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ALL WARS ARE BANKERS’ WARS!

20 Apr

By Michael Rivero

 

“Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of a pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this world would be a happier and better world to live in. But if you wish to remain slaves of the Bankers and pay for the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits.” — Sir Josiah Stamp, President of the Bank of England in the 1920s, the second richest man in Britain

I know many people have a great deal of difficulty comprehending just how many wars are started for no other purpose than to force private central banks onto nations, so let me share a few examples, so that you understand why the US Government is mired in so many wars against so many foreign nations. There is ample precedent for this.

The United States fought the American Revolution primarily over King George III’s Currency act, which forced the colonists to conduct their business only using printed bank notes borrowed from the Bank of England at interest.

 

“The bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.” — William Paterson, founder of the Bank of England in 1694

After the revolution, the new United States adopted a radically different economic system in which the government issued its own value-based money, so that private banks like the Bank of England were not siphoning off the wealth of the people through interest-bearing bank notes.

“The refusal of King George 3rd to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution.” — Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father

Following the revolution, the US Government actually took steps to keep the bankers out of the new government!

 

“Any person holding any office or any stock in any institution in the nature of a bank for issuing or discounting bills or notes payable to bearer or order, cannot be a member of the House whilst he holds such office or stock.” — Third Congress of the United States Senate, 23rd of December, 1793, signed by the President, George Washington

But bankers are nothing if not dedicated to their schemes to acquire your wealth, and know full well how easy it is to corrupt a nation’s leaders. Just one year after Mayer Amschel Rothschild had uttered his infamous “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws”, the bankers succeeded in setting up a new Private Central Bank called the First Bank of the United States, largely through the efforts of the Rothschild’s chief US supporter, Alexander Hamilton. Founded in 1791, by the end of its twenty year charter the First Bank of the United States had almost ruined the nation’s economy, while enriching the bankers. Congress refused to renew the charter and signaled their intention to go back to a state issued value based currency on which the people paid no interest at all to any banker. This resulted in a threat from Nathan Mayer Rothschild against the US Government, “Either the application for renewal of the charter is granted, or the United States will find itself involved in a most disastrous war.” Congress still refused to renew the charter for the First Bank of the United States, whereupon Nathan Mayer Rothschild railed, “Teach those impudent Americans a lesson! Bring them back to colonial status!” The British Prime Minister at the time, Spencer Perceval was adamently opposed to war with the United States, primarily because the majority of England’s military might was occupied with the ongoing Napoleonic wars. Spencer Perceval was concerned that Britain might not prevail in a new American war, a concern shared by many in the British government. Then, Spencer Perceval was assassinated (the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated in office) and replaced by Robert Banks Jenkinson, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool, who was fully supportive of a war to recapture the colonies.


Click for larger image of the Geneva Gazette for July 1, 1912, reporting on the assassination of Spencer Perceval together with the declaration of the War of 1812.

 

 

“If my sons did not want wars, there would be none.” — Gutle Schnaper, wife of Mayer Amschel Rothschild and mother of his five sons

Financed at virtually no interest by the Rothschild controlled Bank of England, Britain then provoked the war of 1812 to recolonize the United States and force them back into the slavery of the Bank of England, or to plunge the United States into so much debt they would be forced to accept a new private central bank. And the plan worked. Even though the War of 1812 was won by the United States, Congress was forced to grant a new charter for yet another private bank issuing the public currency as loans at interest, the Second Bank of the United States. Once again, private bankers were in control of the nation’s money supply and cared not who made the laws or how many British and American soldiers had to die for it.

Once again the nation was plunged into debt, unemployment, and poverty by the predations of the private central bank, and in 1832 Andrew Jackson successfully campaigned for his second term as President under the slogan, “Jackson And No Bank!” True to his word, Jackson succeeds in blocking the renewal of the charter for the Second Bank of the United States.

“Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, (bringing his fist down on the table) I will rout you out!” — Andrew Jackson, shortly before ending the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. From the original minutes of the Philadelphia committee of citizens sent to meet with President Jackson (February 1834), according to Andrew Jackson and the Bank of the United States (1928) by Stan V. Henkels

Shortly after President Jackson (the only American President to actually pay off the National Debt) ended the Second Bank of the United States, there was an attempted assassination which failed when both pistols used by the assassin, Richard Lawrence, failed to fire. Lawrence later said that with Jackson dead, “Money would be more plenty.”

President Zachary Taylor opposed the creation of a new Private Central Bank, owing to the historical abuses of the First and Second Banks of the United States.

“The idea of a national bank is dead, and will not be revived in my time.” — Zachary Taylor

Taylor died on July 9, 1850 after eating a bowl of cherries and milk rumored to have been poisoned. The symptoms h displayed are consistent with acute arsenic poisoning.

President James Buchanan also opposed a private central bank. During the panic of 1857 he attempted to set limits on banks issuing more loans than they had actual funds, and to require all issued bank notes to be backed by Federal Government assets. He was poisoned with arsenic and survived, although 38 other people at the dinner died.

Of course, the public school system is as subservient to the bankers’ wishes to keep certain history from you, just as the corporate media is subservient to Monsanto’s wishes to keep the dangers of GMOs from you, and the global warming cult’s wishes to conceal from you that the Earth has actually been cooling for the last 16 years. Thus is should come as little surprise that much of the real reasons for the events of the Civil War are not well known to the average American.

 

“The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” — The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863

When the Confederacy seceded from the United States, the bankers once again saw the opportunity for a rich harvest of debt, and offered to fund Lincoln’s efforts to bring the south back into the union, but at 30% interest. Lincoln remarked that he would not free the black man by enslaving the white man to the bankers and using his authority as President, issued a new government currency, the greenback. This was a direct threat to the wealth and power of the central bankers, who quickly responded.

“If this mischievous financial policy, which has its origin in North America, shall become endurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous without precedent in the history of the world. The brains, and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That country must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.” — The London Times responding to Lincoln’s decision to issue government Greenbacks to finance the Civil War,rather than agree to private banker’s loans at 30% interest.

In 1872 New York bankers sent a letter to every bank in the United States, urging them to fund newspapers that opposed government-issued money (Lincoln’s greenbacks).

“Dear Sir: It is advisable to do all in your power to sustain such prominent daily and weekly newspapers… as will oppose the issuing of greenback paper money, and that you also withhold patronage or favors from all applicants who are not willing to oppose the Government issue of money. Let the Government issue the coin and the banks issue the paper money of the country… [T]o restore to circulation the Government issue of money, will be to provide the people with money, and will therefore seriously affect your individual profit as bankers and lenders.” — Triumphant plutocracy; the story of American public life from 1870 to 1920, by Lynn Wheeler

“It will not do to allow the greenback, as it is called, to circulate as money any length of time, as we cannot control that.” — Triumphant plutocracy; the story of American public life from 1870 to 1920, by Lynn Wheeler

“Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power, and chattel slavery destroyed. This, I and my European friends are in favor of, for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care for the laborer, while the European plan, led on by England, is for capital to control labor by controlling the wages. THIS CAN BE DONE BY CONTROLLING THE MONEY.” — Triumphant plutocracy; the story of American public life from 1870 to 1920, by Lynn Wheeler

Goaded by the private bankers, much of Europe supported the Confederacy against the Union, with the expectation that victory over Lincoln would mean the end of the Greenback. France and Britain considered an outright attack on the United States to aid the confederacy, but were held at bay by Russia, which had just ended the serfdom system and had a state central bank similar to the system the United States had been founded on. Left free of European intervention, the Union won the war, and Lincoln announced his intention to go on issuing greenbacks. Following Lincoln’s assassination, the Greenbacks were pulled from circulation and the American people forced to go back to an economy based on bank notes borrowed at interest from the private bankers. Tsar Alexander II, who authorized Russian militarey assistance to Lincoln, was subsequently the victim of multiple attempts on his life in 1866, 1879, and 1880, until his assassination in 1881.

James A. Garfield was elected President in 1880 on a platform of government control of the money supply.

 

“The chief duty of the National Government in connection with the currency of the country is to coin money and declare its value. Grave doubts have been entertained whether Congress is authorized by the Constitution to make any form of paper money legal tender. The present issue of United States notes has been sustained by the necessities of war; but such paper should depend for its value and currency upon its convenience in use and its prompt redemption in coin at the will of the holder, and not upon its compulsory circulation. These notes are not money, but promises to pay money. If the holders demand it, the promise should be kept. — James Garfield

 

“By the experience of commercial nations in all ages it has been found that gold and silver afford the only safe foundation for a monetary system. Confusion has recently been created by variations in the relative value of the two metals, but I confidently believe that arrangements can be made between the leading commercial nations which will secure the general use of both metals. Congress should provide that the compulsory coinage of silver now required by law may not disturb our monetary system by driving either metal out of circulation. If possible, such an adjustment should be made that the purchasing power of every coined dollar will be exactly equal to its debt-paying power in all the markets of the world. –James Garfield

 

“He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation. — James Garfield

Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881 and died of his wounds several weeks later. Chester A. Arthur succeeded Garfield as President.

In 1896, William McKinley was elected President in the middle of a depression-driven debate over gold-backed government currency versus bank notes borrowed at interest from private banks. McKinley favored gold-backed currencies and a balanced government budget which would free the public from accumulating debt.

 

“Our financial system needs some revision; our money is all good now, but its value must not further be threatened. It should all be put upon an enduring basis, not subject to easy attack, nor its stability to doubt or dispute. Our currency should continue under the supervision of the Government. The several forms of our paper money offer, in my judgment, a constant embarrassment to the Government and a safe balance in the Treasury.” — William McKinley

McKinley was shot by an out-of-work anarchist on September 14, 1901, in Buffalo, NY, succumbing to his wounds a few days later. He was suceeded in office by Theodore Roosevelt.

Finally, in 1913, the Private Central Bankers of Europe, in particular the Rothschilds of Great Britain and the Warburgs of Germany, met with their American financial collaborators on Jekyll Island, Georgia to form a new banking cartel with the express purpose of forming the Third Bank of the United States, with the aim of placing complete control of the United States money supply once again under the control of private bankers. Owing to hostility over the previous banks, the name was changed to “The Federal Reserve” system in order to grant the new bank a quasi-governmental image, but in fact it is a privately owned bank, no more “Federal” than Federal Express. Indeed, in 2012, the Federal Reserve attempted to rebuff a Freedom of Information Lawsuit by Bloomberg News on the grounds that as a private banking corporation and not actually a part of the government, the Freedom of Information Act did not apply to the “trade secret” operations of the Federal Reserve.

 

“When you or I write a check, there must be sufficient funds in our account to cover the check; but when the Federal Reserve writes a check, there is no bank deposit on which that check is drawn. When the Federal Reserve writes a check, it is creating money.” — From the Boston Federal Reserve Bank pamphlet, “Putting it Simply.”

 

“Neither paper currency nor deposits have value as commodities. Intrinsically, a ‘dollar’ bill is just a piece of paper. Deposits are merely book entries.” — “Modern Money Mechanics Workbook” � Federal Reserve of Chicago, 1975

 

“I am afraid the ordinary citizen will not like to be told that the banks can and do create money. And they who control the credit of the nation direct the policy of Governments and hold in the hollow of their hand the destiny of the people.” — Reginald McKenna, as Chairman of the Midland Bank, addressing stockholders in 1924

 

“States, most especially the large hegemonic ones, such as the United States and Great Britain, are controlled by the international central banking system, working through secret agreements at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and operating through national central banks (such as the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve)… The same international banking cartel that controls the United States today previously controlled Great Britain and held it up as the international hegemon. When the British order faded, and was replaced by the United States, the US ran the global economy. However, the same interests are served. States will be used and discarded at will by the international banking cartel; they are simply tools.” — Andrew Gavin Marshall

1913 proved to be a transformative year for the nation’s economy, first with the passage of the 16th “income tax” Amendment and the false claim that it had been ratified.

“I think if you were to go back and and try to find and review the ratification of the 16th amendment, which was the internal revenue, the income tax, I think if you went back and examined that carefully, you would find that a sufficient number of states never ratified that amendment.” – U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox, Sullivan Vs. United States, 2003.

Later that same year, and apparently unwilling to risk another questionable amendment, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act over Christmas holiday 1913, while members of Congress opposed to the measure were at home. This was a very underhanded deal, as the Constitution explicitly vests Congress with the authority to issue the public currency, does not authorize its delegation, and thus should have required a new Amendment to transfer that authority to a private bank. But pass it Congress did, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it as he promised the bankers he would in exchange for generous campaign contributions. Wilson later regretted that decision.

 

“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. We are no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.” — Woodrow Wilson 1919

The next year, World War One started, and it is important to remember that prior to the creation of the Federal Reserve, there was no such thing as a world war.

 

World War One started between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, but quickly shifted to focus on Germany, whose industrial capacity was seen as an economic threat to Great Britain, who saw the decline of the British Pound as a result of too much emphasis on financial activity to the neglect of agriculture, industrial development, and infrastructure (not unlike the present day United States). Although pre-war Germany had a private central bank, it was heavily restricted and inflation kept to reasonable levels. Under government control, investment was guaranteed to internal economic development, and Germany was seen as a major power. So, in the media of the day, Germany was portrayed as the prime opponent of World War One, and not just defeated, but its industrial base flattened. Following the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was ordered to pay the war costs of all the participating nations, even though Germany had not actually started the war. This amounted to three times the value of all of Germany itself. Germany’s private central bank, to whom Germany had gone deeply into debt to pay the costs of the war, broke free of government control, and massive inflation followed (mostly triggered by currency speculators) , permanently trapping the German people in endless debt.

When the Weimar Republic collapsed economically, it opened the door for the National Socialists to take power. Their first financial move was to issue their own state currency which was not borrowed from private central bankers. Freed from having to pay interest on the money in circulation, Germany blossomed and quickly began to rebuild its industry. The media called it “The German Miracle”. TIME magazine lionized Hitler for the amazing improvement in life for the German people and the explosion of German industry, and even named him TIME Magazine’s Man Of The Year in 1938.

 

 

Once again, Germany’s industrial output became a threat to Great Britain.

“Should Germany merchandise (do business) again in the next 50 years we have led this war (WW1) in vain.” – Winston Churchill in The Times (1919) 

“We will force this war upon Hitler, if he wants it or not.” – Winston Churchill (1936 broadcast)

“Germany becomes too powerful. We have to crush it.” – Winston Churchill (November 1936 speaking to US – General Robert E. Wood)

“This war is an English war and its goal is the destruction of Germany.” – Winston Churchill (- Autumn 1939 broadcast)

 

Germany’s state-issued value based currency was also a direct threat to the wealth and power of the private central banks, and as early as 1933 they started to organize a global boycott against Germany to strangle this upstart ruler who thought he could break free of private central bankers!

 


Click for larger image
 

As had been the case in World War One, Great Britain and other nations threatened by Germany’s economic power looked for an excuse to go to war, and as public anger in Germany grew over the boycott, Hitler foolishly gave them that excuse. Years later, in a spirit of candor, the real reasons for that war were made clear.

“The war wasn’t only about abolishing fascism, but to conquer sales markets. We could have, if we had intended so, prevented this war from breaking out without doing one shot, but we didn’t want to.”– Winston Churchill to Truman (Fultun, USA March 1946) 

 

“Germany’s unforgivable crime before WW2 was its attempt to loosen its economy out of the world trade system and to build up an independent exchange system from which the world-finance couldn’t profit anymore. …We butchered the wrong pig.” -Winston Churchill (The Second World War – Bern, 1960)

As a side note, we need to step back before WW2 and recall Marine Major General Smedley Butler. In 1933, Wall Street bankers and financiers had bankrolled the successful coups by both Hitler and Mussolini. Brown Brothers Harriman in New York was financing Hitler right up to the day war was declared with Germany. And they decided that a fascist dictatorship in the United States based on the one on Italy would be far better for their business interests than Roosevelt’s “New Deal” which threatened massive wealth re-distribution to recapitalize the working and middle class of America. So the Wall Street tycoons recruited General Butler to lead theoverthrow of the US Government and install a “Secretary of General Affairs” who would be answerable to Wall Street and not the people, would crush social unrest and shut down all labor unions. General Butler pretended to go along with the scheme but then exposed the plot to Congress. Congress, then as now in the pocket of the Wall Street bankers, refused to act. When Roosevelt learned of the planned coup he demanded the arrest of the plotters, but the plotters simply reminded Roosevelt that if any one of them were sent to prison, their friends on Wall Street would deliberatly collapse the still-fragile economy and blame Roosevelt for it. Roosevelt was thus unable to act until the start of WW2, at which time he prosecuted many of the plotters under the Trading With The Enemy act. The Congressional minutes into the coup were finally released in 1967 and became the inspiration for the movie, “Seven Days in May” but with the true financial villains erased from the script.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of our country’s most agile military force — the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent more of my time being a high–class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. “I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that the Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.” — General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant,1935

 

As President, John F. Kennedy understood the predatory nature of private central banking. He understood why Andrew Jackson fought so hard to end the Second Bank of the United States. So Kennedy wrote and signed Executive Order 11110 which ordered the US Treasury to issue a new public currency, the United States Note.

 


Click for larger
 

Kennedy’s United States Notes were not borrowed form the Federal Reserve but created by the US Government and backed by the silver stockpiles held by the US Government. It represented a return to the system of economics the United States had been founded on, and was perfectly legal for Kennedy to do. All told, some four and one half billion dollars went into public circulation, eroding interest payments to the Federal Reserve and loosening their control over the nation. Five months later John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas, and the United States Notes pulled from circulation and destroyed (except for samples held by collectors). John J. McCloy, President of the Chase Manhattan Bank, and President of the World Bank, was named to the Warren Commission, presumably to make certain the banking dimensions behind the assassination were concealed from the public.

As we enter the eleventh year of what future history will most certainly describe as World War Three, we need to examine the financial dimensions behind the wars.

Towards the end of World War Two, when it became obvious that the allies were going to win and dictate the post war environment, the major world economic powers met at Bretton Woods, a luxury resort in New Hampshire in July of 1944, and hammered out the Bretton Woods agreement for international finance. The British Pound lost its position as the global trade and reserve currency to the US dollar (part of the price demanded by Roosevelt in exchange for the US entry into the war). Absent the economic advantages of being the world’s “go-to” currency, Britain was forced to nationalize the Bank of England in 1946. The Bretton Woods agreement, ratified in 1945, in addition to making the dollar the global reserve and trade currency, obligated the signatory nations to tie their currencies to the dollar. The nations that ratified Bretton Woods did so on two conditions. The first was that the Federal Reserve would refrain from over-printing the dollar as a means to loot real products and produce from other nations in exchange for ink and paper; basically an imperial tax. That assurance was backed up by the second requirement, which was that the US dollar would always be convertible to gold at $35 per ounce.

Of course, the Federal Reserve, being a private bank and not answerable to the US Government, did start overprinting paper dollars, and much of the perceived prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s was the result of foreign nations’ obligations to accept the paper notes as being worth gold at the rate of $35 an ounce. Then in 1970, France looked at the huge pile of paper notes sitting in their vaults, for which real French products like wine and cheese had been traded, and notified the United States government that they would exercise their option under Bretton Woods to return the paper notes for gold at the $35 per ounce exchange rate. Of course, the United States had nowhere near the gold to redeem the paper notes, so on August 15th, 1971, Richard Nixon “temporarily” suspended the gold convertibility of the US Federal Reserve Notes. This “Nixon shock” effectively ended Bretton Woods and many global currencies started to delink from the US dollar. Worse, since the United States had collateralized their loans with the nation’s gold reserves, it quickly became apparent that the US Government did not in fact have enough gold to cover the outstanding debts. Foreign nations began to get very nervous about their loans to the US and understandably were reluctant to loan any additional money to the United States without some form of collateral. So Richard Nixon started the environmental movement, with the EPA and its various programs such as “wilderness zones”, Roadless areas”, Heritage rivers”, “Wetlands”, all of which took vast areas of public lands and made them off limits to the American people who were technically the owners of those lands. But Nixon had little concern for the environment and the real purpose of this land grab under the guise of the environment was to pledge those pristine lands and their vast mineral resources as collateral on the national debt. The plethora of different programs was simply to conceal the true scale of how much American land was being pledged to foreign lenders as collateral on the government’s debts; eventually almost 25% of the nation itself.

 

click for full size imageWith open lands for collateral already in short supply, the US Government embarked on a new program to shore up sagging international demand for the dollar. The United States approached the world’s oil producing nations, mostly in the Middle East, and offered them a deal. In exchange for only selling their oil for dollars, the United States would guarantee the military safety of those oil-rich nations. The oil rich nations would agree to spend and invest their US paper dollars inside the United States, in particular in US Treasury Bonds, redeemable through future generations of US taxpayers. The concept was labeled the “petrodollar”. In effect, the US, no longer able to back the dollar with gold, was now backing it with oil. Other peoples’ oil. And that necessity to keep control over those oil nations to prop up the dollar has shaped America’s foreign policy in the region ever since.

But as America’s manufacturing and agriculture has declined, the oil producing nations faced a dilemma. Those piles of US Federal Reserve notes were not able to purchase much from the United States because the United States had little (other than real estate) anyone wanted to buy. Europe’s cars and aircraft were superior and less costly, while experiments with GMO food crops led to nations refusing to buy US food exports. Israel’s constant belligerence against its neighbors caused them to wonder if the US could actually keep their end of the petrodollar arrangement. Oil producing nations started to talk of selling their oil for whatever currency the purchasers chose to use. Iraq, already hostile to the United States following Desert Storm, demanded the right to sell their oil for Euros in 2000 and in 2002, the United Nations agreed to allow it under the “Oil for food” program instituted following Desert Storm. One year later the United States re-invaded Iraq, lynched Saddam Hussein, and placed Iraq’s oil back on the world market only for US dollars.

The clear US policy shift following 9-11, away from being an impartial broker of peace in the Mideast to one of unquestioned support for Israel’s aggressions only further eroded confidence in the Petrodollar deal and even more oil producing nations started openly talking of oil trade for other global currencies.

Over in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi had instituted a state-owned central bank and a value based trade currency, the Gold Dinar. Gaddafi announced that Libya’s oil was for sale, but only for the Gold Dinar. Other African nations, seeing the rise of the Gold Dinar and the Euro, even as the US dollar continued its inflation-driven decline, flocked to the new Libyan currency for trade. This move had the potential to seriously undermine the global hegemony of the dollar. French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly went so far as to call Libya a “threat” to the financial security of the world. So, the United States invaded Libya, brutally murdered Qaddafi ( the object lesson of Saddam’s lynching not being enough of a message, apparently), imposed a private central bank, and returned Libya’s oil output to dollars only. The gold that was to have been made into the Gold Dinars is, as of last report, unaccounted for.

According to General Wesley Clark, the master plan for the “dollarification” of the world’s oil nations included seven targets, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran (Venezuela, which dared to sell their oil to China for the Yuan, is a late addition). What is notable about the original seven nations originally targeted by the US is that none of them are members of the Bank for International Settlements, the private central bankers private central bank, located in Switzerland. This meant that these nations were deciding for themselves how to run their nations’ economies, rather than submit to the international private banks.

Now the bankers’ gun sights are on Iran, which dares to have a government central bank and sell their oil for whatever currency they choose. The war agenda is, as always, to force Iran’s oil to be sold only for dollars and to force them to accept a privately owned central bank. Malaysia, one of the new nations without a Rothschild central bank, is now being invaded by a force claimed to be “Al Qaeda”, and with the death of President Hugo Chavez, plans to impose a US and banker friendly regime on Venezuela are clearly being implemented.

The German government recently asked for the return of some of their gold bullion from the Bank of France and the New York Federal Reserve. France has said it will take 5 years to return Germany’s gold. The United States has said they will need 8 years to return Germany’s gold. This suggests strongly that the Bank of France and the NY Federal Reserve have used the deposited gold for other purposes, most likely to cover gold futures contracts used to artificially suppress the price of gold to keep investors in the equities markets, and the Central Banks are scrambling to find new gold to cover the shortfall and prevent a gold run. So it is inevitable that suddenly France invades Mali, ostensibly to combat Al Qaeda, with the US joining in. Mali just happens to be one of the world’s largest gold producers with gold accounting for 80% of Mali exports. War for the bankers does not get more obvious than that!

Mexico has demanded a physical audit of their gold bullion stored at the Bank of England, and along with Venezuela’s vast oil reserves (larger than Saudi Arabia), Venezuela’s gold mines are a prize lusted after by all the Central Banks that played fast and loose with other peoples’ gold bullion. So we can expect regime change if not outright invasion soon.

You have been raised by a public school system and media that constantly assures you that the reasons for all these wars and assassinations are many and varied. The US claims to bring democracy to the conquered lands (they haven’t; the usual result of a US overthrow is the imposition of a dictatorship, such as the 1953 CIA overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh and the imposition of the Shah, or the 1973 CIA overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende, and the imposition of Augusto Pinochet), or to save a people from a cruel oppressor, revenge for 9-11, or that tired worn-out catch all excuse for invasion, weapons of mass destruction. Assassinations are always passed off as “crazed lone nuts” to obscure the real agenda.

The real agenda is simple. It is enslavement of the people by creation of a false sense of obligation. That obligation is false because the Private Central Banking system, by design, always creates more debt than money with which to pay that debt. Private Central Banking is not science, it is a religion; a set of arbitrary rules created to benefit the priesthood, meaning the owners of the Private Central Bank. The fraud persists, with often lethal results, because the people are tricked into believing that this is the way life is suppoed to be and no alternative exists or should be dreamt of. The same was true of two earlier systems of enslavement, Rule by Divine Right and Slavery, both systems built to trick people into obedience, and both now recognized by modern civilizatyion as illegitimate. Now we are entering a time in human history where we will recognize that rule by debt, or rule by Private Central Bankers issuing the public currency as a loan at interest, is equally illegitimate. It only works as long as people allow themselves to believe that this is the way life is supposed to be.

 

But understand this above all; Private Central Banks do not exist to serve the people, the community, or the nation. Private Central Banks exist to serve their owners, to make them rich beyond the dreams of Midas and all for the cost of ink, paper, and the right bribe to the right official.

Behind all these wars, all these assassinations, the hundred million horrible deaths from all the wars lies a single policy of dictatorship. The private central bankers allow rulers to rule only on the condition that the people of a nation be enslaved to the private central banks. Failing that, said ruler will be killed, and their nation invaded by those other nations enslaved to private central banks.

The so-called “clash of civilizations” we read about on the corporate media is really a war between banking systems, with the private central bankers forcing themselves onto the rest of the world, no matter how many millions must die for it. Indeed the constant hatemongering against Muslims lies in a simple fact. Like the ancient Christians (prior to the Knights Templars private banking system) , Muslims forbid usury, or the lending of money at interest. And that is the reason our government and media insist they must be killed or converted. They refuse to submit to currencies issued at interest. They refuse to be debt slaves.

So off to war your children must go, to spill their blood for the money-junkies’ gold. We barely survived the last two world wars. In the nuclear/bioweapon age, are the private central bankers willing to risk incinerating the whole planet just to feed their greed?

Apparently so.

This brings us to the current situation in the Ukraine.

The European Union had been courting the government of the Ukraine to merge with the EU, and more to the point, entangle their economy with the private-owned European Central Bank. The government of the Ukraine was considering the move, but had made no commitments. Part of their concern lay with the conditions in other EU nations enslaved to the ECB, notably Cyprus, Greece, Spain, and Italy. So they were properly cautious. Then Russia stepped in with a better deal and the Ukraine, exercising the basic choice all consumers have to choose the best product at the best price, dropped the EU and announced they were going to go with Russia’s offer. It was at that point that agents provocateurs flooded into the Ukraine, covertly funded by intelligence agency fronts like CANVAS and USAID, stirring up trouble, while the western media proclaimed this was a popular revolution. Snipers shot at people and this violence was blamed on then-President Yanukovich. However a leaked recording of a phone call between the EU’s Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed the snipers were working for the overthrow plotters, not the Ukrainian government. Urmas Paet has confirmed the authenticity of that phone call.

This is a classic pattern of covert overthrow we have seen many times before. Since the end of WW2, the US has covertly tried to overthrow the governments of 56 nations, succeeding 25 times. Examples include the 1953 overthrow of Iran’s elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh and the imposition of the Shah, the 1973 overthrow of Chile’s elected government of Salvador Allende and the imposition of the Pinochet dictatorship, and of course, the current overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government of Yanukovich and the imposition of the current unelected government, which is already gutting the Ukraine’s wealth to hand to the western bankers.

 

Flag waving and propaganda aside, all modern wars are wars by and for the private bankers, fought and bled for by third parties unaware of the true reason they are expected to gracefully be killed and croppled for. The process is quite simple. As soon as the Private Central Bank issues its currency as a loan at interest, the public is forced deeper and deeper into debt. When the people are reluctant to borrow any more, that is when the Keynesian economists demand the government borrow more to keep the pyramid scheme working. When both the people and government refuse to borrow any more, that is when wars are started, to plunge everyone even deeper into debt to pay for the war, then after the war to borrow more to rebuild. When the war is over, the people have about the same as they did before the war, except the graveyards are far larger and everyone is in debt to the private bankers for the next century. This is why Brown Brothers Harriman in New York was funding the rise of Adolf Hitler.

As long as Private Central Banks are allowed to exist, inevitably as the night follows day there will be poverty, hopelessness, and millions of deaths in endless World Wars, until the Earth itself is sacrificed in flames to Mammon.

The path to true peace on Earth lies in the abolishment of all private central banking everywhere, and a return to the state-issued value-based currencies that allow nations and people to become prosperous.

 

“Banks do not have an obligation to promote the public good.” — Alexander Dielius, CEO, Germany, Austrian, Eastern Europe Goldman Sachs, 2010

 

“I am just a banker doing God’s work.” — Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman Sachs, 2009

 


 


 


Click for larger image


 

Other articles by Michael Rivero on the fraud of Private Central Banking. 

THE ELEVENTH MARBLE 

HOW YOU BECAME A SLAVE TO THE BANKERS! 

Awaken slaves! – How The Private Central Bank Ponzi Scheme Trapped And Destroyed America 

THE FATAL FLAWS IN WALL STREET’S ECONOMIC THEORY 

BANKERS GONE WILD – HOW THE US GOVERNMENT HELPED WALL STREET GANG-RAPE AMERICA’S MIDDLE CLASS (AND MOST OF EUROPE)


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The Cliven Bundy Standoff: Wounded Knee Revisited?

13 Apr

 

We took away their country and their means of support, broke up their mode of living, their habits of life, introduced disease and decay among them, and it was for this and against this they made war. Could anyone expect less? – General Philip Sheridan, who presided over the expropriation of the Plains Indians, in the 1878 Annual Report of the General of the U.S. Army

Following the War Between the States, as the formerly independent South was being re-assimilated into the Soyuz, the US military took up the task of driving the Plains Indians off of land that had been promised to them through solemn treaty obligations – but was now coveted by the corporatist railroad combine.

In 1867, William Sherman wrote a letter to General Grant insisting that “we are not going to let thieving, ragged Indians check and stop the progress” of the railroad. About a year earlier, Sherman had urged Grant to “act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women, and children.” Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo points out that Sherman set out to make the Sioux “feel the superior power of the Government,” even if “the final solution to the Indian problem” required that they be physically annihilated.

Writing in Smithsonian magazine, historian Gilbert King observes that the post-war US military wasn’t adequate to carry out that ambitious campaign. General Philip Sheridan, who succeeded Sherman as Commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, complained that he had only 14,000 troops with which to carry out “the reduction of these wild tribes and occupation of their country.”

Note that Sheridan didn’t equivocate in describing his army’s role as the occupier of a “country” that belonged, by right, to other people. He had no moral scruples against being an occupier; his objections were limited to practical concerns.

The Plains Indians were canny, elusive, and motivated. However, their dependence on the buffalo provided the aggressors with an exploitable vulnerability. Hunting the Indians was difficult and risky; slaughtering buffalo was neither.

The railroads, acting as a military force multiplier, began ferrying tourists to the West for the specific purpose of “sport-hunting” buffalo.

Unlike the Indians, who never threatened to hunt the buffalo to extinction, or Bill Cody, who was restrained in his efforts to harvest them to feed construction crews for the Kansas Pacific Railroad, the Eastern tourists had no property interest in the continued existence of the species, and didn’t have to pay any price for the profligate destruction they wrought.

“Massive hunting parties began to arrive in the West by train, with thousands of men packing .50 caliber rifles, and leaving a trail of buffalo carnage in their wake,” recalls King. “Hunters began killing buffalo by the hundreds of thousands,” leaving their ravaged bodies to bloat and fester.

When legislatures in some states attempted to enact measures to conserve the buffalo, their objections were overruled by the Feds. The higher “national purpose” required a “total war” strategy that included the destruction of the buffalo in order to break the resistance of the Plains Indians.

“These men have done more in the last two years, and will do more in the next year, to settle the vexed Indian question, than the entire regular army has done in the last forty years,” wrote General Sheridan with satisfaction. “They are destroying the Indians’ commissary. And it is a well-known fact that an army losing its base of supplies is placed at a great disadvantage. Send them [the private buffalo hunters] powder and lead, if you will; but for a lasting peace, let them kill, skin and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated. Then your prairies can be covered with speckled cattle.”

Cattle became the successor to buffalo in the late 1860s and early 1870s. That was the era when the ancestors of Cliven Bundy settled in what was to become the State of Nevada, and began to graze cattle in what would later be called the Bunkerville Grazing Allotment. The Bundy family made peaceful and productive use of that allotment for more than 120 years, mixing their labor with the land to create original wealth.

Unfortunately, the Bundy family — like the American Indians – had been living on a reservation: They were never allowed to exercise ownership of their grazing “allotment,” in much the same way that Indians were not permitted to have clear title to their lands. The land on which the Bundy family raised cattle was “owned” by the government, and the Bundys were required to pay rent – in the form of grazing fees – for the “privilege” of making productive use of it. The public-land grazing system has been described as “the nation’s most conspicuous and extensive flirtation with socialism” – except, perhaps, for the Indian Reservation System.

Indians whose lands were supposedly protected through treaties invariably discovered that the phrase “in perpetuity” means “pending the discovery of something valuable on the land that is desired by a politically favored constituency.” The desired commodity could be gold – as the Nez Perce learned after their homeland in the luxuriant Wallowa Valley, having been reduced to a tiny, barren tract, was seized from them by General O.O. Howard.  It could be fertile farm lands on the banks of the Niobrara River, as the Poncas discovered when they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma.

Similar “adjustments” were made to practically every Indian band or tribe that signed a treaty in good faith with Washington – only to find themselves reduced to destitution when Washington withheld promised annuities and rations, and then evicted from their lands when it suited Leviathan’s interests. The high and holy purpose of Manifest Destiny nullified the property rights of Indians and any treaty obligations that would inhibit Washington’s drive for continental expansion.

In 1993, the same federal Leviathan State that unilaterally “modified” binding treaty agreements with Indian tribes and bands decided to “modify” the terms of the Bundy family’s grazing permit. This was done in the service of a doctrine even more insidious than Manifest Destiny: A new religion in which all human property rights – including, some adherents insist, the right to live itself – are to be sacrificed on the altar of “biocentrism.” The central tenet of that religion is that “Human beings are not inherently superior to other living things.”

However, there are certain superior specimens within the ranks of humanity who possess a gift of seership that permits them to discern the true needs of nature. On occasion, these infinitely wise and limitlessly benevolent beings – most of whom have found a niche in some foundation-funded eco-radical lobby – will identify “endangered” or “threatened” species whose supposed claim to a “habitat” outweighs property rights and all human needs.

Since none of those non-human creatures can speak on their own behalf, we should consider ourselves extravagantly blessed by the presence of eco-seers capable of discerning their needs, bureaucrats willing to harken to their inspired counsel, and judges who dutifully ratify bureaucratic decisions without being unduly burdened by respect for property rights.

In 1993, acting on an infallible ecocentric pronouncement, the Bureau of Land Management decreed that the land on which Cliven Bundy and his neighbors had long grazed their cattle was actually the “habitat” of the desert tortoise.

Although the BLM – like other agencies involved in administering Washington’s illegal colonial occupation of western lands – has been influenced by biocentrism, it’s not likely that its upper echelons are filled with True Believers in anything other than the Bureaucratic Prime Directive: “Maintain what we have, and expand where we can.”

The BLM’s revisions were imposed during the reign of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who in a letter two years earlier (written while he was head of the League of Conservation Voters) declared: “We must identify our enemies and drive them into oblivion.” Babbitt and his comrades have acted with what Sherman described as “vindictive earnestness” in pursuing that objective: In the past twenty years they have all but eradicated cattle ranching in the southwestern United States.

In his book War on the West, William Pendley of the Mountain States Legal Foundation observes that “the enormous might of the federal government has always meant that the life of the West was in the hands of strangers living thousands of miles away. Like the weather that can sweep down upon Westerners and change their lives in an instant, the federal government has always loomed as a distant threat.” During Babbitt’s tenure at the Department of the Interior, the federal eco-jihad specifically targeted “the most enduring symbol of the American West – the cowboy – seeking to price and regulate the rancher off federal grazing lands and out of business, destroying the economy of rural areas.” One of the first initiatives undertaken by Secretary Babbitt in pursuit of his vision of a “New West” was to seek a 230 percent increase in grazing fees charged to ranchers on federally administered lands. Although the proposed fee increase was thwarted by a Senate filibuster, the effort to destroy the ranching industry continued. After the fee increase was proposed, an Interior Department memo surfaced which revealed that Babbitt wanted “to use price increases as a straw man to draw attention from management issues.” While ranchers fought the grazing fee increase, Babbitt and company created “Range Reform ’94,” a cluster of proposed federal land use and environmental regulations which Pendley describes as “A Thousand and One Ways to Get Ranchers off Federal Land.”During the late 1990s – a period in which Babbitt, appropriately, was mired in a scandal involving decades of federal fraud, embezzlement, and graft in the Indian Trust Fund System – ranchers rallied to hold off the federal assault. But like the Plains Indians, the ranchers were facing an implacable enemy unburdened with respect for the law and blessed with access to limitless resources. Of the 52 ranchers in his section of Nevada, Cliven Bundy is the only one who has refused to go back to the reservation. So the heirs to Sherman and Sheridan have mobilized an army to protect hired thieves who have come to steal the Bundy family’s cattle with the ultimate purpose of driving him from the land.

Their objective is not to protect the desert tortoise, but to punish a defiant property owner and entrepreneur. This potentially murderous aggression is being celebrated by Progressives as a worthy effort to make dangerous radicals “feel the superior power of the Government.”

For more than two decades, Bundy has defied the federal land management bureaucracy, and his continued resistance could catalyze a general revolt against their designs for the western United States.

Their intent, as described by Pendley, is to transform the West into “a land nearly devoid of people and economic activity, a land devoted almost entirely to the preservation of scenery and wildlife habitat. In their vision, everything from the 100th meridian to the Cascade Range becomes a vast park through which they might drive, drinking their Perrier and munching their organic chips, staying occasionally in the bed-and-breakfast operations into which the homes of Westerners have been turned, with those Westerners who remain fluffing duvets and pouring cappuccino.”

The high priests of biocentrism and their bureaucratic allies aren’t going to let a handful of ragged but resolute ranchers “check and stop the progress” of Manifest Destiny.

In 1875, amid an entirely contrived Indian Scare in Corrine, Utah, Indian Agent William H. Danilson sent a telegram to Washington complaining about the dangerous “extremism” that had seized the restive Shoshones. “They are taught to hate the government, and look with distrust upon their Agents,” complained the bureaucrat. The Indians impudently maintained that “Bear River Valley belonged to them” and were preparing to resist efforts to evict them from their property.

“Their whole teachings [are] fraught with evil,” concluded Danilson, scandalized that Indians would believe in the sanctity of property, and thus expected the federal government to keep its promises.

Historian Brigham D. Madsen records that an Army investigation of that 1875 Indian Scare found that the Shoshones – who were, as usual, starving because of the government’s failure to deliver promised rations – posed no threat. Nonetheless, the military “issued an ultimatum that all reservation Indians were to return to their reservations at once or [the local commander] would use military force to compel them to do so.”

It didn’t matter that the Indians had done nothing wrong, and that the government had acted illegally: The cause of “law and order” meant that the government simply had to prevail. That was the central theme in Washington’s dealings with the Indians – and in its conduct toward western landowners as well.

Fifteen years after the Corinne Indian Scare, the final flickers of Indian resistance were extinguished by Leviathan in the bloody snows of Wounded Knee. Our rulers clearly intend to use the standoff in Clark County to suffocate remaining resistance to the western states land grab. The only matter left unresolved is the question of how much violence they are willing to employ to accomplish that end.

 

Darkness Over All: John Robison and the Birth of the Illuminati Conspiracy

6 Apr

 

Conspiracy theories of a secretive power elite seeking global domination have long held a place in the modern imagination. Mike Jay explores the idea’s beginnings in the writings of John Robison, a Scottish scientist who maintained that the French revolution was the work of a covert Masonic cell known as the Illuminati.

masonic french revolution
Representation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789 painted by Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier in 1789. His depiction includes the “eye of providence” and also the red Phrygian cap, two symbols associated with freemasonry.

At the beginning of 1797, John Robison was a man with a solid and long-established reputation in the British scientific establishment. He had been Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University for over twenty years, an authority on mathematics and optics; he had recently been appointed senior scientific contributor on the third edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, to which he would contribute over a thousand pages of articles. Yet by the end of the year his professional reputation had been eclipsed by a sensational book that vastly outsold anything he had previously written, and whose shockwaves would continue to reverberate long after his scientific work had been forgotten. Its title was Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, and it launched on the English-speaking public the enduring theory that a vast conspiracy, masterminded by a covert Masonic cell known as the Illuminati, was in the process of subverting all the cherished institutions of the civilised world into instruments of its secret and godless plan: the tyranny of the masses under the invisible control of unknown superiors, and a new era of ‘darkness over all’.

The first edition of Proofs of a Conspiracy sold out within days, and within a year it had been republished many times, not only in Edinburgh but in London, Dublin and New York. Robison had hit a nerve by offering an answer to the great questions of the day: what had caused the French Revolution, and what had driven its bloody and tumultuous progress? From his vantage point in Edinburgh he had, along with millions of others, followed with horror the reports of France dismembering its monarchy, dispossessing its church and transforming its downtrodden and brutalised population into the most ruthless fighting force Europe had ever seen – and now, under the rising star of the young general Napoleon Bonaparte, attempting to export the carnage and destruction to its surrounding monarchies, not least Britain itself. But Robison believed that he alone had identified the hidden hand responsible for the apparently senseless eruption of terror and war that now appeared to be consuming the world.

La Liberté ou la Mort. The Genius of France between Liberty and Death
La Liberté ou la Mort (1795) by Jean-Baptiste Regnault. Note the red Phyrigian cap, a symbol of the French revolution also associated by some with Freemasonry – Source.

Many had located the roots of the revolution in the ideas of Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire, Diderot and Condorcet, who had exalted reason and progress over authority and tradition; but none of these mostly aristocratic philosophes had advocated a revolution of the masses, and indeed several of them had ended their lives on the guillotine. In the early 1790s it had been possible to believe that the power-hungry lawyers and journalists of the Jacobin Club had whipped up the Paris mob into their destructive frenzy for their own ends, but by 1794 Danton, Robespierre and the rest of the Jacobin leaders had followed their victims to the guillotine: how could they have been the puppet-masters when they had had their own strings so brutally cut? What Robison was proposing in the meticulously documented pages of Proofs of a Conspiracy was that all these agents of revolution had been pawns in a much bigger game, with ambitions that were only just beginning to make themselves visible.

The French Revolution, like all convulsive world events before and since, had been full of conspiracies, bred by the speed of events, the panic of those caught up in them and the limited information available to them as they unfolded. In Britain, enemies of the revolution such as Edmund Burke had claimed from the beginning that ‘already confederacies and correspondences of the most extraordinary nature are forming in several countries’, and by 1797 most believed – and with good reason – that secret societies in Ireland were plotting with Napoleon to overthrow the British government and invade the mainland. The power of Robison’s revelation was that it identified within the buzzing confusion of conspiracies a single protagonist, a single ideology and a single overarching plot that crystallised the chaos into an epic struggle between good and evil, whose outcome would define the future of world politics.

adam weishaupt
Portrait of Adam Weishaupt featured in Cagliostro: the splendour and misery of a master of magic (1910) by W.R.H. Trowbridge –Source.

Robison’s vast conspiracy needed an imposing figurehead, a role for which Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati, seemed on the surface to be an unpromising candidate. Obsessive and domineering, Weishaupt had from the beginning found difficulty in attracting members to his secret society, where they were expected to adopt mystical pseudonyms chosen by him, jump through the hoops of his strict initiatic grades – Novice and Minerval, Illuminatus Minor and Major, Dirigens and Magus – and take up subservient roles in his grandiose but unfocused crusade for world domination. After 1784, when the Order had been exposed and banned by the Elector of Bavaria, Weishaupt had exiled himself to Gotha in central Germany, since when he appeared to have done little beyond producing a series of morose and self-justifying memoirs of his adventures.

Yet there was much in the career of the Illuminati that offered, to Robison at least, a view of a far more expansive and sinister scheme. Weishaupt’s messianic sense of his own mission and the Order’s extravagant structures hinted at a far larger organisation than that which had been exposed, and its suppression had generated a furore quite out of proportion to the danger it represented. It had become a lightning-rod for the deep anxieties of church and monarchy about the agenda of reason and progress that was being seeded across Europe by the confident vanguard of philosophers and scientists. The Illuminati furore had generated hundreds of screeds, polemics, handbills and scandal sheets, all competing to file the most damning charges of godless infamy. It was these sources that Robison had spent years perusing intently for anecdotes and allegations to mould into the proofs of the conspiracy that he now presented. To the dispassionate observer, Weishaupt and his Illuminati might have offered an eloquent metaphor for the forces that were reconfiguring Europe, but for Robison they had become the literal cause: the centre, thus far invisible, of the web of events that had consumed the world.

Minerva Owl Bavarian Illuminati
The original insignia of the Bavarian Illuminati: the owl of Minerva, symbolising wisdom, on top of an opened book – Source.

Robison may have been a distant spectator of the Illuminati furore, but he was no dispassionate observer. While Proofs of a Conspiracy came as a surprise (and in most cases an embarrassment) to his friends and scientific colleagues, there were many reasons why the Illuminati had presented itself to him in this form. His discovery resolved long-standing suspicions and conflicts in both his private and professional life, and chimed in particular with his own curious adventures in freemasonry.

By 1797 Robison’s character had taken a grave and saturnine turn, far removed from the cheerful and convivial temperament of his youth. In 1785 he had begun to suffer from a mysterious medical condition, a severe and painful spasm of the groin: it seemed to emanate from beneath his testicles, but its precise origin baffled the most distinguished doctors of Edinburgh and London. Racked with pain and frequently bed-ridden, by the late 1790s he had become a withdrawn and isolated figure; he was using opium frequently, a regime which according to some of his acquaintances made him vulnerable to melancholy, confusion and paranoia. As the successive crises of the French Revolution shook Britain, the panic was particularly intense in Scotland, where ministers and judges whipped up constant rumours of fifth columnists and secret Jacobin cells. Tormented, heavily medicated and assailed by terrifying news from the outside world, Robison had all too many dark threads to weave into the plot that came to consume him.

john robison
Portrait of John Robison (1798) painted by Henry Raeburn – Source.

Politics had also thrown a long shadow across his professional life. The physical sciences were in the grip of another French revolution, led by Antoine Lavoisier. During the 1780s Lavoisier had overthrown the chemistry of the previous century with his discovery of oxygen, from which he had been able to establish new theories of combustion and to begin the process of reducing all material substances to a basic table of elements. Lavoisier’s revolution had split British chemistry: some recognised that his technically brilliant experiments had transformed the science of matter, but for others his new and foreign terminology was, like the French metric system and the revolutionary Year Zero, an arrogant attempt to wipe away the accumulated wisdom of the ages and to eliminate the role of God. The old system of chemistry, with its mysterious forms of energy and its languages of essences and principles, had readily contained the idea of a life-force and the mysterious breath of the divine; but in Lavoisier’s cold new world, matter was reduced to inert building-blocks manipulated by the measurable forces of pressure and temperature.

Robison had never accepted the French theories, and by 1797 had worked the new chemistry deep into his Illuminatist plot. For him, Lavoisier – along with Britain’s most famous experimental chemist, the dissenting minister Joseph Priestley – was a master Illuminist, working in concert with infiltrated Masonic lodges to spread the doctrine of materialism that would underlie the new atheist world order. Madame Lavoisier’s famous salons, at which the leading Continental philosophes met, were now revealed by Robison to have been the venues for sacreligious rites where the hostess, dressed in the ceremonial robes of an occult priestess, ritually burned the texts of the old chemistry. Implausible though this image might seem, it was of a piece with other proofs that Robison had assembled in his book – for example, the anonymous German pamphlet that claimed that, at the great philosopher Baron d’Holbach’s salons, the brains of living children bought from poor parents were dissected in an attempt to isolate their life-force.

French masonic ritual
Initiation of an apprentice Freemason around 1800, an engraving (ca. 1805) based on that by Gabanon on the same subject dated 1745 – Source.

The Illuminati had infiltrated Robison’s professional life, but his most personal connection with their conspiracy came through freemasonry itself. He had been a member of the Scottish Rite for decades without ever regarding its lodges as more than ‘a pretext for passing an hour or two in a fort of decent conviviality, not altogether void of some rational occupation’; but his career had frequently taken him abroad, where he had been shocked to discover that not all masonic orders were so innocent. In 1770 he had spent a year at Catherine’s court in St. Petersburg, learning Russian and lecturing on navigation; during the course of his travels he had met with other masons and visited lodges in France, Belguim, Germany and Russia. What he saw had shocked him: by comparison with the Scottish Rite, the Continental lodges were ‘schools of irreligion and licentiousness’. Their members seemed to him consumed by ‘zeal and fanaticism’, their religious views ‘much disturbed by the mystical whims of J. Behmen [Jacob Boehme] and Swedenborg – by the fanatical and knavish doctrines of the modern Rosycrucians – by Magicians – Magnetisers – Exorcists, &c.’. Now, thirty years later, as he recalled the occultism and freethinking to which he had been briefly but unforgettably exposed, he had no doubt as to the source of the destruction that had engulfed the Continent.

Although Proofs of a Conspiracy became a handsome bestseller, the Illuminati conspiracy never gripped the imagination of the British political class as it did in mainland Europe. Once the crisis of the French revolution was past, some conservative voices would attribute this to superior British common sense, but in truth Britain at that time had more serious threats and conspiracies to contend with. Tom Paine’s Rights of Man, a far more incendiary and radicalising work than any of the Bavarian Illuminati’s ‘secret texts’, had sold over two hundred thousand copies in its cheap sixpenny edition, a number that far exceeded what until that point had been considered the entire book-buying public. With the British fleet convulsed by mutinies and the government struggling to contain mass protests and riots, it was hardly surprising that the doings of a long-disbanded Bavarian lodge seemed less than a pressing concern.

george washington as freemason
Detail from “Washington As Master Mason”, a print showing U.S. President George Washington presiding over a meeting of the Lodge of the Alexandria, Virginia Masonic Lodge, by James Fuller Queen (1870) – Source.

Robison’s book, however, had a profound and enduring impact in the United States of America. Here, the polarised forces of revolution and reaction that had swept Europe were playing out in a form that threatened to split the Founding Fathers and destroy their fledgling Constitution. While the likes of Thomas Jefferson saw themselves as cousins of a French republic that had thrown off the shackles of monarchy and with whom they traded amid British naval blockades, other founders such as Alexander Hamilton, whose Federalist party favoured a powerful state geared towards protecting the interests of its wealthy citizens, feared the infiltration of the radical ideals of the French revolution. In an overheated political milieu where accusations of treason were hurled from both sides, Proofs of a Conspiracy was seized on eagerly by the Federalists as evidence of the hidden agenda that lurked behind fine-sounding slogans such as democracy, the abolition of slavery and the rights of man. Robison’s words were repeated endlessly in New England pulpits and pamphlets through 1798 and 1799, and Jefferson was publicly accused of being a member of Weishaupt’s Order.

But such charges were never substantiated; the ‘Illuminati Scare’ petered out and the Federalists lost power, never to regain it. Yet the episode had touched a nerve deep within the American political mindset, and it has been woven into many subsequent paranoias and panics. Robison’s ideas would continue to be rediscovered and reinvented, and to influence modern politics in curious ways. The doyenne of modern conspiracy theory, Nesta Webster, swallowed his theory whole but then came to believe the Illuminati were a smokescreen: the true conspirators were the ‘Jewish peril’ whose agenda had, she believed, been accurately exposed in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Although Webster later consigned herself to the margins by joining the British Union of Fascists, her support at the time was more broadly based, and she even won admiring citations in the journalism of Winston Churchill. ‘The conspiracy against civilization dates from the days of Weishaupt’, Churchill wrote for the Sunday Herald in 1920; ‘as a modern historian Mrs. Webster has so ably shown, it played a recognisable role in the French revolution’. Many on the isolationist right continue to believe Robison’s theory to this day: the official John Birch Society line, for example, remains that Weishaupt’s Illuminati ‘was the ancestor of the Communist movement and the model for modern subversive conspiratorial movements’.

Version of the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States printed in a 1909 U.S. Government booklet on the Great Seal.
A version of the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States printed in a 1909 U.S. Government booklet on the Great Seal. According to Henry A. Wallace, this was the version of the Great Seal reverse which caught his eye, causing him to suggest to President Franklin Roosevelt to put the design on a coin, at which point Roosevelt decided to put it on the back of the dollar bill – Source.

After Robison’s death following a final medical crisis in 1805 his Edinburgh colleague, the pioneering geologist John Playfair, wrote a respectful memoir that focused on his scientific achievements but was unable to avoid mention of the work for which he was best remembered. ‘The alarm excited by the French revolution’, Playfair suggested tactfully, ‘produced in Mr. Robison a degree of credulity which was not natural to him’. It was a credulity, he stressed, that had been shared by many who were unable to believe that the revolution had been a genuine mass movement reacting to the oppression of a tyrannical regime; they had clung to their belief that it must have been orchestrated by a small cell of fanatics, and that the lack of evidence for any such conspiracy was itself evidence for the conspirators’ cunning in concealing their operations from public view.

There was much plain sense in Playfair’s analysis, and it could equally be applied to many who subsequently came to believe in Robison’s theories, and who continue to believe them today. But if the shock of the modern world erupting into existence before his eyes had unbalanced Robison’s judgement, it had also given him a vivid, even visionary perspective on the new dangers that might result from wresting politics away from church and monarchy and placing it in the hands of the people. Forged in the same crucible as every modern political ideology from conservatism to nihilism, anarchy to military dictatorship, the Illuminati conspiracy has become a modern myth: not merely in the dismissive sense that its factual basis evaporates under scrutiny, but as a shapeshifting narrative capable of adapting its meaning to accommodate new and unforeseen scenarios. Since the 1970s, it has been gleefully satirised as a baroque folly of conservative thought by counterculture figures from Robert Anton Wilson onwards, yet this has only increased its fame and mystique: Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons demonstrates that today’s readers will still lap up Robison’s unreconstructed version of the story in their millions. In popular culture and old-time religion, satire and nationalist politics, the Illuminati conspiracy still resonates with its warning that the light of reason has its shadows, and even the most enlightened democracy can be manipulated by hidden hands.

 


Mike Jay has written extensively on scientific and medical history and is a specialist in the study of drugs. His books include A Visionary Madness: The Case of James Tilly Matthews and the Influencing Machine and High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture.

 

Links to Public Domain Works

 

 

Further Reading

 

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A Visionary Madness: The Case of James Tilly Matthews and the Influencing Machine (2014, North Atlantic Books)

by Mike Jay, with a foreword from Oliver Sacks.

A snapshot of late eighteenth-century psychiatry, and its relevance to current narratives of madness, conspiracy theories, mind control, and political manipulation.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

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Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas (2014, Simon & Schuster)

by Cass R. Sunstein.

A collection of essays from America’s most-cited legal scholar who for decades has been at the forefront of applied behavioral economics.

 

What Difference Does it Make?

16 Mar

March 15, 2014

 

In the last stanza of “The Battle of Blenheim,” Robert Southey writes:

“But what good came of it at last?” Quoth little Peterkin.

“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he; “But ’twas a famous victory.”

What did it really matter? The poet was asking of the triumph of the Duke of Marlborough — “Who this great fight did win.”

What brings back this poem about the transience of glory and folly of war — during this week’s struggle over whose flag will fly over Crimea — is a wall chart that just arrived from the UN.

“World Population 2012″ projects the population growth, or decline, of every country and continent, between now and 2050.

Most deeply involved in Crimea’s crisis are Russia and Ukraine. Yet, looking at the UN numbers, there seems an element of absurdity in this confrontation that could lead to a shooting war.

Between 2012 and 2050, Ukraine, war or no war, will lose one-fourth of its population. Eleven to twelve million Ukrainians will vanish from the earth, a figure far higher than the highest estimate of the death toll of the horrific Holodomor of 1932-33.

Russia will lose 22 million people, with her population falling below 121 million. Every month between now and 2050, close to 50,000 Russians will disappear.

Some demographers believe the UN numbers to be optimistic. Indeed, this writer has seen projections far more dire.

Those who warn that Vladimir Putin is trying to reconstitute the Soviet Union might explain how this is going to be done as Russia loses 22 million people, while the former Soviet republics of Central Asia — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — together add 22 million people.

How often in history do nations with shrinking populations invade and annex those with surging populations?

When the UN was set up in 1945, Stalin wanted each of 15 Soviet republics given a seat in the General Assembly. He settled for three seats — for Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia, now Belarus.

That was the core of the old Soviet Union. Yet, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine will lose together 35 million people by mid-century, a figure comparable to the human losses from four years of the Hitler-Stalin war and seven decades of Bolshevik rule.

Our War Party is demanding that we send military assistance and possibly troops to Poland, the Baltic republics and Rumania, and bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.

This would mean America would fight Russia to defend them all, should another clash occur as in 2008 in Georgia and today in Crimea.

Does this make sense — for any of us?

According to the UN, there are 6.3 million Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians. And these three Baltic republics will see their combined populations sink by one million by 2050.

How would a NATO-Russia war over Estonia benefit Estonia?

In March 1939, Britain gave a war guarantee to Poland and, honoring it, declared war on Germany. That was the end of the British Empire. And how did the “Good War” work out for Poland?

Her Jewish population of 3 million was largely annihilated, and, by some estimates, 3 million Catholic Poles perished. Poland then endured four decades of rule by Polish satraps of Soviet commissars.

V-E Day brought something other than victory for the nation for whom Britain went to war.

Today, Poland’s population is back to 38 million. But on the UN chart, Poland is on schedule to lose 4 million Poles by mid-century.

While our War Party debates where to draw the red line against Russia, the UN projects that the 10 countries on both sides of that line — Russia, Belarus, the Baltic republics, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria — will together lose 50 million people by mid-century, and another 50 million by the end of the century.

The fertility rate in these 10 countries is barely two-thirds of what is needed to maintain an existing population.

Remarkable. The century following the peaceful end of the Cold War and the liberation of the captive nations may witness population losses for Europe that exceed those of two world wars and rival those of the Black Death of the 14th century.

European Man is an endangered species. European Man is dying out. By 2050, Russia, the fourth most populous nation in 1950, will be 15th, behind Egypt, and far behind Congo and Tanzania. The only Western nation in the top 14 will be the USA. But most Americans will then trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Since 1914, all the great European empires — British, French, German, Russian, Italian — have vanished. All the great armies and navies have melted away. All are being invaded and repopulated by African, Asian and Middle Eastern peoples they once ruled. And almost all of the native-born populations of Europe are aging and dying and passing away.

“This is how the world ends,” said T. S. Eliot, “Not with a bang but a whimper.” Like Southey, he, too, may have got it right.

Patrick J. Buchanan [send him mail] is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books, including Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? See his website.

Copyright © 2014 Creators.com

‘Good’ War, ‘Bad’ War

2 Mar

Posted By John Pilger On February 17, 2014 

Fifty years ago, E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class rescued the study of history from the powerful. Kings and queens, landowners, industrialists, politicians and imperialists had owned much of the public memory. In 1980, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States also demonstrated that the freedoms and rights we enjoy precariously – free expression, free association, the jury system, the rights of minorities – were the achievements of ordinary people, not the gift of elites.

Historians, like journalists, play their most honorable role when they myth-bust. Eduardo Galeano’s The Open Veins of Latin America (1971) achieved this for the people of a continent whose historical memory was colonized and mutated by the dominance of the United States.

The “good” world war of 1939-45 provides a bottomless ethical bath in which the West’s “peacetime” conquests are cleansed. Demystifying historical investigation stands in the way. Richard Overy’s 1939: the countdown to war (2009) is a devastating explanation of why that cataclysm was not inevitable.

We need such smokescreen-clearing now more than ever. The powerful would like us to believe that the likes of Thompson, Zinn and Galeano are no longer necessary: that we live, as Time magazine put it, “in an eternal present”, in which reflection is limited to Facebook and historical narrative is the preserve of Hollywood. This is a confidence trick. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell wrote: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

The people of Korea understand this well. The slaughter on their peninsula following the second world war is known as the “forgotten war”, whose significance for all humanity has long been suppressed in military histories of cold war good versus evil.

I have just read The Korean War: A History by Bruce Cumings (2010), professor of history at the University of Chicago. I first saw Cumings interviewed in Regis Tremblay’s extraordinary film, The Ghosts of Jeju, which documents the uprising of the people of the southern Korean island of Jeju in 1948 and the campaign of the present-day islanders to stop the building of a base with American missiles aimed provocatively at China.

Like most Koreans, the farmers and fishing families protested the senseless division of their nation between north and south in 1945 – a line drawn along the 38th Parallel by an American official, Dean Rusk, who had “consulted a map around midnight on the day after we obliterated Nagasaki with an atomic bomb,” wrote Cumings. The myth of a “good” Korea (the south) and a “bad” Korea (the north) was invented.

In fact, Korea, north and south, has a remarkable people’s history of resistance to feudalism and foreign occupation, notably Japan’s in the 20th century. When the Americans defeated Japan in 1945, they occupied Korea and often branded those who had resisted the Japanese as “commies”. On Jeju island, as many as 60,000 people were massacred by militias supported, directed and, in some cases, commanded by American officers.

This and other unreported atrocities were a “forgotten” prelude to the Korean War (1950-53) in which more people were killed than Japanese died during all of world war two. Cumings’ gives an astonishing tally of the degree of destruction of the cities of the north is astonishing: Pyongyang 75 per cent, Sariwon 95 per cent, Sinanju 100 per cent. Great dams in the north were bombed in order to unleash internal tsunamis. “Anti-personnel” weapons, such as Napalm, were tested on civilians. Cumings’ superb investigation helps us understand why today’s North Korea seems so strange: an anachronism sustained by an enduring mentality of siege.

“The unhindered machinery of incendiary bombing was visited on the North for three years,” he wrote, “yielding a wasteland and a surviving mole people who had learned to love the shelter of caves, mountains, tunnels and redoubts, a subterranean world that became the basis for reconstructing a country and a memento for building a fierce hatred through the ranks of the population. Their truth is not cold, antiquarian, ineffectual knowledge.” Cumings quotes Virginia Wolf on how the trauma of this kind of war “confers memory.”

The guerrilla leader Kim Il Sung had begun fighting the Japanese militarists in 1932. Every characteristic attached to the regime he founded – “communist, rogue state, evil enemy” – derives from a ruthless, brutal, heroic resistance: first to Japan, then the United States, which threatened to nuke the rubble its bombers had left. Cumings exposes as propaganda the notion that Kim IL Sung, leader of the “bad” Korea, was a stooge of Moscow. In contrast, the regime that Washington invented in the south, the “good” Korea, was run largely by those who had collaborated with Japan and America.

The Korean War has an unrecognized distinction. It was in the smoldering ruins of the peninsula that the US turned itself into what Cumings calls “an archipelago of empire”. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, it was as if the whole planet was declared American – or else.

But there is China now. The base currently being built on Cheju island will face the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, less than 300 miles away, and the industrial heartland of the only country whose economic power is likely to surpass that of the US. “China,” says President Obama in a leaked briefing paper, “is our fast emerging strategic threat.” By 2020, almost two thirds of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific region. In an arc extending from Australia to Japan and beyond, China will be ringed by US missiles and nuclear-weapons armed aircraft. Will this threat to all of us be “forgotten”, too?

John Pilger’s film, Utopia, about Australia, is released in cinemas on 15 November and broadcast on ITV in December. It is released in Australia in January. www.johnpilger.com

Read more by John Pilger


Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com

URL to article: http://original.antiwar.com/pilger/2014/02/17/good-war-bad-war/

 

Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Courts

2 Mar

Mises.org

February 13, 2014

Many commentators following the NSA scandals have been eagerly awaiting the recommendations of the US government task force on the matter, and the proposed reforms to be implemented by President Obama to bring the spy agency under control. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, you can watch the president’s recent speech and nod your head approvingly when he talks about the “tradition of limited government” in the United States, and the constitutional limits his government is at pains to respect. Oh, and just for good measure, while you’re listening to this magnificent oration being replayed to you on YouTube, the NSA will be recording your internet browser history, or possibly even hacking your computer.[1] If you decide to click on the “like” or “dislike” buttons at the bottom of the video, that little nugget of political information can be added to their “metadata” archives, along with the rest of your internet activities. In fact, in the 42 minutes it will take you to watch the president’s speech, the NSA will have hoovered up around 40 million records of internet browsing from around the world.[2] Perhaps yours will be among them.

It is instructive to note that all of this will be done by the same government that operates under an explicit constitutional directive purportedly protecting people from “unreasonable searches and seizures” and specifying that “… no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause … and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”[3] Indeed, one of the most instructive aspects of the NSA scandal is the way the agency has succeeded, for an extensive period of time, in warding off legal challenges to the constitutionality of its surveillance programs. This is instructive from the point of view of libertarian theory, since it illustrates the degree to which the much-vaunted “checks and balances” within the State apparatus, highlighted in the recent Obama speech, are really illusory. In practice, the judicial and executive branches of government tend to act as a legitimizing mechanism for the actions of government agencies, with rare “checks and balances” and “reforms” coming only when the legitimacy of the system is under potent attack from some outside source.

The NSA has taken great advantage of the symbiosis between the executive and judicial branches of the State, having implemented long-running programs of lawless surveillance and phony judicial review. The modus operandi of the agency in these matters has been to hide behind various secrecy requirements which have been used to hamstring attempts at open judicial review, ensuring that scrutiny of its programs and their legal basis is kept away from the prying eyes of the public. This has included the use of secret courts, where other parties are not represented and are not privy to proceedings. It has also included the use of secrecy requirements in evidence controlled by the NSA, which prevents people from showing that they have standing to challenge the agency’s programs in court, or mandates that such matters are “state secrets,” beyond the scope of judicial review. And of course, it has also included an extensive regime of secret judicial rulings and secret “law,” with proceedings conducted behind a legal wall chiseled with those two ominous words: top secret!

In fact, the Obama speech on NSA reform is but a sideshow to the real cracks that are starting to appear in the NSA’s legal fortifications. More important is the recent preliminary ruling in the case of Klayman v Obama which has opened the actions of the NSA up to some long-overdue judicial scrutiny in the public courts. In the preliminary ruling in December, the US District Court for the District of Columbia found that the NSA’s mass collection of metadata, as shown in its own leaked documents, “most likely” violates the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. (Since this was a preliminary hearing, the judge was unable to make a more definite ruling at that time.[4]) In response to a preliminary application by plaintiffs seeking an injunction to stop the NSA from collection their metadata, Judge Richard Leon issued a scathing judgment against the NSA, dismissing several of its arguments as lacking common sense, and describing its mass surveillance technology as “almost-Orwellian.”[5] The Klayman case was followed up almost immediately by a contrary ruling in ACLU v Clapper, where Judge William Pauley examined the same legal precedents and arguments and found that there is no constitutional protection against the mass collection of metadata by the NSA. The ruling relied heavily and uncritically on government reports on terrorist threats to the United States, and claimed that the NSA surveillance is crucial in combating terrorism.[6]

So there you have it, the system is now in action! Obama is promising reforms! The courts have stepped in! The judges are restless! All hail the finely constructed checks and balances! If all goes well, the plaintiffs in Klayman v Obama and ACLU v Clapper will have their final hearing in court, and the NSA will have their actions assessed against the strictures of the US Constitution. Obama is promising more judicial oversight, and a “public advocate” for the NSA court system. Hurrah!

But still, one is left with an uneasy feeling. After all, this is far from the first case in which plaintiffs have sought to challenge the legal basis of the NSA programs, and it is long since the time Obama first took command of the national security apparatus. So what has changed? Why are there now promises of new reforms? Why has there been a breakthrough in this case, but not in previous cases of the same kind? For seven years the NSA’s PRISM program was under the oversight of the same judiciary, and subject to the same “checks and balances” as now. For most of those years it was under the direction of the current president. Why is it that the program now ruled to be “most likely unconstitutional” in one case has been proceeding unimpeded for so long — under the very same system of “oversight” and “checks and balances”— and challenges from previous litigants have been shot down in flames in case after case?

Well, we all know what has happened to make such a difference — Edward Snowden happened! The one antidote for the previously-operating regime of secret “law” has been the leaking of classified documents from within the NSA, revealed to the public by this whistleblower and “lawbreaker.”[7]Concerned that the NSA was acting contrary to the US Constitution, Snowden released a treasure trove of documents to the media, setting out the unlawful activities of the NSA, all verified in its own words. The Klayman case represents the first post-Snowden case against the NSA, a situation where the judiciary now has to come to terms with a hostile public, which is well aware of what is hidden behind the legal walls erected around the NSA. The recent Obama speech also represents the first major reaction of the US government to the prospect that it may receive an adverse constitutional ruling discrediting its pretensions to legal observance.

The Klayman case is quite a breakthrough. Many have rightly regarded the case as representing a major breakthrough in judicial oversight of the NSA, but to put it more accurately, it represents thebeginning of judicial oversight. In previous cases of this kind the NSA has managed to ward off constitutional challenges to its surveillance programs by arguing that all would-be plaintiffs lack “standing” to sue, and by appealing to the classified status of its secret programs, and the privilege of “state secrets.” It has hidden behind a regime of secret judicial orders and rulings, all inaccessible to the public. The Klayman case and the ACLU v Clapper case are notable and important because they are the first of their kind where the plaintiffs have been allowed to proceed with their arguments against the NSA activities, and the examination of the legal status of these activities has been allowed to proceed. This has been possible only because the leaks from Snowden allowed the plaintiffs to show that they had personally been subject to surveillance, something that has been impossible in previous cases brought against the NSA.

There is certainly cause to be cheerful about the recent court ruling in Klayman, as it is the first instance where the NSA programs have been subjected to constitutional scrutiny in a public court. In view of the facts of the case, the preliminary findings of Judge Leon are extremely sensible, and indeed, ought to be inescapable.[8] However, the case is far from over, with appeals expected to higher courts, a final ruling on the matter, and then probably more appeals. One legal commentator has suggested that the trial judge’s ruling in the Klayman case is “… best understood as a kind of [“friend of the court”] brief to the Supreme Court …” [9]

In view of this likely path of appeal, it is instructive to understand the complicity of the US Supreme Court in the previous regime of secrecy that has been perpetrated by the NSA. The ultimate arbiter of constitutionality in the US legal system has shown itself, in past cases, to be highly protective of the government in these matters, and has previously assented to some quite absurd doctrines and arguments to prevent any meaningful judicial review. The court has repeatedly taken assurances from the US government that the opportunity for constitutional review would arise in the future, but has consistently sided with their assertions that it cannot arise for this particular plaintiff, or this one, or this one. This has meant that while the illusion of judicial control has been maintained, the court has taken a policy of de facto immunity from constitutional scrutiny. As Larry Klayman put it, “most judges are just ‘yes men’ who rubber-stamp the federal government’s agenda.”[10]

Whether the challenge in Klayman v Obama ultimately succeeds or fails, the fact that it is heard at all is an initial cracking of the legal barriers that have been erected by the US government to cover its own lawlessness. While there is some cause for buoyancy, there is just as much reason to be disgusted that scrutiny of the illegal programs of the NSA has taken so long to get a genuine hearing before the public court system, and that the man responsible for allowing this to occur continues to be branded as a criminal and a traitor by the US government whose crimes he has exposed, and threatened with imprisonment or death.

Notes


[1] This occurs under various programs, mostly for persons outside the US, but also for some people within the US. For further details, see e.g., B. Gellman and L. Poitras (2013), US, British intelligence mining data from nine US internet companies in broad secret programThe Washington Post, 7 June 2013; see G. Greenwald (2013), XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’The Guardian, 31 July 2013; D.B. Donaldson (2013), NSA reportedly hacks Americans via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn,Liberty Voice, 29 December 2013.

[2] Calculation based on information about the collection capacity of the XKeyscore program; see Greenwald (2013), ibid. According to this source, “[i]n 2012, there were at least 41 billion total records collected and stored in XKeyscore for a single 30-day period.” This is equivalent to 39.86 million records every 42 minutes.

[3] US Constitution, Amendment IV.

[4] For those readers who are unfamiliar with proceedings for preliminary injunctions, the judge is not allowed to make a final determination on the matter, but must determine whether the applicant’s case has enough merit to proceed to trial, and to warrant a preliminary injunction. The judge does not make a final determination, but can give strong “hints” to the parties, as to how the case is likely to proceed at trial. When a judge in a preliminary hearing of this kind says that a particular program is “most likely” unconstitutional, and delivers the kind of judgment that was given, this can be a cautious way of saying that the program clearly is unconstitutional, but without wanting to make a final determination of the matter.

[5] See Klayman v Obama, per Leon at 49.

[6] For discussion, see J. Harper (2013), Ratifying NSA spying, a court calls FISA ‘courts’ into questionCATO at Liberty, 27 December 2013. Harper notes that Judge Pauley falsely claims that NSA data collection could have foiled the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

[7] For discussion of why Snowden should not be considered a lawbreaker, see B. O’Neill (2013), The ethics of whistleblowing. Mises Daily, 8 July 2013.

[8] There are some competing opinions on this matter, especially with respect to the question of whether Judge Leon was correct to draw a distinction with the previous case of Smith v Maryland (1979) 442 US 735. Some have argued against the decision; see e.g., O. Kerr (2013), Preliminary thoughts on Judge Leon’s opinionThe Volokh Conspiracy, 16 December 2013. One legal scholar has instead argued that the constitutional question may actually recede if the program is found to have breached the statutory framework; see S. Vladeck (2013), Why the constitutional holding in Klayman wasn’t necessaryJust Security, 17 December 2013. Prior to the judgement, legal scholar Randy Barnett argued that the surveillance program is unconstitutional along similar lines; see e.g., R. Barnett (2013), The NSA’s surveillance is unconstitutional.The Wall Street Journal, 11 July 2013. The view of the present author is that the Smith v Maryland case is manifestly unsuitable to assist with scrutiny of the Klayman case, for the reasons set out by Leon.

[ix] B. Wittes (2013), Thoughts on Judge Leon’s section 215 opinion, Lawfare, 17 December 2013.

[x] See B. Logiurato (2013), Meet the “birther” conservative activist behind the NSA lawsuit that liberals love. Business Insider Australia, 18 December 2013.

 

The Best of Ben O’Neill

Ben O’Neill [send him mail] is a lecturer in statistics at the University of New South Wales (ADFA) in Canberra, Australia. He has formerly practiced as a lawyer and as a political adviser in Canberra. He is a Templeton Fellow at the Independent Institute, where he won first prize in the 2009 Sir John Templeton Fellowship essay contest.

How David Brooks Panders to Power by Perverting History

2 Mar

February 5, 2014

In a January 30 column David Brooks, the house neocon of the New York Times (the favorite tabloid of the Lunatic Left) urged Obama to ignore both his socialist/egalitarian base and the “conservative tradition that believes in limiting government to enhance freedom.”  Obama already has nothing but hateful contempt for the latter tradition and needs no convincing by a right-wing statist like David Brooks.

The president should also abandon his life-long infatuation with and devotion to socialism as well, advises David Brooks. In its place he should pursue an agenda of crony capitalism disguised as a “social mobility agenda” with the help of professional propagandists and perverters of American history such as Brooks and his fellow neocons.  Of course, Brooks doesn’t use these less-than-flattering words to describe his Machiavellian agenda.  He talks of “a third ancient tradition” in American history, namely, “the Whig tradition, which begins with people like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln.”

Either Brooks knows nothing at all, whatsoever, about the Whig Party tradition in American history, or he is lying through his teeth about it.  For he describes it as having been devoted to “using the power of government to give marginalized Americans the tools to compete in a capitalist economy.”  The Whigs, says Brooks, “fought against the divisive populist Jacksonians” who supposedly sought to “pit classes against each other.”  Every bit of this is exactly the opposite of the truth.  The Whigs were the party of crony capitalism, of government of plutocracy, by the plutocracy, for the plutocracy.  That is why so many historians have marveled over how a man like Abe Lincoln, who grew up so poor, would become the political water carrier for the Northeastern moneyed elite in American politics.

The most divisive economic issue in American politics during the heyday of the Whig Party (1832 – 1852) was the battle over free trade versus protectionism.  If the Whigs stood for anything, they stood for corporate welfare in the form of high protectionist tariffs that would plunder the masses for the benefit of the few.  This meant, for the most part, plundering Southern farmers more than anyone for the benefit of Northern manufacturers who would be protected from international competition by the high tariffs.  As John C. Calhoun once said, what “protectionism” protects the public from is low prices.  Next to slavery, protectionism was the biggest assault on property rights in America during the first half of the nineteenth century.  The Whigs did not believe in “sacred” property rights, as Brooks foolishly writes.  Their entire political agenda was based on the government-enforced attenuation of property rights for the benefit of the wealthy and politically-connected.

Next to political plunder through protectionism, the Whigs stood for the worst sort of crony capitalism in the form of needless corporate welfare for road-, canal-, and railroad-building corporations.  This was euphemistically called “internal improvement subsidies” at the time.  Private capital markets financed thousands of miles of private roads during the first decades of the nineteenth century.  As of 1800 there were sixty-nine privately-financed road-building companies in America that would build more than 400 private roads over the next forty years, as economist Daniel Klein has documented.  The great railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill also proved that government subsidies were not needed to build a transcontinental railroad as he and his investors and business partners built and managed the Great Northern Railroad without a dime of government subsidy, not even “land grants.”

When the Whigs did get their way and conned state government into funding “internal improvement subsidies” it was an unmitigated financial disaster. Very few, if any projects were ever finished; taxpayers were stuck with enormous government debts to pay off; much of the money was simply stolen; and by 1860 every state except for Massachusetts had amended its constitution to prohibit the use of tax dollars for corporations to do anything with according to economic historian Carter Goodrich.

Edgar Lee Masters, the famous 1930s-era poet, playwright (author of The Spoon River Anthology), and law partner of Clarence Darrow, perfectly described the Whig Party on page 27 of his book, Lincoln the Man.  Describing the leader of the Whigs, Henry Clay, Masters wrote:

Clay was the champion of that political system which doles favors to the
strong in order to win and to keep their adherence to the government.  His
system offered shelter to devious schemes and corrupt enterprises . . . . He
was the beloved son [figuratively speaking] of Alexander Hamilton with his
corrupt funding schemes, his superstitions concerning the advantage of
a public debt, and a people taxed to make profits for enterprises that
cannot stand alone.  His example and doctrines led to the creation of a
party that had no platform to announce, because its principles were
plunder and nothing else.

 

This is exactly correct, and exactly the opposite of what David Brooks wants his New York Times audience to believe.   Clay’s agenda, which Alexander Hamilton originally labeled “The American System,” was really an Americanized version of the corrupt mercantilist system the American founders had fought a revolution against.  The Hamilton/Clay/Lincoln “American System” included protectionism, corporate welfare, and a central bank to dispense even more corporate welfare subsidies to politically-connected businesses.  It was a recipe for political power based on using taxpayer dollars to line the pockets of the (mostly Northern state) business plutocracy at the expense of the general public.  Some things never change in a democracy.

It is equally outrageous for Brooks to claim that the Jacksonians were “divisive” and wanted to “pit classes against each other.”  This was the function of David Brooks’s beloved Whigs, who were simply an early version of the neocons; it was the libertarian Jacksonians who opposed politicized divisiveness and the pitting of classes against each other.  This is exemplified in President Andrew Jackson’s famous veto of the re-chartering of the Second Bank of the United States, a precursor of the Fed.

The Whigs championed a central bank.  The Bank of the United States (BUS) even paid both of Brooks’s heroes, Clay and Webster, many thousands of dollars as bribery money to promote the continuation of the bank despite the fact that it was well known that the BUS had corrupted politics and generated boom-and-bust cycles.  In vetoing the re-chartering of the BUS (which was not overturned), Jackson wrote:

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts
of government to their selfish purposes . . . .  In the full enjoyment of the
gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy and virtue,
every man is equally entitled to protection by the law; but when the laws
undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions,
to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer
and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society – the
farmers, mechanics and laborers – who have neither the time nor the
means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of
the injustice of their Government . . . .  In the act before me [the bill to
 re-charter the BUS] there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure
from these just principles.

 

Neither Jackson nor the Jacksonians were “perfect” libertarians, but by their motto of “equal rights” they meant equality under the law and opposition to the use of the state to dispense “exclusive privileges” and special favors to special interests.  They stood for exactly the opposite of what David Brooks claims they stood for, in other words.

Brooks’s commentary turns to slapstick humor at one point when he claims that the Whigs, who were, after all, politicians, were somehow “family-oriented in their moral and social attitudes.” (I assume that he threw this into his article to further dupe the “evangelical Christian” base of the Republican Party into accepting his thesis).  The leader of the Whigs, the slave-owning Kentucky hemp plantation patriarch Henry Clay, was indeed “family oriented” in that he had eleven children.  But he was also a notorious gambler who rang up $40,000 in personal debt in the 1820s and was famous for staying out late carousing and dancing with women other than his wife while he was in Washington and the wife was back home in Kentucky, according to several biographies.

Armed with this absurdly false history of American politics, Brooks argues for an explosion of governmental central planning by Obama during the rest of his term.  He wants Obama to employ “social entrepreneurs” to fundamentally transform American society by “improving family patterns,” expanding early childhood education,” structuring neighborhoods,” paying “young men wage subsidies so they are worth marrying,” training “middle-aged workers” for jobs, and generally micromanaging everyone’s life from cradle to grave. In his words, government should promote “[social] mobility issues from the beginning to the end of the lifespan.”

Something very much like this has been tried before.  It was called totalitarian socialism and it failed miserably.

 

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