruler, General Zia-ul-Haq, who was close to the Arabs, having served as a military attaché in the region.


While clearly an ally of Saudi Arabia, Zia was inclined to be neutral in the developing Iran-Arab confrontation. There were rumours in Pakistan in 1982 that the GCC states had threatened to expel all Pakistani workers if the country refused to "lend military teeth" to the newly formed grouping. There is little on record because of the extreme caution exercised by the rulers of the UAE. Most books on the Gulf states discuss the GCC as a harmless organisation, but a clearer indication of what was at stake is indicated by Christopher M. Davidson in his book, The United Arab Emirates: A Study in Survival (2005). According to him, the plan for an anti-Iran axis existed until 2001: "Until September 11, 2001, many of the strongly anti-Iranian emirates had favoured a 'Sunni axis', comprising the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban, in an effort to curb potential Shia expansion." The author added a footnote that his informationhad come from "personal interviews, undisclosed locations, 2003".


Most critics of a "willing" Nawaz Sharif government were given pause when columnists started writing about how an exodus of Pakistani workers from the Gulf, most of them unskilled and semi-skilled, could destabilise Pakistan and cause the government to fall. Over the past decade, power outages have caused elected governments to become unpopular. Electricity in Pakistan, mostly produced from oil, has not kept pace with consumption. Leading journalist and TV personality Najam Sethi wrote in The Friday Times: "Over 3 million Pakistanis work in these countries and remit over $11 billion a year to sustain nearly 30 million Pakistanis across the country. If these workers and their hard-earned monies were to be sanctioned by their hosts, angry Pakistanis would spill over into the streets against both the Arabs and their Pakistani ruling-class brothers. The economy would face a balance of payments crisis and the rupee would slide in parallel with forex reserves. Inflation would rise, hardship would follow and there would be fresh calls and agitation from the political parties for the ouster of the Sharif regime. Indeed, the very political parties that are insisting that Mr Sharif should refuse troops to the Saudis and maintain 'neutrality' would be the first ones to demand his resignation when such a policy leads to an angry and hurtful response from the Saudis and Gulf sheikhs."


Economist Sakib Sherani cautiously warned in Dawn: "There is a downside to the rising importance of this source of inflow. With worker remittances the equivalent of over 6 per cent of GDP, any disruption to the flow can have serious repercussions for the economy. This vulnerability is starkly demonstrated in the uncomfortable position Pakistan finds itself in with respect to the request for military help by Saudi Arabia in its offensive against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Worker remittances from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, amount to two-thirds of the total. If the potential ire of these countries is translated to the Pakistani emigrant workers, the pain of adopting 'neutrality' could be serious."

India too gets its remittances through money transfers from non-resident Indians (NRIs) employed outside the country to family, friends or relatives. It is the world's leading receiver of remittances, claiming more than 12 per cent of the global total in 2007. Remittances to India stood at $67.6 billion in 2012-13, accounting for over 4 per cent of the country's GDP.


States do have "economic leverage" over other states, but it is especially so in Pakistan, with a prime minister who was saved from spending his life in jail by Saudi intervention, which the Pakistani army couldn't ignore. Even at the UNSC, China and Russia could have opposed the pro-Saudi resolution. But they didn't.


As Vali Nasr wrote in his book, The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat, "China's trade… with Saudi Arabia has grown from $4 billion in 2001 to $50 billion in 2011; and with Egypt from less than a billion in 2001 to $9 billion in 2011. Since 2006 China has been exporting more to the Middle East than the US does, and the same is true for imports since 2009. In 2010, Chinese exports to the region were close to double that of the US (China is now the largest exporter to the region), and Chinese direct foreign investment took off, leaving America far behind: 30 per cent of China's global contracts in that year were with Arab enterprises."


Now that the Yemen war has gone from combat to consultative negotiation under the UN, Pakistan will feel less divided at home, between the Saudi-assisted Wahhabi and Deobandi clerics and the hunted Shia community, which fears another bout of "relocated" sectarian war. The state in Pakistan can disarm Arab suspicion of its loyalty but far more difficult will be the task of "delinking" from the Wahhabi and Deobandi non-state actors, now allied with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, who have caused disturbance in Pakistan's neighbouring states.


The writer is consulting editor, 'Newsweek Pakistan'.


Monday, April 13, 2015

US-Iran nuclear fuel agreement & Asian infrastructure investment bank

US-Iran nuclear fuel agreement & Asian infrastructure investment bank


These are two very important developments in undermining the military and economic unilateralism exercised by USA and its allies since World War II. The agreement on restrictions on enrichment of uranium by Iran is totally against NPT, to which Tehran is signatory. It is now allowed to do so with constraints .It is just another example of general lawlessness followed by USA and its Western allies. Hopefully there would be no slip between the cup and lip, by end June, whatever Israeli Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu might proclaim and opposition by Republican fanatics in USA.


The agreement on in Asia infrastructure investment bank organised at the behest of China, to which even Western powers and allies of USA have joined is another major move to do away with unequal financial and economic arrangement enforced around the world since World War II by Washington and its allies.


Dr William Engdahl, who has written these two articles, is a very well known and reputed commentator and analyst of international affairs, especially in the energy and financial field. These articles are concise, lucid and hard-hitting and bring out the truth of US exceptionalism and riding roughshod over international treaties, laws and obligations. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Washington has been a raging Bull, bringing about havoc and destruction recently in North Africa, countries of Sahel, West, South and Southwest Asia, not to forget Ukraine, a country which is being devastated almost as badly as Iraq, Libya and Syria.


It must be said to some credit of US Pres Barack Obama that in spite of fanatic  right-wing resistance and noise ,he is trying to bring some sanity into US foreign and strategic relations keeping in view its declining manufacturing and exporting capability except for arms. Apart from promoting the nuclear enrichment deal with Iran, Obama has after 50 years made up with US neighbour in south, Cuba, which has stood as a sentinel against US exceptionalism, and pure and simple US sponsored terrorism and gangsterism either directly or through its allies and cronies .


In recent decades Latin America, considered a US backyard has shown great spine in resisting US exceptionalism led by Fidel Castro and others.


K Gajendra Singh, April 13, 2015, DelhiIran and a Possible New Energy Geopolitics


F. William Engdahl (NEO) : The recent tentative agreement between Iran and the USA regarding Iran's nuclear program open the prospect of a lifting of almost 36 years of American economic sanctions against Iran. It is being greeted by threats of unilateral military strikes by Israel against Iran to "pre-empt" Iran developing a nuclear bomb.


An alliance improbable as it may seem between the ultra-conservative Saudi monarchy and the government of Israel is emerging against Iran and the US deal. The real question is what the deeper motive of the Obama Administration is regarding Iran. Here energy geopolitics plays the lead role, as so often in the energy-rich Middle East. And Russia is the target.


I recently had a dialogue with Shervin, an Iranian energy expert I met two years ago in Tehran regarding these developments. I want to share some of the highlights of that discussion here. He is an energy specialist with Iran's leading international news agency, Tasnim News Agency. The talk provides a useful insight into the thinking of Iranian intellectuals regarding US sanctions, Iran's possible role in the world and in energy geopolitics.


Tasnim: What is your opinion about Iran's sanctions?

WE: The US sanctions on Iran are illegal under the precepts of international law and an act of war, just as are the sanctions on Syria and now on Russia.


Tasnim: Has the Iran negotiations reached a final agreement that will see the West's economic sanctions against Iran cancelled?

WE: We must be specific. The sanctions come from Washington and the US Treasury financial warfare unit, especially the latest round of sanctions against using the SWIFT interbank clearing system to sell Iranian oil, an unprecedented step by Washington that is now being threatened against Russia. The EU would love to reopen trade with Iran. So long as Washington is controlled by the banks of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex you can expect some excuse, even with a nuclear agreement, to continue the sanctions in some form. Look at Cuba.


Tasnim: How do the current low oil prices affect the economy in America?

WE: The US Secretary of State John Kerry met the Saudi King in Saudi Arabia last September and proposed the collapse of oil prices to put extreme pressure on Iran and primarily on Putin's Russia whom they are determined to destroy as the only military great power that could threaten the Pentagon's total military hegemony. If Russia capitulates, which I am convinced it will not, the current world will collapse, Iran will be isolated and destroyed, China as well and the entire alternative multi-polar new structures opposed to the increasingly naked totalitarianism of the Anglo-American hegemonists will suffer a devastating setback.

Ironically, the Saudi oil shock since last year is having a devastating impact on the huge new shale oil industry in North Dakota, Texas, California and such. I estimate if it goes another three to six months, we will begin to see a snowball series of oil company bankruptcies and default on more than $1 trillion in oil company loans or "junk" bonds. So far the shale oil companies have been flooding the market with their oil to get cash to avoid bank loan default in hopes the crisis will soon end. The Big Oil boys like ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell can ride the storm as they are well capitalized and global. In terms of the larger US economy, virtually the only bright spot in terms of jobs growth has been hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the domestic shale industry. Those are now vanishing rapidly. The Obama Administration once again failed to see the larger consequences of their actions. They have shot themselves in both feet in the oil war against Putin.


Tasnim: How do the economic sanctions against Iran also impact the US economy?

WE: The US Treasury sanctions on Iran have virtually no impact on the US economy, which makes them so diabolical.


Tasnim: Are economic sanctions against Iran more beneficial to America or Iran?

WE: Actually, and I saw this when I was in Tehran two years ago, it benefits Iran far more. This is because it forces you to be more self-reliant and not let your economy, your industries, your agriculture be destroyed by cheap Western imports like so many countries in Asia, Africa, South America have done. It forces Iran to develop the wonderful capacities internally, to control her own credit, not become a vassal of a dollar system that is going bankrupt. Iranians are very educated and very intelligent people, very resourceful. I think you will do quite well without importing iPhone6 or Monsanto GMO toxic soybeans.


Tasnim: Did Washington get the Saudis to drive down the price in order to hurt Russia and perhaps Iran?

WE: Yes, of course. It was a repeat of what George Schultz and Vice President Bush Sr. did back in 1986 to get the Saudis at that time to flood the market and drive prices below $10 a barrel, in order to bankrupt the Soviet Union during their Afghan war against the US-backed Mujahideen of Osama bin Laden.

But the policy people at the State Department and CIA in Washington were rather stupid this time. They did not calculate that the Saudis had their own agenda with cheap oil, namely to destroy the growing competition from the US shale oil. Now it's too late for Obama and Washington to easily reverse oil prices. The intellectual quality of the people today in Washington's bureaucracy, even compared to those some three decades ago, is so poor, in terms of understanding history, culture, economics, strategy. Note that some of the nastiest persons in the US foreign policy establishment like Brzezinski and Kissinger are urging Obama to not provoke a war with Russia. They at least have some grasp of history. Neo-conservatives like Victoria Nuland at State Department or Defense Secretary Ashton Carter or Hillary Clinton who has her cold eye on the White House, lack the depth in addition to being bad people. Therefore they are so dangerous to their nation as well as the world.


Tasnim: Did the Saudis see in Washington's request the opportunity to drive the US fracking industry out of business, thus preserving its US market?

WE: It's not about the Saudi US market. Saudi exports mainly to Asia today and rather little, about 800,000 barrels a day, to the US of a daily US oil consumption of around 19 million barrels a day, around 4%. It's the global market the Saudis are concerned with dominating via leverage of Arab OPEC—Saudi, Kuwait, Emirates.

Without Iran for the Saudis of course, but that Sunni-Shi'ite conflict, especially since Washington deliberately started the Arab Spring Color Revolutions in late 2010, was intended to create total dis-order between once-cooperating OPEC members in the Middle East in order to establish direct US military control over the entire region. The OPEC countries and their Sovereign Wealth Funds, using their huge oil revenues, were beginning to establish networks of Islamic banking independent from Western usury and debt slavery—Tunisia, Libya, Egypt…Had that continued, the dollar would become a worthless banana republic currency in a few years, much like the threat Washington sees today from the BRICS and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

It is useful to keep in mind, there are two pillars of Washington hegemony: Control of money via Wall Street and the Dollar as world reserve currency; and control of the military power. The money control began collapsing with the foolish deregulation of the banks under Alan Greenspan's time at the Federal Reserve and the resulting orgy of speculation called the Asset Backed Securitization that led to the inevitable 2007-2008 financial crisis. After that, the military "solution" has become more dominant as the financial pillar was too weak to continue the push for global domination or as Bush and David Rockefeller have called it, their New World Order.

It might help to know that today these American Oligarchs, as I call them, are becoming terrified as never since at least one hundred years that they can lose everything. They are desperate. Washington today is riddled with confused people fighting each other and the world. It is a bit like the last years of the Roman Empire of the Fourth Century AD. It reminds of the ancient Greek saying, "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." Today Washington is home of the Lost Hegemon and some very mad people as in Israel under that gangster, Binjamin Netanyahu.


Tasnim: Is the reduction of price oil for Iran a threat or an opportunity?

WE: An opportunity, a wonderful one, to take a lead in a new just international trading system, one pricing oil not in dollars. As long as the world trades its oil in dollars, you support the Dollar Empire and destroy yourselves. Here China, Russia and others are playing a crucial role pricing in local currencies, thus de-dollarizing their economies. Today the only thing propping up the debt-bloated US Dollar System are oil sales in dollars, narcotics traffic worldwide in dollars and the US military worldwide as the global cops. That's a pretty fragile system in my view.


Tasnim: What suggestions do you have for economic authorities?

WE: Iran is a wonderful land with beautiful, warm-hearted people and enormous intelligence and economic resources. Were I Iranian head of state I would direct my government to create planning processes across Iran in every region if it does not already exist, to engage local citizens in dialogue with the regional economic officials to define priority economic goals of each region for the next 5 year period (anything longer becomes too rigid). Much like Charles deGaulle, who was certainly no communist, did with his and Jacques Rueff's "Planification."

Then the central government ministers meet and review the wants and needs of the people across Iran and draft realizable priorities. I would ban all Western vaccines, all. A healthy diet and loving family and community are the only way to a healthy immune system. I would ban GMO and the chemical weed killers like Monsanto Roundup from ever coming in, even indirectly via soybeans from USA or Argentina or GMO corn. China is just now realizing its error in allowing 60% of her soybeans to be imported and all are GMO. I would develop Iran's wonderful food culture naturally, with natural chemical-free methods, subsidize that with a positive tax policy and punish industrial US-style agribusiness with punitive taxes.


Today the oligarchs of the West have a simple agenda: genocide against all darker-skinned non-Anglo Saxon blood lines. I have met many of them over the years at conferences in Davos, Frankfurt, many places. They are bloody racists, eugenicists, people like Gates with his vaccines that kill small babies or make young girls unable to have children.


Bill Gates, George Soros, David Rockefeller, Warren Buffett, the DuPonts, the Russell family of Yale University, and others whose names are not so known. They are all fundamentally stupid and ridiculous people who are incapable of seeing the consequences of every life they take to the entirety of the human species. For them to kill the "useless eaters" like ourselves, they make wars, spread disease, make more and more of our children sick and crippled via their poison vaccines, destroy healthy non-chemical traditional medicine like exists still in parts of China or Iran or Russia in favor of the drugs and toxins of Western Drug companies who, by the way, control WHO. They create terrorist organizations to spread their wars of destruction such as Al Qaeda in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and across the Arab world, Fethullah Gülen's Cemaat in Turkey and beyond, ISIS which was a creation of US and Israeli intelligence to destroy Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian ties to Iran and Iraq.


Washington now wants to seduce Iran into turning her back on previous ally, Russia and undercutting Russian gas exports to Turkey and the EU. In my view Iran's future lies not in becoming a new ally of the present Washington neo conservatives to get a few economic cookies from the West if they abandon their natural alliance with Eurasia, especially with Russia, China and the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Iran's proven natural gas reserves are estimated by BP to be some 34 trillion cubic meters, while Russia's are at 33 trillion cubic meters. Cooperation now between those two natural gas superpowers is essential in order to build the architecture of Eurasia in a way beneficial to all, including to Germany and the rest of the EU. This is a golden opportunity to change the locus of global energy geopolitics away from the Washington-London-Riyadh axis powers who have controlled it since the initial agreement between US President Roosevelt and Saudi King Ibn Saud in 1943 giving American Rockefeller oil majors exclusive control of the vast oil riches of Saudi Arabia.


F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".


 AIIB, BRICS Development Bank and an Emerging World

 Author: F. William Engdahl 10Ap2015
First appeared:


Germany is a founding member as France. So is Luxemburg, even Great Britain. Putin's Russia and India are also among the founders. To the surprise of many, so is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an institution that until now has been a pillar of the dollar system. We are talking about China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or AIIB. The question is whether the AIIB is on its way to become the seed crystal of a new monetary order that could replace the destructive influence of the dollar? Or will it be infected by Trojans like the UK and the IMF? The answer could well shape the architecture of a new world in which the dollar and its bloated debt structures no longer dictate to the entire world what their economic policies shall be.


In October 2014, China announced it was creating a new international bank to finance major infrastructure projects across Asia. The prime driver for China was to finance their New Silk Road high-speed Eurasian rail and also sea infrastructure projects and the refusal of the United States to agree to major IMF voting reform that would give China and other emerging economic nations more say. Beijing announced they will give $50 billion to start the new bank. At the time, Washington and most of the rest of the world ignored the bank, while the Obama Administration attacked the AIIB for possibly lacking transparency or sufficient concern for environmental risks, patent diversions from the reality, namely, that the AIIB represents a strategic threat to continued American global dollar hegemony.


Washington's well-aimed shot in the foot

The Obama Administration, by fiercely opposing it when the UK, Australia, Japan and other core US allies indicated interest in joining the AIIB, now have royally shot themselves in both feet. Today, as of the March 31 deadline, more than 40 nations have joined with China's new banks as Founding Members. The bank now threatens to rival the IMF, World Bank and the related Asian Development Bank as a long-term creditor able to attract capital to major infrastructure investment across Eurasia and perhaps beyond. Those three public banks are all derived from the US' postwar Bretton Woods Treaty and all three are controlled tightly by Washington to the advantage of the dollar and of US interests.


Now it's not as if China is sneaking behind the back of their dear friends in Washington. In 2010 China, Brazil and other fast-developing countries won an agreement on reform of the IMF that would have doubled the funds available to the IMF in return for a greater voting weight for countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil and other economies which were not even on the map in 1944 in terms of relative economic size. The proposal won 77% of the share votes of all IMF member countries.


The 2010 IMF voting rights reform stipulated that China will become the 3rd largest member country in the IMF, and there will be four emerging economies—Brazil, China, India, and Russia—among the 10 largest shareholders in the Fund. Under present rules, Washington, conveniently holds 16.75%, a veto minority. Close US geopolitical allies—Japan with 6.23%, UK and France each with 4.29% and Germany with 5.81% would typically insure that IMF policies in any area were "friendly" to American defined national interests.

China, Russia, India, Brazil and other fast-emerging economies find it is manifestly absurd that today IMF voting rights on the Executive Board give France, with a $3 trillion GDP, far more votes than China with a 2014 GDP of more than three times that, at $10 trillion, or gives Belgium (1.86%) with a $500 billion GDP a larger voting share than Brazil (1.72%) with a GDP more than four times as large at $2.2 trillion. According to the IMF bylaws, a member country's voting shares ought to be roughly proportional to its relative size among the 147 IMF member countries in terms of GDP. When Washington drew up the IMF bylaws in 1944 it stipulated, conveniently, that no major decision of the IMF could come into force unless it had 85% of all member voting shares supporting it.


Washington is holding on like a pit bull to the old bylaws in which the US retains a blocking veto share of votes. The US Congress refuses to pass the IMF reforms and to break the impasse. This is a major way forced China and the other fast-growing BRICS states to look outside the IMF and World Bank and build an entirely new architecture. The AIIB today is emerging rapidly as a centerpiece in this emerging new global architecture.


Rather than trying to influence the new AIIB from within, Washington has chosen a tactic that has delivered it a huge and humiliating geopolitical defeat, and which will likely exclude US corporations from lucrative construction bids.

US foreign policy under Obama, as it was under George W. Bush, is being run by a gaggle of neo-conservative ideologues who seem incapable of flexible response. For them anything China does is "bad" and must be opposed with all US might.


China for those Washington people is the emerging global challenger to US military power, so Obama imposes an "Asia Pivot" military strategy to encircle and anger Beijing. China's economic and financial influence threatens the dollar system so that too must be opposed. The BRICS threatens to become independent of Washington control as vassal states, so BRICS states must be "taught a lesson" as Washington recently attempted with its usual Color Revolution organized opposition protests against pro-BRICS president Dilma Rousseff in hopes of installing a US-friendly free market alternative.


The problem for Washington is that none of this is working as it used to. And Washington sees the desertion of her closest "allies" to join China's AIIB. One is reminded of the statement by England's Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, "England has no friends, merely her interests."


The new architecture emerging

Not only are Russia, Brazil, India, in the AIIB founders list—four of the five BRICS—as well Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam—countries the Obama Administration is relying on to join the military Asia Pivot against China, have all decided to join with China in her new bank. Even Taiwan has applied to join under the name Chinese Taipei.

And in a further devastating for the image of Washington and perhaps for the future of its domination of the IMF and World Bank, was the fact that five of the Group of Seven large western industrial countries—Italy, France, Germany, UK and even Japan looks likely to join. In all more than forty nations have applied to become founding members.


"Money talks and nobody walks," as the crazy radio jingle during the 1960's aired by Rock 'n Roll DJ Charlie Greer on the popular WABC Top 40 New York radio station, on behalf of Dennison's Clothing Store put it. China has the money, and nobody, except the USA, is walking away from that it seems.


The rush to get in on the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank by all these countries including the largest EU members is the realization that Asia and Eurasia is where the economic future of the planet will be made or broken. The USA and Canadian economies are choking in unpayable debts, rotting infrastructure and rustbelt industrial ghost towns like Detroit or Pittsburgh. America is no longer the magnet that all others are drawn to for trade. The country is bust, its government economic figures a bodyguard of lies, its true unemployment at Great Depression levels of 23.2% according to John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics.


China is in a pivotal position to found such a new bank to finance transnational large infrastructure such as the New Silk Road trans-Eurasian high-speed railway that Russia is in the process of connecting with. There will emerge large demand for construction of infrastructure in terms of electric power facilities, highways across Eurasia and Asia. Economic infrastructure is on the drawing boards ultimately linking South Korea to the vast Chinese economy via North Korea.

The infrastructure gap across Asia and Eurasia is enough to spur global industrial growth for decades. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates Asia will need $8 trillion over the next decade for energy, transportation, telecommunication and water/sanitation. Now private investment in infrastructure runs a mere $13 billion a year, most in low-risk projects. Official development assistance adds another $11 billion a year. That means a shortfall exceeding $700 billion a year.

By refusing to join and trying to stop the AIIB Washington in effect stands opposed to Asian regional investments that will expand trade, support financial market development and macroeconomic stability, and improve environmental, health and social conditions. Instead all Washington has to offer is the silly Trans-Pacific Partnership for US-friendly free trade deals that would allow Monsanto and other US corporations to override Asian national laws in pursuit of profit.


The very fact that the AIIB has gathered such worldwide support is demonstration of the impotence of the US-dominated Bretton Woods institutions of the World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank.


And a new BRICS Bank

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is but one new initiative by the world's emerging economies.


At the 2014 BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, they five heads of state declared bluntly, "We remain disappointed and seriously concerned with the current non-implementation of the 2010 International Monetary Fund reforms, which negatively impacts on the IMF's legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness." Collectively, BRICS account for nearly $16 trillion in GDP and 40% of the world's population, nothing to be lightly disregarded as a group of banana republics as some policymakers in Washington evidently still see them. They haven't had their eyes checked since 1944 apparently.


The New Development Bank as it is formally called, or informally the BRICS Development Bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, China's fast-emerging world financial hub. It will open for business with a $100 billion dollar liquidity reserve to defend against possible currency wars as Washington and Wall Street launched in 1997 to destroy the then-booming Asian Tiger economies led by South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. The New Bank will also have an initial $50 billion in capital, each BRICS country contributing $10 billion, with the agreed option to rise to $100 billion for financing BRICS infrastructure projects.

The NDB charter specified its membership will be open to all United Nations member states. However, and this is crucial, the five founding BRICS capital share must never fall below 55 percent, and a non-founding member may never increase above 7 percent. In short The BRICS bank will be managed by governments who share deep dissatisfaction with the Washington-controlled Bretton-Woods institutions.


The combination of the two new infrastructure banks poses the greatest threat to the US dollar system and its control of world financial flows since 1944.iv It is this threat that is driving the rudderless foreign policy agenda of Washington. Peace and cooperation is a far more useful way to resolve affairs among civilized nations.


F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook"
First appeared:


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Re: How America Became an Oligarchy

How America Became an Oligarchy

By Ellen Brown

"The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. . . . You have owners."                                                                                                —George CarlinThe American Dream

April 07, 2015 "ICH" - According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America's political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.

"Making the world safe for democracy" was President Woodrow Wilson's rationale for World War I, and it has been used to justify American military intervention ever since. Can we justify sending troops into other countries to spread a political system we cannot maintain at home?

The Magna Carta, considered the first Bill of Rights in the Western world, established the rights of nobles as against the king. But the doctrine that "all men are created equal" – that all people have "certain inalienable rights," including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" – is an American original. And those rights, supposedly insured by the Bill of Rights, have the right to vote at their core. We have the right to vote but the voters' collective will no longer prevails.

In Greece, the left-wing populist Syriza Party came out of nowhere to take the presidential election by storm; and in Spain, the populist Podemos Party appears poised to do the same. But for over a century, no third-party candidate has had any chance of winning a US presidential election. We have a two-party winner-take-all system, in which our choice is between two candidates, both of whom necessarily cater to big money. It takes big money just to put on the mass media campaigns required to win an election involving 240 million people of voting age.

In state and local elections, third party candidates have sometimes won. In a modest-sized city, candidates can actually influence the vote by going door to door, passing out flyers and bumper stickers, giving local presentations, and getting on local radio and TV. But in a national election, those efforts are easily trumped by the mass media. And local governments too are beholden to big money.

When governments of any size need to borrow money, the megabanks in a position to supply it can generally dictate the terms. Even in Greece, where the populist Syriza Party managed to prevail in January, the anti-austerity platform of the new government is being throttled by the moneylenders who have the government in a chokehold.

How did we lose our democracy? Were the Founding Fathers remiss in leaving something out of the Constitution? Or have we simply gotten too big to be governed by majority vote?

Democracy's Rise and Fall

The stages of the capture of democracy by big money are traced in a paper called "The Collapse of Democratic Nation States" by theologian and environmentalist Dr. John Cobb. Going back several centuries, he points to the rise of private banking, which usurped the power to create money from governments:

The influence of money was greatly enhanced by the emergence of private banking.  The banks are able to create money and so to lend amounts far in excess of their actual wealth.  This control of money-creation . . . has given banks overwhelming control over human affairs.  In the United States, Wall Street makes most of the truly important decisions that are directly attributed to Washington.

Today the vast majority of the money supply in Western countries is created by private bankers. That tradition goes back to the 17th century, when the privately-owned Bank of England, the mother of all central banks, negotiated the right to print England's money after Parliament stripped that power from the Crown. When King William needed money to fight a war, he had to borrow. The government as borrower then became servant of the lender.

In America, however, the colonists defied the Bank of England and issued their own paper scrip; and they thrived. When King George forbade that practice, the colonists rebelled.

They won the Revolution but lost the power to create their own money supply, when they opted for gold rather than paper money as their official means of exchange. Gold was in limited supply and was controlled by the bankers, who surreptitiously expanded the money supply by issuing multiple banknotes against a limited supply of gold.

This was the system euphemistically called "fractional reserve" banking, meaning only a fraction of the gold necessary to back the banks' privately-issued notes was actually held in their vaults. These notes were lent at interest, putting citizens and the government in debt to bankers who created the notes with a printing press. It was something the government could have done itself debt-free, and the American colonies had done with great success until England went to war to stop them.

President Abraham Lincoln revived the colonists' paper money system when he issued the Treasury notes called "Greenbacks" that helped the Union win the Civil War. But Lincoln was assassinated, and the Greenback issues were discontinued.

In every presidential election between 1872 and 1896, there was a third national party running on a platform of financial reform. Typically organized under the auspices of labor or farmer organizations, these were parties of the people rather than the banks. They included the Populist Party, the Greenback and Greenback Labor Parties, the Labor Reform Party, the Antimonopolist Party, and the Union Labor Party. They advocated expanding the national currency to meet the needs of trade, reform of the banking system, and democratic control of the financial system.

The Populist movement of the 1890s represented the last serious challenge to the bankers' monopoly over the right to create the nation's money.  According to monetary historian Murray Rothbard, politics after the turn of the century became a struggle between two competing banking giants, the Morgans and the Rockefellers.  The parties sometimes changed hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings were always one of these two big-money players.

In All the Presidents' Bankers, Nomi Prins names six banking giants and associated banking families that have dominated politics for over a century. No popular third party candidates have a real chance of prevailing, because they have to compete with two entrenched parties funded by these massively powerful Wall Street banks.

Democracy Succumbs to Globalization

In an earlier era, notes Dr. Cobb, wealthy landowners were able to control democracies by restricting government participation to the propertied class. When those restrictions were removed, big money controlled elections by other means:

First, running for office became expensive, so that those who seek office require wealthy sponsors to whom they are then beholden.  Second, the great majority of voters have little independent knowledge of those for whom they vote or of the issues to be dealt with.  Their judgments are, accordingly, dependent on what they learn from the mass media.  These media, in turn, are controlled by moneyed interests.

Control of the media and financial leverage over elected officials then enabled those other curbs on democracy we know today, including high barriers to ballot placement for third parties and their elimination from presidential debates, vote suppression, registration restrictions, identification laws, voter roll purges, gerrymandering, computer voting, and secrecy in government.

The final blow to democracy, says Dr. Cobb, was "globalization" – an expanding global market that overrides national interests:

[T]oday's global economy is fully transnational.  The money power is not much interested in boundaries between states and generally works to reduce their influence on markets and investments. . . . Thus transnational corporations inherently work to undermine nation states, whether they are democratic or not.

The most glaring example today is the secret twelve-country trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If it goes through, the TPP will dramatically expand the power of multinational corporations to use closed-door tribunals to challenge and supersede domestic laws, including environmental, labor, health and other protections.

Looking at Alternatives

Some critics ask whether our system of making decisions by a mass popular vote easily manipulated by the paid-for media is the most effective way of governing on behalf of the people. In an interesting Ted Talk, political scientist Eric Li makes a compelling case for the system of "meritocracy" that has been quite successful in China.

In America Beyond Capitalism, Prof. Gar Alperovitz argues that the US is simply too big to operate as a democracy at the national level. Excluding Canada and Australia, which have large empty landmasses, the United States is larger geographically than all the other advanced industrial countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) combined. He proposes what he calls "The Pluralist Commonwealth": a system anchored in the reconstruction of communities and the democratization of wealth. It involves plural forms of cooperative and common ownership beginning with decentralization and moving to higher levels of regional and national coordination when necessary. He is co-chair along with James Gustav Speth of an initiative called The Next System Project, which seeks to help open a far-ranging discussion of how to move beyond the failing traditional political-economic systems of both left and Right..

Dr. Alperovitz quotes Prof. Donald Livingston, who asked in 2002:

What value is there in continuing to prop up a union of this monstrous size? . . . [T]here are ample resources in the American federal tradition to justify states' and local communities' recalling, out of their own sovereignty, powers they have allowed the central government to usurp.

Taking Back Our Power

If governments are recalling their sovereign powers, they might start with the power to create money, which was usurped by private interests while the people were asleep at the wheel. State and local governments are not allowed to print their own currencies; but they can own banks, and all depository banks create money when they make loans, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged.

The federal government could take back the power to create the national money supply by issuing its own Treasury notes as Abraham Lincoln did. Alternatively, it could issue some very large denomination coins as authorized in the Constitution; or it could nationalize the central bank and use quantitative easing to fund infrastructure, education, job creation, and social services, responding to the needs of the people rather than the banks.

The freedom to vote carries little weight without economic freedom – the freedom to work and to have food, shelter, education, medical care and a decent retirement. President Franklin Roosevelt maintained that we need an Economic Bill of Rights. If our elected representatives were not beholden to the moneylenders, they might be able both to pass such a bill and to come up with the money to fund it.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at Listen to "It's Our Money with Ellen Brown" on