Are “Dark Pools” Destined to be the Capital Markets’ Next Black Hole?

Related article:Big Traders Dive Into Dark Pools

We can almost hear that ominous “Jaws” theme music in the background and can see that huge dorsal fin as it slices threateningly through the water – knowing full well that the real terror is hidden beneath the water’s surface.

But this time around, it’s not a “Great White” that’s sparking our fears; it’s a well-capitalized and broadly based series of secret stock exchanges known as “Dark Pools of Liquidity,” “Dark Liquidity,” or just “Dark Pools.”

Most investors have never even heard the term – and are truly shocked to discover these “off-the-books” trading networks actually exist.

But to Wall Street insiders looking to anonymously move billions of dollars in stocks, bonds, and other investment instruments, dark pools are de rigueur – especially when you’re an institutional trader who doesn’t want to reveal your intentions or your actions to the “rest” of the market, until after the fact when the orders are “printed.”

And that makes these dark pools of capital highly problematic when it comes transparency: There is literally none in most pools and only limited visibility in others.

Dark Pools: From Trading Haven to Heavyweight

Dark Pools are electronic “crossing networks” that offer institutional investors many of the same benefits associated with making trades on the stock exchanges’ public limit order books – without tipping their hands to others, meaning publicly quoted prices aren’t affected. This is the capital markets’ version of a godsend – especially for traders who desire to move large blocks of shares without the public investors ever knowing.

Some examples of so-called crossing networks include Liquidnet Inc., Pipeline, the Posit unit of Investment Technology Group (ITG), or the SIGMA X unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS).

In an era in which “secret” transactions contributed to what’s shaping up to be the largest credit crisis in history, you’d think that any mechanism that allows insiders to trade in complete secrecy and with total anonymity would be scrutinized more closely than a Roger Clemens vitamin shot. But that’s not the case with Dark Pools.

Read moreAre “Dark Pools” Destined to be the Capital Markets’ Next Black Hole?

IRAN READY TO HIT UK? The Bullshit Campaign Again!

Iran has no interest whatsoever to attack anyone, BUT Iran will defend itself.
Iran does not intend to wipe out Israel, says Ahmadinejad
Ron Paul: Iranians Tested Missiles AFTER Israel had WAR GAMES

Iran has done nothing wrong. Iran is strictly obeying international law.
An attack on Iran would be illegal, since under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and that is “perfectly legal”!

Ron Paul on Iran and Energy June 26, 2008

It is Israel and the U.S. – not Iran – that are the aggressors and preparing for an attack:
Ex-weapons inspector says Iran not pursuing nukes, but U.S. will attack before ‘09
President George W Bush backs Israeli plan for strike on Iran
Ron Paul: I hear members of Congress saying “if we could only nuke Iran”
Ron Paul: Nancy Pelosi pulled Iran bill on orders of Israel
Israel hints at readiness to strike Iran
US backs Jundullah to destabilize Iran
How Israel Is creating the war on Iran
U.S. escalating covert operations against Iran: report
Senate report exposes key role of the Israel lobby in fomenting war with Iran
Top US commander briefed on IDF’s four-front strategy in potential Iran war context
US: Oil blockade constitutes an act of war
Israel Prodding U.S. To Attack Iran
Israel launches ‘Iran Command’ for war
Israel to attack Iran unless enrichment stops: minister
Oil hits new high as Israel calls strike on Iran ‘unavoidable’
Joschka Fischer: US, Israel will attack Iran
And the winner is … the Israel lobby
Bush ‘plans Iran air strike by August’
U.S. Will Attack Iran
Israel will not tolerate nuclear Iran: Olmert
Israel preparing to bomb Iran N-sites
Joint Chiefs of Staff: US prepping military options against Iran

Are “they” preparing the public, in the article below “IRAN READY TO HIT UK”, for another false flag attack like 9/11?
Loose Change Final Cut
9/11 False Flag
Former Governor Jesse Ventura warns that they might use such a false flag attack as an excuse to attack Iran:
Former Governor: “Absolutely” danger of false flag as pretext to attack Iran
And this time it is Iran who is “with the terrorists” and has the weapons of mass destruction and all of that.

Will it be easy to win this war?
America Is the Rogue Nation

And why are they doing this? Just because of oil?
Iran dumps U.S. dollars in oil transactions
Ahmadinejad to OPEC: Dump weak dollar
How Iran Has Bush Over a Barrel

No, it is not only about oil, it’s about something far worse.
Ask yourself what will happen, if Israel and/or the U.S. attack Iran?
What will such an attack cause?
If your answer would be something like:

“That can’t be!” or “They would not do that intentionally, would they?”

Then you are right on.
And then you have the reason, why they are really doing it.
If I would have told you this straightaway, you would probably have called this a conspiracy theory and you would have dismissed it. More on what is going on under World Situation (2.Politics).

July 16, 2008
By: The Infinite Unknown

IRAN READY TO HIT UK

Sunday July 13,2008
By Jason Groves
Source: Daily Express

IRAN is poised to launch terror attacks in Britain if the West presses ahead with military strikes against its nuclear facilities, intelligence experts warned last night.

As tensions in the Middle East continued to grow, they warned that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah had already established sleeper cells in Britain and mainland Europe tasked with carrying out bloody reprisals.

Likely UK targets include nuclear power stations, military bases, Government buildings and high-profile politicians and members of the Jewish community.

Richard Kemp, former adviser on terrorism to Tony Blair, said the difficulty of attacking Western and Israeli military targets directly meant Iran was likely to use its terror network to retaliate. Hezbollah, formed in Lebanon in the 1980s, has grown to become a major force in the Middle East.

He said: “In my view Iran’s only realistic method of retaliation is through Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah undoubtedly have the capability to carry out attacks against Western targets outside the region. They have people here in the UK and they would aim to carry out attacks if they saw us as being in any way supportive of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Read moreIRAN READY TO HIT UK? The Bullshit Campaign Again!

Gazprom Connects to Iran


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller in Teheran, July 13, 2008

Gazprom has signed a memorandum on cooperation in production and transportation of oil and natural gas with the National Iranian Oil Co. The Iranian company, which all other oil companies in the world refuse to work with, is promising Gazprom “a full package of projects.” The memorandum was signed by Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari and NIOC managing director Seifollah Jashnsaz. Gazprom will thus have the chance to strengthen its position in the countries with the world’s second largest gas reserves (proven reserves of 28.13 trillion cu. m.).

Read moreGazprom Connects to Iran

Former Governor: “Absolutely” danger of false flag as pretext to attack Iran

Former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura warns that Neo-Cons are so desperate to maintain a grip on power that they could stage a terror event in order to create a pretext for attacking Iran.

Speaking on the Alex Jones Show before last night’s announcement that he would not be running for U.S. Senate, Ventura said a conflict with Iran was all but inevitable.

“I don’t see any way of avoiding it because I think it’s gonna be Bush’s last hurrah,” said Ventura, adding that another war front would only help the Republicans and John McCain.

“We are now a first strike nation, 9/11 changed our entire foreign policy, we will now attack another country before they attack us, which we proved in Iraq,” he added.

Asked if we were in danger of seeing the Neo-Cons stage some kind of Gulf of Tonkin false flag or other terror event as a pretext for attacking Iran, Ventura responded, “Absolutely, read the last epilogue in my book, I wrote that a year ago.”

Read moreFormer Governor: “Absolutely” danger of false flag as pretext to attack Iran

Scott Ritter: Iran Shows Its Cards


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, far left, sits with officers during a military parade last year.

By Scott Ritter: Former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq

There can no longer be any doubt about the consequences of any U.S. and/or Israeli military action against Iran. Armchair warriors, pundits and blustering politicians alike have been advocating a pre-emptive military strike against Iran for the purpose of neutralizing its nuclear-related infrastructure, as well as retarding Iran’s ability to train and equip “terrorist” forces on Iranian soil before dispatching them to Iraq or parts unknown. Some, including me, have warned of the folly of such action, and now Iran itself has demonstrated why an attack would be insane.

Related articles:
President George W Bush backs Israeli plan for strike on Iran
Iran does not intend to wipe out Israel, says Ahmadinejad
Ron Paul: Iranians Tested Missiles AFTER Israel had WAR GAMES

I’ve always pointed out that no plan survives initial contact with the enemy, and furthermore one can never forget that, in war, the enemy gets to vote. On the issue of an American and/or Israeli attack on Iran, the Iranian military has demonstrated exactly how it would cast its vote. Iran recently fired off medium- and long-range missiles and rockets, in a clear demonstration of capability and intent. Shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, regional oil production capability and U.S. military concentrations, along with Israeli cities, would all be subjected to an Iranian military response if Iran was attacked.

Read moreScott Ritter: Iran Shows Its Cards

Recession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In

If the situation would not be so damn serious, this would be very funny.
Maybe it’s still funny, if you “Always look on the bright side of life”.

Related video: –
How the markets really work

___________________________________________________________________________________

WASHINGTON – A panel of top business leaders testified before Congress about the worsening recession Monday, demanding the government provide Americans with a new irresponsible and largely illusory economic bubble in which to invest.

“What America needs right now is not more talk and long-term strategy, but a concrete way to create more imaginary wealth in the very immediate future,” said Thomas Jenkins, CFO of the Boston-area Jenkins Financial Group, a bubble-based investment firm. “We are in a crisis, and that crisis demands an unviable short-term solution.”


A prominent finance expert asks Congress to help Americans rebuild their ficticious dreams.

The current economic woes, brought on by the collapse of the so-called “housing bubble,” are considered the worst to hit investors since the equally untenable dot-com bubble burst in 2001. According to investment experts, now that the option of making millions of dollars in a short time with imaginary profits from bad real-estate deals has disappeared, the need for another spontaneous make-believe source of wealth has never been more urgent.

“Perhaps the new bubble could have something to do with watching movies on cell phones,” said investment banker Greg Carlisle of the New York firm Carlisle, Shaloe & Graves. “Or, say, medicine, or shipping. Or clouds. The manner of bubble isn’t important-just as long as it creates a hugely overvalued market based on nothing more than whimsical fantasy and saddled with the potential for a long-term accrual of debts that will never be paid back, thereby unleashing a ripple effect that will take nearly a decade to correct.”

“The U.S. economy cannot survive on sound investments alone,” Carlisle added.

Read moreRecession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In

Jim Rogers: Fannie Plan a `Disaster’; Goldman Says Sell

The U.S. economy is in a recession, possibly the worst since World War II, Rogers said.

“They’re ruining what has been one of the greatest economies in the world,” Rogers said. Bernanke and Paulson “are bailing out their friends on Wall Street but there are 300 million Americans that are going to have to pay for this.”

July 14 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Treasury Department’s plan to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is an “unmitigated disaster” and the largest U.S. mortgage lenders are “basically insolvent,” according to investor Jim Rogers.

Taxpayers will be saddled with debt if Congress approves U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson‘s request for the authority to buy unlimited stakes in and lend to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Rogers is betting that Fannie Mae shares will keep tumbling.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Daniel Zimmerman said the mortgage finance companies’ shares may fall another 35 percent and lowered his share-price estimate for Fannie Mae to $7 from $18 and for Freddie Mac to $5 from $17. Freddie Mac fell 64 cents, or 8.3 percent, to $7.11 in New York Stock Exchange trading, while Fannie Mae fell 52 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $9.73.

“I don’t know where these guys get the audacity to take our money, taxpayer money, and buy stock in Fannie Mae,” Rogers, 65, said in an interview from Singapore. “So we’re going to bail out everybody else in the world. And it ruins the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and it makes the dollar more vulnerable and it increases inflation.”

The chairman of Rogers Holdings, who in April 2006 correctly predicted oil would reach $100 a barrel and gold $1,000 an ounce, also said the commodities bull market has a “long way to go” and advised buying agricultural commodities.

`Solvency Crisis’

Read moreJim Rogers: Fannie Plan a `Disaster’; Goldman Says Sell

Citigroup’s $1.1 Trillion in Mysterious Shadow Assets

July 14 (Bloomberg) — At an investor presentation in May, Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said shrinking the bank’s $2.2 trillion balance sheet, the biggest in the U.S., was a cornerstone of his turnaround plan.

Nowhere mentioned in the accompanying 66-page handout were the additional $1.1 trillion of assets that New York-based Citigroup keeps off its books: trusts to sell mortgage-backed securities, financing vehicles to issue short-term debt and collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, to repackage bonds.

Now, as Citigroup prepares to announce second-quarter results July 18, those off-balance-sheet assets, used by U.S. banks to expand lending without tying up capital, are casting a shadow over earnings. Since last September, at least $100 billion of assets have flooded back onto Citigroup’s balance sheet, accompanied by more than $7 billion of losses.

“If you start adding up all the potential exposures, it’s a huge number,” said Sam Golden, a former ombudsman for the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency who now heads the financial-industry practice for restructuring adviser Alvarez & Marsal in Houston. “The banks will say that it was disclosed. Investors are saying, `Yeah, but it was cryptic. We really didn’t know what you were telling us.”’

U.S. banks already are reeling from more than $165 billion of writedowns and credit losses, so shareholders are wary of unknown obligations that might force them to take responsibility for additional troubled assets. The risks have become so obvious that accounting officials are proposing new rules — some of which Citigroup opposes — that would force many assets back onto balance sheets.

Read moreCitigroup’s $1.1 Trillion in Mysterious Shadow Assets

Fed: No more bailouts, except Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

This is article very important, because…
“The credit crisis has obviously entered into a new phase – the government has one bailout left in them, and this is it,” said Jeffrey Gundlach, chief investment officer of TCW Group in Los Angeles, which invests $160 billion.
And now all the related articles below make much more sense and here comes the meltdown of the financial markets.
If you do not know how to prepare yourself: Solution
If you want to know more on what is going on: World Situation
Take care. – The Infinite Unknown

____________________________________________________________________________________

NEW YORK – The U.S. government is signaling it won’t throw a lifeline to struggling financial companies – except for mortgage linchpins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – marking a shift to a new and potentially more volatile phase of the credit crisis.

Such an approach could mean beaten-down investment banks like Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and regional banks must now fend for themselves as they try to recover from billions of dollars in mortgage-related losses. That is bound to unnerve an already turbulent Wall Street and make investors even more anxious as they await financial companies’ earnings reports that are expected to be down a stunning 69 percent from a year ago when all the numbers are in.

Related articles and videos:
More Than 300 US Banks to Fail, Says RBC Capital Markets Analyst
Run on banks spells big trouble for US Treasury
US: Total Crash of the Entire Financial System Expected, Say Experts
The Dollar is doomed and the Fed will fail
Fannie, Freddie insolvent, Poole tells Bloomberg
Foreclosures Rose 53% in June, Bank Seizures Triple
Small Banks: Billions in Troubled Construction Loans
Financial market losses could top 1,600 billion dollars: report
Dow suffers worst 1st half since ‘70
Fortis Bank Predicts US Financial Market Meltdown Within Weeks
Barclays warns of a financial storm as Federal Reserve’s credibility crumbles
Jim Rogers: Avoid The Dollar At All Costs
Ron Paul on Iran and Energy June 26, 2008
Marc Faber: ‘Misleading’ Fed Should Let Banks Fail
This recession could easily tip into a depression

And, for consumers already squeezed by tightening credit standards, it could mean getting a mortgage will become even harder.

Read moreFed: No more bailouts, except Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

John McCain ‘technology illiterate’ doesn’t email or use internet

Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, has admitted that he never uses email and that his staff has to show him websites because he is only just “learning to get online myself”.


John McCain said he didn’t feel a need to use email as he prefers to conduct his communications by phone

Mr McCain, who turns 72 this year, would be the oldest president ever to be first elected to the White House.

In facing Barack Obama, an opponent who is 25 years his junior and has made powerful use of the internet in his campaign, he is battling against claims he is stuck in the past.The former US Navy pilot, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his jet was shot down over Vietnam, did himself no favours when asked by “The New York Times” which websites he looks at.

“Brooke and Mark show me Drudge, obviously, everybody watches, for better or for worse, Drudge,” he said, referring to his aides Brooke Buchanan and Mark Salter, who direct him to the Drudge Report website.

He added: “Sometimes I look at Politico. Sometimes RealPolitics, sometimes,” an apparent reference to the website RealClearPolitics.com.

At this point, Miss Buchanan and Mr McCain’s wife Cindy interjected that he also read his daughter Meghan’s blog.

“Excuse me, Meghan’s blog,” Mr McCain said, before remarking that he also read blogs by Adam Nagourney and Michael Cooper, the reporters interviewing him.

“And we also look at the blogs from Michael [Cooper] and from you [Mr Nagourney] that may not be in the newspaper, that are just part of your blog.”

When asked if he went online himself, the Arizona senator responded: “They go on for me. I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself.

“I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need – including going to my daughter’s blog first, before anything else.”

After Mr McCain conceded that he did not use a BlackBerry or email, Mr Salter butted in to say: “He uses a BlackBerry, just ours.” Mr McCain said: “I use the Blackberry, but I don’t e-mail, I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail.

“I read e-mails all the time, but the communications that I have with my friends and staff are oral and done with my cell phone. I have the luxury of being in contact with them literally all the time. We now have a phone on the plane that is usable on the plane, so I just never really felt a need to do it.

“But I do – could I just say, really – I understand the impact of blogs on American politics today and political campaigns. I understand that.

Read moreJohn McCain ‘technology illiterate’ doesn’t email or use internet

This recession could easily tip into a depression

The experience of the 1930s makes me think that the present downturn will be relatively long and difficult

Today I am celebrating my 80th birthday, an age that seems less formidable when one has reached it than when one can see it only from afar.

I was born on July 14, 1928, about 15 months before the American boom of the 1920s came to its rather abrupt end. Like everyone else, I am naturally curious to see whether the global credit crunch is going to be a brief interruption in global prosperity, or the prelude to a longer and deeper depression.

I cannot claim to have clear memories of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, which occured when I was 1year old, or of Britain leaving the gold standard in 1931, when I was 3 years old.

I do however, remember newspaper articles about the later stages of the Depression. In the 1930s, my parents read The Times, the Financial Times and the Daily Mail.

Related articles and videos:
More Than 300 US Banks to Fail, Says RBC Capital Markets Analyst
Run on banks spells big trouble for US Treasury
US: Total Crash of the Entire Financial System Expected, Say Experts
The Dollar is doomed and the Fed will fail
Fannie, Freddie insolvent, Poole tells Bloomberg
Foreclosures Rose 53% in June, Bank Seizures Triple
Small Banks: Billions in Troubled Construction Loans
Financial market losses could top 1,600 billion dollars: report
Dow suffers worst 1st half since ‘70
Fortis Bank Predicts US Financial Market Meltdown Within Weeks
Barclays warns of a financial storm as Federal Reserve’s credibility crumbles
Jim Rogers: Avoid The Dollar At All Costs
Ron Paul on Iran and Energy June 26, 2008
Marc Faber: ‘Misleading’ Fed Should Let Banks Fail

I can remember the news stories of the Jarrow march of the unemployed. I also remember discussing with my mother a lead story which reported that farm workers’ pay was to be raised 6d (2p) to what would now be £1.50 a week. The depression was a fact of existence in the North Somerset coalfield up to the outbreak of war in 1939.

Fortunately, there has only been one Great Depression in my lifetime, but there has also been a Great Inflation. In 2006 Pickering and Chatto, which I refounded in the 1980s, had the good timing to publish a three-volume History of Financial Disasters, under the general editorship of Mark Duckenfield.

Read moreThis recession could easily tip into a depression

More Than 300 US Banks to Fail, Says RBC Capital Markets Analyst

NEW YORK, July 13 (Reuters) – U.S. banks may fail in far greater numbers following the collapse of the big mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc, straining a financial system seeking stability after years of lending excesses.

More than 300 banks could fail in the next three years, said RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy, who had in February estimated no more than 150.

Related articles and video:
Fed: No more bailouts, except Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Run on banks spells big trouble for US Treasury
US: Total Crash of the Entire Financial System Expected, Say Experts
The Dollar is doomed and the Fed will fail
Jim Rogers: Fannie Plan a `Disaster’; Goldman Says Sell

Banks face pressure as credit losses once concentrated in subprime mortgages spread to other home loans and debt once-thought safe. This has also led to investor worries about the stability of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; IndyMac is not related to either.

Read moreMore Than 300 US Banks to Fail, Says RBC Capital Markets Analyst

Iran discovers new oil field to hold 1 billion barrels of crude

TEHRAN, July 13 (RIA Novosti) – A new large oil deposit with estimated reserves of more than 1 billion barrels of crude has been discovered in Iran, the Iranian oil minister said on Sunday.

Gholamhossein Nozari said the oil field, located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, is believed to contain 1.1 billion barrels of crude, with recoverable reserves of about 220 million barrels.

Iran ranks fourth in terms of crude reserves after Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait, as well as fourth in terms of oil production after Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russia.

Tehran exports the majority of crude produced in the country.

Iran grossed $70 billion from oil sales over the country’s past solar year, which according to the Iranian calendar ran from March 21, 2007 until March 20, 2008, the oil minister earlier said.

13/ 07/ 2008

Source: Ria Novosti

President George W Bush backs Israeli plan for strike on Iran

As Tehran tests new missiles, America believes only a show of force can deter President Ahmadinejad


President George W Bush: US officials acknowledge that no American president can afford to remain idle if Israel is threatened

President George W Bush has told the Israeli government that he may be prepared to approve a future military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if negotiations with Tehran break down, according to a senior Pentagon official.

Despite the opposition of his own generals and widespread scepticism that America is ready to risk the military, political and economic consequences of an airborne strike on Iran, the president has given an “amber light” to an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties, the official told The Sunday Times.

“Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you’re ready,” the official said. But the Israelis have also been told that they can expect no help from American forces and will not be able to use US military bases in Iraq for logistical support.

Nor is it certain that Bush’s amber light would ever turn to green without irrefutable evidence of lethal Iranian hostility. Tehran’s test launches of medium-range ballistic missiles last week were seen in Washington as provocative and poorly judged, but both the Pentagon and the CIA concluded that they did not represent an immediate threat of attack against Israeli or US targets.

“It’s really all down to the Israelis,” the Pentagon official added. “This administration will not attack Iran. This has already been decided. But the president is really preoccupied with the nuclear threat against Israel and I know he doesn’t believe that anything but force will deter Iran.”

The official added that Israel had not so far presented Bush with a convincing military proposal. “If there is no solid plan, the amber will never turn to green,” he said.

There was also resistance inside the Pentagon from officers concerned about Iranian retaliation. “The uniform people are opposed to the attack plans, mainly because they think it will endanger our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the source said.

Read morePresident George W Bush backs Israeli plan for strike on Iran

The Great Biofuels Con

According to the World Bank’s top economist, Don Mitchell, biofuels had been responsible for three-quarters of the 140 per cent rise in world food prices between 2002 and 2008. It was this that last October prompted Jean Ziegler, the UN’s “special rapporteur on the right to food”, to comment that biofuels could only bring “more hunger to the poor people of the world” and were a “crime against humanity”.
________________________________________________________________________________________

A field of rapeseed in England and Africans reveive food relief
Yellow peril: while Britain’s farmers are encouraged to turn their fields over to rapeseed for biofuels, the world food crisis has driven people in Ethiopia to the brink of starvation

Rarely in political history can there have been such a rapid and dramatic reversal of a received wisdom as we have seen in the past 18 months over biofuels – the cropping of living plants, such as soya beans, wheat and sugar cane, to generate energy.

Two years ago biofuels were still being hailed as a dream solution to what was seen as one of the most urgent problems confronting mankind – our dependence on fossil fuels, which are not only finite but seemed to be threatening the world with the catastrophe of global warming.

Read moreThe Great Biofuels Con

Red Cross finds Bush administration guilty of war crimes

In a secret report last year, the Red Cross found evidence of the CIA using torture on prisoners that would make the Bush administration guilty of war crimes, The New York Times reported Friday.

The Red Cross determined the culpability of the Bush administration after interviewing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, according to the article.

Prisoner Abu Zubaydahwho said he had been waterboarded, “slammed against the walls” and confined in boxes “so small he said he had to double up his limbs in the fetal position.”

The information comes from a new book written by Jane Meyer, who has frequently published articles concerning counter-terrorism in The New Yorker.

The book is titled “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” and will be released next week.

Mayer cited “sources familiar with the report” to explain the confidential document as a warning “that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.”

Read moreRed Cross finds Bush administration guilty of war crimes

Chinese Government is Top Foreign Holder of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Bonds

$376 Billion in Chinese Agency Bond Holdings Subject to Taxpayer Bailout Proposals According to FreedomWorks Analysts

WASHINGTON, Jul 11, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — As politicians call for taxpayer bailouts and a government takeover of troubled mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, FreedomWorks would like to point out that a bailout is a transfer of possibly hundreds of billions of U.S. tax dollars to sophisticated investors and governments overseas.

The top five foreign holders of Freddie and Fannie long-term debt are China, Japan, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, and Belgium. In total foreign investors hold over $1.3 trillion in these agency bonds, according to the U.S. Treasury’s most recent “Report on Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities.”

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented, “The prospectus for every GSE bond clearly states that it is not backed by the United States government. That’s why investors holding agency bonds already receive a significant risk premium over Treasuries.”

“A bailout at this stage would be the worst possible outcome for American taxpayers and mortgage holders, who have been paying a risk premium to these foreign investors. It would change the rules of the game retroactively and would directly subsidize the risks taken by sophisticated foreign investors.”

“A bailout of GSE bondholders would be perhaps the greatest taxpayer rip-off in American history. It is bad economics and you can be sure it is terrible politics.”

SOURCE: FreedomWorks
Last update: 11:08 a.m. EDT July 11, 2008

Source: Market Watch

Ghost Ships

Brothers that live when we are dead,
don’t set yourself against us too.
If you could pity us instead,
then God may sooner pity you.
We five or six strung up to view,
dangling the flesh we fed so well,
are eaten piecemeal, rot and smell.
We bones in a fine dust shall fall.
No one make that a laugh to tell:
pray God may save us one and all.

The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government has been urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Alexa :: Ghost Ships

Since 2006, when Stephen Gray’s revelations of Ghost Planes confirmed the suspicions of human rights activists, we have known that our government kidnaps and tortures “suspicious” individuals as a matter of routine. Extraordinary rendition is the NewSpeak term used when this practice is denied. The denials and non-denials have become a mockery, a stain on the soul of America, when the truth is brought to light by an individual such as Maher Arar, who lived to bear witness.

And then they would take me back to the interrogation room. Again another set of questions, and the beating starts again and again. On the third day the beating was the worst. They beat me a lot with the cable. And they wanted me to confess that I have been to Afghanistan. This was a big surprise to me because even the Americans who interviewed me, the FBI officials who interviewed me, did not ask me that question. I ended up falsely confessing in order to stop the torture. The torture decreased in intensity.From that moment on they rarely used the cable. Mostly they slapped me on the face, they kicked me, they humiliated me all the time.

The first 10 days of my stay in Syria was extremely harsh and during that period I found my cell to be a refuge. I didn’t want to see their faces. But later on living in that cell was horrible. And just to give you an idea about how painful it is to stay in that place–I was ready after a couple of months, I was ready to sign any piece of document for me, not to be released, just to go to another place where it is fit for human being.

Stephen Grey, investigative journalist, exposed the CIA’s ghost planes with actual flight logs from the air carriers and photographs from hobby “plane spotters.” The flight logs were proof.

Proof of kidnapping and torture of so-called suspicious persons? Highly inconvenient for the Torture Administration. They may have started the ghost ships before, but certainly, they have used them extensively as an alternative to air torture and rendition — and as a matter of expedience.

Read moreGhost Ships

Kucinich: Demand that Congress Issue Subpoenas for Continuity of Government Plans

Congressman Kucinich – who is leading the charge for impeachment – says that the American people must pressure Congress every day to get to find out about continuity of government (COG). If you don’t know what COG is, read this.

Kucinich said Congress has tried to find out whether COG plans implemented on 9/11 are still in effect, and what those plans are, but the White House has stonewalled. He suggests that Americans demand that congress issue subpoenas to determine whether COG plans are currently in effect, and to find out what’s in the documents. This is the only way we’ll find out.

John Conyers has been issuing subpoenas on other issues, which may be important. However, what could be more important for Congress than determining whether or not the Constitution is still the controlling document for our country? What could be more important for Congress than determining whether COG planning documents strip Congress of its power, and give sole power to the executive branch?

Demand that congress issue subpoenas and — more importantly — hold everyone subpoenaed person — including Bush, Cheney, Mukasey, Chertoff, etc. — in contempt (and throw them in jail!) if they don’t respond.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Source: George Washington’s Blog

Run on banks spells big trouble for US Treasury

IN A modern financial system nothing is more frightening than a run on the bank. The US has now suffered a series of them, and they are escalating in size and scope, posing a serious threat to an already reeling economy.

Rumours swamped financial markets on Friday that the US Government would be forced to step in to aid the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together own or guarantee $US5 trillion ($5.16 trillion) in US home loans.

In Wall Street’s version of a run on the bank, investors drove Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares to 17-year lows, signalling a gnawing lack of faith in the companies’ ability to survive rising mortgage defaults without the Government’s help.

Later on Friday regulators took over IndyMac Bank of Pasadena, saying the $US32 billion lender had collapsed under the weight of bad home loans and withdrawals by spooked depositors. It was the second-largest bank to fail in US history.

Friday’s events were felt around the world, knocking the battered US dollar lower and driving up interest rates.

“This is a flare-up in the financial forest fire that is far beyond anything we’ve seen before,” said Christopher Low, chief economist at the investment firm FTN Financial in New York.

It is triggering worries that would have been unthinkable even a year ago, including that the US Treasury’s debt might lose its AAA credit grade because of heavy blows to the nation’s fiscal health from the housing mess.

Four months ago many on Wall Street believed they had seen the worst of the credit crisis rooted in the housing market’s woes. The collapse in March of the brokerage Bear Stearns, a central player in the business of packaging dicey mortgages for sale to investors, was the kind of prominent calamity that has historically marked the end of financial crises.

Read moreRun on banks spells big trouble for US Treasury

The Dollar is doomed and the Fed will fail

In this very recent interview with Bloomberg Jim Rogers says Asia is the future, the dollar is a terribly flawed currency and he doesn’t want to own any, oil will certainly pass $200/barrel soon, and the (privately owned) Federal Reserve will disappear within the next decade.

Added: 09 July 2008

Source: YouTube

Australia is suffering one of its worst droughts on record

Life is hard for wheat and livestock farmers in the south, as they face a possible third year of nearly no rain.

July 12, 2008 POOCHERA, AUSTRALIA — Glen Phillips kneels down, scoops up a handful of dirt and squashes it in his fist to test whether the soil in this dry patch of the Australian Outback is ready to take a crop of wheat.

“It should clump together when you squeeze,” says Phillips, whose family has lived off the land on the edge of the Great Australian Bight since 1949. “That’s how you know it’s good to plant, it’s moist enough to hold the roots.”

He opens his hand and the earth sifts dustily between his fingers. Phillips looks up, lifts his hat slightly and squints into an empty blue sky with no sign of rain.

“We’ll plant anyway,” he says. “We don’t have a choice.”

Australia is suffering one of its worst droughts on record, hurting wheat farming just as the world faces a food crisis. Australia is usually the world’s third or fourth-largest exporter of wheat. But exports dropped 46% from 2005 to 2006, then fell 24% last year.

Most of its exports go to the Middle East and Southeast Asia to make bread and cereals, but the fall in supply has led to soaring prices. A ton of Australian wheat costs $367, compared with $258 in early 2007, an increase poorer countries can ill afford.

Related articles:

Worsening Drought Threatens Australia’s “Food Bowl”
Drought devastates Iraq’s wheat crops
Floods may boost world food prices for years
Floods wipe out US crops
The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic
The Price Of Food: 2007 – 2008
The U.S. Has No Remaining Grain Reserves
Nine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis
Time to Stockpile Food?
Food Riots are Coming to the U.S.
UN alert: One-fourth of world’s wheat at risk from new fungus
THE FOUR HORSEMEN APPROACH – FAMINE IS IN THE AIR
Philippines: Food Shortage Looms – Arroyo Adviser

“When they pay high prices, they pass on an increase to their poorest people, who can no longer afford it,” says Kunhamboo Kannan, director of agriculture, environment and natural resources at the Asian Development Bank. “Just look at Egypt.” Riots over rising bread prices and shortages have led to at least 10 deaths there this year.

Read moreAustralia is suffering one of its worst droughts on record

Worsening Drought Threatens Australia’s “Food Bowl”


An agricultural region that produces over 40 percent of Australia‘s fruit, vegetables, and grain is seriously threatened by the country’s ongoing drought, which has been developing into a crisis over the last decade. Scientists say that the two mighty rivers that irrigate the Murray-Darling Basin (an area the size of France and Germany combined) received the lowest amount of replenishing autumn rain since record-keeping began over a century ago.

Neil Plummer, acting head of the National Climate Centre, described rainfall during the southern hemisphere autumn as “an absolute shocker”, and said: “I’m gasping for good news”. Wendy Craik, chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, said the river system’s condition was “critical… tending towards flatlining”. She added: “We have got it on life support” [The Independent].

Related articles:
Drought devastates Iraq’s wheat crops
Floods may boost world food prices for years
Floods wipe out US crops
The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic
The Price Of Food: 2007 – 2008
The U.S. Has No Remaining Grain Reserves
Nine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis
Time to Stockpile Food?
Food Riots are Coming to the U.S.
UN alert: One-fourth of world’s wheat at risk from new fungus
THE FOUR HORSEMEN APPROACH – FAMINE IS IN THE AIR
Philippines: Food Shortage Looms – Arroyo Adviser

The degrading ecosystem may cause strife between farmers and environmentalists, as the government has said it might be forced to compulsorily acquire water from irrigators, a move that would anger and devastate farm families [The Daily Telegraph]. Conservationists say the mandatory water buy-backs are necessary to protect the wetland habitat of native birds, turtles and fish.

Read moreWorsening Drought Threatens Australia’s “Food Bowl”