Archive for October, 2010

12 militants killed in Pakistan attack

October 31, 2010 Leave a comment

A Pakistani soldier, file photo
At least 12 militants have been killed and six others injured in a Pakistani military attack on militant hideouts in the northwestern Orakzai tribal region.

Backed by helicopter gunships, military forces pounded several targets in Orakzai Agency early on Friday, a Press TV correspondent and Pakistani media reported.

Four hideouts and a vehicle belonging to suspected militants were ruined during the attack.

A huge cache of arms, including rockets, mortars, hand grenades and explosives was recovered during a search operation carried out by the security forces.

Taliban spokesman, Hafiz Saeed, however, denied the casualty reports, saying no pro-Taliban militants were killed or injured in the shelling.

The Army has intensified its attacks on the militants’ hideouts in the Orakzai tribal region after the group attacked a security forces’ convoy with a roadside bomb on October 22. At least seven soldiers lost their lives in the incident.

It was the third bomb attack targeting Pakistani forces in the country’s northwestern region.

Pakistan is struggling with violence and repeated attacks in which thousands of people have lost their lives.

The Pakistani army has launched several operations in the Northwest in a bid to flush out pro-Taliban militants from its tribal zone.

The army believes that the militants have shifted their operations from Waziristan and the Orakzai Agency to the Kurram Agency.

Militant attacks and political unrest have claimed the lives of over 4,000 people throughout Pakistan since 2007.

Meanwhile, the country has witnessed recurrent non-UN-sanctioned US drone attacks, which have also caused an increasing number of civilian casualties.

Since August 2008, approximately a thousand people have been killed in about 100 attacks by US drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Over 90 percent of the victims have been civilians.





October 31, 2010 1 comment

Will the world experience a new economic crisis that will be even more serious that the one that we have just been through or enter a period of sustained economic growth?

It is now becoming clear that the Anglo-Saxon and some European nations have not recovered from the recent economic crisis as was expected a year ago, and will slide back into a double-dip recession.   What has gone wrong? Why has not the economic stimulus packages worked?  Many economists had expected that by now that the USA would be in economic recovery, not facing high unemployment and a faltering economy.  Now, out of desperation the USA and UK are planning to print even more money in an effort to revive their faltering economies.

Meanwhile many other economies have recovered strongly from the recent recession.  In Europe the Germany economy is recovering strongly, as have most of the Asian economies.  Why have the Anglo-Saxon and some European nations not been able to do likewise?

The reasons are simple.  It does not require an economist with a PhD to figure out that if a country spends more than it earns year after year, eventually they will be in trouble.  While often economists disagree with one another on the causes and solutions, the fundamental problem why the English speaking nations are in the mess they are today is because for years they have lived beyond their means on borrowed money.  Sadly, nothing has been done to correct this, which was the cause of the recent recession; rather the current economic policies of the Anglo-Saxon nations are only made the situation worse.

The reasons for the economic crisis were:

1. Large trade deficits – the Anglo-Saxon nations have been importing far more than they export.

2. To finance their imports they have borrowed money from creditor nations with trade surpluses, which they now need to repay along with the interest.

3. Much of the GNP growth up to 2007 in these nations was in consummation of imported goods, housing and the service sector, while manufacturing declined.

4. The cost of servicing this debt has escalated while government revenues have declined.

5. Over generous welfare programs which have drained financial resources from the productive sectors of the economy.

6. A break-down on the moral fabric of society and poor work ethics

7. Costly wars and expensive defense budgets.

In an effort to revive their economies from the recession governments have operated large deficits by creating stimulus packages with borrowed and printed money.  They have continued to borrow off their creditor nations, increasing their international debt which is making long-term recovery even more difficult.

The UK and some European Governments have recently slashed Government expenditure, acknowledging they can no continue to borrow to finance their deficits.  The UK is now insolvent, struggling to pay the interest on their enormous national debt, while still incurring further debt.  The cut-backs have been so drastic that the UK economy will remain economically depressed for years.

Rather than accept responsibility for the financial mess many countries are now in, politicians have blamed bankers and speculators, instead of admitting it was their own fiscal policies that created the crisis in the first place.  Bankers make their money by lending – if loose monetary policies create too much money in circulation then bankers will find new customers to lend money – the result being the prime-housing bubble and banking crisis.  Existing loose monetary policies have continued, putting more fuel on the flames, with this time the governments themselves taking the risk, not the bankers.

Governments are like any business or household – if they spend more than earn they will eventually face bankruptcy. We now have a situation where some governments face the prospect of not being able to repay their debts, much in the same way many corporations failed during the recent recession.  To add to their woes, to prop up the failing banking systems, governments have printed money to either lend to these insolvent institutions, invested in them, or have provided loan guarantees.  As the US and UK economy continues to weaken, many of the institutions that their governments have propped up will fail, dragging down the governments themselves.

The next economic crisis will be bought about when nations default on their loans, rather than a banking crisis as was bought about with the last crisis..  Governments around the world have recklessly borrowed excessively to prop up their collapsing financial institutions; transferring much of the debt from these failed institutions to governments own balance sheets.  While some of this debt has been financed by printing money, a considerable amount has also been financed through borrowing on international money markets.  Governments around the world now owe over 57 trillion dollars in debt, not including local government and pension debt.  Managing this debt will soon become unsustainable – governments will simply not have the money to repay the interest let alone repaying the loans.  There will be a chain-reaction of sovereign bankruptcy.

Many nations outside the Eurozone have resorted to printing money to inflate their economies, injecting funds into propping up their banking systems and spending on infrastructure projects.  The USA, Japan and the UK have been among the countries less able to afford such increased spending because of the level of their national debt, but other nations have also resorted to the same practice, including India and China.  The consequence of this global printing of money will result in debasing the value of most currencies – we are already seeing a flight to gold by canny investors.

Already in Europe Portugal, Greece, Spain and Ireland their Governments face the possibility of defaulting.  Other EU countries are being forced to live within their incomes, creating depressed domestic economic conditions. The Eurozone countries have not been able to print money and have had to slash government expenditure in an effort to balance their budgets.  Such dramatic cut-backs in government expenditure has resulted in the contraction in their economies, rising unemployment, and the growing danger of political instability.

What will now unfold?

Many may not realise that the world is now awash with money.   The increase in the money supply as a part of the economic stimulus package has resulted a weakening of the US dollar and now threatening to destabilize global trade. Other nations are now printing money to buy dollars in an attempt to prevent their currencies rising against the dollar.  Eventually this will fail as printing money will not help in achieving sustainable economic growth, and will only cause a lack of confidence in the value of currencies, leading to inflation and financial collapse.  Those nations that have linked their currencies to the dollar, especially the Asian currencies, will see the dollar reserves wiped out, and massive devaluation of their own currencies.  This will create a new global economic crisis, much worse than what was experienced in 2008.

The collapse of the US dollar will bring on a period of considerable political of social unrest around the world, with many governments collapsing. With the collapse of government there will be wide-spread political unrest, as people demand a return to prosperity, even if it means giving up individual freedoms.  People will look for a strong leader who can restore world peace and prosperity.  Already in Western Europe civil unrest is spreading, as their populations refuse to accept the reforms required to enable countries to restore their economies.

The reshaping of Europe.

The European Central Bank which has adopted a more conservative fiscal policy than other Central Banks, as a part of their mandate to maintain a stable Euro; requiring its member states in the Eurozone to live within their incomes.  This will eventually see the Euro replace the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, because of sounder fiscal policies.  It is also being dominated by Germany, leading the Eurozone becoming the dominant monetary power to restore a new world economic order.

The EU now consists of one group of European nations showing strong economic growth under-pinned by a re-emergent German economy, and another other group weighed down with debt, experiencing economic stagnation.   There is a growing unwillingness by those Eurozone countries that have recovered from the economic crisis to continue supporting those nations struggling with unsustainable debt levels.  Rather than the wealthier nations continuing to prop up those EU nations facing insolvency, the Eurozone is expected to restructure, with the German-led coalition dictating the monetary and political policies for the Eurozone, something that will be difficult under the existing structure. Those nations that cannot get their economies back into balance could be either forced out of the Eurozone, or have their economies controlled by the ECB or similar body, in return to being bailed out.

There has been a shift of power in the EU towards Germany, which is the largest and strongest growing economy (3.5% growth) and the leading exporter.  The German economy has gone through several years of economic readjustment to where it is now one of the most competitive in the world, is the world’s second largest exporter, and has benefited from adopting more conservative fiscal policies than other nations.  Germany is experiencing a growing self-confidence and becoming much more assertive in reshaping Europe into a cohesive political and economic union.  With the support of France, Germany is pushing for further amendments to the EU constitution to bring this about a more cohesive European Union

Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece are being forced to restructure their economies in effort to recover.  One option is to leave the Eurozone to allow their currencies to devalue and make the adjustments to their economies to enable them to recover.  Other heavily indebted Eurozone nations such as Italy, Netherlands and even France could be threatened with expulsion unless they can get their budget deficits in order.

Even those Eurozone countries that have recovering economies have large national debts, which they need to reduce.  They are not in a position or willing to support those Eurozone member countries facing insolvency.

Meanwhile a number of the EU countries outside the Eurozone are being forced to make painful adjustments to their economies.  In particular the UK and the Eastern European nations (with the exception of Poland) have to learn to live with falling taxation revenue, high unemployment, and stagnant economic growth. The UK is unlikely to recover.

However it will not be till the collapse of the US dollar that the world will be thrown into the next economic crisis that will force the reshaping of the reshaping of a new economic and political landscape of the world.  The dollar is expected to weaken significantly next year as the increase in the US money supply will stimulate consumer spending, creating inflationary pressures and widen the current account deficit.  This will trigger off another global economic crisis.

A new economic order will replace the failed Anglo-Saxon capitalistic model.  A German-dominated Europe will install a new economic order upon the world, with the Euro becoming the world’s only reserve currency.  It is only from such crises will the Europeans be willing to accept a strong leader and provide the political support for such a leader to impose unity and reforms upon a politically fragmented EU.

This new global economic order under a German-led EU will impose upon the world reforms to create a new regulated world economy to manage international trade, enforce social, environmental and religious standards upon the world under the pretense of maintaining world peace, protecting the environment, and maintaining prosperity.  Many individual freedoms will be suppressed for the sake of the State in bringing about a new world order.  Germany will be the one nation that can lead the world to economic recovery, but will only do so on its terms.

Meanwhile the Anglo-Saxon nations will be forced to repay their debts, their assets sold off, and their people forced to live in poverty.  There will be little sympathy for the plight of the bankrupt English-speaking world from their creditors, who will have lost much of their wealth because of Anglo-Saxon extravagance. The people of the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be enslaved to their creditor nations, and will enter a time of great suffering and hardship.

History is unfolding right before our eyes, as a new economic order is forced upon the world to replace the old failed model.  It will be a regulated system in an attempt to avoid the distortions in the market that has happened over the last few years.  While this new economic system will bring in a period of global prosperity for a short time, it will also fail.  It will only be when a new world government is installed upon the earth based on the Law of God, under the rulership of Jesus Christ, that the world will experience peace and prosperity.

Bruce Porteous

31 October, 2010


Brazil finds massive oil field

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

30 October 2010 Last updated at 13:34 ET

President Lula da Silva with his hands dirty with oil on a Petrobras platform in the Tupi field, 28 October 2010 Outgoing president Lula says oil will help Brazil eradicate poverty

A newly tapped oil field off the coast of Brazil could contain up to 15 billion barrels of oil, officials say.

Brazil’s national petroleum agency said the Libra field most probably held around 8 billion barrels.

That matches the size of the giant Tupi oil field, whose discovery in 2007 drew attention to Brazil’s potential as a major oil producer.

If the 15 billion barrel figure were confirmed it would double Brazil’s known oil reserves.

It would also be the biggest oil field discovered in the Americas since 1976, when Mexico found the giant Cantarell field in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Libra exploratory well is located 183km (114 miles) offshore from Rio de Janeiro.

“The volume of recoverable oil belonging to the nation could vary from 3.7 billion to 15 billion barrels, with the most likely estimate being 7.9 billion barrels,” the national petroleum agency (ANP) said in a statement.

Brazil has discovered billions of barrels of oil in the last few years, mostly in deep, pre salt fields off its south-eastern coast.

The discoveries should make Brazil one of the world’s top 10 oil producers.

Outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said future oil revenues will be used to eradicate poverty and invest in education and technology.

In September the Brazilian oil company Petrobras, which is partly owned by the state, raised $70bn (£44.7bn) to develop the new fields in the world’s largest ever public share offering.

More on This Story

Related stories


White House Steps Up Efforts to Battle Domestic Violence

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Suzanne Perry, Domestic violence victim advocate.

Suzanne Perry, Domestic violence victim advocate.

Saturday 30 October 2010

by: Nadia Prupis, t r u t h o u t | Report


The White House acknowledged October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Wednesday by announcing several new initiatives that aim to protect and empower victims of abuse and sexual assault.

Many women’s rights advocates were heartened by the administration’s recent steps.

“They’re really doing a lot on the subject,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “I do think the White House is committed to moving forward and improving the situation.”

The initiatives were developed through a government-wide effort, with input from the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), among others. “Every agency is responsible for looking at their policy and legislation and measuring it against whether it improves the lives of women and girls,” said Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett in a press conference call Wednesday. “Various federal governments have taken a solid approach to how we have tried to manage [the] challenge” of domestic violence, Jarrett said.

Jarrett, who also chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls, lauded the accomplishments of the Violence Against Women Act, passed in 1994, which provided $1.6 billion to support the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women – but stated that there is “still a lot of work to be done.”

Busy schedule? Click here to keep up with Truthout with free email updates.

“Domestic violence is not just a women’s issue, it’s an American issue,” Jarrett said. “Each October, it’s a time for us to reflect on our commitment to ending one of the most tragic and senseless crimes.”

Statistics noted in the White House report are grim. One in four women will be the victim of domestic violence over the course of their lifetimes and one in six will be sexually assaulted. Currently, more than 20 million women in the United States have been the victims of rape – a number that may not be an accurate reflection of reality, as fewer than one in six rapes are reported to the police. Roughly 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year.

To address these troubling statistics, the White House has launched several initiatives to strengthen the legal system and increase sexual assault arrests and prosecutions, protect children and break the cycle of violence, and help victims gain housing and financial independence.

“There has never been this kind of national focus on sexual assault,” said Lynn Rosenthal, domestic violence policy expert and the first-ever White House adviser on violence against women.

Rosenthal detailed the White House’s specific plans to protect victims, including a set of regulations released by HUD to provide guidance to housing authorities and landlords, allowing them to “evict perpetrators of abuse, keep their properties safe and make sure victims do not lose their housing due to crimes committed against them,” according to the report. Although the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), reauthorized in 2005, included provisions for housing authorities, the rules governing these provisions were never finalized, Rosenthal said. “Housing authorities have not had the guidance they needed until today.”

The Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women is launching a national campaign against sexual assault, holding regional forums throughout the country to stimulate public dialogue, while the National Institute of Justice will investigate the root causes of backlogs in rape kit processing. The project will team researchers with law enforcement agencies, crime labs and prosecutors in up to five jurisdictions to create new systems for testing DNA evidence. Over time, NIJ aims to create practices that will eliminate delays in rape kit examination countrywide. DOJ has also released resources and guidance for advocates, attorneys and law enforcement to strengthen protective orders.

“One of the major [excuses] we got was that there’s not enough money” to process rape kits, Smeal said. “Police departments find another reason to spend it… now [that] money has been appropriated, they say there’s not enough scientists and labs to process them.”

A 2009 study of 1,146 Navy personnel found that repeat offenders committed 95 percent of attempted and completed rapes. “Because of the high rate of recidivism … it’s very, very important that [police] process the kits,” Smeal said. “If they need more labs and more trained people, there’s a shortage of jobs – make them.”

“When a women is killed, there were almost always warning signs along the way,” Rosenthal said. The DOJ resources are “critically important because risk of homicide increases when victims are trying to leave a violent relationship.”

As a senator in 2008, Vice President Biden introduced a bill that would enlist and train 100,000 lawyers to represent domestic violence victims. Recalling Biden’s statement to the Senate, Rosenthal said, “There is no more noble calling than to help victims of abuse get to safety and obtain custody of their children.”

Other federal departments have gotten involved in the effort by creating a focus on employment for abuse survivors. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has developed a financial literacy curriculum specifically for victims of domestic violence, while the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau has released “A Woman’s Guide to Green Jobs” in coordination with the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“These are just a few of the steps that we’re taking,” said President Obama during a Domestic Violence Awareness Event on Wednesday. “But the bottom line is this: Nobody in America should live in fear because they are unsafe in their own home – no adult, no child…. As a society, we need to ensure that if a victim of abuse reaches out for help, we are there to lend a hand.”

Obama’s 2011 budget includes a proposal for $130 million in funds to help abuse victims find shelter, counseling and legal assistance. $100 million of the increase would come from the Crime Victims’ Fund, which is supported by criminal fines, penalties and forfeited jail bonds rather than taxpayer money.

Creative Commons License
This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


Latest GMO fiasco: Mad Soy Disease Strikes Brazil

October 30, 2010 1 comment

The Secretary of Agriculture's office is locat...

The Secretary of Agriculture's office is located in the Jamie L. Whitten Building.

No cure for mad soy disease

They call it “mad soy disease” in Brazil, where it has been spreading from the north, causing yield losses of up to 40 percent, most notably in the states of Mato Grosso, Tocantins and Goias.

Like its namesake, mad cow disease, it is incurable [1, 2, 3].

This is the latest GMO fiasco to surface since our report on the meltdown in the USA [4] (GM Crops Facing Meltdown in the USA, SiS 46), China [5] (GM-Spin Meltdown in China, SiS 47), and Argentina [6] (Argentina’s Roundup Human Tragedy, SiS 48).

Mad soy disease has afflicted soybeans sporadically in the hot northern regions of Brazil in the past years, but is now spreading to more temperate regions in the south “with increased prevalence overall”, according to a US Department of Agriculture scientist.

The disease delays the maturation of infected plants indefinitely; the plants remain green until they eventually rot in the field. The top leaves thin out, and the stems thicken and become deformed. The leaves also darken compared to healthy plants; the pods, when formed, are abnormal with fewer beans.

Researchers have yet to find a cure for the disease, as they are still not sure what causes it. The prime suspect for spreading disease is the black mite found in stubble when soybean is grown in no-till production systems.

According to the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network, Brazil has 24 million ha planted to soybean, 78 percent of which are GM [3]. Apart from mad soy disease, Brazil’s soybean is simultaneously afflicted by soybean Asian rust that first appeared in 2001-2002. Producer groups are requesting the Brazilian Government Agency to speed up approval of more effective fungicide to combat the disease, which would have significant cost implications. But for mad soy disease, no cure is forthcoming. Mato Grosso, which alone produces nearly 30 percent of Brazil’s soybean crop, is among the states that have brought the issue of mad soy disease “to the forefront”.

US scientists identified more than 40 diseases associated with glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops

Disease of GM soybean is no longer a surprise. Senior scientists in the United States, who have studied glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant GM crops for decades, identified more than 40 diseases linked to glyphosate, and the list is growing [7] (Scientists Reveal Glyphosate Poisons Crops and Soil, SiS 47). Glyphosate tolerant crops play a pivotal role in causing and spreading diseases, not only to the crops themselves, but also to other crops grown nearby or planted subsequently [8] (Glyphosate Tolerant Crops Bring Diseases and Death, SiS 47).

The scientists warned of “dire consequences for agriculture.” Don Huber, recently retired from Purdue University, stated that the widespread use of glyphosate in the US can [7] “significantly increase the severity of various plant diseases, impair plant defense to pathogens and diseases and immobilize soils plant nutrients rendering them unavailable for plant use.” References

1. “Brazil battles spread of ‘mad soy disease”,, 5 October 2010,–2316.html

2. “Mad soy disease hits Brazil farmers”, Kieran Gartlan, DTN Progressive Farmer 19 August 2010,

3. Brazil, oilseeds and products update, record soybean planted area forecast for 2010-11 crop. GAIN /report, 9/29/2010, USDA foreign Agricultural Service, Global Agriculture Information Network,

4. Ho MW. GM crops facing meltdown in the USA. Science in Society 46

5. Saunders PT and Ho MW. From the Editors: GM spin meltdown in China. Science in Society 47, 2-3, 2010.

6. Robinson C. Argentina’s Roundup human tragedy. Science in Society 48 (to appear).

7. Ho MW. Scientists reveal glyphosate poisons crops and soil. GM meltdown continues. Science in Society 47, 10-11, 2010.

8. Ho MW. Glyphosate tolerant crops bring diseases and death. Science in Society 47, 12-15, 2010.

Reposted with permission.


Millions of people “vanished” in U.S. – historian (Did 7,000,000 Die?)

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Great Depression: man dressed in worn coat lyi...

Great Depression: man dressed in worn coat lying down on pier, New York City docks. (53227(2060), 00...

Source Article

While America lectures Russia on the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine, Russian historian Boris Borisov asks what became of over seven million American citizens who disappeared from US population records in the 1930s.

RT: What made you research the history of what you call ‘American Holodomor’?

B.B: It was very simple. As I was doing comparative research of the American Great Depression in the 1930s, and the Great Depression of the 1990s in Russia, I grew interested in the social dimension of the tragedy. It was logical that I looked up official American documents and found out that the discrepancies were so obvious that any independent researcher would not but have doubt about the official U.S. statistic data. All appears to be rather interesting. I will come to that later.

The U.S. Congress added fuel to the fire by adopting resolutions nearly every year blaming the Soviet government for alleged staged famine in the 1930s in Ukraine. The first resolution came in 1988, 50 years after the events described. The current members of Congress wonder about the following, and I quote, “people in the government were aware of what was going on, but did not do anything to help the starving”.

At that very period of 1930s, the wealthy city of New York saw kilometre-long lines of people for free soup. There were no queues on the city’s main streets though, but not because there were no hungry people but because most of the cities did not have any money – they were just bankrupt.

So, I became curious about that and carried out some research that brought about interesting results.

RT: You say that America of the early 1930s made over seven million people perish. It’s a horrifying figure and it needs an explanation. What do you base your research on and why do you say the population statistics of the U.S. government of 1932-33 was falsified?

B.B.: Seven and a half million people does not mean the number of particular victims of the famine, but a general demographic loss, or the difference between the supposed population on the date of the census that was due to be held in 1940 and the factual number of people. In reality, the total demographic loss is bigger. The fact is not contested by anyone. The figure is more than ten million people.

The front page of a 1940 statistical report Borisov used in his study The front page of a 1940 statistical report Borisov used in his study However, when you start researching the subject, you find that there is a migration component – people were coming to the country and leaving. All can be calculated. It turns out then, that three million people can be subtracted at the cost of migration – in approximate figures, as it is not a scientific report.

What’s left is 7.5 million people still missing. The question is: where are they?

Voluntary defenders of U.S. values who venture to discuss the matter with me, normally begin with a statement that those people were simply not born. However, if we take the age pyramid and distribute the people according to their dates of birth, it becomes apparent that 5.5 million children and two million grown-ups are missing from the 7.5 million. So, those two million people could not have been non-existent – as they had been born. They could only die.

As a result, I consider the two million of grown-up victims as the limit proved from the bottom – for 10 years, let me emphasise this.

Could the remaining children out of those 5.5 not have been born? The U.S. statistics does not answer this question. If we use the method of international juxtapositions and see how demography reacted to similar disastrous events in other countries, we will see that the distribution of the demographic was divided between the children who had died and had not been born in the ratio of f9; to f9;. In other words, it’s from 2 to 4 million extra losses.

The overall loss in ten years could be estimated as being from four – or slightly fewer – to six – or slightly more – million.

Let me quote some figures, if you don’t mind – demonstrating how other countries reacted to the similar situation. If you believe that four or six million people is a terrible number, let me quote this: male mortality rate in Russia: 810,000 in 1984; 1,226,000 in 1994 – whereas the population is the same. In other words, as compared with 1984, the year 1996 had an additional number of 416,000 dead males. You have to add females and children to that figure.

As of now the prevalence of the death rate over birth rate yet remains, although smaller. Some say it is horrible, others say it’s normal as the country is developing. So there are different takes about there being half a million dead. Nobody tears his or her hair out to discuss this.

Likewise, there were opposing viewpoints in the USA. Some said it was horrible – “We had millions of people deprived of their land!” – those who read Steinbeck well knew the situation from his documentary-authentic novels depicting starving children. Others say, “No, it’s all right. We’re fighting depression and all is as scheduled.” Like here today, I think.

RT: Imagine the so-called “hungry marches” in the times of President Hoover and quote memories of a child about those events. Did you actually find any survivors still alive to tell the story and confirm the fact of ‘American Holodomor’?

B.B.: Let me draw your attention to the fact that it was not me who called those marches “hunger marches”. They were called so by the participants. When someone goes marching in protest against war, they protest against war because people get killed there. When someone protests against hunger, it means they protest against dying of starvation, and the people are ready for social unrest. You may know that not only the police but also regular military troops were used to disperse those marches.

There is a huge amount of evidence. Let me quote some. For example. The thing is that in summer an article by Dmitriy Lyskov was published in the English translation, with some conclusions drawn from my research. That caused active discussion in English-language blogs, also in the USA, which is understandable.

What do Americans write in their stories? Just three quotes:

1) The ancient members of my family told me how people used to come to the door asking to do a day’s work for only a meal.

2) If this story is true and our federal government knew the enormity of the crisis during the 30s, then it might explain their silence about the famine in Ukraine during the same time.

3) It’s a good argument… I heard lots of stories about the Depression from all my relatives, and especially from my mother and father. People were starving, I don’t dispute that. But I don’t think it would have been seven million.

We can see flat ideological statements about democracy and freedom in the USA then, therefore such things just could not have been there. However, we have authentic stories, so numerous that one could make volumes out of them and put them on a shelf.

RT: Such outstanding historical moments are usually reflected in literature, films, and, of course, journalist reports and research articles. The American depression is definitely one of those remarkable periods. Is there any proof of your theory in an article of a newspaper of that time?

B.B.: They did write about it, of course, but in a style similar to that used in our newspapers about the 1990s. They criticised the government, parties fought each other, someone criticised local authorities, someone insisted on their programmes, others on the opposite. As a whole, however, the bigger picture of the epoch will be seen only in a while. As for sources, they can be used for reference about those real events that were happening there.

Of course, journalists may be interested in a fact about a tractor that pulled down a farm. There are many facts of this kind – Steinbeck eloquently tells a lot about such things. But as to what happened to that farm later, the fact being that ten people left but only eight came back, is seldom told – both then and now. It’s not something of big interest to journalists.

For instance, who died in your family in the past two years?

You must bear in mind that those who died are in the lowest stratum of the American society – either had been poor, or became poor and failed to get out of this level. Try to find research details about the death rate among homeless people in Russia now – you will encounter big difficulties. You may find, but that may take a long time. And you will hardly find anything in newspapers, despite the fact that mortality among the homeless is there. And it’s about citizens of Russia and most likely the number of those dying is big. Perhaps the factor that not all of them volunteered to become homeless is the answer.

RT: In your article, you write about the agrarian business lobby you claim is guilty of destroying the state food resources. Can you please tell more about it and maybe compare it to any instance of more recent economic wars or lobbies, maybe?

B.B.: The modern example is obvious – it’s a modern programme of producing fuel from food. It’s not by chance, that the Cuban leader Fidel Castro raised this question, thus dotting the ‘i’s’ and crossing the ‘t’s’. As a matter of fact, producing fuel from food is something to enrich someone, whereas impoverishing dozens of millions of others. The process is already there and the current increase of food prices is already causing political unrest and more deaths. Medical specialists don’t do this in third-world countries nor in rich countries so far. The process is under way. Unless stopped, by the end of the 21st century, the programme of obtaining fuel from food will be studied in history books on pages next to Hitler and concentration camps. The scale of the consequences would be comparable, in terms of the number of victims.

This is what concerns the current situation.

RT: We had these discussions in the time of chaos and depression in the world’s financial markets. Hundreds of people are losing their jobs, credits are not paid back, the mortgage crisis is on. As an economist, do you see this as the beginning of a new great depression and, actually, a new Holodomor?

B.B.: Comparing the current crisis with the Great Depression has become commonplace in economic discussions. I would rather not over-load you with some economic terms but let me give you a simple example. The modern crisis radically differs from the one in the early 20th century. Whereas that crisis was of an industrial society, this one is of a post-industrial society and the economy of services.

What does that mean? Imagine yourself a highly-paid specialist in securities. You strike deals and earn a lot. You’re sure you’re worth it, because the deals yield good profits. Who do you need? A legal adviser. Many of them, with an office, secretaries, clerks – all of whom help you not to lose your money and do your business. Who do the legal advisers need? They need bank employees who take their lucrative salaries and deposit them at advantageous terms. This is what makes up the first financial circle.

The first circle is followed by another one, where people need property dealers, as they are very busy themselves and would not build homes on their own. They would need a tourist agent to quickly arrange that their bottoms could be warmed up in Hawaii. And they need transfer agents to arrange all the transportation.

Then follows the third circle of the services industry – including cafes where the guys from the first and second circles have coffee, restaurant where they dine, fitness centres to make them fit sometimes – an they’re necessary in the centre of the city, because they cannot afford getting away from the money source spring as someone else can crawl up and scoop from it. Ninety per cent of the fee is taken by the rent of the premises in the prestigious locations.

All the rest is arranged likewise.

Now, imagine that the stock market has collapsed. You have no job and no revenue. So you pack to leave – Lehman Brothers all pack. You don’t need legal advisers anymore. If you do, however, you have no money to pay them with. No bank specialists are required. That is followed by no need for a property agent, and all the rest down the chain.

What have we got as a result? In an industrial economy, an enterprise has some safety factor – some reserves, long-term contracts, some property they can sell or mortgage at the end of the day. There is no such safety margin in the services industry. As soon as the money source stops, the services industry rumbles like a house of cards.

So, things may be developing now much faster than in the pre-WWII times. This is what we can see happening now during a very short period of time, much shorter than in the time of the Great Depression, major financial institutions collapsed, which set the alarm bells ringing, as French President Sarkozy put it, making the economy a little smarter. This is well understood by the leaders, but nobody says how to do this.


Candidates Across U.S. Attack Jobs and Tax Dollars Going Overseas but Ignore the Real Heart of the Problem

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

A North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ...

A North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Logo.

By Lori Wallach and Todd Tucker, AlterNet
Posted on October 29, 2010, Printed on October 30, 2010

This election season, hundreds of candidates across the country are campaigning on their opposition to jobs and tax dollars going overseas. This makes sense, given poll returns that show opposition to unfair trade practices is one of the few things that unite Americans of different incomes and political parties. But many of the politicians’ 30-second television ads do not explain why this offshoring is happening.

A key part of the explanation is so-called “trade” agreements like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since these pacts went into effect, 43,000 manufacturing establishments have closed, 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, and inequality has skyrocketed. Brand name goods once made here are now being made offshore and imported back to the U.S. for sale, leading to rising trade deficits. And our exports to the 17 countries with which we have NAFTA-style deals have grown at half the pace of that to countries with which we do not have these agreements.

So, while NAFTA and the WTO have been called “trade agreements,” they would be more accurately understood as “offshoring agreements” that guarantee special treatment and lower risks for firms that relocate to low-wage countries.

These pacts did not come down from God or the invisible hand from college economics textbooks. They were part of an intentional strategy on the part of large U.S. corporations seeking to offshore production, their lobbyists, and politicians to fundamentally change the way the American economy works.

Cut to the current election cycle. Virtually every Democrat in a tough race has at least one paid television ad attacking offshoring, and many propose changes to the tax system to combat it.

But that’s just one piece of the problem. Multinational corporations have long complained that foreign judicial systems provide unreliable protection for their overseas investments, not to mention the risk that governments there might introduce new labor or environmental regulations they don’t like. Presumably, these concerns are one deterrent from shuttering factories in places like Peoria and Buffalo.

Now, NAFTA-style deals make it easier to offshore by removing this deterrent. They allow corporations to bypass national judicial systems and launch attacks on governments in international tribunals for interfering with the companies’ future expected profits. The “judges” are selected in part by the corporation, and the trade pact “rules” they enforce have been tailored to corporations’ demands. Often the mere threat of one of these cases can cast a chill on public interest regulation. Under NAFTA alone, governments have been ordered to pay over $200 million to corporations for the privilege of enacting new rules to protect the environment, consumers and more.

Or look at the other side of the aisle. Earlier this year, former governor Sarah Palin caused a stir when she posted on Facebook that stimulus cash was being spent on foreign- made goods. This theme has caught on like wildfire, with dozens of Republican congressional candidates lambasting the offshore leaking of our tax dollars. Yet the WTO and other trade pacts impose constraints on how we can use our tax dollars. That’s right: these deals say we cannot give preference to local producers.

A generation ago, we wouldn’t have had this problem. “Buy America” or “Buy Local” rules meant that, whenever possible, tax dollars collected in our communities should be spent here on locally made goods. But the trade pacts require that the federal and many state governments must exempt foreign-made goods from these purchasing requirements if they were made in one of 52 countries with which we have certain trade pacts.

Whichever party ultimately prevails in the election, this campaign has shown that there is ample support for fixing anything that leads to the offshoring of jobs and tax dollars. This must include revisiting flawed trade agreements that limit our space for addressing these concerns.

President Obama himself campaigned and won attacking unfair trade agreements and their pro-offshoring rules related to investment and government purchases. On November 3, he should meet with both the Republican and Democratic congressional leadership, and make a plan to ensure that future trade pacts – including the leftover deals negotiated by the Bush administration with Colombia, Korea and Panama – are revised to meet the public demand for good jobs and stronger communities here at home.

The authors are director and research director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division.

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: