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Syrian Girl: Massive pro-government rallies opposing the NATO-supported Insurgency
Millions turned out to march against the Nato and Arab League led insurrection. We discuss the similarities and the differences with Libya.
Initially intended to be a day of rage (by the Imperialists) it turned out to work in the Governments favour. We also discuss Syria’s armaments and the Imperialists intentions.
Bethlehem, Palestine, 12 March 2012
“Christ at the Checkpoint: Hope in the Midst of Conflict” was a five-day event organized by Bethlehem Bible College earlier this month. Christian theologians, academics and church leaders were invited to meet with the local Palestinian church and challenge the Christian Zionist influence within the evangelical movement.
The aims of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference did not go unnoticed. For months before the conference, Christian Zionists and Israeli Messianic Jews waged a campaign against the conference and its organizers, labeling them “anti-Semitic” in an attempt to have the conference canceled.
For most speakers, the attacks suggested that Christian Zionists were unhappy with any challenge to their theology, particularly from within the evangelical community. According to Stephen Sizer, Christians Zionists often attempt to intimidate or isolate any Christian who publicly disagrees with them.
“Many ministers I know share the views I hold but they won’t talk about it, because when they do they get hit over the head,” he said. “So intimidation often works.”
But while some are intimidated, others remain resolute.
“This is the first time within the evangelical movement there’s been an uprising against Christian Zionism,” Awad explained. “And these people don’t want an uprising, especially because it is a civil uprising. We are evangelicals, and we are revolting against Christian Zionism from within the evangelical church … this is the first time that Palestinians [are speaking] to them loudly.”
Akjazeera, One of the West´s Media Proxy to fuel Syrian conflict
LORD Have Mercy on us all
Religious anti-war music by Claire Rivero, images collected by Mike Rivero
Posted on March 8, 2012 by Ellen Brown
on Web of Debt
Once the black sheep of high finance, government owned banks can reassure depositors about the safety of their savings and can help maintain a focus on productive investment in a world in which effective financial regulation remains more of an aspiration than a reality. — Centre for Economic Policy Research, VoxEU.org (January 2010)
Public sector banking is a concept that is relatively unknown in the United States. Only one state—North Dakota—owns its own bank. North Dakota is also the only state to escape the credit crisis of 2008, sporting a budget surplus every year since; but skeptics write this off to coincidence or other factors. The common perception is that government bureaucrats are bad businessmen. To determine whether government-owned banks are assets or liabilities, then, we need to look farther afield. When we remove our myopic U.S. blinders, it turns out that globally, not only are publicly-owned banks quite common but that countries with strong public banking sectors generally have strong, stable economies.
“What for a poor man is a crust, for a rich man is a securitized asset class.”
–Futures trader Ann Berg, quoted in the UK Guardian
Underlying the sudden, volatile uprising in Egypt and Tunisia is a growing global crisis sparked by soaring food prices and unemployment. The Associated Press reports that roughly 40 percent of Egyptians struggle along at the World Bank-set poverty level of under $2 per day. Analysts estimate that food price inflation in Egypt is currently at an unsustainable 17 percent yearly. In poorer countries, as much as 60 to 80 percent of people’s incomes go for food, compared to just 10 to 20 percent in industrial countries. An increase of a dollar or so in the cost of a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread for Americans can mean starvation for people in Egypt and other poor countries.
read the whole article
By Ellen Brown
…Eventually, a privately-owned “central bank” was established in nearly every country. This central banking system has now gained control over the economies of the world. Central banks have the authority to print money in their respective countries, and it is from these banks that governments must borrow money to pay their debts and fund their operations. The result is a global economy in which not only industry but government itself runs on “credit” (or debt) created by a banking monopoly headed by a network of private central banks. At the top of this network is the BIS, the “central bank of central banks” in Basel.
Behind the Curtain
For many years the BIS kept a very low profile, operating behind the scenes in an abandoned hotel. It was here that decisions were reached to devalue or defend currencies, fix the price of gold, regulate offshore banking, and raise or lower short-term interest rates. In 1977, however, the BIS gave up its anonymity in exchange for more efficient headquarters. The new building has been described as “an eighteen story-high circular skyscraper that rises above the medieval city like some misplaced nuclear reactor.” It quickly became known as the “Tower of Basel.” Today the BIS has governmental immunity, pays no taxes, and has its own private police force. It is, as Mayer Rothschild envisioned, above the law….
When the Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson decided yesterday not to sign the new Icesave laws but sent the matter to Icelandic people to decide there were quite diverse reactions here among Icelanders.
Some thought we should just be over and done with the whole matter and it should have been left to the Parliament to decide. Many others agreed with the President, that he was right and this particular matter was up to the people to decide. The current government and parliament have indeed no longer the trust of most of the people. A decision like this should not be left to the tiny minority of the political class.
Alternative reporter Zoe Sophia (psychetruth) took her video camera to a Foster Care Alumni meeting and asked seven former foster kids to tell her about their experiences in Child Protective Services while wards of the state.
One thing they all had in common was massive over-drugging with psychiatric drugs.
Child placement agencies, foster parents, RTCs (Residential Treatment Centers) and Therapeutic Foster Homes get paid a certain amount of money each day for taking care of a foster child. The amount of money they get paid depends on a level of care system. The more difficult the child or the more problems that child has, the more money you get.
A mainline news-investigation discovers that young children, including toddlers (!) are being given powerful and often dangerous psychotropic drugs in order to manage their behavior.
By P Gosselin on 17. Dezember 2010
An increased frequency in extreme weather events, a cooling North Atlantic, and growing Arctic sea ice were viewed as signs of climate change. The odds of a warmer climate in the future, according to one scientist, were “at best 1 in 10,000″ (see below). That’s what Der Spiegel wrote about in a 3700-word article back in 1974, warning the world of a coming ice age.
watch talk and slide show here:
JFK and RFK: The Plots that Killed Them – The Patsies that Didn’t
by James Fetzer
Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated 42 years ago in the midst of his campaign for the U.S. presidency. Largely overshadowed by the death of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, the official account of RFK’s tragic end, allegedly shot down by a lone gunman, like his brother, has received vastly less attention. In both instances, we are looking at staged events that fit into a recurrent pattern in U.S. and world history where innocent individuals (or “patsies”) are baited and framed for cover-up purposes. Professor James H. Fetzer, an expert in the scientific study of assassinations, provides a sketch of how we know what happened to them and why, where RFK’s assassination was in part intended to prevent a reinvestigation into his brother’s death.
The failed attempt of American war-planners to create a female AlQaeda “mastermind” for the “War on Terrorism”
Aafia Siddiqui is an educated Muslim woman, a Pakistani citizen, who had earned her degrees in the US, a bachelor´s degree at Boston´s MIT and a PhD in Neuroscience at Brandeis University with the thesis “How children learn”.
By those who knew her during her years in the US she is described as a kind woman, devoutly religious, compassionate, caring for the disadvantaged, working for charities and teaching classes to small children on Sundays.
While living in the US she became mother to two children of her own.
In 2001 Aafia returned with her family to Pakistan, where her youngest child was born.
However, after a rather difficult divorce and custody battle Dr. Aafia Siddiqui decided to return to the US in late 2002 to pursuit her career. A short time thereafter in early 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice denounced Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as a so-called “Al-Qaeda facilitator.”
In March of that same year, after departing her family’s home in Karachi (Pakistan) to visit an uncle in Islamabad, the taxi that she and her three young children were traveling in was stopped; they were forcibly removed, and then disappeared without a trace. (The two oldest, Ahmed and Maryam, are American citizens by birth. Suleman, who was only six months old at the time of their abduction, still remains missing to this day.)
Analysis by Gareth Porter*
on December 1, 2010
WASHINGTON, Nov 30, 2010 (IPS) – A diplomatic cable from last February released by Wikileaks provides a detailed account of how Russian specialists on the Iranian ballistic missile programme refuted the U.S. suggestion that Iran has missiles that could target European capitals or intends to develop such a capability.
In fact, the Russians challenged the very existence of the mystery missile the U.S. claims Iran acquired from North Korea.
But readers of the two leading U.S. newspapers never learned those key facts about the document.
The New York Times and Washington Post reported only that the United States believed Iran had acquired such missiles – supposedly called the BM-25 – from North Korea. Neither newspaper reported the detailed Russian refutation of the U.S. view on the issue or the lack of hard evidence for the BM-25 from the U.S. side.
The Times, which had obtained the diplomatic cables not from Wikileaks but from The Guardian, according to a Washington Post story Monday, did not publish the text of the cable.
The Times story said the newspaper had made the decision not to publish “at the request of the Obama administration”. That meant that its readers could not compare the highly- distorted account of the document in the Times story against the original document without searching the Wikileaks website.
As a result, a key Wikileaks document which should have resulted in stories calling into question the thrust of the Obama administration’s ballistic missile defence policy in Europe based on an alleged Iranian missile threat has produced a spate of stories supporting the existing Iranian threat narrative.
by Ellen Brown
Web of Debt
December 2, 2010
Unlike Zimbabwe, the U.S. can easily get the currency it needs without being beholden to anyone. But wouldn’t that dilute the value of the currency? No.
A month ago, the bond vigilantes were screaming that the Fed’s QE2 would be the first step on the road to Zimbabwe-style hundred trillion dollar notes. Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia) is the poster example of what can go wrong when a government pays its bills by printing money. Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed in 2008, when its currency hyperinflated to the point that it was trading with the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 10 trillion to 1. On November 29, Cullen Roche wrote in thePragmatic Capitalist:
Back in October the economic buzzwords had become “money printing” and “debt monetization”. . . . [T]he Fed was initiating their policy of QE2 and you’d have been hard pressed to find someone in this country (and around the world for that matter) who wasn’t entirely convinced that the USA was about to send the dollar into some sort of death spiral. QE2 was about to set off a round of inflation that would make Zimbabwe look like a cakewalk. And then something odd happened – the dollar rallied as QE2 set sail and hasn’t looked back since.
What really happened in Zimbabwe? And why does QE2 seem to be making the dollar stronger rather than weaker, as the inflationistas predicted?
Anatomy of a Hyperinflation
Professor Michael Hudson has studied hyperinflation extensively. He maintains that “every hyperinflation in history stems from the foreign exchange markets. It stems from governments trying to throw enough of their currency on the market to pay their foreign debts.”
It is in the foreign exchange markets that a national currency becomes vulnerable to manipulation by speculators.
Reflections on the 5th Anniversary of Camp Casey in Crawford, TX
by Cindy Sheehan
Before my son, Casey, was killed in Iraq on April 04, 2004, I was a mother of four, worried about all my children—but especially the one who was going to be deployed to Iraq—sometimes working as many as three jobs to survive, and only peripherally aware of the harsher realities of living in an Empire.
When Shocking and Awful rained down on Iraq, the military “operation” was then called: Operation Iraqi Liberation—but the geniuses in the War Selling Department figured out that the acronym was too obvious, so it was changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, which is the name that was on all of my son’s paperwork and medals after he was killed.
Back then “enhanced interrogation methods” were also known as “torture” while this nation was fighting a War on Terror.
Since a Nobel Laureate has risen to the top of the Imperial Dung Heap (IDH), he has done good and well, as Nobel Laureates should: He has only changed the names of things at the directive of the War Selling Department. The Global War on Terror has been renamed to: Overseas Contingency Operations—whatever the hell that means, but the vagueness is intentional. The Empire is expert at ill-defining missions because if the missions were defined with precision, there would naturally have to be an end when the mission is really “accomplished.”
Back sometime after the Nobel Laureate was installed on top of the IDH, the mission that killed my son was renamed: “Operation New Dawn.” So every single one of our troops and Iraqis that have been killed since Obama’s reign have been killed in something that resembles dish-washing detergent and most certainly the selling of it. “Operation New Dawn: New and Improved with more Lemony Freshness—and, boy, does it cut through grease!” Grease is the only thing that Operation New Dawn cuts through, though—since many of my fellow USAians want to believe that Obama is the “New and Improved” George Bush.
by Laila El-Haddad
And as long as freedom of movement is stifled, whether by Israel or Egypt, and export-quality goods, which account for a large portion of Gaza’s manufacturing output, are forbidden from leaving Gaza, all the malls and mangoes in the world won’t make a bit of difference.
The War on Iraq : Five US Presidents, Five British Prime Ministers, Thirty Years of Duplicity, and Counting….
“Out of the mirror they stare, Imperialism’s face and the international wrong.”
(W.H. Auden, 1907-1973, writing in 1939.)
by Felicity Arbuthnot
Twenty years ago this August, with a green light from America, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. He had walked in to possibly the biggest trap in modern history, unleashing Iraq’s two decade decimation, untold suffering, illegal bombings, return of diseases previously eradicated and what can also only be described as UN-sponsored infanticide.
May 2005 – “A few days ago, an American manned check point confiscated the driver license of a driver and told him to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for interrogation and in order to retrieve his license. The next day, the driver did visit the camp and he was allowed in the camp with his car. He was admitted to a room for an interrogation that lasted half an hour. At the end of the session, the American interrogator told him: ‘OK, there is nothing against you, but you do know that Iraq is now sovereign and is in charge of its own affairs. Hence, we have forwarded your papers and license to al-Kadhimia police station for processing. Therefore, go there with this clearance to reclaim your license. At the police station, ask for Lt. Hussain Mohammed who is waiting for you now. Go there now quickly, before he leaves his shift work”.
The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors.
The only feasible explanation for this incidence is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated “hideous attack by foreign elements”.
The same scenario was repeated in Mosul, in the north of Iraq. A car was confiscated along with the driver’s license. He did follow up on the matter and finally reclaimed his car but was told to go to a police station to reclaim his license. Fortunately for him, the car broke down on the way to the police station. The inspecting car mechanic discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with explosives.”
by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach – Global Research
Israel’s attack on a humanitarian aid ship headed for Gaza may prove to be the greatest strategic error the government has ever made. Like the Soweto riots in South Africa in 1976, or Bloody Sunday – the American civil rights march on March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, where police opened fire and killed civilians – the Mavi Marmora affair crossed a red line. It has triggered an international wave of condemnation, expressing a shift in attitude toward Israel. The hope is that this international outrage, flanked by growing anti-government dissent inside the country, will provoke an identity crisis among the elite and people of Israel, shake up the political kaleidoscope and allow for a viable pro-peace force to emerge. Unless this occurs, new Israeli aggression, including against Iran, will remain high on their immediate agenda.
by Ellen Brown
Web of Debt
July 12th, 2010
“You all are the house, you’re the bookie. [Your clients] are booking their bets with you. I don’t know why we need to dress it up. It’s a bet.”
- Senator Claire McCaskill, Senate Subcommittee investigating Goldman Sachs (Washington Post, April 27, 2010)
Ever since December 2008, the Federal Reserve has held short-term interest rates near zero. This was not only to try to stimulate the housing and credit markets but also to allow the federal government to increase its debt levels without increasing the interest tab picked up by the taxpayers. The total public U.S. debt increased by nearly 50% from 2006 to the end of 2009 (from about $8.5 trillion to $12.3 trillion), but the interest bill on the debt actually dropped (from $406 billion to $383 billion), because of this reduction in interest rates.
One of the dire unintended consequences of that maneuver, however, was that municipal governments across the country have been saddled with very costly bad derivatives bets. They were persuaded by their Wall Street advisers to buy credit default swaps to protect their loans against interest rates shooting up. Instead, rates proceeded to drop through the floor, a wholly unforeseeable and unnatural market condition caused by rate manipulations by the Fed. Instead of the banks bearing the losses in return for premiums paid by municipal governments, the governments have had to pay massive sums to the banks – to the point of bankrupting at least one city (Montgomery, Alabama).
by Andrew Gavin Marshall
Through all of human history, tyrants have used coercive force and terror to control populations. With the Technological Revolution, elites increasingly have the ability to control the very biology and psychology of the individual to a point where it may not be necessary to impose a system of terror, but rather where the control is implemented on a much deeper, psychological, subliminal and individual biological manner. While terror can prevent people from opposing power for a while, the scientific dictatorship can create a personal psycho-social condition in which the individual comes to love his or her own slavery; in which, like a mentally inferior pet, they are made to love their leaders and accept their servitude.
So we are presented with a situation in which humanity is faced with both the greatest threat and the greatest hope that we have ever collectively experienced in our short human history. This essay, the third part in the series, “The Technological Revolution and the Future of Freedom,” examines the ideas behind the global scientific dictatorship, and how it may manifest itself presently and in the future, with a particular focus on the emergence of ‘new eugenics’ as a system of mass control.
Free humanity faces the most monumental decision we have ever been presented with: do we feed and fuel the global political awakening into a true human psycho-social revolution of the mind, creating a new global political economy which empowers and liberates all of humanity; or… do we fall silently into a ‘brave new world’ of a global scientific oppression, the likes of which have never before been experienced, and whose dominance would never be more difficult to challenge and overcome?
Read the whole article
“That’s someone’s child”, she cried,
his life lay broken on the ground.
The man who shot him down
by his amazing aim.
How can you go
back home to show
your face to all
those lively children of your own?
Read the whole poem
Friday, 2 July 2010
Speculators set up a casino where the chips were the stomachs of millions. What does it say about our system that we can so casually inflict so much pain?
By now, you probably think your opinion of Goldman Sachs and its swarm of Wall Street allies has rock-bottomed at raw loathing. You’re wrong. There’s more. It turns out that the most destructive of all their recent acts has barely been discussed at all. Here’s the rest. This is the story of how some of the richest people in the world – Goldman, Deutsche Bank, the traders at Merrill Lynch, and more – have caused the starvation of some of the poorest people in the world.
It starts with an apparent mystery. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly and stratospherically. Within a year, the price of wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent. In a global jolt of hunger, 200 million people – mostly children – couldn’t afford to get food any more, and sank into malnutrition or starvation. There were riots in more than 30 countries, and at least one government was violently overthrown. Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, calls it “a silent mass murder”, entirely due to “man-made actions.”
by Notsilvia Night
What we believe in the western world to be our democracy has turned into something wholly different, since the point where we turned away from the path of reason, ethics and truth.
Rather than a democracy, the system we now have in the western world might be called a “propagandocracy”.
It is through the power of deceptive manipulation that we are ruled by an arrogant elitist plutocracy, one that has lost an understanding of basic ethics, a respect for honesty and truth, and a sense of compassion. And although this plutocratic ruling class sees itself as the intellectual elite, it has, in reality, also lost most of its capacity for reason.
But this loss of reasoning capacity doesn´t only afflict western society´s elite; it has spread down through all levels of western society.
Reason, true reason, in our relationship to others means to consider the other person (or the other group of people, the other nation, the other religion) which we encounter in life as an equal partner in these encounters, and to consider the other´s interests to be as valid as our own.
In the long run, this is the only way to live in peace with others. Democracy can´t thrive without this kind of reason.
“Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely”
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887
Supporters of Marxist theories often imply that the motive for what they call the capitalists´class war against the working class is greed for money, not greed for power. Power, according to some of the Marxists I read, is just a means to an end.
I´m not an expert in Marxist theory myself, therefore I don´t know if Marxism deals with the issue of power at some level.
But if I understand Marxist theory correctly, then capitalists only seek power in order to protect their wealth and the comfortable life-style they fear to lose if wealth were to be distributed more equally.
But how much money do you actually need to live a comfortable life?
A person with a yearly income of a million dollars will already be able to afford all the comforts he could ever wish for. Sure, there are expensive objects or services which rich people have sought,like works of art, jewellery, or yachts, all of them worth several million of dollars.
But those objects seem to serve mainly as status symbols. The high prices of many of those objects are driven purely by the demand of those who´ve got too much money to spend.
February 9, 2010
In the night of February 13-14, 1945, the ancient and beautiful capital of Saxony, Dresden, was attacked three times, twice by the RAF and once by the USAAF, the United States Army Air Force, in an operation involving well over 1,000 bombers. The consequences were catastrophic, as the historical city centre was incinerated and between 25,000 and 40,000 people lost their lives. Dresden was not an important industrial or military centre and therefore not a target worthy of the considerable and unusual common American and British effort involved in the raid. The city was not attacked as retribution for earlier German bombing raids on cities such as Rotterdam and Coventry, either. In revenge for the destruction of these cities, bombed ruthlessly by the Luftwaffe in 1940, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and countless other German towns big and small had already paid dearly in 1942, 1943, and 1944. Furthermore, by the beginning of 1945, the Allied commanders knew perfectly well that even the most ferocious bombing raid would not succeed in “terrorizing [the Germans] into submission,” so that it is not realistic to ascribe this motive to the planners of the operation
Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight: The 9/11 “Official Story” and the Collapse of WTC Building Seven
At 5:21 PM on 9/11, Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed, even though it had not been hit by a plane – a fact that is important because of the widespread acceptance of the idea, in spite of its scientific absurdity, that the Twin Towers collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airliners plus the ensuing jet-fuel-fed fires. The collapse of World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7) thereby challenges the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center, according to which it was accomplished by al-Qaeda hijackers, even if one accepts the government’s scientifically impossible account of the Twin Towers. This fact was recently emphasized in the title of a review article based on my 2009 book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7, by National Medal of Science-winner Lynn Margulis: “Two Hit, Three Down – The Biggest Lie.”…
A symposium in the February 2010 issue of American Behavioral Scientist, one of our leading social science journals, argues that social scientists need to develop a scientific approach to studying an increasingly important type of criminality: State Crimes Against Democracy, abbreviated SCADs, understood as “concerted actions . . . by government insiders intended to manipulate democratic processes and undermine popular sovereignty.” Having the “potential to subvert political institutions and entire governments . . . [SCADs] are high crimes that attack democracy itself.”
by Dr David Evans
16 June 2009
Let’s break down the case for human-caused global warming logically:
- 1.)There is plenty of evidence that global warming has been occurring recently.
- 2.)There is ample evidence that carbon dioxide emissions causes warming and that the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing.
- 3.)But there is no evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are the main cause of the recent global warming.
The alarmists focus you entirely on the first two points, to distract you from the third. The public is increasingly aware of this misdirection.
Yes, every emitted molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2) causes some warming—but the crucial question is how much warming do the CO2 emissions cause? If atmospheric CO2 levels doubled, would the temperature rise by 0.1°, 1.0°, or by 10.0° C?
We go through the usual ―evidence offered by alarmists, and show that in each case either it:
- Is not evidence about what causes global warming. Proof that global warming occurred is not proof that CO2 was mainly responsible.
- Is not empirical evidence; that is, it is not independent of theory. In particular, models are theory, not evidence.
- Says nothing about how much the temperature would rise for a given rise in CO2 levels.
Despite spending $50bn over the last 20 years looking for evidence of point (3) above, the alarmists have found none. In two instances they expected to find it, but in both cases they found only evidence of the opposite—and they have kept awfully quiet about those cases. If they just had some evidence of (3) they could just tell us what it was—and end the debate.
We note that there used to be some supporting evidence, but better data later reversed that evidence. Instead there are now at least three independent pieces of evidence that the temperature rises predicted by the IPCC due to carbon dioxide emissions are exaggerated by a factor of between 2 and 10, primarily due to the assumption of overly positive water vapor feedback in the climate models
New Vatican Secretary of State,Cardinal Bertone, Indicts International Monetary Fund and World Bank on Usury
by Mark and Louise Zwick
Houston Catholic Worker
Pope Benedict’s new Secretary of State for the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, recently gave an interview to the Italian journal 30 Giorni in which he condemns the practices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as usury.
Several Catholic news services have reported on his recent interview. The National Catholic Reporter reminded readers that even in 1997 when he worked for Cardinal Ratzinger as secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith then Bishop Bertone suggested that it was time to publish a new encyclical on the subject of usury and, on the use of money in general, and that this document should be proposed both to people involved in pastoral activity as well as to those in economic endeavors. At that time Bishop Bertone not only denounced the critical aspects of usury, but also “the problem of loans among nations which ends up by creating the problem of international debt.” His recent interview echoes these criticisms of usury and the international financial institutions:
“ I’ve repeated many times the judgment of experts and entire bodies of bishops: the international loans made by the World Bank and the Inter-national Monetary Fund, as well as bilateral loans, are by now a form of usury and should be declared illegal,” Bertone said.
by Michael Griffin of the Catholic Peace Fellowship
The election of Benedict XVI as pope brings hope for the continuation of peacemaking as central to the papacy. Just as John Paul II cried out again and again to the world, “War never again!” the new pope has taken the name of the one who first made that cry, Benedict XV, commonly known as “the peace pope.”
The name is no coincidence. In fact, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia said Tuesday that the new pope told the cardinals he was selecting Benedict because “he is desirous to continue the efforts of Benedict XV on behalf of peace … throughout the world.”
As a Cardinal, the new pope was a staunch critic of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. On one occasion before the war, he was asked whether it would be just. “Certainly not,” he said, and explained that the situation led him to conclude that “the damage would be greater than the values one hopes to save.”
“All I can do is invite you to read the Catechism, and the conclusion seems obvious to me…” The conclusion is one he gave many times: “the concept of preventive war does not appear in The Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
Even after the war, Cardinal Ratzinger did not cease criticism of U.S. violence and imperialism: “it was right to resist the war and its threats of destruction…It should never be the responsibility of just one nation to make decisions for the world.”
Yet perhaps the most important insight of Ratzinger came during a press conference on May 2, 2003. After suggesting that perhaps it would be necessary to revise the Catechism section on just war (perhaps because it had been used by George Weigel and others to endorse a war the Church opposed), Ratzinger offered a deep insight that included but went beyond the issue of war Iraq:
“There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups.
Today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a ‘just war’.”
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