BRIC´s bank

BEIJING
In July 2014, nations known as the “BRICS,” Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, announced the creation of a new, $100 billion development bank (NDB). The project is aimed at lending money to developing nations for investments, much like how the American and European-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank operate.

Liu Haifang, a professor at Peking University’s Center for African Studies, said the bank will provide developing countries with more options for financing.


BRICs Bank To Rival World Bank and IMF and Challenge Dollar Dominance

Outgoing President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, after just three days ago dismissing the idea of a BRICs created, new global multi lateral bank, has come around and endorsed a BRICs bank in an interview with the FT.

Zoellick had initially said that a BRICs bank and potential rival to the western and U.S. dominated IMF and World Bank, would be difficult to implement given competing BRIC interests.

He acknowledged that a BRICs bank was being created and said that the World Bank supported such a bank. He said that not having Russia and China as part of “the World Bank system” would be a “mistake of historic proportions”.

Leaders of the BRICS nations meeting in India appear to have made much progress in creating a new global bank as the emerging economies seek to convert their growing economic might into collective diplomatic influence.

The five countries now account for nearly 28% of the global economy, a figure that is expected to continue to grow.

On Thursday morning, President Hu Jintao of China, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia , President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India shook hands at the start of the one day meeting in New Delhi.

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-02/markets/31272774_1_gold-prices-world-gold-council-world-bank#ixzz1ra85vRk9

BEIJING
In July 2014, nations known as the “BRICS,” Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, announced the creation of a new, $100 billion development bank (NDB). The project is aimed at lending money to developing nations for investments, much like how the American and European-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank operate.

Liu Haifang, a professor at Peking University’s Center for African Studies, said the bank will provide developing countries with more options for financing.


BRICs Bank To Rival World Bank and IMF and Challenge Dollar Dominance

Outgoing President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, after just three days ago dismissing the idea of a BRICs created, new global multi lateral bank, has come around and endorsed a BRICs bank in an interview with the FT.

Zoellick had initially said that a BRICs bank and potential rival to the western and U.S. dominated IMF and World Bank, would be difficult to implement given competing BRIC interests.

He acknowledged that a BRICs bank was being created and said that the World Bank supported such a bank. He said that not having Russia and China as part of “the World Bank system” would be a “mistake of historic proportions”.

Leaders of the BRICS nations meeting in India appear to have made much progress in creating a new global bank as the emerging economies seek to convert their growing economic might into collective diplomatic influence.

The five countries now account for nearly 28% of the global economy, a figure that is expected to continue to grow.

On Thursday morning, President Hu Jintao of China, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia , President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India shook hands at the start of the one day meeting in New Delhi.

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-02/markets/31272774_1_gold-prices-world-gold-council-world-bank#ixzz1ra85vRk9

Zeitgeist

Submission Guidelines & Tips

All submissions should be your original work. Please do not simply copy/paste information (online articles, links, etc.) and submit it as-is. (Excerpts from, or links to, other material may be used within the article, and should be cited appropriately.)
Writing Guidelines (click to see examples):
Announcement — General announcements, major events, procedural or structural changes, etc. concerning the Movement as a whole.
Chapter Update — This should be used by Chapter Coordinators (or those whom they have designated) to submit status reports and announcements related to their specific chapter.
Editorial — An editorial is a written work that generally presents the opinion or view of the author or publishing entity. Technically, there is no minimum length for an Editorial, but it should be long enough to effectively communicate your position to the reader. Try not to make it so long that your readers lose interest before they even get through it. Most editorials are around 1-2 pages long, single-spaced.
Media Project — If you have a work of art such as a comic/ drawing, poem, song, etc. that you’d like to share, please submit it to The Zeitgeist Media Project. Material submitted to that site will be periodically published on the Blog, under this category.
Meeting Minutes — In addition to the recordings, at least one person per meeting should take Notes and post them here in a fairly neat and structured format, sometime after the meeting is over. The basic info should include:
-Date and time of the meeting
-The purpose of the meeting (Agenda)
-Meeting coordinator(s)
-Assigned action items and people assigned
-Any decisions and/or changes made
-A link to the audio and/or video recording (If there is no recording, please specify.)
News Article — A purely factual submission based on news reports and relevant events around the world, as opposed to an Editorial, which includes the opinion/view of the author.
Narrative — An original story based on relevant events, experiences, etc. that may be true or fictional.
Press Release — A general statement, typically in response to a major event, that is published on behalf of the entire Movement. Click here for detailed instructions on how to properly write and format a Press Release.
Project Update — This entry is pertinent for keeping members of the Movement updated on any new projects that are developing, as well as existing projects as they progress. Submit a Project Update any time you or your peers/ teammates begin a new project, or make any progress, breakthroughs, major changes, etc. to an existing one. Be sure to check these entries regularly before starting a new project to ensure that there is not already one in place that you can simply join. This will hopefully help alleviate any scattered or diluted efforts, and instead combine them into strong, streamlined projects and teams. (We may want to consider including an RSS feed that links to all the individual project team PMS sites. That way the people from those teams will only have to update one site, their PMS site, and it will feed onto the newsletter site automatically.)
Participation Guidelines:
Please remain courteous and constructive when posting content or comments.
For information on how your participation affects your karma, please read the Comment moderation FAQ.
—————–Helpful Tips for Getting Your Submission(s) Approved:——————-
Please note that these are by no means requirements, but your careful consideration of these factors will not only assist the Editors in sorting through boat loads of material, but will also give our readers, and ultimately the Movement as a whole, a greater sense of community and rapport, as well as improving the overall Blog experience.
Use your real name: We want to be able to share your content with the world, including third-party organizations when applicable, perhaps even for further publishing on other mediums. It’s more feasible to do that when we are recommending an article by John Smith, Dr. Jane Doe, or Betty Sue, than if we have to recommend an article by “Cupcake” or “JRider” with no background or reliable method to contact him or her, assuming it is a “him,” or assuming it is a “her.”
Update your profile information: It might give Editors (and your readers 😉 a better understanding of your material if they have even a minimal background on who you are. The general blog community might be eager to share an amazing piece of work written by Betty Sue the aquarist, or Bob Jones the carpenter… rather than a random article written by an anonymous stranger. Readers may be more likely to subscribe to your Blog’s RSS feed (found on the Site Map) and “follow” you or your activity. You can create a well-deserved presence for yourself and your material in the blog community.
Use your real photo: Same as above. We are trying to build a community and we can’t do that without building relationships. In fact, we’re striving for a social system that will one day facilitate global empathy, meaning the whole world is the community. People generally remember, or at least distinguish, names and faces better than icons and aliases. More importantly, people connect with names and faces better than generic visuals and inanimate labels. The next time someone has an idea for a project, they’ll probably remember to contact “Billy Johnson with the red hat, smiling kind of crooked” for help – much better than they’ll remember “Alex1988 with a sunflower, or was it a rainbow, or a Skittle, or… what was it again? Something with colors. I think twelve other people had the same icon…” (We don’t know anyone who has the same face as you. Do you? 😉
Provide sources: The members of the Newsletter Team, while extremely dedicated, only have but so much time on their hands to fact check everything so that we don’t get burned for publishing something that’s inaccurate. If you provide links and sources to back up whatever it is that you’re talking about, you’ve saved us a lot of work. Not to mention your article will be just plain awesome, and more enjoyable for the reader. People will be saving it in their favorites for future reference… just wait and see. You may also want to provide convenient hyperlinks to any organizations, events, etc. that you may be mentioning in your article. (When possible, don’t forget to use the ‘Insert/edit link’ tool to hyperlink the words themselves, so it looks nice and neat without all of that ugly URL formatting.) For example:
– You can learn more about this by viewing Peter Joseph’s lecture. – OR –
– You can learn more about this by viewing Where Are We Going, a great lecture by Peter Joseph.
…instead of…
– You can learn more about this by watching Peter Joseph’s lecture, Where Are We Going.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxPPnCW6sMo
(Once or twice is fine, but scattered randomly throughout the entire article, not so much…)
Take pride in your work: Comb through it for spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, we have a proof-reading team in place for that, but don’t be so sure it will even make it to proofing if we can’t understand it. If the content is unclear or the meaning is lost, due to poor spelling and/or grammar, it may get rejected by Editors beforehand. Most likely, if the content is excellent, but the spelling and grammar needs work, Editors may send it back to you for clarification or improvement. However, the bottom line is, with the amount of submissions that will be coming in, it’s far more productive to publish polished submissions that require the least amount of additional work, and perhaps get to the other stuff later.
Spice it up: Nobody likes a bland article. Don’t forget to upload a thumbnail image for your submission, and feel free to add any images throughout the body that may enhance the reader’s experience. (Okay, don’t get too crazy. Keep the images relevant, and placed neatly (resized if needed) so that we can still read your lovely submission without having a seizure.) You may also add a video if applicable. Granted, the written content itself may be as “colorful” as can be, but it’s usually the imagery that initially draws people in to read it in the first place. Get creative, and remember, images from The Zeitgeist Media Project are available for anyone to use for free. 🙂
(Ooh, look! See what we did there, with the hyperlink? 😉
Carefully categorize your content: When filling out the submission form, don’t ignore the drop-downs. (They’re there for a reason. 😉 Even if you’re stumped, please try your best to accurately choose the submission ‘Type’ that best describes your work, and the ‘Category’ that it most closely relates to. It’s much more difficult (and time-consuming) for Editors to sort through and approve a bunch of generic items submitted as “Other,” than it is for them to pinpoint content for what it is, and go from there. Similarly, if it is in fact an “Other” (something that’s not listed in the drop-down), go ahead and categorize it as “Other” and don’t fudge it to be a “Press Release” or “Project Update,” because if it isn’t one, Editors will probably assume that you don’t actually know how to write a Press Release, or that your so-called “Project” doesn’t make any sense, and reject it. Always choose a Location when applicable, and don’t forget to add tags.
That’s all for now, but we may add more Helpful Tips as they arise. Happy Blogging!
Sincerely,
The Zeitgeist Movement Newsletter/Blog Team

Be sure to check out this 220 page Source Guide below which sources virtually everything. As requested by Zeitgeist creator Peter Joseph, I have replaced the original Zeitgeist movie with well over 1.25 million views with this updated for 2010 version. The meat and potato’s of it are the same, there’s some new information and the quality of it is improved upon.

Link to source guide:

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF…

https://signup.netflix.com/Movie/Zeitgeist-Moving-Forward/70225009?country=1&..

Zeitgeist (German pronunciation: [ˈtsaɪtɡaɪst] ( listen)) is “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” [1]Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.

The term is a loanword from German Zeit – “time” and Geist – “spirit” (cognate with English “ghost”).

The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romanticists, such as Cornelius Jagdmann, but is best known in relation to Hegel‘s philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – “guardian spirit” and saeculi – “of the age”).


-The Zeitgeist Movement, defined:

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is an explicitly nonviolent, global sustainability advocacy group currently working in over 1000 Regional Chapters across 70 countries. The basic structure of The Movement consists of Chapters, Teams, Projects & Events.

In short, the Chapters are essentially what define The Movement in operation. Each Chapter works to not only spread awareness about the roots of our social problems today but also to express the logical, rational, practical solutions we have at our disposal to update (and evolve) our current social system, enabling a truly responsible, sustainable, global society to emerge for the betterment of all the world’s people.

TZM’s education and community projects seek the intermediate goal of obtaining a unified, worldwide movement for social transformation, regardless of country, religion, political party or any such traditionally divisive distinction. TZM recognizes a common, logical value identification pertaining to our survival, sustainability and public health which inherently transcends such culturally divisive issues. Human unification, rationalized out our inalterable, shared “common ground”, is a foundational premise.

From that understanding, a self-organizing Train of Thought with respect to how we can technically (and culturally) accomplish a new social system unfolds. The various stages of this transformation (“Transition”) is not something that can be readily predicted given the uncertain state of the world today and it is not the scope of this document to expand upon the issue. What we do know is that we are experiencing great destabilization in the world due to the inherent flaws of our current social structure and the problems emerging appear to be only getting worse as time goes on. It is from this uncertainty and loss of confidence in the current model that support for a new social system might be achieved, in part.

Therefore, The Movement’s work is to expand upon this Train of Thought and publicly communicate the resulting ideas, structures and methods with the goal of establishing a new cultural “zeitgeist”; hence a new, workable social model and common value system that ensures our socio-evolutionary fitness, our safety, our freedom, our quality of life and our prosperity.

-Your Role:

To become involved in The Movement does not require any monetary contribution, submission of personal information, forms to complete or any such traditional notion of membership. Volunteer organizers and Coordinators keep no databases outside of our simple web-based mailing lists which one is certainly encouraged to register with for updates.

TZM is modeled as a “see through” entity which merely represents a Data Set & Train of Thought at its core. It is holographic and decentralized in structure to assure its effect and warrant against historically notable problems of group identification. TZM has no offices, no location, no leaders, no benefactors and no static affiliations. This Movement is really about your personal understanding of the world along with how much you identify with the observations, logical inferences and solution oriented Train of Thought denoted in The Movement’s materials. If you agree with this need to change our system, please join a Chapter, learn, educate and help contribute.

TZM currently has many community projects, events and publications, as will be explained in this document. There is also a great deal of flexibility and creativity in how a person, group or Chapter chooses to engage and develop new ideas. The Movement is emergent in form and while, again, a basic Train of Thought persists, the tactics and specifics of the Movement’s work will inevitably undergo change.

In summery, we all have the same role here: To educate ourselves; educate others; create an organized critical mass and establish tactics to enable a transition to a new social design – a design which is arrived at in form by way of The Scientific Method.

As will be mentioned later in this document, a public, open-source project known as the Global Redesign Institute will exist to create and promote direct technical design changes for social organization, building upon the most advanced understandings in the fields of Science and Technology we have at the time.

-Educational Resources:

Since 2009, a great deal of data has been generated and output through various communication mediums. Radio Shows, PDFs, Films Presentations, Articles & Lectures are the most common (our information is always free). For someone new to TZM, the following list contains suggested references for review:

2012 ORIENTATION GUIDE This is a detailed summation of virtually all relevant points for TZM. It exists in Video and expanded PDF form, the latter of which contains extensive sources and appendices.

[ http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/orientation ]

WEBSITE FAQ TZM Global’s FAQ answers various questions, including Movement Structure specifics.

[ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq#faq1 ]

LECTURES & “TOOL KIT” The Global Website’s ever emerging “Tool Kit” contains many video and text presentations, often with extended sources and references as well. While this content is predominantly in English at this time, many other Non-English presenters operate across the world can be found via the Internet. Please search for your local International Chapter’s Website and review their media as well. http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/tool-kit

Apart from these core sources, community development is large and there is always an ongoing flow of information occurring via the TZM Official Blog, Zeitnews and other participatory mediums that will be discussed in Part 3 of this guide.

-Movement Participation:

A “Member” is loosely defined as one who agrees with the tenets and approach of TZM and in turn participates in their local Chapter’s awareness actions, whether online or local. However, all Members of The Movement have their education about relevant issues as the number one requirement to proceed.

To reiterate, true “Membership” is really a subscription to the Train of Thought at hand. Hence, it is about understanding and supporting The Movement’s logical tenets and working in whatever way one can to bring about awareness and change in a responsible, strategic and nonviolent manner. More specifically, one’s communication and personal skills are important to consider here. Generally speaking, personal specialization of focus has a symbiotic social role as a characteristic of our “Group Mind”, if you will. In other words, some of us are good at some things and others are good at other things. It is the collaboration of our unique skills and interests that creates the larger order realizations. Finding your place in TZM is unique to you and your skill set.

For example, if you feel you have broad organisational skills, working with or becoming a Regional Coordinator for your Chapter might be of interest. If you are technically inclined with a background in Engineering or the like, The Global Redesign Institute might be a comfortable place. If you find your skills are more communicative and artistic, The Zeitgeist Media Project and/or Media Festival might be a good place to contribute. If you are a skilled writer and researcher, joining and contributing focused articles to TZM’s Blog might be of interest. If you are a good public speaker, give presentations at your Monthly Town Halls and/or ZDay in your region on relevant subjects. You get the idea. Focus on what you are good at.

*

2- Joining a Chapter

-Overview:

Very simply, TZM Chapters are regional Zeitgeist Movement Member Groups, organized in Tiers. From “Top to Bottom”, the current Chapter Tiers are:

International—[ Countries ]
State/Province—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given Country ]
City/Town—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given State or Province ]

As noted before, your involvement with your Regional Chapter is what essentially defines you as a Member of The Movement in form. You can go to the Global Website [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/ ] to see the Current Top Tier Chapter list [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters ]. You can access the respective State (USA) or International Website and from there you should be able to locate the closest sub-chapter near you.

If you cannot find a Country, State or City Chapter for your region, it is then suggested you start one. Virtually all chapters have begun not by appointment, but by personal initiative. A simple review process to understand the seriousness and understanding of the applicant is assessed by existing Coordinators on a per case basis.

-Public Actions:

There are three reoccurring Public Actions for Chapters which are encouraged but naturally contingent upon the size and resources of the group: (1) Our annual “Zday” event; (2) our monthly “Town hall” event and (3) the annual Zeitgeist Media Festival. These will be discussed more in Part 4. However, each region also often has different community customs and possibilities. For example, in Los Angeles California, beach tent “vendor” posts are common on the boardwalk.

In Canada, many do street activism on a person to person basis. Some Chapters even host their own internet radio shows and produce their own media/newsletters based on custom research.

Part of working with your Chapter is being creative and explorative. In the end, the basic goal is still the same: Expose the root problems of our current system and then show the logic behind a new one.

-Meetings:

Chapters naturally need to have the ability to enable communication among its Members, along with other Chapters. As a Chapter grows, periodic Meetings should be conducted in live and/or virtual (online) settings.

TZM Global provides an Internet-Based Voice/Chat program which can be found here: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/teamspeak

Chapter Meetings typically occur in Tiers with Chapter Coordinators on their respective level. For example, the North Carolina State Chapter, assuming no sub-chapters (city) within it, would have a meeting with all NC Members present. However, in the meetings of the next largest Tier, the Country level (USA in this case), there would only be Coordinators of each State, not all the USA Members. This narrowing is for the sake of comprehension as it would be too difficult to have Global Meetings with tens of thousands of Members at once.

-Questions: If you have a question relating to Chapter Organization which is not answered in the follow links: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters

You may email directly via the Contact Form on this page: (select “Chapters” category): http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/contact-us

*

3- Websites, News & Project Contribution

Apart from signing up with the Global and Regional Mailing lists, there is a wealth of emerging information outlets and interactive mediums. These Websites and Projects are community driven, always free and have proven to be extremely effective. Most items noted below can be found via the Global Website’s home page as well.

-TZM Official Blog: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

Member contribution via TZM Blog is a very effective way to give you, your chapter and important issues exposure. Many categories of interest from Economics, History, Science and Activism enable a tremendous platform for expression as an online newsletter and blog. Relevant articles that gain popularity also are highlighted via our Press Releases.

Please see the How-To Guide to start contributing: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/contribute

-TZM Global Radio: Started in 2009, TZM Global Radio is a Weekly Radio program presented by various coordinators/lecturers of The Zeitgeist Movement in a rotational fashion. It is here where ongoing public updates, news and announcements occur. Each Show occurs at 4pm Eastern Standard time every Wednesday via BlogTalkRadio.com: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

Info and Archive Page: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/radio_shows

Older Archives: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

*Note: While the Global Radio Show is the most conclusive, other programs of great merit also exist, including Programs via the “Zeitgeist Broadcasting Network” (ZBN): http://www.stickam.com/zbnlive

-Zeitgeist Media Project: http://zeitgeistmediaproject.com/ The Zeitgeist Media Project is an online hub for Artistic Media Content which can be uploaded and shared. The media types range from Video, Visual Art, Music/Audio, Literature and more. This content is mostly Creative Commons and is designed to be downloaded and used by other members in their work.

-ZeitNews: http://www.zeitnews.org/

Started in 2010. Zeitnews is an amazing source for advanced Scientific Research. Subjects of interest include Energy, Transportation, Biotechnology, Robotics and other important issues that relate science and technology to human prosperity.

Members may also contribute to the online publication: http://www.zeitnews.org/about/

-Global Redesign Institute: http://www.globalredesigninstitute.org/

The Global Redesign Institute is a Think Tank project currently in development. This advanced concept will create a virtual projection, region by region of what an accurate and up to date social infrastructure would comprise, sidestepping the traditionally inhibiting factors of money and establishment preservation. This project is about designing and expressing what is technically possible – not what is “affordable”. More on this project will be announced when it becomes operational.

-”Why I Advocate” Campaign: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/why-i-advocate

The Zeitgeist Movement’s “Why I Advocate TZM” Media Testimonial Campaign is a video blog project which gives personal perspectives and faces to The Zeitgeist Movement. This is very simple. Members simple make a public video about why they feel the need to change the world and identify with The Zeitgeist Movement. This is also a good way to show community support in general.

Current submissions can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+I+advocate+zeitgeist&aq=f

-Social Networks: TZM Global Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Twitter: http://twitter.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel

Apart from the traditional Social Networks listed above, a hybrid project known as “TZM Social” has also emerged: http://www.tzmnetwork.com/

All members are encourage to review and contribute to these social mediums considering how powerful they have become culturally as a whole. Also, Regional Chapters and Projects are encouraged to initiate their own Networks via these medium for their own promotional purposes. ( I.E. a Youtube account assigned to your local chapter for display of your Town Halls, Zday events and the like.)

*

4- TZM Events and Activism

As noted prior, Chapters and hence Members have a few core (Global) periodic actions which are encouraged. These include, ZDay, ZMedia Fest and Monthly Town halls. Paired with these actions is our ZDrive food bank support and similar resource charity programs to help those in need. (more below*)

-Zeitgeist Day (“ZDay”): http://zdayglobal.org/

“Zeitgeist Day”, or ZDay for short, is an annual, global event day which occurs in the middle of March, each year. The goal is to increase public awareness of The Zeitgeist Movement. A Zeitgeist Day event can take many forms, ranging from a simple showing of DVD media; to full lectures and interactive question-and-answer events with Chapter Organizers in various regions. The 2010 ZDay there were 330 sympathetic events occurred in over 70 countries worldwide.

Each year, there is a “Main Event” which serves as a highlight, with more publicly notable speakers and guests. In 2009 and 2010, the Main event was in NYC; In 2011 it was in London, UK & in 2012 – Vancouver BC.

Please review the Official ZDay Website for more information: http://zdayglobal.org/

-Town Halls: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

The Zeitgeist Movement’s Town Hall Meetings are live, public events conducted by Official Regional Chapters. These localized events are similar in function to our annual global “Zeitgeist Day” (ZDAY) events but ideally occur monthly, rather than annually. Modelled after patterns proven effective by civil right’s movements historically, the goal is to inform the public of TZM’s understandings and goals and hence grow awareness and membership. To learn more; submit an event for your regions, please see: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

-Zeitgeist Media Festival: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/

Recognizing the power of art and media to help change the world, “The Zeitgeist Media Festival” engages the artistic community and its power to change values. It proposes that needed changes in the structural/economic workings of society can only manifest in tandem with a personal/social transformation of values in each of us. While intellectual knowledge serves its role of showing the path, many in the world follow their feelings- not the knowledge. The Zeitgeist Media Festival hopes to bridge those levels, while also illuminating a focus where changing and improving the world is no longer considered a fringe or suspect pursuit.

Participating in The Media Festival does not mean each event must meet some strict requirement of focus. However, participation does require that each act understand and agree with a general train of thought with respect to human and social sustainability.

The Zeitgeist Media Festival occurs in the Summer of each year. More info: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/site/index-1.html

-*ZDrive: The Zeitgeist Movement’s Charity Drive or “ZDrive” is a program to engage local social service institutions in conjunction with ongoing awareness events. The most common have been our Food Drives and Clothes Drives. For example, the Zeitgeist Media Festival Globally raised via donation about 12,000 meals for the poor in 2011. Resource donations are encouraged more than monetary contributions to avoid corruption.

How you conduct your ZDrive is contingent upon your region and its needs. Typically, a suggested donation of resources is welcomed upon entry to your event, such as the bringing of canned food for your local Food Bank. Since each region has different programs, it is suggested you contact your local charities to see how your Chapter can help.

So, if possible, every time you have a ZDay, Town Hall or Media Event, please conduct a ZDrive as well and have attendees bring resources for local charity.

In turn, please keep track of the statistical results of your charity work and email it us so we can keep a running global total of its effect. This is not only a wonderful action to help the many communities now in desperate need of support, it gives TZM a layer of traditional identification for those who might otherwise see the social ideas as “too radical” to be practical.

Stats email: media@thezeitgeistmovement.com

*

5- Advice and Summary

The preceding data should give new Members a great deal to think about and work with. It is important to remind the reader that TZM is a movement of ideas and values at its core. It is also Social in its very nature. In many ways, those who understand, volunteer and work with this global community to help improve the world are a proxy of how our society could be if social responsibility and environmental respect finally rose to its needed place.

However, there is no denying that what is sought in this journey is likely the most difficult and controversial undertaking one can have. No one said this would be easy. Yet the level of difficulty at hand means nothing compared to the dire nature of its necessity. This Movement is not for the weak of heart or those without self-confidence. One factor that makes internal community support critical to our success is the reality that we are not likely to see much external support for sometime to come. Historically, those ahead of their time who have sought to change the world have always been deemed subversive, agitators or even terrorists. Society and its established values seems to not look well upon broad social changes regardless of how much it may be needed or the logic of its merit.

Regardless, this changes nothing for those of us who actually care and as time moves forward, the trends of social turmoil and destabilization seem to indicate that a larger and larger subculture is emerging which recognizes this need for this larger scale change and it is the role of TZM to help make sure a viable solution is put forward as this evolution continues.

-Mission Statement: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement

Submission Guidelines & Tips

All submissions should be your original work. Please do not simply copy/paste information (online articles, links, etc.) and submit it as-is. (Excerpts from, or links to, other material may be used within the article, and should be cited appropriately.)
Writing Guidelines (click to see examples):
Announcement — General announcements, major events, procedural or structural changes, etc. concerning the Movement as a whole.
Chapter Update — This should be used by Chapter Coordinators (or those whom they have designated) to submit status reports and announcements related to their specific chapter.
Editorial — An editorial is a written work that generally presents the opinion or view of the author or publishing entity. Technically, there is no minimum length for an Editorial, but it should be long enough to effectively communicate your position to the reader. Try not to make it so long that your readers lose interest before they even get through it. Most editorials are around 1-2 pages long, single-spaced.
Media Project — If you have a work of art such as a comic/ drawing, poem, song, etc. that you’d like to share, please submit it to The Zeitgeist Media Project. Material submitted to that site will be periodically published on the Blog, under this category.
Meeting Minutes — In addition to the recordings, at least one person per meeting should take Notes and post them here in a fairly neat and structured format, sometime after the meeting is over. The basic info should include:
-Date and time of the meeting
-The purpose of the meeting (Agenda)
-Meeting coordinator(s)
-Assigned action items and people assigned
-Any decisions and/or changes made
-A link to the audio and/or video recording (If there is no recording, please specify.)
News Article — A purely factual submission based on news reports and relevant events around the world, as opposed to an Editorial, which includes the opinion/view of the author.
Narrative — An original story based on relevant events, experiences, etc. that may be true or fictional.
Press Release — A general statement, typically in response to a major event, that is published on behalf of the entire Movement. Click here for detailed instructions on how to properly write and format a Press Release.
Project Update — This entry is pertinent for keeping members of the Movement updated on any new projects that are developing, as well as existing projects as they progress. Submit a Project Update any time you or your peers/ teammates begin a new project, or make any progress, breakthroughs, major changes, etc. to an existing one. Be sure to check these entries regularly before starting a new project to ensure that there is not already one in place that you can simply join. This will hopefully help alleviate any scattered or diluted efforts, and instead combine them into strong, streamlined projects and teams. (We may want to consider including an RSS feed that links to all the individual project team PMS sites. That way the people from those teams will only have to update one site, their PMS site, and it will feed onto the newsletter site automatically.)
Participation Guidelines:
Please remain courteous and constructive when posting content or comments.
For information on how your participation affects your karma, please read the Comment moderation FAQ.
—————–Helpful Tips for Getting Your Submission(s) Approved:——————-
Please note that these are by no means requirements, but your careful consideration of these factors will not only assist the Editors in sorting through boat loads of material, but will also give our readers, and ultimately the Movement as a whole, a greater sense of community and rapport, as well as improving the overall Blog experience.
Use your real name: We want to be able to share your content with the world, including third-party organizations when applicable, perhaps even for further publishing on other mediums. It’s more feasible to do that when we are recommending an article by John Smith, Dr. Jane Doe, or Betty Sue, than if we have to recommend an article by “Cupcake” or “JRider” with no background or reliable method to contact him or her, assuming it is a “him,” or assuming it is a “her.”
Update your profile information: It might give Editors (and your readers 😉 a better understanding of your material if they have even a minimal background on who you are. The general blog community might be eager to share an amazing piece of work written by Betty Sue the aquarist, or Bob Jones the carpenter… rather than a random article written by an anonymous stranger. Readers may be more likely to subscribe to your Blog’s RSS feed (found on the Site Map) and “follow” you or your activity. You can create a well-deserved presence for yourself and your material in the blog community.
Use your real photo: Same as above. We are trying to build a community and we can’t do that without building relationships. In fact, we’re striving for a social system that will one day facilitate global empathy, meaning the whole world is the community. People generally remember, or at least distinguish, names and faces better than icons and aliases. More importantly, people connect with names and faces better than generic visuals and inanimate labels. The next time someone has an idea for a project, they’ll probably remember to contact “Billy Johnson with the red hat, smiling kind of crooked” for help – much better than they’ll remember “Alex1988 with a sunflower, or was it a rainbow, or a Skittle, or… what was it again? Something with colors. I think twelve other people had the same icon…” (We don’t know anyone who has the same face as you. Do you? 😉
Provide sources: The members of the Newsletter Team, while extremely dedicated, only have but so much time on their hands to fact check everything so that we don’t get burned for publishing something that’s inaccurate. If you provide links and sources to back up whatever it is that you’re talking about, you’ve saved us a lot of work. Not to mention your article will be just plain awesome, and more enjoyable for the reader. People will be saving it in their favorites for future reference… just wait and see. You may also want to provide convenient hyperlinks to any organizations, events, etc. that you may be mentioning in your article. (When possible, don’t forget to use the ‘Insert/edit link’ tool to hyperlink the words themselves, so it looks nice and neat without all of that ugly URL formatting.) For example:
– You can learn more about this by viewing Peter Joseph’s lecture. – OR –
– You can learn more about this by viewing Where Are We Going, a great lecture by Peter Joseph.
…instead of…
– You can learn more about this by watching Peter Joseph’s lecture, Where Are We Going.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxPPnCW6sMo
(Once or twice is fine, but scattered randomly throughout the entire article, not so much…)
Take pride in your work: Comb through it for spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, we have a proof-reading team in place for that, but don’t be so sure it will even make it to proofing if we can’t understand it. If the content is unclear or the meaning is lost, due to poor spelling and/or grammar, it may get rejected by Editors beforehand. Most likely, if the content is excellent, but the spelling and grammar needs work, Editors may send it back to you for clarification or improvement. However, the bottom line is, with the amount of submissions that will be coming in, it’s far more productive to publish polished submissions that require the least amount of additional work, and perhaps get to the other stuff later.
Spice it up: Nobody likes a bland article. Don’t forget to upload a thumbnail image for your submission, and feel free to add any images throughout the body that may enhance the reader’s experience. (Okay, don’t get too crazy. Keep the images relevant, and placed neatly (resized if needed) so that we can still read your lovely submission without having a seizure.) You may also add a video if applicable. Granted, the written content itself may be as “colorful” as can be, but it’s usually the imagery that initially draws people in to read it in the first place. Get creative, and remember, images from The Zeitgeist Media Project are available for anyone to use for free. 🙂
(Ooh, look! See what we did there, with the hyperlink? 😉
Carefully categorize your content: When filling out the submission form, don’t ignore the drop-downs. (They’re there for a reason. 😉 Even if you’re stumped, please try your best to accurately choose the submission ‘Type’ that best describes your work, and the ‘Category’ that it most closely relates to. It’s much more difficult (and time-consuming) for Editors to sort through and approve a bunch of generic items submitted as “Other,” than it is for them to pinpoint content for what it is, and go from there. Similarly, if it is in fact an “Other” (something that’s not listed in the drop-down), go ahead and categorize it as “Other” and don’t fudge it to be a “Press Release” or “Project Update,” because if it isn’t one, Editors will probably assume that you don’t actually know how to write a Press Release, or that your so-called “Project” doesn’t make any sense, and reject it. Always choose a Location when applicable, and don’t forget to add tags.
That’s all for now, but we may add more Helpful Tips as they arise. Happy Blogging!
Sincerely,
The Zeitgeist Movement Newsletter/Blog Team

Be sure to check out this 220 page Source Guide below which sources virtually everything. As requested by Zeitgeist creator Peter Joseph, I have replaced the original Zeitgeist movie with well over 1.25 million views with this updated for 2010 version. The meat and potato’s of it are the same, there’s some new information and the quality of it is improved upon.

Link to source guide:

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF…

https://signup.netflix.com/Movie/Zeitgeist-Moving-Forward/70225009?country=1&..

Zeitgeist (German pronunciation: [?tsa?t?a?st] ( listen)) is “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” [1] Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.

The term is a loanword from German Zeit – “time” and Geist – “spirit” (cognate with English “ghost”).

The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romanticists, such as Cornelius Jagdmann, but is best known in relation to Hegel‘s philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – “guardian spirit” and saeculi – “of the age”).


-The Zeitgeist Movement, defined:

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is an explicitly nonviolent, global sustainability advocacy group currently working in over 1000 Regional Chapters across 70 countries. The basic structure of The Movement consists of Chapters, Teams, Projects & Events.

In short, the Chapters are essentially what define The Movement in operation. Each Chapter works to not only spread awareness about the roots of our social problems today but also to express the logical, rational, practical solutions we have at our disposal to update (and evolve) our current social system, enabling a truly responsible, sustainable, global society to emerge for the betterment of all the world’s people.

TZM’s education and community projects seek the intermediate goal of obtaining a unified, worldwide movement for social transformation, regardless of country, religion, political party or any such traditionally divisive distinction. TZM recognizes a common, logical value identification pertaining to our survival, sustainability and public health which inherently transcends such culturally divisive issues. Human unification, rationalized out our inalterable, shared “common ground”, is a foundational premise.

From that understanding, a self-organizing Train of Thought with respect to how we can technically (and culturally) accomplish a new social system unfolds. The various stages of this transformation (“Transition”) is not something that can be readily predicted given the uncertain state of the world today and it is not the scope of this document to expand upon the issue. What we do know is that we are experiencing great destabilization in the world due to the inherent flaws of our current social structure and the problems emerging appear to be only getting worse as time goes on. It is from this uncertainty and loss of confidence in the current model that support for a new social system might be achieved, in part.

Therefore, The Movement’s work is to expand upon this Train of Thought and publicly communicate the resulting ideas, structures and methods with the goal of establishing a new cultural “zeitgeist”; hence a new, workable social model and common value system that ensures our socio-evolutionary fitness, our safety, our freedom, our quality of life and our prosperity.

-Your Role:

To become involved in The Movement does not require any monetary contribution, submission of personal information, forms to complete or any such traditional notion of membership. Volunteer organizers and Coordinators keep no databases outside of our simple web-based mailing lists which one is certainly encouraged to register with for updates.

TZM is modeled as a “see through” entity which merely represents a Data Set & Train of Thought at its core. It is holographic and decentralized in structure to assure its effect and warrant against historically notable problems of group identification. TZM has no offices, no location, no leaders, no benefactors and no static affiliations. This Movement is really about your personal understanding of the world along with how much you identify with the observations, logical inferences and solution oriented Train of Thought denoted in The Movement’s materials. If you agree with this need to change our system, please join a Chapter, learn, educate and help contribute.

TZM currently has many community projects, events and publications, as will be explained in this document. There is also a great deal of flexibility and creativity in how a person, group or Chapter chooses to engage and develop new ideas. The Movement is emergent in form and while, again, a basic Train of Thought persists, the tactics and specifics of the Movement’s work will inevitably undergo change.

In summery, we all have the same role here: To educate ourselves; educate others; create an organized critical mass and establish tactics to enable a transition to a new social design – a design which is arrived at in form by way of The Scientific Method.

As will be mentioned later in this document, a public, open-source project known as the Global Redesign Institute will exist to create and promote direct technical design changes for social organization, building upon the most advanced understandings in the fields of Science and Technology we have at the time.

-Educational Resources:

Since 2009, a great deal of data has been generated and output through various communication mediums. Radio Shows, PDFs, Films Presentations, Articles & Lectures are the most common (our information is always free). For someone new to TZM, the following list contains suggested references for review:

2012 ORIENTATION GUIDE This is a detailed summation of virtually all relevant points for TZM. It exists in Video and expanded PDF form, the latter of which contains extensive sources and appendices.

[ http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/orientation ]

WEBSITE FAQ TZM Global’s FAQ answers various questions, including Movement Structure specifics.

[ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq#faq1 ]

LECTURES & “TOOL KIT” The Global Website’s ever emerging “Tool Kit” contains many video and text presentations, often with extended sources and references as well. While this content is predominantly in English at this time, many other Non-English presenters operate across the world can be found via the Internet. Please search for your local International Chapter’s Website and review their media as well. http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/tool-kit

Apart from these core sources, community development is large and there is always an ongoing flow of information occurring via the TZM Official Blog, Zeitnews and other participatory mediums that will be discussed in Part 3 of this guide.

-Movement Participation:

A “Member” is loosely defined as one who agrees with the tenets and approach of TZM and in turn participates in their local Chapter’s awareness actions, whether online or local. However, all Members of The Movement have their education about relevant issues as the number one requirement to proceed.

To reiterate, true “Membership” is really a subscription to the Train of Thought at hand. Hence, it is about understanding and supporting The Movement’s logical tenets and working in whatever way one can to bring about awareness and change in a responsible, strategic and nonviolent manner. More specifically, one’s communication and personal skills are important to consider here. Generally speaking, personal specialization of focus has a symbiotic social role as a characteristic of our “Group Mind”, if you will. In other words, some of us are good at some things and others are good at other things. It is the collaboration of our unique skills and interests that creates the larger order realizations. Finding your place in TZM is unique to you and your skill set.

For example, if you feel you have broad organisational skills, working with or becoming a Regional Coordinator for your Chapter might be of interest. If you are technically inclined with a background in Engineering or the like, The Global Redesign Institute might be a comfortable place. If you find your skills are more communicative and artistic, The Zeitgeist Media Project and/or Media Festival might be a good place to contribute. If you are a skilled writer and researcher, joining and contributing focused articles to TZM’s Blog might be of interest. If you are a good public speaker, give presentations at your Monthly Town Halls and/or ZDay in your region on relevant subjects. You get the idea. Focus on what you are good at.

*

2- Joining a Chapter

-Overview:

Very simply, TZM Chapters are regional Zeitgeist Movement Member Groups, organized in Tiers. From “Top to Bottom”, the current Chapter Tiers are:

International—[ Countries ]
State/Province—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given Country ]
City/Town—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given State or Province ]

As noted before, your involvement with your Regional Chapter is what essentially defines you as a Member of The Movement in form. You can go to the Global Website [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/ ] to see the Current Top Tier Chapter list [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters ]. You can access the respective State (USA) or International Website and from there you should be able to locate the closest sub-chapter near you.

If you cannot find a Country, State or City Chapter for your region, it is then suggested you start one. Virtually all chapters have begun not by appointment, but by personal initiative. A simple review process to understand the seriousness and understanding of the applicant is assessed by existing Coordinators on a per case basis.

-Public Actions:

There are three reoccurring Public Actions for Chapters which are encouraged but naturally contingent upon the size and resources of the group: (1) Our annual “Zday” event; (2) our monthly “Town hall” event and (3) the annual Zeitgeist Media Festival. These will be discussed more in Part 4. However, each region also often has different community customs and possibilities. For example, in Los Angeles California, beach tent “vendor” posts are common on the boardwalk.

In Canada, many do street activism on a person to person basis. Some Chapters even host their own internet radio shows and produce their own media/newsletters based on custom research.

Part of working with your Chapter is being creative and explorative. In the end, the basic goal is still the same: Expose the root problems of our current system and then show the logic behind a new one.

-Meetings:

Chapters naturally need to have the ability to enable communication among its Members, along with other Chapters. As a Chapter grows, periodic Meetings should be conducted in live and/or virtual (online) settings.

TZM Global provides an Internet-Based Voice/Chat program which can be found here: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/teamspeak

Chapter Meetings typically occur in Tiers with Chapter Coordinators on their respective level. For example, the North Carolina State Chapter, assuming no sub-chapters (city) within it, would have a meeting with all NC Members present. However, in the meetings of the next largest Tier, the Country level (USA in this case), there would only be Coordinators of each State, not all the USA Members. This narrowing is for the sake of comprehension as it would be too difficult to have Global Meetings with tens of thousands of Members at once.

-Questions: If you have a question relating to Chapter Organization which is not answered in the follow links: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters

You may email directly via the Contact Form on this page: (select “Chapters” category): http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/contact-us

*

3- Websites, News & Project Contribution

Apart from signing up with the Global and Regional Mailing lists, there is a wealth of emerging information outlets and interactive mediums. These Websites and Projects are community driven, always free and have proven to be extremely effective. Most items noted below can be found via the Global Website’s home page as well.

-TZM Official Blog: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

Member contribution via TZM Blog is a very effective way to give you, your chapter and important issues exposure. Many categories of interest from Economics, History, Science and Activism enable a tremendous platform for expression as an online newsletter and blog. Relevant articles that gain popularity also are highlighted via our Press Releases.

Please see the How-To Guide to start contributing: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/contribute

-TZM Global Radio: Started in 2009, TZM Global Radio is a Weekly Radio program presented by various coordinators/lecturers of The Zeitgeist Movement in a rotational fashion. It is here where ongoing public updates, news and announcements occur. Each Show occurs at 4pm Eastern Standard time every Wednesday via BlogTalkRadio.com: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

Info and Archive Page: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/radio_shows

Older Archives: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

*Note: While the Global Radio Show is the most conclusive, other programs of great merit also exist, including Programs via the “Zeitgeist Broadcasting Network” (ZBN): http://www.stickam.com/zbnlive

-Zeitgeist Media Project: http://zeitgeistmediaproject.com/ The Zeitgeist Media Project is an online hub for Artistic Media Content which can be uploaded and shared. The media types range from Video, Visual Art, Music/Audio, Literature and more. This content is mostly Creative Commons and is designed to be downloaded and used by other members in their work.

-ZeitNews: http://www.zeitnews.org/

Started in 2010. Zeitnews is an amazing source for advanced Scientific Research. Subjects of interest include Energy, Transportation, Biotechnology, Robotics and other important issues that relate science and technology to human prosperity.

Members may also contribute to the online publication: http://www.zeitnews.org/about/

-Global Redesign Institute: http://www.globalredesigninstitute.org/

The Global Redesign Institute is a Think Tank project currently in development. This advanced concept will create a virtual projection, region by region of what an accurate and up to date social infrastructure would comprise, sidestepping the traditionally inhibiting factors of money and establishment preservation. This project is about designing and expressing what is technically possible – not what is “affordable”. More on this project will be announced when it becomes operational.

-”Why I Advocate” Campaign: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/why-i-advocate

The Zeitgeist Movement’s “Why I Advocate TZM” Media Testimonial Campaign is a video blog project which gives personal perspectives and faces to The Zeitgeist Movement. This is very simple. Members simple make a public video about why they feel the need to change the world and identify with The Zeitgeist Movement. This is also a good way to show community support in general.

Current submissions can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+I+advocate+zeitgeist&aq=f

-Social Networks: TZM Global Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Twitter: http://twitter.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel

Apart from the traditional Social Networks listed above, a hybrid project known as “TZM Social” has also emerged: http://www.tzmnetwork.com/

All members are encourage to review and contribute to these social mediums considering how powerful they have become culturally as a whole. Also, Regional Chapters and Projects are encouraged to initiate their own Networks via these medium for their own promotional purposes. ( I.E. a Youtube account assigned to your local chapter for display of your Town Halls, Zday events and the like.)

*

4- TZM Events and Activism

As noted prior, Chapters and hence Members have a few core (Global) periodic actions which are encouraged. These include, ZDay, ZMedia Fest and Monthly Town halls. Paired with these actions is our ZDrive food bank support and similar resource charity programs to help those in need. (more below*)

-Zeitgeist Day (“ZDay”): http://zdayglobal.org/

“Zeitgeist Day”, or ZDay for short, is an annual, global event day which occurs in the middle of March, each year. The goal is to increase public awareness of The Zeitgeist Movement. A Zeitgeist Day event can take many forms, ranging from a simple showing of DVD media; to full lectures and interactive question-and-answer events with Chapter Organizers in various regions. The 2010 ZDay there were 330 sympathetic events occurred in over 70 countries worldwide.

Each year, there is a “Main Event” which serves as a highlight, with more publicly notable speakers and guests. In 2009 and 2010, the Main event was in NYC; In 2011 it was in London, UK & in 2012 – Vancouver BC.

Please review the Official ZDay Website for more information: http://zdayglobal.org/

-Town Halls: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

The Zeitgeist Movement’s Town Hall Meetings are live, public events conducted by Official Regional Chapters. These localized events are similar in function to our annual global “Zeitgeist Day” (ZDAY) events but ideally occur monthly, rather than annually. Modelled after patterns proven effective by civil right’s movements historically, the goal is to inform the public of TZM’s understandings and goals and hence grow awareness and membership. To learn more; submit an event for your regions, please see: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

-Zeitgeist Media Festival: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/

Recognizing the power of art and media to help change the world, “The Zeitgeist Media Festival” engages the artistic community and its power to change values. It proposes that needed changes in the structural/economic workings of society can only manifest in tandem with a personal/social transformation of values in each of us. While intellectual knowledge serves its role of showing the path, many in the world follow their feelings- not the knowledge. The Zeitgeist Media Festival hopes to bridge those levels, while also illuminating a focus where changing and improving the world is no longer considered a fringe or suspect pursuit.

Participating in The Media Festival does not mean each event must meet some strict requirement of focus. However, participation does require that each act understand and agree with a general train of thought with respect to human and social sustainability.

The Zeitgeist Media Festival occurs in the Summer of each year. More info: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/site/index-1.html

-*ZDrive: The Zeitgeist Movement’s Charity Drive or “ZDrive” is a program to engage local social service institutions in conjunction with ongoing awareness events. The most common have been our Food Drives and Clothes Drives. For example, the Zeitgeist Media Festival Globally raised via donation about 12,000 meals for the poor in 2011. Resource donations are encouraged more than monetary contributions to avoid corruption.

How you conduct your ZDrive is contingent upon your region and its needs. Typically, a suggested donation of resources is welcomed upon entry to your event, such as the bringing of canned food for your local Food Bank. Since each region has different programs, it is suggested you contact your local charities to see how your Chapter can help.

So, if possible, every time you have a ZDay, Town Hall or Media Event, please conduct a ZDrive as well and have attendees bring resources for local charity.

In turn, please keep track of the statistical results of your charity work and email it us so we can keep a running global total of its effect. This is not only a wonderful action to help the many communities now in desperate need of support, it gives TZM a layer of traditional identification for those who might otherwise see the social ideas as “too radical” to be practical.

Stats email: media@thezeitgeistmovement.com

*

5- Advice and Summary

The preceding data should give new Members a great deal to think about and work with. It is important to remind the reader that TZM is a movement of ideas and values at its core. It is also Social in its very nature. In many ways, those who understand, volunteer and work with this global community to help improve the world are a proxy of how our society could be if social responsibility and environmental respect finally rose to its needed place.

However, there is no denying that what is sought in this journey is likely the most difficult and controversial undertaking one can have. No one said this would be easy. Yet the level of difficulty at hand means nothing compared to the dire nature of its necessity. This Movement is not for the weak of heart or those without self-confidence. One factor that makes internal community support critical to our success is the reality that we are not likely to see much external support for sometime to come. Historically, those ahead of their time who have sought to change the world have always been deemed subversive, agitators or even terrorists. Society and its established values seems to not look well upon broad social changes regardless of how much it may be needed or the logic of its merit.

Regardless, this changes nothing for those of us who actually care and as time moves forward, the trends of social turmoil and destabilization seem to indicate that a larger and larger subculture is emerging which recognizes this need for this larger scale change and it is the role of TZM to help make sure a viable solution is put forward as this evolution continues.

-Mission Statement: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement

War Business

Published on Feb 4, 2013
Written and spoken by Michael Rivero. 
The written version is here: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTI…

Video by Zane Henry.

This video is in the public domain. The producers have waived their copyright to this video.
Listen to a post production conversation between the producers by clicking on this mp3: https://soundcloud.com/eonitao-state/…


Cora Currier writes for ProPublica via Juan Cole
The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.
Brake pads may sound innocuous, but “the Iranians are constantly looking for spare parts for old U.S. jets,” said Steven Pelak, who recently left the Department of Justice after six years overseeing investigations and prosecutions of export violations.
“It’s going to be easier for these military items to flow, harder to get a heads-up on their movements, and, in theory, easier for a smuggling ring to move weapons,” said William Hartung, author of a recent report on the topic for the Center for International Policy.
In the current system, every manufacturer and exporter of military equipment has to register with the State Department and get a license for each planned export. U.S. officials scrutinize each proposed deal to make sure the receiving country isn’t violating human rights and to determine the risk of the shipment winding up with terrorists or another questionable group.
Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more “flexible” controls. Final rules have been issued for six of 19 categories of equipment and more will roll out in the coming months. Some military equipment, such as fighter jets, drones, and other systems and parts, will stay under the State Department’s tighter oversight.
Commerce will do interagency human rights reviews before allowing exports, but only as a matter of policy, whereas in the State Department it is required by law.
The switch from State to Commerce represents a big win for defense manufacturers, who have long lobbied in favor of relaxing U.S. export rules, which they say put a damper on international trade. Among the companies that recently lobbied on the issue: Lockheed, which manufactures C-130 transport planes, Textron, which makes Kiowa Warrior helicopters, and Honeywell, which outfits military choppers.
Overall, industry trade groups and big defense companies have spent roughly $170 million over the last three years lobbying on a variety of issues, including export control reform, a ProPublica analysis of disclosure forms shows.
The administration says in a factsheet that “spending time and resources protecting a specialty bolt diverts resources from protecting truly sensitive items,” and that the effort will allow them to build “higher fences around fewer items.” Commerce says it will beef up its enforcement wing to prevent illegal re-exports or shipments to banned entities. The military has also supported the relaxed controls, arguing that the changes will make it easier to arm foreign allies.

An interview with Commerce Department officials was canceled due to the government shutdown, and the State Department did not respond to questions.
The shift is part of a larger administration initiative to update the arms export process, which many acknowledge needed to be streamlined. But critics of the move to Commerce say that decision has been overly driven by the interests of defense manufacturers.
“They’ve cut through the fat, into the meat, and to the bone,” said Brittany Benowitz, who was defense adviser to former Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and recently co-authored a paper on the pending changes.
“I think it’s fair to say that the views of the enforcement agencies and actors charged with carrying out the controls haven’t won the day,” said Pelak, the former Justice Department official.
Current controls haven’t prevented the U.S. from dominating arms exports up to now: In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements, nearly 80 percent of the global market. The State Department denied just one percent of arms export licenses between 2008 and 2010.
At a recent hearing, a State Department official touted the economic benefits, saying the “defense industry is going to become even more competitive than they are already.”
Under the new policy, military helicopters, transport planes and other types of military equipment that typically need approval may be eligible for license-free export to 36 allied governments, including much of Europe, Argentina, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
According to Colby Goodman, an arms-control expert with the Open Society Policy Center, once an item is approved for that exemption, it’s not clear that there will be any ongoing, country-specific human rights review. (The State Department hasn’t yet responded to our request for comment on that point.)
Goodman is particularly concerned about Turkey, where in the last year authorities violently suppressed protests and “security forces committed unlawful killings,” according to the most recent State Department Human Rights report.
Under the new system, some military parts can now be sent license-free to any country besides China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. Other parts that are deemed not “specially designed” for military use, while also initially banned from those countries, have even fewer restrictions on re-exports.
Spare parts are in high demand from sanctioned countries and groups, which need them to keep old equipment up and running, according to arms control researchers. Indonesia scrambled to keep its C-130s in the air after the U.S. blocked exports for human rights violations in the 1990s. In a report on trade in arms parts, Oxfam noted that by the time of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, Muammar Qaddafi’s air combat fleet was in dire shape, referred to by one analyst as “the world’s largest military parking lot.” Goodman said Congolese militia members may be using aging arms that the U.S. sold decades ago to the former Zaire.
Pelak says the changes will make enforcement harder by getting rid of part of the paper trail as parts and munitions exit the U.S.: “When you take away that licensing record, you put the investigation overseas.” His office handled dozens of cases each year in which military items had been diverted to prohibited countries. The Government Accountability Office raised concerns last year about Commerce’s enforcement abilities as it takes control of exports that once went through the State Department.
The president is authorized – in fact, required – to revise the list of items under State Department control. But the massive shift to Commerce means that laws and regulations that were designed with the longstanding State Department system in place may now be up to presidential prerogative.
Vetting for human rights compliance is one such requirement. The Commerce Department said it will also continue to publicly report the sales of so-called “major defense equipment.”
Other laws may not get carried over, however. For example, if firearms are moved to Commerce, manufacturers may no longer have to notify Congress of foreign sales.
Several organizations, including the Center for International Policy, the Open Society Policy Center, and the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, have called on the administration to hold off moving some military items from the State Department, and have asked Congress to apply State’s reporting requirements and restrictions to more of the military items and parts soon to be under Commerce control.
In one area, the administration does appear to have temporarily backed off – firearms and ammunition. Any decision to loosen exports for firearms could have conflicted with the president’s call for enhanced domestic gun control.
According to a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal last spring, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security both opposed draft versions of revisions to the firearms category. (The Justice Department press office is out of operation due to the government shutdown, and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.) Shifting firearms was also likely to be a lightning rod for arms control groups. As the New York Times’ C.J. Chivers has documented, small arms trafficking has been the scourge of conflicts around the world.
Draft rules for firearms and ammunitions were ready in mid-2012, according to Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun manufacturers. The Commerce Department even sent representatives to an industry export conference to preview manufacturers on the new system they might fall under.
But since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December, no proposed rule has been published.
Keane thinks the connection is irrelevant. “This has nothing to do with domestic gun control legislation. We’re talking about exports,” he said. “Our products have not moved forward, and we’re disappointed by that.”
The defense industry has long pushed for a loosening of the U.S. export controls. Initial wish-lists were aimed at restructuring and speeding up the State Department system, where the wait for a license had sometimes stretched to months. The current focus on moving items to Commerce began under the Obama administration.
The aerospace industry has been particularly active, as new rules for aircraft are the first to take effect. Commercial satellites had been moved briefly to Commerce in the 1990s, but when U.S. space companies were caught giving technical data to China in 1998, Congress returned them to State control. Last year, satellite makers successfully lobbied Congress to lift satellite-specific rules that had kept them from being eligible for the reforms.
Newer industries want to cash in, too. Virgin Galactic wrote in a comment on a proposed rule that the “nascent but growing” space tourism industry was hindered by current rules. At a conference in 2011, the chief executive of Northrup Grumman warned of “the U.S. drone aircraft industry losing its dominance” if exports weren’t boosted. (Drones are regulated under missile technology controls, and are mostly unaffected by the current changes.)
Lauren Airey, of the National Association of Manufacturers, named two main objections to the current system. First off, fees: Any company that makes a product on the State Department list has to be registered whether or not they actually export, with yearly costs starting at $2,500. There’s no fee for the Commerce list.
Secondly, any equipment that contains a listed part gets “lifetime controls,” Airey said. If a buyer wants to resell something, even for scrap, they need U.S. approval. (For example, the U.S. is currently debating whether to let Turkey re-sell American attack helicopters to Pakistan.) Under Commerce, “there are still limitations, but they are more flexible,” Airey said.
Airey’s association (and other trade groups) makes the case that foreign competitors are “taking advantage of perceived and real issues in U.S. export controls to promote foreign parts and components – advertising themselves as State-Department-free.” Airey demurred when asked for an estimate on the amount of business lost: “It’s hard to put a number directly on how much export controls cause U.S. companies to be avoided.”
An Aerospace Industries Association executive noted at a panel this spring, “We really did not move the needle at all by complaining about the fact that we weren’t making as much money as we wanted to.”
But at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, members of Congress highlighted economic impact.
“In my district in Rhode Island,” said David Cicilline, D-R.I., “as many of our defense companies are looking to expand their business, really, to respond to declines in defense domestic spending, international sales are becoming even more important and really critical…to the job growth in my state.”
William Keating, D-Mass., said that “with declining defense budgets, arms sales are even more critical to the defense industry in my state to maintain production lines and keep jobs.”
“That would not have been the response a decade ago,” said one staffer who works on the issue. “National security hawks would have been worried about defense items moving to the Commerce list. The environment on the Hill has dramatically changed.”
One concern came from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which believes that easing controls on military technology and software could actually lead to more outsourcing of production.
William Lowell, who spent a decade of his 30 years at the State Department directing defense trade controls, told ProPublica that the move represents a major shift in the U.S. attitude towards international arms trade. U.S. policy has long been aimed at “denying the entry of U.S. military articles of any type into the international gray arms market – for which small arms and military parts are the lifeblood,” Lowell wrote in comments opposing the new rules. “Commercial arms exports have never been considered normal commercial trade.”
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U.N. Arms Trade Treaty…Not only would it violate Texans’ Second Amendment rights, including the right to self defense, it also raises U.S. sovereignty and national security concerns.

Senator John Cornyn

On 2 April 2013, the General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The treaty will foster peace and security by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions. It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools.


By Richard Solash

September 25, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has signed a landmark treaty at the UN General Assembly in New York aimed at regulating the multibillion-dollar global trade in conventional weapons. RFE/RL looks at how the Arms Trade Treaty works and why it is significant that the United States has signed the international accord.

What does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to do?

The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has the ambitious aim of responding to international concern that the $70 billion a year trade in conventional weapons leaves a trail of atrocities in its wake.

The treaty calls for the international sale of weapons to be linked to the human rights records of buyers.

It requires countries to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.

It calls for potential arms deals to be evaluated in order to determine whether they might enable buyers to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.

The treaty also seeks to prevent conventional military weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists or organized criminal groups, and to stop deals that would violate UN arms embargos.

What is the significance of Washington’s signature on the treaty?

Experts say that Washington’s signature on the document could be the treaty’s watershed moment.

The United States is the world’s largest arms dealer. So U.S. support and ratification of the accord is essential to its success.

According to Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, formal support from the United States gives the treaty the potential to change the very nature of the global arms trade.

“The United States already has a very robust set of standards and export controls,” he says. “This treaty essentially internationalizes the U.S. system and lays down some prohibitions on the transfer of conventional weapons. And this treaty will require all states to establish export laws, to enforce those export laws, and to abide by a common set of standards.”

What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?

Conventional weapons covered by the UN Arms Trade Treaty include tanks and other armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.

It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts, and arms components.

The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

What enforcement clauses are contained in the treaty?

There is no clear enforcement mechanism in the UN Arms Trade Treaty. It also remains unclear whether the transfer of conventional weapons in ways other than sales — for example, such as rental contracts or gifts — would fall under the treaty.

Nevertheless, arms-control advocates hope the treaty will increase pressure on weapons exporters such as Russia — which argues that arms sales to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are permitted because Damascus is not under a UN arms embargo.

The West argues that Russia, a major player in the global arms trade, should stop sending weapons to the Syrian regime because Assad’s security forces have used conventional military weaponry to kill tens of thousands of civilians caught up in the civil war.

Who supports the treaty and who doesn’t?

The UN General Assembly voted decisively in April to approve the Arms Trade Treaty, ending nearly a decade of negotiations over how strict it should be.

UN members voted 154 to 3 in favor of the accord, with 23 countries abstaining.

Iran, North Korea, and Syria — long accused of fueling international conflicts through arms shipments — were the countries to vote against the treaty.

The United States voted in favor of the treaty, despite opposition from influential U.S. gun lobbyists.

The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and Canada also voted for the treaty.

Former Soviet republics that voted for the treaty were Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and all three Baltic states.

Also voting yes were Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Russia and China, which are two of the world’s leading exporters of conventional weaponry, were among the countries that abstained from the vote.

Others who abstained from the vote include Belarus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cuba, Burma, and Angola.

Several abstaining countries objected on grounds that the human rights criteria in the treaty are not defined clearly enough.

To date, 89 countries have signed the treaty, including the United States, which did so on September 25.

To take effect, it must be ratified by at least 50 UN member states. So far, just five countries have done so.

Italy became the first EU state to ratify the accord after it won parliamentary approval there on September 25.


The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons, which has not entered into force. International weapons commerce has been estimated to reach US$70 billion a year.[1]

The treaty was negotiated at a global conference under the auspices of the United Nations from July 2–27, 2012, in New York.[2] As it was not possible to reach an agreement on a final text at that time, a new meeting for the conference was scheduled for March 18–28, 2013.[3] On 2 April 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted the ATT.[4][5] The treaty has been signed by 113 states, but it will not enter into force until it has been ratified or acceded to by 50 states.

The roots of what is known today as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) can be traced back to the late 1990s, when civil society actors and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates voiced their concerns about the unregulated nature of the global arms trade and its impact on human security.[7]

The ATT is part of a larger global effort begun in 1997 by Costa Rican President and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias. In that year, Arias led a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in a meeting in New York to offer the world a code of conduct for the trade in arms. This group included Elie Wiesel, Betty Williams, the Dalai Lama, José Ramos-Horta, representatives of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Amnesty International, and the American Friends Service Committee. The original idea was to establish ethical standards for the arms trade that would eventually be adopted by the international community. Over the following 16 years, the Arias Foundation for Peace & Human Progress has played an instrumental role in achieving approval of the treaty.

In 2001, the process continued with the adoption of a non-legally binding program of action at the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in 2001. This program was formally called the “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects” (PoA).[8]

Later put forward in 2003 by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates, the ATT was first addressed in the UN in December 2006 when the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 61/89 “Towards an Arms Trade Treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms”.

The arms trade treaty, like the PoA, is predicated upon a hypothesis that the illicit trade in small arms is a large and serious problem requiring global action through the UN. According to a well regarded 2012 Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution publication, “the relative importance of diversion or misuse of officially authorised transfers, compared to international entirely illegal black market trafficking has been thoroughly confirmed.”[9] The authors go on to elaborate that “For most developing or fragile states, a combination of weak domestic regulation of authorised firearms possession with theft, loss or corrupt sale from official holdings tends to be a bigger source of weapons concern than illicit trafficking across borders.”

The UN General Assembly of 2 April 2013 (71st Plenary Meeting) adopted the Arms Trade Treaty as a resolution by a 154-to-3 vote with 23 abstentions. North Korea, Iran, and Syria voted in opposition. China and Russia, among the world’s leaders in weapon exports, were among the 23 nations that abstained.[21]Cuba, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan also abstained. Armenia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Vietnam did not vote.[1] It was opened for formal signature on 3 June 2013.

“According to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, the treaty will not do any of the following: interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in Member States; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm States’ legitimate right to self-defence; or undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.”

Opposition to the ATT can be broken down into state opposition and civil society opposition. Over thirty states have objected to various parts of the ATT during negotiations, the majority of which held strong concerns about the implications for national sovereignty.[citation needed] According to armstreaty.org, the leading ATT negotiations tracking website,[citation needed] countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Egypt, and Iran have objected to many more aspects of the ATT than has the United States.

From a civil society point of view, groups concerned about national sovereignty or individual rights to armed defense have been negative of the ATT. While not fundamentally opposed to an ATT, these groups are keenly sensitive to ensuring an ATT does not undermine national constitutional protections and individual rights. The most vocal and organized civil society groups opposing objectionable aspects to the ATT originated from the United States. These groups include the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), the National Rifle Association (NRA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and The Heritage Foundation. The NRA and the Gun Owners of America say that the treaty is an attempt to circumvent the Second Amendment and similar guarantees in state constitutions in order to impose domestic gun regulations.[24]

Perhaps the largest source of civil society opposition[vague] to the ATT has come from the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), which is the lobbying arm of the NRA. In July 2012 ILA wrote that:

“Anti-gun treaty proponents continue to mislead the public, claiming the treaty would have no impact on American gun owners. That’s a bald-faced lie. For example, the most recent draft treaty includes export/import controls that would require officials in an importing country to collect information on the ‘end user’ of a firearm, keep the information for 20 years, and provide the information to the country from which the gun was exported. In other words, if you bought a Beretta shotgun, you would be an ‘end user’ and the U.S. government would have to keep a record of you and notify the Italian government about your purchase. That is gun registration. If the U.S. refuses to implement this data collection on law-abiding American gun owners, other nations might be required to ban the export of firearms to the U.S.”[25]

Advocates of the treaty say that it only pertains to international arms trade, and would have no effect on current domestic laws.[26][27][28] These advocates point to the UN General Assembly resolution starting the process on the Arms Trade Treaty. The resolution explicitly states that it is “the exclusive right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through constitutional protections on private ownership.”

On 12 July 2012, the United States issued a statement condemning the selection of Iran to serve as vice president of the conference. The statement called the move “outrageous” and noted that Iran is under Security Council sanctions for weapons proliferation.

International non-government and human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, Saferworld and the International Action Network on Small Arms (who lead the Control Arms Campaign) have developed analysis on what an effective Arms Trade Treaty would look like.[30]

It would ensure that no transfer is permitted if there is substantial risk that it is likely to:

Loopholes would be minimized. It would include:

  • all weapons—including all military, security and police arms, related equipment and ammunition, components, expertise, and production equipment;
  • all types of transfer—including import, export, re-export, temporary transfer and transshipment, in the state sanctioned and commercial trade, plus transfers of technology, loans, gifts and aid; and
  • all transactions—including those by dealers and brokers, and those providing technical assistance, training, transport, storage, finance and security.

The Amnesty International website “loopholes” include shotguns marketed for deer hunting that are virtually the same as military/police shotguns and rifles marketed for long range target shooting that are virtually the same as military/police sniper rifles. AI advocates that the civilian guns must be included in any workable arms trade controls; otherwise, governments could authorize export/import of sporting guns virtually the same as military/police weapons in function.[31]

It must be workable and enforceable. It must:

  • provide guidelines for the treaty’s full, clear implementation;
  • ensure transparency—including full annual reports of national arms transfers;
  • have an effective mechanism to monitor compliance;
  • ensure accountability—with provisions for adjudication, dispute settlement and sanctions;
  • include a comprehensive framework for international cooperation and assistance.

NGOs are also advocating that the Arms Trade Treaty must reinforce existing responsibilities to assist survivors of armed violence, as well as identify new avenues to address suffering and trauma.

The U.S. NGO Second Amendment Foundation has voiced concern that a multinational treaty limiting the firearms trade might infringe on the constitutional right of private firearm ownership for self-defense in the US and other countries.


The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, in part, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In Reid v. Covert and many other cases, United States Supreme Court has “regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty.” In Reid, the Court held, in part, that:
No agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or any other branch of government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution. Article VI, the Supremacy clause of the Constitution declares, ‘This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all the Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law
of the land…’ Indeed, as the Second Amendment applies directly to the federal government, it logically extends to international treaties entered by the federal government and, thus, may not be circumvented by such a treaty.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would violate the Second Amendment, as it broadly applies to “small arms and light weapons” which are owned and carried by millions of Americans. The treaty also contains provisions for “end user documentation” for a “minimum of ten years,” which potentially opens the door to an international gun registry. Such a proposal goes far beyond measures Americans have already rejected time after time.

Texas Conservative Coalition

TCC


Brian Jones Aug. 27, 2013, 10:29 AM 5,322 4

The international community is not happy with the United States and Saudi Arabia amid news that they have inked a deal for hundreds of millions of dollars of controversial and potentially unethical cluster bombs.
The $641 million deal would send 1,300 cluster bombs to America’s closest ally on the Arabian Peninsula, through U.S. defense contractor Textron, according to a Pentagon release on the contract.
Cluster are controversial because they are by nature less accurate than more modern munitions. The Human Rights Watch page on cluster bombs puts it this way:

[Cluster munitions] pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or “bomblets” over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like “duds.

Presently, a treaty banning cluster bombs has been signed by 112 of the 192 member U.N. states. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not signatory.
This comes as both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia criticize the violence that has waged on in Syria for more than two years.
Among a litany of human rights violations that include targeting civilians and using chemical weapons, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has also been accused of using cluster bombs.


The war on Syria has nothing to do with the welfare of the Syrian population, the chemical attack just a fabricated excuse


Top US arms makers are forecasting a significant rise in sales for the coming year – after a pretty solid 2012. Washington has been shifting its sights towards Asia – looking to arm its allies neighboring North Korea and China.

Independent journalist James Corbett says the US is creating a pretext to make billions from arms sales – which generate geopolitical tensions.


(CNN) — Adam Lanza brought three weapons inside Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14 and left a fourth in his car, police said. Those weapons were a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns — a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.

In the car he left a shotgun, about which police have offered no details. Lanza used one of the handguns to take his own life, although police haven’t said whether the gun was the Glock or the Sig Sauer.
In fact many details remain unknown about the weapons Lanza used that day to kill 20 children, his own mother, six other adults and then himself. Here’s what is known so far:

Bushmaster AR-15 rifle

The primary weapon used in the attack was a “Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon,” said Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance. The rifle is a Bushmaster version of a widely made AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military. The original M-16 patent ran out years ago, and now the AR-15 is manufactured by several gunmakers. Unlike the military version, the AR-15 is a semiautomatic, firing one bullet per squeeze of the trigger. But like the M-16, ammunition is loaded through a magazine. In the school shooting, police say Lanza’s rifle used numerous 30-round magazines.
An AR-15 is usually capable of firing a rate of 45 rounds per minute in semiautomatic mode.
Police didn’t offer details about the specific model of the rifle Lanza used. A typical Bushmaster rifle, such as the M4 model, comes with a 30-round magazine but can use magazines of various capacities from five to 40 rounds. An M4 weighs about 6 ½ pounds and retails for about $1,300.
Under the 1994 federal ban on such weapons, buying some variants of new AR-15s was against the law. The ban expired in 2004.
Bushmaster is the No. 1 supplier of AR-15 rifles in the United States, according to the company website.
Their weapons are used by more than 100 police departments and by the militaries of 50 nations, according to Bushmaster. Private citizens use them for “hunting, recreation, competition and home defense and security,” the website says.

Gun control: ‘This one feels different’

Glock 10 mm handgun

Police haven’t said what kind of Glock 10 mm handgun Lanza used. But Glock lists two types on its website, including the Glock 20 and Glock 29.
Lanza had “multiple magazines” for the Glock, Vance said. Such magazines are widely available.
The Glock 20 model has a 15-round magazine. Glock describes it as an ideal weapon for hunting because of its larger bullets, referred to as the ammunition’s caliber.
The Glock 20 measures nearly 8 ¼ inches long and weighs about 2 ½ pounds when loaded, according to Glock’s website.
Guns and Ammo magazine said of Glocks: “They point naturally, their triggers aren’t too heavy … but most importantly of all, they’re reliable.”

The Glock is among the more popular pistols sold in the United States.

The Glock semi-automatic was developed in 1982 for the Austrian army. It was not envisioned that it would be bought by millions of citizens. It is not in fact bought by millions of civilians anywhere but in the United States. The gun should not be singled out for demonization; there are lots of semi-automatic pistols, and lots of semi-automatic rifles, and all of them are widespread and legal in the United States.

“The Austrian military made an announcement in 1980 that it would be replacing the Walther P38 handgun – a WWII era weapon. Their Ministry of Defense outlined the basic criteria for this new service pistol. In 1982, Glock learned Austrian Army’s plan to procure a new weapon and begin assembling a team of European experts in the handgun field. He chose a variety of people – including some from the military, some from the police force and he even chose civilians involved in sport shooting.”
It wasn’t long before Glock had his first working prototype. Between Glock’s use of synthetic materials and the newer production technology, the design was very cost effective, making it a viable candidate. The Glock 17 (so-named as it was the company’s 17th patent) passed every endurance and abuse test and was chosen over a number of pistol designs from well-known manufacturers to be the official replacement of the Walther P38. Both military and police forces in Austria adopted the Glock 17 (aka: P80 – Pistole 80) into service in 1982. Many consider the Glock-17 one of the top pistols of all time.”
But here’s the kicker:

 ” Within its first 10 years, this pistol reached sales in excess of 350,000 in over 45 countries; the U.S. alone accounting for 250,000 of that total. “

So here is what happened: in the first ten years, 100,000 of these guns were sold to militaries and police in Europe, and then the rest went to the civilians and police of the United States. The US took 71% of all Glocks in their first decade, even though the US army rejected them. The US is peculiar.

Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun

The other handgun police said Lanza had with him during the school massacre was a Sig Sauer. Authorities didn’t say what kind, but possibilities include the P226, P229 or P250, P290, and if it was an older pistol, possibly the P220. The 9 mm P220 is no longer sold in the United States
Like the Glock, Lanza’s Sig Sauer also allowed a high-capacity magazine, Vance said. Lanza used “multiple magazines” that are widely available to feed ammunition to the Sig Sauer, Vance said. Sig Sauer makes 9 mm pistol magazines with a maximum capacity of 20 bullets.
And like the Glock, Vance said the Sig Sauer handgun was a semiautomatic.
The P226 has a 15-round magazine, measures 7 ¾ inches and costs about $1,142, according to Sig Sauer’s website. They can be found cheaper at some gun shops.

The Handguns magazine website says of the P226: “Adopted by the [Navy] SEALs nonetheless, it has proven to be durable, reliable, accurate and adaptable. What it has not had a reputation for is compactness.”


How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns

Posted on 12/17/2012 by Juan Cole

It turns out that the Newtown shooter used a semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle and he had lots of thirty-round high-capacity clips for it. Authorities have revealed that each of the 20 children and six adults he killed was shot multiple times, but given the number of clips Lanza brought with him, the number of victims could have been much, much higher. The Federal ban on weapons such as the Bushmaster, in place 1994-2004, was allowed to lapse by the George W. Bush administration and his Republican Congress, all of whom received massive campaign donations from the gun lobby. There is a Connecticut ban, but the maker of the Bushmaster used a loophole in the poorly written state law to continue to sell the gun in the state. The Bushmaster is manufactured by a subsidiary of the Wall Street hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management, called the “Freedom Group”– which also owns Remington and DPMS Firearms. It is the largest single maker of semi-automatic rifles in the US, and they are expected to be a major growing profit center in the coming years. The Freedom Group was sued over the Washington, DC, sniper attacks, and paid $500,000 without admitting culpability.
So, the hedge funds are doing us in every which way.
But the weird idea of letting people buy military weaponry at will, with less trouble than you would have to buy a car, is only one manifestation of America’s cult of high-powered weaponry.
In 2011, US corporations sold 75% of all the arms sold in the international weapons market, some $66 billion of the $85 billion trade. Russia was the runner-up with only $4 billion in sales.
Saudi Arabia bought F-15s and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. Oman bought F-16s. The UAE got a missile shield. And, of course, Israel gets very sophisticated weapons from the US, as well.
The US share of the arms trade to the Middle East has burgeoned so much in the past decade that it now dwarfs the other suppliers, as this chart [pdf] from a Congressional study makes clear.

The University of Michigan “Correlates of War” project, run by my late colleague David Singer, tried to crunch numbers on potential causes of the wars of the past two centuries. Getting a statistically valid correlation for a cause was almost impossible. But there was one promising lead, as it was explained to me. When countries made large arms purchases, they seemed more likely to go to war in the aftermath. It may be that if you have invested in state of the art weapons, you want to use them before they become antiquated or before your enemies get them too.
So the very worst thing the US could do for Middle East peace is to sell the region billions in new, sophisticated weapons.
Moreover if you give sophisticated conventional weapons to some countries but deny them to their rivals, the rivals will try to level the playing field with unconventional weapons. The US is creating an artificial and unnecessary impetus to nuclear proliferation by this policy.
I first went to Pakistan in 1981. At that time it was not a society with either drugs or guns. But President Ronald Reagan decided to use private Afghan militias to foment a guerrilla war against the Soviets, who sent troops into Afghanistan in late 1979. Reagan ended up sending billions of dollars worth of arms to the Mujahidin annually, and twisting Saudi Arabia’s arm to match what the US sent. The Mujahidin were also encouraged by the US to grow poppies for heroin production so that they could buy even more weapons.
Over the decade of the 1980s, I saw the weapons begin to show up in the markets of Pakistan, and began hearing for the first time about drug addicts (there came to be a million of them by 1990). I had seen the arms market expand in Lebanon in the 1970s, and was alarmed that now it was happening in Pakistan, at that time a relatively peaceful and secure society. The US filled Pakistan up with guns to get at the Soviets, creating a gun culture where such a thing had been rare (with the exception of some Pashtuns who made home-made knock-offs of Western rifles). Ultimately the gun culture promoted by Reagan came back to bite the US on the ass (not to mention Afghanistan and Pakistan!) And not to mention the drugs.
Now the US views Pakistan as peculiarly violent, and pundits often blame it on Islamism. But no, it is just garden-variety Americanism. You’re welcome.

Published on Feb 4, 2013
Written and spoken by Michael Rivero. 
The written version is here: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTI…

Video by Zane Henry.

This video is in the public domain. The producers have waived their copyright to this video.
Listen to a post production conversation between the producers by clicking on this mp3: https://soundcloud.com/eonitao-state/…


Cora Currier writes for ProPublica via Juan Cole
The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.
Brake pads may sound innocuous, but “the Iranians are constantly looking for spare parts for old U.S. jets,” said Steven Pelak, who recently left the Department of Justice after six years overseeing investigations and prosecutions of export violations.
“It’s going to be easier for these military items to flow, harder to get a heads-up on their movements, and, in theory, easier for a smuggling ring to move weapons,” said William Hartung, author of a recent report on the topic for the Center for International Policy.
In the current system, every manufacturer and exporter of military equipment has to register with the State Department and get a license for each planned export. U.S. officials scrutinize each proposed deal to make sure the receiving country isn’t violating human rights and to determine the risk of the shipment winding up with terrorists or another questionable group.
Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more “flexible” controls. Final rules have been issued for six of 19 categories of equipment and more will roll out in the coming months. Some military equipment, such as fighter jets, drones, and other systems and parts, will stay under the State Department’s tighter oversight.
Commerce will do interagency human rights reviews before allowing exports, but only as a matter of policy, whereas in the State Department it is required by law.
The switch from State to Commerce represents a big win for defense manufacturers, who have long lobbied in favor of relaxing U.S. export rules, which they say put a damper on international trade. Among the companies that recently lobbied on the issue: Lockheed, which manufactures C-130 transport planes, Textron, which makes Kiowa Warrior helicopters, and Honeywell, which outfits military choppers.
Overall, industry trade groups and big defense companies have spent roughly $170 million over the last three years lobbying on a variety of issues, including export control reform, a ProPublica analysis of disclosure forms shows.
The administration says in a factsheet that “spending time and resources protecting a specialty bolt diverts resources from protecting truly sensitive items,” and that the effort will allow them to build “higher fences around fewer items.” Commerce says it will beef up its enforcement wing to prevent illegal re-exports or shipments to banned entities. The military has also supported the relaxed controls, arguing that the changes will make it easier to arm foreign allies.

An interview with Commerce Department officials was canceled due to the government shutdown, and the State Department did not respond to questions.
The shift is part of a larger administration initiative to update the arms export process, which many acknowledge needed to be streamlined. But critics of the move to Commerce say that decision has been overly driven by the interests of defense manufacturers.
“They’ve cut through the fat, into the meat, and to the bone,” said Brittany Benowitz, who was defense adviser to former Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and recently co-authored a paper on the pending changes.
“I think it’s fair to say that the views of the enforcement agencies and actors charged with carrying out the controls haven’t won the day,” said Pelak, the former Justice Department official.
Current controls haven’t prevented the U.S. from dominating arms exports up to now: In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements, nearly 80 percent of the global market. The State Department denied just one percent of arms export licenses between 2008 and 2010.
At a recent hearing, a State Department official touted the economic benefits, saying the “defense industry is going to become even more competitive than they are already.”
Under the new policy, military helicopters, transport planes and other types of military equipment that typically need approval may be eligible for license-free export to 36 allied governments, including much of Europe, Argentina, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
According to Colby Goodman, an arms-control expert with the Open Society Policy Center, once an item is approved for that exemption, it’s not clear that there will be any ongoing, country-specific human rights review. (The State Department hasn’t yet responded to our request for comment on that point.)
Goodman is particularly concerned about Turkey, where in the last year authorities violently suppressed protests and “security forces committed unlawful killings,” according to the most recent State Department Human Rights report.
Under the new system, some military parts can now be sent license-free to any country besides China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. Other parts that are deemed not “specially designed” for military use, while also initially banned from those countries, have even fewer restrictions on re-exports.
Spare parts are in high demand from sanctioned countries and groups, which need them to keep old equipment up and running, according to arms control researchers. Indonesia scrambled to keep its C-130s in the air after the U.S. blocked exports for human rights violations in the 1990s. In a report on trade in arms parts, Oxfam noted that by the time of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, Muammar Qaddafi’s air combat fleet was in dire shape, referred to by one analyst as “the world’s largest military parking lot.” Goodman said Congolese militia members may be using aging arms that the U.S. sold decades ago to the former Zaire.
Pelak says the changes will make enforcement harder by getting rid of part of the paper trail as parts and munitions exit the U.S.: “When you take away that licensing record, you put the investigation overseas.” His office handled dozens of cases each year in which military items had been diverted to prohibited countries. The Government Accountability Office raised concerns last year about Commerce’s enforcement abilities as it takes control of exports that once went through the State Department.
The president is authorized – in fact, required – to revise the list of items under State Department control. But the massive shift to Commerce means that laws and regulations that were designed with the longstanding State Department system in place may now be up to presidential prerogative.
Vetting for human rights compliance is one such requirement. The Commerce Department said it will also continue to publicly report the sales of so-called “major defense equipment.”
Other laws may not get carried over, however. For example, if firearms are moved to Commerce, manufacturers may no longer have to notify Congress of foreign sales.
Several organizations, including the Center for International Policy, the Open Society Policy Center, and the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, have called on the administration to hold off moving some military items from the State Department, and have asked Congress to apply State’s reporting requirements and restrictions to more of the military items and parts soon to be under Commerce control.
In one area, the administration does appear to have temporarily backed off – firearms and ammunition. Any decision to loosen exports for firearms could have conflicted with the president’s call for enhanced domestic gun control.
According to a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal last spring, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security both opposed draft versions of revisions to the firearms category. (The Justice Department press office is out of operation due to the government shutdown, and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.) Shifting firearms was also likely to be a lightning rod for arms control groups. As the New York Times’ C.J. Chivers has documented, small arms trafficking has been the scourge of conflicts around the world.
Draft rules for firearms and ammunitions were ready in mid-2012, according to Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun manufacturers. The Commerce Department even sent representatives to an industry export conference to preview manufacturers on the new system they might fall under.
But since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December, no proposed rule has been published.
Keane thinks the connection is irrelevant. “This has nothing to do with domestic gun control legislation. We’re talking about exports,” he said. “Our products have not moved forward, and we’re disappointed by that.”
The defense industry has long pushed for a loosening of the U.S. export controls. Initial wish-lists were aimed at restructuring and speeding up the State Department system, where the wait for a license had sometimes stretched to months. The current focus on moving items to Commerce began under the Obama administration.
The aerospace industry has been particularly active, as new rules for aircraft are the first to take effect. Commercial satellites had been moved briefly to Commerce in the 1990s, but when U.S. space companies were caught giving technical data to China in 1998, Congress returned them to State control. Last year, satellite makers successfully lobbied Congress to lift satellite-specific rules that had kept them from being eligible for the reforms.
Newer industries want to cash in, too. Virgin Galactic wrote in a comment on a proposed rule that the “nascent but growing” space tourism industry was hindered by current rules. At a conference in 2011, the chief executive of Northrup Grumman warned of “the U.S. drone aircraft industry losing its dominance” if exports weren’t boosted. (Drones are regulated under missile technology controls, and are mostly unaffected by the current changes.)
Lauren Airey, of the National Association of Manufacturers, named two main objections to the current system. First off, fees: Any company that makes a product on the State Department list has to be registered whether or not they actually export, with yearly costs starting at $2,500. There’s no fee for the Commerce list.
Secondly, any equipment that contains a listed part gets “lifetime controls,” Airey said. If a buyer wants to resell something, even for scrap, they need U.S. approval. (For example, the U.S. is currently debating whether to let Turkey re-sell American attack helicopters to Pakistan.) Under Commerce, “there are still limitations, but they are more flexible,” Airey said.
Airey’s association (and other trade groups) makes the case that foreign competitors are “taking advantage of perceived and real issues in U.S. export controls to promote foreign parts and components – advertising themselves as State-Department-free.” Airey demurred when asked for an estimate on the amount of business lost: “It’s hard to put a number directly on how much export controls cause U.S. companies to be avoided.”
An Aerospace Industries Association executive noted at a panel this spring, “We really did not move the needle at all by complaining about the fact that we weren’t making as much money as we wanted to.”
But at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, members of Congress highlighted economic impact.
“In my district in Rhode Island,” said David Cicilline, D-R.I., “as many of our defense companies are looking to expand their business, really, to respond to declines in defense domestic spending, international sales are becoming even more important and really critical…to the job growth in my state.”
William Keating, D-Mass., said that “with declining defense budgets, arms sales are even more critical to the defense industry in my state to maintain production lines and keep jobs.”
“That would not have been the response a decade ago,” said one staffer who works on the issue. “National security hawks would have been worried about defense items moving to the Commerce list. The environment on the Hill has dramatically changed.”
One concern came from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which believes that easing controls on military technology and software could actually lead to more outsourcing of production.
William Lowell, who spent a decade of his 30 years at the State Department directing defense trade controls, told ProPublica that the move represents a major shift in the U.S. attitude towards international arms trade. U.S. policy has long been aimed at “denying the entry of U.S. military articles of any type into the international gray arms market – for which small arms and military parts are the lifeblood,” Lowell wrote in comments opposing the new rules. “Commercial arms exports have never been considered normal commercial trade.”
Follow @coracurrier


U.N. Arms Trade Treaty…Not only would it violate Texans’ Second Amendment rights, including the right to self defense, it also raises U.S. sovereignty and national security concerns.

Senator John Cornyn

On 2 April 2013, the General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The treaty will foster peace and security by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions. It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools.


By Richard Solash

September 25, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has signed a landmark treaty at the UN General Assembly in New York aimed at regulating the multibillion-dollar global trade in conventional weapons. RFE/RL looks at how the Arms Trade Treaty works and why it is significant that the United States has signed the international accord.

What does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to do?

The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has the ambitious aim of responding to international concern that the $70 billion a year trade in conventional weapons leaves a trail of atrocities in its wake.

The treaty calls for the international sale of weapons to be linked to the human rights records of buyers.

It requires countries to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.

It calls for potential arms deals to be evaluated in order to determine whether they might enable buyers to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.

The treaty also seeks to prevent conventional military weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists or organized criminal groups, and to stop deals that would violate UN arms embargos.

What is the significance of Washington’s signature on the treaty?

Experts say that Washington’s signature on the document could be the treaty’s watershed moment.

The United States is the world’s largest arms dealer. So U.S. support and ratification of the accord is essential to its success.

According to Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, formal support from the United States gives the treaty the potential to change the very nature of the global arms trade.

“The United States already has a very robust set of standards and export controls,” he says. “This treaty essentially internationalizes the U.S. system and lays down some prohibitions on the transfer of conventional weapons. And this treaty will require all states to establish export laws, to enforce those export laws, and to abide by a common set of standards.”

What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?

Conventional weapons covered by the UN Arms Trade Treaty include tanks and other armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.

It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts, and arms components.

The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

What enforcement clauses are contained in the treaty?

There is no clear enforcement mechanism in the UN Arms Trade Treaty. It also remains unclear whether the transfer of conventional weapons in ways other than sales — for example, such as rental contracts or gifts — would fall under the treaty.

Nevertheless, arms-control advocates hope the treaty will increase pressure on weapons exporters such as Russia — which argues that arms sales to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are permitted because Damascus is not under a UN arms embargo.

The West argues that Russia, a major player in the global arms trade, should stop sending weapons to the Syrian regime because Assad’s security forces have used conventional military weaponry to kill tens of thousands of civilians caught up in the civil war.

Who supports the treaty and who doesn’t?

The UN General Assembly voted decisively in April to approve the Arms Trade Treaty, ending nearly a decade of negotiations over how strict it should be.

UN members voted 154 to 3 in favor of the accord, with 23 countries abstaining.

Iran, North Korea, and Syria — long accused of fueling international conflicts through arms shipments — were the countries to vote against the treaty.

The United States voted in favor of the treaty, despite opposition from influential U.S. gun lobbyists.

The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and Canada also voted for the treaty.

Former Soviet republics that voted for the treaty were Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and all three Baltic states.

Also voting yes were Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Russia and China, which are two of the world’s leading exporters of conventional weaponry, were among the countries that abstained from the vote.

Others who abstained from the vote include Belarus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cuba, Burma, and Angola.

Several abstaining countries objected on grounds that the human rights criteria in the treaty are not defined clearly enough.

To date, 89 countries have signed the treaty, including the United States, which did so on September 25.

To take effect, it must be ratified by at least 50 UN member states. So far, just five countries have done so.

Italy became the first EU state to ratify the accord after it won parliamentary approval there on September 25.


The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons, which has not entered into force. International weapons commerce has been estimated to reach US$70 billion a year.[1]

The treaty was negotiated at a global conference under the auspices of the United Nations from July 2–27, 2012, in New York.[2] As it was not possible to reach an agreement on a final text at that time, a new meeting for the conference was scheduled for March 18–28, 2013.[3] On 2 April 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted the ATT.[4][5] The treaty has been signed by 113 states, but it will not enter into force until it has been ratified or acceded to by 50 states.

The roots of what is known today as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) can be traced back to the late 1990s, when civil society actors and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates voiced their concerns about the unregulated nature of the global arms trade and its impact on human security.[7]

The ATT is part of a larger global effort begun in 1997 by Costa Rican President and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias. In that year, Arias led a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in a meeting in New York to offer the world a code of conduct for the trade in arms. This group included Elie Wiesel, Betty Williams, the Dalai Lama, José Ramos-Horta, representatives of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Amnesty International, and the American Friends Service Committee. The original idea was to establish ethical standards for the arms trade that would eventually be adopted by the international community. Over the following 16 years, the Arias Foundation for Peace & Human Progress has played an instrumental role in achieving approval of the treaty.

In 2001, the process continued with the adoption of a non-legally binding program of action at the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in 2001. This program was formally called the “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects” (PoA).[8]

Later put forward in 2003 by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates, the ATT was first addressed in the UN in December 2006 when the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 61/89 “Towards an Arms Trade Treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms”.

The arms trade treaty, like the PoA, is predicated upon a hypothesis that the illicit trade in small arms is a large and serious problem requiring global action through the UN. According to a well regarded 2012 Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution publication, “the relative importance of diversion or misuse of officially authorised transfers, compared to international entirely illegal black market trafficking has been thoroughly confirmed.”[9] The authors go on to elaborate that “For most developing or fragile states, a combination of weak domestic regulation of authorised firearms possession with theft, loss or corrupt sale from official holdings tends to be a bigger source of weapons concern than illicit trafficking across borders.”

The UN General Assembly of 2 April 2013 (71st Plenary Meeting) adopted the Arms Trade Treaty as a resolution by a 154-to-3 vote with 23 abstentions. North Korea, Iran, and Syria voted in opposition. China and Russia, among the world’s leaders in weapon exports, were among the 23 nations that abstained.[21] Cuba, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan also abstained. Armenia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Vietnam did not vote.[1] It was opened for formal signature on 3 June 2013.

“According to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, the treaty will not do any of the following: interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in Member States; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm States’ legitimate right to self-defence; or undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.”

Opposition to the ATT can be broken down into state opposition and civil society opposition. Over thirty states have objected to various parts of the ATT during negotiations, the majority of which held strong concerns about the implications for national sovereignty.[citation needed] According to armstreaty.org, the leading ATT negotiations tracking website,[citation needed] countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Egypt, and Iran have objected to many more aspects of the ATT than has the United States.

From a civil society point of view, groups concerned about national sovereignty or individual rights to armed defense have been negative of the ATT. While not fundamentally opposed to an ATT, these groups are keenly sensitive to ensuring an ATT does not undermine national constitutional protections and individual rights. The most vocal and organized civil society groups opposing objectionable aspects to the ATT originated from the United States. These groups include the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), the National Rifle Association (NRA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and The Heritage Foundation. The NRA and the Gun Owners of America say that the treaty is an attempt to circumvent the Second Amendment and similar guarantees in state constitutions in order to impose domestic gun regulations.[24]

Perhaps the largest source of civil society opposition[vague] to the ATT has come from the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), which is the lobbying arm of the NRA. In July 2012 ILA wrote that:

“Anti-gun treaty proponents continue to mislead the public, claiming the treaty would have no impact on American gun owners. That’s a bald-faced lie. For example, the most recent draft treaty includes export/import controls that would require officials in an importing country to collect information on the ‘end user’ of a firearm, keep the information for 20 years, and provide the information to the country from which the gun was exported. In other words, if you bought a Beretta shotgun, you would be an ‘end user’ and the U.S. government would have to keep a record of you and notify the Italian government about your purchase. That is gun registration. If the U.S. refuses to implement this data collection on law-abiding American gun owners, other nations might be required to ban the export of firearms to the U.S.”[25]

Advocates of the treaty say that it only pertains to international arms trade, and would have no effect on current domestic laws.[26][27][28] These advocates point to the UN General Assembly resolution starting the process on the Arms Trade Treaty. The resolution explicitly states that it is “the exclusive right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through constitutional protections on private ownership.”

On 12 July 2012, the United States issued a statement condemning the selection of Iran to serve as vice president of the conference. The statement called the move “outrageous” and noted that Iran is under Security Council sanctions for weapons proliferation.

International non-government and human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, Saferworld and the International Action Network on Small Arms (who lead the Control Arms Campaign) have developed analysis on what an effective Arms Trade Treaty would look like.[30]

It would ensure that no transfer is permitted if there is substantial risk that it is likely to:

Loopholes would be minimized. It would include:

  • all weapons—including all military, security and police arms, related equipment and ammunition, components, expertise, and production equipment;
  • all types of transfer—including import, export, re-export, temporary transfer and transshipment, in the state sanctioned and commercial trade, plus transfers of technology, loans, gifts and aid; and
  • all transactions—including those by dealers and brokers, and those providing technical assistance, training, transport, storage, finance and security.

The Amnesty International website “loopholes” include shotguns marketed for deer hunting that are virtually the same as military/police shotguns and rifles marketed for long range target shooting that are virtually the same as military/police sniper rifles. AI advocates that the civilian guns must be included in any workable arms trade controls; otherwise, governments could authorize export/import of sporting guns virtually the same as military/police weapons in function.[31]

It must be workable and enforceable. It must:

  • provide guidelines for the treaty’s full, clear implementation;
  • ensure transparency—including full annual reports of national arms transfers;
  • have an effective mechanism to monitor compliance;
  • ensure accountability—with provisions for adjudication, dispute settlement and sanctions;
  • include a comprehensive framework for international cooperation and assistance.

NGOs are also advocating that the Arms Trade Treaty must reinforce existing responsibilities to assist survivors of armed violence, as well as identify new avenues to address suffering and trauma.

The U.S. NGO Second Amendment Foundation has voiced concern that a multinational treaty limiting the firearms trade might infringe on the constitutional right of private firearm ownership for self-defense in the US and other countries.


The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, in part, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In Reid v. Covert and many other cases, United States Supreme Court has “regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty.” In Reid, the Court held, in part, that:
No agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or any other branch of government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution. Article VI, the Supremacy clause of the Constitution declares, ‘This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all the Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law
of the land…’ Indeed, as the Second Amendment applies directly to the federal government, it logically extends to international treaties entered by the federal government and, thus, may not be circumvented by such a treaty.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would violate the Second Amendment, as it broadly applies to “small arms and light weapons” which are owned and carried by millions of Americans. The treaty also contains provisions for “end user documentation” for a “minimum of ten years,” which potentially opens the door to an international gun registry. Such a proposal goes far beyond measures Americans have already rejected time after time.

Texas Conservative Coalition

TCC


Brian Jones Aug. 27, 2013, 10:29 AM 5,322 4

The international community is not happy with the United States and Saudi Arabia amid news that they have inked a deal for hundreds of millions of dollars of controversial and potentially unethical cluster bombs.
The $641 million deal would send 1,300 cluster bombs to America’s closest ally on the Arabian Peninsula, through U.S. defense contractor Textron, according to a Pentagon release on the contract.
Cluster are controversial because they are by nature less accurate than more modern munitions. The Human Rights Watch page on cluster bombs puts it this way:

[Cluster munitions] pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or “bomblets” over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like “duds.

Presently, a treaty banning cluster bombs has been signed by 112 of the 192 member U.N. states. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not signatory.
This comes as both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia criticize the violence that has waged on in Syria for more than two years.
Among a litany of human rights violations that include targeting civilians and using chemical weapons, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has also been accused of using cluster bombs.


The war on Syria has nothing to do with the welfare of the Syrian population, the chemical attack just a fabricated excuse


Top US arms makers are forecasting a significant rise in sales for the coming year – after a pretty solid 2012. Washington has been shifting its sights towards Asia – looking to arm its allies neighboring North Korea and China.

Independent journalist James Corbett says the US is creating a pretext to make billions from arms sales – which generate geopolitical tensions.


(CNN) — Adam Lanza brought three weapons inside Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14 and left a fourth in his car, police said. Those weapons were a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns — a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.

In the car he left a shotgun, about which police have offered no details. Lanza used one of the handguns to take his own life, although police haven’t said whether the gun was the Glock or the Sig Sauer.
In fact many details remain unknown about the weapons Lanza used that day to kill 20 children, his own mother, six other adults and then himself. Here’s what is known so far:

Bushmaster AR-15 rifle

The primary weapon used in the attack was a “Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon,” said Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance. The rifle is a Bushmaster version of a widely made AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military. The original M-16 patent ran out years ago, and now the AR-15 is manufactured by several gunmakers. Unlike the military version, the AR-15 is a semiautomatic, firing one bullet per squeeze of the trigger. But like the M-16, ammunition is loaded through a magazine. In the school shooting, police say Lanza’s rifle used numerous 30-round magazines.
An AR-15 is usually capable of firing a rate of 45 rounds per minute in semiautomatic mode.
Police didn’t offer details about the specific model of the rifle Lanza used. A typical Bushmaster rifle, such as the M4 model, comes with a 30-round magazine but can use magazines of various capacities from five to 40 rounds. An M4 weighs about 6 ½ pounds and retails for about $1,300.
Under the 1994 federal ban on such weapons, buying some variants of new AR-15s was against the law. The ban expired in 2004.
Bushmaster is the No. 1 supplier of AR-15 rifles in the United States, according to the company website.
Their weapons are used by more than 100 police departments and by the militaries of 50 nations, according to Bushmaster. Private citizens use them for “hunting, recreation, competition and home defense and security,” the website says.

Gun control: ‘This one feels different’

Glock 10 mm handgun

Police haven’t said what kind of Glock 10 mm handgun Lanza used. But Glock lists two types on its website, including the Glock 20 and Glock 29.
Lanza had “multiple magazines” for the Glock, Vance said. Such magazines are widely available.
The Glock 20 model has a 15-round magazine. Glock describes it as an ideal weapon for hunting because of its larger bullets, referred to as the ammunition’s caliber.
The Glock 20 measures nearly 8 ¼ inches long and weighs about 2 ½ pounds when loaded, according to Glock’s website.
Guns and Ammo magazine said of Glocks: “They point naturally, their triggers aren’t too heavy … but most importantly of all, they’re reliable.”

The Glock is among the more popular pistols sold in the United States.

The Glock semi-automatic was developed in 1982 for the Austrian army. It was not envisioned that it would be bought by millions of citizens. It is not in fact bought by millions of civilians anywhere but in the United States. The gun should not be singled out for demonization; there are lots of semi-automatic pistols, and lots of semi-automatic rifles, and all of them are widespread and legal in the United States.

“The Austrian military made an announcement in 1980 that it would be replacing the Walther P38 handgun – a WWII era weapon. Their Ministry of Defense outlined the basic criteria for this new service pistol. In 1982, Glock learned Austrian Army’s plan to procure a new weapon and begin assembling a team of European experts in the handgun field. He chose a variety of people – including some from the military, some from the police force and he even chose civilians involved in sport shooting.”
It wasn’t long before Glock had his first working prototype. Between Glock’s use of synthetic materials and the newer production technology, the design was very cost effective, making it a viable candidate. The Glock 17 (so-named as it was the company’s 17th patent) passed every endurance and abuse test and was chosen over a number of pistol designs from well-known manufacturers to be the official replacement of the Walther P38. Both military and police forces in Austria adopted the Glock 17 (aka: P80 – Pistole 80) into service in 1982. Many consider the Glock-17 one of the top pistols of all time.”
But here’s the kicker:

 ” Within its first 10 years, this pistol reached sales in excess of 350,000 in over 45 countries; the U.S. alone accounting for 250,000 of that total. “

So here is what happened: in the first ten years, 100,000 of these guns were sold to militaries and police in Europe, and then the rest went to the civilians and police of the United States. The US took 71% of all Glocks in their first decade, even though the US army rejected them. The US is peculiar.

Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun

The other handgun police said Lanza had with him during the school massacre was a Sig Sauer. Authorities didn’t say what kind, but possibilities include the P226, P229 or P250, P290, and if it was an older pistol, possibly the P220. The 9 mm P220 is no longer sold in the United States
Like the Glock, Lanza’s Sig Sauer also allowed a high-capacity magazine, Vance said. Lanza used “multiple magazines” that are widely available to feed ammunition to the Sig Sauer, Vance said. Sig Sauer makes 9 mm pistol magazines with a maximum capacity of 20 bullets.
And like the Glock, Vance said the Sig Sauer handgun was a semiautomatic.
The P226 has a 15-round magazine, measures 7 ¾ inches and costs about $1,142, according to Sig Sauer’s website. They can be found cheaper at some gun shops.

The Handguns magazine website says of the P226: “Adopted by the [Navy] SEALs nonetheless, it has proven to be durable, reliable, accurate and adaptable. What it has not had a reputation for is compactness.”


How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns

Posted on 12/17/2012 by Juan Cole

It turns out that the Newtown shooter used a semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle and he had lots of thirty-round high-capacity clips for it. Authorities have revealed that each of the 20 children and six adults he killed was shot multiple times, but given the number of clips Lanza brought with him, the number of victims could have been much, much higher. The Federal ban on weapons such as the Bushmaster, in place 1994-2004, was allowed to lapse by the George W. Bush administration and his Republican Congress, all of whom received massive campaign donations from the gun lobby. There is a Connecticut ban, but the maker of the Bushmaster used a loophole in the poorly written state law to continue to sell the gun in the state. The Bushmaster is manufactured by a subsidiary of the Wall Street hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management, called the “Freedom Group”– which also owns Remington and DPMS Firearms. It is the largest single maker of semi-automatic rifles in the US, and they are expected to be a major growing profit center in the coming years. The Freedom Group was sued over the Washington, DC, sniper attacks, and paid $500,000 without admitting culpability.
So, the hedge funds are doing us in every which way.
But the weird idea of letting people buy military weaponry at will, with less trouble than you would have to buy a car, is only one manifestation of America’s cult of high-powered weaponry.
In 2011, US corporations sold 75% of all the arms sold in the international weapons market, some $66 billion of the $85 billion trade. Russia was the runner-up with only $4 billion in sales.
Saudi Arabia bought F-15s and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. Oman bought F-16s. The UAE got a missile shield. And, of course, Israel gets very sophisticated weapons from the US, as well.
The US share of the arms trade to the Middle East has burgeoned so much in the past decade that it now dwarfs the other suppliers, as this chart [pdf] from a Congressional study makes clear.

The University of Michigan “Correlates of War” project, run by my late colleague David Singer, tried to crunch numbers on potential causes of the wars of the past two centuries. Getting a statistically valid correlation for a cause was almost impossible. But there was one promising lead, as it was explained to me. When countries made large arms purchases, they seemed more likely to go to war in the aftermath. It may be that if you have invested in state of the art weapons, you want to use them before they become antiquated or before your enemies get them too.
So the very worst thing the US could do for Middle East peace is to sell the region billions in new, sophisticated weapons.
Moreover if you give sophisticated conventional weapons to some countries but deny them to their rivals, the rivals will try to level the playing field with unconventional weapons. The US is creating an artificial and unnecessary impetus to nuclear proliferation by this policy.
I first went to Pakistan in 1981. At that time it was not a society with either drugs or guns. But President Ronald Reagan decided to use private Afghan militias to foment a guerrilla war against the Soviets, who sent troops into Afghanistan in late 1979. Reagan ended up sending billions of dollars worth of arms to the Mujahidin annually, and twisting Saudi Arabia’s arm to match what the US sent. The Mujahidin were also encouraged by the US to grow poppies for heroin production so that they could buy even more weapons.
Over the decade of the 1980s, I saw the weapons begin to show up in the markets of Pakistan, and began hearing for the first time about drug addicts (there came to be a million of them by 1990). I had seen the arms market expand in Lebanon in the 1970s, and was alarmed that now it was happening in Pakistan, at that time a relatively peaceful and secure society. The US filled Pakistan up with guns to get at the Soviets, creating a gun culture where such a thing had been rare (with the exception of some Pashtuns who made home-made knock-offs of Western rifles). Ultimately the gun culture promoted by Reagan came back to bite the US on the ass (not to mention Afghanistan and Pakistan!) And not to mention the drugs.
Now the US views Pakistan as peculiarly violent, and pundits often blame it on Islamism. But no, it is just garden-variety Americanism. You’re welcome.

Wall Street accountability

Published on May 13, 2012

Rep. Alan Grayson questions the FED inspector General where $9 TRillion dollars went… and Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman hasn’t a clue…Dunno whether to laugh or cry – I am still getting over the shock and have watched 4 times – LISTEN carefully to what she says – THEY HAVE NO JURISTRICTION to investigate the fed!!!


Wall Street banks took down the economy by creating hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities that were toxic and often designed to fail. They knew that it was just a matter of time before mortgage foreclosures would destroy the value of those securities. Yet, all the largest U.S. banks packaged and sold toxic mortgages to investors all over the world, who were told these were sound investments. Sometimes the very same banks joined with hedge funds to profit by betting that the toxic securities would collapse. Meanwhile, they pumped up the housing market until it burst all over us.

Because of this fraudulent activity the entire economy crashed, killing 8 million jobs in a matter of months due to no fault of those displaced workers. It was the biggest, most corrupt and most profitable casino in human history. And now 2012 has passed without a single person responsible for the mess losing his or her job, or forfeiting their outrageous pay packages. As the New York Times recently reported:

Regulators, prosecutors, investors and insurers have filed dozens of new claims against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and others, related to more than $1 trillion worth of securities backed by residential mortgages.
Estimates of potential costs from these cases vary widely, but some in the banking industry fear they could reach $300 billion if the institutions lose all of the litigation. Depending on the final price tag, the costs could lower profits and slow the economic recovery by weakening the banks’ ability to lend just as the housing market is showing signs of life.
The banks are battling on three fronts: with prosecutors who accuse them of fraud, with regulators who claim that they duped investors into buying bad mortgage securities, and with investors seeking to force them to buy back the soured loans.
“We are at an all-time high for this mortgage litigation,” said Christopher J. Willis, a lawyer with Ballard Spahr, which handles securities and consumer litigation.
Efforts by the banks to limit their losses could depend on the outcome of one of the highest-stakes lawsuits to date — the $200 billion case that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the housing twins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, filed against 17 banks last year, claiming that they duped the mortgage finance giants into buying shaky securities.
Last month, lawyers for some of the nation’s largest banks descended on a federal appeals court in Manhattan to make their case that the agency had waited too long to sue. A favorable ruling could overturn a decision by Judge Denise L. Cote, who is presiding over the litigation and has so far rejected virtually every defense raised by the banks, and would be cheered in bank boardrooms. It could also allow the banks to avoid federal housing regulators’ claims.
At the same time, though, some major banks are hoping to reach a broad settlement with housing agency officials, according to several people with knowledge of the talks. Although the negotiations are at a very tentative stage, the banks are broaching a potential cease-fire.
As the housing market and the nation’s economy slowly recover from the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street is vulnerable on several fronts, including tighter regulations assembled in the aftermath of the crisis and continuing investigations into possible rigging of a major international interest rate. But the mortgage lawsuits could be the most devastating and expensive threat, bank analysts say.
“All of Wall Street has essentially refused to deal with the real costs of the litigation that they are up against,” said Christopher Whalen, a senior managing director at Tangent Capital Partners. “The real price tag is terrifying.”
Anticipating painful costs from mortgage litigation, the five major sellers of mortgage-backed securities set aside $22.5 billion as of June 30 just to cushion themselves against demands that they repurchase soured loans from trusts, according to an analysis by Natoma Partners.
But in the most extreme situation, the litigation could empty even more well-stocked reserves and weigh down profits as the banks are forced to pay penance for the subprime housing crisis, according to several senior officials in the industry.
There is no industrywide tally of how much banks have paid since the financial crisis to put the mortgage litigation behind them, but analysts say that future settlements will dwarf the payouts so far. That is because banks, for the most part, have settled only a small fraction of the lawsuits against them.
JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse, for example, agreed last month to settle mortgage securities cases with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $417 million, but still face billions of dollars in outstanding claims.
Bank of America is in the most precarious position, analysts say, in part because of its acquisition of the troubled subprime lender Countrywide Financial.
Last year, Bank of America paid $2.5 billion to repurchase troubled mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and $1.6 billion to Assured Guaranty, which insured the shaky mortgage bonds.
But in October, federal prosecutors in New York accused the bank of perpetrating a fraud through Countrywide by churning out loans at such a fast pace that controls were largely ignored. A settlement in that case could reach well beyond $1 billion because the Justice Department sued the bank under a law that could allow roughly triple the damages incurred by taxpayers.
Bank of America’s attempts to resolve some mortgage litigation with an umbrella settlement have stalled. In June 2011, the bank agreed to pay $8.5 billion to appease investors, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Pimco, that lost billions of dollars when the mortgage securities assembled by the bank went bad. But the settlement is in limbo after being challenged by investors. Kathy D. Patrick, the lawyer representing investors, has said she will set her sights on Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo next.


The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reported Tuesday that Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, a dogged consumer advocate whose critique of Wall Street excess was a centerpiece of her campaign, will join the Senate Banking Committee. Wall Street spent boatloads of money to prevent Warren’s election, but now, as the Center for Responsive Politics noted, she will have oversight of the rules and regulations under which banks operate:


Dear Friend,
Yesterday’s announcement that S.E.C. Chair Mary Schapiro is resigning presents President Obama with a very telling choice and a very important opportunity.
The S.E.C. is one of the top regulators of Wall Street, so the president can and should ensure it’s led by a champion for accountability on Wall Street.
But we shouldn’t at all be confident the president won’t appoint someone more interested in placating Wall Street firms than taking them to task.
For example, the New York Times reported that Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of global wealth management at Merrill Lynch and a former top executive at Citigroup, is being considered for the position.1
President Obama has already named Elisse Walter, a current S.E.C. commissioner originally appointed by George W. Bush, as the new chair of the S.E.C. But Walter, who can serve through 2013 without Senate approval, will in all likelihood be a temporary replacement who serves only until another nominee can be confirmed by the Senate.
So we need to speak out now to push President Obama to name the right kind of person to the job.
M.I.T. economist and New York Times economic blogger Simon Johnson recommends three people to chair the S.E.C.: former TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky; former Senator Ted Kaufman; and the leader of the pro-reform group Better Markets, Dennis Kelleher.2 To Johnson’s list we’d add the former head of the F.D.I.C., Sheila Bair.
As Johnson pointed out in a recent blog post, the historical moment we’re in requires not just someone who will diligently enforce the law, but also someone who will combat the pernicious Wall Street spin that has become part of the conventional wisdom.
Johnson says:
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were all big donors to the Obama campaign in 2008 … but they did not make the top 10 list this year. Now would be a perfect time for the president to clean up Wall Street with a strong S.E.C. that is focused on enforcing the law and overturning dangerous parts of the conventional wisdom.3
Wall Street has countless well paid spinmeisters and well funded public relations efforts that have sought to absolve Wall Street crooks of any responsibility for the financial collapse. According to their Orwellian version of history, the people who gambled in the Wall Street casino with taxpayer money didn’t do anything wrong. And according to their vision, the best thing the government can do to get the economy on track is just get out of Wall Street’s way.
That would be a dangerous perspective for one of Wall Street’s top cops.
Neil Barofsky has actually put bankers in jail as both an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in New York and as Special Investigator General for the TARP program. A career prosecutor, he is one of the only people this decade who have prosecuted complex financial fraud.
Former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware is, according to Simon Johnson, “a consistent advocate for financial-sector reform and was one of the clearest voices during the 2010 legislative process that led to Dodd-Frank.”
Dennis Kelleher is, per Johnson, “a former senior Senate leadership aide with a great deal of political experience, including during the financial crisis and in the negotiations that led to Dodd-Frank, and now runs the pro-reform group Better Markets…No one has been a more effective advocate of implementing substantive reforms.”
Sheila Bair is widely acknowledged in government circles and the media as one of the first people to identify and accurately assess the subprime crisis. Elizabeth Warren said that Blair “is a strong voice for Wall Street accountability and financial reform…[whose] leadership during the financial crisis made a real difference for working families…”4
You can bet that Wall Street is already lining up support for their preferred candidates. So we can’t afford to be silent.
Please speak out and help push Obama to appoint a chair of the S.E.C. who will be a real force for Wall Street accountability. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. “Schapiro, Head of S.E.C., Announces Departure,” New York Times, 11-26-12. 
2. “Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Wall Street,” New York Times, 11-15-12. 
3. Ibid. 
4. “Sheila Bair, Republican Former FDIC Chairperson, Endorses Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate,” Elizabeth Warren for Senate Press Release, 10-17-12.


Dear Friend,
Elizabeth Warren’s victory over Scott Brown means that Massachusetts will soon be represented by the strongest voice for Wall Street accountability in the Senate.
But Wall Street-friendly politicians and lobbyists in DC have started a whisper campaign to keep Warren off of the Senate Banking Committee — the one Senate committee that would most directly empower her to fight for consumers and stand up to Wall Street banks.
Don’t let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren.
We’ve seen this before. Elizabeth Warren was effectively blocked from heading up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which she conceived of, advocated for and ultimately helped start up — by DC insiders who didn’t want such a strong advocate of banking reform in charge of the Wall Street watchdog she helped create.
She then ran for Senate and won. Now it’s up to us to have her back and ensure that when she gets to the Senate she can be the fierce and effective advocate we so desperately need.
Elizabeth Warren is a clear choice for the Senate Banking Committee. She is a respected Harvard professor and one of the country’s leading experts on bankruptcy law who spent her career focused on the financial struggles of middle class families.
What’s more, she has proven time and again that that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers, which is why Washington and Wall Street insiders are trying to keep her off the Senate Banking Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hearing from banking industry lobbyists and conservative Democrats who don’t want Elizabeth Warren on the banking committee. Now he needs to hear from us.
Put simply, there are far too few people in power who are as ready, willing and able to stand up to Wall Street banks as she is.
And whether it’s speaking out against a secret bailout of AIG or demanding Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, resign from the Board of the New York Fed, she has continued to carry the torch to this day.
Warren accomplished all of this before she was elected to the Senate. Just imagine what she’ll be able to do if she’s allowed to fully leverage the legislative and oversight powers of a sitting senator on the main committee for Wall Street legislation.
Speak out to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give Elizabeth Warren a seat on the Senate Banking Committee. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


The lobbies write the bills. More people get in bankruptcy than graduate from college.

 To support her Massachusetts Senate Campaign, visit http://www.ElizabethWarren.com 

Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America’s credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class. Series: “UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures” [6/2007] [Public Affairs] [Business] [Show ID: 12620]

Published on May 13, 2012

Rep. Alan Grayson questions the FED inspector General where $9 TRillion dollars went… and Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman hasn’t a clue…Dunno whether to laugh or cry – I am still getting over the shock and have watched 4 times – LISTEN carefully to what she says – THEY HAVE NO JURISTRICTION to investigate the fed!!!


Wall Street banks took down the economy by creating hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities that were toxic and often designed to fail. They knew that it was just a matter of time before mortgage foreclosures would destroy the value of those securities. Yet, all the largest U.S. banks packaged and sold toxic mortgages to investors all over the world, who were told these were sound investments. Sometimes the very same banks joined with hedge funds to profit by betting that the toxic securities would collapse. Meanwhile, they pumped up the housing market until it burst all over us.

Because of this fraudulent activity the entire economy crashed, killing 8 million jobs in a matter of months due to no fault of those displaced workers. It was the biggest, most corrupt and most profitable casino in human history. And now 2012 has passed without a single person responsible for the mess losing his or her job, or forfeiting their outrageous pay packages. As the New York Times recently reported:

Regulators, prosecutors, investors and insurers have filed dozens of new claims against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and others, related to more than $1 trillion worth of securities backed by residential mortgages.
Estimates of potential costs from these cases vary widely, but some in the banking industry fear they could reach $300 billion if the institutions lose all of the litigation. Depending on the final price tag, the costs could lower profits and slow the economic recovery by weakening the banks’ ability to lend just as the housing market is showing signs of life.
The banks are battling on three fronts: with prosecutors who accuse them of fraud, with regulators who claim that they duped investors into buying bad mortgage securities, and with investors seeking to force them to buy back the soured loans.
“We are at an all-time high for this mortgage litigation,” said Christopher J. Willis, a lawyer with Ballard Spahr, which handles securities and consumer litigation.
Efforts by the banks to limit their losses could depend on the outcome of one of the highest-stakes lawsuits to date — the $200 billion case that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the housing twins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, filed against 17 banks last year, claiming that they duped the mortgage finance giants into buying shaky securities.
Last month, lawyers for some of the nation’s largest banks descended on a federal appeals court in Manhattan to make their case that the agency had waited too long to sue. A favorable ruling could overturn a decision by Judge Denise L. Cote, who is presiding over the litigation and has so far rejected virtually every defense raised by the banks, and would be cheered in bank boardrooms. It could also allow the banks to avoid federal housing regulators’ claims.
At the same time, though, some major banks are hoping to reach a broad settlement with housing agency officials, according to several people with knowledge of the talks. Although the negotiations are at a very tentative stage, the banks are broaching a potential cease-fire.
As the housing market and the nation’s economy slowly recover from the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street is vulnerable on several fronts, including tighter regulations assembled in the aftermath of the crisis and continuing investigations into possible rigging of a major international interest rate. But the mortgage lawsuits could be the most devastating and expensive threat, bank analysts say.
“All of Wall Street has essentially refused to deal with the real costs of the litigation that they are up against,” said Christopher Whalen, a senior managing director at Tangent Capital Partners. “The real price tag is terrifying.”
Anticipating painful costs from mortgage litigation, the five major sellers of mortgage-backed securities set aside $22.5 billion as of June 30 just to cushion themselves against demands that they repurchase soured loans from trusts, according to an analysis by Natoma Partners.
But in the most extreme situation, the litigation could empty even more well-stocked reserves and weigh down profits as the banks are forced to pay penance for the subprime housing crisis, according to several senior officials in the industry.
There is no industrywide tally of how much banks have paid since the financial crisis to put the mortgage litigation behind them, but analysts say that future settlements will dwarf the payouts so far. That is because banks, for the most part, have settled only a small fraction of the lawsuits against them.
JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse, for example, agreed last month to settle mortgage securities cases with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $417 million, but still face billions of dollars in outstanding claims.
Bank of America is in the most precarious position, analysts say, in part because of its acquisition of the troubled subprime lender Countrywide Financial.
Last year, Bank of America paid $2.5 billion to repurchase troubled mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and $1.6 billion to Assured Guaranty, which insured the shaky mortgage bonds.
But in October, federal prosecutors in New York accused the bank of perpetrating a fraud through Countrywide by churning out loans at such a fast pace that controls were largely ignored. A settlement in that case could reach well beyond $1 billion because the Justice Department sued the bank under a law that could allow roughly triple the damages incurred by taxpayers.
Bank of America’s attempts to resolve some mortgage litigation with an umbrella settlement have stalled. In June 2011, the bank agreed to pay $8.5 billion to appease investors, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Pimco, that lost billions of dollars when the mortgage securities assembled by the bank went bad. But the settlement is in limbo after being challenged by investors. Kathy D. Patrick, the lawyer representing investors, has said she will set her sights on Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo next.


The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reported Tuesday that Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, a dogged consumer advocate whose critique of Wall Street excess was a centerpiece of her campaign, will join the Senate Banking Committee. Wall Street spent boatloads of money to prevent Warren’s election, but now, as the Center for Responsive Politics noted, she will have oversight of the rules and regulations under which banks operate:


Dear Friend,
Yesterday’s announcement that S.E.C. Chair Mary Schapiro is resigning presents President Obama with a very telling choice and a very important opportunity.
The S.E.C. is one of the top regulators of Wall Street, so the president can and should ensure it’s led by a champion for accountability on Wall Street.
But we shouldn’t at all be confident the president won’t appoint someone more interested in placating Wall Street firms than taking them to task.
For example, the New York Times reported that Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of global wealth management at Merrill Lynch and a former top executive at Citigroup, is being considered for the position.1
President Obama has already named Elisse Walter, a current S.E.C. commissioner originally appointed by George W. Bush, as the new chair of the S.E.C. But Walter, who can serve through 2013 without Senate approval, will in all likelihood be a temporary replacement who serves only until another nominee can be confirmed by the Senate.
So we need to speak out now to push President Obama to name the right kind of person to the job.
M.I.T. economist and New York Times economic blogger Simon Johnson recommends three people to chair the S.E.C.: former TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky; former Senator Ted Kaufman; and the leader of the pro-reform group Better Markets, Dennis Kelleher.2 To Johnson’s list we’d add the former head of the F.D.I.C., Sheila Bair.
As Johnson pointed out in a recent blog post, the historical moment we’re in requires not just someone who will diligently enforce the law, but also someone who will combat the pernicious Wall Street spin that has become part of the conventional wisdom.
Johnson says:
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were all big donors to the Obama campaign in 2008 … but they did not make the top 10 list this year. Now would be a perfect time for the president to clean up Wall Street with a strong S.E.C. that is focused on enforcing the law and overturning dangerous parts of the conventional wisdom.3
Wall Street has countless well paid spinmeisters and well funded public relations efforts that have sought to absolve Wall Street crooks of any responsibility for the financial collapse. According to their Orwellian version of history, the people who gambled in the Wall Street casino with taxpayer money didn’t do anything wrong. And according to their vision, the best thing the government can do to get the economy on track is just get out of Wall Street’s way.
That would be a dangerous perspective for one of Wall Street’s top cops.
Neil Barofsky has actually put bankers in jail as both an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in New York and as Special Investigator General for the TARP program. A career prosecutor, he is one of the only people this decade who have prosecuted complex financial fraud.
Former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware is, according to Simon Johnson, “a consistent advocate for financial-sector reform and was one of the clearest voices during the 2010 legislative process that led to Dodd-Frank.”
Dennis Kelleher is, per Johnson, “a former senior Senate leadership aide with a great deal of political experience, including during the financial crisis and in the negotiations that led to Dodd-Frank, and now runs the pro-reform group Better Markets…No one has been a more effective advocate of implementing substantive reforms.”
Sheila Bair is widely acknowledged in government circles and the media as one of the first people to identify and accurately assess the subprime crisis. Elizabeth Warren said that Blair “is a strong voice for Wall Street accountability and financial reform…[whose] leadership during the financial crisis made a real difference for working families…”4
You can bet that Wall Street is already lining up support for their preferred candidates. So we can’t afford to be silent.
Please speak out and help push Obama to appoint a chair of the S.E.C. who will be a real force for Wall Street accountability. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


1. “Schapiro, Head of S.E.C., Announces Departure,” New York Times, 11-26-12. 
2. “Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Wall Street,” New York Times, 11-15-12. 
3. Ibid. 
4. “Sheila Bair, Republican Former FDIC Chairperson, Endorses Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate,” Elizabeth Warren for Senate Press Release, 10-17-12.


Dear Friend,
Elizabeth Warren’s victory over Scott Brown means that Massachusetts will soon be represented by the strongest voice for Wall Street accountability in the Senate.
But Wall Street-friendly politicians and lobbyists in DC have started a whisper campaign to keep Warren off of the Senate Banking Committee — the one Senate committee that would most directly empower her to fight for consumers and stand up to Wall Street banks.
Don’t let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren.
We’ve seen this before. Elizabeth Warren was effectively blocked from heading up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which she conceived of, advocated for and ultimately helped start up — by DC insiders who didn’t want such a strong advocate of banking reform in charge of the Wall Street watchdog she helped create.
She then ran for Senate and won. Now it’s up to us to have her back and ensure that when she gets to the Senate she can be the fierce and effective advocate we so desperately need.
Elizabeth Warren is a clear choice for the Senate Banking Committee. She is a respected Harvard professor and one of the country’s leading experts on bankruptcy law who spent her career focused on the financial struggles of middle class families.
What’s more, she has proven time and again that that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers, which is why Washington and Wall Street insiders are trying to keep her off the Senate Banking Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hearing from banking industry lobbyists and conservative Democrats who don’t want Elizabeth Warren on the banking committee. Now he needs to hear from us.
Put simply, there are far too few people in power who are as ready, willing and able to stand up to Wall Street banks as she is.
And whether it’s speaking out against a secret bailout of AIG or demanding Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, resign from the Board of the New York Fed, she has continued to carry the torch to this day.
Warren accomplished all of this before she was elected to the Senate. Just imagine what she’ll be able to do if she’s allowed to fully leverage the legislative and oversight powers of a sitting senator on the main committee for Wall Street legislation.
Speak out to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give Elizabeth Warren a seat on the Senate Banking Committee. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


The lobbies write the bills. More people get in bankruptcy than graduate from college.

 To support her Massachusetts Senate Campaign, visit http://www.ElizabethWarren.com 

Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America’s credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class. Series: “UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures” [6/2007] [Public Affairs] [Business] [Show ID: 12620]

THRIVE

Published on Apr 5, 2012 If you value what is presented in this movie, please go to http://thrivemovement.com/ where you can support Thrive Movement by making a donation. You will also find more in-depth information on each of the subjects discussed…

Published on Apr 5, 2012
If you value what is presented in this movie, please go to http://thrivemovement.com/ where you can support Thrive Movement by making a donation. You will also find more in-depth information on each of the subjects discussed in the movie, learn about Critical Mass initiatives supported by Thrive, and connect with others who are waking up and taking action.

Film Synopsis:
THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream — uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.

http://www.thrivemovement.com/

No answer

Uploaded on Feb 28, 2012 Irish journalist Vincent Browne confronts the ECB’s (European Central Bank) Klaus Masuch demanding to know where the money is going. This Is What Happens When A Journalist Forces A Banker To Actually Answer A Question … Continue reading

Uploaded on Feb 28, 2012

Irish journalist Vincent Browne confronts the ECB’s (European Central Bank) Klaus Masuch demanding to know where the money is going. This Is What Happens When A Journalist Forces A Banker To Actually Answer A Question .

THE MONEY MASTERS

THE MONEY MASTERS is a NON-FICTION, historical documentary that traces the origins of the political power structure. The modern political power structure has its roots in the hidden manipulation and accumulation of gold and other forms of money. The development … Continue reading

THE MONEY MASTERS is a NON-FICTION, historical documentary that traces the origins of the political power structure. The modern political power structure has its roots in the hidden manipulation and accumulation of gold and other forms of money. The development of fractional reserve banking practices in the 17th century brought to a cunning sophistication the secret techniques initially used by goldsmiths fraudulently to accumulate wealth. With the formation of the privately-owned Bank of England in 1694, the yoke of economic slavery to a privately-owned “central” bank was first forced upon the backs of an entire nation, not removed but only made heavier with the passing of the three centuries to our day. Nation after nation has fallen prey to this cabal of international central bankers.

drug planes

DC-9 ‘Cocaine One’ kingpin’s secret conviction

It was the biggest drug seizure on an airplane in Mexican history. It led directly to the forced sale of Wachovia, then America’s 4th largest bank. And it threatened to become America’s most notorious drug scandal since Iran Contra.
Yet when a leader of the drug smuggling organization responsible for the flight of the DC-9 airliner dubbed “Cocaine One” that was busted in the Yucatan carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine quietly pled guilty to unrelated drug charges two years ago in a Federal Court in Miami, his role in the massive drug move was kept secret from officials preparing his Pre-Sentence Report (PSI),  from journalists, and even from the Federal judge in the case.


An American-registered drug plane has been plying the airspace over Central and South America carrying cargoes of cocaine for a good long while (authorities admit they’ve been “investigating” it since 2011) without apparent incident, until recently, when a newspaper in Costa Rica reported that the President of Costa Rica had been seen using it to fly to Hugo Chavez’s funeral, as well as the recent wedding of the son of Peru’s Vice-President in Lima.


Six years ago this week an American-registered luxury jet, a Gulfstream II—later dubbed “Cocaine 2”—crashed just before dawn in the middle of the jungle in Mexico’s Yucatan carrying four tons of cocaine. The event, and its aftermath, changed forever an official narrative of the war on drugs which has for years been pushing the notion that there is no significant American involvement in the global drug trade, and no American Drug Lords.  

A control tower employee in Ciudad del Carmen, the airport where the DSC-9 landed, causing something of a fuss, told authorities at a crucial juncture in what was an extremely tense situation, as the American-registered DC-9 carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine circled and requested permission to land, she was approached inside the airport terminal by an American she’d never seen before.

She described him as being 40 years old, with blond hair and a deep tan, and he was wearing a green polo shirt. The American, she said, hadn’t just wanted officials in the airport to let the plane land. He wanted the tower to certify the flight, meaning the DC-9 could then continue its journey, as a domestic flight, which would not need to clear Mexican Customs.

Said green polo shirt-wearing American remains unidentified. He just disappeared from narratives of the event… except for one respected journalist at Mexican newspaper Proceso, who wisely picked up on this detail, followed up, and then reported that among the contingent of drug traffickers awaiting the arrival of the plane on the ground with as much nonchalance as they could muster…the American had been in charge.

In every country in the world in which drugs are present, and illegal, control of the drug trade is the most important tool in perpetuating that country’s oligarchy, more important than a police force with a billion Billy clubs.

The guys chopping off heads in Mexico while wearing bandoliers strapped across their bare chests are barely into middle management.

When the Gulfstream’s fuselage split into pieces on impact, spilling cocaine across an area the length of three football fields, a chain of events was set in motion that would prove that nothing could be further from the truth.  
Several hundred miles away, and more than a year earlier, in May 2006, the Gulfstream’s ‘sister ship,’ a DC-9 which became known as “Cocaine1″ because it was painted to impersonate an official US Government plane, had been caught carrying more than 5.5 tons of cocaine.
The two planes shared too many identifying characteristics, including interlocking owners and a shared base in the sleepy retirement Mecca of St Petersburg FL  on Florida’s Gulf Coast, to be coincidence. 
The twin events represented the biggest sea change in the global drug trade since the death of Pablo Escobar in 1992, or the assassination of Barry Seal in 1986. Today, despite the intervening years, new details continue to emerge about the case. 

During the course of the investigation which followed it became clear that the money used to purchase both planes—the Gulfstream and the DC-9—was laundered and funnelled through Wachovia Bank, and more importantly, that it represented just a tiny sliver of the more than $380 billion of drug money that had been laundered during the past six years through what was then America’s 4th largest bank. 
Wachovia was fined a record $165 million. The sullied bank was forced to sell itself to Wells Fargo Bank in Salt Lake City.
At about three a.m. the normal quiet of the town of Tixkobob  (pop. 17000), located an hour outside of the Yucatan capital of Merida, was disturbed by the deafening noise of a low-flying twin-engine jet circling overhead, and the whine and buzzing of several military helicopters in pursuit. 
The noise went on for an incredible two hours until, out of fuel, the jet crashed three miles outside town on a plantation, Rancho San Francisco, identified by Mexican journalists as belonging to an American named Martin Wood.
Although remote, the crash site quickly drew a crowd. Slightly after dawn a Mexican Army unit from the Tenth Military Region deployed to the site, secured it, and then guarded it over the next 36 hours, repelling intrusions from other Mexican law enforcement agencies, as well as from the DEA, which flew six agents to the scene from Mexico City to reconnoiter, only to see them turned away from the site.

Days earlier, the Gulfstream jet had begun its journey at Fort Lauderdale’s notorious Executive Airport, flying southwest across the Gulf of Mexico to Cancun. There the pilot made arrangements with the airport’s general manager that they would be able to land without incident at the airport on their return from Colombia laden with cocaine. 
The next day, negotiations being successfully concluded, the Gulfstream  took off for Colombia. Nothing unusual was noticed. The plane was on a well-worn path. The airport in Cancun was the busiest drug port in Mexico.
After loading its cargo of cocaine the following day, the Gulfstream took off from the international airport just outside Medellin, in Rio Negro Colombia, bound once more for the exclusive Mexican Caribbean resort of Cancun, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
Among the mysteries surrounding the flight, the one which looms largest is this: Why did authorities at the Cancun airport change their minds, renege on their promise, and refuse the plane permission to land? 
At a press conference a year earlier after the crash of the DC-9, Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said officials from Federal security agencies in the Yucatan were known to be in collusion with drug traffickers. Curiously, with his next breath he mentioned Kamel Nacif, 69, a Lebanese businessman in Cancun who was in the news for alleged links to an international network of pedophiles.
 
In the drug trade, it is important to recall, the title “cartel du jour” is a designation which changes rapidly and without notice. Just ask the kingpins from the Medellin, or the Cali, cartels. 
It turns out that when the drug traffickers on the Gulfstream lost their “get out of jail free” card, a drug kingpin who the DEA has called the biggest drug trafficker since Pablo Escobar had just been captured.
On August 7, just over a month earlier, a joint operation between forces including Brazil, the US,  Argentina, Spain and Uruguay took down a drug kingpin who was recently profiled here. Before being caught, Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, known as “Lollipop” (El Chupeta), had been successfully holed up for more than five years in Sao Paulo Brazil. 
Three weeks after his arrest,  two Brazilians bought the Gulfstream.


The Sins of the Son and — The Smoking Airplane

by
Daniel Hopsicker and Michael C. Ruppert

Texas Governor and Republican Presidential contender George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, allegedly caught on videotape in 1985 picking up kilos of cocaine at a Florida airport in a DEA sting set up by Barry Seal

And a private turboprop King Air 200 supposedly caught on  tape in the sting with FAA ownership records leading directly to the CIA and some of the perpetrators of the most notorious (and never punished) major financial frauds of the ’80s. 

Add to this mix the now irrefutable proof, some of it from the CIA itself, that then Vice President George H.W. Bush was a decision maker in illegal Contra support operations connected to the “unusual” acquisition of aircraft  and that his staff participated in key financial, operational and political decisions

All these events lead inexorably to one unanswered question: How did this one plane go from being controlled by Barry Seal, the biggest drug smuggler in American history, to becoming, according to state officials,  a favored airplane of Texas Governor George W. Bush?

———————————–

Three months into an exhaustive investigation of persistent reports dating to 1995 that there exists an incriminating videotape of current Republican Presidential front-runner Bush caught in a hastily-aborted DEA cocaine sting, the central allegation remains unproven

But some startling details have been confirmed, amid a raft of new suspicions emerging from conflicting FAA records. Those records, along with other irrefutable documents, point to the existence of far more than mere happenstance or dark “conspiracy theorist speculations” in the matter of how George W. Bush came to be flying the friendly Texas skies in an airplane that was a crown jewel in the drug smuggling fleet of the notorious Barry Seal. Those documents reveal – beyond any doubt – that in the 1980s Barry Seal, with whom the CIA has consistently denied any relationship, piloted and controlled airplanes owned by the same Phoenix Arizona company, Greycas, which in a 1998 bankruptcy filing, was revealed to have been a subsidiary of the same company that owned the now defunct CIA proprietary airline Southern Air Transport.

The investigation started with a lead into the history of the aircraft (a 1982 Beechcraft King Air 200 with FAA registration number N6308F – Serial Number BB-1014).


According to a flurry of stories between Sept 15 and 17 in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and Knight Ridder newspapers, as many as six of the terrorists, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, received training at U.S. military facilities.

“U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990’s,” Newsweek reported. Newsweek also reported that three of the hijackers received training at the Pensacola Naval Station in Florida.

The “Magic Dutch Boys.” Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, two Dutch nationals, purchased the two flight schools that trained three of the four terrorist pilots to fly at the tiny Venice Airport, which has an extensive history of CIA involvement,.

DC-9 ‘Cocaine One’ kingpin’s secret conviction

It was the biggest drug seizure on an airplane in Mexican history. It led directly to the forced sale of Wachovia, then America’s 4th largest bank. And it threatened to become America’s most notorious drug scandal since Iran Contra.
Yet when a leader of the drug smuggling organization responsible for the flight of the DC-9 airliner dubbed “Cocaine One” that was busted in the Yucatan carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine quietly pled guilty to unrelated drug charges two years ago in a Federal Court in Miami, his role in the massive drug move was kept secret from officials preparing his Pre-Sentence Report (PSI),  from journalists, and even from the Federal judge in the case.


An American-registered drug plane has been plying the airspace over Central and South America carrying cargoes of cocaine for a good long while (authorities admit they’ve been “investigating” it since 2011) without apparent incident, until recently, when a newspaper in Costa Rica reported that the President of Costa Rica had been seen using it to fly to Hugo Chavez’s funeral, as well as the recent wedding of the son of Peru’s Vice-President in Lima.


Six years ago this week an American-registered luxury jet, a Gulfstream II—later dubbed “Cocaine 2”—crashed just before dawn in the middle of the jungle in Mexico’s Yucatan carrying four tons of cocaine. The event, and its aftermath, changed forever an official narrative of the war on drugs which has for years been pushing the notion that there is no significant American involvement in the global drug trade, and no American Drug Lords.  

A control tower employee in Ciudad del Carmen, the airport where the DSC-9 landed, causing something of a fuss, told authorities at a crucial juncture in what was an extremely tense situation, as the American-registered DC-9 carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine circled and requested permission to land, she was approached inside the airport terminal by an American she’d never seen before.

She described him as being 40 years old, with blond hair and a deep tan, and he was wearing a green polo shirt. The American, she said, hadn’t just wanted officials in the airport to let the plane land. He wanted the tower to certify the flight, meaning the DC-9 could then continue its journey, as a domestic flight, which would not need to clear Mexican Customs.

Said green polo shirt-wearing American remains unidentified. He just disappeared from narratives of the event… except for one respected journalist at Mexican newspaper Proceso, who wisely picked up on this detail, followed up, and then reported that among the contingent of drug traffickers awaiting the arrival of the plane on the ground with as much nonchalance as they could muster…the American had been in charge.

In every country in the world in which drugs are present, and illegal, control of the drug trade is the most important tool in perpetuating that country’s oligarchy, more important than a police force with a billion Billy clubs.

The guys chopping off heads in Mexico while wearing bandoliers strapped across their bare chests are barely into middle management.

When the Gulfstream’s fuselage split into pieces on impact, spilling cocaine across an area the length of three football fields, a chain of events was set in motion that would prove that nothing could be further from the truth.  
Several hundred miles away, and more than a year earlier, in May 2006, the Gulfstream’s ‘sister ship,’ a DC-9 which became known as “Cocaine1″ because it was painted to impersonate an official US Government plane, had been caught carrying more than 5.5 tons of cocaine.
The two planes shared too many identifying characteristics, including interlocking owners and a shared base in the sleepy retirement Mecca of St Petersburg FL  on Florida’s Gulf Coast, to be coincidence. 
The twin events represented the biggest sea change in the global drug trade since the death of Pablo Escobar in 1992, or the assassination of Barry Seal in 1986. Today, despite the intervening years, new details continue to emerge about the case. 

During the course of the investigation which followed it became clear that the money used to purchase both planes—the Gulfstream and the DC-9—was laundered and funnelled through Wachovia Bank, and more importantly, that it represented just a tiny sliver of the more than $380 billion of drug money that had been laundered during the past six years through what was then America’s 4th largest bank. 
Wachovia was fined a record $165 million. The sullied bank was forced to sell itself to Wells Fargo Bank in Salt Lake City.
At about three a.m. the normal quiet of the town of Tixkobob  (pop. 17000), located an hour outside of the Yucatan capital of Merida, was disturbed by the deafening noise of a low-flying twin-engine jet circling overhead, and the whine and buzzing of several military helicopters in pursuit. 
The noise went on for an incredible two hours until, out of fuel, the jet crashed three miles outside town on a plantation, Rancho San Francisco, identified by Mexican journalists as belonging to an American named Martin Wood.
Although remote, the crash site quickly drew a crowd. Slightly after dawn a Mexican Army unit from the Tenth Military Region deployed to the site, secured it, and then guarded it over the next 36 hours, repelling intrusions from other Mexican law enforcement agencies, as well as from the DEA, which flew six agents to the scene from Mexico City to reconnoiter, only to see them turned away from the site.

Days earlier, the Gulfstream jet had begun its journey at Fort Lauderdale’s notorious Executive Airport, flying southwest across the Gulf of Mexico to Cancun. There the pilot made arrangements with the airport’s general manager that they would be able to land without incident at the airport on their return from Colombia laden with cocaine. 
The next day, negotiations being successfully concluded, the Gulfstream  took off for Colombia. Nothing unusual was noticed. The plane was on a well-worn path. The airport in Cancun was the busiest drug port in Mexico.
After loading its cargo of cocaine the following day, the Gulfstream took off from the international airport just outside Medellin, in Rio Negro Colombia, bound once more for the exclusive Mexican Caribbean resort of Cancun, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
Among the mysteries surrounding the flight, the one which looms largest is this: Why did authorities at the Cancun airport change their minds, renege on their promise, and refuse the plane permission to land? 
At a press conference a year earlier after the crash of the DC-9, Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said officials from Federal security agencies in the Yucatan were known to be in collusion with drug traffickers. Curiously, with his next breath he mentioned Kamel Nacif, 69, a Lebanese businessman in Cancun who was in the news for alleged links to an international network of pedophiles.
 
In the drug trade, it is important to recall, the title “cartel du jour” is a designation which changes rapidly and without notice. Just ask the kingpins from the Medellin, or the Cali, cartels. 
It turns out that when the drug traffickers on the Gulfstream lost their “get out of jail free” card, a drug kingpin who the DEA has called the biggest drug trafficker since Pablo Escobar had just been captured.
On August 7, just over a month earlier, a joint operation between forces including Brazil, the US,  Argentina, Spain and Uruguay took down a drug kingpin who was recently profiled here. Before being caught, Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, known as “Lollipop” (El Chupeta), had been successfully holed up for more than five years in Sao Paulo Brazil. 
Three weeks after his arrest,  two Brazilians bought the Gulfstream.


The Sins of the Son and — The Smoking Airplane

by
Daniel Hopsicker and Michael C. Ruppert

Texas Governor and Republican Presidential contender George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, allegedly caught on videotape in 1985 picking up kilos of cocaine at a Florida airport in a DEA sting set up by Barry Seal

And a private turboprop King Air 200 supposedly caught on  tape in the sting with FAA ownership records leading directly to the CIA and some of the perpetrators of the most notorious (and never punished) major financial frauds of the ’80s. 

Add to this mix the now irrefutable proof, some of it from the CIA itself, that then Vice President George H.W. Bush was a decision maker in illegal Contra support operations connected to the “unusual” acquisition of aircraft  and that his staff participated in key financial, operational and political decisions

All these events lead inexorably to one unanswered question: How did this one plane go from being controlled by Barry Seal, the biggest drug smuggler in American history, to becoming, according to state officials,  a favored airplane of Texas Governor George W. Bush?

———————————–

Three months into an exhaustive investigation of persistent reports dating to 1995 that there exists an incriminating videotape of current Republican Presidential front-runner Bush caught in a hastily-aborted DEA cocaine sting, the central allegation remains unproven

But some startling details have been confirmed, amid a raft of new suspicions emerging from conflicting FAA records. Those records, along with other irrefutable documents, point to the existence of far more than mere happenstance or dark “conspiracy theorist speculations” in the matter of how George W. Bush came to be flying the friendly Texas skies in an airplane that was a crown jewel in the drug smuggling fleet of the notorious Barry Seal. Those documents reveal – beyond any doubt – that in the 1980s Barry Seal, with whom the CIA has consistently denied any relationship, piloted and controlled airplanes owned by the same Phoenix Arizona company, Greycas, which in a 1998 bankruptcy filing, was revealed to have been a subsidiary of the same company that owned the now defunct CIA proprietary airline Southern Air Transport.

The investigation started with a lead into the history of the aircraft (a 1982 Beechcraft King Air 200 with FAA registration number N6308F – Serial Number BB-1014).


According to a flurry of stories between Sept 15 and 17 in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and Knight Ridder newspapers, as many as six of the terrorists, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, received training at U.S. military facilities.

“U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990’s,” Newsweek reported. Newsweek also reported that three of the hijackers received training at the Pensacola Naval Station in Florida.

The “Magic Dutch Boys.” Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, two Dutch nationals, purchased the two flight schools that trained three of the four terrorist pilots to fly at the tiny Venice Airport, which has an extensive history of CIA involvement,.

HSBC for drug kingpins and rogue nations

HSBC provided a conduit for “drug kingpins and rogue nations” according to a US senate committee investigating money laundering claims at the bank.A Senate report said suspicious funds from countries including Mexico and Syria had passed through the ba…

HSBC provided a conduit for “drug kingpins and rogue nations” according to a US senate committee investigating money laundering claims at the bank.

A Senate report said suspicious funds from countries including Mexico and Syria had passed through the bank.

HSBC is set to apologise for its wrong-doing when officials give their evidence at Tuesday’s Senate hearing.

Senator Carl Levin said HSBC’s lack of controls at its US and overseas units had been “a recipe for trouble”.

Mr Levin is chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which is looking into HSBC’s activities between 2006 and 2010.

The subcommittee, which began at 13:30GMT, heard first from, David Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and Leigh Winchell, assistant director, of the customs enforcement unit ICE, which is part of Homeland Security.

In a statement, Europe’s largest bank, said it expected to be held accountable for what went wrong.

Black-market funds

Start Quote

It is right that we will be held accountable and that we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong”

Stuart GulliverHSBC chief executive

“We will apologise, acknowledge these mistakes, answer for our actions and give our absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong,” HSBC said in a statement released on Monday.
The Senate report said large sums of drug money from Mexico had almost certainly been laundered through the bank, as well as questionable funds from the Cayman Islands, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the subcommittee that released the report, spoke of a “polluted” system that allowed black-market funds to move through the US banking system.
“In an age of international terrorism, drug violence in our streets and on our borders, and organised crime, stopping illicit money flows that support those atrocities is a national security imperative,” said Mr Levin.
The report also concludes that the US bank regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, failed to properly monitor HSBC.
The report comes at a difficult time for the British banking sector, which is having its standards and practices scrutinised by regulators and policymakers.
Critics say the current furore over the manipulation of the Libor inter-bank interest rate is the latest example of a banking system in need of fundamental reform.

Mexico Cash

According to the Senate committee, HSBC accepted more than $15 billion in cash from subsidiaries in Mexico, Russia and other countries at high risk of money laundering but failed to conduct any monitoring of these bulk cash transactions between mid-2006 and mid-2009.
Furthermore, the report found that HSBC knew of lax anti-money laundering practices at its Mexican subsidiary HBMX which had dated back to its purchase in 2002.
HBMX was warned, on at least two occasions, by Mexican authorities that drug money was probably being laundered through HBMX accounts.
The report names individual cases such as that of Chinese-Mexican citizen, Zhenly Ye Gon.
Mr Ye Gon, and his three Mexican pharmaceutical firms including Unimed Pharmaceutical were long-standing clients of HBMX.
In 2007, a joint operation between the Mexican government and US Drug Enforcement Agency seized more than $205m in cash at Mr Ye Gon’s residence – described as the largest drug-related cash seizure in history – along with $17m in Mexican pesos, firearms, and international wire transfer records.
Mr Ye Gon is currently in a US prison awaiting extradition to Mexico on charges relating to the import, manufacture, and sale of chemicals to drug cartels for use in manufacturing methamphetamine.

Miami office

Many of HSBC’s breaches of US anti-money laundering relate to its use of bearer share accounts. Under the rules for these accounts, ownership of shares and the income they incur can be passed from person to person in secrecy.
HSBC’s US subsidiary HBUS had opened more than 2,550 accounts for bearer share corporations.
These businesses are commonly set up in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands.
Most of the bearer share accounts – some 1,670 – were opened at the Miami office of HBUS.
At their peak, these Miami accounts held $2.6bn of assets and generated annual revenues of $26m.
The report highlights the case of Miami Beach hotel developers, Mauricio Cohen Assor and Leon Cohen Levy.
The father and son used HBUS accounts opened under the names Blue Ocean Finance Ltd. and Whitebury Shipping Time-Sharing Ltd. to help hide $150m in assets and $49m of income.
The pair were jailed for 10 years for criminal tax fraud and filing false tax returns in 2010.

‘Held accountable’

The report into HSBC was released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, a Congressional watchdog that looks at financial improprieties.
The year-long inquiry, which included a review of 1.4 million documents and interviews with 75 HSBC officials and bank regulators, will be the focus of the hearing on Tuesday.
Among the executives who will appear is HSBC’s chief legal officer Stuart Levey, who joined the bank in January and was previously one of the top officials on terrorism and finance at the US Treasury Department.
The head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas Curry, will also testify.
In a memo released ahead of the hearing, HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said: “It is right that we will be held accountable and that we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong.
“As well as answering the subcommittee’s questions, we will explain the significant changes we have already made to strengthen our compliance and risk management infrastructure and culture,” he said.

More on This Story

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On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller’s cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.

Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court. In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. Now that the year’s “deferred prosecution” has expired, the bank is in effect in the clear. It paid federal authorities $110m in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50m fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

More shocking, and more important, the bank was sanctioned for failing to apply the proper anti-laundering strictures to the transfer of $378.4bn – a sum equivalent to one-third of Mexico’s gross national product – into dollar accounts from so-called casas de cambio (CDCs) in Mexico, currency exchange houses with which the bank did business.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the “legal” banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.

At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to banks on the brink of collapse. “Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade,” he said. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”

Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo during the 2008 crash, just as Wells Fargo became a beneficiary of $25bn in taxpayers’ money. Wachovia’s prosecutors were clear, however, that there was no suggestion Wells Fargo had behaved improperly; it had co-operated fully with the investigation. Mexico is the US’s third largest international trading partner and Wachovia was understandably interested in this volume of legitimate trade.

José Luis Marmolejo, who prosecuted those running one of the casas de cambio at the Mexican end, said: “Wachovia handled all the transfers. They never reported any as suspicious.”

“As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk,” the bank admitted in the statement of settlement with the federal government, but, “despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business”. There is, of course, the legitimate use of CDCs as a way into the Hispanic market. In 2005 the World Bank said that Mexico was receiving $8.1bn in remittances.

During research into the Wachovia Mexican case, the Observer obtained documents previously provided to financial regulators. It emerged that the alarm that was ignored came from, among other places, London, as a result of the diligence of one of the most important whistleblowers of our time. A man who, in a series of interviews with the Observer, adds detail to the documents, laying bare the story of how Wachovia was at the centre of one of the world’s biggest money-laundering operations.

Martin Woods, a Liverpudlian in his mid-40s, joined the London office of Wachovia Bank in February 2005 as a senior anti-money laundering officer. He had previously served with the Metropolitan police drug squad. As a detective he joined the money-laundering investigation team of the National Crime Squad, where he worked on the British end of the Bank of New York money-laundering scandal in the late 1990s.

Woods talks like a police officer – in the best sense of the word: punctilious, exact, with a roguish humour, but moral at the core. He was an ideal appointment for any bank eager to operate a diligent and effective risk management policy against the lucrative scourge of high finance: laundering, knowing or otherwise, the vast proceeds of criminality, tax-evasion, and dealing in arms and drugs.

Woods had a police officer’s eye and a police officer’s instincts – not those of a banker. And this influenced not only his methods, but his mentality. “I think that a lot of things matter more than money – and that marks you out in a culture which appears to prevail in many of the banks in the world,” he says.

Woods was set apart by his modus operandi. His speciality, he explains, was his application of a “know your client”, or KYC, policing strategy to identifying dirty money. “KYC is a fundamental approach to anti-money laundering, going after tax evasion or counter-terrorist financing. Who are your clients? Is the documentation right? Good, responsible banking involved always knowing your customer and it still does.”

When he looked at Wachovia, the first thing Woods noticed was a deficiency in KYC information. And among his first reports to his superiors at the bank’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, were observations on a shortfall in KYC at Wachovia’s operation in London, which he set about correcting, while at the same time implementing what was known as an enhanced transaction monitoring programme, gathering more information on clients whose money came through the bank’s offices in the City, in sterling or euros. By August 2006, Woods had identified a number of suspicious transactions relating to casas de cambio customers in Mexico.

Primarily, these involved deposits of traveller’s cheques in euros. They had sequential numbers and deposited larger amounts of money than any innocent travelling person would need, with inadequate or no KYC information on them and what seemed to a trained eye to be dubious signatures. “It was basic work,” he says. “They didn’t answer the obvious questions: ‘Is the transaction real, or does it look synthetic? Does the traveller’s cheque meet the protocols? Is it all there, and if not, why not?'”

Woods discussed the matter with Wachovia’s global head of anti-money laundering for correspondent banking, who believed the cheques could signify tax evasion. He then undertook what banks call a “look back” at previous transactions and saw fit to submit a series of SARs, or suspicious activity reports, to the authorities in the UK and his superiors in Charlotte, urging the blocking of named parties and large series of sequentially numbered traveller’s cheques from Mexico. He issued a number of SARs in 2006, of which 50 related to the casas de cambio in Mexico. To his amazement, the response from Wachovia’s Miami office, the centre for Latin American business, was anything but supportive – he felt it was quite the reverse.

As it turned out, however, Woods was on the right track. Wachovia’s business in Mexico was coming under closer and closer scrutiny by US federal law enforcement. Wachovia was issued with a number of subpoenas for information on its Mexican operation. Woods has subsequently been informed that Wachovia had six or seven thousand subpoenas. He says this was “An absurd number. So at what point does someone at the highest level not get the feeling that something is very, very wrong?”

In April and May 2007, Wachovia – as a result of increasing interest and pressure from the US attorney’s office – began to close its relationship with some of the casas de cambio. But rather than launch an internal investigation into Woods’s alerts over Mexico, Woods claims Wachovia hung its own money-laundering expert out to dry. The records show that during 2007 Woods “continued to submit more SARs related to the casas de cambio”.

In July 2007, all of Wachovia’s remaining 10 Mexican casa de cambio clients operating through London suddenly stopped doing so. Later in 2007, after the investigation of Wachovia was reported in the US financial media, the bank decided to end its remaining relationships with the Mexican casas de cambio globally. By this time, Woods says, he found his personal situation within the bank untenable; while the bank acted on one level to protect itself from the federal investigation into its shortcomings, on another, it rounded on the man who had been among the first to spot them.

On 16 June Woods was told by Wachovia’s head of compliance that his latest SAR need not have been filed, that he had no legal requirement to investigate an overseas case and no right of access to documents held overseas from Britain, even if they were held by Wachovia.

Woods’s life went into freefall. He went to hospital with a prolapsed disc, reported sick and was told by the bank that he not done so in the appropriate manner, as directed by the employees’ handbook. He was off work for three weeks, returning in August 2007 to find a letter from the bank’s compliance managing director, which was unrelenting in its tone and words of warning.

The letter addressed itself to what the manager called “specific examples of your failure to perform at an acceptable standard”. Woods, on the edge of a breakdown, was put on sick leave by his GP; he was later given psychiatric treatment, enrolled on a stress management course and put on medication.

Late in 2007, Woods attended a function at Scotland Yard where colleagues from the US were being entertained. There, he sought out a representative of the Drug Enforcement Administration and told him about the casas de cambio, the SARs and his employer’s reaction. The Federal Reserve and officials of the office of comptroller of currency in Washington DC then “spent a lot of time examining the SARs” that had been sent by Woods to Charlotte from London.

“They got back in touch with me a while afterwards and we began to put the pieces of the jigsaw together,” says Woods. What they found was – as Costa says – the tip of the iceberg of what was happening to drug money in the banking industry, but at least it was visible and it had a name: Wachovia.

In June 2005, the DEA, the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service and the US attorney’s office in southern Florida began investigating wire transfers from Mexico to the US. They were traced back to correspondent bank accounts held by casas de cambio at Wachovia. The CDC accounts were supervised and managed by a business unit of Wachovia in the bank’s Miami offices.

“Through CDCs,” said the court document, “persons in Mexico can use hard currency and … wire transfer the value of that currency to US bank accounts to purchase items in the United States or other countries. The nature of the CDC business allows money launderers the opportunity to move drug dollars that are in Mexico into CDCs and ultimately into the US banking system.

“On numerous occasions,” say the court papers, “monies were deposited into a CDC by a drug-trafficking organisation. Using false identities, the CDC then wired that money through its Wachovia correspondent bank accounts for the purchase of airplanes for drug-trafficking organisations.” The court settlement of 2010 would detail that “nearly $13m went through correspondent bank accounts at Wachovia for the purchase of aircraft to be used in the illegal narcotics trade. From these aircraft, more than 20,000kg of cocaine were seized.”

All this occurred despite the fact that Wachovia’s office was in Miami, designated by the US government as a “high-intensity money laundering and related financial crime area”, and a “high-intensity drug trafficking area”. Since the drug cartel war began in 2005, Mexico had been designated a high-risk source of money laundering.

“As early as 2004,” the court settlement would read, “Wachovia understood the risk that was associated with doing business with the Mexican CDCs. Wachovia was aware of the general industry warnings. As early as July 2005, Wachovia was aware that other large US banks were exiting the CDC business based on [anti-money laundering] concerns … despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in business.”

On 16 March 2010, Douglas Edwards, senior vice-president of Wachovia Bank, put his signature to page 10 of a 25-page settlement, in which the bank admitted its role as outlined by the prosecutors. On page 11, he signed again, as senior vice-president of Wells Fargo. The documents show Wachovia providing three services to 22 CDCs in Mexico: wire transfers, a “bulk cash service” and a “pouch deposit service”, to accept “deposit items drawn on US banks, eg cheques and traveller’s cheques”, as spotted by Woods.

“For the time period of 1 May 2004 through 31 May 2007, Wachovia processed at least $$373.6bn in CDCs, $4.7bn in bulk cash” – a total of more than $378.3bn, a sum that dwarfs the budgets debated by US state and UK local authorities to provide services to citizens.

The document gives a fascinating insight into how the laundering of drug money works. It details how investigators “found readily identifiable evidence of red flags of large-scale money laundering”. There were “structured wire transfers” whereby “it was commonplace in the CDC accounts for round-number wire transfers to be made on the same day or in close succession, by the same wire senders, for the … same account”.

Over two days, 10 wire transfers by four individuals “went though Wachovia for deposit into an aircraft broker’s account. All of the transfers were in round numbers. None of the individuals of business that wired money had any connection to the aircraft or the entity that allegedly owned the aircraft. The investigation has further revealed that the identities of the individuals who sent the money were false and that the business was a shell entity. That plane was subsequently seized with approximately 2,000kg of cocaine on board.”

Many of the sequentially numbered traveller’s cheques, of the kind dealt with by Woods, contained “unusual markings” or “lacked any legible signature”. Also, “many of the CDCs that used Wachovia’s bulk cash service sent significantly more cash to Wachovia than what Wachovia had expected. More specifically, many of the CDCs exceeded their monthly activity by at least 50%.”

Recognising these “red flags”, the US attorney’s office in Miami, the IRS and the DEA began investigating Wachovia, later joined by FinCEN, one of the US Treasury’s agencies to fight money laundering, while the office of the comptroller of the currency carried out a parallel investigation. The violations they found were, says the document, “serious and systemic and allowed certain Wachovia customers to launder millions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics through Wachovia accounts over an extended time period. The investigation has identified that at least $110m in drug proceeds were funnelled through the CDC accounts held at Wachovia.”

The settlement concludes by discussing Wachovia’s “considerable co-operation and remedial actions” since the prosecution was initiated, after the bank was bought by Wells Fargo. “In consideration of Wachovia’s remedial actions,” concludes the prosecutor, “the United States shall recommend to the court … that prosecution of Wachovia on the information filed … be deferred for a period of 12 months.”

But while the federal prosecution proceeded, Woods had remained out in the cold. On Christmas Eve 2008, his lawyers filed tribunal proceedings against Wachovia for bullying and detrimental treatment of a whistleblower. The case was settled in May 2009, by which time Woods felt as though he was “the most toxic person in the bank”. Wachovia agreed to pay an undisclosed amount, in return for which Woods left the bank and said he would not make public the terms of the settlement.

After years of tribulation, Woods was finally formally vindicated, though not by Wachovia: a letter arrived from John Dugan, the comptroller of the currency in Washington DC, dated 19 March 2010 – three days after the settlement in Miami. Dugan said he was “writing to personally recognise and express my appreciation for the role you played in the actions brought against Wachovia Bank for violations of the bank secrecy act … Not only did the information that you provided facilitate our investigation, but you demonstrated great personal courage and integrity by speaking up. Without the efforts of individuals like you, actions such as the one taken against Wachovia would not be possible.”

The so-called “deferred prosecution” detailed in the Miami document is a form of probation whereby if the bank abides by the law for a year, charges are dropped. So this March the bank was in the clear. The week that the deferred prosecution expired, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo said the parent bank had no comment to make on the documentation pertaining to Woods’s case, or his allegations. She added that there was no comment on Sloman’s remarks to the court; a provision in the settlement stipulated Wachovia was not allowed to issue public statements that contradicted it.

But the settlement leaves a sour taste in many mouths – and certainly in Woods’s. The deferred prosecution is part of this “cop-out all round”, he says. “The regulatory authorities do not have to spend any more time on it, and they don’t have to push it as far as a criminal trial. They just issue criminal proceedings, and settle. The law enforcement people do what they are supposed to do, but what’s the point? All those people dealing with all that money from drug-trafficking and murder, and no one goes to jail?”

One of the foremost figures in the training of anti-money laundering officers is Robert Mazur, lead infiltrator for US law enforcement of the Colombian Medellín cartel during the epic prosecution and collapse of the BCCI banking business in 1991 (his story was made famous by his memoir, The Infiltrator, which became a movie).

Mazur, whose firm Chase and Associates works closely with law enforcement agencies and trains officers for bank anti-money laundering, cast a keen eye over the case against Wachovia, and he says now that “the only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom”.

Mazur said that “a lot of the law enforcement people were disappointed to see a settlement” between the administration and Wachovia. “But I know there were external circumstances that worked to Wachovia’s benefit, not least that the US banking system was on the edge of collapse.”

What concerns Mazur is that what law enforcement agencies and politicians hope to achieve against the cartels is limited, and falls short of the obvious attack the US could make in its war on drugs: go after the money. “We’re thinking way too small,” Mazur says. “I train law enforcement officers, thousands of them every year, and they say to me that if they tried to do half of what I did, they’d be arrested. But I tell them: ‘You got to think big. The headlines you will be reading in seven years’ time will be the result of the work you begin now.’ With BCCI, we had to spend two years setting it up, two years doing undercover work, and another two years getting it to trial. If they want to do something big, like go after the money, that’s how long it takes.”

But Mazur warns: “If you look at the career ladders of law enforcement, there’s no incentive to go after the big money. People move every two to three years. The DEA is focused on drug trafficking rather than money laundering. You get a quicker result that way – they want to get the traffickers and seize their assets. But this is like treating a sick plant by cutting off a few branches – it just grows new ones. Going after the big money is cutting down the plant – it’s a harder door to knock on, it’s a longer haul, and it won’t get you the short-term riches.”

The office of the comptroller of the currency is still examining whether individuals in Wachovia are criminally liable. Sources at FinCEN say that a so-called “look-back” is in process, as directed by the settlement and agreed to by Wachovia, into the $378.4bn that was not directly associated with the aircraft purchases and cocaine hauls, but neither was it subject to the proper anti-laundering checks. A FinCEN source says that $20bn already examined appears to have “suspicious origins”. But this is just the beginning.

Antonio Maria Costa, who was executive director of the UN’s office on drugs and crime from May 2002 to August 2010, charts the history of the contamination of the global banking industry by drug and criminal money since his first initiatives to try to curb it from the European commission during the 1990s. “The connection between organised crime and financial institutions started in the late 1970s, early 1980s,” he says, “when the mafia became globalised.”

Until then, criminal money had circulated largely in cash, with the authorities making the occasional, spectacular “sting” or haul. During Costa’s time as director for economics and finance at the EC in Brussels, from 1987, inroads were made against penetration of banks by criminal laundering, and “criminal money started moving back to cash, out of the financial institutions and banks. Then two things happened: the financial crisis in Russia, after the emergence of the Russian mafia, and the crises of 2003 and 2007-08.

“With these crises,” says Costa, “the banking sector was short of liquidity, the banks exposed themselves to the criminal syndicates, who had cash in hand.”

Costa questions the readiness of governments and their regulatory structures to challenge this large-scale corruption of the global economy: “Government regulators showed what they were capable of when the issue suddenly changed to laundering money for terrorism – on that, they suddenly became serious and changed their attitude.”

Hardly surprising, then, that Wachovia does not appear to be the end of the line. In August 2010, it emerged in quarterly disclosures by HSBC that the US justice department was seeking to fine it for anti-money laundering compliance problems reported to include dealings with Mexico.

“Wachovia had my résumé, they knew who I was,” says Woods. “But they did not want to know – their attitude was, ‘Why are you doing this?’ They should have been on my side, because they were compliance people, not commercial people. But really they were commercial people all along. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the biggest money-laundering scandal of our time.

“These are the proceeds of murder and misery in Mexico, and of drugs sold around the world,” he says. “All the law enforcement people wanted to see this come to trial. But no one goes to jail. “What does the settlement do to fight the cartels? Nothing – it doesn’t make the job of law enforcement easier and it encourages the cartels and anyone who wants to make money by laundering their blood dollars. Where’s the risk? There is none.

“Is it in the interest of the American people to encourage both the drug cartels and the banks in this way? Is it in the interest of the Mexican people? It’s simple: if you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 30,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point.”

Woods feels unable to rest on his laurels. He tours the world for a consultancy he now runs, Hermes Forensic Solutions, counselling and speaking to banks on the dangers of laundering criminal money, and how to spot and stop it. “New York and London,” says Woods, “have become the world’s two biggest laundries of criminal and drug money, and offshore tax havens. Not the Cayman Islands, not the Isle of Man or Jersey. The big laundering is right through the City of London and Wall Street.

“After the Wachovia case, no one in the regulatory community has sat down with me and asked, ‘What happened?’ or ‘What can we do to avoid this happening to other banks?’ They are not interested. They are the same people who attack the whistleblowers and this is a position the [British] Financial Services Authority at least has adopted on legal advice: it has been advised that the confidentiality of banking and bankers takes primacy over the public information disclosure act. That is how the priorities work: secrecy first, public interest second.

“Meanwhile, the drug industry has two products: money and suffering. On one hand, you have massive profits and enrichment. On the other, you have massive suffering, misery and death. You cannot separate one from the other.

“What happened at Wachovia was symptomatic of the failure of the entire regulatory system to apply the kind of proper governance and adequate risk management which would have prevented not just the laundering of blood money, but the global crisis.”