What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Via Postal Mail - You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to: WikiLeaks (or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country), BOX 4080, Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch, Victoria 3052, Australia

What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Via Postal Mail - You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to: WikiLeaks (or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country), BOX 4080, Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch, Victoria 3052, Australia

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Why Are American Health Care Costs So High?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


100 Years Is Enough: Time to Make the Fed a Public Utility - By Ellen Brown/Web of Debt

100 Years Is Enough: Time to Make the Fed a Public Utility

December 23rd, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, warranting a review of its performance.  Has it achieved the purposes for which it was designed?
The answer depends on whose purposes we are talking about.  For the banks, the Fed has served quite well.  For the laboring masses whose populist movement prompted it, not much has changed in a century.

Thwarting Populist Demands
The Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913 in response to a wave of bank crises, which had hit on average every six years over a period of 80 years. The resulting economic depressions triggered a populist movement for monetary reform in the 1890s.  Mary Ellen Lease, an early populist leader, said in a fiery speech that could have been written today:
Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. . . . Money rules . . . .Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. . . .

We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out.

That was what they wanted, but the Federal Reserve Act that they got was not what the populists had fought for, or what their leader William Jennings Bryan thought he was approving when he voted for it in 1913. In the stirring speech that won him the Democratic presidential nomination in 1896, Bryan insisted:
[We] believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government. . . . Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson . . . and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business.
He concluded with this famous outcry against the restrictive gold standard:
You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

What Bryan and the populists sought was a national currency issued debt-free and interest-free by the government, on the model of Lincoln’s Greenbacks. What the American people got was a money supply created by private banks as credit (or debt) lent to the government and the people at interest. Although the national money supply would be printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, it would be issued by the “bankers’ bank,” the Federal Reserve. The Fed is composed of twelve branches, all of which are 100 percent owned by the banks in their districts. Until 1935, these branches could each independently issue paper dollars for the cost of printing them, and could lend them at interest.

1929: The Fed Triggers the Worst Bank Run in History

The new system was supposed to prevent bank runs, but it clearly failed in that endeavor. In 1929, the United States experienced the worst bank run in its history.

The New York Fed had been pouring newly-created money into New York banks, which then lent it to stock speculators. When the New York Fed heard that the Federal Reserve Board of Governors had held an all-night meeting discussing this risky situation, the flood of speculative funding was retracted, precipitating the 1929 stock market crash.

At that time, paper dollars were freely redeemable in gold; but banks were required to keep sufficient gold to cover only 40 percent of their deposits. When panicked bank customers rushed to cash in their dollars, gold reserves shrank. Loans then had to be recalled to maintain the 40 percent requirement, collapsing the money supply.

The result was widespread unemployment and loss of homes and savings, similar to that seen today. In a scathing indictment before Congress in 1934, Representative Louis McFadden blamed the Federal Reserve. He said:
Mr. Chairman, we have in this Country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks . . . . The depredations and iniquities of the Fed has cost enough money to pay the National debt several times over. . . .
Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United  States  Government  institutions.  They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders.

These twelve private credit monopolies were deceitfully and disloyally foisted upon this Country by the bankers who came here from Europe and repaid us our hospitality by undermining our American institutions.

Freed from the Bankers’ “Cross of Gold”

To stop the collapse of the money supply, in 1933 Roosevelt took the dollar off the gold standard within the United States. The gold standard had prevailed since the founding of the country, and the move was highly controversial. Critics viewed it as a crime. But proponents saw it as finally allowing the country to be economically sovereign.

This more benign view was taken by Beardsley Ruml, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in a presentation before the American Bar Association in 1945. He said the government was now at liberty to spend as needed to meet its budget, drawing on credit issued by its own central bank. It could do this until price inflation indicated a weakened purchasing power of the currency. Then, and only then, would the government need to levy taxes—not to fund the budget but to counteract inflation by contracting the money supply. The principal purpose of taxes, said Ruml, was “the maintenance of a dollar which has stable purchasing power over the years. Sometimes this purpose is stated as ‘the avoidance of inflation.’”

It was a remarkable realization. The government could be funded without taxes, by drawing on credit from its own central bank. Since there was no longer a need for gold to cover the loan, the central bank would not have to borrow. It could just create the money on its books. Only when prices rose across the board, signaling an excess of money in the money supply, would the government need to tax—not to fund the government but simply to keep supply (goods and services) in balance with demand (money).

Ruml’s vision is echoed today in the school of economic thought called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). But after Roosevelt’s demise, it was not pursued. The U.S. government continued to fund itself with taxes; and when it failed to recover enough to pay its bills, it continued to borrow, putting itself in debt.

The Fed Agrees to Return the Interest

For its first half century, the Federal Reserve continued to pocket the interest on the money it issued and lent to the government. But in the 1960s, Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, pushed to have the Fed nationalized. To avoid that result, the Fed quietly agreed to rebate its profits to the U.S. Treasury.

In The Strange Case of Richard Milhous Nixon, published in 1973, Congressman Jerry Voorhis wrote of this concession:
It was done, quite obviously, as acknowledgment that the Federal Reserve Banks were acting on the one hand as a national bank of issue, creating the nation’s money, but on the other hand charging the nation interest on its own credit—which no true national bank of issue could conceivably, or with any show of justice, dare to do.
Rebating the interest to the Treasury was clearly a step in the right direction. But the central bank funded very little of the federal debt. Commercial banks held a large chunk of it; and as Voorhis observed, “[w]here the commercial banks are concerned, there is no such repayment of the people’s money.” Commercial banks did not rebate the interest they collected to the government, said Voorhis, although they also “‘buy’ the bonds with newly created demand deposit entries on their books—nothing more.”

Today the proportion of the federal debt held by the Federal Reserve has shot up, due to repeated rounds of “quantitative easing.” But the majority of the debt is still funded privately at interest, and most of the dollars funding it originated as “bank credit”created on the books of private banks.

Time for a New Populist Movement?

The Treasury’s website reports the amount of interest paid on the national debt each year, going back 26 years. At the end of 2013, the total for the previous 26 years came to about $9 trillion on a federal debt of $17.25 trillion. If the government had been borrowing from its own central bank interest-free during that period, the debt would have been reduced by more than half. And that was just the interest for 26 years. The federal debt has been accumulating ever since 1835, when Andrew Jackson paid it off and vetoed the Second U.S. Bank’s renewal; and all that time it has been accruing interest. If the government had been borrowing from its central bank all along, it might have had no federal debt at all today.

In 1977, Congress gave the Fed a dual mandate, not only to maintain the stability of the currency but to promote full employment.  The Fed got the mandate but not the tools, as discussed in my earlier article here.

It may be time for a new populist movement, one that demands that the power to issue money be returned to the government and the people it represents; and that the Federal Reserve be made a public utility, owned by the people and serving them. The firehose of cheap credit lavished on Wall Street needs to be re-directed to Main Street.

Ellen Brown

Published by the LA Progressive on December 22, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Dirty Wars Documentary gets Oscar nod

Film gets Oscar nod, book on year's top 10 lists, a journalist is freed.
UK theatrical release poster from Britdoc Films, designed by James Franklin at Assemble.


Yes, you read that new poster right, the spy master himself, John le Carré, calls the film "gripping, compelling and totally convincing." Thank you, sir.

A year that began with the film's Sundance premiere in January has continued at a rapid pace. We're just getting going — there's so much more to do. So please join in, and thanks for the support.


Spanish theatrical release poster (Betta Pictures); Swedish theatrical release poster (NonStop Entertainment).
Todo secreto acaba saliendo a la luz.

That tagline  a favorite of ours  was for our Spanish release this October, when Jeremy launched the book and film together, with front page coverage in the country's leading newspapers.

Since our theatrical run in the US this summer with IFC Films, the film has also released in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Scandinavia, and Turkey.

Among many other festivals, we played Dokufest in Kosovo, Milano Film Festival in Italy, 
CPH:DOX in Denmark (winning the inaugural F:ACT Award for documentary journalism), and the Warsaw Film Festival (winning Best Documentary), where we received a jury commendation that made us especially proud:

We have chosen Dirty Wars because of its outstanding filmmaking and also for its courageous line of questioning. There is humanity to this film which values a single life above and beyond any governing system. It provokes thought and leaves us moved well after it is over.

Soon, we'll have more news about upcoming releases in France, Brazil, the Middle East and North Africa, and elsewhere. Stay current with us on Twitter and Facebook.
In the US, we were Movie of the Week on iTunes. You can also watch onDVDNetflixGoogle PlayAmazon Instant, and other digital platforms.


"…in US Dirty Wars" — that's the headline from a column in The Guardian discussing Jeremy's investigation and the US-UK "special relationship" in covert warfare, published just as the film premiered in Britain.

On November 29, Britdoc Films released the movie in the UK and Ireland in cinemas, on iTunes, and through a direct digital download off our website.

With our campaign partners at the legal charity Reprieve (which Jeremy calls "one of the most amazing organizations in the world"), the film team also toured the country, talking about UK government collaboration with the US kill program and about the importance of a free press.

In the UK and Ireland, you can download the film directly or watch on iTunes.
Top row, L to R: Britdoc Films' Jess Search and Jeremy Scahill outside the Ritzy in Brixton; Kat Craig, Legal Director of Reprieve, with Jeremy during Q+A after the premiere. Middle: A quote from Voltaire, the epigraph to the book Dirty Wars, on the readograph at the Rtizy. Bottom: Exhibit at the Reprieve table outside the theater; the beautiful Ritzy arches.


Clockwise from top left: artist James Bridle; Drone Shadow outside the Ritzy Brixton on premiere night; projections at Hackney Picturehouse and outside Edinburgh cinema.
In order to understand the world around us, we sometimes need to draw it out. If you can't really describe the world around you, you can't fully act in it, and are made powerless. When you can just describe it, you can debate and critique it. Drawing its shadow is just the first step.
That's from the artist James Bridle's introduction to the Drone Handbook, which he produced especially for our UK release. It is a free, downloadable DIY guide to making your own illustration of a life-sized drone shadow.

James teamed up with Britdoc Films to create one of the shadows out the Ritzy Cinema in London for our UK premiere, along with a light projection that we've taken on the road.

In The New Yorker, they call James the "Drone Shadow Catcher." Read on here.


Jeremy Scahill's book Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield has already emerged on the year's Top Ten lists after its debut at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Publishers Weekly placed it at #3 on its Top 10 Best Books for 2013, across all genres. Amazon selected it for the Top Ten of 2013 in Non-Fiction. And it was a finalist for the GoodReads Choice Awards 2013. The book is available in English worldwide and in Spanish and German, with more translations coming soon, including French and Arabic.


Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye outside the gates of the security prison, upon his release.
On July 23, Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye left the security prison in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, after almost three years incarcerated, including time in solitary confinement and with beatings by his captors.

In the book and film, Jeremy tells the story of how Shaye, a highly respected journalist working for both local and international press (including CNN and the Washington Post), came to be in prison for so long, and why President Obama personally intervened to help keep him there

The last sentence of Jeremy's book says of Shaye, "He should be set free." At every event, whether a book talk or a film Q+A, Jeremy talked about Shaye's case. And just last week, with fellow journalist Iona Craig, a reporter for The Times of London, Jeremy traveled to Geneva to accept a human rights defender award on Shaye's behalf from the Alkarama Foundation
A survivor of a December 2009 US cruise missile strike on al Majalah, Yemen, which killed 41 people, including 21 children and 14 women. Abdulelah Haider Shaye reported on this strike, exposing the US role.


Game of Drones tour stops at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
This fall, Amnesty International USA organized a nationwide college campus bus tour,Game Of Drones (a nod to the HBO series). Each tour stop included a screening of the film, combined with training sessions and actions with local activists, all focused on ending secrecy around the US drone kill program.

In a reflection at the end of the tour, National Youth Program coordinator Kalaya'an Mendoza wrote

Over 7 weeks as we toured the country, thousands decided that they were no longer willing to stand idle as people are killed in our names behind a shadowy "global war theory." Nearly 200,000 people followed the tour online, hundreds of students affirmed their commitment to human rights….
Our thanks to these amazing young activists and human rights defenders.

We've organized hundreds of 
campus and community screenings in the US and worldwide. Find out how to bring one to your town.


Honors from the film community were furthest from our mind when we set out to make Dirty Wars. So we have been surprised and deeply appreciative of the festival awards we've received, being nominated for the Cinema Eye Honors, and voted to thedocumentary shortlist for the Academy Awards


Stephen Colbert: "Can you get off the [kill] list?"
Jeremy Scahill: "Only by a drone strike, it seems."

Watch the full throw-down from Jeremy's visit to The Colbert Report.
Forward to Friend
Copyright © 2013 Civic Bakery, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Friday, December 06, 2013


EXCLUSIVE: Florida cop arrested for refusing to remove Guy Fawkes SPEAKS...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?