War on Terror is bankrupting world > Proofs

War on Terror is bankrupting world > Proofs

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See also

See also: Cost of GWOT and US Bankruptcy

– analysis – numbers don’t lie,

but the govn’t sure does > HERE

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ECONOMIST Loretta Napoleoni and others present their research.

Terror of USA : War on Terror  is bankrupting world – Loretta Napoleoni

BOOK “Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror Is Bankrupting the World,” by Loretta Napoleoni

Terrorism and the Economy

Description

Economist and best-selling author Loretta Napoleoni traces the link between the finances of the war on terror and the global economic crisis, finding connections from Dubai to London to Las Vegas that politicians and the media have at best ignored. In launching military and propaganda wars in the Middle East, America overlooked the war of economic independence waged by Al-Qaeda. The Patriot Act boosted the black market economy, and the war on terror prompted a rise in oil prices that led to food riots and distracted governments from the trillion-dollar machinations of Wall Street. Consumers and taxpayers, spurred by propaganda fears, were lured into crushing global debt. Napoleoni shows that if we do not face up to the many serious connections between our response to 9/11 and the financial crisis, we will never work our way out of the looming global recession that now threatens our way of life.

While we feared that Al-Qaeda might destroy our world, Wall Street ripped it apart.

Loretta Napoleoni BBC Interview (mp3 3.36 MB)

A BBC interview with Loretta Napoleoni, in which she explains the connection between terrorism and the global economy in under one minute. A must-listen.

Reviews

Press Reviews

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

This is Napoleoni’s third book on the economics of terrorism and it might be her best so far.

See also

Rogue economics: capitalism’s new reality

By Loretta Napoleoni

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U.S. Wars Are Bankrupting the World

October 25, 2010 By David Swanson 2 Comments

Loretta Napoleoni (Photo James Duncan Davidson)

The endless and infinite “war on terra” is bankrupting the planet. I don’t mean moral bankruptcy; that goes without saying. I mean financial bankruptcy. And don’t take my word for it. This is the argument made in a new book called “Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror Is Bankrupting the World,” by Loretta Napoleoni, a financial reporter for Internazionale, l’Unita, il Caffe, Mondo e Missione, El Pais, Vanity Fair Spain, and Vanity Fair Italy.

Perhaps Napoleoni is insufficiently subservient to Wall Street to write for U.S. newspapers — unlike, say, the United States government: “Washington needs Wall Street’s help to keep international investors funding the U.S. debt,” the author explains, “which in turn provides the $1.6 billion needed each month to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Which explains the lack of criminal prosecutions and serious regulation of Wall Street.

Loretta Napoleoni traces some surprising changes in the world financial system over the past nine years to the latest U.S. warmaking spree: “Though it may sound implausible, as soon as the West focused its attention on the war on terror, the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the Persian Gulf began experiencing an unprecedented economic boom. Money started to flow toward their economies.” The U.S. government did not investigate the sources of terrorist funding, but did put restrictions in place through the  PATRIOT Actthat led money launderers to take their business to Europe, which suffered from that transfer as well.

The U.S. claimed it wanted to cut off the terrorists’ lifeline, but Napoleoni finds little evidence of action behind the claim. Instead she sees Bush’s failure to pursue bin Laden’s bankers as in line with his failure to try to prevent 9-11 or to capture or bring bin Laden to trial. The 9-11 attacks were Bush’s excuse for war, and war was what he wanted.

Napoleoni sees the “war on terror” as a response to  Islamic jihad and draws a comparison to Saladin’s jihad as a response to the Christian crusades. The Pope’s call to “liberate” the holy land in 1095, Napoleoni writes, was for “the starving masses of Europe . . . a way of feeding themselves and an escape from a life of misery and suffering. For the knights and nobility, it offered an opportunity for economic expansion. . . . Europe was a colony of Islam. Today the Muslim world feels equally subjugated to the West.”

One of the ultimate aims of the Islamic insurgency, Loretta Napoleoni writes, is “to bleed the American economy until it is bankrupt.” Bin Laden has “even calculated the amount of profits that Americans have accumulated from the sale of Arab oil. For every barrel sold over the last twenty-five years, he claims they pocketed $135. The total loss of income adds up to a staggering $4.05 billion per day, which he describes as the greatest theft in history.”

U.S. actions these past nine years have tended to self-inflict the economic wounds bin Laden desires, while simultaneously building al Qaeda into a more powerful and efficient enterprise. The United States had tended to tolerate money laundering because it benefited the economy and the domestic money supply. The PATRIOT Act imposed regulations on money laundering and therefore on international banks, which immediately began advising their clients to avoid and divest from dollars. International crime syndicates took their money laundry to Europe. The war on terra also drove the price of crude oil through the roof. But it was the otherwise unregulated free-for-all on Wall Street that did the most damage to the U.S. and world economies. “The likelihood that bin Laden will destroy us is extremely low,” writes Napoleoni, “the likelihood that finance will do so is, on the other hand, extremely high, a virtual certainty.”

U.S. propaganda “magnified al Qaeda’s power exponentially. . . . On 9/11, few knew that this was nothing more than political theater and that few Muslims had ever heard of al Qaeda. . . . Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had no ties whatsoever to bin Laden. . . . [T]he invasion of Afghanistan decimated al Qaeda. Yet we believed what politicians told us.” Our policies — destabilizing Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa — created shell states and easy recruitment for terrorism, which we thereby helped make more affordable. “The 9/11 attacks cost al Qaeda $500,000, while the Madrid massacre cost only $20,000, and the London suicide bombings less than $15,000. Osama bin Laden no longer operates costly training camps but relies upon the proliferation of jihadist websites to indoctrinate and train a new generation of jihadists at rock-bottom prices.” The U.S. has spent trillions on war, while Iraqis have successfully fought back for less than $200 million.

We can’t waste money this way without Wall Street, which is “as free and unregulated as it was before the credit crunch.” We’d transferred “bad risk accumulated by the private sector to the balance sheet of the state,” rather than eliminating it as needed. “In March 2009, the share prices of companies and banks ‘saved’ by governments were all below the levels at which the state had purchased them. . . . The desire to maintain, at any cost, a damaged and anachronistic system will only bring ruination.”

Instead, Napoleoni suggests, we should restructure the financial system, nationalize the banking sector, prune all the deadwood that does not serve the real economy, outlaw damaging products like derivatives, and preserve insurance operations while allowing gambling operations to collapse. We might learn from Islamic economics, which Napoleoni describes as “the opposite of capitalism”:

“In the Eastern world, the selfish behavior of each individual, aimed at maximizing profits and minimizing costs, is not believed to miraculously enrich entire nations. In the short shadow of the minarets, wealth comes from cooperation and joint ventures between banks and clients.” Drawing on this source, we might require that money always be invested in the real economy, thereby banning speculation on securities not tied to the underlying companies.

And instead of paying people to do nothing, through unemployment compensation, Napoleoni argues we should pay people, the unemployed and recent graduates, to convert our industries to clean energy, build infrastructure, and redesign our manufacturing base. Sounds like a plan that would even take care of the much bemoaned enthusiasm gap.

David Swanson

Republished with permission

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Loretta Napoleoni: The intricate economics of terrorism TED lecture

ie role of criminal and terrorist money on USA economy and the patriot act consequences, sort of like the relationship between the police, judges, jailers, the mafias, the bankers, and the criminals in webs of interdependence

Transcript

I’m going to show you how terrorism actually interacts with our daily life. 15 years ago I received a phone call from a friend. At the time he was looking after the rights of political prisoners in Italian jails. He asked me if I wanted to interview the Red Brigades. Now, as many of you may remember, the Red Brigades was a terrorist, Marxist organization which was very active in Italy from the 1960s until the mid-1980s. As part of their strategy the Red Brigades never spoke with anybody, not even with their lawyers. They sat in silence through their trails, waving occasionally at family and friends.

In 1993 they declared the end of the arms struggle. And they drew a list of people with whom they would talk, and tell their story. And I was one of those people. When I asked my friend why the Red Brigades want to talk to me, he said that the female members of the organization had actually supported my name. In particular, one person had put it forward. She was my childhood friend. She had joined the Red Brigades and became a leader of the organization.

Naturally, I didn’t know that until the day she was arrested. In fact, I read it in the newspaper. At the time of the phone call I just had a baby, I successfully completed a management buyout to the company I was working with, and the last thing I wanted to do was to go back home and touring the high-security prisons. But this is exactly what I did because I wanted to know what had turned my best friend into a terrorist, and why she’d never tried to recruit me. (Laughter) (Applause)

So, this is exactly what I did. Now, I found the answer very quickly. I actually had failed the psychological profiling of a terrorist. The center committee of the Red Brigades had judged me too single-minded and too opinionated to become a good terrorist. My friend, on the other hand, she was a good terrorist because she was very good at following orders. She also embraced violence. Because she believed that the only way to unblock what, at the time, was known as a blocked democracy, Italy, a country run by the same party for 35 years was the arms struggle.

At the same time, while I was interviewing the Red Brigades, I also discovered that their life was not ruled by politics or ideology, but actually was ruled by economics. They were constantly short of cash. They were constantly searching for cash. Now, contrary to what many people believe, terrorism is actually a very expensive business. I’ll give you an idea. In the 1970s, the turnover of the Red Brigades on a yearly basis was seven million dollars. This is roughly between 100 and 150 million, today.

Now, you know, if you live underground it’s really hard to produce this amount of money. But this also explains why, when I was interviewing the Red Brigades, and then, later on, other arms organizations, including members of al-Zarqawi group in the Middle East, everybody was extremely reluctant to talk about ideology, or politics. Because they had no idea. The political vision of a terrorist organization is decided by the leadership, which, generally, is never more than five to seven people. All the others do, day in and day out, is search for money.

Once, for example, I was interviewing this part-timer from the Red Brigades. It was a psychiatrist. He loved sailing. He was a really keen sailor. And he had this beautiful boat. And he told me that the best time of his life was when he was a member of the Red Brigades and he went sailing, every summer, back and forth from Lebanon, where he would pick up Soviet weapons from the PLO, and then carry them all the way to Sardinia where the other arms organization from Europe would go and take their share of the arms. For that service the Red Brigades were actually paid a fee, which went to fund their organization.

So, because I am a trained economist and I think in economic terms, all of the sudden I thought, maybe there is something here. Maybe there is a link, a commercial link, between one organization and another one. But it was only when I interviewed Mario Moretti, the head of the Red Brigades, the man who kidnapped and killed Aldo Moro, Italian former prime minister, that I finally realized that terrorism is actually business. I was having lunch with him in a high-security prison in Italy. And as we were eating, I had the distinct feeling that I was back in the city of London, having lunch with a fellow banker or an economist. This guy thought in the same way I did.

So, I decided that I wanted to investigate the economics of terrorism. Naturally, nobody wanted to fund my research. In fact, I think many people thought that I was a bit crazy. You know, that woman that goes around to foundations asking for money, thinking about the economics of terrorism. So, in the end, I took a decision that, in retrospect, did change my life. I sold my company, and funded the research myself.

And what I discovered is this parallel reality, another international economic system, which runs parallel to our own, which has been created by arms organizations since the end of World War II. And what is even more shocking is that this system has followed, step by step, the evolution of our own system, of our Western capitalism. And there are three main stages. The first one is the state sponsor of terrorism.

The second one is the privatization of terrorism. And the third, of course, is the globalization of terrorism. So, state sponsor of terrorism, feature of the Cold War. This is when the two superpowers were fighting a war by proxy, along the periphery of the sphere of influence, fully funding arms organizations. A mix of legal and illegal activities is used. So, the link between crime and terror is established very early on.

And here is the best example, the Contras in Nicaragua, created by the CIA, legally funded by the U.S. congress, illegally funded by the Reagan administration via covert operation, for example, the Iran-Contra Affair. Then comes the late 1970s, early ’80s, and some groups successfully carry out the privatization of terrorism. So, they gain independence from the sponsor, and start funding themselves.

Now, again we see a mix of legal and illegal activities. So, Arafat used to get a percentage of the smuggling of hashish from Bekáa Valley, which is the valley between Lebanon and Syria. And the IRA, which control the private transportation system in Northern Ireland, did exactly the same thing. So, every single time that somebody got into a taxi in Belfast without knowing, actually, was funding the IRA.

But the great change came, of course, with globalization and deregulation. This is when arms organization were able to link up, also financially, with each other. But above all, they started to do serious business with the world of crime. And together they money-laundered their dirty business through the same channel. This is when we see the birth of the transnational arms organization Al Qaeda. This is an organization that can raise money across border. But also that is able to carry out attacks in more than one country.

Now, deregulation also brought back rogue economics. So what is rogue economics? Rogue economics is a force which is constantly lurking in the background of history. It comes back at times of great transformation, globalization being one of those transformations. It is at this times in which politics actually loses control of the economy, and the economy becomes a rogue force working against us. It has happened before in history. It has happened with the fall of the Roman empire. It has happened with Industrial Revolution. And it actually happened again, with the fall of the Berlin wall.

Now, I calculated how big was this international economic system composed by crime, terror, and illegal economy, before 9-11. And it is a staggering 1.5 trillion dollars. It is trillions, it’s not billions. This is about twice the GDP of the United Kingdom, soon will be more, considering where this country is going. (Laughter)

Now, untill 9-11, The bulk of all this money flew into the U.S. economy because the bulk of the money was denominated in U.S. dollars and the money laundering was taking place inside the United States. The entry point, of course, of most of this money, were the off-shore facilities. So, this was a vital injection of cash into the U.S. economy. Now, when I went to look at the figures of the U.S. money supply, the U.S. money supply is the amount of dollars that the Federal Reserves prints every year in order to satisfy the increase in the demand for dollars, which, of course, reflects the growth of the economy.

So, when I went to look at those figures, I noted that since the late 1960s a growing number of these dollars was actually leaving the United States, never to come back. These were money taken out in suitcases or in containers, in cash of course. These were money taken out by criminals and money launderers. These were money taken out to fund the growth of the terror, illegal and criminal economy. So, you see, what is the relationship?

The United States actually is a country that is the reserve currency of the world. What does it mean? That means that it has a privilege that other countries do not have. It can borrow against the total amount of dollars in circulation in the world. This privilege is called seigniorage. No other country can do that. All the other countries, for example, the United Kingdom can borrow only against the amount of money in circulation inside its own borders.

So, here is the implication of the relationship between the worlds of crime, terror, and illegal economy, and our economy. The U.S. in the 1990s was borrowing against the growth of the terror, illegal and criminal economy. This is how close we are with this world. Now, this situation changed, of course, after 9-11, because George Bush launched the war on terror. Part of the war on terror was the introduction of the Patriot Act. Now, many of you know that the Patriot Act is a legislation that greatly reduces the liberties of Americans in order to protect them against terrorism.

But there is a section of the Patriot Act which refers specifically to finance. And it is, in fact, an anti-money-laundering legislation. What the Patriot Act did was to prohibit U.S. bank, and U.S.-registered foreign banks from doing any businesses with off-shore facilities. It closed that door between the money laundering in dollars, and the U.S. economy. It also gave the U.S. monetary authorities the right to monitor any dollar transaction taking place anywhere in the world.

Now, you can imagine what was the reaction of the international finance and banking. All the bankers said to their clients, “Get out of the dollars and go and invest somewhere else.” Now, the Euro was a newly born currency of great opportunity for business, and, of course, for investment. And this is what people did. Nobody wants the U.S. monetary authority to check their relationship, to monitor their relationship with their clientele. The same thing happened, of course, in the world of crime and terror. People simply moved their money-laundering activities away from the United States into Europe.

Why did this happen? This happened because the Patriot Act was a unilateral legislation. It was introduced only in the United States. And it was introduced only for the U.S. dollars. In Europe, a similar legislation was not introduced. So, within six months Europe became the epicenter of the money-laundering activities of the world. So, this is how incredible are the relationship between the world of crime and the world of terror, and our own life.

So, why did I tell you this story? I told you this story because you must understand that there is a world that goes well beyond the headlines of the newspapers, including the personal relationship that you have with friends and family. You got to question everything that is told to you, including what I just told you today. (Laughter) This is the only way for you to step into the dark side, and have a look at it. And believe me, it’s going to be scary. It’s going to be frightful, but it’s going to enlighten you. And, above all, it’s not going to be boring. (Laughter) (Applause)

See live on TED :

Loretta Napoleoni: The intricate economics of terrorism

See the TED lecture > HERE

See Transcript > HERE

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How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World

American combat troops have headed home from Iraq, leaving behind a democracy without a government and an ethnically divided nation. In Afghanistan the Taliban army continues to advance and Osama bin Laden is still at large. Far from being victorious in the war on terror, Washington and its closest allies are broke. Plagued by overwhelming debts and suffering from the worst recession since 1929 these countries now live in fear that the rating agencies will downgrade their economies. Is there a link between such events?

To answer we need to revisit bin Laden’s absurd idea that 9/11 would inflict a mortal blow to America’s economy. Though the attack did negligible damage to Wall Street, the Bush administration’s response set in motion a chain of negative events. The Patriot Act, introduced a few weeks after the destruction of the Twin Towers, failed to curb terrorist financing but did prompt massive flight from the Dollar: out of fear of being prosecuted, Muslim investors repatriated investments worth about 1 trillion Dollars; to avoid the scrutiny of the US monetary authorities, international banks suggested clients switch from Dollar to Euro investments; finally, criminal and terrorist organizations relocated most of their money laundering activity from the US to Europe. As early as December 2001, these events caused global demand for dollars to shrink, pushing the value of the greenback downwards.

In 1993 Dick Cheney clearly stated the neo-con desire to re-launch America’s world hegemony. Ironically, the war on terror provided a much-sought-after opportunity to achieve this desire. Consequently, regime change in Iraq was deemed necessary to secure a friendly base at the heart of a strategically important region. In order to raise funds to finance such an ambitious military adventure the Bush administration tapped the international capital market by selling 4 billion dollars worth of treasury bonds in a few years. To make the US debt competitive, the Federal Reserve progressively slashed interest rates, which fell from 6% on the eve of 9/11 to 1.2% by early Summer 2003, when Washington thought it had won the war in Iraq following the initial invasion. Fed chairman Greenspan went along with this strategy even though the world economy was growing too fast and actually needed higher rates to prevent the formation of financial bubbles. For over a decade, lowering interest rates had become instrumental to counteracting the recurrent economic crises of globalization – such as the Ruble and the Asian Crisis – and 9/11 had triggered a mini recession in the Western world. Today we know that this policy of lower interest rates never actually solved the underlying problems. It merely hid them until the next crisis.

If the White House and the Federal Reserve had paid attention to the signs of an overheating globalised economy – the booming housing market and the growing indebtedness of the 1990s – things would have been different and possibly the world would have avoided the serious economic crisis in which it finds itself today. The steep fall in US and world interest rates between 2001 to 2003 created the ideal conditions for the spread of the subprime mortgage crisis and for the securitization of bad debts, the genesis of the credit crunch. That policy also precipitated the bankruptcy of Iceland, a country that accumulated a debt 12 times the size of its GDP, and the solvency crisis of Greece. In both circumstances, Wall Street giants such as Goldman Sachs and J.P.Morgan took advantage of declining interest rates to allow countries as well as corporations and individuals to live beyond their means. Naturally, in the process, they pocketed large sums of money.

Washington’s fixation with a military intervention also prevented the formulation of an effective policy to thwart terrorist financing, which nobody ever regarded as a real priority. European countries, which had long-standing experience in counter-terrorism, went along with this folly. They could not even reach an agreement on regulating offshore facilities until the recession shrank tax revenues, prompting finance ministers to go after tax-evaders. This is how Europeans learned that since 9/11 their continent had become the global epicenter of money laundering, thanks principally to several joint ventures between Italian organized crime and the cocaine barons from Latin America.

While fighting America’s war on terror the world changed dramatically: the West spent money it did not have to fight a war which had nothing to do with bringing Osama bin Laden to justice; to fund this war, America fueled a massive financial bubble which eventually exploded; from Latin America, narco-business reached Europe via West Africa, thanks to a new joint venture with armed organizations such as al Qaeda in the Maghreb; and the Taliban successfully tapped into the heroin trade, using it to fund their war against coalition forces.

The hidden interdependency between terrorism and the global economy goes well beyond the credit crunch, the recession and the crisis of the euro. Since 9/11 it has been extending the boundaries of a shadow world that threatens to replace our own if we do not break away from the legacy of the war on terror. Bringing the troops home is not enough; we need to focus on the true target of this war, on the lifeline of terrorism: We need to focus on the money.

 

http://lorettanapoleoni.net/?p=445

 

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 THE BOOK:

Terrorism and the Economy:

How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the world

Publication Date: April 6, 2010

Economist and best-selling author Loretta Napoleoni traces the link between the finances of the war on terror and the global economic crisis, finding connections from Dubai to London to Las Vegas that politicians and the media have at best ignored. In launching military and propaganda wars in the Middle East, America overlooked the war of economic independence waged by Al-Qaeda. The Patriot Act boosted the black market economy, and the war on terror prompted a rise in oil prices that led to food riots and distracted governments from the trillion-dollar machinations of Wall Street. Consumers and taxpayers, spurred by propaganda fears, were lured into crushing global debt. Napoleoni shows that if we do not face up to the many serious connections between our response to 9/11 and the financial crisis, we will never work our way out of the looming global recession that now threatens our way of life.

While we feared that Al-Qaeda might destroy our world, Wall Street ripped it apart.

________________________________________

•               This item: Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World by Loretta Napoleoni Paperback $5.21

•               Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks by Loretta Napoleoni Paperback $12.21

•               Funding Evil, Updated: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It by Rachel Ehrenfeld Paperback $9.78

 Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Dollars Beh… by Loretta Napoleoni 

Rogue Economics: Capitalism’s New Realityby Loretta Napoleoni 

Rogue Economics by Loretta Napoleoni

 Funding Evil, Updated: How Terrorism is Finan… by Rachel Ehrenfeld

Maonomics: Why Chinese Communists Make Bette… by Loretta Napoleoni

Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Be… by Chalmers Johnson

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Napoleoni (Terror, Inc.) lays the blame for the current economic crisis on the Bush Administration’s response to 9/11. Launching unwinnable wars on two fronts was, she argues, not only a disproportionate response, but came with unintended consequences. Because the Administration did not think it was feasible to raise taxes to cover the cost of the wars, the U.S. was dependent on international finance, particularly China. This bankrupted the U.S. economy, Napoleoni argues, and triggered “the biggest credit crunch in modern history,” while creating conditions for the emergence of Islamic finance as “the most dynamic sector of global finance.” Swinging from sweeping generalizations to genuinely intriguing ideas, the author draws upon past characterizations by Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes of what she calls “true, authentic capitalism.” She calls the capitalist of the past “an adversary worthy of respect” in comparison to those today, “made rich by globalization who are either thieves or simpletons.”

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

LORETTA NAPOLEONI is the author of the bestselling book Rogue Economics: Capitalism’s New Reality, which has been translated into fourteen languages, Terrorism and the Economy, and Terror Inc.: Tracing the Money Behind Global Terrorism, which has been translated into twelve languages. One of the world’s leading experts on money laundering and terror financing, she has worked as London correspondent and columnist for La Stampa, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, El País, and Le Monde. A former Fulbright scholar, she holds an MA in international relations and economics from Johns Hopkins University, and an MPhil in terrorism from the London School of Economics. For her work as a consultant for the commodities markets, she traveled regularly to Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries, where she has met top financial and political leaders. She lives in London.

Customer Review

By Jerry Richardson (Houston, Texas)

(REAL NAME)  

This review is from: Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World (Paperback)

The fact of the matter is the US government’s response to the 9/11 attack was disfunctional. This is the only book I am aware of that covers that response from a financial angle. We still know relatively little about how the attacks were financed or the economic results of US efforts to disrupt or stop terrorist financing. This book focuses on evolution and growth of Islamic finance as no other book I am aware of and does so in a clear way. Napoleoni is right to ask if shifts in capital flows and the government’s obtuse tunnel vision about the consequences of policies contributed to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Napoleoni shows in this book a compelling circumstantial case that they did.

 

UPDATE(6/15/11): A book that goes well with this one is _BAD MONEY_ by Kevin Phillips which I highly recommend.

 June 1, 2010

By Robert Mosher “The Military Philosopher at h… (Virginia, USA) 

This review is from: Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World (Paperback)

This is an English translation from the original Italian published in April 2009 and the passage of time has not done the author any favors. Much of the book is an anti-Bush polemic that is unlikely to sound new to anyone who has followed European Center-Left and Left commentary on our former President.

 

As to the specifics on how we got into the ongoing economic crisis and what to do about it, the author offers primarily her conclusions about the economic and security impacts of that President’s policies without sharing her supporting analysis or fundamental data. She does present a number of interesting ideas and suggestions, and I suspect may be correct in her recommendations for reform of the West’s financial institutions which include borrowing some ideas from Islamic financial thinking.

 

In 2010, I would recommend that this be read as part of a diversified portfolio of contemporary economic and security works but would not recommend relying upon this book alone to either understand or mend our current economic situation.

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 February 10, 2011

By Dugald –

This review is from: Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World (Paperback)

 

I found this a very original contribution, and I’m surprised that it has had so little publicity. Even the internet throws up very little other than the author’s website. The author makes what look like acute connections between international criminal money flows, 9/11 and the war on terror and the Patriot Act, and the money bubbles that resulted in the GFC (global financial crisis). It is the only attempt I have come across to seriously link the war on terror and the GFC, and to detail some linkages. It is a very short book, and some of the ideas need more explanation for a lay reader: for example regarding the the speculation-driven surges in oil and food prices post 9/11. Here’s hoping that Napoleoni’s ideas get more exposure and more follow-up

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U.S. Wars Are Bankrupting the World

by David Swanson

 

Global Research, October 21, 2010warisacrime.org – 2010-10-20 

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The endless and infinite “war on terra” is bankrupting the planet. I don’t mean moral bankruptcy; that goes without saying. I mean financial bankruptcy. And don’t take my word for it. This is the argument made in a new book called “Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror Is Bankrupting the World,” by Loretta Napoleoni, a financial reporter for Internazionale, l’Unita, il Caffe, Mondo e Missione, El Pais, Vanity Fair Spain, and Vanity Fair Italy.

Perhaps Napoleoni is insufficiently subservient to Wall Street to write for U.S. newspapers — unlike, say, the United States government: “Washington needs Wall Street’s help to keep international investors funding the U.S. debt,” the author explains, “which in turn provides the $1.6 billion needed each month to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Which explains the lack of criminal prosecutions and serious regulation of Wall Street.

Napoleoni traces some surprising changes in the world financial system over the past nine years to the latest U.S. warmaking spree: “Though it may sound implausible, as soon as the West focused its attention on the war on terror, the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the Persian Gulf began experiencing an unprecedented economic boom. Money started to flow toward their economies.” The U.S. government did not investigate the sources of terrorist funding, but did put restrictions in place through the PATRIOT Act that led money launderers to take their business to Europe, which suffered from that transfer as well.

The U.S. claimed it wanted to cut off the terrorists’ lifeline, but Napoleoni finds little evidence of action behind the claim. Instead she sees Bush’s failure to pursue bin Laden’s bankers as in line with his failure to try to prevent 9-11 or to capture or bring bin Laden to trial. The 9-11 attacks were Bush’s excuse for war, and war was what he wanted.

Napoleoni sees the “war on terror” as a response to Islamic jihad and draws a comparison to Saladin’s jihad as a response to the Christian crusades. The Pope’s call to “liberate” the holy land in 1095, Napoleoni writes, was for “the starving masses of Europe . . . a way of feeding themselves and an escape from a life of misery and suffering. For the knights and nobility, it offered an opportunity for economic expansion. . . . Europe was a colony of Islam. Today the Muslim world feels equally subjugated to the West.”

One of the ultimate aims of the Islamic insurgency, Napoleoni writes, is “to bleed the American economy until it is bankrupt.” Bin Laden has “even calculated the amount of profits that Americans have accumulated from the sale of Arab oil. For every barrel sold over the last twenty-five years, he claims they pocketed $135. The total loss of income adds up to a staggering $4.05 billion per day, which he describes as the greatest theft in history.”

U.S. actions these past nine years have tended to self-inflict the economic wounds bin Laden desires, while simultaneously building al Qaeda into a more powerful and efficient enterprise. The United States had tended to tolerate money laundering because it benefitted the economy and the domestic money supply. The PATRIOT Act imposed regulations on money laundering and therefore on international banks, which immediately began advising their clients to avoid and divest from dollars. International crime syndicates took their money laundry to Europe. The war on terra also drove the price of crude oil through the roof. But it was the otherwise unregulated free-for-all on Wall Street that did the most damage to the U.S. and world economies. “The likelihood that bin Laden will destroy us is extremely low,” writes Napoleoni, “the likelihood that finance will do so is, on the other hand, extremely high, a virtual certainty.”

U.S. propaganda “magnified al Qaeda’s power exponentially. . . . On 9/11, few knew that this was nothing more than political theater and that few Muslims had ever heard of al Qaeda. . . . Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had no ties whatsoever to bin Laden. . . . [T]he invasion of Afghanistan decimated al Qaeda. Yet we believed what politicians told us.” Our policies — destabilizing Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa — created shell states and easy recruitment for terrorism, which we thereby helped make more affordable. “The 9/11 attacks cost al Qaeda $500,000, while the Madrid massacre cost only $20,000, and the London suicide bombings less than $15,000. Osama bin Laden no longer operates costly training camps but relies upon the proliferation of jihadist websites to indoctrinate and train a new generation of jihadists at rock-bottom prices.” The U.S. has spent trillions on war, while Iraqis have successfully fought back for less than $200 million.

We can’t waste money this way without Wall Street, which is “as free and unregulated as it was before the credit crunch.” We’d transferred “bad risk accumulated by the private sector to the balance sheet of the state,” rather than eliminating it as needed. “In March 2009, the share prices of companies and banks ‘saved’ by governments were all below the levels at which the state had purchased them. . . . The desire to maintain, at any cost, a damaged and anachronistic system will only bring ruination.”

Instead, Napoleoni suggests, we should restructure the financial system, nationalize the banking sector, prune all the deadwood that does not serve the real economy, outlaw damaging products like derivatives, and preserve insurance operations while allowing gambling operations to collapse. We might learn from Islamic economics, which Napoleoni describes as “the opposite of capitalism”:

“In the Eastern world, the selfish behavior of each individual, aimed at maximizing profits and minimizing costs, is not believed to miraculously enrich entire nations. In the short shadow of the minarets, wealth comes from cooperation and joint ventures between banks and clients.” Drawing on this source, we might require that money always be invested in the real economy, thereby banning speculation on securities not tied to the underlying companies.

And instead of paying people to do nothing, through unemployment compensation, Napoleoni argues we should pay people, the unemployed and recent graduates, to convert our industries to clean energy, build infrastructure, and redesign our manufacturing base. Sounds like a plan that would even take care of the much bemoaned enthusiasm gap.

David Swanson is the author of “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union”

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David Swanson is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
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January 23, 2005

Money and Terrorism

Versión en español: Dinero y Terrorismo

US Secretary of Defense Colin Powell acknowledged that the life-line of terrorism is money. Three years since 9/11 it has become apparent that economics, not politics or ideology, is the engine of the armed struggle. This is the unexpected and disconcerting truth unveiled by an economic analysis of five decades of modern terrorism.

During the period of decolonization after WWII, armed organizations were economically dependent from rich sponsors, i.e. former colonial powers. In 1949 in Indochina, France trained and bankrolled the Maquis, a guerrilla army whose aim was to contain Soviet expansion in the French colonies.1

State sponsored terrorism became a familiar feature of the Cold War. The United States and the Soviet Union funded terror groups to fight wars by proxy on the periphery of their own spheres of influence. The high cost of this type of wars, coupled with its unpopularity at home, forced Western powers to resort to a mixture of legal and illegal revenues to channel money overseas. In 1984, amid widespread opposition to America���s involvement in Nicaragua, the Reagan administration managed to get Congressional approval for a financial aid package of $24 million, which was used to arm 2,000 Contras. Although this figure was increased every year thereafter until the Iran Contras scandal erupted, it was insufficient to meet the high costs of bankrolling the Contras. To bridge the gap, several covert operations were put in place. Oliver North set up a scheme to defraud US insurance firms and banks, generating close to $1 billion per year for the Contras. In another illegal project, US weapons acquired by the CIA were sold to the Islamic Republic of Iran, using Israeli and Saudis businessmen, who charged handsome fees, as brokers. Iranian payments were then channeled through numbered Swiss accounts controlled by the Contra leadership.2 Unsurprisingly, American taxpayers ended up paying for the cost of both legal and illegal funding; the full economic burden of state sponsored terrorism always falls on the domestic economy of the sponsor.

Terrorism has always been an expensive business to run. In the mid 1970s, the Red Brigades, the Italian Marxist terror group, had a yearly turnover of $8 to $10 million,3 equivalent to that of a medium to large size commercial enterprise operating in the industrialized regions of the north of Italy. Unlike the US, which was cash generous, the Soviet Union never funded Marxist groups directly, supplying them instead with free training, arms and ammunition. Groups like the Red Brigades and the Baader Meinhof had to raise their own cash. This required managerial finesse more than military expertise.

The willingness to gain financial independence from their sponsors, coupled with the raising cost of terrorist activity, motivated armed organizations to find ways of becoming self-sufficient. In the 1970s, Yasser Arafat masterminded the transition of the PLO from a state-sponsored to an economically independent armed group by developing the first model of what has become known as the privatization of terrorism. During the civil war in Lebanon, Arafat assembled the Palestinian state-shell, a de facto state held together by a well developed socio-economic infrastructure without the core, the right of self-determination. Over the last 30 years, similar shell-states have blossomed in war zones and in places where there is a high degree of political instability. Colombia and Peru as well as Chechnya, Afghanistan and today Iraq have become ideal breeding grounds for these entities. Terror groups gain military control of the territory and proceed to destroy the existing socio-economic infrastructure, or what is left of it. Their final aim is to replace it with the armed groups��� own socio-economic infrastructure, an economic system created exclusively to feed the armed struggle. The 2003 attacks against the UN and the Red Cross in Iraq are part of this strategy, so are the recent kidnapping of aid-workers in Baghdad.

The key to the survival of the shell-state rests upon the management of its finances, and on its interdependency with traditional economies. The Palestinian shell-state was run as a de facto legitimate state; for example, a 5% income tax was levied on Palestinians working abroad. The Arab states where Palestinian workers resided were held responsible for collecting the tax. Legally and illegally generated money was then invested in legitimate activities through the international financial markets. In 1976, following the legendary bank robbery of the British Bank of the Middle East, Arafat chartered a flight and took the PLO���s share of the loot to Switzerland, to invest it; the Christian phalange and the Corsican mafia, the other partners in the robbery, used their shares to buy arms.

CIA estimates show that in the 1990s the PLO���s total wealth was ranging from $8 to $14 billions. If we take this figure as a rough estimate of the GDP of the PLO, then at the time it was higher than the yearly GDP of several Arab countries, such as Yemen ($6.5 billion), Bahrain ($6 billion) and Jordan ($10.6 billion).4 As Palestinian wealth grew, so did its interdependency with the economy of its neighbor and enemy, Israel. In 1987, the Israeli finance minister Adi Amorai released a PLO courier who had been stopped at the Allenby Bridge, the transit point between Jordan and Israel. The man was carrying a suitcase with $1 million in cash. Amorai knew that the money would be exchanged in shekels and spent inside Israel, an injection of cash which was badly needed by the inflation-ridden Israeli economy.5

In the 1990s, the further deregulation of international economic and financial markets gave birth to the globalization of terrorism. As economic and financial barriers came down, armed groups linked up economically and become transnational, that is, they were able to raise money across borders and to operate in more than one country. The business empire of Osama bin Laden, whose profits bankrolled terror attacks against Western interest across the Muslim world before 9/11, is a striking example of this phenomenon. His portfolio was truly transnational and highly diversified.

The globalization of terrorism greatly increased the interdependency between terror money and traditional economies. While residing in Sudan, bin Laden acquired 70% of Gum Arabic Ltd, a company which held a monopoly of this product6 (80% of world supply). By far the largest importer of gum arabic is the US, which enjoys a special price agreement with the supplier. In 1998, the Clinton administration���s decision to impose economic sanctions on Sudan met with opposition from lobbies representing US importers of gum Arabic. Eventually they convinced the administration to exclude it from the list of sanctioned products. Their argument was very simple: the sanctions would hurt American importers. Why? Because the Sudanese were going to sell the product to the French, the second largest importer, who in turn would offer it to the Americans at a premium.7 This event outlines how much the terror economy is interlinked to the Western economy.

Terror leaders are well aware of the degree of dependency between traditional economies and the New Economy of Terror, the international economic system run primarily by armed organizations to self finance the armed struggle. In the 1990s bin Laden issued a fatwa urging his followers to refrain from attacking Saudi Arabia because the revenues from the oil industry were needed to consolidate the Islamist revolution. These revenues came from legal businesses, run by Saudis who backed al Qaeda. They found their way into the New Economy of Terror via donations or share of profits, which are not illegal activities. The fatwawas lifted in the spring 2003 when Al Qaeda waged the first spectacular attack inside Saudi Arabia.

Western corporation are also often aware that they are doing business with groups which are closely linked with the illegal and terror economy. One way Islamist armed groups have funded themselves is via smuggling of electronic products in Asia. According to Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journalist kidnapped and killed by Jaish-I-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed) in Pakistan, Sony Corporation used a contraband network in Asia as a part of its overall strategy in the region.8 Consumers are also dependent on terror money. In the Tri-Border region of Latin America, Arabs linked to Hamas and the Hizbollah run a buoyant money-laundering business of drug funds through smuggling of duty free products from Central America. This activity supplies the Colombian population with foreign goods that they otherwise could not afford.

By far the most damaging effect of the deregulation of markets has been the merging of the New Economy of Terror with the international illegal and criminal economy. This phenomenon took place in the 1990s thanks to the deregularization of the international financial markets. As economic barriers came down, armed groups were able to link up with each other and with organized crime. They money laundered dirty money via the same channels, they purchased arms from the same dealers. Today they amount to about $1.5 trillion, higher than the GDP of the United Kingdom. A break down of this economy follows:

  • $500 billions are capital flights, money which moves illegally from country to country, undetected and unreported;9
  • $500 billion in what is commonly known as the Gross Criminal Product, money generated primarily by criminal organizations;10
  • $500 billion in the New Economy of Terror – money produced by terror organizations – of which as much as one third is represented by legal businesses and the rest comes from criminal activities, primarily the drug trade and smuggling.11

The bulk of this $1.5 trillion flows into Western economies, where it gets recycled in the US and in Europe. It is a vital element of the cash flow of these economies.

Even more shocking is the discovery of the interdependency between the terror/illegal economy and the US money supply. The means of exchange of this economy is the US dollar, in particular 100 dollars bills. Arms, drugs, smuggling of people; all illegal activities are cleared in US currency. Therefore the rate of growth of this economy is roughly indicated by the yearly infusion of new US dollars. Recent studies from the Federal Reserve in Saint Louis show that since the 1960s the stock of new dollars issued in the US and taken abroad for good has been steadily rising.12 In 2000 as much as two thirds of the US M1, equivalent to $500 billion, has been taken out of the US monetary system and is held abroad.13 This figure does not include stocks of dollars held by central banks in the form of reserve currency. If these statistics are correct, then the rate of monetary growth of the terror/illegal economy is higher than that of the US economy.

Because the US dollar is considered the reserve currency, the stock of dollars held abroad is a considerable source of revenue for the US Treasury through seignorage. In other words, the US Treasury can issue T bills and borrow against the total stock of dollars held in the world, not just on the stock held inside the US. This amounts to a considerable tax write-off.

To conclude, the interdependencies between Western economies and the illegal/terror economies are so deeply rooted that unilateral measures to sever them may actually backfire. The Patriot Act, for example, has had an impact upon the dollar. The recent fall in the value of the dollar seem to be related to a new tendency of both legal and illegal businesses in Asia and Africa to denominate their transactions in dollars. Switching to the euros avoid the restrictions imposed by the Patriot Act and allows the illegal/terror economy to continue growing. Any attempt to curb the international illegal/terror economy will have to take into consideration these interdependencies and be the result of a concerted multilateral strategy.

Loretta Napoleoni is the author of Modern Jihad, tracing the dollars behind the terror networks, a book on the economics of terrorism. She is an economist who has worked for banks and international organizations in Europe and the US. In the 1980s, she worked at the National Bank of Hungary on a project on the convertibility of the forint which later on became the blue print for the convertibility of the ruble. She has written novels and guide books and translated and edited books on terrorism. In the 1990s she was one of the few people to interview the Red Brigades after 3 decades of silence.

1 Peter Harclerode, Fighting Dirty, (London: Cassell, 2001) p.81
2 About the Contras covert operations see Al Martin, The Conspirators, (Montana: National Liberty Press, 2001) p.28; John Cooley, Unholy Wars, (London: Pluto Press, 2000); John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979)
3 Claire Sterling, The Terror Network, The Secret War of International Terrorism, (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1981)
4 Neil C. Livingstone and David Halevy, Inside the PLO (New York: William Morrow, 1990) chap. 5
5 Neil C. Livingstone and David Halevy, Inside the PLO (New York: William Morrow, 1990); James Adams, The Financing of Terror,(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986)
6 Gum Arabic is used to fix the print in newspapers, in soft drink solution to prevent it from separating and in pills and sweets to crate a protective shell around them.
7 Peter Benesh, ���Did US need for Obscure Sudan Export Help bin Laden?���,,Investor���s Business Daily, 21 September 2001.
8 Daniel Pearl and Steve Stecklow, ���Taliban Banned TV but Collected Profits on Smuggled Sonys���, Wall Street Journal, 9 January 2002
9 Raymond Baker, ���Money Laundering and Flight Capital: The Impact on Private Banking���, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 10 November 1999
10 Kimberly L. Thachuk, Terrorism���s Financial Lifeline: Can it be Severed?, Strategic Forum, Institute for the National Strategic Studies Defense University, Washington DC, No. 191, May 2002
11 Author���s own calculation and estimate of the size of the New Economy of Terror.
12 Richard D. Porter and Ruth a. Judson, The Location of US Currency: How Much Is Abroad? (Federal Reserve of ST Louis, 1996);
13 Richard G. Anderson and Robert H. Rasche, The Domestic Adjusted Monetary Base, working paper 2000-2002, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, http://www.research.stlouisfed.org

Related Articles

Democracy and Terrorism: the Impact of the Anti – March 3, 2005

Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Australia as Part of the Problem – February 22, 2005

Talking to terrorists in Gaza – February 16, 2005

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The “War On Terror” Is A $6 Trillion Racket, Exceeding The Total Cost Of World War II
by David DeGraw
 
Global Research, July 6, 2011
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When Obama launched his re-election propaganda campaign to trick the American public into thinking that he intends to end the Af-Pak War, he said that the “War on Terror” has cost $1 trillion over the past decade. While that is a staggering amount of money, he was being deceitful once again.As you may have heard, a newly released study by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University revealed that the cost of the War on Terror is significantly greater than Obama has said. The little passing coverage the study received in the mainstream press cited $3.7 trillion as the total cost, which was the most conservative estimate. The moderate estimate, which the mainstream media ignored, was $4.4 trillion. In addition, interest payments on these costs will most likely exceed $1 trillion, which brings the total cost up to at least $5.4 trillion. The report also states that the following costs are not even included in this total:

“THESE TOTALS DO NOT INCLUDE: Medicare costs for injured veterans after age 65; Expenses for veterans paid for by state and local government budgets; Promised $5.3 billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan; Additional macroeconomic consequences of war spending including infrastructure and jobs.”

David Callahan, reporting for The Policy Shop, summed up the report’s cost estimates:

“… the total direct and indirect costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed $6 trillion…. That figure comes from combining congressional appropriations for the wars over the past decade ($1.3 trillion), additional spending by the Pentagon related to the wars ($326 – $652 billion), interest so far on Pentagon war appropriations, all of which was borrowed ($185 billion), immediate medical costs for veterans ($32 billion), war related foreign aid ($74 billion), homeland security spending ($401 billion), projected medical costs for veterans through 2051 ($589 – $934 billion), social costs to military families ($295 – $400 billion), projected Pentagon war spending and foreign aid as troops wind down in the two war zones ($453 billion); and interest payments on all this spending through 2020 ($1 trillion).”

Once you add up all these costs, and also consider the fact that these wars are not ending anytime soon, the War on Terror will easily cost us well over $6 trillion. To put the War on Terror’s cost in context, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the total cost of World War II, adjusted for inflation, was $4.1 trillion.

Another major deception is the reported annual military budget. The FY 2012 military budget is often cited as being $690 billion. Again, that is a huge sum of money for one year. However, when you add up all the other military expenditures not included in this budget, you find that our true total annual budget “likely exceeds $1.5 trillion.

To put this cost in perspective, as the average American has little understanding of how much money this is, one trillion is equal to 1000 billion. If you took all the state budget deficits and combined them, which are leading to cuts in vital social programs that will negatively impact the lives of millions of Americans, you would need a small fraction of one trillion, $140 billion (roughly equivalent to the annual military interest payment), to balance every state budget and avoid cuts to all programs.

Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars In Fraud And Waste

When you breakdown the spending on the War on Terror, you see hundreds of billions of dollars in shocking fraud and waste across the board. When it comes to fraud, a Defense Department report revealed:

“The military paid a total of $285 billion to more than 100 contractors between 2007 and ’09, even though those same companies were defrauding taxpayers in the same period… What’s perhaps most shocking is that billions of dollars went to contractors who had been either suspended or debarred for misusing taxpayer funds. The Pentagon also spent $270 billion on 91 contractors involved in civil fraud cases… Another $682 million went to 30 contractors convicted of criminal fraud.”

There have also been several cases where billions of dollars have gone missing. To name one recent revelation, the Federal Reserve shipped between$6.6 billion to $18.7 billion to Iraq for reconstruction that was stolen. The reason there is such discrepancy in the amount stolen in this case is due to the fact that the New York Federal Reserve is refusing to disclose the total amount. This is just one of several cases where billions of dollars in aide to Iraq and Afghanistan have gone missing. Not to mention the obscene and exorbitant fees charged by many private military companies. Earlier this year, the Congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting revealed that “tens of billions of dollars” have been wasted on private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan – and the amount spent on private contracting has dramatically increased during the Obama Administration.

When it comes to shocking examples of waste, it costs the military in Afghanistan $400 for a gallon gas, and the Marines alone use 800,000 gallons a day. Another report reveals that the military spends $20.2 billion a year on air conditioning. That’s $20.2 billion a year on AC. There are more absurdities in military spending than you can imagine. The list goes on and on.

Let’s also not forget that the Pentagon’s “own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.” By these measures, the estimated overall total of $1.5 trillion in annual military spending would mean that $375 billion goes unaccounted for, per year.

War Is A Racket

For anyone who researches this, it is easy to see that the primary goal is not our safety, it is huge profits for military companies and global banking interests. As famed two-time Congressional Medal of Honor Award winner Major General Butler said:

“War is a racket… easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious… It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives….

It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes….

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.

In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

The global financial elite profit off of the war, while the American public bares the severe financial costs. In this regard, not to mention the loss of life and civil liberties, the War on Terror is a war against the American people. As President Eisenhower said, every dollar spent on war is a dollar not spent on education, food, health care, etc:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

Spiraling Toward World War III

When you research the geopolitical environment, as scary as it sounds, you will conclude that if we stay on our present course, we are headed for an escalation in wars. As we spiral toward World War III, with collapsing economies, increasingly extreme weather conditions, limited resources and rising demand, the US military machine is on steroids, creating enemies and arming brutal regimes all over the world.

The pivotal US relationship with Pakistan is going from bad to worse. Leading American adversaries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia, Iraq, Syria and Iran have all been building strong alliances with China. Obama continues to support the US-NATO war with Libya and the Saudi Arabian led military crackdown on popular uprisings in many countries throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. In this region, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Somalia and Ivory Coast, to name a few countries, are all flaring up in armed conflict. Not to mention Israel’s escalating conflicts with Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. The highly under-reported international drug war is also becoming much more violent, with private military contractors once again reaping huge profits.

Mix all these increasing tensions with runaway military spending and war profiteering, and you have Eisenhower’s worst fears realized, a world dominated by out of control military companies.

To track how your hard-earned tax dollars are being wasted, follow our military spending news wire here:

Military Spending Watch

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“Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that it will only be a matter of time before America endures another terrorist attack if Congress ends up blaming the defense budget for this country’s red ink woes. “The Department of Defense is not what’s causing the debt and the deficit. It’s the entitlement programs,” he told HUMAN EVENTS in an exclusive interview. “If we make that mistake, we’re doomed to suffer another attack of some kind, and our intelligence will be less strong and less effec…

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At least $1 in every $6 dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted

“At least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted. And at least that much could again turn into waste if the host governments are unable or unwilling to sustain U.S.-funded projects after our involvement ends. Those sobering but conservative numbers are a key finding of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will submit its report to Congress on W…

Windfalls of war: Pentagon’s no-bid contracts triple in 10 years of war

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What Almost $8 Trillion in National Security Spending Bought You | TomDispatch

“1. $5.9 trillion: That’s the sum of taxpayer dollars that’s gone into the Pentagon’s annual “base budget,” from 2000 to today. Note that the base budget includes nuclear weapons activities, even though they are overseen by the Department of Energy, but — and this is crucial — not the cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nonetheless, even without those war costs, the Pentagon budget managed to grow from $302.9 billion in 2000, to $545.1 billion in 2011. That’s a dollar increase of $242.2 bill…

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The Minnesota budget crisis inspired the Star Tribune to report on the amount of tax money they are “squandering” on the military. Here’s another perfect example of how the financial costs of the “War on Terror” racket are destroying American society. “To better understand the impact on Minnesota of privileging military spending priorities, consider this: We have just experienced a painful government shutdown over how to deal with a two-year $5 billion shortfall. Yet Minnesota taxpayers over the same …

War Racket: Investigation Finds ‘Documented, Credible Evidence of Support for the Enemy,’ As US Wastes $34 Billion in Private Military Contracts

More revelations from the $6 trillion war racket… An investigation into corruption in war contracting found “documented, credible evidence… of involvement in a criminal enterprise or support for the enemy.” This comes while the Congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting is about to release their findings on what has been reported as a waste of “$34 billion on service contracts with the private sector in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” When you breakdown the spending on the War on Terror, you s…

Dangerously Blurring the Line: How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms

The Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General’s (IG) office recently found that the Marine Corp allowed their contactors for a vital troop protection system to act as government employees, including directing and evaluating government employees’ work, grading their own work and writing up requirements for the follow-on contract. The contractors then bid on those requirements and won multimillion-dollar contracts. The IG issued a report this month with the mundane title, “Contract Management of Jo…

Lockdown: U.S. Builds New Jails Across Afghanistan

The U.S. is going to keep holding detainees in Afghanistan for a long, long time to come – as new military construction contracts reveal. The Army Corps of Engineers just hired an Afghan contractor to build a new “U.S. government controlled detention facility.” It’s got to be built fast – as in, by November – and so the Afghan firm got a no-bid contract of unspecified value. That’s just for starters. After that facility goes up, the Army will hold an open competition for an even larger detention cente…

Locked and Loaded: Pentagon Contractor Helped Write Its Own Armored-Truck Deal

That’s one of the conclusions from a Pentagon inspector general’s report into a contract to provide logistics and maintenance work on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) worth nearly half a billion dollars. The line between contractor and government vendor became so porous that officials “increased the risk for potential waste or abuse on the contract,” the inspector general wrote. Getting the resilient MRAPs into Iraq and Afghanistan was a top priority for former Defense Secretary Rober…

Cost of mental health programs for soldiers is high with poor care

A four-year-old Pentagon effort to improve psychological health services across the military is spending tens of millions without providing a clear picture of how the money is used, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The report reflects the Pentagon’s rush to expand research on post-traumatic stress through the Defense Centers of Excellence, which spent $21.9 million last year. It is the second report this year to criticize the Defense Centers of Excellence; both were…

House approves $649 billion defense bill

The House overwhelmingly passed a $649 billion defense spending bill yesterday that boosts the Pentagon budget by $17 billion and covers the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The strong bipartisan vote was 336 to 87 and reflected lawmakers’ intent to ensure national security, preserve defense jobs across the nation, and avoid deep cuts while the country is at war. While House Republican leaders slashed billions from all other government agencies, the Defense Department is the only one that will…

Military Spending Watch

Eisenhower’s worst fears came true. We invent enemies to buy the bombs

The outgoing US defence secretary, Robert Gates, berated Europe’s “failure of political will” in not maintaining defence spending. He said Nato had declined into a “two-tier alliance” between those willing to wage war and those “who specialise in ‘soft’ humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks”. Peace, he implied, is for wimps. Real men buy bombs, and drop them. This call was echoed by Nato’s chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who pointed out how unfair it was that US defence investment r…

The Business of America Is War – Annual Military Speeding Likely Exceeds $1.5 Trillion

It’s more accurate to take the Pentagon’s basic budget and double it because as much as 40% of it is hidden. For FY 2012, the House approved $690.1 billion, an 8.4% increase. If the entire [previous budget of] $1,027.5 trillion increases by the same amount, it raises known FY 2012 defense-related spending to $1,114 trillion. With supplemental and hidden add-ons, as well as Pentagon, intelligence, and other amounts, the grand total likely exceeds $1.5 trillion, a figure rising most years while popular …

‘War on terror’ set to surpass cost of Second World War

The wars that flowed from 9/11 will not only have been the longest in US history. At $4 trillion and counting, their combined cost is approaching that of the Second World War, put at some $4.1 trillion in today’s prices by the Congressional Budget Office. Unlike most of America’s previous conflicts moreover, Iraq and Afghanistan have been financed almost entirely by borrowed money that sooner or later must be repaid. What America achieved by such outlays is also more than questionable. Two brutal regi…

U.S. cost of war at least $3.7 trillion and counting | Reuters

When President Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America’s wars. Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released. The final bill will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project “Costs of War” by Brown Univers…

Air Conditioning Afghanistan Troops Costs $20 Billion Per Year; Cost of One Soldier is $1 Million a Year

If people realized how much we were wasting in stupid wars that should never have been fought, there might be far more protests. Please consider the amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion, according to a former Pentagon official. That’s more than NASA’s budget. It’s more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It’s what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia. “When you consider the cost …

Welfare for Dictators: Pentagon Billions Are Flowing to Middle East Dictators

An investigation of Pentagon contracting practices in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Bahrain has uncovered more than $14 billion paid mostly in sole-source contracts to companies controlled by ruling families across the Persian Gulf. The revelation raises a fundamental question: are US taxpayer dollars enriching the ruling potentates of regimes just as the youthful protesters and the Arab Spring have brought a new push for democracy across the region? Take a look at Abu Dhabi. The wealthiest of the United Ara…

Private Contractors Making a Killing off the Drug War

As tens of thousands of corpses continue to pile up as a result of the US-led “War on Drugs” in Latin America, private contractors are benefiting from lucrative federal counter-narcotics contracts amounting to billions of dollars, without worry of oversight or accountability. US contractors in Latin America are paid by the Defense and State Departments to supply countries with services that include intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, training, and equipment. “It’s becoming increasingly clear…

US Plans to Send $45M in Military Aid to Uganda and Burundi in Effort to Combat Somali Militants

In news from Africa, the Pentagon is planning to send nearly $45 million in military equipment, including four small drones, to Uganda and Burundi as part of the U.S. effort to battle Islamic militants in Somalia. The military package includes four small, shoulder-launched Raven drones, body armor, night-vision gear, communications and heavy construction equipment, generators and surveillance systems. The U.S. military is also sending aid to a number of other African nations including Mauritania, Djib…

The $113 Billion Hole: Ten Things America Gave Up This Year To Pay For The War In Afghanistan

– Provide 57.5 Million Children With Low-Income Health Care For 2011 – Provide 23 Million People With Low-Income Health Coverage In 2011 – Give 20.2 Million $5,500 Pell Grants To Students In 2011 – Provide 14.35 million Military Veterans With VA Medical Care In 2011 – Give 14.7 million Children Head Start Funding In 2011 – Give 14.26 Million Scholarships To University Students In 2011 – Employ 1.93 million Firefighters In 2011 – Hire 1.75 Million Elementary School Teachers In 2011 – Hire 1.65 …

Meet Bush’s War Profiteering Chief Bin Laden Hunter

You’ve probably never heard of Marty Martin. He spent most of his life as an anonymous CIA operative. But he very recently came out of the closet as the man Bush put in charge of finding Osama bin Laden, and guess what? It turns out the man is an extremely shady and corrupt war profiteer. Martin, of course, never succeeded in catching bin Laden. In 2007, Martin joined International Oil Trading Company. In 2008, congressional investigators accused it of ripping off the Pentagon to the tune of hundreds …

US, Pakistan Clash Over Billions in Bills for War on Terror

The U.S. and Pakistan are engaged in a billing dispute of sizable proportions, sparring behind closed doors over billions of dollars Washington pays Islamabad to fight al Qaeda and other militants along the Afghanistan border. Washington, increasingly dubious of what it sees as Islamabad’s mixed record against militants, has been quietly rejecting more than 40% of the claims submitted by Pakistan as compensation for military gear, food, water, troop housing and other expenses, according to internal P…

Stanley McChrystal: Lobby Shop Working With Former General

As they say in Washington, old soldiers never die — they just fade into cushy, off-the-books sinecures on K Street. Stanley McChrystal, fired last summer after a damning Rolling Stone article, has added a lobbying component to his consulting shop, The McChrystal Group, proving again that for elite Washington, failure is not an option. McChrystal is not himself a registered lobbyist and the firm doesn’t appear in the federal database. By not registering to lobby, McChystal is not required to disclose…

‘Historic’ budget cuts bill actually increased 2011 spending by $3 billion: CBO

Congressional Budget Office: “Total discretionary outlays in 2011 will be $3.2 billion higher as a result of the legislation, CBO estimates—an increase of $7.5 billion for defense programs, partially offset by a net reduction of $4.4 billion in other spending.” In other words, the bill’s increase in defense spending this year outweighed the cuts to discretionary programs – something the CBO warned may potentially be the case. Now it’s the official projection. The finding is particularly embarrassing b…

House panel authorizes nearly $700 billion in Defense spending

The House Armed Services Committee approved a spending measure that clears the Pentagon and Energy Department to spend nearly $700 billion next fiscal year. The panel approved a baseline Pentagon spending level of $553 billion, matching the Obama administration’s request. It also authorized the Energy Department to spend $18 billion on nuclear weapons projects, and cleared the military to spend $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Tags: military spen…

Israel ‘to invest $1 bn’ in Iron Dome missile system

Israel plans to invest $1 billion in the development and production of batteries for its Iron Dome rocket interception system, a top Israeli defence official said in an interview published Monday. Defence Ministry director-general Major General Udi Shani told the daily Haaretz newspaper that five countries have already expressed interest in the system, which was successfully deployed during a rise in rocket fire from Gaza in early April. But Shani, in his first interview since his appointment in Jan…

Bin Laden cost US taxpayers over $2 trillion

Assuming that the September 11 2001 attacks would not have happened without bin Laden, and that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars would not have happened without September 11, the al-Qaeda leader directly cost American taxpayers more than $2,000bn – and the indirect burden may be much higher. The contentious business of estimating the bill for September 11 has become a thriving cottage industry. The direct costs of the Afghan and Iraq operations are the easier part. The Congressional Research Service, C…

Bin Laden’s Goal: Bankrupt the US | Ezra Klein

Bin Laden, according to counterterrorism expert Gartenstein-Ross, had a strategy that we never bothered to understand, and thus that we never bothered to defend against. What he really wanted to do – and, more to the point, what he thought he could do – was bankrupt the United States. After all, he’d done the bankrupt-a-superpower thing before. And though it didn’t quite work out this time, it worked a lot better than most of us, in this exultant moment, are willing to admit. Superpowers fall because …

Like the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars? You’ll LOVE This – a blank check to wage war against al-Qaeda or the Taliban anywhere

If you like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan then you’ll love what Senator John McCain and Congressman “Buck” McKeon, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, are proposing: Congress should give the President and the Secretary of Defense a blank check to wage war against anyone he or she declares “associated” with al-Qaeda or the Taliban – anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Just what and who is an “associated force” of al Qaeda and the Taliban? Chairman McKeon’s bill leaves that determinatio…

GE’s $3 Billion Pentagon Boondoggle

Even by the freewheeling standards of military contracting, the F-136 jet engine was a boondoggle in the making: a piece of hardware that the Pentagon didn’t need and didn’t really want, built by a megacorporation that pays no income tax, with a pricetag in the billions. And now it’s officially history: After years of attempts to kill off General Electric’s controversial “second engine” program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the military finally succeeded yesterday, potentially saving another $2.9…

The Obama-Gates Maneuver on Military Spending | Gareth Porter

It is difficult to believe that open display of tension between Obama and Gates was not scripted. In the background of those moves is a larger political maneuver on which the two of them have been collaborating since last year in which they gave the Pentagon a huge increase in funding for the next decade and then started to take credit for small or nonexistent reductions from that increase. The original Obama-Gates base military spending plan – spending excluding the costs of the current wars – for F…

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David DeGraw is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by David DeGraw

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Private Corporation Official Admits Impending U.S. Bankruptcy

Posted on 24. Mar, 2011 by  in US

                Private Corporation Official Admits Impending U.S. Bankruptcy

By Tommy Tucci

A complete anomaly by an individual that heads the monolithic private puppeteer organization that controls the entire wealth values assets and labor of ‘We the People.’ Announces fears of dire consequences. REALLY!!!!! what great timing.

Richard W. Fisher, President and ChiefExecutive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas parrots to the world of U.S. impending bankruptcy, war expenditures, and terrorism in the homeland. Fisher is the former vice chairman of Kissinger McLarly a strategic advisory firm chaired by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger war criminal extraordinaire author of “useless eaters,” and “useful idiots” referring to American citizenry. Great resume stuffer confirming stellar merit qualifications for bank baron hustlers, war criminals, and con artists supremeRichard W. Fisher Bio

Fisher Plagiarizes Geppetto

Mr. Fisher is a real life allegory to Mr. Carlo Collodi c.1883 author of “Geppetto a Fictional Character Who Creates Pinocchio.” In other words Mr. Fisher is an author of an illegalorganization that circumvents the US Constitution Article 1, Section 10. “The U.S. Treasury only shall Coin money.” No State Shall make any Thing but Gold and Silver coin a Tender in Payment of Debts. A real live master puppeteer working the strings of the DC executive branch DOA wood chucks.

Subsequently, Mr. Fisher negates, documents, and self admits to a lifetime of under achievement by subversion and fraud of the Laws of United States of America. An individual dedicated to total motivation and goals that are treasonous to the detriment of a Nation of Laws and its citizenry. No Nation that takes second position to a private corporation entity can ever be a Free Sovereign Nation. see Federal Reserve Corporation Fraud.

“In the United States, Two Governments

We have the duly constituted Government….Then we have an independent, uncontrolled and uncoordinated government in the Federal Reserve System” Congressman Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee, speech on the House floor, c.1967

Since its inception c.1910 the U.S. wealth value and political systemic levers is controlled and continues to effectuate the total collapse of the USA. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Fisherwho knowingly implements 100 years of Dead on Arrival [DOA]policy inadvertently alerts the masses of humanity. By virtue of pretense whistle-blowing while attempting a half hearted masking of the very existence of his illegal organization, gigantic trust, cartel, and monopoly over absolute autonomous control of America.

DOA c.1910 America Bankrupt c.2011

A senior Federal Reserve official warned today that America is going broke as fears grow the Libyan bombardment could cost more than $1 billion. With the U.S. now fighting three wars, the massive new military drain on the budget could not have come at a worse time as the nation is trying to claw itself out of recession. The first day of Operation Odyssey Dawn had a price tag of well over $100 million for the U.S. in missiles alone, according to estimates. Read more hereDaily Mail.UK

Major US Policy Flaw Translates to Ultra Hyper Distraction

Consequently, Mr. Fisher by documenting his organizations century of flawed DOA quotes “Fed has done its job, pressure is on lawmakers.” A Fed policy that has now reached mathematical impossibilities with no recourse at recovery. Shamelessly, attempts to divert attention away from the daily psychological assault and dialogue of “major cuts on domestic Social Security, Medicare, retirees pension funds, civilian, and veteran support systems.” Notwithstanding, by his actions alone deflects all potential focus away from lower Manhattan’s crime organizations looting of US Treasury, theft of American citizenry labors, and pretext wars against humanity for all natural resource assets on the planet. Failed ideology continues in perpetuity as “Gates declares open ended war in Libya.” 23 Mar 2011 Posted by Press.TV

MSM Blare Sirens US Debt Cuts to Social Support Systems

Major mainstream corrupt media clowns and bag men siren strong propaganda by selling the debt entitlement hoax to condition the U.S. citizenry to blind acceptance of illogical outcomes. Suspensions and downsizing of funds required to be returned by law to the current retirees pension funds citizenry and veterans support programs are currently on high radar alert. The onslaught of baby boomers, retirees, and the military support systems who paid into these systems, through withholding taxes, all their working lives.

Citizenry hard earned labor attacked and assaulted by psychological warfare distractions parroting “cuts are forthcoming” “cuts” ‘cuts” Not a sentence regarding $trillions expended on illegal war ocupations and mass murder of defenseless civilians, women and children.President Obama orchestrates regime change in Libya under the guise of humanitarianintervention:” Posted by Allen L Roland Veterans Today. .

Organized Crime Class In DC Is Bipartisan

The organized crime lords and phony whistle-blower alibis permit and manufacture phony enemies and terrorists, allow wailing welfare Wall Street’s looting the U.S. Treasury, daylight robbery of taxpayers, rigged controlled markets, and eternal war. These century old ambiguities take precedence over all domestic matters such as education, health, social services, retirees pension funds, national housing demise, bank financial frauds, and veterans support and services organizations.

Conversely, at no time has any major communication media network MSM news outlets pronounced a halt to outrageous military expenditures, unaffordable war against humanity, resulting in absolute unacceptable U.S. bankruptcy, millions of lost jobs, incomes, housing, free speech, civil rights, and bleak futures of masses of U.S. and global humanity.

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US Core Values Replaced With Homeland Security, High Level Crime, Death, Destruction

The fundamental core values of the USA are gone and replaced with a constant barrage of repetitive ultra hype false narrative jingoistic copy.  American underachiever class and Too Big To Fail ivy league alibis have trashed the U S Constitution Articles Bill of Rights and its citizenry for quick power and outrageous illegal profits. A ultra supreme false narrative of “military war of annihilation against sovereign nations to save them from themselves. An announcement fromHomeland Security a film documentary for national sports events titled “If you See Something, Say Something”

Get a grip on reality underachievers operating at the Federal Reserve Corporation and Homeland Security. Stop negating obvious responsibilities by ignoring and dismissing the Nations laws as defined in the US Constitution. This includes the current evisceration of the Articles Bill of Rights. Look in the mirror “say something” admit and report corporate and military industrial favoritism eternal war against humanity.

Summary Pinnacles of Organized Crime

The zenith of corruption repealed all safeguards and barriers to corruption revoked government law agencies to investigate anomalies and ambiguities in the financial and banking industries are now directing energy in attacking retirees Social Security Medicare pension funds. Furthermore, by operating fear tactics of US bankruptcy deflecting from outrageous criminal activities they currently are in the process of raiding our hard earned wealth and labor.

Refrain from robbing and accusing US citizenry as complete fools by deflecting onus of bankruptcy and terms such as “useless eaters” and “useful idiots.” Halt all foreign interventions and mass murder of civilians by expending taxpayer wealth and labor $trillions of dollars . Pay extra close attention to a basic tool not provided at higher achieving learning centers. A tool that is required before entering public service with arrogant imperious attitudes i.e. “Before opening mouth always engage brains”

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Sources:

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The Box Cutter War That
Will Bankrupt America
By Douglas Herman
Exclusive to Rense.com
4-5-6

The weirdest war in American history will have the direst consequences.  A disaster for your kids and grandkids (I have no kids but the USA is still my country). If this war were a video game–call it Grand Theft Country–no one would believe it. The war the Neocons started, and the Chinese and Japanese are financing, leaving mayhem and destruction everywhere, will one day cost a whole lot of American kid a lifetime of hard work and taxes. All because their parents, and the brilliant leaders their parents elected, didn’t give a damn.

Who knew a war, allegedly started with 19 box cutters, could bankrupt America? Meanwhile the Chinese sit patiently on the sidelines, as they have for the last three years, waiting for us to implode like that skyscraper, WTC-7. Allegedly, that skyscraper, like those box cutters, played a pivotal but inexplicable role in the “New Pearl Harbor” but, once again, few of those parents or their leaders want to know exactly why or how. One day they will, when they get the bill.

The Box Cutter War

The weirdest war in American history will probably initiate, to borrow Francis Fukuyama’s weird phrase, “the end of history” or at least a steep decline for the Land of The Free. Almost as if the Neocons planned it that way. Almost like a secret group of double-agents drew up a clever plan to hasten the demise of the American republic for the benefit of the Chinese. While rewarding a few wealthy investors along the way.

They called their plan the War on Terror and when White House economistPaul O’Neill, Truth-Teller  predicted  a pricetag of $200 billion to pay for the Iraq War-as opposed to the $15 billion predicted by Paul Wolfowitz-O’Neill was fired.

Curiously, as is everything in the Box Cutter War, Wolfowitz is now considered one of the World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals and heads the World Bank. I kid you not. Here is that weird list: The Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals.

Notice all the other Neocons on the list. Christopher Hitchens is # 5!. Weird isn’t it? I mean my cat is smarter than that guy. And warhawk journalist, Thomas Friedman, is # 16. A paperweight is smarter than Tom Friedman.

These are the smartest intellectuals in the world? They couldn’t even prevent the Box Cutter War or adequately explain how a stout steel skyscraper, WTC-7, collapsed at the speed of gravitational free fall? Indeed, the Number One guy on the list, Noam Chomsky, a professor at MIT, didn’t even know the “war on terror” was utterly and completely a fraud, predicated by a series of fake terrorist events and media manipulation.

Weird.

Who knew a bunch of guys with few piloting skills, armed with box cutters only, could commandeer NORAD and “stand down” fighter planes from the mightiest and costliest military in the world. Talk about evil genius.

In the movie V for Vendetta, the masked swordsman resembles an amateur sushi chef compared to those 19 holy warriors armed with box cutters with one inch blades. Not only could those commandos pass through airport checkpoints without having their names verified on a passenger manifest, they could slip a 767 through to the Pentagon without being caught on any security cameras surrounding that fortress!

Bankrupting America, One Box Cutter At A time

I’m convinced the alleged war on terror was a clever ruse to bankrupt America in the quickest amount of time. Recruit some disgruntled guys with box cutters, capture them on video cameras and connect them to a crime by blanketing the crime scene with alleged personal possessions they left behind, and presto: collapsing steel skyscrapers that bend every law of physics.

Thus proving Smart Guy # 21 (Francis Fukuyama) correct: History really is ending. For America that is.

One conservative estimate calculates the Iraq War has cost American taxpayers $250 billion thus far. Another economist, who took a longer view, calculated between one and two TRILLION dollars. Most parents don’t know or don’t seem to care about the mounting war debt, leaving that burden to their kids to worry about. I imagine a whole lot of life support systems will be pulled by angry kids and grandkids, 20-30 years in the future. Call it a generational payback for the Box Cutter War and deservedly so.

Meanwhile the Chinese sit as patiently as contented cats in a sunny alcove. Wonder how much time, at the rate of current US deficit spending, their top 100 intellectuals calculate America has, before we implode, collapsing completely into our own footprint? Five years? Three?  Six months?

The Gold & Silver Conspiracy

Now I’m not one of the top 100 intellectuals in the world, not even in my own town. But I did predict the rise of gold and silver several months ago, while Baron Rothschild was telling the media he was divesting his gold. Yeah, right.

Curiously, one website I visit frequently, Yahoo, used to have a handy graph that showed the rise and or fall of precious metals. You know the ones, jagged lines like a seismograph. Funny thing: months ago the graph no longer worked. I tried to click on it various times. No dice. Still doesn’t work.

Once, months ago, I could check what precious metals were doing over the past several months, going back two to five years, just by following that squiggly line. Not anymore. The chart and graphs are gone. The rise is steadily upwards now. Silver has nearly doubled since I wrote my essay for STR. Wonder why Yahoo doesn’t want the public to know?

Could it be an impeding currency crash? That couldn’t be the reason, could it? There aren’t any real conspiracies, right? I mean, the US Treasury is running the printing presses night and day so, logically, we will never run out of paper money here in America. Right?  I wonder if the wheelbarrow people are working overtime too.

Meanwhile the Box Cutter War continues into the third year while this country hemorrhages money like a man stabbed multiple times.

One final Note.

Paul Joseph Watson of Prisonplanet.com wrote: “Answer why Pakistan ISI Director General Mahmud Ahmad instructed Ahmad Umar Sheikh to hotwire $100,000 to the alleged 9/11 lead hijacker, Mohammad Atta and why Mahmud Ahmad on the morning of 9/11 was meeting with former clandestine CIA officer and CFR member Rep. Porter Goss (Current CIA Director!) and Skull and Bones/CFR member Senator Bob Graham….answer why since September 4th, he had met with top brass at the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House, including Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Joseph Biden and George Tenet?”

Does anybody know if the Kean Commission addressed this evidence of conspiracy?

Douglas Herman writes for Rense and is the author of
The novel, The Guns of Dallas. He owns one box cutter and never takes the weapon on airplanes or across state lines.
Reach him at douglasherman7@yahoo.com

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9/11 and the $5 Trillion Aftermath

9/11, World Trade Center

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
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By MERRILL GOOZNER, The Fiscal Times
September 6, 2011

The Fiscal Times Photo GalleryThe U.S. launched a global War on Terror in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the most deadly strikes against domestic targets by foreigners in U.S. history. Beyond the incalculable human cost of nearly 3,000 civilian deaths, and the subsequent deaths of over 6,000 soldiers,  2,300 contractors and hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi soldiers, policemen and civilians, the fateful choices made after the attacks had profound ramifications for the U.S. government and continues to be a major contributor to its fiscal woes. If one includes both the next decade’s interest payments on the debt-financed wars and future veterans’ benefits, the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is now estimated to reach more than $5 trillion.

The human and emotional costs of 9/11 can never be measured. What price does one put on the nearly 3,000 innocent lives lost, or the hundreds of thousands of soldiers, contractors and civilians who died or were maimed during the decade of war triggered by the suicidal assault on the World Trade Center and Pentagon by 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists, who bore nothing more deadly than box cutters?

Then there are the intangible costs. What monetary value does one put on the erosion of national confidence; the restrictions on civil liberties; or the psychic dread of a seemingly endless war on terror? What would you pay for the right to board an airplane in peace?

But some costs can be measured. They are largely government costs, the ones that flowed directly from the policy decisions made in the weeks and months following the most deadly foreign-led assault on U.S. soil in the nation’s history. They included the decision to halt the police-like action in the mountains of Tora Bora that might have immediately captured or killed Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda’s ringleader.

The decision to launch a wider War on Terror, which included the claim that Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, harbored hidden Al-Qaeda cells and was building weapons of mass destruction (WMD), entailed huge social and economic costs. That illusory accusation led to an eight-year war that is only now coming to a close.

The unleashing of the U.S. military abroad also triggered a tidal wave of funding for the traditional military-industrial complex. Before 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had promised a leaner, meaner war fighting machine, with fewer soldiers bearing better high-tech weapons at less cost. That vision was quickly replaced with the biggest build-up of military hardware since the 1980s as the Pentagon’s budget more than doubled to nearly $700 billion – about as much as it spends on Social Security – in less than a decade.

The expansive overseas war on terror was coupled with its domestic equivalent – an explosion in domestic spending on anti-terror activities. It included beefed up federal bureaucracies to protect home land security; massive spending on contractors to provide services ranging from protecting computers from hackers to protecting ports from smugglers to protecting air travelers from hijackers. It also included, at least for a time, hefty grants to state and local governments for first responders in local police and fire departments, which was doled out, as federal grants often are, to every Congressional district in the country with only passing regard to the ones most likely to face a terrorist threat.

The final and more enduring cost of the War on Terror was the decision to put the entire enterprise on the national credit card. Not only did the Bush administration and Republican Congress reject raising taxes to pay for the new war spending, it pushed for and won huge tax breaks for the well-to-do and the middle-class. The Bush administration even had its own version of guns-and-butter, successfully giving Medicare beneficiaries an unfunded drug benefit that helped cement his re-election victory in 2004.

In the last four budget years of President Clinton’s term in office (fiscal years 1998 through 2001), the U.S. ran a $559.3 billion surplus. In the succeeding eight years (fiscal years 2002 through 2009), the U.S. ran a $3.5 trillion deficit. Even if one excludes the $1.4 trillion deficit of 2009, when the economy was in freefall from the financial crisis, the Bush administration racked up over $2 trillion in deficits despite unemployment falling below 5 percent thanks to the housing bubble.

About the time President Bush was declaring “mission accomplished” and Rumsfeld was estimating the war in Iraq would cost $60 billion at most, Columbia University economics professor Joseph Stiglitz, who later won the Nobel Prize, estimated the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would eventually cost over $1 trillion. Although he was vilified by the administration, Stiglitz vastly underestimated the eventual toll.

Pentagon spending including special appropriations for wars went from $305 billion in 2001 to $694 billion in 2010. If one takes that 2001 spending and holds it steady (allowing increases for inflation and economic growth so the military stayed at the same share of the national economy as before 9/11), there would have been $1.6 trillion less military spending in the past decade. As it was, military spending of all federal outlays over the decade rose from 15.6 percent to 19.3 percent.

Looking only at the past in calculating the costs of 9/11 and not the future costs of the ongoing conflicts, especially in terms of veterans support and benefits, is a myopic view. Three years ago, Stiglitz estimated the wars’ final costs at $3 trillion to $5 trillion. Last week, he wrote that latter estimate was probably substantially underestimated.

The War on Terror, The Cost

“With almost 50 percent of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment, and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities, we now estimate that future disability payments and health-care costs will total $600-900 billion,” he wrote. “But the social costs reflected in veteran suicides (which have topped 18 per day in recent years) and family breakups are incalculable.”

Stiglitz’ estimates were recently corroborated by a study conducted by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, which concluded the total cost of the two wars to date at $3.2 trillion to $4 trillion, including future veterans’ benefits. However, it didn’t include an estimated half trillion dollars in additional war spending over the next few years, nor another $1 trillion of interest payments on the increase in the national debt.

The cost of war authors also cautioned that future veterans’ benefits may be underestimated. Beyond the 6,000 U.S. troops and 2,300 contractors who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 70,000 allied troops have been officially wounded.

While the high ratio of wounded soldiers to deaths is testimony to the remarkable battlefield medicine capabilities of the U.S. military, those successes have also left behind large population of severely disabled veterans who will likely need special medical, psychological and social support throughout their lives. Through the fall of 2010, there have already been 550,000 disability claims registered with the Veterans Administration, and a recent RAND study found 26 percent of returning troops had mental health problems.

The costs are already skyrocketing. Claim for veterans’ benefits and health care have more than tripled in the past decade, rising to an estimated $141 billion this year. The rate of increase – 9.7 percent per year on average – compares to just a 4.2 percent annual average increase in the 1990s, when government agencies had to deal with the aftermath of the much shorter and less deadly first Iraq war.

Homeland security budgets have seen a similar-sized increase, more than tripling in the past decade to an estimated $48.1 billion this year. This includes $5.5 billion for the Transportation Security Administration, which didn’t exist prior to 9/11. The U.S. has spent in excess of $600 billion on homeland security in the past decade, according to Chris Hellman of the National Priorities Project.

International aid and humanitarian assistance has also jumped sharply in the last decade, reaching $19 billion in 2010 or nearly three times the level spent during Clinton’s last years in office. Some of the increased spending can be attributed to the Bush administration’s stepped up efforts to combat deadly diseases in the developing world like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. But the government, including the Obama administration, also spent over $5 billion in economic assistance to Afghanistan last year, and plans to spend even more this year as the U.S. seeks to wind down its military presence.

“The choice the U.S. walked through after 9/11 was the door to war,” said Neta Crawford, a professor of political science at Boston University, who coordinated the war cost project. “The U.S. saw it as an act of war. But international law sees it as a crime. To treat terrorism as a crime would have entailed a much more intensified law enforcement response.

“It wouldn’t have been cheap,” she said. “But it would not have cost as much in dollars, and certainly not in lives.”

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