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Bad Moon Rising

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bad Moon Rising Part 67 - Minerva

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
Social science is being militarised to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements

By Dr. Nafeez Ahmed
The Guardian
June 14, 2013

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Launched in 2008 the year of the global banking crisis - the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”

Twitter posts and conversations will be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised.”

Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington “seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate,” along with their “characteristics and consequences.” The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on “large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity,” and will cover 58 countries in total.

Last year, the DoD’s Minerva Initiative funded a project to determine WHO DOES NOT BECOME A TERRORIST AND WHY?‘ which, however, conflates peaceful activists with “supporters of political violence” who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on “armed militancy” themselves. The project explicitly sets out to study non-violent activists:

“In every context we find many individuals who share the demographic, family, cultural, and/or socioeconomic background of those who decided to engage in terrorism, and yet refrained themselves from taking up armed militancy, even though they were sympathetic to the end goals of armed groups. The field of terrorism studies has not, until recently, attempted to look at this control group. This project is not about terrorists, but about supporters of political violence.”

The project’s 14 case studies each “involve extensive interviews with ten or more activists and militants in parties and NGOs who, though sympathetic to radical causes, have chosen a path of non-violence.”

I contacted the project’s principal investigator, Prof Maria Rasmussen of the US Naval Postgraduate School, asking why non-violent activists working for NGOs should be equated to supporters of political violence and which “parties and NGOs” were being investigated - but received no response.

Similarly, Minerva programme staff refused to answer a series of similar questions I put to them, including asking how “radical causes” promoted by peaceful NGOs constituted a potential national security threat of interest to the DoD.

Among my questions, I asked:

“Does the US Department of Defense see protest movements and social activism in different parts of the world as a threat to US national security? If so, why? Does the US Department of Defense consider political movements aiming for large scale political and economic change as a national security matter? If so, why? Activism, protest, ‘political movements’ and of course NGOs are a vital element of a healthy civil society and democracy - why is it that the DoD is funding research to investigate such issues?”

Minerva’s programme director Dr Erin Fitzgerald said “I appreciate your concerns and am glad that you reached out to give us the opportunity to clarify” before promising a more detailed response. Instead, I received the following bland statement from the DoD’s press office:

“The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners. While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense’s understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment.”

In 2013, Minerva funded a University of Maryland project in collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to gauge the risk of civil unrest due to climate change. The three-year $1.9 million project is developing models to anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate change scenarios.

From the outset, the Minerva programme was slated to provide over $75 million over five years for social and behavioural science research. This year alone it has been allocated a total budget of $17.8 million by US Congress.

An internal Minerva staff email communication referenced in a 2012 Masters dissertation reveals that the programme is geared toward producing quick results that are directly applicable to field operations. The dissertation was part of a Minerva-funded project on “counter-radical Muslim discourse” at Arizona State University.

The internal email from Prof Steve Corman, a principal investigator for the project, describes a meeting hosted by the DoD’s Human Social Cultural and Behavioural Modeling (HSCB) programme in which senior Pentagon officials said their priority was “to develop capabilities that are deliverable quickly” in the form of “models and tools that can be integrated with operations.”

Although Office of Naval Research supervisor Dr Harold Hawkins had assured the university researchers at the outset that the project was merely “a basic research effort, so we shouldn’t be concerned about doing applied stuff”, the meeting in fact showed that DoD is looking to “feed results” into “applications,” Corman said in the email. He advised his researchers to “think about shaping results, reports, etc., so they [DoD] can clearly see their application for tools that can be taken to the field.”

Many independent scholars are critical of what they see as the US government’s efforts to militarise social science in the service of war. In May 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) wrote to the US government noting that the Pentagon lacks “the kind of infrastructure for evaluating anthropological [and other social science] research” in a way that involves “rigorous, balanced and objective peer review”, calling for such research to be managed instead by civilian agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The following month, the DoD signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NSF to cooperate on the management of Minerva. In response, the AAA cautioned that although research proposals would now be evaluated by NSF’s merit-review panels. “Pentagon officials will have decision-making power in deciding who sits on the panels”:

“ there remain concerns within the discipline that research will only be funded when it supports the Pentagon’s agenda. Other critics of the programme, including the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, have raised concerns that the programme would discourage research in other important areas and undermine the role of the university as a place for independent discussion and critique of the military.”

According to Prof David Price, a cultural anthropologist at St Martin’s University in Washington DC and author of Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State, “when you looked at the individual bits of many of these projects they sort of looked like normal social science, textual analysis, historical research, and so on, but when you added these bits up they all shared themes of legibility with all the distortions of over-simplification. Minerva is farming out the piece-work of empire in ways that can allow individuals to disassociate their individual contributions from the larger project.”

Prof Price has previously exposed how the Pentagon’s Human Terrain Systems (HTS) programme - designed to embed social scientists in military field operations - routinely conducted training scenarios set in regions “within the United States.”

Citing a summary critique of the programme sent to HTS directors by a former employee, Price reported that the HTS training scenarios “adapted COIN [counterinsurgency] for Afghanistan/Iraq” to domestic situations “in the USA where the local population was seen from the military perspective as threatening the established balance of power and influence, and challenging law and order.”

One war-game, said Price, involved environmental activists protesting pollution from a coal-fired plant near Missouri, some of whom were members of the well-known environmental NGO Sierra Club. Participants were tasked to “identify those who were ‘problem-solvers’ and those who were ‘problem-causers,’ and the rest of the population whom would be the target of the information operations to move their Center of Gravity toward that set of viewpoints and values which was the ‘desired end-state’ of the military’s strategy.”

Such war-games are consistent with a raft of Pentagon planning documents which suggest that National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance is partially motivated to prepare for the destabilising impact of coming environmental, energy and economic shocks.

James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York, concurs with Price’s concerns. Minerva-funded social scientists tied to Pentagon counterinsurgency operations are involved in the “study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements,” he said, including how “to counteract grassroots movements.”

Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact - in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 06/14/14 •
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bad Moon Rising Part 66 - Book As China Goes, So Goes the World

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As China Goes, So Goes the World
How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything

By Karl Gerth
Hill and Wang

In this revelatory examination of the most overlooked force that is changing the face of China, the Oxford historian and scholar of modern Asia Karl Gerth shows that as the Chinese consumer goes, so goes the world. While Americans and Europeans have become increasingly worried about Chinas competition for manufacturing jobs and energy resources, they have overlooked an even bigger story: ChinaҒs rapid development of an American-style consumer culture, which is revolutionizing the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese and has the potential to reshape the world. 

This change is already well under way. China has become the worlds largest consumer of everything from automobiles to beer and has begun to adopt such consumer habits as living in large single-occupancy homes, shopping in gigantic malls, and eating meat-based diets served in fast-food outlets. Even rural Chinese, long the laggards of consumerism, have been buying refrigerators, televisions, mobile phones, and larger houses in unprecedented numbers. As China Goes, So Goes the World reveals why we should all care about the everyday choices made by ordinary Chinese. Taken together, these seemingly small changes are deeper and more profound than the headline-grabbing stories on military budgets, carbon emissions, or trade disputes.

Posted by Elvis on 01/12/14 •
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bad Moon Rising Part 65 - 1914 And Today

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Will 2014 See a Repeat of 1914?

By James G. Wiles
American Thinker
December 29, 2013

Will 2014 see a repeat of 1914?

That’s the provocative question asked in a PENETRATING ESSAY by Oxford don Margaret MacMillan that is causing quite a stir around the world since it first appeared on the Brookings Institution’s website on December 14. 

Here’s the question that Professor MacMillan addresses: does CHINA’S REEMERGENCE as a dominant economy and world power for the first time since the 1400s THREATEN a new world war? MacMillan’s conclusion?

Quite possibly.  Even more startling, the LEAD EDITORIAL in the year-end double issue of The Economist reaches the same conclusion.

And foreign policy scholar Walter Russell Meade of Bard College ADDRESSES THE SAME TOPIC in his own online essay, entitled “The End of the End of History.”

All told, they constitute a year-end triptych of essential foreign policy reading.  For, remarkably in the Age of Obama, all these liberal writers condemn the dangerous foreign policies of not only the current administration in Washington, but also the leaders of the Western alliance, including Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Cold War historian Anne Applebaum on Thursday added HER OWN TAKE in the Washington Post.  Applebaum wrote that, while no renewal of the Cold War is in prospect, China and Russia are plainly probing U.S. alliances and defenses for weaknesses—and exploiting those weaknesses when they find them.

As 2013 ends, it turns out that much-reviled former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was right.  Weakness is provocative.  And, as Anne Applebaum wrote this week, the Obama administration’s weakness abroad is showing.

So, are China, Japan, and the United States inevitably headed for a world-ending collision like that among Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany in the First World War?  There’s probably no more important question in the world today.  And, as our authors all note, that question is not receiving anywhere near the attention it deserves.

Besides the current shoving match in East Asia, it’s the 2014 centennial commemoration of the beginning of the Great War that is prompting this new scholarship.  MacMillan’s essay—and her new book, from which it proceeds, The War That Ended Peace: the Road to 1914 (2013)—are only part of it.  Yet her personal and academic background give Margaret MacMillan’s argument special force.

A Canadian, MacMillan is the granddaughter of the late British Prime Minister Lloyd George.  As a historian, she’s the author of the best-selling—and highly recommended—Paris 1919 (2003) on the Versailles Peace Conference.  After writing about the treaty that ended the First World War (and largely led to the second one), it was natural to turn to the causes of that war.

The Guns of August, as Barbara Tuchman titled her 1962 study of WWI’s outbreak, aborted the world’s first economic globalization.  Do developments in Asia and elsewhere threaten to do so again today?

MacMillan’s short answer is taken from Mark Twain.  History doesn’t repeat itself, Twain said.  “But it does rhyme.”

Then she turns to the evidence.  She notes, drawing on her new book, the disquieting parallels between 2014 and 1914.  Here they are in brief, using the names of the players in 1914:

* A globalized economy in which Germany and the United Kingdom were each other’s largest trading partners.  A smug belief, among the intelligentsia and national leaders of the day, that this fact made war impossible.  Also a belief that existing international arrangements will be able to prevent an outbreak of mass warfare.

* An arms race, especially at sea.

* A revolution in communications, science, and technology, making possible a new paradigm for violence and ways of killing.  A military not facing the consequences of the new technology of human killing for strategy, tactics, and casualty rates.

* A rising Germany seeking an equal “place in the sun” with the British Empire, control of sea lanes to overseas colonies, and sources of raw materials and living space for its soaring population.  A fading France, once already beaten by Germany, now outnumbered and outgunned by Germany and fearful of the future.

* Not least, weak, indecisive, and inexperienced leadership on the British and French side (not to mention Imperial Russia) and a thrusting, hot-tempered, and dominating kaiser on the other.

Then there occurred, as Bismarck predicted, “some damn thing in the Balkans.” The Economist’s leader identifies the modern counterparts to these players (and places) of 100 years ago.  Regular readers of American Thinker won’t need it.

Thus, Professor Margaret MacMillan’s take.  Now, a little context.

Unsurprisingly, it was former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who first noted the new American foreign policy challenge posed by the rise of China.  It was, after all, President Richard Nixon and his then-national security advisor Kissinger who ended Red China’s isolation from the Western nation-state system in 1972.

In On China (2011), Kissinger wrote that the Chinese leadership itself has been keenly aware of whether China’s rise in the 21st century will parallel that of Germany in the 20th.  And they are also keenly anxious to refute that comparison.  Kissinger devoted the last section of his book to the famous 1907 CROWE MEMORANDUM.

That key British Foreign Office documentassured Great Britain’s leaders that confrontation with Imperial Germany was inevitable and recommended a hard line by the British government against future German demands.  The result, seven years later, was World War I.

Kissinger’s conclusion in 2011, however, was that a benign debut of China on the world stage is both desirable and possible—but that the relationship needs constant managing.  You might call Kissinger’s prescription “the Gulliver Strategy.” China, Kissinger argued, needs to be enmeshed, as a player but not a prisoner, within the existing structure of international agreements and organizations.

It’s far from clear, however, that that’s what the new Chinese leadership wants.

In particular, rather like the Imperial Chinese government’s reaction to the first European ambassadors in the late 1700s, a Chinese leader in 2014 might well ask himself why his ancient nation should buy into a Westphalian world system that China did not help create.  All the lines on the map were drawn by the European powers (and the U.S.) when China was on its knees!  America’s insistence that China stay within those lines—not to mention the U.S. Navy’s insistence on steaming 5,000 miles from their own home and only 100 miles off the Chinese coast—looks remarkably like, in Chinese eyes, a re-run of “containment.”

That’s especially the case given China’s historical perception of itself as the center of the world and of its culture and nationality as superior to all others.

There is simply no evidence that those fundamental Chinese attitudes—noted as well by Teddy White in his memoir, In Search of History (1978)—have changed since the coming of Mao and his Communists (whom White knew as a Chinese-speaking correspondent in China) to power in 1949.  To the contrary, White (who traveled with Nixon back to China in 1973) found them still very much present.  Nor has the current Chinese leadership’s belief—accurate, unfortunately—that China was victimized, dismembered, exploited, and oppressed by the European powers in a series of wars and “unequal treaties” in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Japan’s brutal occupation, war, and crimes against humanity in China during the Second World War has not been forgotten, either.  Prime Minister Abe’s VISIT THIS WEEK to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo has only rubbed this wound raw again.

Yet “peaceful rise” has been the by-word in Beijing’s public statements for some years.  The problem is that the Chinese leadership’s actions—at least in the eyes of China’s neighbors—do not match their words.

Indeed, in the last month, we have seen a series of actions by the Chinese government in the East and South China Seas.  First, on November 23, Beijing unilaterally proclaimed an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea overlapping islands claimed by both China and Japan.  That’s made Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines distinctly more belligerent towards the Chinese.

Second, three weeks ago, an American guided-missile frigate and the Chinese naval vessels escorting China’s new aircraft carrier came within two hundred yards of a high seas collision.  The U.S. says the confrontation occurred in international waters.  China’s account as to what transpired on December 5 DIFFERS RADICALLY from the U.S. Navy’s account.

Pretty clearly, the USS Cowpens was shadowing the new Chinese carrier.  And, pretty clearly, the Chinese admiral didn’t like it.

Why should they?  Once again, China has history—and more than a little merit (in terms of foreign policy realism)—on its side.  Imperial China, centuries ago, controlled all these disputed areas.  Ming China also ruled large parts of what is now Russian Asia.

Thus, it can be argued that, from a great power perspective, all China is seeking in its nearby territorial space is what the United States has possessed in the Caribbean and the Western Hemisphere since its unilateral proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine in the 1820s and America’s building of the Panama Canal in the early 1900s.

So, what’s the real game here, as what Walter Russell Meade has labeled “the Game of Thrones in Asia” continues to build?  As Anne Applebaum writes, “China surely doesn’t want (another) war with the United States.  What is Beijing after?”

One distinct possibility is that China’s island disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and its proclamation of an ADIZ in the East China Sea—especially if that move is followed with the proclamation of an ADIZ in the South China Sea—are all merely markers to be traded away by Beijing in a high-stakes game whose real objective (and ultimate prize for China) is the recovery of Taiwan.  The loss of what General Douglas MacArthur called “an unsinkable aircraft carrier” off the Chinese coast would set the United States’ presence in East Asia back significantly.

Beijing may even be ultimately seeking something larger: a grand bargain with the United States to remake Asia.  China and the United States, after all, fought a conventional war against each other in Korea from 1950 to 1953.  At least 33,000 Americans died and at least 150,000 Chinese in a two-and-a-half-year war.  Very few Americans remember this.  Almost all Chinese do.

China’s insistence today on the so-called nine-dotted line, the first and second island chains, the string of pearls, and all the rest needs to be evaluated in the light of that history as well.

If the negotiated restoration to Beijing of Taiwan (say, after a plebiscite) could be made part of a “Grand Bargain” between China and Washington that also addresses the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea in the context of solving the problem of a nuclear (and unstable, not to mention a humanitarian disaster) North Korea, the United States, in my judgment, might find the Chinese well-disposed to deal.

But such a grand bargain would upend the existing post-WWII security arrangements in East Asia.  It would also greatly discomfort America’s allies in the region.  It might destroy ASEAN and the American-Japanese mutual security treaty.  A nuclear-armed Japan would be only one short-term result.

And such discussions could certainly not be undertaken by the current administration.  Yet, such a grand bargain with America—which would restore China to its historical position in Asia—may very well be what the new Chinese leadership wants.

What must be faced, therefore—Barack Obama’s much-hyped “pivot” to Asia notwithstanding—is that we are now in danger of a repeat of experiencing, with China, Bismarck’s “some damned thing in the Balkans”: an international incident triggering a shooting war. Such a causus belli is most likely to occur not between us and the Chinese, but between China and Japan or China and South Korea.

As the Economist said this week, unless all the pushing and shoving is brought under control, the risk to peace in Asia is high.  And, it should be noted, there is yet another potential major actor in this mix.  India—like China, a rising nation of over a billion people—is also building a blue-water navy, including aircraft carriers.  The Indian and Japanese navies HELD JOINT MANEUVERS last week.

Barring a grand bargain between Washington and Beijing, the ultimate stakes, of course, are control of the Straits of Malacca (through which most of the world’s oil passes) and the Indian Ocean—including the entrance to the Persian Gulf.  Existing international law and United States foreign policy, enforced by the U.S. Navy, are to regard these bodies as part of the “global commons.”

It is far from clear that China—which is totally dependent, at the moment on Middle East oil (hence its covetousness of the undersea petroleum riches of the China Seas)—agrees.

As Stratfor’s Robert D. Kaplan wrote three years ago in Monsoon: the Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power (2011), there is a major arms race underway—and it is in Asia.  Without a deal resulting in changes to the post-Korean, post-Vietnam status quo, the pressure cooker there of rising nationalism, historic enmities, economic need, and decreasing elbow room will only continue to build.

What can be done in the interim—at least until there can be a change in administrations in Washington—is the subject of the lead editorial in this week’s Economist.  The piece is entitled “Look Back in Angst.” Without mentioning Professor Margaret MacMillan by name, the Economist notes the same similarities (and differences) between 1914 and 2014 which her Brookings Institution essay notes.

Their prescription for today, which assumes (contrary to Beijing’s apparent intentions, it should be noted) a continuation of the current status quo, is twofold:

- arrangements should be put in place between China and the United States on how to address a military outbreak or political implosion in nuclear-armed North Korea; and

- the United States should get back in the game of being the essential global player.

The Economist statement on the latter point is a remarkable condemnation of current American diplomacy.  They write(emphasis in original):

The second precaution that would make the world safer is a more active American foreign policy. Despite forging an interim nuclear agreement with Iran, Barack Obama has pulled back in the Middle East-witness his unwillingness to use force in Syria. He has also done little to bring the new emerging giants-India, Indonesia, Brazil and, above all, China-into the global system. This betrays both a lack of ambition and an ignorance of history. Thanks to its military, economic and soft power, America is still indispensable, particularly in dealing with threats like climate change and terror, which cross borders. But unless America behaves as a leader and the guarantor of the world order, it will be inviting regional powers to test their strength by bullying neighbouring countries.

The Economist’s views, thus, dovetail neatly with those expressed by Anne Applebaum.

Finally, we have Walter Russell Meade.  In a provocative essay of his own in the current issue of The American Interest entitled “The End of History Ends,” Meade builds on many of the insights which Stratfor’s Robert D. Kaplan offered on the impact of geography on world history and foreign and military policy in The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate (2013).

Kaplan’s point, argued con brio, was that “geopolitics” and the need for geopolitical thinking have returned to American foreign and military policy with a vengeance.  And the future cockpit of conflict for geopolitics, he says, is certain to be Eurasia ("the World Island” or “the Pivot,” in the words of earlier thinks) and the Indian Ocean.  The Indian Ocean littoral was the subject of Robert Kaplan’s previous book, Monsoon.

Meade has plainly read Kaplan (and, no doubt, the earlier thinkers on geopolitics whom Kaplan discusses).  Meade’s piece, like his online blog, calls for a new U.S. grand strategy—particularly in Asia—to replace the Euro-centric one put in place by the Truman administration after the end of the Second World War.

In short, the challenge for the next American president may be to remake American foreign policy to reflect a new geopolitical reality.  How this was done the last time was described by Truman’s former secretary of state, Dean Acheson, in his aptly titled Present at the Creation (1970).

All in all, it’s been a rich harvest this year in writing about geopolitics and grand strategy.  Hard questions are being asked.  With the shoving match underway in, under, and above the East and South China Seas, the ferment among defense experts and geopolitical thinkers is sure to continue.

Is anyone in the White House and at the top of the U.S. State Department listening?

On the evidence, probably not.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/29/13 •
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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Bad Moon Rising Part 64 - America For Sale

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China poised to play debt card for U.S. land
Communist nation could control American soil as ‘development zones’

By Jerome R Corsi
WND
January 20, 2013

Barack Obama֒s involvement in the DeMar Second Amendment case was previously reported in Chapter 7 of Jerome R. Corsis AMERICA FOR SALE: FIGHTING THE NEW WORLD ORDER, SURVIVING THE GLOBAL DEPRESSION, AND PRESERVING USA SOVEREIGNTY.

NEW YORK - Could real estate on American soil owned by China be set up as “development zones” in which the communist nation could establish Chinese-owned businesses and bring in its citizens to the U.S. to work?

That’s part of an evolving proposal Beijing has been developing quietly since 2009 to convert more than $1 trillion of U.S debt it owns into equity.

Under the plan, China would own U.S. businesses, U.S. infrastructure and U.S. high-value land, all with a U.S. government guarantee against loss.

Yu Qiao, a professor of economics in the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsighua University in Beijing, proposed in 2009 a plan for the U.S. government to guarantee foreign investments in the United States.

WND has reliable information that the Bank of China, China’s central bank, has continued to advance the plan to convert China’s holdings of U.S. debt into equity owned by China in the U.S.

The Obama administration, under the plan, would grant a financial guarantee as an inducement for China to convert U.S. debt into Chinese direct equity investment. China would take ownership of successful U.S. corporations, potentially profitable infrastructure projects and high-value U.S. real estate.

Jerome Corsi exposes the globalists’ plan to put America on the chopping block in America for Sale: Fighting the New World Order, Surviving a Global Depression, and Preserving USA Sovereignty,Ӕ available at WNDs Superstore.

The plan would be designed to induce China to resume lending to the U.S. on a nearly zero-interest basis.

However, converting Chinese debt to equity investments in the United States could easily add another $1 trillion to outstanding Obama administration guarantees issued in the current economic crisis.

As of November 2012, China owned $1.17 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities, according to U.S. Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve Board calculations published Jan. 16.

Concerned about the unrestrained growth in U.S. debt under the Obama administration, China has reduced by 97 percent its holdings in short-term U.S. Treasury bills. ChinaҒs holding of $573.7 billion in August 2008, prior to the massive bank bailouts and stimulus programs triggered by the collapse in the U.S. mortgage market, dwindled to $5.96 billion by March 2011.

Treasury bills are short-term debt that matures in one year or less, sold to finance U.S. debt. Holdings of Treasury bills are included in the $1.17 trillion of total Treasury securities owned by China as of November 2012.

In addition to a national debt in excess of $16 trillion, the U.S. government in 2010 faced over $70 trillion in unfunded obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits scheduled to be paid retiring baby boomer retirees in the coming decades, with unfunded obligations showing no sign of being reduced with Congress at a deadlock over reducing federal government spending.

Yu Qiao observed that if the U.S. dollar collapsed under the weight of proposed Obama administration trillion-dollar budget deficits into the foreseeable future, holders of U.S. debt would face substantial losses that the Financial Times estimated would devastate Asians’ hard-earned wealth and terminate economic globalization.

“The basic idea is to turn Asian savings, Chinas in particular, into real business interests rather than let them be used to support U.S. over-consumption,” Yu Qiao wrote, “reflecting themes commonly suggested by Chinese government officials. While fixed-income securities are vulnerable to any fall in the value of the dollar, equity claims on sound corporations and infrastructure projects are at less risk from a currency default,” he continued.

The problem is that, in a struggling U.S. economy, China does not want to trade its investment in U.S. Treasury debt securities, with their inherent risk of dollar devaluation, for equally risky investments in U.S. corporations and infrastructure projects.

“But Asians do not want to bear the risk of this investment because of market turbulence and a lack of knowledge of cultural, legal and regulatory issues in U.S. businesses,” he stressed. “However if a guarantee scheme were created, Asian savers could be willing to invest directly in capital-hungry U.S. industries.”

Yu Qiaos plan included four components:

China would negotiate with the U.S. government to create a “crisis relief facility,” or CRF. The CRF would be used alongside U.S. federal efforts to stabilize the banking system and to invest in capital-intensive infrastructure projects such as high-speed railroad from Boston to Washington, D.C.

China would pool a portion of its holdings of Treasury bonds under the CFR umbrella to convert sovereign debt into equity. Any CFR funds that were designated for investment in U.S. corporations would still be owned and managed by U.S. equity holders, with the Asians holding minority equity shares that would, like preferred stock, be convertible.

The U.S. government would act as a guarantor, providing a sovereign guarantee scheme to assure the investment principal of the CRF against possible default of targeted companies or projects.

The Federal Reserve would set up a special account to supply the liquidity the CRF would require to swap sovereign debt into industrial investment in the United States.

The CRF would lessen Asians’ concern about implicit default of sovereign debts caused by a collapsing dollar, Yu Qiao concluded. “It would cost little and help the U.S. by channeling funds to business investment.”

SOURCE

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Mysterious plans to build upstate NY “China City of America”

By Geoff Earle
NY Post
December 4, 2013

A Long Island businesswoman wants to build a massive Chinese DisneylandӔ in the Catskills which would include an amusement park, huge mansions and a דForbidden City laid out according to the principles of Feng Shui.

The China City of America scheme could bring thousands of wealthy Chinese immigrants to the tiny Sullivan County town of Thompson, under a federal program that lets foreigners get visas by investing $500,000 in the US.

The mastermind behind the plan, Sherry Li, says the development would eventually draw $6 billion in foreign investment.

ԓWe can kind of view it as a Chinese concept of Disney so itגs going to have lot of attractions for families, she said.

The designs for China City include a college, 1,000 residences, a Chinese-themed retail center and possibly a casino.

The place would feel like a trip to China just 90 miles outside New York city, as one area would mark parts of the Chinese Zodiac while another would have 16 buildings representing the major Chinese dynasties.

ԓEach dynasty will have its building and will have rides go with it, Li said at a town council meeting in May where she pitched the original plan.

China CityԒs website features golden dragons, and projects an initial investment of $325 million with $10 million going to a דTemple of Heaven, $24 million on a hotel and entertainment complex, and $20 million to construct a ԓForbidden City.

It also projects a $65 million infusion from the U.S. government Ԗ without naming what agency would make the contribution.

ItӒs multiple phases. No project is going to happen in one day. Its going to be step-by-step,Ҕ Li told the Post, saying the amusement park component would get built in a later phase.

The plan is now under consideration by the leaders of Thompson, population 15,000.

Its already getting a lot of opposition.

ғIt actually seems surreal but unfortunately it is real, said Paula Medley, an activist who heads a local environmental group.

ԓThis is kind of a combination of pie-in-the-sky and ethnic solidarity and showmanship and a federal program that sort of facilitates this sort of thing. Its really an odd mix,Ҕ said David North, who authored a new report picking apart China Citys proposal for the D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies.

Others questioned its link to the federal visa program, known as EB-5.

ғIt sounds like an EB-5 scam, said Laura Corruzi, a New York City attorney who vacations in the area. ԓThe financials dont really support the $6 billion project.Ҕ

The Thompson town council has had at least five meetings on the project, with the latest Tuesday night.

Li wouldnt reveal the number of investors she has lined up, but she said most were Chinese nationals.

“Whoever is interested [will] invest with us. At this point we don’t have [Chinese] government investors at all,” she said, describing her own background only as being “in the financial industry.”

It’s in the thousands of apartments, houses it’s huge,” said Thompson town supervisor Tony Cellini. He said the total population of Chinese coming in eventually could equal the town’s if the developers fulfill all their wishes.

“We’re not certain we have the infrastructure to handle all that at this point,” he added.

“I believe China City is very serious but they’ve got a long road ahead of them to get all their approvals.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/08/13 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bad Moon Rising Part 63 - Breaking Free From The United States

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The de-Americanisation of the world has begun - emergence of solutions for a multipolar world by 2015

Public announcement GEAB N78
October 16, 2013

Its one of those times when history accelerates. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations on the shutdown and debt ceiling, October 2013 is one of them. It’s the deadlock too far which has opened the eyes of those who still support the United States. A leader is followed when he is believed, not when he is ridiculous.

Building a de-Americanised world: this statement would have raised a smile a few years ago. At most it would have passed for provocation by Hugo Chavez. But when we are seeing the United States bankruptcy in real-time and it’s an official Chinese press agency that SAYS SO, the impact isnt the same. In reality, it’s describing out loud a process which is already well underway: simply, its now allowed to SPEAK ABOUT IT in public. At least US government deadlock has the merit of loosening tongues Let there be no mistake, this analysis hasn’t appeared in the Chinese media by chance, and it reflects Beijing’s hardening tone.

In fact, if the whole world is holding its breath before this pathetic game of the US elite; it’s not out of compassion, its to avoid being swept away in the fall of the world’s first power. Everyone is trying to free itself from American influence and let go of a United States permanently discredited by recent events over Syria, tapering, shutdown and now the debt ceiling. The legendary US power is now no more than a nuisance and the world has understood that its time to de-Americanise.

This perspective and speaking the UNSPEAKABLE is finally freeing-up a whole range of solutions which, until now, were simply signs, even still repressed by some. These solutions are speeding-up the construction of the world afterwards and opening on a multipolar world organised around major regional blocs. After a review of American setbacks, in this GEAB issue our team will analyse the forces which are shaping this changing world. In the “Telescope” section we also take a look at the actual state of US society which, behind the mirror of the stock market and finance, explains the collapse of the American way of life and take part in this look with hindsight at the US model. Finally, we update our annual country-risk assessment to complete the global picture and, of course, give our traditional recommendations and the GlobalEurometre.

Layout of the full article:
1. “No we can’t”
2. A succession of crises
3. Shutdown: the laughing stock of the world, but a forced laugh
4. De-Americanisation at all levels
5. The petrodollar is dead, long live the petroyuan
6. China shows Euroland the way
7. Russia, South America: following de-westernisation

This public announcement contains sections 1, 2 and 3

“No we can’t”

How times change. The whole world has forgotten the words freedom, hope and the famous saying “Yes we can” representative of US society in the eyes of previous generations to now only speak of taper, shutdown or ceiling. This isn’t exactly the same dynamic and the positive image has become outright negative.

It’s striking to see the extent to which the current US situation confirms the old adage that trouble never comes alone. In a six-week period, first of all humiliation by Russia over Syria, then its central bank which admits it’s impossible to reduce QUANTITIVE EASING; the inability to pass a budget which means federal government SHUTDOWN, a shutdown lasting well beyond what is reasonable. Negotiations on the debt ceiling at a standstill two days from the deadline; the United States ordered by the G20 to ratify the IMF reform which it has been blocking for the last three years, and by the World Bank and the IMF to put its finances in order. And now the Chinese shot across the bows.

A succession of crises

This succession of crises is quite worrying for the country and demonstrates unprecedented acceleration and an impending shock. There is some fatality in these crises. But there is also a dose of strategic recovery. Thus, the shutdown has been exploited by Obama to put pressure on the Republicans into voting for raising the debt ceiling, a much more important deadline for the United States. This is obviously only a partial success, but we can still expect a temporary raising, which postpones all the problems for a few weeks (7); however, its still possible that the tragic path is chosen, because it’s no more the domain of a rational decision and therefore cannot be forecast.

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In fact, whilst observers are focusing on the Tea Party which, in the same way as minority shareholders are able to control a company through a holding, has managed to hijack the Republican Party and American society; it could be read another way. Many Americans see the reality in front of them: their country is bankrupt. Consequently, is it better to postpone the confrontation with reality, at the risk of amplifying the problems, or is it better to resolve them now? The majority of the population don’t take a DIM VIEW of a payment default . Besides, what other solution is there ultimately? Is there no desire amongst Republicans to precipitate the crisis? It’s the ideal situation because they can blame the Tea Party which has stated unequivocally that no agreement is better than a bad agreement. What we mean is that, this time, or probably on another occasion in the near future, they might well be tempted to cut the Gordian knot.

Likewise, a strategic recovery certainly took place when the Fed backtracked on reducing its quantitative easing. Why did it let everyone believe right up to the last minute that it would reduce QE3 without doing so in the end? Its the first time that it has taken investors by surprise, all 100% convinced of a tapering given in the forward guidance, a well-established principle. Is there no connection between the gross insider trading proved to have taken place at the time of the Fed’s ANNUNCEMENT, which had to be worth billions of dollars to the perpetrators? All this supports our theory of desperate US financial institutions which must be bailed out discreetly by such operations, at the risk of undermining the Feds credibility. Again, short-term solutions which make the situation worse but which push back the fatal deadline a little further. We are no longer the only ones to ring the alarm bell on these American banks: the Bank of England is expecting major banks to fail which, according to it, have lost the status of TOO BIG TO FAIL. We therefore repeat our warning on this subject.

Like a boxer, all these blows that the country has taken has made it groggy and it only lacks the last one to floor it. If it doesn’t come from a US payment default in October, it will be another deadline which has been pushed back which, this time, wont yield.

Shutdown: the laughing stock of the world, but a forced laugh

When we wrote in the GEAB NO 77 on the budget vote: no doubt a compromise will be found at the last minute or, more likely, a few hours or even a few days after the deadlineГ, one cannot help but notice that we still underestimated the political differences in Washington since the several days which we had in mind have turned into weeks. The daily newspaper, Le Monde, had the headline on its website of Washington’s sorry spectacle. But, in the end, this shutdown hasn’t had a disproportionate impact on the financial markets, so its all for the better which many Republicans seem to think who are adapting well to a federal government paralysis and the cuts in public spending which follow.

This isn’t the opinion of countries with large holdings of US Treasury bonds , which feel held hostage by the United States . They are stunned by the US indefensible casualness and by the irresponsible attitude of who, until recently, was the boss. If the country defaults on its debt the shockwaves will certainly be terrible. However, this wouldn’t be the end of the world because a possible default could simply take the form of delayed payment for the few days; moreover different parts of the world would be unequally affected according to the extent of their de-coupling from the US economy. No, the country that will suffer most from this solution (and any other for that matter) will really be the United States itself. For the record it holds two thirds of its own public debt.

deamericanize2.jpg

This is why the best governed countries have already begun this major de coupling, with China in the lead which knows from Sun Tzu that “when it thunders, IT’S TOO LATE to cover ones ears.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/20/13 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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