New World Order
BY AARON AND MELISSA DYKES
In Carroll Quigley’s 1966 book “Tragedy & Hope,” he discusses bluntly how our freedom will continuously dwindle throughout the remainder of the 20th century and beyond under a type of neofeudalism imposed by the burgeoning scientific dictatorship:
“Hopefully, the elements of choice and freedom may survive for the ordinary individual in that he may be free to make a choice between two opposing political groups (even if these groups have little policy choice within the parameters of policy established by the experts) and he may have the choice to switch his economic support from one large unit to another. But, in general, his freedom and choice will be controlled within very narrow alternatives by the fact that he will be numbered from birth and followed, as a number, through his educational training, his required military or other public service, his tax contributions, his health and medical requirements, and his final retirement and death benefits.”
When we first read this statement, besides the oily revulsion we felt at how true his future predictions turned out to be, we couldn’t believe how accurate he was right down to our social security numbers.
But wait… was what Quigley meant by “numbered from birth” and followed “as a number” specifically referring to our SSN?
If you were not otherwise aware, there is another number assigned to each baby born in the U.S. under a separate program that came about sometime in 1948 (not too long after the National Security Act was passed). It was known at the time as the “Uniform Birth Numbering System”. It’s not a number you are openly informed about as a parent filling out a birth certificate for your baby, a certificate you are told is just “for the record”.
In fact, the most in-depth information we could find on the Uniform Birth Numbering System came from an interesting source… the March 1951 edition of Eugenical News (Vol. 36, No. 1), published by the American Eugenics Society.
Here’s the editor’s note:
“Some advocates of family eugenics who have had experience in tracing pedigrees of registered animals and also know the difficulties in trying to trace many relationships in human genealogy see in the uniform birth numbering system described below some ideas which may be interesting in the future to those who want to know more about their family lines… The suggestion of eugenic use of uniform birth registration is supplementary to the uses indicated in the third paragraph of the letter printed below.”
The third paragraph:
“The principal innovation introduced by the uniform numbering system is the fact that each certificate will have a unique number which cannot be duplicated until one hundred years have passed [note: the year 2051]. This makes the birth certificate number a potential identity number, a positive name, which may some day make it usable not only in birth record files but in all other file and record systems which keep track of persons, their rights or their documents.”
Note, the social security number had already been around at this point since 1936.
The article goes on to say, “the possibility of its use to simplify all sorts of identification problems is very interesting to all sorts of people…”
Very interesting, indeed.
The Uniform Birth Number is made up of 11 digits in three groups, a lot like the social security number: 000 – 00 – 000000. Each state has its own three digit “birth number area code” which comprises the first number; the middle section is the last two digits of the year the person is born; and the last portion is “a simple serial number” we all receive when our birth certificate is issued in relation to the year and place we are born.
The article discusses linking this number to our birth, death, marriage and/or divorce and for its invaluable use in the future in tabulating statistics for those in the fields of health, welfare, and population. The author, Herbert P. Dunning, writing from the National Office of Vital Statistics, Public Health Service, Federal Security Agency, laments that it will be awhile before the numbers will become really useful in these fields, since it will be awhile before a large enough portion of the population is assigned their birth number. He also notes, “It may be longer still before the individual citizen finds reason to inform himself of his birth number and use it in other records.”
Hm. Have you ever found a reason to inform yourself of your “birth number”?
We didn’t, until today.
Dunning ends the article by saying he hopes it answers the questions of the person with whom he corresponded at the American Eugenics Society, and he mentions that, “So few citizens have taken the trouble to inquire about the plan that we have not yet had reason to prepare any informational leaflets on the subject.”
How would anyone back in the late ’40s even have heard about “the plan” enough to inquire about it in the first place? It doesn’t seem like something the government was very forthcoming about. Turns out, they still aren’t.
That was 64 years ago and there still aren’t any informational leaflets on the subject that we can find. An Internet search for “Uniform Birth Numbering System” yields very little on the topic. A 1952 issue of “The Rotarian” mentions briefly that the whole system actually went into full swing January 1, 1949.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a page for its Program Operations Manual System (POMS) that includes the birth area codes chart and explains that state registrars use this number when issuing birth certificates. The birth number is double checked when issuing social security cards. The site doesn’t expand any further on other possible government uses for the birth number.
Again, according to the agency’s official webpage on the history of social security numbers, “The best we can say with certainty is that the first SSN was issued sometime in mid-November 1936.” (The best they can say with certainty? Sounds pretty sloppy…)
That means the Uniform Birth Numbering System, while obviously used in conjunction with SSNs later as an afterthought, was not required for someone to receive one because SSNs were around for well over a decade before the birth number ever existed.
So why exactly are we assigned two different identification numbers by the federal government?
Note that most hospitals these days absolutely will not allow new parents to leave the hospital with their babies without filling out a birth certificate form first.
SSNs, however, can be put off a bit until it’s required on one form or another sometime down the line.
It has been suggested this birth number is actually traded on the stock exchange…. that our birth certificates are a contract that creates a fictitious legal entity otherwise known as our strawmen (and women) for the government… that we really are slaves to the central bankers. (You can find out more about your strawman at the aptly named site yourstrawman.com.)
But others have reported that a federal DNA database is quietly being kept on all Americans born (and has been for decades now) without their express permission, a system we get added to when our blood is taken at birth during the “routine” newborn screening examination hospitals give all newborn babies.
During this exam, the baby’s heel is pricked and the blood droplets are placed on a special card that is sent to a state government lab for testing. Parents are told this is being done to detect rare, life-threatening genetic disorders (if they are even explicitly told it is being done at all). The government authorizes millions of dollars to states for these screening programs (current legislation has authorized $20 million through 2019).
This screening is mandatory in 48 states (meaning parental permission is not required). As U.S. News reported, “While some states allow parents to opt out of government storage and use, this is not parental consent. It’s dissent. It gives government first dibs to the baby’s DNA. Consent requires a form with a signature before the sample can be stored or used for research. Surrounded by the ‘fog’ of a birth, most parents won’t opt out because they don’t even know their child’s DNA has been stored.” [emphasis added]
As a parent, you aren’t asked for your consent before this sample is drawn. You can dissent, meaning after it is drawn you can opt out of the storage and use of your baby’s blood that has already been drawn by government mandate. You apparently aren’t allowed to opt out from the collecting and screening process itself.
One’s birth (serial) number would certainly help with identification for a DNA database system like that, now wouldn’t it?
(Cue that episode of The X-Files where Mulder and Scully come across a mine shaft lined with hundreds of filing cabinets filled with a secret file on every American which apparently started early in the Cold War and which held a DNA sample taken from everyone without their knowledge during routine vaccinations…)
So in case you weren’t sure, you absolutely are numbered directly from birth just as Quigley said we all are (and it isn’t just by your social security number).
We have been forced onto a collectivist system under the banner of a scientific dictatorship that numbers, tracks, and traces us from the moment we are born in what we are still somehow told (sold?) is the land of the “free”.
And quite clearly the eugenicists of the day were pretty darn excited about all of the “potentials” of the new Uniform Birth Numbering System.
By the way, did you know that when the Eugenics Record Office was officially shut down, it wasn’t entirely closed?
No, they just changed the name… to the Genetics Record Office.
The Rutherford Institute
By John W. Whitehead
“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk: culture-death is a clear possibility.”—Author Neil Postman
Caught up in the spectacle of the forthcoming 2016 presidential elections, Americans (never very good when it comes to long-term memory) have not only largely forgotten last year’s hullabaloo over militarized police, police shootings of unarmed citizens, asset forfeiture schemes, and government surveillance but are also generally foggy about everything that has happened since.
Then again, so much is happening on a daily basis that it’s understandable if the average American has a hard time keeping up with and remembering all of the “events,” manufactured or otherwise, which occur like clockwork and keep us distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from reality while the government continues to amass more power and authority over the citizenry.
In fact, when we’re being bombarded with wall-to-wall news coverage and news cycles that change every few days, it’s difficult to stay focused on one thing—namely, holding the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law—and the powers-that-be understand this. As investigative journalist Mike Adams points out:
This psychological bombardment is waged primarily via the mainstream media which assaults the viewer by the hour with images of violence, war, emotions and conflict. Because the human nervous system is hard wired to focus on immediate threats accompanied by depictions of violence, mainstream media viewers have their attention and mental resources funneled into the never-ending ‘crisis of the NOW’ from which they can never have the mental breathing room to apply logic, reason or historical context.
Consider if you will the regularly scheduled trivia and/or distractions in the past year alone that have kept us tuned into the various breaking news headlines and entertainment spectacles and tuned out to the government’s steady encroachments on our freedoms:
Americans were riveted when the Republican presidential contenders went head-to-head for the second time in a three-hour debate that put Carly Fiorina in a favored position behind Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton presented the softer side of her campaign image during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; scientists announced the discovery of what they believed to be a new pre-human species, Homo naledi, that existed 2.8 million years ago; an 8.3 magnitude earthquake hit Chile; massive wildfires burned through 73,000 acres in California; a district court judge reversed NFL player Tom Brady’s four-game suspension; tennis superstar Serena Williams lost her chance at a calendar grand slam; and President Obama and Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg tweeted their support for a Texas student arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school.
That was preceded by the first round of the Republican presidential debates; an immigration crisis in Europe; the relaxing of Cuba-U.S. relations; the first two women soldiers graduating from Army Ranger course; and three Americans being hailed as heroes for thwarting a train attack in France. Before that, there was the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse; shootings at a military recruiting center in Tennessee and a movie theater in Louisiana; the Boy Scouts’ decision to end its ban on gay adult leaders; the first images sent by the New Horizons spacecraft of Pluto; and the victory over Japan of the U.S. in the Women’s World Cup soccer finals.
No less traumatic and distracting were the preceding months’ newsworthy events, which included a shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church; the trial and sentencing of Boston Marathon bomber suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of same-sex marriage, Obamacare, lethal injection drugs and government censorship of Confederate flag license plates; and an Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia that left more than 200 injured and eight dead.
Also included in the mix of distressing news coverage was the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody and the subsequent riots in Baltimore and city-wide lockdown; the damning report by the Dept. of Justice into discriminatory and abusive practices by the Ferguson police department; the ongoing saga of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state; the apparently deliberate crash by a copilot of a German jetliner in the French Alps, killing all 150 passengers and crew; the New England Patriots’ fourth Super Bowl win; a measles outbreak in Disneyland; the escalating tensions between New York police and Mayor Bill de Blasio over his seeming support for anti-police protesters; and a terror attack at the Paris office of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Rounding out the year’s worth of headline-worthy new stories were protests over grand jury refusals to charge police for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown; the disappearance of an AirAsia flight over the Java Sea; an Ebola outbreak that results in several victims being transported to the U.S. for treatment; reports of domestic violence among NFL players; a security breach at the White House in which a man managed to jump the fence, cross the lawn and enter the main residence; and the reported beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS.
That doesn’t even begin to touch on the spate of entertainment news that tends to win the battle for Americans’ attention: Bruce Jenner’s transgender transformation to Caitlyn Jenner; the death of Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown; Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” nude derriere photo; sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby; the suicide of Robin Williams; the cancellation of the comedy The Interview in movie theaters after alleged terror hack threats; the wedding of George Clooney to Amal Alamuddin; the wedding of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt; the ALS ice bucket challenge; and the birth of a baby girl to Prince William and Kate.
As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, these sleight-of-hand distractions, diversions and news spectacles are how the corporate elite controls a population by entrapping them in the “crisis of the NOW,” either inadvertently or intentionally, advancing their agenda without much opposition from the citizenry.
Professor Jacques Ellul studied this phenomenon of overwhelming news, short memories and the use of propaganda to advance hidden agendas. “One thought drives away another; old facts are chased by new ones,” wrote Ellul.
“Under these conditions there can be no thought. And, in fact, modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but he does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man’s capacity to forget is unlimited. This is one of the most important and useful points for the propagandists, who can always be sure that a particular propaganda theme, statement, or event will be forgotten within a few weeks.”
But what exactly has the government (aided and abetted by the mainstream media) been doing while we’ve been so cooperatively fixated on whatever current sensation happens to be monopolizing the so-called “news” shows?
If properly disclosed, consistently reported on and properly digested by the citizenry, the sheer volume of the government’s activities, which undermine the Constitution and in many instances are outright illegal, would inevitably give rise to a sea change in how business is conducted in our seats of power.
Surely Americans would be concerned about the Obama administration’s plans to use behavioral science tactics to “nudge” citizens to comply with the government’s public policy and program initiatives? There would be no end to the uproar if Americans understood the ramifications of the government’s plan to train non-medical personnel—teachers, counselors and other lay people—in “mental first aid” in order to train them to screen, identify and report individuals suspected of suffering from mental illness. The problem, of course, arises when these very same mental health screeners misdiagnose opinions or behavior involving lawful First Amendment activities as a mental illness, resulting in involuntary detentions in psychiatric wards for the unfortunate victims.
Parents would be livid if they had any inkling about the school-to-prison pipeline, namely, how the public schools are being transformed from institutions of learning to prison-like factories, complete with armed police and surveillance cameras, aimed at churning out compliant test-takers rather than independent-minded citizens. And once those same young people reach college, they will be indoctrinated into believing that they have a “right” to be free from acts and expressions of intolerance with which they might disagree.
Concerned citizens should be up in arms over the government’s end-run tactics to avoid abiding by the rule of law, whether by outsourcing illegal surveillance activities to defense contractors, outsourcing inhumane torture to foreign countries, causing American citizens to disappear into secret interrogation facilities, or establishing policies that would allow the military to indefinitely detain any citizen—including journalists—considered a belligerent or enemy.
And one would hope American citizens would be incensed about being treated like prisoners in an electronic concentration camp, their every movement monitored, tracked and recorded by a growing government surveillance network that runs the gamut from traffic cameras and police body cameras to facial recognition software. Or outraged that we will be forced to fund a $93 billion drone industry that will be used to spy on our movements and activities, not to mention the fact that private prisons are getting rich (on our taxpayer dollars) by locking up infants, toddlers, children and pregnant women?
Unfortunately, while 71% of American voters are “dissatisfied” with the way things are going in the United States, that discontent has yet to bring about any significant changes in the government, nor has it caused the citizenry to get any more involved in their government beyond the ritualistic election day vote.
Professor Morris Berman suggests that the problems plaguing us as a nation—particularly as they relate to the government—have less to do with our inattention to corruption than our sanctioning, tacit or not, of such activities. “It seems to me,” writes Berman, “that the people do get the government they deserve, and even beyond that, the government who they are, so to speak.”
In other words, if we end up with a militarized police state, it will largely be because we welcomed it with open arms. In fact, according to a recent poll, almost a third of Americans would support a military coup “to take control from a civilian government which is beginning to violate the constitution.”
So where does that leave us?
As legendary television journalist Edward R. Murrow warned, “Unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.”
The Common Sense Show
by Dave Hodges
In my work as a writer and a broadcaster who does not follow the script of Clear Channel Communications or MSNBC, I know all too well that the potential dangers that I face in my attempts to reveal the truth about the lawlessness and abject criminality of so many in power.
At the heart of my dilemma as a parent, is how do I teach my son to develop a fundamental respect for many of our political and corporate leaders who have no moral compass?
Even If You Have Not Kept Up,Times Have Changed
There was a time that a child could produce a mediocre track record in high school, not go to college, but were able to work in a factory or a department store and climb the ranks and subsequently live a life of wonderful opportunities.
With 86% of our 1968 based manufacturing gone to overseas markets, those days of second chance opportunities are gone forever.
When the Blinders Come Off
My soon-to-15 year old son is showing signs of asking questions befitting an adult perspective of our present political and economic situation. I am not bashful about identifying the misdeeds of our government when I am writing or broadcasting. Also, I know that I have the intellectual capacity to explain to my son how bad things have become in terms he can understand. However, I have found that I am lacking the skill and knowledge to explain to my son just how bad things are without taking away his hope for the future.
I am running out of time to begin to formulate a dialogue with my son as I know that I will have to say something and say it very soon. Just the other day, my son made fun of Obama and his nation of birth, Kenya. As my readers and listeners will tell you, I don’t pursue the “birther issue” a s a point of emphasis in my advocacy. Yet, my son is keenly aware of this issue. Last night as we were driving home from play that we attended, my son offhandedly said “the rich control Obama and he controls us like a dictator”. In other words, he is getting his education about the New World Order from sources from “OTP” (i.e. other than parents). I asked him where he got that information and he said “some of the kids at school say Obama is a member of Illuminati and it is all over Youtube”. Life was so much easier when I controlled most of his access to information. I knew that this day would come, but I am finding that I am not prepared with ready made answers about how the world really works. Most adults don’t know how the world works.
Although my son has a growing awareness of how pervasive political corruption is, he does not talk about how he and his contemporaries are facing a world of declining professional opportunities.
Gaps In My Son’s Knowledge
HOW DO PEOPLE GET WEALTHY IN TODAY’S AMERICA? A total of 90% inherited their money.
Back in the year 2000, 80% of men in their late 20’s had a full-time job. Today, only 65 percent do. Sorry, my son, no silver spoon here. He will have to earn what he gets in a land of increasingly limited opportunities.
There is one factoid that I can fully embrace:
College graduates make four times more, in the course of their lifetime, as do non-college graduates.
Yet, the price of a college education is rising 8 times faster than the cost of living. The ship of economic hope started sailing toward the horizon for many of our children nearly a generation ago when we allowed our corporate controlled Congress to pass the job and wage killing free trade agreements of NAFTA and CAFTA.
RED, WHITE AND SCREWED
Figures may lie and liars may figure, however, there are some numbers that cannot be ignored and they serve to underscore the increasing sense of hopelessness that is creeping across the country.
During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.
At this point about half of all recent college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.
The number of Americans in the 16 to 29 year old age bracket with a job declined by 18 percent between 2000 and 2010.
Incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation since the year 2000.
In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger. Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
In 2011, SAT scores for young men were the worst that they had been in 40 years.
Incredibly, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.
According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of student loan debt has risen by 275 percent since 2003.
The total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 11 percent of all student loans are at least 90 days delinquent.
The student loan default rate in the United States has nearly doubled since 2005.
One survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in college.
In the United States today, there are more than 100,000 janitors that have college degrees.
In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
Today, an all-time low 44.2 percent of all Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married.
According to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 year old age bracket lived with their parents during 2012.
One poll discovered that 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.
Young men are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as young women the same age are.
Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents according to Time Magazine.
Over 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percent of the U.S. population.
And we haven’t even talked about the NDAA, REX 84, PDD 54, the John Warner Defense Bill, etc.
One does not have to believe in any conspiracy theories to know that we have left our children a pile of excrement to deal with.
The Broken Promise for Our Children’s Future
Children need to be worried about their piano lessons, their sports teams, their first crush, their schooling, they do not need to be burdened with dealing with geopolitical issues stemming from the bankers trying to rape, pillage and run this planet into the ground. Yet, our children’s lives are increasingly being dominated by this march towards economic and political totalitarianism.
If you are awake as to what is going on and you have children, you will one day be forced to answer the questions that your children ask about the world that they live in. And for the life of me, I am not 100% certain on how to tell my child how to survive of diminishing opportunities in the New World Order. Do you? The only thing I can think of to tell my son is contained in the following:
STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR YOUR LACK OF PERFORMANCE. TURN OFF THE TV AND VIDEO GAMES OFF. TRY TO BE NUMBER ONE IN ALL OF YOUR CLASSES. WORK HARDER THAN THE PERSON ON EITHER SIDE OF YOU. DON’T EMBRACE PERVERSION DESPITE WHAT THE MEDIA TELLS YOU IS RIGHT AND WRONG. FOLLOW YOUR PASSION! THERE WILL STILL BE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE, BECOME ONE OF THEM AND STOP EXPECTING THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE CARE OF YOU…. FINALLY, DO WHAT GOD COMMANDS YOU TO DO!
New Eastern Outlook
by F. William Engdahl
By the day it’s becoming clearer that what I have recently been saying in my writings is coming to be. The OPEC oil-producing states of the Middle East, including Iran, through the skillful mediation of Russia, are carefully laying the foundations for a truly new world order. The first step in testing this will be if they collectively succeed in eliminating the threat to Syria of the Islamic State, and prepare the basis for serious, non-manipulated elections there.
For much of my adult life I have been fascinated by the enormous energy inside our Earth and how in fact the Earth moves as almost a living organism. Most fascinating I find is tectonic motion and their connection to earthquakes and volcanoes. Not the human destruction they sometimes cause but the sheer energy. Tectonic motion involves the huge plates that our Earth is divided into which are in constant micro-motion. At critical junctures which Earth science or geophysics has yet to be able to predict far ahead, the motion of those tectonic plates cause earthquakes and determine where earthquakes will occur.
In the political, more accurately geo-political sphere, we are now witnessing huge tectonic motion, and destructive it is not. It involves a new attractive force drawing the Middle East OPEC countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran and other Arab OPEC countries, into what will soon become obvious as a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation. It transcends the huge religious divides today between Sunni Wahhabism, Sufi, Shi’ism, Orthodox Christianity.
That tectonic motion will soon cause a political earthquake that well might save the planet from extinction by the endless wars the Pentagon and their string pullers on Wall Street and the military industrial complex and the loveless oligarchs who own them seem to have as their only strategy today.
Russia in OPEC?
In an interview with the London Financial Times, Russia’s most important oilman, Igor Sechin, CEO of the state-owned Rosneft, confirmed rumors that Saudi Arabia’s monarchy is seeking a formal market-share agreement with Russia, even going so far as offering Russia membership in OPEC, to stabilize world oil markets. In the interview, Sechin, considered one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, confirmed the Saudi offer. The Financial Times (FT) is an influential media owned until this past July by the Pearson Group an asset tied to the Rothschild family who historically also dominate Royal Dutch Shell.
The London paper chose to emphasize Sechin’s rejection of the Saudi offer. However, most instructive is to read between the lines of what he said. He told a Singapore commodities conference organized by the FT, “It needs to be recognised that Opec’s ‘golden age’ in the oil market has been lost. They fail to observe their own quotas [for Opec oil output]. If quotas had been observed, global oil markets would have been rebalanced by now.”
Sechin well knows the background to the Saudi oil price war and the fact it was triggered by a meeting between US State Department’s John Kerry and the late Saudi King Abdullah in the desert Kingdom in September 2014, where Kerry reportedly urged the Saudis to crash oil prices. For Kerry the aim was to put unbearable pressure on Russia, then hit by US and EU financial sanctions. For the Saudis, it was a golden opportunity to eliminate the biggest disturbing factor in the OPEC domination of world oil markets–the booming production of US unconventional shale oil that had made the USA the world’s largest oil producer in 2014.
Ironically, as Sechin told the FT, the US-Saudi deal and the US financial sanctions have backfired on the US strategists. The Russian ruble lost more than 50% of its dollar value by January 2015. Oil prices similarly fell from $103 a barrel in September 2014 to less than $50 today. But Russian oil production costs are calculated in rubles, not dollars. So, as Sechin states, the dollar cost of Rosneft oil production has dropped dramatically today from $5 a barrel before the sanctions to only $3 a barrel, a level similar to that of Arab OPEC producers like Saudi Arabia. Rosneft is not hurting despite sanctions. USA shale oil by contrast is unconventional and vastly more costly. Industry estimates depending on the shale field and the company, put costs of shale in a range of $60-80 a barrel just to break even. The current ongoing shakeout in the US shale industry and prospects of rising US interest rates dictate the demise of shale oil from the US for years if not decades to come as Wall Street lenders and shale company junk bond investors suffer huge losses.
Unknotting the ‘not’ knot
I would like to indulge in a brief exercise in imagining what some form of close coordination between Russia and a Saudi-led OPEC grouping would look like. I call it “unknotting the ‘not’ knot,” the knot over control of world oil flows that has held the world in a hypnosis of wars and murder, hate for too long.
First the new grouping between Russia and the Mideast oil states would have to negotiate stable market relations between themselves and their prime markets such as China and the EU. Alexander Mercouris in a very insightful piece suggests that the Sechin statement to the FT can be seen as an opening Russian negotiating position with the Saudi OPEC offer.
At the Singapore commodities conference, Rosneft’s Sechin indicated that China and Russia this year have agreed to a total of various oil deals amounting to some $500 billion over the next 20 years or $25 billion a year for Rosneft. Saudi Arabia was formerly China’s largest oil source until Russia’s Rosneft entered in a major way. That was a strategic decision for Russia as for China and not a mere market-driven one. Now, regardless what Sechin did or did not say to the FT, there is no good reason for Russia not to untie the knot of world oil to the Anglo-Americans and enter into serious negotiations with Saudi Arabia on strategic cooperation of some consequent form.
Quotas could be agreed so that Russia and Saudi Arabia and OPEC act much as the Anglo-American oil companies did in 1928 to end literal wars between the British Rothschild group behind Royal Dutch Shell and the Rockefeller Standard Oil companies for world oil market control, wars that raged across the world from Mexico to Baku, from Kuwait to Texas.
The Anglo-American oil wars were ended in a meeting at the Achnacarry Scotland castle of Royal Dutch Shell’s Sir Henry Deterding in 1927. The American and British oil companies formally agreed to a “ceasefire” which resulted in the creation of the enormously powerful Anglo-American oil cartel, later dubbed the ‘Seven Sisters.’ The peace agreement was formalized in 1927, at Achnacarry, the Scottish castle of Shell’s Sir Henri Deterding. John Cadman, representing the British government’s Anglo-Persian Oil Co. (British Petroleum), and Walter Teagle, president of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil of New Jersey (Exxon), gathered under the cover of a grouse shoot to create the most powerful economic cartel in modern history. The Seven Sisters were effectively joined at the hip, acting in the world as one at least until 1945.
Their secret pact was formalized as the ‘As Is’ agreement of 1928, or the Achnacarry Agreement. British and American oil majors agreed to accept the existing market divisions and shares, to set a secret world cartel price, and to end the destructive competition and price wars in what became the Red Line Agreement. Britain forced a weakened France to agree in 1927 to let the Americans into the Middle East and revise the secret wartime Sykes-Picot accords to reﬂect that. A Red Line was drawn from the Dardanelles down through Palestine, to Yemen and up through the Persian Gulf.
The Anglo-American Red Line Agreement has led to oil wars and world wars since 1928
The history of the past approximately 88 years since that secret Anglo-American oil cartel agreement is not understandable if that fateful Achnacarry Red Line Agreement and its ensuing political corollaries are not understood.
Now what is very likely to emerge in the current extraordinary situation is a negotiated arrangement between Putin’s Russia and the Saudi-led OPEC oil producers of the Middle East, including Iran, to devise a new ordering of world energy supply, one independent of the near century of Anglo-American domination. The benefits of such a new world ordering are simply too great for all involved parties to ignore.
Whether or not Igor Sechin is ready to think in such terms, it is abundantly clear by his diplomacy that President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are. Not that Sechin is incapable, but the recent sacking of Vladimir Yakunin, chief executive officer of OAO Russian Railways shows that Putin is prepared to move the global situation even if it is not to the liking of his closest old circle of friends, if he deems it for a greater good of Russia.
What would be in it for Russia? Huge benefits. It would secure the world’s largest pool of hydrocarbons–oil and gas–by the nations of the contiguous land mass that British “father” of geopolitics, Sir Halford Mackinder referred to as the “World island”–Russia, China, Indian subcotinent, South Asia, and now radiating in an arc deep into the entire Middle East oil belt and on into Egypt in North Africa. It would provide Russia safe markets outside the Anglo-American current war zone.
Russia would be in an entirely new negotiating position vis-a-vis German and EU economic sanctions. It would also transform the political map of the so-called American Century that emerged out of the war in 1945 with Truman’s decision to drom the atomic bombs on Japan.
In such an accord with Russia, the oil producing countries of the Middle East would join as central parties to the unfolding economic boom that is emerging out of the China One Belt, One Road new Economic Silk Road rail and sea port infrastructure project.
That project, to recall, is already well underway, and Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union states have recently agreed with China to integrate the rail route development of both. The development of huge new sea ports in Myanmar and other sites around Eurasia and the Indian Ocean will directly link the Gulf countries to that Eurasian booming new economic market and beyond.
The inclusion of Iran, a geopolitical essential for all parties, as well as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab OPEC states, along with Egypt, together in an alliance with the negotiated military support of the one state in the world today able to challenge the USA, namely, Russia, would end more than a century of Anglo-American colonial wars and destruction in the region, the most recent of which is the Washington-CIA-instigated series of destructive Color Revolutions dubbed the “Arab Spring.”
Resolution of the US-UK-instigated Syrian war and their unleashing of the so-called IS on the world–lest we forget, that war and the role of the terror of the IS is the source of the ongoing refugee crisis that is destabilizing all Europe– such a peaceful resolution, absent the demands of Washington that President Assad go into exile, or that US-sponsored terrorist groups like al-Nusra and the Muslim Brotherhood take power, would be the first sign of this cooperation between Russia and the influential oil states of the Middle East. It would deal a devastating blow to the Washington warhawks.
As this new world ordering, including Saudi-led Arab OPEC states, Russia, China and all Eurasia becomes more likely by the day, Secretary John Kerry, CIA chief John Brennan, as well as incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps General Joseph Francis “Fighting Joe” Dunford, an outspoken Russophobe, along with the various neo-con Washington think-tanks, Defense Secretary and Democratic Party neo-con Ash (as in ashes of war) Carter, Susan Rice, war-mongering UN Ambassador Samantha Power, Vice President Joe Biden (possibly the next US President), the entire USA military industrial complex, the Wall Street money financing it, and families such as Rockefeller, Bush, Clinton, McCain, Gates, Buffett—all these poor unhappy people are beginning to feel suddenly naked, standing in the Arctic cold frozen waters without even a paddle or an ice-breaker to navigate.
I can empathize with their feeling, but I can’t feel sorry for them in any way. Their time has gone for all the good they have managed not to do. It’s past time for real American citizens to retake their country. After all, aren’t we the majority? We just forgot we can also be good. We should leave the war matrix behind.
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”.
New Eastern Outlook
by F. William Engdahl
Secretary John Kerry and friends have managed what can only be called a brilliant double suicide. The September 2014 deal with Saudi Arabia to crash oil prices, then at $103 a barrel for US WTI grade crude oil, not only has managed to bring the US shale oil industry—Washington’s new strategic card allowing the US to essentially abandon her Saudi and Gulf Arab allies–to the brink of bankruptcy and collapse. The oil price collapse, ironically, also gave Russian oil beautiful profits and forced the companies to turn east for far larger and more lucrative new markets. Team Russia-Saudi Arabia: 2 to 0 for Team USA-Canada.
At the present rate of developments, with oil prices frantically being pushed up by derivative trades only to crash back the next day, today hovering at $47 a barrel for the benchmark US West Texas Intermediate or WTI, I would estimate that a major share of USA shale companies will be forced to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy before year-end or into the first quarter of 2016.
By now the story is well-reported. In September 2014 US Secretary of State John Kerry made a trip to Saudi Arabia to meet the dying King Abdullah, his Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and others. Kerry was armed with a proposal believed to have generated from one of the many Washington policy think-tanks. He proposed to the King that the world’s largest oil producer crash the world oil price. For Kerry it was a seemingly brilliant way to deal a devastating blow to Russia’s oil-reliant economy and the state budget revenues, heavily dependent on oil and gas.
For neo-cons such as Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary responsible for waging war on Russia, it was orgasmic. Only one problem. It’s backfired colossally.
There is a reason they call it “Foggy Bottom” around the State Department headquarters on the Potomac River in northwest Washington. Now, though, they might have to rename the area “Foggy Brains” for all the recent foolish and poorly thought-through acts of war, financial as well as military, recently being generated there from war on Libya to Egypt to Syria to Ukraine and now Russia and soon China.
By the early days of January 2015, people in Washington as well as those in the know in Wall Street banks which had lent billions to US shale oil companies, slowly realized they were facing a self-inflicted catastrophe with the Saudi strategy. They risked economic suicide in their own energy industry.
For al-Naimi and the Saudis, their prime goal was not to bankrupt Russia, but rather to eliminate the growing and destabilizing competition emerging from the rapidly growing US oil production from shale rock. Repeatedly, though they managed to get prices into the $40-50 range, the Saudis have refused to cut back production to bring prices up, even though their budget is feeling the cuts.
There seem to be two reasons for their tenacity.
First, they have ample dollar reserves to last it out until their shale goal is reached. At year-end 2014, SAMA, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, its central bank, had net foreign assets worth $733 billion. As leading Saudis have made clear, they aim to wipe out their main “disturbing” new shale competitor in North Dakota and Texas and perhaps also in the Athabasca Canada tar oil region which is now pumping some 2 million barrels a day of oil.
Second, the Saudis have made crystal clear to Obama and Washington that they feel profoundly betrayed by their long-standing ally, the United States, through the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. When a Bedouin feels betrayed, he doesn’t forget easily.
Now, for Kerry, Nuland and friends, the US faces the worst outcome from their attempt to repeat their 1986 Saudi oil price collapse. Shale companies are bleeding, desperately pumping shale oil production to the maximum, to raise enough cash to meet debt service, making the oversupply worse. At the same time there is what can only be termed a strategic geopolitical shift by the Saudis away from Washington towards Putin’s Russia.
During the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, Saudi Prince Salman, son of the new King, with a large delegation of Saudi businessmen, met with Russian President Putin to initially discuss Russian construction of nuclear power plants in the desert Kingdom as well as purchase of billions of dollars of advanced Russian high-tech military equipment. Until now the US, and, to an extent, British arms companies have been the ones arming the Kingdom. It is a huge market and the turn by the Saudis to talks with Moscow did not go unnoticed in Washington. “That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it Victoria?” we can imagine a befuddled John Kerry asking Nuland.
Fake recovery collapses
During April-July 15 this year, Wall Street hype about a price recovery combined with obvious derivative manipulations brought the price for WTI slowly upwards to above $60 a barrel from a low some months earlier of $38. All mainstream financial market pundits such as CNBC sighed relief that the crisis was over.
A report by oil market analysts at Morgan Stanley in July dashed the nascent recovery in oil prices. The report stated that, rather than keeping output of OPEC oil flat at a high level as the market had assumed, Saudi Arabia and other Arab OPEC suppliers had increased the flow of oil by 1.5 million barrels a day since January, and that into an already saturated global market creating a glut of unused oil of at least 800,000 barrels/day. In short, Saudi Arabia is going for the kill of the US shale revolution in every sense.
On that report, with no sign of Saudi let up, the market began a new plunge below $40 by mid-August. At that dangerous point a strange and unwarranted brief rally took place based again on Wall Street hype. Oil briefly went to $48 at end of August before dropping back to $44, trend down.
Unconventionally expensive oil
US shale oil and Canadian tar sands oil are termed “unconventional” because they require different, more costly technologies to extract than ordinary oil. They are also unconventionally expensive.
So long as Fed interest rates were at near zero % and oil prices above $100 a barrel for several years until mid-2014, costly shale oil was a profit bonanza, or at least seemed to be. When oil passed below $60 late last year, cold sweat broke out across the shale oil patches of America. Saudi oil by comparison can be produced in some fields at a cost of around $2 a barrel. According to calculations by Gerald Celente, head of Trends Research Institute, fully half of all US shale oil fields, “are not economically feasible [below] $45 a barrel.”
Celente added that Canada’s huge and very costly oil tar sands projects are in crisis as well: “Canada is in a recession. Their currency has fallen to 2004 levels. Prices are collapsing. … You’re seeing mergers and acquisitions.”
Tar sands are a viscous form of bitumen that has to be heated with considerable gas energy, a major added cost, to turn it into a useable liquid that in any way resembles oil. It is also an ecological catastrophe that is destroying huge parts of Alberta in Canada and the source of the oil for the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline to the US.
Russia’s Sanctions Boon
But the ill-conceived Washington sanctions have yielded another unexpected consequence. The US Treasury’s aptly-named Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, headed by Under-Secretary David S. Cohen, announced new sanctions against Russia’s energy giants Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftgas and Rosneft in September, 2014 the day after Kerry’s Saudi talks.
The new sanctions were intended to cripple the source for some 45% of the Russian state budget. As well, other sanctions created a free-fall in the ruble against the dollar going into late December 2014. The ruble went from 37 to the US dollar in September to 65 by January 2015. Good ‘ol Victoria Nuland even publicly hailed Cohen’s new financial warfare unit and was clearly salivating at the prospect of bankrupting her nemesis, “Evil Knievel” Vladimir Putin, and his oil company cronies.
But, woe is them, again. Washington shot itself in their royal foot or feet. Profits at the sanctioned Russian oil companies this year are booming. Not only are Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz and Lukoil resistant to both low oil prices and Western sanctions. They also have shown astonishing revenue growth in the second quarter through end of June, the latest reporting period.
According to a study by the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper, the answer is not so mysterious. Costs of extracting oil and gas in Russia for the Russian companies are based on the ruble, which devalues due to falling oil prices, making them less expensive. On the other hand, the Russian oil companies’ products are sold in the world market for dollars, not rubles, making their profit margins higher, much higher.
In recent years financial markets have traded derivative contracts in which Russia is considered an “oil economy.” Wall Street and other traders automatically devalue the ruble in futures markets every time oil prices worldwide fall. So as oil went into free-fall in dollars after the Kerry-Abdullah pow-wow in September, the ruble went south along with it.
Oil and gas production in Russia are inexpensive from a global perspective, not only because of the ruble’s low value but also because the country already has in place a longstanding energy infrastructure from Soviet times. Therefore, there is not much need to engage in the cost-consuming development of new infrastructure.
Russia’s ‘Asia Pivot’
And now, because of those foolish Washington sanctions aimed at Russian energy companies, Russia has furthermore made the strategic decision to turn east for its future economic survival in a way as never in its history. This is opening huge new energy markets for both Russian oil and gas giants.
In May and again in October 2014 amid the US economic sanctions, Russia’s Gazprom signed two mammoth deals with China’s CNPC to construct gas pipelines into China, an eastern route called Power of Siberia and a western called Power of Siberia-2. They would supply China with Russian gas for some 30 years.
Now, on September 3 in Beijing, on the occasion of celebrations of the 70th anniversary of China’s victory over Japan in 1945, Putin was present with the CEO of Gazprom Alexey Miller. They signed a third major gas deal with China. Russia’s Gazprom and CNPC of China have signed a memorandum on a third project as part of their strategic cooperation over the next five years. Gas from Russia’s Far East Sakhalin will be delivered to China. Construction on pipelines for the first two Power of Siberia lines is already well underway.
At the same occasion in Beijing, Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, the largest publicly-traded oil company, advanced its deal to acquire a 30 percent stake in China’s ChemChina Petrochemical (CCPC) and to increase oil supplies to Chinese petrochemical plants to four million tons a year, said Igor Sechin. Sechin, Rosneft’s CEO, is another target of Victoria Nuland and the US Treasury’s Office of Terrorism sanctions. Since sanctions began on the company, Rosneft has signed agreements with China worth a potential $30 billion. So much for that idea, Ms Nuland.
On September 4 in the Russian far-east city of Vladivistock, President Putin hosted the First Eastern Economic Forum the day after his talks in Beijing with China’s President Xi Jinping. There Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stated that Russia’s oil and gas export to the Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase 2.5-3 times by 2035, and the country’s oil export to the region will grow 3.5 times by 2020. Novak told the meeting, “Russian energy policy objectives in the eastern direction include the diversification of energy exports. The increase of energy export in the eastern direction 2.5-3 times by 2035 and the increase of the share of the Asia-Pacific region in the total export of fuel and energy from Russia to a level of 36-39 percent are major steps in that direction.” He added,”In the coming five years oil deliveries from Russia to the Asia-Pacific region could go up to account for 28-30 percent of the total export of Russian oil.”
This is Kerry’s foolish double assisted suicide. His sly deal with the Saudis to crash oil prices to weaken Russia is destroying the trump card that had briefly made the USA world’s leading oil producer with its booming production of oil from shale rocks. That in turn is creating major new economic crises in the one real economic growth part of the US economy since the crisis of 2007.
At the same time, the US financial warfare and currency attacks on the ruble are yielding record profits to sanctioned Russian energy giants who in turn have made a massive “Asia Pivot” of their own, one that will make a laughing stock of Obama and Hillary Clinton’s military anti-China Asia Pivot. The ’Russian Pivot to the East’ is a peaceful strategy for economic development, together with China, development of the vast Eurasian land mass and of Asia that will transform the economic map of the entire world. We might want to think, using the title of the great Russian novel of Leo Tolstoy, which is better: War or Peace? I know which I prefer.
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”.
Of Two Minds
by Charles Hugh Smith
When production does finally collapse, that will set up the “nobody saw this coming” ramp in the price of oil.
In May 2008 I proposed the Oil “Head-Fake” Scenario in which global recession pushes oil demand down as oil exporters pump their maximum production in a futile attempt to fund their vast welfare states and thus retain their precarious political power.
Oil: One Last Head-Fake? (May 9, 2008)
The terrible irony of the head-fake, of course, is that the exporters’ efforts to pump more oil exacerbates the oversupply, further depressing prices. As exporters receive fewer dollars for their production, they attempt to compensate by pumping even more oil. Perniciously, this suppresses prices even more, setting up a positive feedback loop which pushes prices to the point that exporters are no longer able to fund their welfare states and Elites.
Something has to give, and that something is the existing power structure in oil exporting nations.
Another factor deepens the eventual crisis triggered by drastically lower oil revenues. The majority of exporting nations under-invest in their oil production and exploration infrastructures, essentially guaranteeing declining production once the easy oil has been extracted.
This cycle of spending the fruits of current production while starving investment for the future is part of what is known as the resource curse: nations with an abundance of resources rely on the income generated by the sale of their resources which effectively stunts the development of a diverse economy and the institutions which such a diverse economy requires as a foundation.
The net result of the resource curse is national impoverishment as the resources are depleted. Diverting the majority of the oil revenues to support welfare states and Elites dooms the oil exporters to under-investment in future production.
In other words, the decline in the price of oil does not mean oil will remain cheap for years to come; it’s a head-fake that fools the unwary into assuming the glut is The New Normal.
Here is a basic chart of the head-fake:
There are additional twists to the head-fake. I first addressed this a year ago in The Oil Head-Fake: The Illusion that Lower Oil Prices Are Positive (September 29, 2014).
There’s a number of dynamics in play, but let’s focus on three of particular interest:
1. Oil production in the U.S. has soared since 2011. yes, we can debate the financial overhang–i.e. the servicing of debts taken on to expand production–and question the longevity of the production increases.
But right here and now, this expansion of U.S. production is adding to the global supply in sufficient quantities to change the global supply-demand structure.
2. The need to keep pumping in the U.S. to service debt. Many observers reckon a whole slew of U.S. producers will go bankrupt if oil hovers around $40/barrel for long.
Perhaps, but what a lot of people miss is the costs of production are not static. A significant percentage of U.S. oil production is operated by independents–small, nimble firms that can deploy new technologies quickly and squeeze subcontractors.
What cost $100,000 in the bubble, when demand enabled contractors to charge a premium–well, nowadays, that job might only cost $50,000.
The point is that U.S. production could stay stubbornly high for a lot longer than is generally anticipated.
3. The decline in petro-dollars could push the value of the U.S. dollar (USD) higher, further pressuring oil exporters and emerging markets. When oil prices are high, oil exporters have huge surpluses of cash they need to recycle into assets. Since oil is typically traded in USD, the easy trade is to buy USD-denominated assets such as Treasury bonds.
A sharp decline in the amount of USD that needs to be recycled means the global supply of surplus USD is much lower than in eras of high oil prices. As borrowers of USD-based debt buy USD to service their loans, the shrinking supply and rising demand will push the U.S. dollar up vis a vis other currencies. This will exacerbate the declining purchasing power of emerging market currencies and make servicing the estimated $9 trillion in USD-denominated debt more burdensome.
This will further depress demand for oil, which will push prices lower. Attempts by oil exporters to maintain revenues by pumping more oil will increase supply, further increasing the global glut of oil.
Once welfare spending and subsidies of Elites collapses, the social and political stability of oil exporters becomes extremely fragile.
The leadership of oil exporters without a stash of USD to tide them over as oil prices crash would be wise to start building their bug-out island fortresses.
But eventually production will crater. It might be from depletion, or rising domestic demand within exporting nations, or a revolution that disrupts production, or the consequences of under-investment in exploration and production infrastructure.
When production does finally collapse, that will set up the nobody saw this coming ramp in the price of oil.
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave The Land of the Fleeced and the Home of the Slave
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.
The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of association.
However, the government is arresting those speaking out … and violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress.
There are also enacted laws allowing the secret service to arrest anyone protesting near the president or other designated folks (that might explain incidents like this).
Mass spying by the NSA violates our freedom of association.
The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment. The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it’s gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny. (And the U.S. is doing the same things that tyrannical governments have done for 5,000 years to crush dissent.)
For example, the following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:
- Complaining about the taste of your tap water
- Protesting anything (such as participating in the “Occupy” or “Tea Party” movements). For example, Department of Defense training manuals classify all protest as by Text-Enhance” href=”http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/the-real-meaning-of-the-1-year-anniversary-of-occupy-wall-street.html#”>“low-level terrorism”. And see this, this, this and this
- Criticizing the government’s targeting of innocent civilians with drones (although killing innocent civilians with drones is one of the main things which increases terrorism. And see this)
- Stocking up on more than 7 days of food (even though all Mormons are taught to stockpile food, and most Hawaiians store up on extra food)
- (Not having a Facebook account may soon be added)
And holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:
- Liking the Founding Fathers
- Being a Christian
- Being “anti-nuclear”
- Being “anti-abortion”
- Being “anti-Catholic”
- Being “anti-global”
And 1st Amendment rights are especially chilled when power has become so concentrated that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who should be assassinated.
Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus “contempt of cop” charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. Protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” And under the guise of “government speech,” the courts have reasoned that the government can discriminate freely against any First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum.
The 2nd Amendment states:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Gun control and gun rights advocates obviously have very different views about whether guns are a force for violence or for good.
But even a top liberal Constitutional law expert reluctantly admits that the right to own a gun is as important a Constitutional right as freedom of speech or religion:
Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.
It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.
Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.
More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.
Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.
None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that … here’s the really hard part … the by Text-Enhance” href=”http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/02/top-liberal-constitutional-law-expert-gun-ownership-is-an-individual-constitutional-right-as-important-as-freedom-of-speech-or-religion.html#”>NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.
The gun control debate – including which weapons and magazines are banned – is still in flux …
Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against SWAT team raids and government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons better suited for the battlefield than for a country founded on freedom. Police shootings of unarmed citizens continue to outrage communities, while little is really being done to demilitarize law enforcement agencies. Indeed, just recently, North Dakota became the first state to legalize law enforcement use of drones armed with weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray and Tasers.
The 3rd Amendment prohibits the government forcing people to house soldiers:
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Moreover, the military is arguably quartering “digital” troops within our homes.
With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military forces—complete with military weapons, assault vehicles, etc.—it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most—a standing army on American soil. Moreover, as a result of SWAT team raids (more than 80,000 a year) where police invade homes, often without warrants, and injure and even kill unarmed citizens, the barrier between public and private property has been done away with, leaving us with armed government agents who act as if they own our property.
The 4th Amendment prevents unlawful search and seizure:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Indeed, experts say that the type of spying being carried out by the NSA and other agencies is exactly the kind of thing which King George imposed on the American colonists … which led to the Revolutionary War.
The Fourth Amendment has suffered the greatest damage in recent years and been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors. Case in point: Texas police forced a 21-year-old woman to undergo a warrantless vaginal search by the side of the road after she allegedly “rolled” through a stop sign.
The use of civil asset forfeiture schemes to swell the coffers of police forces has also continued to grow in popularity among cash-strapped states. The federal government continues to strong-arm corporations into providing it with access to Americans’ private affairs, from emails and online transactions to banking and web surfing. Coming in the wake of massive leaks about the inner workings of the NSA and the massive secretive surveillance state, it was revealed that the government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 every day for failing to comply with the NSA’s mass data collection program known as PRISM. Meanwhile, AT&T has enjoyed a profitable and “extraordinary, decades-long” relationship with the NSA.
The technological future appears to pose even greater threats to what’s left of our Fourth Amendment rights, with advances in biometric identification and microchip implants on the horizon making it that much easier for the government to track not only our movements and cyber activities but our very cellular beings. Barclays has already begun using a finger-scanner as a form of two-step authentication to give select customers access to their accounts. Similarly, Motorola has been developing thin “digital tattoos” that will ensure that a phone’s owner is the only person who may unlock it. Not to be overlooked are the aerial spies—surveillance drones—about to take to the skies in coming years, as well as the Drive Smart programs that will spy on you (your speed, movements, passengers, etc.) while you travel the nation’s highways and byways.
Paintings by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com.
The 5th Amendment addresses due process of law, eminent domain, double jeopardy and grand jury:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The government claims the right to assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process. And see this.
For example, American citizens are being detained in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago … including:
- Being held in secret
- Not even telling a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held?
As such, the government is certainly depriving people of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Image by William Banzai
The 6th Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy ad public trial, by an impartial jury in the location where the crime allegedly occurred, to hear the criminal charges levied against us and to be able to confront the witnesses who have testified against us, as well as speedy criminal trials, and a public defender for those who cannot hire an attorney:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Subjecting people to indefinite detention or assassination obviously violates the 6th Amendment right to a speedy and public jury trial. In both cases, the defendants is “disposed of” without ever receiving any trial at all … let alone a speedy or public one. In neither case do they get a jury, a defense lawyer, or the right to call their own witnesses. And they often never even hear the charges against them.
Indefinite detentions usually don’t occur where the alleged crime occurred, but at a black site.
More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.
Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret. And it’s about to get a lot worse.
Moreover, government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so they don’t have to admit that the evidence came from unconstitutional spying. A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a “totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”.
And there are two systems of justice in America … one for the big banks and other fatcats, and one for everyone else. The government made it official policy not to prosecute fraud, even though fraud is the ; by Text-Enhance” href=”http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/12/even-the-mainstream-media-finally-awakens-to-the-fact-that-big-banks-are-criminal-enterprises.html#”>criminal fraud is the main business model adopted by Wall Street. Indeed, the ; by Text-Enhance” href=”http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/07/11869.html”>giant banks.
The perpetrators of the biggest financial crime in world history, the largest insider trading scandal of all time, illegal raiding of customer accounts and blatant financing of drug cartels and terrorists have all been committed recently without any real criminal prosecution or jail time.
And some of the nation’s most powerful judges have lost their independence … and are in bed with the powers-that-be.
Constitutional lawyer John Whitehead explains:
The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in the new suspect society in which we live, where surveillance is the norm, these fundamental principles have been upended. Certainly, if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights. That’s the crux of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the government’s use of asset forfeiture to strip American citizens of the funds needed to hire a defense attorney of their choosing.
The 7th Amendment guarantees trial by jury in federal court for civil cases:
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
And the World Justice Project – a bipartisan, independent group with honorary chairs including numerous current and former Supreme Court Justices – released a report saying that Americans have less access to justice than most wealthy countries … and many developing nations. The report finds that Americans have less access to justice than Botswanans, and that only the wealthy have the resources to protect rights using the court system:
(And the austerity caused by the highest levels of inequality in world history – which are in turn is caused by socialist actions by our government, which have destroyed the Founding Fathers’ vision of prosperity – is causing severe budget cuts to the courts, resulting in the wheels of justice slowing down considerably.)
Federal judges have also recently decided that they can pre-judge cases before the plaintiff even has the chance to conduct discovery … and throw cases out if they don’t like plaintiff’s case.
The populace has no idea of what’s in the Constitution—civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums—that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears. However, as a growing number of citizens are coming to realize, the power of the jury to nullify the government’s actions—and thereby help balance the scales of justice—is not to be underestimated. Jury nullification reminds the government that it’s “we the people” who can and should be determining what laws are just, what activities are criminal and who can be jailed for what crimes.
The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
While Justice Scalia disingenuously argues that torture does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment because it is meant to produce information – not punish – he’s wrong. It’s not only cruel and unusual … it is technically a form of terrorism.
And government whistleblowers are being cruelly and unusually punished with unduly harsh sentences meant to intimidate anyone else from speaking out.
A California appeals court is being asked to consider “whether years of unpredictable delays from conviction to execution” constitute cruel and unusual punishment. For instance, although 900 individuals have been sentenced to death in California since 1978, only 13 have been executed. As CBS News reports, “More prisoners have died of natural causes on death row than have perished in the death chamber.”
The 9th Amendment provides that people have other rights, even if they aren’t specifically listed in the Constitution:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
We can debate what our inherent rights as human beings are. I believe they include the right to a level playing field, and access to non-toxic food and water. You may disagree.
But everyone agrees that the government should not actively encourage fraud and manipulation. However, the government – through its malignant, symbiotic relation with big corporations – is interfering with our aspirations for economic freedom, safe food and water (instead of arsenic-laden, genetically engineered junk), freedom from undue health hazards such as irradiation due to government support of archaic nuclear power designs, and a level playing field (as opposed to our crony capitalist system in which the little guy has no shot due to redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the super-elite, and government support of white collar criminals).
By working hand-in-glove with giant corporations to defraud us into paying for a lower quality of life, the government is trampling our basic rights as human beings.
The 10th Amendment provides that powers not specifically given to the Federal government are reserved to the states or individual:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Two of the central principles of America’s Founding Fathers are:
(1) The government is created and empowered with the consent of the people
(2) Separation of powers
Today, most Americans believe that the government is threatening – rather than protecting – freedom. We’ve become more afraid of our government than of terrorists, and believe that the government is no longer acting with the “consent of the governed“.
And the federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people. For example, former head S&L prosecutor Bill Black – now a professor of law and economics – notes:
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the resident examiners and regional staff of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [both] competed to weaken federal regulation and aggressively used the preemption doctrine to try to prevent state investigations of and actions against fraudulent mortgage lenders.
Indeed, the federal government is doing everything it can to stick its nose into every aspect of our lives … and act like Big Brother.
Conclusion: While a few of the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights still exist, the vast majority are under heavy assault.
Other Constitutional Provisions … and The Declaration of Independence
In addition to the trampling of the Bill of Rights, the government has also trashed the separation of powers enshrined in the main body of the Constitution.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: [Background]
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences [Background]
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. [Background]