Archive

Archive for June, 2017

In Case of Emergency


The Forgotten Underground World of Swiss Bunkers

by Jo Fahy

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng (September 01 2016)

The bunker has seven levels underground, staff would have entered through this tunnel (swissinfo.ch)

The Swiss city of Lucerne was once home to the biggest civilian bunker in the world. Built to shelter 20,000 people in the case of a nuclear attack and as part of Swiss policy to provide bunkers for all, it’s still primed for a possible catastrophe.

Tucked in among blocks of flats, an unassuming door set in a wall of concrete peeks out from beneath a grassy mound next to a children’s playground. Behind this door stands forty years of history and a buried seven-storey building.

Zora Schelbert, my guide inside the bunker, pushes open the heavy door, and it slams behind us. It’s cold, and a long gray tunnel opens up in front, slowly sloping downwards.

It was the largest civilian shelter in the world at the time – opened in 1976 it was designed to keep 20,000 people safe in case of an atomic bomb.

Switzerland has had a unique “shelters for all” policy since 1963, at the height of the Cold War. Every person in the country must have a spot in a bunker in case of some kind of catastrophe. Bunkers either have to be built underneath homes and blocks of flats, or the building owner has to pay the local authorities for a spot in a public shelter, like Sonnenberg.

The two Sonnenberg motorway tunnels (part of the A2) were built to be dual-purpose: one day they’d see traffic flowing through them, the next they could be shut off and then kitted out as an emergency shelter for tens of thousands of people. Built around the tunnels was a seven-storey building, called “the cavern”. This would have been the logistical and technical command unit.

(swissinfo.ch)

The “Erdgeschoss” (ground floor) in this diagram refers to the level in the bunker where the motorway tunnels run through. Actual ground is above the “4. Geschoss” (fourth floor).

“The bunker had three diesel generators to provide people with electricity, that was in the East wing [on the left]”, explains Schelbert.

“The West wing is where 700 staff members would have worked – the security station for trouble makers from the tunnel and prison cells, an emergency hospital, kitchen, laundry, operations center”.

In 2006 the bunker was downsized but still exists as a civilian bunker to give shelter to 2,000 people, instead of the original number of 20,000.

Living Underground

The bunker was split up into lots of different areas and rooms.

Take a look inside in this 360-degree video by clicking and dragging the screen or tilting your phone:

The living quarters would have been loud, intense and crowded, with no privacy.

“They were prepared for a lot, but I think in the end humans, mankind, would have been the problem”, said Schelbert.

To deal with some of the potential issues that may have arisen after packing tens of thousands of stressed-out people into a tiny space, prison cells were also installed.

The number of cells was increased after 2006 and used most recently as extra lock-up space by Lucerne police.

Disastrous Flaws

Operation Ant was carried out in 1987. It was the first and only test of the original emergency scenario that would have seen the bunker come into play. Both motorway tunnels were closed for a whole week, while the living quarters and beds were set up inside one of them and all parts of the operation were put to the test.

“Wagons were the transportation means to take all of the beds down the ramps, but it was difficult to get down the narrow corridors”, explained Schelbert.

(swissinfo.ch)

“Communication was hindered – there were no mobile phones and there was apparently no radio contact either. When they had to discuss things they had to always run up and down the tunnels”.

In the end, only a quarter of the intended set-up could be completed.

Doors were 1.5 meters thick and weighed 350,000 kilograms. They were supposed to slide out in grooves and seal off the ends of the tunnels. Although officially this part of the test worked, Schelbert has met numerous people who were part of Operation Ant who say one of the doors wouldn’t close properly. “This would have been fatal”.

With the test taking place so soon after Chernobyl, people also realized that they would have needed the bunker to be ready much faster than it was.

A Modern Day Scenario

Nowadays one person and two assistants look after the building. There are public monthly tours in English and different tours in German. The former emergency hospital area was closed after downsizing of the bunker in 2006 and is now part of the space that would be used to shelter civilians in case of emergency, instead of the traffic tunnels.

Would 2,000 people be able to live in the space now? “I still have my doubts”, said Schelbert.

Now it’s easy to say: “there’s no way I would join them”, because I know the living conditions, but if worst came to worst maybe I would still end up in here. Let’s hope I never have to make that decision.

 

The kind of disaster that would see people heading into their bunkers nowadays is slightly different from the idea when they were originally installed. “It would be natural catastrophes such as mudslides or earthquakes … nowadays we know in the case of nuclear catastrophe there’s no point in moving underground for a few weeks [as radiation lasts much longer]”.

If there was a natural disaster on a huge scale, or a major incident at a nuclear power plant, Switzerland’s network of emergency sirens would go off, and people would then either turn on the radio or look at a Swiss emergency app.

Like many people in Switzerland, Schelbert doesn’t keep a stash of food “in case of emergency” in her basement, even though in a bunker the responsibility is on each person to bring their own food.

I didn’t grow up with that threat, but I know some elderly people who went through all of that and they have their food stocks. They are always ready.

 


In 2011 Parliament wanted to repeal the “shelters for all” law as there’s not enough space to accommodate the entire population. But two days after the decision was taken, the Fukushima Tsunami and disaster in Japan occurred. The decision was reversed.

Do you keep supplies in case of emergency? Do you think it’s still worthwhile to keep emergency shelters? Let us know in the comments below or contact the author on Facebook or twitter @jofahy.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/society/in-case-of-emergency_the-forgotten-underground-world-of-swiss-bunkers/42395820

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized

Bunkers for All

Prepared for Anything

by Daniele Mariani

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng (July 03 2009)

A familiar sight for all Swiss: the entrance to a nuclear shelter (RDB)

Switzerland is unique in having enough nuclear fallout shelters to accommodate its entire population, should they ever be needed.

“Why on earth have you got a reinforced steel door in your cellar?” The amazement of a visiting Italian friend is easy to understand. He has never been in the basement of a Swiss home. Cellar? Well, the room is half full of bottles of wine, old books, a freezer, unwanted clothes … but a cellar it certainly is not. Our friend has simply stumbled upon our fallout shelter. Thanks to the thick armored door and the ventilation system, with anti-gas filter, if the worst came to the worst, the 25 or so tenants of our block could survive even a nuclear strike.

These Swiss! Paranoid and obsessed with security, our friend must have thought. And there is probably some truth in that assessment.

The Swiss do in fact spend more than almost any other nation (more than twenty percent of their budget) to insure themselves against everything and everyone. But there is a more simple reason: it is a legal requirement.

Room for the Whole Nation

“Every inhabitant must have a protected place that can be reached quickly from his place of residence” and “apartment block owners are required to construct and fit out shelters in all new dwellings”, according to articles 45 and 46 of the Swiss Federal Law on Civil Protection.

This is why most buildings constructed since the 1960s (the first regulations on the subject were passed on 4 October 1963) incorporate a fallout shelter.

In 2006, there were 300,000 shelters in Swiss dwellings, institutions, and hospitals, as well as 5,100 public shelters, providing protection for a total of 8.6 million individuals – a coverage of 114 percent.

World Champions

The Swiss are undoubtedly world champions in the construction of shelters. A quick international survey is enough to demonstrate that no other country can rival it.

The closest are Sweden and Finland. But with 7.2 and 3.4 million protected places respectively (representing approximately 81 per cent and seventy per cent coverage), they are still far behind.

The situation in other European countries does not even compare. In Austria, for example, coverage is thirty percent, but most of the shelters do not have a ventilation system. In Germany, the national level of coverage is a mere three per cent.

Outside Europe, fallout shelters are common in China, South Korea, Singapore, India and elsewhere, but nowhere does coverage exceed fifty percent. In Israel, there are shelters for two-thirds of the population, but in many cases these structures are simply concrete shells with openings, therefore not completely fallout-proof.

The Golden Age

When the systematic construction of fallout shelters began in Switzerland in the second half of the 1960s, it was a reflection of widespread fear of a nuclear strike and the specter of a Soviet invasion. “Neutrality is no guarantee against radioactivity”, was one of the slogans of the time.

“No Change of Policy”

With the end of the Cold War and a new security situation, many countries introduced radical changes in policy. In Norway, for example, in 1998 the authorities revoked the regulations on the provision of bunkers.

But in Switzerland, there was no such rethink. In 2005, member of parliament Pierre Kohler submitted a parliamentary initiative that would have removed the obligation to provide shelters in private dwellings. He stressed the pointlessness of these “relics of the past”, which inevitably pushed up the cost of building residential accommodation.

However, after analyzing the situation, the government came to the conclusion that they were still useful, not only in the event of armed conflict but also in the light of possible terrorist attacks with “dirty weapons”, chemical accidents and natural disasters. So the future is still bright for Swiss fallout shelters.

High Cost

In 2006 Switzerland had about 300,000 nuclear shelters in homes, institutions. and hospitals, with about 7.5 million places, as well as 5,100 public shelters (1.1 million places).

The annual costs for the construction, maintenance, and demolition of the shelters amounted to SFr167.4 million in 2006. Of this, SFr 128.2 million were borne by private persons, and the rest by the communes (SFr 23.5 million), the Confederation (SFr 9.8 million) and the cantons (SFr 4.2 million). The total value of the shelters is put at SFr11.8 billion.

Substitutions

Building a shelter in a private house costs about SFr10,000 ($9,370). People having a house built are not obliged to include a shelter. If they decide against one, they must instead pay their commune SFr1,500 for each place in a shelter, calculated at two places for every three rooms.

Between the introduction of this regulation in 1979 and 2006, communes took in about SFr1.3 billion and paid out SFr750 million for the construction of public shelters. The remaining money has not yet been used. The government wants to halve the compulsory payments.

People who have shelters are allowed to use them for other purposes, such as storage space, but are obliged to keep them in good order. In recent years some public shelters have been used as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/prepared-for-anything_bunkers-for-all/995134

Categories: Uncategorized

How US Presidents Prepare for the End of the World

A new book examines Washington’s Cold War-era plans for the day after nuclear Armageddon.

Garrett Graff’s Raven Rock: The Story of the US Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die (2017)

Reviewed by Carlos Lozada

The Washington Post (April 27 2017)

Garrett Graff says that his new book, Raven Rock, a detailed exploration of the United States’ doomsday prepping during the Cold War, provides a history of “how nuclear war would have actually worked – the nuts and bolts of war plans, communication networks, weapons, and bunkers – and how imagining and planning for the impact of nuclear war actually changed … as leaders realized the horrors ahead”.

But if there is anything that Raven Rock proves with grim certitude, it is that we have little idea how events would have unfolded in a superpower nuclear conflict, and that technological limits, human emotion and enemy tactics can render the most painstaking and complex arrangements irrelevant, obsolete or simply obscene.

These contradictions are evident with each commander in chief Graff considers. During an apparent attack that proved to be a false alarm, Harry Truman refused to follow protocol and instead remained working in the Oval Office. Same with Jimmy Carter, who after a 1977 drill wrote in his diary that “my intention is to stay here at the White House as long as I live to administer the affairs of government, and to get Fritz Mondale into a safe place” to ensure the survival of the presidency. And after Richard Nixon’s first briefing on the use of nuclear weapons – there were only five possible retaliatory or first-strike plans, and none involved launching fewer than 1,000 warheads – national security adviser Henry Kissinger was blunt about the president’s dismay with his alternatives: “If that’s all there is, he won’t do it”.

Graff, a former editor of Washingtonian and Politico magazines, covers every technicality of the construction of underground bunkers and secret command posts, every war game and exercise, every debate over presidential succession planning and continuity of government, every accident that left us verging on nuclear war. It is a thorough account, and excessively so; the detail is such that it becomes hard to distinguish consequential moments from things that simply happened. He describes one presidential briefing on nuclear tactics as “a blur of acronyms and charts, minimizing the horror and reducing the death of hundreds of millions to bureaucratic gobbledygook”, and at times this book commits the same offense.

Its power, however, lies in the author’s eye for paradox. The plans for continuity of government and nuclear war are cumulative, developed in doctrines, directives, and studies piling up over decades; yet it is up to short-lived and distracted administrations to deploy or reform them. War planning hinges on technology that constantly evolves, so plans invariably lag behind. More specifically, continuity of government depends on keeping top officials alive, yet “the precise moment when evacuating would be most important also was precisely when it was most important to remain at the reins of government”, Graff writes. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proved the point on September 11 2001, when he stayed at the Pentagon and dispatched Paul Wolfowitz to Raven Rock, the Pennsylvania mountain hideaway north of Camp David that serves as the namesake for this book. “That’s what deputies are for”, the Pentagon chief explained, in a beautifully Rumsfeldian line.

There are more personal reasons people would choose not to leave Washington in the case of looming nuclear war. For years, evacuation plans excluded the families of senior officials. Apparently, the wives of President Dwight Eisenhower’s Cabinet members were less than pleased to learn that they had not made the list, even while their husbands’ secretaries had. And when an administration representative handed Earl Warren the ID card that would grant him access to a secure facility in an emergency, the chief justice replied, “I don’t see the pass for Mrs Warren”. Told that he was among the country’s 2,000 most important people, Warren handed the card back. “Well, here”, he said, “you’ll have room for one more important official”.

Perhaps the presence of the Supreme Court would prove inconvenient, anyway, because a post-nuclear America could easily become “an executive branch dictatorship”, Graff explains. Eisenhower worried about this, though it did not stop him from establishing a secret system of private-sector czars who would step in to run massive sectors of the US economy and government, with the power to ration raw materials, control prices and distribute food. When President John Kennedy discovered this system, he quickly dismantled it, even if his younger brother, Attorney General Robert F Kennedy, carried around a set of prewritten, unsigned documents providing the FBI and other agencies sweeping powers to detain thousands of people who could be deemed security threats in wartime. And the Eisenhower-era Emergency Government Censorship Board, rechristened the Wartime Information Security Program under Nixon, was finally defunded after Watergate. However, as Graff notes, “the executive orders all still remained drafted – ready for an emergency when it arrived”.

For all the ominous directives and war scenarios, there is something random and even comical about planning for Armageddon. How many Export-Import Bank staffers rate rescuing? How many from the Department of Agriculture? A Justice Department public affairs official was once even tasked with compiling a lineup of Washington journalists who should be saved. “I remember painfully going over a list of people and wondering how do you balance a columnist I didn’t think very much of as opposed to a reporter who I thought really did work”, he said. And then, what should the chosen few take along? The congressional bunker at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, for instance, included a stash of bourbon and wine; staffers “swore that the stockpile was to be used only to aid a hypothetical alcoholic congressman who might need to be weaned off”.

Raven Rock revels in the expensive machinery and elaborate contingency formulas presidents had at their disposal to command the nuclear arsenal. High-tech ships known as the National Emergency Command Post Afloat (nicknamed the “Floating White House”) were ready for use from 1962 into the Nixon years, while a string of EC-135 aircraft flights (code-named “Looking Glass”) began continuous shifts on February 3 1961, ensuring that one senior military leader with the proper authority would always be available to order a nuclear strike. Not “breaking the chain” of these overlapping flights became a US military obsession, and it remained unbroken until the end of the Cold War.

Some efforts were low-tech, too: In 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order decreeing that the Postal Service would be responsible for delivering “medical countermeasures” to homes across America in case of biological attacks because it had a unique capacity for “rapid residential delivery”. (Neither snow nor rain, nor germ warfare.)

Technology meant to defend can prove risky. In November 1979, NORAD computers detected a massive Soviet assault, targeting nuclear forces, cities and command centers. Turns out someone had mistakenly inserted a training tape into the system. Six months later, a faulty 46-cent computer chip briefly made it seem like 2,200 Soviet missiles were soaring toward US targets. And in September 1983, Soviet satellites identified five US missiles heading toward the USSR – except the satellites had mistaken the sun reflecting off cloud cover as the heat of a missile launch. “The Soviet early warning system was a dangerous mess”, Graff writes. Ours wasn’t that great, either.

Over the decades, shifts in nuclear policy reflected presidents’ views on what was possible, technologically and strategically. Eisenhower planned for “massive retaliation” attacks, Kennedy relied on the notion of mutually assured destruction, and Carter imagined a drawn-out war, in which an initial nuclear exchange could produce weeks of inaction before follow-up strikes. Ronald Reagan issued a presidential directive suggesting for the first time that the United States should “prevail” in a nuclear war, even if the 1983 television movie The Day After later left him feeling “greatly depressed”, as he wrote in his diary.

For all the horrors it contemplates, Raven Rock proves most depressing for those of us left outside the bunkers. Though early on, Cold War administrations regarded civil defense as a priority, officials quickly realized how hard it would be to protect the American population from nuclear attack, especially as the shift from bombers to missiles reduced response times from hours to minutes. “Rather than remake the entire society”, Graff writes, “the government would protect itself and let the rest of us die”.

But every mushroom cloud has a silver lining: Graff reports that the IRS considered how it would collect taxes in the post-nuclear wasteland and concluded that “it seemed unfair to assess homeowners and business owners on the pre-attack tax assessments of their property”.

Leave it to a nation founded in opposition to unfair levies to study the tax implications of the end of the world.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2017/04/27/how-u-s-presidents-prepare-for-the-end-of-the-world/?utm_term=.d7bfcad403f9

Categories: Uncategorized

If North Korea Didn’t Exist …

… The US Would Create It

by Nizar Visram

CounterPunch (June 23 2017)

In its latest move early June 2017, the United Nations Security Council (“UNSC”) unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by the United States to expand the scope of sanctions against Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK”) over its latest missile tests.

Prior to this the UNSC slapped the North Korea with six rounds of sanctions, but Washington and its allies have been pushing for more powerful and crippling sanctions in an attempt to halt the increasing wave of missile tests by Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, President Trump said “all options are on the table” (implying military solution), while his Vice President Pence declared the “end of strategic patience”. Pence added:
 

The patience of the United States in this region has run out … The world has witnessed the strength and resolve of the US in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan.

 

Pence was alluding to the 59 cruise missiles the US launched at a Syrian military airfield, and the 22,000-pound “mother of all bombs”, the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States, dropped in Afghanistan.

US War Games

Right after striking Syria, President Trump dispatched a giant armada led by an aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, to the Korean peninsula as a show of force. The US also dispatched a nuclear-powered guided missile submarine, the USS Michigan, to the region, capable of launching up to 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of about 1,000 miles. The 6,900-tonne USS Cheyenne arrived in the South Korea port of Busan.

The US also has nearly 80,000 US military personnel in South Korea and Japan, as well as military aircraft and other hardware on a high state of alert in South Korea. The USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group are based at the Japanese port of Yokosuka, while the US 7th Fleet, armed with tactical nuclear weapons, patrols the region.

The US nukes are also based in South Korea and Guam, while US heavy B-1 and B-52 bombers can fly from North America to Korea. In the event of war with North Korea, the US military (could) take over the South Korean military with some 625,000 personnel as well as naval, air and anti-missile systems.

To top it all, US performs, twice annually, the largest war games in the world with South Korea, in which it practices an assassination of the North Korea’s top leadership, the invasion and occupation of North Korea, and a nuclear first strike against North Korea with imitation armaments.

The Foal Eagle war games include 300,000 South Korean soldiers and 15,000 US troops. This year, the exercises also feature Navy SEAL Team Six, which is best known for assassinating Osama bin Laden on Obama’s orders.

Moreover, an American plan was made public last September proclaiming that “the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map if it shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon”.

THAAD Provokes Anger

The US also installed an advanced missile system in South Korea, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (“THAAD”). This provoked strong opposition from China and Russia who consider it a provocative move and a threat to their national security. Chinese Foreign Ministry said:
 

The THAAD deployment by the US severely disrupts regional strategic balance, undermines the strategic security interests of regional countries, including China, and does no good to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

 

THAAD system has also enraged the people of South Korea. The government there deployed 8,000 riot police to forcibly remove the residents and Buddhist monks protesting near the THAAD site. Over 900 shaved their heads in protest. They expressed concerns about the electromagnetic waves emitted by the radar and their long-term impact on their health and agriculture.

Police evicted the protesters to clear a path for 38 US military vehicles carrying THAAD parts and equipment. A total of twelve protesters sustained injuries and were taken to hospitals.

Under such condition, any military action, however limited, would trigger a conflict that could draw in neighboring countries. American administrations have been contemplating the idea of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea but were quickly restrained, knowing that it would prompt a counter-reaction. They couldn’t justify a military action that would endanger lives of millions of Koreans, with 28,500 US soldiers and 230,000 Americans living there.

US Shreds Peace Pact

In 1994 President Clinton entered a framework agreement under which North Korea would end its efforts to develop nuclear weapons, while the US would cut down its hostile acts.

It worked as, up to 2000, North Korea abandoned its nuclear weapons programs. Enter George W Bush and he immediately launches an assault on North Korea, with his “axis of evil” mantra and explicit aim of regime change. North Korea, in turn, reverted to its erstwhile nuclear program.

Once again, the two countries entered an agreement in 2005 and once again Bush shredded it and reverted to sanctions. North Korea backed off and resumed its nuclear program. As Noam Chomsky said:
 

If you like it, one can say it’s the worst regime in history, whatever you like, but they have been following a pretty rational tit-for-tat policy.

 

DPRK not Suicidal

Ex-US president and Korean War old hand, Jimmy Carter once spoke about American militarism, saying since World War Two, the country has been at war. He added that he “could not think of any place on earth today where the United States is working to promote peace”.

In the early 1990s, Carter met the North Korean leader Kim II Sung who expressed the desire for a peace treaty with the United States. The result was a successful treaty that ended the Korean nuclear weapons program and economic embargo, allowing Americans to search for the remains of Korean War veterans.

While Bush dismantled that agreement, Obama intensified war games with South Korea, including a simulated nuclear attack on North Korea, and tightened the economic stranglehold.

In his address Carter said:
 

I’ve been there two or three times since the 1994 agreement, and I can tell you what the North Koreans want is a peace treaty with the United States and they want the sixty-year economic embargo lifted against their people so they can have an equal chance to trade … They make a lot of mistakes, but if the United States would just talk to the North Koreans … I believe … we could have peace, and the United States would be a lot better off in the long run.

 

In fact, North Korea has threatened to retaliate only in response to a US pre-emptive military strike. In the Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, its leader Kim Jong Un affirmed that his country “would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was violated”.

Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry, who helped negotiate a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear program during the Clinton administration, agrees:
 

I believe that the danger of a North Korean ICBM program is not that they would launch an unprovoked attack on the United States. They are not suicidal.

 

Lesson from Gaddafi

Perhaps it would be suicidal for them to give up their nuclear arsenal, after what happened to Gaddafi of Libya.

Undoubtedly, Kim Jong Un knows only too well how Gaddafi ended his days, the way he was overthrown and then lynched under US/Nato command. By surrendering his military weaponry, he signed his death warrant. He submitted his weapons and deposited some $200 billion of Libyan national wealth in Western banks. Yet in the end, the West took its skin.

In the West, it is rarely brought to light that the US has repeatedly turned down North Korea offers to end nuclear weapon development. Offers have been put forward by North Korea back to the Clinton administration in the 1990s but were then rejected by the US.

The most recent proposal was made in 2015 when North Korea offered to “halt nuclear testing if the United States would cancel an annual spring military exercise with South Korea”, but Washington rejected the proposal.

War Crime

It is hardly surprising that North Koreans want peace, for they remember the war in the fifties when the US Air Force carpet-bombed their country with incendiaries and explosives, dropping 635,000 tons of explosive bombs and up to 40,000 tons of napalm.

They remember the worst atrocities carried out by South Korean police, who took part in prostitution rings, racketeering, blackmail and the execution of thousands of political prisoners, and routine execution of prisoners of war, including old men, women, and children. Western reporters who revealed these atrocities had US censorship imposed on them.

North Korea was carpet bombed for three years by US bombers, destroying every town and village. In the words of Air Force General Curtis LeMay:
 

We burned down every town in North Korea … Over a period of three years or so we killed – what – 20 percent of the population.

 

To quote Senator John Glenn, a Korea war veteran who ended up as an astronaut:
 

We did a lot of napalm work … You could strafe them, bomb them, napalm them, flying in low. Quite a variety of weapons.

 

And in the final stages of the war, mass bombing (1,514 sorties) of hydroelectric and irrigation dams was done, flooding and destroying huge areas of farmland and crops. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.

Quoting Professor Charles Armstrong, Director of the Centre for Korean Research (Columbia University):
 

The physical destruction and loss of life on both sides was almost beyond comprehension, but the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating UN (read US) forces.

 

Chief Justice William O Douglas visited Korea in the summer of 1952 and declared,

 

I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe, but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea.

 

One can thus barely blame North Korea if today it is highly militarized, displaying deep antipathy towards the state that rained death and destruction on its people, towns, and villages. That mass killing and destruction of civilians were war crimes never brought to any court of justice.

US Strategy

Instead, the US carries on with its threats of regime change and gunboat diplomacy. Dennis Etler of Cabrillo College in California, says the US refuses to de-escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula in order to maintain its network of military bases in East Asia and contain China. He adds:
 

There is only one reason why US seeks to quarantine the DPRK. It allows the US to maintain a military presence in East Asia. If not for tensions on the Korean peninsula, the US would lose its rationale for its network of military bases in the region, which are primarily meant to threaten and contain China.

 

James R Lilley puts it succinctly when he says:
 

At the end of the Cold War, if North Korea didn’t exist we would have to create it as an excuse to keep the Seventh Fleet in the region.

 

He is talking of the forward-deployed US fleets, with seventy to eighty ships and submarines, 300 aircraft and approximately 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.

Lilley speaks as an insider, having been a member, together with his close friend, George H W Bush, of the infamous Yale University Skull & Bones secret society. He served some three decades at the CIA along with Bush. Both Lilley and Bush were US Ambassadors to China.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/23/if-north-korea-didnt-exist-us-would-create-it/

Categories: Uncategorized

The Ultimate Regulatory Reform

Abolish Fractional Reserve Banking!

by Antonius Aquinas

Zero Hedge (June 27 2017)

The Trump Administration has presented the first part of its plan to overhaul a number of Wall Street financial regulations, many of which were enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The report is in response to Executive Order 13772 in which the US Treasury Department is to provide findings “examining the United States’ financial regulatory system and detailing executive actions and regulatory changes that can be immediately undertaken to provide much-needed relief”.

In the release of the first phase of the report, Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin stated:

 

 

Properly structuring regulation of the US financial system is critical to achieve the administration’s goal of sustained economic growth and to create opportunities for all Americans to benefit from a stronger economy. We are focused on encouraging a market environment where consumers have more choices, access to capital and safe loan products – while ensuring taxpayer-funded bailouts are truly a thing of the past.

 

 

Some of its highlights include:

* Community financial institutions – banks and credit unions – are critically important to serve many Americans

* Capital, liquidity and leverage rules can be simplified to increase the flow of credit

* We must ensure our banks are globally competitive

* Improving market liquidity is critical for the US economy

* The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must be reformed

* Regulations need to be better tailored, more efficient and effective

* Congress should review the organization and mandates of the independent banking regulators to improve accountability

Not surprisingly, most of the banking industry expressed support for the report, critics (mostly Democrats) pointed out that it would lead to the type of practices that produced the 2008 panic in the first place. Both opponents and those in favor, as well as the clueless financial press, fail to grasp the underlying cause of not only the recent crisis but the majority of those which have occurred for the past century.

Quite simply: the fundamental cause of the 2008 financial crisis was fractional-reserve banking (“FRB”). FRB is the practice whereby banks keep a “fraction” of the funds deposited by customers in their vaults lending out the rest at interest and “profit”. Banks are thus inherently unstable since if all depositors came at once and demanded their money (a “bank run”), banks could not be able to redeem their deposits. Moreover, FRB encourages banks to engage in exceedingly speculative and risky behavior which creates unsustainable bubbles throughout the economy.

The nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve (“Fed”), was created by the banksters and politicos to enshrine this immoral and economically ruinous practice into the heart of the American financial landscape. Any “reform” of Wall Street’s financial practices that does not address FRB by doing away with it and the Fed, which enables it to exist, is doomed.

The banks, in collusion with the Fed, are able to expand the money supply through this process while enriching the banksters’ balance sheets. On the macro level, the creation of money through FRB is the genesis of the destructive boom-bust cycle.

This is why banks and the entire financial system are so prone to reoccurring crisis and no regulation, reform, or Treasury Department “findings”, can make such a system “stable”, The only true reform is to abolish FRB and establish a monetary order that requires all financial institutions to keep 100% reserves of depositors’ assets.

The Treasury Department’s recommendations are mere window dressing by the very banksters whose opulent livelihoods are predicated on FRB.

The elimination of FRB would go beyond a beneficial financial revolution, but would affect the foreign policy of the USA. Without the ability to create money via FRB, the murderous American Empire could simply not exist, nor would the nation’s draconian domestic security state.

With his selection of crony capitalists and members of Goldman Sachs to his economic team, it is apparent that President Trump does not understand the true nature of the nation’s financial woes or what precipitated the last financial crisis and what will assuredly lead to a far bigger mess down the road. If he did, his next Executive Order would be to implement steps and procedures to eliminate the scourge of fractional reserve banking forever.

https://antoniusaquinas.com/2017/06/27/the-ultimate-regulatory-reform-abolish-fractional-reserve-banking/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-27/ultimate-regulatory-reform-abolish-fractional-reserve-banking

Categories: Uncategorized

Deep History of America’s Deep State

The idea of an elitist Deep State – erasing a “mistake” by the people – pervades current efforts to remove buffoonish President Trump, but the concept has deep historical roots dating from the Founding.

by Jada Thacker

Consortium News (June 23 2017)

Everybody seems to be talking about the Deep State these days. Although the term appears to have entered the lexicon in the late 1990s, for years it referred only to shady foreign governments, certainly not to our own “indispensable nation”

Does the sudden presence of an American Deep State – loosely defined as an unelected elite that manipulates the elected government to serve its own interests – pose a novel, even existential, threat to democracy?

Not exactly. The threat seems real enough, but it’s nothing new. Consider these facts: 230 years ago, an unelected group of elite Americans held a secretive meeting with an undisclosed agenda. Their purpose was not merely to manipulate lawful government in their own interests, but to abolish it altogether. In its place, they would install a radically undemocratic government – a “more perfect” government, they said – better suited to their investment portfolios.

History does not identify these conspirators as the Deep State. It calls them the Founders. The Founders did not consider themselves conspirators, but “republicans” – not in reference to any political party, but rather to their economic station in society. But their devotion to “republicanism” was transparently self-serving. A current college text, The American Journey: A History of the United States (2017), explains though does not explicate “republican ideology”:
 

Their main bulwark against tyranny was civil liberty, or maintaining the right of the people to participate in government. The people who did so, however, had to demonstrate virtue. To eighteenth century republicans, virtuous citizens were those who were focused not on their private interests but rather on what was good for the public as a whole.

They were necessarily property holders, since only those individuals could exercise an independence of judgment impossible for those dependent upon employers, landlords, masters, or (in the case of women and children) husbands and fathers. [Emphasis supplied]

 

Republicanism was a handy idea if you happened to be a master or a landlord, who were the only persons this ideology considered “virtuous” enough to vote or hold political office. Thus, “republicanism” – virtually indistinguishable from today’s “neoliberalism” – created the original Deep State in the image of the economic system it was designed to perpetuate.

How this was accomplished is not a comforting tale. But it cannot be related nor understood without an appreciation of the historical context in which it occurred.

Masters and Servants

Post-colonial America was predominantly agrarian, and about 90 percent of the population was farmers. (The largest city in 1790 was New York, with a whopping population of 33,000 residents.) There was a small middle class of artisans, shopkeepers, and even a handful of industrial workers, but the politically and economically powerful people were the relatively few big-time merchants and landowners – who also fulfilled the function of bankers.

America was not quite a feudal society, but it resembled one. Commoners did not call at the front doors of the rich but were received around back. Most states had official religions, some with compulsory church attendance backed by fines. Commodity-barter was the currency of the day for the vast majority. Debtors were imprisoned. Parents sold their children into bondage. It wasn’t what most people think of when they hear “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.

All states restricted voting only to men who owned a requisite amount of property, while the majority: un-widowed women, servants, and tenants owned no property. Moreover, most states had property requirements for eligibility to elective office, some with the higher offices reserved for those with the most property. Such restrictions had discriminated against the urban underclass and farmers since the beginning of American colonization.

Nobody at the time characterized this land of masters and servants as a “democracy”. Indeed, the master class considered “democracy” synonymous with “mob rule”. But not everybody was happy with “republican virtue” in post-war America, least of all the slaves of the “virtuous”.

The Revolutionary War had stirred passions among the servant class for social and economic liberty, but when the war ended nothing much had changed. In fact, the war proved not to have been a revolution at all, but represented only a change from British overlords to American overlords. Edmund Morgan, considered the dean of American history in the colonial era, characterized the “non-Revolutionary War” this way:
 

The fact the lower ranks were involved in the contest should not obscure the fact that the contest itself was generally a struggle for office and power between members of an upper class: the new against the established.

 

About one percent of the American population had died in a war fought, they had been told, for “liberty”. (Compare: if the US lost the same proportion of its population in a war today, the result would be over three million dead Americans.) Yet after the war, economic liberty was nowhere in sight.

Moreover, the very concept of “liberty” meant one thing to a farmer and quite another to his rich landlord or merchant. Liberty for a common farmer – who was generally a subsistence farmer who did not farm to make money, but rather only to provide the necessities of life for his family – meant staying out of debt. Liberty for merchants and property owners – whose business it was to make monetary profits – meant retaining the ability to lend or rent to others and access to the power of government to enforce monetary repayment from debtors and tenants.

Much like the American Indians who had first communally owned the property now occupied by American subsistence farmers, agrarian debtors faced the unthinkable prospect of losing their ability to provide for their families (and their vote) if their land were confiscated for overdue taxes or debt. See https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/08/how-debt-conquered-america/.

Loss of their land would doom a freeholder to a life of tenancy. And the servitude of tenants and slaves differed mainly as a function of iron and paper: slaves were shackled by iron, tenants were shackled by debt contracts. But iron and paper were both backed by law.

By the end of the Revolutionary War, as few as a third of American farmers owned their own land. When the urban elites began to foreclose on the debts and raise the taxes of subsistence farmers – many of whom had fought a long and excruciating war to secure their “liberty” – it amounted to a direct assault on the last bastion of Americans’ economic independence.

The Original Great Recession

After the war, British merchants and banks no longer extended credit to Americans. Moreover, Britain refused to allow Americans to trade with its West Indies possessions. And, to make matters worse, the British Navy no longer protected American ships from North African pirates, effectively closing off Mediterranean commerce. Meanwhile, the American navy could not protect American shipping, in the Mediterranean or elsewhere, because America did not happen to possess a navy.

In the past, American merchants had obtained trade goods from British suppliers by “putting it on a tab” and paying for the goods later, after they had been sold. Too many Americans had reneged on those tabs after the Revolution, and the British now demanded “cash on the barrelhead” in the form of gold and silver coin before they would ship their goods to America.

As always, Americans had limited coin with which to make purchases. As the credit crunch cascaded downwards, wholesalers demanded cash payment from retailers, retailers demanded cash from customers. Merchants “called in” loans they had made to farmers, payable in coin. Farmers without coin were forced to sell off their hard-earned possessions, livestock, or land to raise the money, or risk court-enforced debt collection, which included not only the seizure and sale of their property but also imprisonment for debt.

The most prominent result of Americans’ war for “liberty” turned out to be a full-blown economic recession that lasted a decade. Even so, the recession would not have posed a life-threatening problem for land-owning subsistence farmers, who lived in materially self-sufficient, rural, communal societies. But when state governments began to raise taxes on farmers, payable only in unavailable gold and silver coin, even “self-sufficient” farmers found themselves at risk of losing their ability to feed their families.

Debt, Speculation, and the Deep State

The Continental Congress had attempted to pay for its war with Britain by printing paper money. The British undermined these so-called “Continental” dollars, not only by enticing American merchants with gold and silver, but by counterfeiting untold millions of Continental dollars and spending them into circulation. The aggregate result was the catastrophic devaluation of the Continental dollar, which by war’s end was worthless.

In the meantime, both Congress and state governments had borrowed to pay for “liberty”. By war’s end, war debt stood at $73 million, $60 million of which was owed to domestic creditors. It was a staggering sum of money. In his now studiously ignored masterpiece, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913), historian Charles A Beard showed that domestically-held war debt was equivalent to ten percent of the value of all the surveyed land holdings (including houses) in the entire United States at the time.

The war debt carried interest, of course – which is a problem with debt if you owe it, but is a feature of debt if it is owed to you. Not only was “freedom not free” – it came with dividends attached for Deep State investors. This should sound at least vaguely familiar today.

As Continental paper money lost its value, Congress and state governments continued to pay for “liberty” with coin borrowed at interest. When that ran short, the government paid only with promises to pay at a later date – merely pieces of paper that promised to pay coin (or land) at some indeterminate time after the war was won.

This was how the government supplied the troops (whenever it managed to do so) and also how it paid its troops. In actual practice, however, Congress often did not pay the troops anything, not even with paper promises, offering only verbal promises to pay them at the end of the war.

But war is never a money-making enterprise for the government, and when it ended, the government was as broke as ever. So, it wrote its verbal promises on pieces of paper, and handed them to its discharged troops with a hearty Good Luck with That! Even so, Congress paid the soldiers in bonds worth only a fraction of the amount of time most had served, promising (again!) to pay the balance later – which it never did.

Thousands of steadfast, longsuffering troops were abandoned this way. Most had not been paid any money in years (if ever), and many were hundreds of miles from their homes – ill, injured, and starving – as they had been for months and years. Others literally were dressed only in rags or pieces of rags. Some carried paper promises of money; some carried paper promises of geographically distant land – none of which would be available until years in the future, if at all.

Seven-year Revolutionary War veteran Philip Mead described his plight in a bitter memoir entitled A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier (1830):
 

We were absolutely, literally starved. I do solemnly declare that I did not put a single morsel of victuals in my mouth for four days and as many nights, except a little black birch bark which I gnawed off a stick of wood, if that can be called victuals. I saw several of the men roast their old shoes and eat them …

When the country had drained the last drop of service it could screw out of the poor soldiers, they were turned adrift like old worn-out horses, and nothing said about land to pasture them on.

Was this liberty? To impoverished veterans, “liberty” looked bleak, indeed. To speculators in government bonds, liberty looked like a golden opportunity, quite literally so.

Vultures possessed of coin swooped in and bought a dollar’s worth of government promises for a dime, and sometimes for just a nickel. Speculators wheedled promises not only from desperate veterans (many of whom sold their promises merely to obtain food and clothes on their long trudge home) but from a host of people whose goods or services had been paid with IOUs.

Optimistic speculators cadged bonds from pessimistic speculators. The more desperate people became during the recession, the more cheaply they sold their promises to those who were not.

Speculators expected their investments, even those made with now-worthless paper money, to be paid in gold or silver coin. What’s more, “insiders” expected all those various government promises would eventually be converted – quietly, if possible – into interest-bearing bonds backed by a single, powerful taxing authority. All the Deep State needed now was a national government to secure the investment scheme. A man named Daniel Shays unwittingly helped to fulfill that need.

Rebellion and Backlash

Thomas Jefferson penned the famous sentence: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”. He was not referring to heroic American Patriots charging up Bunker Hill against British bayonets. He was referring instead to American farmers – many of whom had been the starving soldiers in a war for forsaken liberty – taking their lives into their hands to oppose the tax policies of the government of Massachusetts in 1787. The principal leader of this revolt was a farmer and war veteran Daniel Shays.

In a sense, the most interesting thing about Shays’s Rebellion is that it was not a unique event.

The first notable example of agrarian revolt had been Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 Virginia, when frontier farmers marched on the rich plantation owners of Jamestown, burned it to the ground, published their democratic “Declaration of the People”, and threatened to hang every elite “tyrant” on their list – which included some of the forefathers of America’s Patriot Founders.

Historian Gary Nash reminds us Bacon’s Rebellion had echoes across early American history: “Outbreaks of disorder punctuated the last quarter of the 17th century, toppling established governments in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina”. Jimmy Carter, in The Hornet’s Nest (2003), the only novel ever published by an American president, tells a similar story of the agony of dispossessed farmers in Georgia a century later.

Other farmers had rebelled in New Jersey in the 1740s; in the New York Hudson Valley rent wars in the 1750s and 1760s and concurrently in Vermont by Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys; for a decade in North Carolina in the 1760s, where vigilantes called Regulators battled the government of the urban elite; and in Virginia in the 1770s. Likewise, American cities had been scenes of labor unrest, riots, and strikes for a century. American class rebellion, apparently unbeknownst to most history teachers in America, was closer to the rule than the exception.

Victory in the war against England only intensified the conflict between those who considered “liberty” as a necessary condition to live without debt, against those who considered “liberty” to be their class privilege to grow rich from the debts others owed them. Howard Zinn, in his A People’s History of the United States (1980~2009), describes the economic realities of Eighteenth Century America:
 

The colonies, it seems, were societies of contending classes – a fact obscured by the emphasis, in traditional histories, on the external struggle against England, the unity of colonists in the Revolution. The country therefore was not “born free” but born slave and free, servant and master, tenant and landlord, poor and rich.

 

Although Shays’s Rebellion was not unique, it was a huge event, coming at a time when the rich were owed a great deal of money by impoverished governments. Pressured by rich bondholders and speculators, the government of Massachusetts duly raised taxes on farmers. To make matters far worse, the taxes were to be paid only in gold or silver – which was completely out of the question for most western farmers, who had no way to obtain coined money.

When the farmers complained, their complaints were ignored. When farmers petitioned the government to issue paper money and accept it as payment of debts and taxes, the government refused their petitions. When the farmers pleaded for the passage of “legal tender laws” that would allow them to settle their debts or taxes with their labor, they were rebuffed.

But when farmers could not pay what they did not have, the Massachusetts’s courts ordered their land seized and auctioned. At last, the farmers understood the practical effect, if not the specific intent, of the tax: confiscation of their property and its transfer to the rich, to whom the government owed its interest-bearing debt. The government had become an armed collection agency.

To the utter dismay of the erstwhile proudly tax-rebellious Patriots, the farmers too rebelled. Shaysites forcibly shut down the tax courts that were condemning them to servitude. The rich responded by loaning the destitute government more money (at interest!) to pay a militia force to oppose Shays’s rebels.

At this point, tax rebels abandoned reform for radical revolution and – in a resounding echo of Nathaniel Bacon’s century-old Declaration of the People – pledged to march on Boston and burn it to the ground. This was no Tea Party vandalism, stage-managed by well-to-do Bostonians like Samuel Adams. It was a full-blown, grassroots agrarian revolution a century in the making.

The urban bond-holding merchant-class in Boston and elsewhere panicked. And none panicked more than bond speculators, who intimately understood the rebels threatened their “virtuous” republican “liberty” to extract profit from others. Historian Woody Holton exposes the astonishing callousness of one of America’s major bond speculators in his nationally acclaimed Unruly Americans and the Origin of the Constitution (2008):
 

As a bondholder, Abigail Adams would benefit immensely if her fellow Massachusetts citizens [paid the tax] levied by the legislature in March 1786, but she also saw compliance as a sacred duty. If Massachusetts taxpayers were “harder-prest by publick burdens than formerly”, she wrote, “they should consider it as the price of their freedom”.

 

Future First Lady Abigail Adams was not alone in thinking freedom came with dividends payable to her account. Historian David Szatmary reminds us in his Shays Rebellion; The Makings of an Agrarian Insurrection (1984) that the former Patriot leadership, especially those in the merchant class, were among the first to advocate violence against democratic rebellion.

Said a published opinion piece at the time:
 

When we had other rulers, committees and conventions of the people were lawful – they were then necessary; but since I myself became a ruler, they cease to be lawful – the people have no right to examine my conduct.

 

Showboat Patriot and bond speculator Samuel Adams – former mastermind of the Boston Tea Party and erstwhile propagandist against unfair British taxes (as well as cousin to Abigail’s husband John Adams) – sponsored a Massachusetts law that allowed sheriffs to kill tax protesters outright.

Another rich bondholder and speculator, ex-Revolutionary War General Henry Knox (the fitting namesake of Fort Knox, the famous repository of gold bullion) wrote an alarming letter to his former commander George Washington, accusing the Shays’s rebels of being “levelers” (which was the closest term to “communists” then in existence). He informed Washington that the country needed a much stronger government (and military) to prevent any riffraff challenge to the elite. His message was not wasted on General Washington, America’s richest slave owner.

In the end, the Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, could raise no money from the states to provide an army, but the privately-financed, for-profit Massachusetts militia successfully defeated Shays’s rebels. Still, the nearly hysterical fear of democratic economic revolution had been planted in the minds of the masters. Shays’s Rebellion proved to be the last straw for bond speculators whose profits were jeopardized by democracy.

Worse even, the governments of many other states were beginning to cave under intense democratic pressure from rebellious debtors. Some states were entertaining laws that prevented the seizure of property for debt; others were creating paper money in order to break the gold and silver monopoly. Rhode Island not only voted in a paper money system, but threatened to socialize all commercial business enterprises in the state.

In response to the threat of populism, the “virtuous” elite reacted decisively – not to remedy the plight of debtors, of course – but to secure their own profits from them. Accordingly, in 1786, five states sent delegates to meet at Annapolis, Maryland, just as Shays’s Rebellion veered into revolution. This unelected minority called for Congress to authorize a convention to be held in Philadelphia the next year “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. The Articles were never to be “revised”. They were to be scrapped altogether by the Deep State.

The Deep State Conspires

Thanks to Charles A Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, we know quite a lot about the status of the 55 men who conspired to draft the Constitution. But the very first thing we need to know is that they were not authorized by “We the People” simply because nobody had voted for them; all were political appointees.

Nor were they even a representative sample of the people. Not a single person in the Convention hall “worked for a living”, nor was female, nor was a person of color. Only one claimed to be a “farmer”, the current occupation of about ninety percent of the population. Most were lawyers. Go figure.

If the delegates represented anybody at all, it was the economic elite: eighty percent were bondholders; 44 percent were money-lenders; 27 percent were slave owners; and 25 percent were real estate speculators. Demographically, the 39 who finally signed the final draft of the Constitution constituted .001 percent of the American population reported in the 1790 census. George Washington, who presided, was arguably the wealthiest man in the country. Deep State gamblers all.

And the stakes were high. Recall that the face value of outstanding domestic government bonds in 1787 was $60 million, equivalent to ten percent of the total improved land value of the country. But these bonds, for the most part, had been obtained by speculators at a fraction of face value. Beard very conservatively estimated the profit of speculators – if the bond were redeemed at face value – would have been some $40 million. Expressed as the same proportion of total improved land value at the time of the Founding, the expected profit from government bonds held then would equal at least $3 trillion today. Tax-free.

We still do not know everything that transpired at the convention. No one was assigned to keep a record of what was discussed. Reportedly, even the windows to the meeting hall were nailed shut to prevent eavesdropping – though there would be “leaks”. Because of its secrecy and its unauthorized nature, some historians have called the convention “the second American Revolution”. But revolutions are public, hugely participatory events. This was a coup d’état behind locked doors.

Most delegates presumably understood their undisclosed purpose was to dump the whole system of confederated government (which had cost 25,000 American lives to secure) into a dustbin. They evidently did not intend to obey their instructions “solely to revise” the Articles because a number of them showed up at the convention with drafts for a new constitution in hand.

The conspirators’ ultimate goal was to replace the Confederation with what they later euphemized as “a more perfect Union” – designed from the outset to protect their class interests and to ensure the new government possessed all the power necessary to perpetuate the existing oligarchy.

At the Convention, Alexander Hamilton captured the prevailing sentiment:
 

All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well-born; the other the mass of the people … turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the Government … Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy.

 

Hamilton further proposed that both the President and the Senate be appointed (not elected) for life. His vision was but half a step removed from monarchy. Though not a Convention delegate, John Jay, Hamilton’s political ally, slaveowner, and the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, stated the purpose of “republicanism” with brutal brevity:
 

The people who own the country ought to govern it.

 

The Founders never once envisioned any such a thing as “limited government” – unless perhaps in the sense that the power of government was to be limited to their own economic class. See https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/01/the-rights-made-up-constitution-3/.

In Towards an American Revolution: Exposing the Constitution & Other Illusions (1999), historian Jerry Fresia sums the Founders’ views succinctly:
 

The vision of the Framers, even for Franklin and Jefferson who were less fearful of the politics of the common people than most, was that of a strong centralized state, a nation whose commerce and trade stretched around the world. In a word, the vision was one of empire where property owners would govern themselves. [Emphasis supplied]

 

Self-government by the people was to remain permanently out of the question. The Deep State was to govern itself. “We the People”, a phrase hypocritically coined by the ultra-aristocrat Gouverneur Morris, would stand forever after as an Orwellian hoax.

The tricky task of the hand-picked delegates was to hammer out a radical new system of government that would superficially resemble a democratic republic, but function as an oligarchy.

William Hogeland’s excellent Founding Finance (2012), recounts the anti-democratic vehemence expressed at the Convention:
 

On the first day of the meeting that would become known as the United States Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph of Virginia kicked off the proceedings [ … ] “Our chief danger”, Randolph announced, “arises from the democratic parts of our constitutions … None of the constitutions” – he meant those of the states’ governments – “have provided sufficient checks against the democracy”.

 

No wonder they nailed the windows shut. It should be no surprise that the word “democracy” does not appear once in the entire US Constitution, or any of its Amendments, including the Bill of Rights. Accordingly, the Constitution does not once refer to the popular vote, and it did not guarantee a single person or group suffrage until the adoption of the 15th Amendment in 1870, over eighty years after ratification. The Preamble aside, the Founders used the phrase “the People” only a single time (Article I, Section 2).

It has been suggested the word “democracy” had a different meaning then than it has now. It did not. “Democracy” to the Convention delegates meant the same thing as it does today: “rule by the people”. That’s why they detested it. The delegates considered themselves the patriarchs of “republicanism”, the ideology that rejected participation in government by people like their wives, servants, tenants, slaves, and other non-propertied inferiors. No doubt, the delegates passionately disagreed on many things, but the “fear and loathing” of democracy was not one of them. Then or now.

The Deep State’s Specific Goals

Embedded within the Founders’ broadly anti-democratic agenda were four specific goals. These were not a list of items jotted down in advance, but were derived by group consensus as the minimum requirements necessary to achieve the Deep State’s ultimate agenda.

To camouflage the stark oligarchic nationalism the measures intended, the Founders disingenuously styled themselves “Federalists”. But nothing about these measures concerned a “federation” of sovereign states; taken together, they were intended to demolish the existing “perpetual” confederation, not to re-create it more effectively.

National government with limited citizen participation. Of all the measures required to achieve a national oligarchy, this was the most daunting. It was achieved by a wide array of provisions.

The Electoral College. The President and Vice President are not elected by popular vote, but by electors – then and now. For example, when George Washington was first elected President, the American population was 3.9 million. How many of those folks voted for George? Exactly 69 persons – which was the total number of electors voting at the time. (Article I, Section 3)

Bi-Cameral Congress. Congress is bicameral, composed of two “houses” – the House of Representatives and the Senate. Under the original Constitution, the House members represented the people who vote for them, while the Senate represented states, not persons, and was therefore not a democratic body, at all. It was generally expected that the Senate would “check” the democratic House. Indeed, this was the entire purpose of bicameralism wherever it has existed. (Article I, Sections 1 and 2)

State Appointment of Senators. Senators were originally appointed by state legislatures (until the 17th Amendment in 1913). It was expected that the Senate would function in Congress as the House of Lords functioned in Parliament: the voice of the aristocracy. Even though Senators are now popularly elected, it is far more difficult to challenge an incumbent because of the prohibitive expense of running a state-wide campaign. (Article I, Section 3)

Appointment of the Judiciary. All federal judges are appointed for life terms by the President and confirmed by the (originally undemocratic) Senate. (Article III, Section 1)

Paucity of Representation. Most undemocratic of all was the extreme paucity of the total number of House members. The House originally was composed of only 65 members, or one member per 60,000 persons. Today, there are 435 members, each representing about 700,000 persons. Thus, current House representation of the public is twelve times less democratic than when the Constitution was written – and it was poor (at best) then.

Compare: The day before the Constitution was ratified, the people of the thirteen United States were represented by about 2,000 democratically elected representatives in their various state legislatures (1:1950 ratio); the day after ratification, the same number of people were to be represented by only 65 representatives in the national government (1:60000). In quantitative terms, this represents more than a 3,000 percent reduction of democratic representation for the American people. (Article I, Section 2)

Absence of Congressional Districts. Although House members now run for election in equal-populated districts, the districts were created by Congress, not the Constitution. Until the 1960s, some House members were elected at-large (like Senators). This disadvantaged all but the richest and best-known candidates from winning. (Not referenced in Constitution)

Absence of Recall, Initiative, and Referendum. The Constitution does not allow the people to vote to recall (un-elect) a Congress member, demand a Congressional vote on any issue (propose an initiative) or vote directly in a referendum on any issue (direct democracy). (Not referenced in Constitution)

Absence of Independent Amendment Process. One of the reasons Americans now have professional politicians is that the Constitution does not provide a way for “the people” to amend it without the required cooperation of a sitting Congress. At the Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph of Virginia (surprisingly) proposed that the people be afforded a way to amend the Constitution without the participation of Congress. This excellent idea, however, was not adopted. (Article V)

National authority to tax citizens directly. (Article I, Section 8; 16th Amendment)

National monopolization of military power. (Article I, Section 8, Clauses 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

Denial of states’ power to issue paper money or provide debtor relief. (Article I, Section 10; Article I Section 8, Clause 4)

All of these provisions were completely new in the American experience. For 150 years or more, citizen participation in government, independent militias, and the issuance of paper money had been the prerogative of the several, independent colonies/states – while direct external taxation had been universally and strenuously resisted. When the British Crown had threatened to curtail colonial prerogatives, the very men who now conspired for national power had risen in armed rebellion. The hypocrisy was stunning. And people took note of the fact.

Consent of the Minority

One of the note-takers was Robert Yates, a New York delegate to the Convention, who had walked out in protest. Not long afterward, Yates (who owned no government bonds) stated his objection to the new Constitution:
 

This government is to possess absolute and uncontrollable power, legislative, executive and judicial, with respect to every object to which it extends …

The government then, so far as it extends, is a complete one … It has the authority to make laws which will affect the lives, the liberty, and the property of every man in the United States; nor can the constitution or the laws of any state, in any way prevent or impede the full and complete execution of every power given.

 

At least half of the American population (collectively called “Anti-federalists”) thought the Constitution was a terrible idea. To be sure, well-to-do Anti-federalists like Yates were not overtaxed farmers, and their objections were often based upon the defense of states’ rights, not peoples’ economic rights. Most Anti-federalists, however, seemed alarmed that the Constitution contained no guarantee of the basic political rights they had enjoyed under the British Empire, such as freedom of speech or trial by jury.

The debate between supporters and critics of the Constitution raged for a year, while partisan newspapers published articles both pro and con. A collection of 85 “pro” articles is known now as The Federalist Papers, which were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. Although these articles have been studied almost as religious relics by historians, they do not tell us “what the Constitution really means”

The Constitution means what it says. The Federalist Papers are sales brochures, written by lawyers trying to get others to “buy” the Constitution. The same can be said about a similar collection of “Anti-federalist Papers”, from which Yates’s quote above was taken. In any event, it is up to the courts to interpret the Constitution, not lawyers with vested interests.

In due course, the Anti-federalists put their collective foot down. There would be no hope of ratification without amendments guaranteeing fundamental political – but not economic – rights. Although Hamilton argued a guarantee of rights would be “dangerous”, James Madison convinced the Federalists that agreeing to guarantee a future Bill of Rights would be much safer that meddling with the text of the current document, which might entail unraveling its core nationalist, anti-democratic agenda. And so, a deal was struck.

Even so, the battle over the ratification of the Constitution was not ultimately decided by the people of the nation. Although the people of the several states had not voted to authorize the Convention or the document it had produced, the Founders had been incredibly arrogant, not to mention sly. Not only had they presented the unauthorized document to the states as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition (no changes allowed), but the document itself demanded that only special state “conventions” could ratify it – not the majority popular vote of the people.

Specifying ratification by conventions meant the people would be voting for convention delegates, who would in turn vote for ratification. This was tantamount to turning ratification into a popularity contest between convention delegates, rather than a democratically direct vote on the document, itself. Moreover, ratification by convention would present the possibility that a minority of the people in a state (those in favor of the Constitution) might “pack” a convention with delegates, who would then approve of a document establishing a government for all.

Electoral shenanigans were not just hypothetical possibilities. In Philadelphia, for example, a mob kidnapped elected legislators who were boycotting a convention vote, physically dragged them into the state house, and tied them to their chairs in order to force a convention vote. Other, more subtle methods of manipulation occurred elsewhere, notably the disenfranchisement of voters through property qualifications.

Over a hundred years ago, Charles A Beard completed his exhaustive study of the Constitution and confirmed that it most likely was ratified by a majority – of a minority of the people.

Among Beard’s final conclusions were these:
 

The Constitution was ratified by a vote of probably not more than one-sixth of the adult males … The leaders who supported the Constitution in the ratifying conventions represented the same economic groups as the members of the Philadelphia Convention … The Constitution was not created by “the whole people” as the jurists [judges] have said; neither was it created by “the states” as Southern nullifiers long contended; but it was the work of a consolidated group whose interests knew no state boundaries and were truly national in their scope.

 

The Deep State, in other words. It was darkly appropriate that a document whose primary purpose was to defeat democratic rule was, itself, brought into force without a majoritarian vote.

In 1788, nine of the thirteen states’ conventions ratified the Constitution (as specified in the Constitution’s own Article VII) and the document became the supreme law of the land for those nine states. By 1789, even the democratic holdout Rhode Island had followed suit. And America’s schoolchildren have been led to believe ever since that the Constitution is a sacred document, inspired and ordained by the public-spirited benevolence of Founding Fathers.

But this had been predicted. It had seemed painfully obvious to Eighteenth Century Genevan political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau that constitutional government was the invention of the Deep State, its designated beneficiary.

Dripping with sarcasm, his virtuoso Discourse on Inequality (1754) explained the process:
 

The rich man … at last conceived the deepest project that ever entered the human mind: this was to employ in his favour the very forces that attacked him, to make allies of his enemies …

In a word, instead of turning our forces against ourselves, let us collect them into a sovereign power, which may govern us by wise laws, may protect and defend all the members of the association, repel common enemies, and maintain a perpetual concord and harmony among us.

 

Rousseau penned these words in 1754, 33 years before Gouverneur Morris oversaw the drafting of the identical sales pitch that constitutes the Preamble to the United States Constitution:
 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 

Rousseau concludes:
 

All offered their necks to the yoke in hopes of securing their liberty; for though they had sense enough to perceive the advantages of a political constitution, they had not experience enough to see beforehand the dangers of it; those among them, who were best qualified to foresee abuses, were precisely those who expected to benefit by them … [Emphasis added]

 

Does the Deep State pose an existential threat to American democracy today? Move along, folks – nothing new to see here.

_____

Jada Thacker, EdD, is the author of Dissecting American History: A Theme-Based Narrative (2012). He teaches History and Government at a college in Texas. Contact: jadathacker@sbcglobal.net

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/23/deep-history-of-americas-deep-state/

Categories: Uncategorized

The Government’s Plan …

… to Survive Nuclear War Doesn’t Include You

by Mac Slavo

via SHTFplan.com (June 20 2017)

Zero Hedge (June 24 2017)

Once again this week, the United States teetered a little closer towards war with the Russians. On Sunday, the US military shot down a Syrian jet that was allegedly targeting US-backed forces. The Russians have since claimed that the aircraft was engaging ISIS, and have revealed that their air defense systems will now track any of our aircraft {1} that happen to fly over Western Syria. They also suspended a hotline between the US and Russia that was in place to prevent mid-air collisions over the crowded skies of Syria.

Amid incidents like this, you have to wonder what our government is thinking. For most Americans, Syria must seem inconsequential. Why is our military involved in a country, where we are brushing shoulders with a nuclear-armed nation? If it’s to fight ISIS, then we could easily sit back and let Russian and Syrian forces wipe them out. If it’s to affect regime change, then clearly our government hasn’t learned anything from Iraq or Afghanistan. Why are we risking a war with the Russians just to influence the outcome of a regional civil war that has little bearing on the daily lives of most Americans?

The answer to that question could probably fill a novel, but there is one reason that the elites in Washington will never admit to. They can afford to make careless decisions because they are insulated from the results. If there is a war with Russia, which could easily turn into a nuclear war, they’ll have plenty of spacious bunkers to hide out in while the rest of America burns. And that’s been our government’s plan in regards to nuclear war since the beginning of the Cold War.

That’s the main takeaway from a new book called Raven Rock: The Story of the US Government’s Plan to Save Itself {2}. Our government has spent decades building sprawling bunkers, like Raven Rock, that high ranking officials can flee to in the event of a nuclear war.

 

The idea for Raven Rock was to have a military base that would function as an alternative to the Pentagon and would be dug out of a mountain and deep enough to survive any Russian attack.

A site was chosen six miles from Camp David, the Presidential retreat in Maryland, and work began in 1951 on the $17 million project

Some 300 men worked round the clock in three shifts to carve a 3,100-foot tunnel out of the granite; engineers invented technology as they went along including blast doors and blast valves.

Inside the facility, there was 100,000 square feet of office space in five parallel caverns big enough to hold a three-story building in each.

The entire facility could fit 1,400 people and was placed on giant springs to reduce the impact of a blast. {3}

Meanwhile, as they were building these bunkers and trying to convince Americans that nuclear war could be easily survivable, behind the scenes they knew it would be a bloodbath for civilians.

At the end of the 1950s, the Federal Civil Defense Administration created “Battleground USA”, a grim 120-page report on how cities should manage civil defense operations in the event of an attack.

It said that the area should be divided into “mortuary zones” with “collection teams” in charge of identifying bodies.

Post Office mail trucks would ferry the wounded to one of 900 improvised hospitals set up near attack sites in places like federal prisons.

In Kansas, officials planned to confiscate household vitamins for use by the general population.

Planners estimated they could assemble two million pounds of food after an attack from their own reserves and from stores.

They could also find eleven million “man-days” of food in the forests and plains in rabbit meat, ten million “man-days” of wild birds and five million “man-days” of fish.

Most chillingly they budgeted nearly twenty million “man-days” of meat in residential pets.

It was disturbing reading and a view of the world that summed up by Eisenhower in one meeting: “The destruction might be such that we might ultimately have to go back to bows and arrows”.

During another meeting, Eisenhower admitted that nation didn’t have “enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the street in the event of a nuclear strike”. {3}

 

And as we all know, our government didn’t take many measures to protect civilians from the potential carnage that would be inflicted by a nuclear war. They didn’t build many bunkers for the rest of us.

At first glance that may sound like an impossible task, but it’s not. Take Switzerland for instance. Despite not having any nuclear weapons, they’ve built enough fallout shelters to house every Swiss citizen {4}. You might say that we could never afford that many shelters, but it’s not a question of cost. Switzerland’s GDP per capita is similar to America’s.

The truth of the matter is that our leaders don’t give a damn about what happens to American civilians. As long as they have their bunkers, they feel safe while antagonizing nuclear-armed nations like Russia. They know that if there’s a war, they’ll survive while the rest of us burn and starve.

Make no mistake, if there’s ever a war with Russia, you’ll be on your own. Whether or not you survive {5} depends entirely on your willingness and ability to prepare now {6}.

Links:

{1} http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/russia-shoot-down-all-flying-objects-in-syria-us-regime-warplane-isis-terror-a7797101.html

{2} http://amzn.to/2rBIFjJ

{3} http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4618354/How-government-elites-plan-survive-nuclear-attack.html

{4} https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/prepared-for-anything_bunkers-for-all/995134

{5} http://amzn.to/TwaloQ

{6} https://toptiergearusa.com/

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/there-wont-be-enough-bulldozers-to-scrape-the-bodies-off-the-street-heres-how-the-us-government-plans-to-survive-a-nuclear-war_06202017

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-24/governments-plan-survive-nuclear-war-doesnt-include-you

Categories: Uncategorized