History in the Making

عبد المهدي: الإقتصاد العراقي سيشهد تطوراً مهماً على أرض الواقع بعيداً عن التصريحات والوعود الفارغة

Abdul-Mahdi: Iraq's economy will see a significant development on the ground away from the statements and empty promises

BAGHDAD / newspaper righteousness _qal Oil Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, "The oil strategy which will go by the ministry for the next four years, will establish what is beyond this point, noting that" the Iraqi economy will see a significant development on the ground away from the statements and empty promises. "

Said Abdul-Mahdi in their profile social networking site (Facebook) "The oil strategy which will go by the ministry for the next four years, will establish what is beyond this stage, but the hallmark of our strategic plan, is that the citizen will be accompanied by the development and touch him and discovers his own size achievement.

Add to that the Iraqi economy will see a significant development on the ground, and away from the statements and empty promises.

The access to the records in the export of oil needs to develop effective plans, and we got to the top of virtually no oil in Iraq's history.

"The strategy will also take seriously, placed ownership of the people of wealth, by creating the necessary and that have a fixed" oil and gas belongs to the Iraqi people a constitutional foundation of the legislation, "so must be the primary beneficiary is the people, not the state.

"The oil-producing countries to invest the existence of this grace to reduce the phenomena of crises in energy and access to the best service in this area, and the projects included in the ministry's strategy for the next four years, the introduction of a quantum leap in the services provided to the people, not in the field provided, but also in developing methods advanced.

And he finished by saying, "We offer what we aspire to, as part of the duty which falls upon us, and imposed by our project (political-economic) and priority access to the distribution of wealth in order to achieve social justice.

To achieve this Strategy is fast, it should find a quiet environment of political stability, which makes this the rise of the national economy, so we will work to resolve all outstanding problems with the region and the provinces. Ended 11



Their nation in pieces, Iraqis ponder what comes next

An Iraqi Shiite man (C) uses his phone as he sits at an outdoor cafe in Sadr City in Baghdad. (File photo: Reuters)
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By Isabel Coles, Ahmed Rasheed and Ned Parker | Reuters, Iraq
Monday, 29 December 2014

The machine gun poking out from between a framed portrait of a Shiite imam and a stuffed toy Minnie Mouse was trained on anyone who approached the checkpoint.

Like dozens of other communities in Iraq, this small Sunni settlement in northern Salahuddin province’s Tuz Khurmatu district has been reduced to rubble. In October, Shiite militiamen and Kurdish Peshmerga captured the village from the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The victors then laid it to waste, looting anything of value and setting fire to much of the rest. Residents have still not been allowed to return.

“Our people are burning them,” said one of the Shiite militiamen when asked about the smoke drifting up from still smoldering houses. Asked why, he shrugged as if the answer was self evident.

The Shiite and Kurdish paramilitary groups now patrol the scorched landscape, eager to claim the most strategic areas or the few houses that are still intact. For now, the two forces are convenient but uncomfortable allies against the nihilist ISIS.

This is how the new Iraq is being forged: block by block, house by house, village by village, mostly out of sight and control of officials in Baghdad.

What is emerging is a different country to the one that existed before June. That month, Iraq’s military and national police, rotten with corruption and sectarian politics, collapsed after ISIS forces attacked Mosul. The militant group’s victory in the largest city in the north was one step on its remarkable dash across Iraq.

ISIS’s campaign slowed towards the end of the summer. But it has left the group in charge of roughly one-third of Iraq, including huge swathes of its western desert and parts of its war ravaged central belt. It also shattered the illusion of a unified and functioning state, triggering multiple sectarian fractures and pushing rival groups to protect their turf or be destroyed.

The far north is now effectively an independent Kurdish region that has expanded into oil-rich Kirkuk, long disputed between the Kurds and Iraqi Arabs. Other areas in the north have fallen to Shiite militias and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, who claim land where they can.

In Baghdad’s rural outskirts and in the Diyala province to the east and north towards Samarra, militias, sometimes backed by Iraqi military, are seizing land and destroying houses in Sunni areas.

Last there is Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces, which are ostensibly still ruled by the country’s Shiite-led government. But the state is a shell of what it once was. As respect for the army and police has faded, Iraqis in the south have turned to the Shiite militia groups who responded to the rallying cry of Iraq’s most senior clergy to take on ISIS.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite moderate who became Iraq’s new leader in September, four months after national elections, hopes that the country can be stitched back together. Abadi has tried to engage the three main communities, taking a more conciliatory tone than that of his predecessor Nuri al-Maliki, who was often confrontational and divisive. Abadi, the Kurds and even some Sunni politicians now all speak of the need for federal regions, so the country’s communities can govern themselves and remain part of a unified state.

Iraq, though, has been splintered into more than just three parts, and the longer those fragments exist on their own the harder it will be to rebuild the country even as a loose federation. Such an arrangement would require the defeat of ISIS, a massive rebuilding program in the Sunni regions, unity among Iraq’s fractious political and tribal leaders, and an accommodation between the Kurds and Baghdad on the Kurds’ territorial gains.

Even the optimists recognize all that will be difficult. Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd who wants Iraq to stay united, says he can picture Iraq eventually regaining its “strength and balance.” But, he concedes, ”the country is severely fractured right now.”

Ali Allawi, a former minister of trade, defense and finance, and author of two books on Iraqi history, agrees. “There is so much up in the air,” he said. “There are the trappings of a functioning state, but it is like a functioning state lying on a sea of Jello...The ground is so unstable and shifting.”


Iraq’s Kurds often see opportunity in times of trouble. This year they moved quickly to take lands long disputed with Arab Iraqis, including Kirkuk. For a while, talk of secession increased, but then quieted after ISIS mounted a successful attack into Kurdistan in August. Since then, buoyed by U.S. air strikes designed to hurt ISIS, the Kurds have recaptured areas they lost and forged an agreement to export oil from Kirkuk and its own fields for Baghdad.

Kurdish business tycoon Sirwan Barzani, a nephew of Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, sees this as a moment to advance his people’s nationalist dream. He was in Paris chairing a board meeting of the telecom company he founded in 2000 when he received news that ISIS militants had overrun Mosul. A former Peshmerga fighter in the 1980s, he canceled his holiday plans in Marbella and rushed back to Kurdistan to help prepare for war, taking command of Peshmerga forces along a 130 kilometer stretch of the Kurds’ front line with ISIS.

Washington sees the Kurds as its most dependable ally in Iraq. For Barzani and other Kurds, though, the fight against ISIS is simply the continuation of a long struggle for an independent nation.

Before leading an offensive last month to drive ISIS militants back across the river Zab towards Mosul, Barzani said he met with an American general to talk strategy and coordinate airstrikes.

“They asked about my plan,” Barzani told Reuters in a military base on the frontline near Gwer, 48 kilometers south of the Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil. “I said, ‘My plan is to change the Sykes-Picot agreement’“ – a reference to the 1916 agreement between France and Britain that marked out what would become the borders of today’s Middle East.

“Iraq is not real,” Barzani said. “It exists only on the map. The country is killing itself. The Shiites and Sunnis cannot live together. How can they expect us to live with them? Our culture is different. The mentality of Kurds is different.

“We want a divorce.”

The Sunnis

Where Kurds saw opportunity in 2014, Iraq’s Sunnis saw endless turmoil and new oppression. Residents in the western and northern cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Falluja – all now controlled by ISIS– complain about fuel and water shortages, and ISIS directives that women cover themselves and smokers be fined. They tell stories about the destruction wrought by shelling by the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.

In places where Sunnis themselves are battling ISIS, the brutality can be unrelenting. Many wonder what will be left when the war finishes and whether it will be possible for Sunnis to reconcile even among themselves.

Sheikh Ali Abed al-Fraih has spent months fighting ISIS. A tribal soldier in Anbar province, he has sunken, tired eyes and a frown. His clothes are one size too big for him. He sees the conflict as an internal battle among the Anbar tribes. Some have chosen to join ISIS, others to fight the group. Some of his enemies, he says, are from his own clan. The fight will not end even if areas around his town of Haditha and other Anbar cities are cleared, he says. All sides will want revenge. “Blood demands blood. Anbar will never stop.”

Fraih flew to Baghdad in late December to beg the government to send help to Haditha, which is pinned to the west and east by ISIS and defended by a five kilometer-long berm. Fraih could only reach Baghdad by military plane. The government had promised for two months to send food and medicine, but no help had come. The week before Christmas the government told him help would come in a week. Fraih tried be polite about the promise, but it’s hard.

“It’s all words,” he said.

Every day, tribal fighters and Iraqi soldiers in Haditha stop ISIS assaults and defend the city’s massive dam. If ISIS take the dam they could flood Anbar and choke off water supplies to the Shiite south. The army, in particular, is struggling, he said. “In every fight the army loses 50 soldiers. Their vehicles get destroyed, they are short on fuel, and no new vehicles are coming. They are hurting more than my own men.”

The city’s one lifeline to the outside world is a huge government airbase called Ain al-Assad, some 36 kilometer south. Fraih recently met U.S. Special Forces there. They assured him that if ISIS breaks through the barriers to Haditha, the U.S. will carry out air strikes. The logic confuses Fraih. “They know the people have no food, no weapons, no ammunition, nothing. We are sinking. If you are not going to help us, at least take us to the south and north. We are dying now.”

His faith in getting help from anyone has almost vanished.

“What is left of Iraq if it keeps moving this way?” he asked.

The Shiites

In a house on the outskirts of Baghdad, a Shiite tribal leader sat and imagined his world as ”a dark tunnel with no light” at its end.

“Iraq is not a country now,” he said. “It was before Mosul.”

The sheikh, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would like to see his country reunited but suspects Abadi is too weak to counter the many forces working against him. Now the Shiite militias and Iran, whom the sheikh fought in the 1980s, are his protectors. It is a situation he accepts with a grim inevitability.

“We are like a sinking ship. Whoever gives you a hand lifting you from the sea whether enemy or friend, you take it without seeing his face because he is there.”

Iranian-advised paramilitaries now visit his house regularly. He has come to enjoy the Iranian commander of a branch of the Khorasani Brigades, a group named for a region in northeastern Iran. The commander likes to joke, speaks good Arabic and has an easy way, while other fighters speak only Persian, the sheikh said. He expresses appreciation for their defense of his relatives in the Shiite town of Balad, which is under assault from ISIS.

The sheikh’s changing perceptions are shared by other Iraqi Shiites. They once viewed Iran as the enemy but now see their neighbor as Iraq’s one real friend. The streets of Baghdad and southern Iraq are decorated with images of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The sheikh, though, does not believe he can rely on Iran altogether. He is sure some Iranian-backed militiamen would happily kill him. He has heard of one case in Diyala where a militia leader shot dead the son of a popular Shiite tribal leader. He has also watched as militia fighters aligned with police and army officers kidnapped a cousin and a friend for ransom. “I feel threatened by their bad elements,” he said of the militias.

If the state doesn’t rebuild its military quickly and replace the multiple groups now patrolling the lands, the sheikh fears Shiite parts of Iraq will descend further into lawlessness. “It will be chaos like the old times, where strong tribes take land from the weak tribe. Militias fight militias,” he said. “It will be the rule of the jungle, where the strong animal eats the weak.

Last Update: Monday, 29 December 2014 KSA 18:59 - GMT 15:59


Saleh al-Mutlaq poses a national project to see a comprehensive Iraqi

31-03-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)


In a speech is the first of its kind in a decade
Dr. Saleh al-Mutlaq poses a national project to see a comprehensive Iraqi surprised observers present at the conference, which took place in the Greater Zora Khaimah era Sunday 31 March 2013
Speech of Dr. Saleh al-Mutlaq in Iraqi-Arab Conference
Respectable ladies and gentlemen
It is my pleasure and am pleased to stand before you today, brethren, to announce the birth of a block (Iraqi Arabic), which will enter the provincial elections in March next, God, which comes in difficult conditions experienced by our dear, which carries the will choose people from among you a member of the Council maintain a national responsibility to double .. Responsibility to preserve the unity beloved country, and support the insistence of great people on the cohesion and unity that crashed on Cktha each divisional projects enemies, despite the strength and barbarism and darkness faced by the onslaught and still.
((Iraq Betty))
Today I find a new title for a new phase in the life of every Iraqi march belongs to this country of the mind and heart and conscience .. New address for a new life is the time for our people to live, and contribute to the building to be lush life, and just, and safe. Iraq to be in the heart and conscience of every Iraqi, beta starring love, progress and greatness and held determined to provide a decent life where:
Fraternity and love nature, to Argbh ..
- And need peace and security, to Asfqh ..
- Justice, freedom, the right, to give him ..
- Happiness and well-being commons, not a privilege ..
Ladies .. Dear Sirs
True, that this conference comes ready to run for the provincial elections, and the elections is one of the vocabulary of democracy wide range, which can not grow until we have the ground good, and sound, which constitute a renaissance and Artqaoua political and humanitarian, economic, and security.
In the economy are: editor of hunger, deprivation and need ..
In politics, Liberation from fear and aggression ..
In the mind .. Liberation from ignorance and backwardness ..
This means that democracy is a system must meet the needs of people first and opens prospects for the happy future Secondly, and then builds the preparations for people to exercise their electoral right in full.
Will these foundations have been achieved in Iraq?
Answer: No, Not achieved this thing at all .. Democratic life was not built to Assayasa, not economically, not mentally, thus turning it into a large burden on the process of progress and stability in the country!.
When elections are held according to a sectarian program ..
When elections are held in accordance with the national program racist ..
When elections are held according to a territorial and tribal program
All of these programs are not consistent from near or far with the tremendous development of the movement of life, but she is dating the country into eras of underdevelopment and conflict community, it means we did not get into the democratic life of their doors wide that leads to a state of competition conscious which stems from building programs of state and society, but just to get a personal or partisan gain.
The absence of a genuine belief in democracy, and to believe in something to Aihtermh, a shortage Alkhtiralve facing democracy in politics and when politicians who passed out from under their coats, facing democracy, and cut them by progress and development, while proof of Iraqi society have always said that the finest of electoral programs that pose .. Society holds all the meanings of true democracy, whether the theory and analysis or creative cultural practice.
He practiced their democratic right to humanitarian highest forms of civilization when he went onto the field peaceful demonstrations high level since three months ago, and that was a real test crossed people unprecedented success, proved that his faith in democracy is faith in the summit of consciousness, which is a great lesson to be benefit from the political class and learn the lesson, and reconsider manner dealing with the demonstrations, which warned of the dangers of ignoring their genuine and legitimate demands, as some have warned of attempt to prolong their time investment to achieve divisive agendas at the expense of electoral unity of Iraq.
And our belief that people have rights stolen are not given, but taken, and the dignity of wasted to Aahmiaa and Aihfezha but the same people, we have suspended our presence in the meetings of the Council of Ministers with the first cry of the people chanted in the field demonstrations peaceful democratic constitutional, that cry for our club launch over the past years that we've been desperately in need of support us and we fight inside the House of Representatives and the government in all forums, to stop the series of exclusion, marginalization and humiliation, and sectarian politics divisive that hit a wide area and a large Iraqi community wounded bloody self, body and dignity, and ways and means of decent living.
We have suspended our presence in cabinet meetings because the issue out people to the field demonstrations, the objection is mainly cause political and faced everything we faced, in Aqsaena for elections, and attempts targeting physical, and measure the charges judicial, and attempts to isolate us from the government and political life as a whole, at a time when others are complements and enhances programs that try to humiliate people, and exclusion of benevolent, and the division of the nation, and the looting of the country's wealth, and will reveal the days of these facts, and expose the evil people who are manipulating the day realities, Fiklponha means sick and malicious able to convince some people honestly lies, and justice wronged, right falsehood, and the Municipality of treason, cleaner hands of the money stolen and the country's wealth.
It rushed behind them in good faith, we believe will discover, and our sacrifices for him and for the nation, when the lies and discovers really تزويرهم.
We have our presence suspended meetings of the Council of Ministers, this decision was not emotionally, or figurehead, but was a responsible decision and considered the main objective faithful is the government's response to the demands of the demonstrators, and we said that we will not attend unless a special session devoted to discuss these demands. Based upon formed High Level Committee was where all the political blocs shall study public demands declared, and while we in the Committee of Five to what our findings large, Cabinet held special meeting that we set a condition for attending, and was approved at this meeting on the findings of the Committee Five, to be transferred to the House of Representatives for the purpose of legislation to be ready Altiv, with the continuation of the Committee of Five in their work to accomplish what the rest of the legitimate demands of the people in a few days, this is what the people want in Mazepehrth .. Wants rights, wants dignity .. Wants true participation in the management of his country. But there are political agendas do not want for the rights of the people to return, and he does not want to be realized demands, because it is not a goal .. Yes political agendas, and princes and warlords messing today in the fields of national events peaceful civilization, because they do not want these demonstrations that stop only divide the country religiously, upon orders from Asiad backers them, but they failed, and will fail always because people are not with them, because the people did not want to his homeland that Atksm, does not accept himself to be an integral part. This is what was expressed fans that have supported us and stood with us as we strive to accelerate the achievement demands Lossless.
The ball is now moved to the House of Representatives, and in your name I call for the immediate convening of the completion of the major task of interacting with blatant appeal the masses to the right. I call for immediate legislation to what has been deported him from the Council of Ministers, and that to Aivhb to disable, or procrastination, because people no longer able to wait and patience more than patience and wait.
From this podium, platform announcement Iraqi-Arab bloc, and in their own name, and in your name, address objectors or skeptics, including accomplished by Saleh al-Mutlaq of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue
I say:
We are honest in our loyalty to our people, and the nation ..
Honest in our allegiance to the struggle of demonstrations and sit-yards ..
And rejoicing including his record of this people of proven successes and consciousness, and its high level of culture and civilization rooted in the depths of history and which has been corroborated in a peaceful and civilized Mazepehrth wonderful .. We have proved again that it is the finest peoples ..
Our love for our people, and our loyalty to Iraq precious two of motivates us to protect them and to work on what is happy people, full rights, and we will continue to perform our duty without stopping, and I invite you sincere call for Tbgesoa us or on your own for a cure for all crises in Iraq, including displace the burden of the people his troubles security, and denies all hunger Btonh, and displace him disturbance factors, and protect the unity of the homeland, and he found this treatment, Vdauh under any title whatever you want.
And if you find this treatment, Fsncolha you with all the love and sincerity: God bless you, and سنمنحكم and Sam love. This is much better for you than unexplained reactions that do not want the people that Yamen and unite, and do not want him to achieve his dreams and wishes.
Frankly Sadiq, who is keen hear from all my compatriots:
The crossing home every nation, and the people of all the people to the shores of safety, stability, beaches bright future, boat Hadi Jamil and Amin even if the long transit time, is the best all standards of transit bloody on the back of a tank passing over Iraqi blood Tahir innocent bleeder wrongfully even if Palace transit time.
That Iraq does not accept the division only to himself, so God created, and so he wants, and I would recommend entrepreneurs divisive sectarian Atdarqua their experience before being solved the curse of Iraq .. Advise them to pay attention to the face of sanctions punish the people, may destroy their reputations, which will not limited to them, but Stlahakhm generation after generation including for Anrjoh not them or anyone else. We are fully prepared to help all those who feel he made a mistake against the nation and wants to correct this error.
And I tell them they called the people to express his opinion freely, let him take his chance real legitimate in achieving his goals, to Atstkhaddmoh cover for passage to where you plan a party or person to achieve illegal gains at the expense of effort and sacrifice our patient, and if your problem the ballot box, and its consequences, Fajdhuh .. Yes Without this fund, if you Tsomon it all home .. Take him and leave us and one ton unified even if Holtamoh to Khraúba, and ruins, take Fund cent as you want, and called for people preserves its unity even if Abakeetmoh empty stomach, lost for the necessities of life .. The homeland is in the home, and no house of the meaning of survival, and the value of life.
You Aashab Iraq Elmejrouh say: carry all wounds Aldamyat, and maintained a large address ((the great people of Iraq)) nor تجرك slogans liars, deceived us and you to ride vessel sunken, understand the deeply immersed and do not care about to drown, instead of them people of all the people.
Keep your great history to build your future happy .. Student of your rights that it feels alienated and do not hesitate ..
And Usita to provincial candidates, selected by the people in the elections say: integrity, integrity, honor it ..
Fidelity loyalty to the homeland and the people, because they deserve the sacrifice in their release ..
Efforts Abzloa to building Mhafezatkm, nor Tgerkm temptations fitting Sacred God to forgive because it is cursed, and human rights are lost, and honor.
To Ataataamiloa with Manmatkm but Bhoatkm Iraqi Supreme even if your grandmother you and others deal with, because he has no identity other deal, but do not know, either you Iraq Vhoatkm and not Iraq, for you and for us a homeland.
Propaganda for all success and achieve successes on the road to building Iraq's Aziz
May God protect the homeland
And save his people great
God is the source of strength
May peace and God's mercy and blessings

Voice of Iraq coverage
Sadiq al-Musawi
Director of Voice of Iraq / Baghdad

Barzani to Host Summit as Political Crisis Worsens

Posted on 24 February 2013. Tags: , ,

Barzani to Host Summit as Political Crisis Worsens

By Bushra Al Mudhafar for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

It seems that a prospective national meeting of political parties in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, is imminent. But questions remain as to whether such a meeting can solve Iraq’s increasingly complicated problems.

There are reports of US pressure and Iranian and Arab support for a second meeting among Iraqi factions under the auspices of Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. Erbil hosted a similar meeting in 2010 with some success: it resulted in what is known as the “Erbil Agreement” that led to the formation of a national unity government, headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

According to Kurdish leaders in Iraq, Barzani is expected to send formal invitations within two weeks to leaders of Iraqi political parties for a comprehensive national conference in Erbil. The conference would discuss the repercussions of the anti-government protests taking place across Iraqi cities, which have increased sectarian tensions across the country.

The announcement of Barzani’s national-meeting initiative was preceded by the visit of a delegation from the National Iraqi Alliance — which includes the main Shiite parties — to the Kurdistan region, where they met with Kurdish leaders. Sources revealed that the Shiite delegation proposed an initiative that included comprehensive reforms.

The visit coincided with another meeting held by Barzani among Ayad Allawi, leader of the Iraqi List, which is supported by the Iraqi Sunnis; Ahmed Chalabi, president of the Iraqi National Congress; and a representative of the “Sadrist current” led by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The parties discussed the crisis and its repercussions.

The prospective “national meeting” would theoretically require concessions by opposing parties to solve the crisis. But it appears that each party is trying to improve its position in advance of sitting down at the negotiating table.

The Kurds, represented by the Kurdish Alliance, stipulated that the prospective conference must incorporate guarantees that conference decisions would be implemented. The goal is to prevent a repeat of what happened in Erbil in 2010; from the Kurdish Alliance’s perspective, the Iraqi prime minister failed to implement most of the elements of the decisions that were issued.

According to the Kurds, commitment to agreements made at the conference will be the benchmark for success. Opposition political parties have accused the prime minister of evading the implementation of agreements, particularly with regard to national partnership.

The Erbil Agreement agreed on establishing a “strategic policies council” and national balance at state institutions; developing rules of procedure for the Council of Ministers; enacting laws pertaining to oil and gas, the Supreme Federal Court and the General Amnesty Law; assigning the position of minister of defense to the Iraqi List; solving the problems of detainees; participating in the management of the state in a way that would preserve all components and factions of the Iraqi people; and other issues that would help to rectify the political process.

The Sunnis, represented by the Iraqi List, will attend the prospective meeting carrying perhaps the most influential card: the anti-government protests being held in the major Sunni cities — Anbar, Mosul, Salahuddin and Diyala — which have resisted attempts to disperse them or to respond partially to their demands, particularly those related to the detainees and de-Baathification measures.

The Sunni demonstrations draw their strength from the fact that they threaten to undermine social peace in the country, which is greatly feared by the Shiite-led government.

Sadr’s support of protesters’ demands in Sunni governorates has earned him some approval and legitimacy among Sunnis. This might allow Sadr’s bloc to attend the prospective meeting from a position of strength, which he has acquired from his approval by both parties, in addition to a privileged relationship with the Kurdistan region following his visit there last year to participate in meetings demanding the prime minister’s dismissal.

In the midst of these movements, Maliki remains stuck in a fierce battle with his opponents. He wants to ensure the continuity of the power and influence he has built since becoming prime minister.

In an attempt to strip Maliki of one of his main strengths, the Justice and Accountability Commission — which is responsible for excluding former Baathists from government positions, and was formed in May 2012 with seven members who make consensual de-Baathification decisions, but is actually dominated by five members affiliated with the anti-government blocs — made the bold decision to remove Chief Justice Midhat al-Mahmoud. The commission attributed its decision on Mahmoud to the belief that he is an “agent of the former regime.”

Maliki’s opponents denied that the decision was politically motivated. According to Mohammed Kayani, member of parliament for the Movement for Change, excluding Mahmoud from the Supreme Federal Court is a step in the right direction to make the court neutral and apolitical. Kayani added that “what is known about Mahmoud in recent years is that he has been the godfather of the return of dictatorship to Iraq through this court.”

Regarding Mahmoud’s role in supporting Maliki’s influence, Kayani said: “Mahmoud freezes the laws passed by parliament which do not appeal to the executive authority, and disables the role of parliament through the [judicial] institution, which has become a machine for reinstalling dictatorship rather than democracy in Iraq.”

The prime minister responded by sacking the head of the Justice and Accountability Commission, Falah Shanshal, who belongs to the Sadrist movement. Maliki assigned Bassem Sharif al-Badri as chairman in his place.

The commission, which is elected by parliament, claimed the decision was unconstitutional, as the appointment and dismissal of its chairman is the exclusive prerogative of parliament. However, Maliki’s media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi, said that the decision to dismiss Shanshal was taken because the latter was not elected by parliament, as required by law. He said that because Shanshal was appointed, not elected, the prime minister can dismiss him.

The announcement on Feb. 19 that the Discriminatory Authority of the Justice and Accountability Commission vetoed the decision to exclude Mahmoud from government may not end the battle between Maliki and his opponents — the Kurds, the Iraqi List and the Sadrists. But it certainly demonstrates some of Maliki’s aspirations in advance the upcoming meeting in Erbil.

The announcement of a prospective conference in Erbil to resolve the crisis, just a month before the provincial elections and less than a year before the parliamentary elections, raises questions about how useful temporary compromises are in an atmosphere with almost no attention to reform or comprehensive state-building.

According to public opinion, Iraq needs comprehensive consensus over reforms on all disputed national issues, including the constitution if required. Meanwhile, there are mounting fears that temporary agreements will fail.

The success or failure of the prospective Erbil meeting depends on whether it can shift the political mood in Iraq from discussions of partial solutions toward solving the major differences that regularly arise. Those include the form of government, the powers of authorities, the boundaries of a federal system, the distribution of wealth, judicial, military, and security reforms, systematic solutions to corruption, and foreign-relations reform.

Bushra Al Mudhafar is a writer and journalist from Baghdad working in both Iraqi and Arab media.

Q&A: what is the MEK and why did the US call it a terrorist organisation?

The MEK cut a 'swath of terror' in the Middle East, but leaders have worked hard to convince the west they are peaceful now in Washington

Friday 21 September 2012 20.21 BST
mek iraq
About 2,000 members of the MEK currently live at a camp near Baghdad – but the organisation refuses to shift another 1,200 from a former training camp. Photograph: Hadi Mizban/AP

Why did the US designate the MEK a terrorist organisation in 1997?

The MEK's supporters say it was banned as a move by the Clinton administration to appease the Iranian government. The US state department, which decides which groups to include on the list of designated terrorist organisations, points to a long and bloody history.

The MEK ran a bombing campaign inside Iran against the Shah's regime the 1970s. The targets were sometimes American, including the US information office, Pepsi Cola, PanAm and General Motors. The group routinely denounced Zionism and "racist Israel", and called for "death to America".

A state department report in 1992 identified the MEK as responsible for the killing of six Americans in Iran during the 1970s. They included three military officers and three men working for Rockwell International, a conglomerate specialising in aerospace including weapons, who were murdered in retaliation for the arrest of MEK members over the killings of the US military officers.

The MEK was an enthusiastic supporter of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran following the Iranian revolution. It called the eventual release of the American hostages a "surrender".

After falling out with Iran's new rulers, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the MEK launched a bomb campaign against the Islamic government. In 1981, it attacked the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, killing 74 senior officials including the party leader and 27 members of parliament. A few months later it bombed a meeting of Iran's national security council, killing Iran's president and the prime minister.

The state department described the MEK as cutting a "swath of terror" across the country in the following years and of "violent attacks in Iran that victimise civilians".

"Since 1981 the [MEK] have claimed responsibility for murdering thousands of Iranians they describe as agents of the regime," the report said.

The bombings continued into the 1990s including one at Khomeini's tomb and against oil refineries.

Who supported the MEK?

After the MEK leadership fell out with the Islamic regime it fled first to Paris. France expelled the MEK leader, Masud Rajavi, in 1986. The group then ran into the arms of Iran's enemy, the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. Iraq helped arm the MEK's thousands of fighters with artillery, guns and tanks and housed them in three camps near Baghdad and along the border with Iran. Baghdad also supplied money.

saddam hussein MEK Saddam Hussein helped arm the MEK's fighters. Photograph: AP

The MEK's armed wing, the National Liberation Army (NLA), conducted raids into Iran during the last stages of the Iran-Iraq war. It also became a tool of Saddam Hussein's campaign of internal oppression.

"The NLA's last major offensive reportedly was conducted against Iraqi Kurds in 1991 when it joined Saddam Hussein's brutal repression of the Kurdish rebellion," the state department report said.

The last major act of violence committed by the MEK in the west was in 1992 when it stormed Iranian diplomatic missions in the US, Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Switzerland. The assault was in response to an Iranian air force bombing raid on an MEK base in Iraq.

Wouldn't the killing of Americans, calls for the destruction of Israel and supporting Saddam Hussein be enough to scare off any American politician from ever supporting the MEK?

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 changed everything for the MEK. Its fighters at Camp Ashraf, near the Iranian border, and other sites near Baghdad were disarmed by the Americans. The MEK leadership moved swiftly to distance itself from Saddam Hussein, emphasising its opposition to the Islamic government in Tehran and casting its supporters as selfless and long suffering supporters of freedom and democracy. From then on the MEK reinvented itself in American eyes.

Until the 1990s it was known as the People's Holy Warriors of Iran, but that's not the kind of name to win support in the west these days so it tweaked the name.

Two decades ago, the state department identified the MEK as running what it called "a determined lobbying effort among western parliamentarians".

"To conduct its propaganda campaign the group has established offices through western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and the Middle East," it said. "Through such efforts, the (MEK) attempt to transform western opprobrium for the government of Iran into expressions of support for themselves".

The MEK leadership has played on opposition to the present Iranian leadership, which is in part bound up with concerns among US politicians over Tehran's nuclear programme and fears for Israel's security, to bury its past by portraying itself as a democratic and popular alternative to the Islamic regime.

"Exploiting western opprobrium of the behaviour of the current government of Iran, the (MEK) posit themselves as the alternative. To achieve that goal, they claim they have the support of a majority of Iranians. This claim is much disputed by academics and other specialists on Iran, who assert that in fact the MEK have little support among Iranians," it said.

The state department report quotes an American journalist as saying of the MEK: "They hope to transform their public image in America from terrorists to freedom fighters".

It appears to have been largely successful in that. Few of the MEK's American backers appear to know the detail of its past, particularly the scale of its killing and the depth of its hostility to the US and Israel. Instead it described as a loyal and useful ally. Supporters say that it was the MEK that first provided the US with information about Iran's nuclear programme.

Has the MEK changed?

It has certainly abandoned violence, at least for now. But that is in part because it was forcibly disarmed by the US army in Iraq. It also recognises that since 9/11, bombing attacks by a mostly Muslim organisation are not likely to win it friends in the west.

In exile, the MEK leadership established the National Council of Resistance which has evolved into what the group calls a parliament in exile.

But the MEK is far from democratic. It is autocratically run by a husband and wife, Masud and Maryam Rajavi, who the state department say have "fostered a cult of personality".

In its 1992 report on the MEK, the state department said the group's leadership "never practices democracy within their organisation".

"Many Iranians who have dealt with MEK members assert that the [MEK] suppress dissent, often with force, and do not tolerate different viewpoints. The [MEK's] credibility is also undermined by the fact that they deny or distort sections of their history, such as the use of violence or opposition to Zionism. It is difficult to accept at face value promises of future conduct when an organisation fails to acknowledge its past," the report said.

So what is the likelihood of the MEK being unbanned?

As part of their campaign, the MEK's supporters have won a federal court order requiring the state department to make a decision on whether the group should remain on the designated terrorist list by October 1.

Some pro-MEK activists have interpreted that as a foregone conclusion that the state department will have to delist the organisation. They have been bolstered by its unbanning in Europe.

The MEK's well financed and organised lobbying campaign has placed enormous pressure on the state department to delist the group. But the state department has warned the MEKthat its status will in part be decided over whether it obeys a demand to leave its main camp in Iraq. Its refusal, so far, to move remaining supporters from Camp Ashraf – where it used to train its paramilitary fighters – to a former US military base near Baghdad is said by the state department to be a significant obstacle to delisting the group.

The MEK has moved 2,000 of the 3,200 people who were living in Camp Ashraf but refuses to shift the rest. The MEK has portrayed the issue as a humanitarian one to its sympathisers in Washington, saying that all that remains in Camp Ashraf are families and that conditions in the Baghdad camp are inadequate. They say it is effectively a prison – even going so far as to call it a concentration camp – and alleged they will be vulnerable to violence from the Iraqi government and forces.

Some US officials say that those refusing to leave shows that the MEK has not really abandoned its past.


AmpedStatus Report )))

The Wall Street Pentagon Papers: Biggest Scam In World History Exposed – Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Too Big To Comprehend?

December 6th, 2010 | Filed under Economy, Feature, Hot List, News, Politics & Government, Video . Follow comments through RSS 2.0 feed. Click here to comment, or trackback.

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By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus

The Wall Street Pentagon Papers: Biggest Scam In World History Exposed - Are The Federal Reserve's Crimes Too Big To Comprehend?What if the greatest scam ever perpetrated was blatantly exposed, and the US media didn’t cover it? Does that mean the scam could keep going? That’s what we are about to find out.

I understand the importance of the new WikiLeaks documents. However, we must not let them distract us from the new information the Federal Reserve was forced to release. Even if WikiLeaks reveals documents from inside a large American bank, as huge as that could be, it will most likely pale in comparison to what we just found out from the one-time peek we got into the inner-workings of the Federal Reserve. This is the Wall Street equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.

I’ve written many reports detailing the crimes of Wall Street during this crisis. The level of fraud, from top to bottom, has been staggering. The lack of accountability and the complete disregard for the rule of law have made me and many of my colleagues extremely cynical and jaded when it comes to new evidence to pile on top of the mountain that we have already gathered. But we must not let our cynicism cloud our vision on the details within this new information.

Just when I thought the banksters couldn’t possibly shock me anymore… they did.

We were finally granted the honor and privilege of finding out the specifics, a limited one-time Federal Reserve view, of a secret taxpayer funded “backdoor bailout” by a small group of unelected bankers. This data release reveals “emergency lending programs” that doled out $12.3 TRILLION in taxpayer money – $3.3 trillion in liquidity, $9 trillion in “other financial arrangements.”

Wait, what? Did you say $12.3 TRILLION tax dollars were thrown around in secrecy by unelected bankers… and Congress didn’t know any of the details?

Yes. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves. The original copy of the Constitution spontaneously burst into flames. The ghost of Tom Paine went running, stark raving mad screaming through the halls of Congress.

The Federal Reserve was secretly throwing around our money in unprecedented fashion, and it wasn’t just to the usual suspects like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc.; it was to the entire Global Banking Cartel. To central banks throughout the world: Australia, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, England… To the Fed’s foreign primary dealers like Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Royal Bank of Scotland (U.K.), Barclays (U.K.), BNP Paribas (France)… All their Ponzi players were “gifted.” All the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations got their cut.

Talk about the ransacking and burning of Rome! Sayonara American middle class…

If you still had any question as to whether or not the United States is now the world’s preeminent banana republic, the final verdict was just delivered and the decision was unanimous. The ayes have it.

Any fairytale notions that we are living in a nation built on the rule of law and of the global economy being based on free market principles has now been exposed as just that, a fairytale. This moment is equivalent to everyone in Vatican City being told, by the Pope, that God is dead.

I’ve been arguing for years that the market is rigged and that the major Wall Street firms are elaborate Ponzi schemes, as have many other people who built their beliefs on rational thought, reasoned logic and evidence. We already came to this conclusion by doing the research and connecting the dots. But now, even our strongest skeptics and the most ardent Wall Street supporters have it all laid out in front of them, on FEDERAL RESERVE SPREADSHEETS.

Even the Financial Times, which named Lloyd Blankfein its 2009 person of the year, reacted by reporting this: “The initial reactions were shock at the breadth of lending, particularly to foreign firms. But the details paint a bleaker and even more disturbing picture.”

Yes, the emperor doesn’t have any clothes. God is, indeed, dead. But, for the moment at least, the illusion continues to hold power. How is this possible?

To start with, as always, the US television “news” media (propaganda) networks just glossed over the whole thing – nothing to see here, just move along, back after a message from our sponsors… Other than that obvious reason, I’ve come to the realization that the Federal Reserve’s crimes are so big, so huge in scale, it is very hard for people to even wrap their head around it and comprehend what has happened here.

Think about it. In just this one peek we got at its operations, we learned that the Fed doled out $12.3 trillion in near-zero interest loans, without Congressional input.

The audacity and absurdity of it all is mind boggling…

Based on many conversations I’ve had with people, it seems that the average person doesn’t comprehend how much a trillion dollars is, let alone 12.3 trillion. You might as well just say 12.3 gazillion, because people don’t grasp a number that large, nor do they understand what would be possible if that money was used in other ways.

Can you imagine what we could do to restructure society with $12.3 trillion? Think about that…

People also can’t grasp the colossal crime committed because they keep hearing the word “loans.” People think of the loans they get. You borrow money, you pay it back with interest, no big deal.

That’s not what happened here. The Fed doled out $12.3 trillion in near-zero interest loans, using the American people as collateral, demanding nothing in return, other than a bunch of toxic assets in some cases. They only gave this money to a select group of insiders, at a time when very few had any money because all these same insiders and speculators crashed the system.

Do you get that? The very people most responsible for crashing the system, were then rewarded with trillions of our dollars. This gave that select group of insiders unlimited power to seize control of assets and have unprecedented leverage over almost everything within their economies – crony capitalism on steroids.

This was a hostile world takeover orchestrated through economic attacks by a very small group of unelected global bankers. They paralyzed the system, then were given the power to recreate it according to their own desires. No free market, no democracy of any kind. All done in secrecy. In the process, they gave themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses and impoverished tens of millions of people – they have put into motion a system that will inevitably collapse again and utterly destroy the very existence of what is left of an economic middle class.

That is not hyperbole. That is what happened.

We are talking about trillions of dollars secretly pumped into global banks, handpicked by a small select group of bankers themselves. All for the benefit of those bankers, and at the expense of everyone else. People can’t even comprehend what that means and the severe consequences that it entails, which we have only just begun to experience.

Let me sum it up for you: The American Dream is O-V-E-R.

Welcome to the neo-feudal-fascist state.

People throughout the world who keep using the dollar are either A) Part of the scam; B) Oblivious to reality; C) Believe that US military power will be able to maintain the value of an otherwise worthless currency; D) All of the above.

No matter which way you look at it, we are all in serious trouble!

If you are an elected official, (I know at least 17 of you subscribe to my newsletter) and you believe in the oath you took upon taking office, you must immediately demand a full audit of the Federal Reserve and have Ben Bernanke and the entire Federal Reserve Board detained. If you are not going to do that, you deserve to have the words “Irrelevant Puppet” tattooed across your forehead.

Yes, those are obviously strong words, but they are the truth.

The Global Banking Cartel has now been so blatantly exposed, you cannot possibly get away with pretending that we live in a nation of law based on the Constitution. The jig is up.

It’s been over two years now; does anyone still seriously not understand why we are in this crisis? Our economy has been looted and burnt to the ground due to the strategic, deliberate decisions made by a small group of unelected global bankers at the Federal Reserve. Do people really not get the connection here? I mean, H.E.L.L.O. Our country is run by an unelected Global Banking Cartel.

I am constantly haunted by a quote from Harry Overstreet, who wrote the following in his 1925 groundbreaking study Influencing Human Behavior: “Giving people the facts as a strategy of influence” has been a failure, “an enterprise fraught with a surprising amount of disappointment.”

This crisis overwhelmingly proves Overstreet’s thesis to be true. Nonetheless, we solider on…

Here’s a roundup of reports on this BernankeLeaks:

Prepare to enter the theater of the absurd…

I’ll start with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). He was the senator who Bernanke blew off when he was asked for information on this heist during a congressional hearing. Sanders fought to get the amendment written into the financial “reform” bill that gave us this one-time peek into the Fed’s secret operations. (Remember, remember the 6th of May, HFT, flash crash and terrorism. “Hey, David, Homeland Security is on the phone! They want to ask you questions about some NYSE SLP program.”)

In an article entitled, “A Real Jaw-Dropper at the Federal Reserve,” Senator Sanders reveals some of the details:

At a Senate Budget Committee hearing in 2009, I asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to tell the American people the names of the financial institutions that received an unprecedented backdoor bailout from the Federal Reserve, how much they received, and the exact terms of this assistance. He refused. A year and a half later… we have begun to lift the veil of secrecy at the Fed…

After years of stonewalling by the Fed, the American people are finally learning the incredible and jaw-dropping details of the Fed’s multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America….

We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout… turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near-zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution in this country.…

Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations including two European megabanks — Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse — which were the largest beneficiaries of the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities….

Has the Federal Reserve of the United States become the central bank of the world?… [read Global Banking Cartel]

What this disclosure tells us, among many other things, is that despite this huge taxpayer bailout, the Fed did not make the appropriate demands on these institutions necessary to rebuild our economy and protect the needs of ordinary Americans….

What we are seeing is the incredible power of a small number of people who have incredible conflicts of interest getting incredible help from the taxpayers of this country while ignoring the needs of the people. [read more]

In an article entitled, “The Fed Lied About Wall Street,” Zach Carter sums it up this way:

The Federal Reserve audit is full of frightening revelations about U.S. economic policy and those who implement it… By denying the solvency crisis, major bank executives who had run their companies into the ground were allowed to keep their jobs, and shareholders who had placed bad bets on their firms were allowed to collect government largesse, as bloated bonuses began paying out soon after.

But the banks themselves still faced a capital shortage, and were only kept above those critical capital thresholds because federal regulators were willing to look the other way, letting banks account for obvious losses as if they were profitable assets.

So based on the Fed audit data, it’s hard to conclude that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was telling the truth when he told Congress on March 3, 2009, that there were no zombie banks in the United States.

“I don’t think that any major U.S. bank is currently a zombie institution,” Bernanke said.

As Bernanke spoke those words banks had been pledging junk bonds as collateral under Fed facilities for several months…

This is the heart of today’s foreclosure fraud crisis. Banks are foreclosing on untold numbers of families who have never missed a payment, because rushing to foreclosure generates lucrative fees for the banks, whatever the costs to families and investors. This is, in fact, far worse than what Paul Krugman predicted. Not only are zombie banks failing to support the economy, they are actively sabotaging it with fraud in order to make up for their capital shortages. Meanwhile, regulators are aggressively looking the other way.

The Fed had to fix liquidity in 2008. That was its job. But as major banks went insolvent, the Fed and Treasury had a responsibility to fix that solvency issue—even though that meant requiring shareholders and executives to live up to losses. Instead, as the Fed audit tells us, policymakers knowingly ignored the real problem, pushing losses onto the American middle class in the process.” [read more]

Even the Financial Times is jumping ship:

Sunlight Shows Cracks in Fed’s Rescue Story

It took two years, a hard-fought lawsuit, and an act of Congress, but finally… the Federal Reserve disclosed the details of its financial crisis lending programs. The initial reactions were shock at the breadth of lending, particularly to foreign firms. But the details paint a bleaker, earlier, and even more disturbing picture…. An even more troubling conclusion from the data is that… it is now apparent that the Fed took on far more risk, on less favorable terms, than most people have realized. [read more]

In true Fed fashion, they didn’t even fully comply with Congress. In a report entitled, “Fed Withholds Collateral Data for $885 Billion in Financial-Crisis Loans,” Bloomberg puts some icing on the cake:

For three of the Fed’s six emergency facilities, the central bank released information on groups of collateral it accepted by asset type and rating, without specifying individual securities. Among them was the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, created in March 2008 to provide loans to brokers as Bear Stearns Cos. collapsed.

“This is a half-step,” said former Atlanta Fed research director Robert Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at Cumberland Advisors Inc. in Sarasota, Florida. “If you were going to audit the facilities, then would this enable you to do an audit? The answer is ‘No,’ you would have to go in and look at the individual amounts of collateral and how it was broken down to do that. And that is the spirit of what the requirements were in Dodd-Frank.” [read more]

See also:

  • Fed Data Dump Reveals More Contradictions About its $1.25 Trillion MBS Purchase Program
  • Fed Created Conflicts in Improvising $3.3 Trillion Financial System Rescue
  • Meet The 35 Foreign Banks That Got Bailed Out By The Fed
  • Ben Bernanke’s Secret Global Bank
  • Here’s the only person on US TV “news” who actually covers and understands any of this, enter Dylan Ratigan, with his guest Chris Whalen from Institutional Risk Analytics. This quote from Whalen sums it up well: “The folks at the Fed have become so corrupt, so captured by the banking industry… the Fed is there to support the speculators and they let the real economy go to hell.”

    The Progressive’s Matthew Rothschild has a good quote: “The financial bailout was a giant boondoggle, undemocratic and kleptocratic to its core.”

    Matt Stoller on NewDeal 2.0:

    End This Fed

    The Fed, and specifically the people who run it, are responsible for declining wages, for de-industrialization, for bubbles, and for the systemic corruption of American capital markets. The new financial blogosphere destroyed the Fed’s mythic stature…. With a loss of legitimacy comes a lack of public trust and a vulnerability to any form of critic. The Fed is now less respected than the IRS…. Liberals should stop their love affair with conservative technocratic myths of monetary independence, and cease seeing this Federal Reserve as a legitimate actor. At the very least, we need to begin noticing that these people do in fact run the country, and should not. [read more]

    In case anyone is confused into believing that this is just another right vs. left partisan issue, enter Fox Business host Judge Andrew Napolitano with his guest Republican Congressman Ron Paul, who is, of course, a longtime leading Fed critic. Paul hopes to see some Wikileaks on the Federal Reserve:

    The Sunlight Foundation shines a light on Bank of America and the Federal Reserve’s brother money manager BlackRock:

    Federal Reserve Loan Program Allowed Bank of America to Benefit Twice

    Bank of America was one of several banks that was able to play both sides of a Federal Reserve program launched during the 2008 financial crisis. While Bank of America was selling its assets to firms obtaining loans through the Fed program, the investment firm BlackRock—partially owned by Bank of America—was potentially turning a profit by using those loans to buy assets similar to those sold by Bank of America. [read more]

    Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times jumps into the act:

    So That’s Where the Money Went

    How the truth shines through when you shed a little light on a subject….

    All of the emergency lending data released by the Fed are highly revealing, but why weren’t they made public much earlier? That’s a question that Walker F. Todd, a research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, is asking.

    Mr. Todd, a former assistant general counsel and research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said details about the Fed’s vast and various programs should have been available before the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform law was even written.

    “The Fed’s current set of powers and the shape of the Dodd-Frank bill over all might have looked quite different if this information had been made public during the debate on the bill,” he said. “Had these tables been out there, I think Congress would have either said no to emergency lending authority or if you get it, it’s going to be a much lower number — half a trillion dollars in the aggregate.” [read more]

    Welcome to the “global pawnshop:”

    The Fed Operates as a “global pawnshop:” $9 trillion to 18 financial institutions

    What the report shows is that the Fed operated as a global pawnshop taking in practically anything the banks had for collateral. What is even more disturbing is that the Federal Reserve did not enact any punitive charges to these borrowers so you had banks like Goldman Sachs utilizing the crisis to siphon off cheap collateral. The Fed is quick to point out that “taxpayers were fully protected” but mention little of the destruction they have caused to the US dollar. This is a hidden cost to Americans and it also didn’t help that they were the fuel that set off the biggest global housing bubble ever witnessed by humanity. [read more]

    “No strings attached.” Financial reporter Barry Grey unleashes the truth:

    Fed report lifts lid on Great Bank Heist of 2008-2009

    The banks and corporations that benefited were not even obliged to provide an account of what they did with the money. The entire purpose of the operation was to use public funds to cover the gambling losses of the American financial aristocracy, and create the conditions for the financiers and speculators to make even more money.

    All of the 21,000 transactions cited in the Fed documents―released under a provision included, over the Fed’s objections, in this year’s financial regulatory overhaul bill―were carried out in secret. The unelected central bank operated without any congressional mandate or oversight.

    The documents shed light on the greatest plundering of social resources in history. It was carried out under both the Republican Bush and Democratic Obama administrations. Those who organized the looting of the public treasury were long-time Wall Street insiders: men like Bush’s treasury secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson and the then-president of the New York Federal Reserve, Timothy Geithner….

    The Fed documents show that the US central bank enabled banks and corporations to offload their bad debts onto the Fed’s balance sheet. Now, in order to prevent a collapse of the dollar and a default by the US government, the American people are being told they must sacrifice to reduce the national debt and budget deficit.

    But as the vast sums make clear, the “sacrifice” being demanded of working people means their impoverishment―wage-cutting, mass unemployment, cuts in health care, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

    The very scale of the Fed bailout points to the scale of the financial crash and the criminality that fostered it…. The entire US capitalist economy rested on a huge Ponzi scheme that was bound to collapse…

    The banks were able to take the cheap cash from the Fed and lend it back to the government at double and quadruple the interest rates they were initially charged―pocketing many billions in the process….

    The ongoing saga of the looting of the economy by the financial elite puts the lie to the endless claims that “there is no money” for jobs, housing, education or health care. The ruling class is awash in money. [read more]

    Here’s an old Jim Rogers interview from two years ago when this whole thing was originally going down:

    Here are two videos that I made last year, with an assist from Alan Grayson and Dylan Ratigan:

    The Wall Street Economic Death Squad – Part I

    The Greatest Theft in History – Wall Street Economic Death Squad – Part II

    And on a final note, you may as well rock out to this new song while Rome burns…

    WORLD PREMIERE ~ Ben Bernanke: Public Enemy #1 – Mr. Big Shot (((Music Video)))

    Ben Shalom Bernanke is wanted for violating the United States Constitution, committing acts of financial terrorism and crimes against humanity. As a leading member of the Global Banking Cartel, he is considered a highly dangerous enemy combatant. Citizens of the United States hereby demand that he be properly detained under the laws and customs of war.