Monthly Archives: May 2011

Sean Gabb back from Bodrum


I got home this morning from the Property and Freedom Society conference in Bodrum. It was interesting and enjoyable. I will make the video records available just as soon as I can cook them and upload them.

Richard Blake – Another Novel in Slovak!


Rok 610 po Kr. Krvilačný cisár Fokas sa pripravuje na najväčšiu bitku svojho života. Nepriateľské vojská sa chystajú  zaútočiť na jeho pevnosť, zlaté mesto Konštantínopol, a zradcovia za jeho múrmi kujú pikle, ako ho zvrhnúť. Fokas v snahe udržať sa pri moci spustí kampaň teroru, no pomaly prichádza o peniaze, spojencov a kráti sa mu aj čas… zostalo mu však ešte jedno eso v rukáve. Aelrica, naivného a ambiciózneho mladého úradníka z Británie, pošlú do Konštantínopolu, aby tam naoko kopíroval pre rímsku cirkev staré texty. Po svojom príchode zistí, že za honosnými ulicami a veľkolepými palácmi striehnu strašné nebezpečenstvá. Ako pešiak v tajnom sprisahaní, ktoré má zmeniť chod dejín, môže sa spoľahnúť jedine na svoj dôvtip, šarm a bojové umenie, keď chce zostať nažive.

Podrobnosti

  • Počet strán: 408 strán
  • Väzba: pevná väzba
  • Rozmer: 125×207 mm
  • Jazyk: slovenský jazyk
  • ISBN: 9788055602776
  • Predbežný dátum vydania: 30.6.2011
  • Naše katalógové číslo: 102741

http://www.martinus.sk/?uItem=102741

Tactical Notes 032, How Radical Is Too Radical? Anarchism as a Practical Guide to Advancing Liberty (2011), Isaac M. Morehouse and Christopher J. Nelson


Libertarians want less government. Yet many libertarians think it is fruitless to dwell for any length of time on just how limited the state should be. Even more libertarians dismiss the idea of anarchism – the ultimate limit on government – out of hand. Not only does anarchism deserve a fair hearing on theoretical, practical, and moral grounds, but it deserves to be a serious part of strategic discussions if liberty is to be advanced at all. Libertarians can disagree with statelessness as the best or logical direction of a free society, but they cannot afford to ignore it. Right or wrong, the radical idea of anarchism is an incredibly valuable tool for advancing liberty and should not be dismissed.

via Tactical Notes 032, How Radical Is Too Radical? Anarchism as a Practical Guide to Advancing Liberty (2011), Isaac M. Morehouse and Christopher J. Nelson.

Bitcoin Again


Howard R. Gray

Bitcoin will have one potent chance to insert itself into the economy as savior, no more so when the US dollar reaches the Weimar moment which is very likely to be soon. Is Bitcoin real enough to do that?

What is the point of a fiduciary currency when there is no faith left? Bitcoin, or one of its competitors or co operators, may well create a way to survive a valueless currency when the moment arrives. Legal tender laws could be amended to accommodate novel currencies and money, which may well be the only way a government, can survive a currency melt down without a political meltdown. I suspect we are about to find out soon how all this will work.

Merely switching one dud currency for another won’t go down well, there will be a need for money backed by value, bitcoin is one entity that might not pass muster on this one but an amalgam of bit-money and bitcoins could make it to the table instead. If there is a unique way to print out cash with an encrypted graphic similar to a bar code then there may be ways to transfer cash outside of the net in the open market in real as well as cyber space. Is any of this possible, you tell me?

Cyber-ducats, Barter-Bits, Info-Franks or whatever the money may become, the result will be the first stages of removing state monopoly from value exchange. Liberating interest rates and exchange rates from the power of the banking classes would be a huge advance in liberty. Government would have to operate on value of the services it provides rather than the favours it bestows on those it corrupts to support it. Yes they can bust in and arrest the miscreants who use cyber money, which will only work so long as they can pay the black flack suit guys and gals, not so easy when you are playing the Zimbabwe gambit.

Hayek and his view of private money has laid the foundation of why private or non state money is a good thing. The technology of doing it may just be about to emerge. Now let us imagine how to run a deficit spending Keynesian economy should any of this happen. Hmmmmmm…..

Evolve, if you will, to a world where there are free market interest and exchange rates, how would that work out? Imagine a wee bit further where there is private money and public or government currency in a situation where the arbitrage between the two might just create a stable monetary system to replace the Breton Woods model. Amended legal tender laws to accept viable money in competition with state currencies would add a deep dimension to the international currency exchange trade. Which way would Gresham’s law operate here?

Honestification of currencies to ensure that they become more like money would be a real advance. No more coin clipping, printing press or computer key currency fraud, wouldn’t that be nice?

The SWATistas in the black outfits might be better off if they stay home when this one goes down. An emergent natural monetary order might permit very rapid recovery from a transnational fiscal meltdown. Entitlements will be gone, government grants will be gone, overseas aid will be gone, Keynesian economics would be gone, no IMF or UN and so on and so forth. Then what? Perhaps Mr. “Spooky dude” Soros just might put his feet up and retire.

None of this is vaguely viable but one can dream!

Kevin Carson in Forbes Magazine


 

As Kevin Carson has noted in the past, the IMF’s “actual purpose was to subsidize the disposal of surplus American goods and capital in foreign markets. The World Bank and IMF were created as an adjunct of William Appleman Williams’ “Open Door Imperialism,” a safety valve for the chronic overproduction and overaccumulation under state capitalism.”

Should We Abolish the IMF? – E.D. Kain – American Times – Forbes

FLC208, A Common Sense, and Therefore a Libertarian, View of Super Injunctions, Sean Gabb, 234rd May 2011


Though everyone else has been discussing the matter for weeks, I feel obliged, as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, to make some comment, however brief, on the universal injunctions that the English courts have recently taken to granting. Since the Libertarian Alliance is a corporate body, I am obliged to respect court orders. I will, therefore, not name the prominent footballer who is at the centre of the current scandal. But I am allowed to give my opinion of the nature of these orders.

via FLC208, A Commn Sense, and Therefore a Libertarian, View of Super Injunctions, Sean Gabb, 234rd May 2011.

Legal Notes 52, Transnational Law: An Essay in Definition with a Polemic Addendum (2011), by Allen Porter Mendenhall


Transnational Law: An Essay in Definition with a Polemic Addendum Allen Porter Mendenhall Legal Notes No. 52 ISBN 978185637633 ISSN 0267-7083 (print) ISSN 2042-258X (online) An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance, Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.

via Legal Notes 52, Transnational Law: An Essay in Definition with a Polemic Addendum (2011), by Allen Porter Mendenhall.

Bitcoin: More Important Than You Realize


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/?p=7149

Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age” was set some years after encrypted currencies and e-commerce removed most economic transactions into darknets beyond the government’s capability of monitoring and regulating, and thus caused tax bases around the world to implode. This followed, in short order, by the collapse of most nation-states.

Encrypted currencies and darknet economies have been promoted as a real-world model for resilient communities, in the impending age of hollow states, by such thinkers as Daniel de Ugarte and John Robb.

So you can imagine my reaction to recent news of Bitcoin, “a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Continue reading

The Existing Disorder


by David D’Amato
http://c4ss.org/?p=7140

A couple weeks ago in The Guardian, Ellie Mae O’Hagan very thoughtfully bewailed the mainstream media’s treatment of anarchists. “The problem with the contemporary media narrative on protest,” she said, “is that, in its refusal to understand the nuances of anarchism, it is using the term as a euphemism for ‘dangerous’, ‘violent’ or ‘bad’.”

O’Hagan couldn’t be more right, and while she has no trouble recognizing that anarchism is a “broad-based political philosophy,” she points out that the media at large is intent on using it as a proxy for vandalism and destruction. The smearing of anarchism, she argues, is approaching the level of McCarthyism, with spurious, “Orwellian charges” becoming more and more frequent in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Continue reading

Libertarian Alliance Statement on the Demise of the Libertarian Party


by Sean Gabb

Statement by the Libertarian Alliance
On the Demise of the Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom

I am writing on behalf of the Libertarian Alliance and of its Executive Committee, to express fraternal regrets at the demise, announced yesterday, of the Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom. Several of our friends were involved in the formation of the Libertarian Party, and we know that they worked hard to make their party a success. We sympathise with their natural disappointment over the failure of their efforts, but do urge them to form or to join other organisations, and to continue putting the libertarian case.

We would prefer to end our statement here. However, there is an obvious similarity of name between a libertarian party and the Libertarian Alliance. For the avoidance of doubt, therefore, we make these further statements:

First, the Libertarian Alliance was established in 1979, the Libertarian Party in 2007.

Second, at no time has any Officer of the Libertarian Alliance been an Officer of the Libertarian Party. Nor has the opposite been the case.

Third, while the ends of both have been the bringing about of a libertarian society, the means of each organisation have always been different. The Libertarian Party sought to achieve political power via the ballot box. The Libertarian Alliance has, during the past 32 years, been seeking to bring about a long term shift of ideology within the intellectual classes. There has been no necessary conflict between these chosen means. At the same time, they have been different, and sometimes in actual conflict.

Whatever its history, whatever its current prospects, no organisation is guaranteed a future. This being said, I declare that, failing some unexpected misfortune, the Libertarian Alliance will continue to put the case for liberty in its widest and most radical sense. There may or may not be another Libertarian Party. There is, and will be, the Libertarian Alliance.

The Libertarian Party, RIP


by Sean Gabb

http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2011/05/end-of-libertarian-party.html

This is sad news. I’ll say at once that I’ve never thought a Libertarian Party was a good idea – not at this early and losing stage of the struggle, at any rate. Even so, I always wished the Libertarian Party well, and hoped it would do better than this.

It looks as if we’re back to a huddle of semi-commercial policy institutes and our own shambling, rather eccentic – but reliable – Libertarian Alliance. Never mind. Though it had some odd characters, the LP didn’t last long enough to bring the ideology into disrepute. And it did radicalise a few people.

Stephen Lawrence: The PC Carnival Rolls on


by David Webb

Sean Gabb Comments: I lived for most of the 1990s within walking distance of the place where this alleged martyrdom took place. There was a continuing battle between the paramilitary arm of our pc state (aka the Plod) and various anonymous wits, whose comments on the plaque marking the Sad Spot were most entertaining. I once saw a man arrested for standing there with a placard containing the names of white people allegedly murdered by blacks in South London during 1999 alone. His list filled both sides of the placard, and asked who was calling for a public enquiry.

Several of my students assured me that the mainstream media story was a pack of lies from start to finish. I cannot recall any of the supporting evidence they gave me. Moreover, no sane man would refuse assent to the proposition that Duane Brooks and Doreen and Neville Lawrence are persons of the most unspotted integrity – they and all those allowed to have their say in public. But  I do believe they were mistaken, and that this killing was drug-related. [SIG]

We know that traditionally English people have not been subject to double jeopardy, but that is no longer the case, and two men in East London are to be retried 18 years after the death of Stephen Lawrence. If only they were so tenacious when English people were killed by ethnic minorities! I would like to make two points:

1) legally, there is no way these men can get a fair trial after the hysteria that has been whipped up by the race lobby on this case.

2) The judge said today that a cardigan worn by one of the men may be connected to the case, and added: “It does not and could not demonstrate that Dobson wielded the knife which caused the fatal wound, but given the circumstances of the attack on Stephen Lawrence – that is, a group of youths in a violent enterprise converging on a young man and attacking him as a group – it would be open to a jury to conclude that any one of those who participated in the attack was party to the killing and guilty of murder, or alternatively
manslaughter.”

In other words, the cardigan is not proof of which person killed Stephen Lawrence, but the judge openly invites the jury in the upcoming case to decide to pin the offence of murder on someone wearing the cardigan who may have been an onlooker. What about beyond all reasonable doubt? That principle has gone out of the window. If they are going to get the killer, they need to get someone who, beyond all reasonable doubt, wielded the knife. It seems a conviction has been ordered by the government at the highest levels.

Libertarian Alliance Director’s Bulletin


Director’s Bulletin

Wednesday the 18th May 2011

1. Payment for Material

If I said the Libertarian Alliance was in robust financial health, I’d be exaggerating. However, we have now stabilised our finances and have received a couple of most generous donations. This being so, it is time to make good on the vague promise that I made a few months ago, and announce that we shall, from today, pay £50 for everything we publish in our Notes series.

£50 can hardly be called riches – bearing in mind the length and standard we require of those who write for us, it is a pittance. But it is something, and I can say from my own experience how satisfying it can be to receive any payment at all. Moreover, subject to all the obvious reservations, we do intend to increase this payment.

The Libertarian Alliance is, ultimately, a propagandist organisation – and a propagandist organisation of a peculiar type. You will have noticed that we took absolutely no notice of the late referendum on changing the voting system. We took no notice because everything we might have been inclined to say was adequately said elsewhere. We focus instead on libertarian issues that are ignored by the mainstream media, or avoided by the largely commercial policy institutes. For examples of what we take pride in publishing, I refer you to

Legal Notes 51, What to Do ff You Become Involved with the Criminal Law (2011), by Robert Henderson

Legal Notes 50, The Freemen of the Land Movement: Grass Roots Libertarianism in Action (2010), by John Kersey

The second of these is the only scholarly overview of a movement that may or may not be of great significance in extending the libertarian argument from a few dozen intellectuals to the broad masses of this country. The first is exactly what the title says it is. We live in a police state, and we and our friends can no longer regard ourselves as members of the non-torturable class. We need to know what to do if the Plods of our ruling class militia come knocking on our doors.

We hope to publish much else of this kind and of similar kinds. If you are one of our financial supporters, do accept our thanks for your generosity, and our continuing determination to make whatever difference we can for the cause of liberty in this country.

If you have an original and so far unpublished essay that you think might be of interest to us, please send it in MSWord format to Dr Meek, our Editorial Director, at gervas@talktalk.net.

2. Broadcast Outreach

In the past fortnight, I have made two appearances on PressTV, which is the Iranian equivalent of Russia Today. My first appearance was with Tony Benn. My second was still more interesting, as it involved a long discussion with two classical liberals of what is actually meant by a free market, and whether popular unrest is likely to spread from the Middle East to large parts of Europe. Sadly, these discussions appear to have been dubbed straight into Farsi, and no English recording has been kept. Still worse, I have been unable to find them on the PressTV website. I have urged the London managers of this operation to reconsider their policy.

And I am now in touch with the London managers of Russia Today. I would have gone on air to discuss the killing of Osama bin Laden, but was at the time wandering about the ruined monuments on Lindisfarne, and the tides made it impossible for me to get down to Newcastle in time for the broadcast. I do hope that the next call will come when I am better able to accept it.

Now, even a few years ago, dealing with media operations like these would justly have raised a few eyebrows. But our own mainstream media did not then seem so utterly corrupt as it plainly is today. Also, while there may be certain issues that cannot be discussed, everything I want to say can be said fully and clearly discussed in most agreeable company.

But I also continue with the grind of appearances on the BBC. I did two interviews and one panel discussion on various local radio stations. I did all three of these while walking about the grassy parts of Northumberland, and failed to make a note of which stations these were.

3. Written Outreach

Here is my statement, made last month for the Libertarian Alliance, in defence of trial by jury:

http://www2.libertarian.co.uk/?q=node/313

http://www.seangabb.co.uk/?q=node/546(comments enabled)

This was picked up and republished in many other places, including The Brussels Journal.

I will not trouble you with the humorous statement I made on the Royal Wedding. However, I was asked to work this into a short article for VDare. You can see the result here:

Monarchy, Nation-States, And The Failed Reign of “Elizabeth The Useless”

This makes three main points: that the British Constitution does reasonably imply a more active role for the Monarchy than many have assumed; that Her Present Majesty has been a miserable failure throughout her reign, and must be seen as one of the main authors of our descent into the gutter since 1952; that, even so, constitutional monarchy remains the least bad form of government, so far as it makes it possible for a head of state who is not simply a political asset stripper.

Here is the statement I would have made on Russia Today regarding the killing of Mr bin Laden:

Osama bin Laden, Degeneration and Savagery (2011), by Sean Gabb

I will not comment on this statement. Either you think the American State did right to kill Mr bin Laden, or you believe the killing stinks all the way to heaven itself, and that Nemesis hurries not far behind this latest act of hubris. I know what I think.

Here is a longish article I wrote last month on whether businesses should have the right to discriminate against homosexuals:

FLC207, Should Businesses Have the Right to Discriminate against Homosexuals? Sean Gabb, 19th April 2011

This was prompted by claims that two homosexual men were thrown out of a pub in Soho because they were seen kissing each other. The article goes through the standard libertarian arguments about the lack of any distinction between personal and commercial rights. It then looks at the mutualist and left libertarian critique of “right conflationism” or “vulgar libertarianism.”

4. Forthcoming Engagements

Next week, I shall fly out to Turkey, to attend and speak at the Bodrum conference of the Property and Freedom Society. As ever, this conference will be of absorbing interest, and I will make a full report afterwards.

5. Libertarian Fiction

My very close friend Richard Blake – the critically-acclaimed and international best-selling author – has asked me to remind everyone that his Sword of Damascus will come out, via Hodder & Stoughton, on the 9th June. This is, among much else, a satire on the neo-conservatives, and is a story calculated to warm the heart of everyone who hopes to live to a full age. Without any bias in the matter, I say that this is easily the best thing Mr Blake has ever written. Certainly, the ladies at Hodder & Stoughton were delighted and surprised by its ending, and accepted it for publication without changes. You can reserve your copies here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sword-Damascus-Aelric-Richard-Blake/dp/1444709666

My own Churchill Memorandum continues to do well. Despite a surreal and thoroughly Anglocentric plot, it is now selling more copies in America than anywhere else, and it is now worth my while to fill in all the forms needed to stop the American tax authorities from stealing a third of my earnings there. Here are the two latest reviews of the novel:

http://www.fourmilab.ch/fourmilog/archives/2011-05/001310.html

http://tinyurl.com/648l6vq

Or you can read all the reviews I have been able to find here:

http://www.seangabb.co.uk/?q=node/515

And you can buy your copies here:

http://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=9866039

http://www.seangabb.talktalk.net/hampdenpress/churchill.htm

http://www.amazon.com/The-Churchill-Memorandum-ebook/dp/B004LGTRS0

Now, leave aside the matter of my desire to make a shedload of money from my novels – I do most earnestly assure you that The Churchill Memorandum is very good propaganda for the libertarian cause. I am not guilty of vain boasting when I say it is a sharp and funny novel – all the reviewers so far have said this. It is also a satire on the world that does exist, written from the perspective of a world that might have existed. Bearing in mind the impact on the old ruling class of satire from the “left” in the 1960s, and how a renewed burst of satire helped bring Tony Blair to power in 1997, we really need more novels like The Churchill Memorandum. I urge you, therefore, to buy many copies and to recommend it to all your friends and loved ones. By doing this, you will encourage others to write their own satires of those who rule us. You will also encourage me to get on with my own next project – which is a science fiction/fantasy novel of a kind that I do not think anyone else has yet attempted.

6. Books Received

During the past month, I have received copies of the following books:

Peter Richards, Free-Born John Lilburne, English Libertarian, and Other Essays on Liberty – available at:

http://www.amazon.com/Freeborn-John-Lilburne-English-Libertari/dp/1846245648/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305728388&sr=1-1

Mr Richards is a long-standing friend of the Libertarian Alliance, and many of the contents of his latest book were originally published by us. He is an engaging but scholarly writer. I do strongly recommend this book.

David Hoile, The International Criminal Court: Europe’s Guantanamo Bay – available at:

http://www.africaresearchcentre.org/

Dr Hoile focuses on a pretty obscure organ of the New World Order, and shows with overwhelming force how utterly evil and corrupt it is, and was always intended to be. If you care about the global ruling class that is abolishing all national independence and individual freedom, this is an essential read.

Roland Baader, Money Socialism: The Real Cause of the New Global Depression – available at:

http://www.buchhandel.de/detailansicht.aspx?isbn=9783952331569

The title is forbidding. The cover is bleak. I only read this book because I noticed that my friend Robert Groezinger had translated it into English. But it is a good and easy read. It explains from an Austrian perspective just how awful is the banking and financial interest that has brought our civilisation to the brink of collapse.

That’s all for now!

Osama bin Laden: more dangerous dead than alive?


by Robert Henderson
http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/?p=869

The story coming out of Washington is incoherent. We are told that Al Qaeda at the time of Osama bin Laden’s death was a terrorist organisation with SMERSH-like global reach and capability with bin Laden as its directing mastermind. At the same time the US administration (falsely) depicted him as a coward who used his wife as a human shield, and showed him as a prematurely aged man living in physical circumstances verging on the squalid. As the story moves along they add further demeaning details such as claims that herbal Viagra was found in bin Laden’s medicine chest (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8502363/Osama-bin-Laden-was-a-user-of-herbal-viagra.html) and a large amount pornography discovered in the compound. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8513131/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-large-pornography-stash-found-in-compound.html).

Even as unabashed propaganda that is inept in a world which contains the Internet. Long gone are the days when contradictory propaganda messages could be delivered to different audiences safe in the knowledge that the “wrong” message would not end up in unintended ears and eyes. Not only that but the propaganda is remarkably crude. Successful propaganda does not smack you in the face and say “Hey, look at me!” Rather it suggests by circumstance and implication. Continue reading

A Progressive Writes about Democracy


Quoted by Sean Gabb

“…progressives should be very wary about referendums. They are rarely instruments for change – and almost never on the actual questions posed. If we had proceeded by referendum, most of the social advances of the past 100 years would have been stopped in their tracks.” (Julian Priestly, “Regressive referendum a rallying point for reactionary xenophobes”, Tribune, 22nd April 2011, p.19.)

Intellectual Property is Murder


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/?p=7048

Among the terms of a so-called “free trade agreement” between the European Union and India is a requirement for “data exclusivity” which will eviscerate India’s generic drug industry.

“Data exclusivity” means that the clinical trials conducted before marketing by company that originally produced the drug cannot be applied to meet the safety or efficacy requirements for the generic version. Each separate company that wants to market a generic version of a patented drug will first be required to conduct its own clinical trials as a precondition. This directly contradicts one of the arguments commonly put forward by patent apologists — that patents are an antidote to trade secrets because they require openness as a condition of obtaining a patent.

This won’t just be a death sentence for people in India who can’t afford to pay tribute to the owners of state-granted patent monopolies. It will spell the doom of people in such countries as South Africa and Brazil, where the distribution of cheap medicine for treating HIV has depended on the output of India’s generic drug industry.

Let’s be clear on something: Those who call this abomination a “free trade agreement” are liars. It’s like calling the Nuremberg Laws a civil rights act. The people in the drug industry and their lackies in Washington and Brussels heap coals of fire on their own heads every time the words “free trade” come out of their filthy, lying mouths.

Those who claim that drug patents are necessary to recoup the expenses of developing drugs are wrong. The patent system skews R&D toward gaming the patent system rather than developing the most effective drugs. First of all, there has been a dramatic shift away from fundamentally new kinds of blockbuster drugs, because it’s much more cost-effective to put money into tweaking the formulas of drugs whose patents are about to expire just enough to qualify for repatenting them — so-called “me, too drugs.” Second, a great deal of the basic research on which drug development is based is carried out at government expense in publicly funded universities. Around half of the overall cost of drug R&D is taxpayer-funded. And in the United States, under the terms of legislation passed in the 1980s, the patents on drugs developed entirely at taxpayer expense are given away — free of charge — to the drug companies that produce and market them. Third, most of the actual R&D cost for developing drugs comes, not from testing the version of a drug actually marketed, but from securing patent lockdown on all the other major possible variants.

Another example of the same phenomenon is Monsanto’s patents on “high-yield varieties,” one of the ostensible benefits of the so-called “Green Revolution.” Such varieties, as Frances Moore Lappe has pointed out, are more accurately called “high-response varieties.” That is, they’re not hardy or resilient under the normal conditions experienced by local peasant subsistence farmers, like native varieties that were developed over the course of many generations to be hardy under local conditions. Rather, they’re engineered to produce high yields under artificial conditions like heavy applications of expensive synthetic fertilizer and government-subsidized irrigation water.

“High-yield” seeds like Monsanto’s genetically modified varieties, in other words, are ideally suited to the needs of large-scale cash crop agribusiness on plantations owned by sundry landed oligarchies around the Third World — usually on land stolen from evicted peasants whose traditional titles to subsistence plots were nullified — with preferential access to government-subsidized irrigation. So Monsanto’s seeds are associated with a particular business model which is rendered artificially profitable by the state against subsistence production. The practical effect is to shift production from widely distributed small subsistence holdings to large-scale commercial production for the export or urban markets. Under pressure of eviction (essentially a modern-day reenactment of the Enclosures) and state-subsidized competition, people who were formerly able to feed themselves on their own land now lack the purchasing power to buy food from the landed oligarchs’ agribusiness plantations.

And Monsanto’s patents, which criminalize saving seed, add insult to injury by insuring that the seeds remain too expensive for any small producer who might otherwise be able to afford them.

The words “intellectual property” should be emblazoned on the standards of two horsemen of the apocalypse: pestilence and famine.

Violating copyright and patent claims is sometimes called “theft” by apologists for IP. The exact opposite is true: “Intellectual property” is theft. But more than that, it’s murder.

Just in case….


David Davis

…Just in case people wonder if I’m now phantasmal and the LA has left me by the roadside somewhere back there to die or be eaten, I haven#t types much here recently owing to rheumatoid arthritis progressing. This is preventing me doing anything at more than a snail’s pace – literally. Typing itself is becoming a prblem and the usual NHS quack-rems have stopped working. If I can get some wordspeech software going, I might inflict my uselessnesses upon you unfortunates lessinfrequently. Meantime, Sean, Robert Henderson and others seem to be hodling the fort.

John Walker Reviews The Churchill Memorandum


John Walker Reviews
Gabb, Sean. The Churchill Memorandum. Raleigh, NC: Lulu.com, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4467-2257-2. This thriller is set in Britain in the year 1959 in an alternative history where World War II never happened: Hitler died in a traffic accident while celebrating his conquest of Prague, and Göring and the rest of his clique, opting to continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the nation rather than risk it all on war, came to an accommodation with Britain and France where Germany would not interfere with their empires in return for Germany’s being given a free hand in Eastern Europe up to the Soviet border. With British prosperity growing and dominance of the seas unchallenged, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, Britain was able to arrange a negotiated settlement under which the Royal Navy would guarantee freedom of the seas, Hawaii, and the west coast of the U.S.

The U.S., after a series of domestic economic and political calamities, has become an authoritarian, puritanical dictatorship under Harry Anslinger and his minions, and expatriates from his tyranny enrich the intellectual and economic life of Europe.

By 1959, the world situation has evolved into a more or less stable balance of powers much like Europe in the late 19th century, with Britain, Germany, the Soviet Union, and Japan all engaged in conflicts around the margin, but in an equilibrium where any one becoming too strong will bring forth an alliance among the others to restore the balance. Britain and Germany have developed fission bombs, but other than a single underground test each, have never used them and rely upon them for deterrence against each other and the massive armies of the Soviets. The U.S. is the breadbasket and natural resource supplier of the world, but otherwise turned inward and absent from the international stage.

In this climate, Britain is experiencing an age of prosperity unprecedented in its history. Magnetically levitated trains criss-cross the island, airships provide travel in style around the globe, and a return to the gold standard has rung in sound money not only at home but abroad. Britain and Germany have recently concluded a treaty to jointly open the space frontier.

Historian Anthony Markham, author of a recently published biography of Churchill, is not only the most prominent Churchill scholar but just about the only one—who would want to spend their career studying a marginal figure whose war-mongering, had it come to fruition, would have devastated Britain and the Continent, killed millions, destroyed the Empire, and impoverished people around the world? While researching his second volume on Churchill, he encounters a document in Churchill’s handwriting which, if revealed, threatens to destabilise the fragile balance of power and return the world to the dark days of the 1930s, putting at risk all the progress made since then. Markham finds himself in the middle of a bewilderingly complicated tapestry of plots and players, including German spies, factions in the Tory party, expatriate Ayn Rand supporters, the British Communist party, Scotland Yard, the Indian independence movement, and more, where nothing is as it appears on the surface. Many British historical figures appear here, with those responsible for the decline of Britain in our universe skewered (or worse) from a libertarian perspective. Chapter 31 is a delightful tour d’horizon of the pernicious ideas which reduced Britain from global hegemon to its sorry state today.

I found that this book works both as a thriller and dark commentary of how bad ideas can do more damage to a society and nation than any weapon or external enemy, cleverly told from the perspective of a world where they didn’t prevail. Readers unfamiliar with British political figures and their disastrous policies in the postwar era may need to brush up a bit to get the most out of this novel. The Abolition of Britain (November 2005) is an excellent place to start.

As alternative history, I found this less satisfying. Most works in the genre adhere to the rule that one changes a single historical event and then traces how the consequences of that change propagate and cascade through time. Had the only change been Hitler’s dying in a car crash, this novel would conform to the rule, but that isn’t what we have here. Although some subsequent events are consequences of Hitler’s death, a number of other changes to history which (at least to this reader) don’t follow in any way from it make major contributions to the plot. Now, a novelist is perfectly free to choose any premises he wishes—there are no black helicopters filled with agents of Anslinger’s Bureau of Genre Enforcement poised to raid those who depart from the convention—but as a reader I found that having so many counterfactual antecedents made for an alternative world which was somewhat confusing until one eventually encountered the explanation for the discordant changes.

No States, No Borders


by David D’Amato
http://c4ss.org/?p=7050

On May 11, the Los Angeles Times reported that President Obama was visiting the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas in order “to push for an overhaul of the immigration system.” With all of the usual political parlance, the President bragged that “his administration had made great strides in stopping immigrants from illegally crossing the border,” even while ridiculed Republicans for “want[ing] a higher fence.” For all his talk of fences, the President made no mention of the one he was attempting to straddle before a crowd that included many Latinos.

There’s no easy way to completely or exhaustively define the terms and the many sides of the American immigration debate. Calls for “reform” subsume everything from unadorned xenophobia and racism to (perhaps just as ridiculous) the fear that immigrants, in and of themselves, threaten an undue burden on the U.S. economy, that they “steal our jobs” or deplete entitlement programs.

Laws that restrict and control immigration are the kith and kin of protectionist measures, the tariffs and other special favors that — under the pretext of protecting American workers — fortify Big Business and drive up consumer prices. On a fundamental level, immigration laws that tell people where they may live are no different in kind from any of the other arbitrary restrictions the state places on peaceful existence.

Although the bands of criminal that we call states have covered and divided amongst themselves most of the world’s inhabitable territory, market anarchists do not for a moment defer to their claims to such territory. As the ultimate absentee landlords, states control where people can live, work and trade in order to compel us into a plutocratic game of monopoly that we would never otherwise choose.

If it is to mean anything at all, self-ownership must mean the right to move freely from one place to another, to pressure local markets themselves to compete for labor. As Kevin Carson observed in Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, among the principle uses of England’s Poor Laws and Laws of Settlement for the ruling was to disallow “laborers from voting with their feet.” Since, for example, young manual laborers are often more willing to move for a job, mobility itself is one of labor’s principal sources of bargaining power.

It is a rather blinding irony that those conservatives warning most frantically of open immigration’s exhaustion of the government coffers are often those who are least troubled by welfare for the rich. The war industry and the prison industry (just to name a pair) can motor along at a breakneck clip, ravenously devouring taxpayer dollars all the way, but God forbid a brown child from south of the border find her way into a public school; that kind of privilege is just for U.S. citizens. So although, as an anarchist, I’m as opposed to the government education apparatus as I am to the government anything apparatus, the hypocrisy is clear enough.

Worries about immigrants’ impact on domestic unemployment and the scarcity of jobs would be better directed at cartelization measures that capture the labor market for a handful of giant corporations in each industry. Each time a new “consumer protection” rule is launched, one more of the “little guys” is forced to close up shop, contributing to the pile of new applications at the local Walmart. As recently pointed out by economist Steven Horwitz, immigration is “no zero-sum game” whereby “any job a person acquires must have come at the expense of someone else.”

Rather, in a genuine free market — one without today’s oligopolistic limitation on labor opportunities — there is “room for everyone.” The crime of “illegal immigration,” like all victimless crimes that outlaw peaceful, noninvasive acts, ultimately translates to: “You don’t own yourself—the state does.”

Contrary to shrieks that a sovereign state has the right to protect its borders, a state can have no rights at all, at least not in any legitimate, moral sense. Only human beings have rights, and those are violated by dictates that determine where you can and can’t live.

Why the nature of bin Laden’s death matters


by Robert Henderson
http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/?p=864

For the purposes of this piece I am going to assume that Osama bin Laden was killed during the American raid, although by disposing of the body at sea , the refusal to release photographs or video of bin Laden’s body, the absence of any first hand testimony from the survivors of the raid (all we have is what the Pakistani authorities say the wives and children have said) and the continual changing of the story by the US government, just about everything has been done that could be done to feed conspiracy theories. (On the facts delivered so far, it is simple to construct a coherent scenario in which bin Laden was not killed and the whole episode was a Wag the Dog construction.)

It is easy to persuade the general public that the killing is cause for a Thatcherite cry of Rejoice! Rejoice! After all this is the man who has been presented for a decade by the Western media and politicians as the personification of terrorist evil, the organiser of 911 and other enormities and an implacable enemy of Western society. Does he not deserve summary execution? Why offer him justice when he has been responsible for thousands of deaths? Many, probably most people in the USA feel that way. A large number in Britain and Europe do as well. So what is the case against?

To make the case as clear-cut as possible, let us take him at that valuation assigned to him by Western politicians and media. The first and strongest argument is that of precedent. If it is accepted that this raid was (a) legitimate despite the fact that the US ostensibly operated in a foreign country without that country’s knowledge or permission and (b) the shooting of bin Laden was lawful, no place or person on Earth would in principle be safe from foreign powers crossing borders to kidnap, kill, maim or destroy property as they as they choose.

As for the raid itself, what is the position with regard to international law? It is indubitably illegal under international law to carry armed action into a foreign country without the permission of that country unless it is in what is known as “hot pursuit”. This would cover a situation where a country has been invaded by a foreign force, whether that be large or small, and in the pursuit of the invaders the chase crosses national boundaries. That clearly is not the case here.

The other legal circumstances for an attack would be where a serious and immediate threat was offered by a potential enemy, for example, in Napoleonic times if a great fleet was massed in Northern France with large numbers of troop carrying ships, it would be reasonable to imagine that an invasion of England was to take place and consequently to take
pre-emptive action. Again, this class of situation patently did not apply in the bin Laden attack, not least because al Qaeda has not be able to mount a serious terrorist attack in the West since 2005.

If Pakistan knew about the attack in advance and agreed to it, it would have been legal in as much as the raid took place. It would not automatically make what happened in the raid legal. The fact that no Pakistani military or police response to the fighting in the compound occurred , even though the Naval Seals who conducted the raid were there for
around 40 minutes, is a strong pointer to Pakistani government covert knowledge and permission. That the raid took place in a garrison town crawling with Pakistani troops makes the failure to respond even more telling. There were also reports that residents near to the bin Laden compound were warned an hour before the raid to put their lights out.

That leaves the killing of bin Laden. Was it murder or self-defence? If the raid was illegal the killing was culpable; if the raid was legal the killing may have been legal. However, the ever shifting US descriptions of what happened at the compound are indicative of something being not quite right. First we were told there was a “ fierce firefight” , then it was admitted that only one person – bin Laden’s courier Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti – who was not in the main building but a security post outbuilding, had fired a shot at the Navy Seals who carried out the attack. First we were told bin Laden had been armed and fired on the Seals; this changed to bin Laden being unarmed. First were told that bin Laden had used one of his wives as a human shield and she had been shot dead as a consequence; then the story became that the wife had been only wounded (in the leg) as she charged at a Seal after he daughter was hurt. Eventually the story of bin Laden’s shooting became that a Seal had fired at him outside a door on the third floor of the building and missed after which bin Laden went through the door to the room in which he supposedly had spent the past few years where he was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the head. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8491113/Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-White-House-backtracks-on-how-bin-Laden-died.html)

At any time such variations in a story would be highly suspicious. In this case they are simply incredible because not only must the Navy Seals conducting the attack have known the
truth, but the audio and video coverage of the attack from cameras operated by the Seals was being fed back to Washington as the attack was taking place. Even here the official story changed. At first it appeared from the official version – which included a photograph showing Obama et al raptly watching real-time coverage of the raid – that Obama, other senior members of his cabinet such as Hilary Clinton and Obama’s staff had viewed the entire attack. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110503/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_bin_laden_obama_s_suspense) . After a day or so the story changed and the official line was that Obama and co had ceased to have any video or audio fed to them after the Seals entered the compound (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8493391/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Blackout-during-raid-on-bin-Laden-compound.html).

This probably was done to give them deniability … “No, I did not see Osama shot or anyone else shot or harmed…” after it transpired that no one in the main building had fired a gun and bin Laden had been shot whilst unarmed. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to believe that the cameras did continue to roll throughout the operation and that a live feed of the entire attack was fed to the head of the CIA as was originally reported . Consequently the truth must have been known when the initial false information was released. This episode has elements of Wag the Dog about it. Obama and co probably got so carried away with the PR aspects that they made a fatal error: filming the raid. Worse thing they could have done. I bet they are all now wetting themselves in case the video of the attack leaks.

The shooting of an unarmed bin Laden of itself makes a good case for this being a pre-determined killing. On the one hand we have the Navy Seals, who are represented as the nearest thing to Superman in human flesh by the US authorities, and on the other a sick, prematurely aged unarmed man in his fifties. Are we to believe that they could not have overpowered him with little risk to themselves? It has been claimed by the US Government at various times that he was shot because he was firing an automatic weapon, that the Seals were afraid bin Laden might have a suicide belt strapped to him, and most absurdly that by dodging back into the room after the Seals had shot at him and missed, bin Laden had shown resistance which justified his killing. That there was very little chance of bin Laden being taken alive even if that was an intention is shown by the instructions given to the Seals that he could only be taken alive if he was found naked (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8491768/Osama-bin-laden-would-have-to-be-naked-for-surrender.html).
That extreme rule of engagement suggests there was never an intention to take him alive.

Exactly what killed him is uncertain, with reports from the White House claiming variously that it was one shot in the head and one in the chest, two shots in the head or one shot in the chest and two shots to the head. ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8499216/Osama-bin-Laden-death-al-Qaedaleader-killed-after-he-retreated-into-his-room.html) . As the body was disposed of in the sea and no photographic evidence of his death has been released it is impossible to know what wounds were inflicted. However, if he was hit with two shots wide apart, one to the body and one to the head, that could suggest he was first wounded in the chest then finished off with a shot to the head. It is also possible that bin Laden may not have been shot in the chest but in the back. If so he would have been unlikely to have presented a n immediate threat to highly trained special forces troops. Alternatively it may have been a deliberate execution. Second-hand reports of what bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter has supposedly told the Pakistani authorities lend credence t o the idea. She reputedly witnessed the killing and is reported as saying that bin Laden was in the hands of the Seals when he was killed. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Osama-Was-Not-Armed-During-Raid-Daughter-Says-He-Was-Captured-And-The-Killed/Article/201105115984701).

If this happened it might provide the explanation for why the story about Obama and co watching the entire raid on a live feed was changed so that they could not be questioned about how bin Laden was killed.

Where does this all leave us? Certainly not in the realm of justice. There are prima facie grounds for believing the raid and the killing and woundings that took place were illegal under international law. Ostensibly there was a gross breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty and the circumstances of the killings, especially that of bin Laden suggest manslaughter at best and murder at worst. But the truth is that International law is no law at all, because there is no proper jurisdiction. By that I mean the law cannot be enforced generally and without
fear or favour, There is no equality before the law, merely the exercise of power by those with it. Weak states get invaded by the strong if the strong choose to invade. Sometimes
the breaches of national sovereignty are given the legal fig leaf of a UN resolution as there was in the invasion of Afghanistan and more recently in the case of Libya with resolution 1973, sometimes there is not as was the case with the intervention in the Balkans after Yugoslavia broke up. What this means is that the Americans involved in the raid, both those who planned and those who executed it will never be investigated or brought to trial. It was not even a quasi-legal act, but simply a massively powerful country acting unilaterally
to suit its own purposes.

The legal flimsiness of a UN resolution can be seen from the fact that action is taken without them if they are not forthcoming. This fragility can be seen further from the way that where resolutions are passed, once action is begun the terms of the resolutions are frequently grossly exceeded , as is happening with the war in Libya where the UN sanctioned forces are acting as the rebels’ airforce and navy and patently trying to kill Gaddafi despite the resolution only empowering those enforcing it to protect the civilian population. Sometimes, as was the case with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, this expansion of action takes place before an attack has begun by the actors in the attack claiming that UN resolutions passed before an attack was mooted are sufficient to legalise the attack, even if it is clear that they gave no such mandate.

There are two further problem with the UN granting legal sanction. The first is obvious, namely, the five permanent members of the Security Council – USA, UK, France, Russia,
China – have the power of veto over any UN resolution. That means they can stop any legalising of action by the UN, including action against themselves, without regard to any legal principles or process. No legal system can be called legitimate which allows some of the actors within the territory it encompasses to stand outside its jurisdiction.

The second concerns the source of the legal authority of the UN. It is an organisation of 192 states, the vast majority of which are dictatorships of varying degrees of brutality , most are deeply corrupt, a fair number are in a state of perpetual civil war and few have a meaningful justice system by which I mean one which attempts to provide equality before the law
and observes such things as rational rules of evidence and due process. It is a strange crowd to be acting as a dispenser of justice. In reality, it is simply a group comprised mainly of the vicious and the corrupt which has arrogated to itself power and called power legal authority.

Bad state habits abroad also have a knack of washing back into the country from which they came. Let a country have its will through violence abroad and the government of that country will be tempted often enough to transport such behaviour to the domestic arena to suppress political dissent . Even if naked violence is not used, commonly the freedom of a society will often be reduced, vide the Patriot Act in the USA (http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/patriot/index.html) and the Terrorism Act of 2006 in the UK (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/11/contents).

Those who value the nation state should be alarmed by this raid, not least because the attack was simply one in a growing series of actions supported by the West where national sovereignty has been over-ridden in the most flagrant and brutal fashion and entangled Western nations, most notably the USA and Britain, in a seemingly interminable series of wars in which they have no natural interest, beginning with the intervention in the Balkans after the breakup of Yugoslavia through to the present gratuitous involvement in the Libyan civil war.

This warfare is horribly reminiscent of the perpetual conflict in that great political novel 1984, not only in its continuous nature but in the way allies become foes and foes allies at the drop of a hat. In this scenario bin Laden has been allotted by Western politicians and the mass media the role Goldstein occupied in 1984, the font not only of all evil but of all danger. It is telling that only days after bin Laden’s death the Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser Tom Donilon declared al-Qaeda’s second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri to be the world’s “number one terrorist” thus providing a replacement demon to epitomise the Islamic terrorist threat (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8501294/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Ayman-al-Zawahiri-the-worlds-number-one-terrorist.html)
.

The preservation of the integrity of national sovereignty is reason enough to be disturbed the nature of bin Laden’s death, but there also the fact that action such as this transgresses
precisely the values which countries such as Britain and the USA purport to embody ; the rule of law, no sentence without trial, the presumption of innocence , freedom from arbitrary state action. By behaving in such a violent and arbitrary way the USA and by extension the West hands a propaganda weapon of great potency to Islamic terrorists in particular and terrorists in general and makes outrage against any future Islamic terrorist attacks on the West morally problematic to say the least. As the Israelis have found with the Palestinians,
state violence from reducing dissent and terrorism, feeds it.

Nothing I have written is intended to justify the views of bin Laden or excuse any act of terrorism. What I am concerned with is the bigger geo-political picture, both in terms of preserving national sovereignty (which ironically was principle upon which the UN was founded) and in ending Western interference in foreign conflicts which resolve nothing and leave a deep enmity towards the West in the states who suffer the gratuitous interference. In terms of the death, maiming, destruction and social dislocation they bring, the most dangerous people in the world are not the likes of al Qaeda but the liberal internationalists such as Blair and the NeoCons such as George W Bush . We need to find a way of stopping their insatiable appetite for war from being constantly sated.

The Defeat of the United States by Al Qaeda


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/?p=6995

Since the announced killing of Emanuel Goldstein — er, Osama Bin Laden — I’ve seen a lot of speculation on what kind of big terror attack we can expect in retaliation. But if Al Qaeda was capable of a large-scale, spectacular reprisal attack, I think they’d already have done it between 9-11 and now.

Their actual pattern since then has been poorly organized, penny ante attacks, carried out by poorly trained people — suggesting that Al Qaeda picked the low-hanging fruit on 9-11. It’s quite plausible that, given enough incompetent attempts, somebody will eventually succeed in detonating a bomb and blowing up a plane in the air. Enough monkeys with enough typewriters and enough time, and all that. But even if it happens, the damage will be limited to the passengers on one plane out of millions of flights in any one year. With hardened cockpits and passengers who understand that the goal of hijacking has changed, it will never be possible to fly a plane into a high-value target again. And it’s unlikely all the TSA security theater in the airports, aimed at preventing the previous attack, is good for anything except satisfying the “Well, we have to do SOMETHING!” idjuts.

The interesting thing, though, is that however poorly planned and executed the attacks have been, they were conducted in accordance with a brilliant strategic vision of maximizing bang for the buck in terms of the U.S. government stupidity they provoke. An attempt to smuggle explosives on a plane doesn’t have to be anything more than crude and ineffectual, because TSA’s knee-jerk overreaction — not blowing up the plane — is the real goal. The goal is to make the passenger screening process, the x-raying of all cargo, etc., so onerous, humiliating, expensive and time-consuming that air traffic shrinks radically and the U.S. economy takes a hit. The goal is for the American people to see their government as intrusive, arbitrary, and callous.

The goal is also for the U.S. government, in response, to stay bogged down in endless wars in the Islamic world, radicalizing the people there and causing them to see the U.S. as a crusader army — in the meantime wearying and demoralizing the U.S. population and bankrupting the government. To paraphrase the late Mr. Bin Laden, it’s only necessary for a couple of brothers with “Al Qaeda” written on a piece of cloth to show themselves in Antarctica, and the President will send Marines to fight the penguins there “so we won’t have to fight them here.”

In that vein, prominent libertarian commentator Radley Balko writes at Reason, “Osama Won” (May 2, 2011).

Wow — deja vu, all over again! William Graham Sumner, at the time of the Spanish-American War, gave a speech on “The Conquest of the United States by Spain.” His argument was that the United States, a nation formed in reaction against European global empires like Spain’s, had — by adopting the expansionism and imperialism — been conquered by Spain in the field of ideas and policies despite defeating her on the battlefield. Despite its ostensible “victory,” the United States experienced a moral defeat by abandoning everything it stood for and becoming what it hated.

Balko, likewise, lists all the changes undergone by America in the past decade. The U.S. has detained people without trial and tortured them at “black sites” overseas, rendered them to other countries to be tortured, claimed a right to detain American citizens without trial, barred those who turned out to be innocent from legal redress in the American courts for their detention and torture, refused compensation to hundreds of innocent people detained at Gitmo, prohibited detainees from talking about their detention and torture, turned the Fourth Amendment’s “search and seizure” provisions into toilet paper with USA PATRIOT and illegal wiretaps, further militarized local police forces, and set up what amounts to a system of internal passport checkpoints in the airports…

Whew.

If, as American presidents have never tired of claiming, Al Qaeda attacked us because “they hate us for our freedoms,” they must like us a whole lot more now. If Al Qaeda is really fighting us because they hate our freedoms, the war is already over.

How elites feed conspiracy theories


by Robert Henderson
http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/?p=857

There are conspiracy theories and then there are conspiracy theories. There are those who believe that Aliens were found in a crashed spacecraft at Roswell in 1947 and the truth was hidden by US government or that humans are the result of a breeding program engineered by a group giant reptiles called Anunnaki from the Draco constellation as proposed by David Icke. Then there are conspiracy theories which arise out of hard facts and a reasonable interpretation of human behaviour and experience. Two of the latter have been in the news in he recent weeks: the furore over Barack Obama’s missing birth certificate and the alleged murder of Osama bin Laden.

In the case of Obama he refused to perform the simple and reasonable act of producing a full birth certificate to prove he was born in the USA for more than three years. Had he done so when it first became an issue during the 2008 Democratic Primaries it would in all probability have killed the issue. (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53563.html).

Instead he chose to issue only an abbreviated version which was a computer generated document produced in 2008. The consequence of this tardiness is that Obama still has a poblem, namely, doubters are asking why has it taken so long for him to produce the certificate if it is genuine. It makes no political sense for him to have let the matter rumble on for three years.

The idea, frenetically pressed by both Obama and his political and media supporters, that asking a candidate for the Presidency to prove they are qualified to stand is wrong or absurd is peculiar to say the least. Indeed, if the US constitution is taken seriously, all candidates should as a matter of course prove their qualification because the Constitution states that “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President” (Article II section 1). In the case of Obama, the fact that one parent was a foreign national gives such a request greater force because of the increased possibility that he might have been born abroad. bearing in mind that presidential candidates make their medical history available to the public – a much more intimate set of data – it is difficult to see why any candidate should object to producing a birth certificate which if it shows the candidate is a” natural born citizen” at worst might reveal that they are illegitimate, something which is scarcely a scandal to most Americans these days. However, in Obama’s case it is part of a pattern because he has been obsessive in keeping secret documentation of his life such as his educational records and his records as state senator in Illinois. (http://www.projectworldawareness.com/2009/07/obama-is-shielding/).

The record he did have to produce – details of his medical history – was minimal running to a single page. This secrecy suggests that Obama is paranoid about reality clashing with his own version of his life and person in his books “Dreams from my father” and “The Audacity of Hope”. He probably has good grounds for his fear because much of his depiction of himself has been shown to be fantasy, for example, his inflation of the importance of his first job after graduating and his practice of presenting vast tracks of dialogue as reality when they are clearly invention because, as far as is known, he has not kept a journal at any point of his life. (Those wanting a detailed examination of Obama’s tendencies to fantasy can find my The character of Barack Obama in his own words on the American Renaissance website (http://www.amren.com/mtnews) . The article is in three parts. Just put my name or the title of the article into the search facility). The argument has been put forward that Obama did not release the full birth certificate for a long time because he was worried that it would provide a lever for demands that he release the rest of his unreleased records. This is nonsense. There is no constitutional requirement for a candidate to do anything other than prove they are a “natural born citizen”. Hence, the only document which by implication is constitutionally required is a birth certificate.

It has been claimed that there is no explicit provision for such a check in the Constitution and consequently no authority or procedure to make such a check. . The answer to that is simple, the Supreme Court adjudicates on whether the provisions of the Constitution have been breached. They are by implication the body to make the adjudication on presidential constitutional qualification. That both the Supreme Court has not intervened on their own initiative or accepted any challenge as having no standing and every lower court which has been faced with a request to force Obama to prove his eligibility has also rejected it on the grounds of lack of standing is distinctly disturbing for how can any US citizen fail to have standing in the matter of whether the President is legitimately qualified? (Having standing in US courts means having a direct interest in and/or being directly affected by the substance of the suit) .

Apologists for Obama have suggested that the delay in releasing the full birth certificate was an act of Machiavellian genius to allow the birthers to become ever more demanding before deflating them by producing the document . I do not buy this, not least because Machiavellian plots rarely succeed. I cannot see what Obama would gain from delaying the document’s release. Those who think the birther claims are nonsense will not change their minds: the rest of the population will at best continue to wonder why he did not put the latter to bed before now and at worst suspect the document is a forgery. Not only that, but the birther claims started while he was running for president, a time when they could have done him real damage. If Obama did not have a cast iron reason for releasing the full certificate after his election he certainly had one during the primaries and election campaign.

The full certificate Obama has produced will not convince many of the birthers simply because of the delay. It is also worth asking why he has not produced the original birth certificate issued to his parents. However, there is a more general problem. With digital technology it would be very easy to forge such a document. The certificate would need to be subjected to forensic analysis of inks, paper, the handwriting (to see it is compatible with the person who supposedly filled in and signed the form) and so on. (See http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/obama-us-citizenship-and-the-presidency/). Even

a forensic test would not be absolutely conclusive because it is reasonable to presume that it would be possible to replicate ink types or use a blank certificate which has survived since the right period or to “wash” another person’s certificate of their details and impose Obama’s details on the cleansed certificate. An example of the sort of manipulation which can be done is at http://rightnetwork.com/posts/obama-birth-certificate-a-fake. However, a forensic test would probably catch any forgery because forgers tend to forget some details which give them away.

That brings us to the alleged murder of Bin Laden. I say alleged not because there is any doubt about the crime of murder if the reports from the US government are true, but because there has to be a question mark over whether Bin Laden has in fact been killed. More on the question of whether Obama was killed later. First let us look at the oddities in the US government’s story.

It is very strange indeed that the body would supposedly have been disposed of so soon and deliberately placed where it could not be recovered. If the Pakistanis knew nothing about the raid, then the only people to have seen the body would have been American. If they did know about the raid, the Pakistani government and security service would have a very good
political reason not to admit they knew anything because they cannot afford for both domestic and political reasons . As for releasing a photograph of the alleged body that would prove nothing because these can easily be forged . An example is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/02/osama-bin-laden-photo-fake.

It is also dubious whether a photograph of someone suffering a massive would to the face is likely to be convincing. Nor is there an undisputed photograph or video of Obama since 2001. The appearance of a man, especially a sick ageing one, can change dramatically in ten years. No one has a clue of how he looked in 2011. What the US could do but almost certainly will not do is release the video of the attack including the killing of the claimed Bin Laden. The claimed DNA evidence would prove nothing because there would be no means of verifying it. Media reports say that the near match was with one of Bin Laden’s sisters. It would be interesting to know if she was a full or half sister of Bin Laden (Bin Laden senior had over 50 children by various wives). If the latter, a match would be less conclusive.

The American government has described the assault on the compound as resulting in “a fierce firefight”. Yet they also claim that no American involved in the attack was wounded in the slightest let alone killed. Those two statements sit uneasily together. How exactly does a “fierce firefight” occur with one side not suffering any injuries? Nor are there reports of large numbers of casualties on the other side, most of which occurred it seems when the Navy Seals shot unarmed people.

The initial description of Bin Laden’s death from Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan painted bin Laden as a coward using women as a human shield : “From a visual perspective, here is bin Laden … living in this million dollar-plus compound … hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield. I think it really just speaks to just how false his narrative has been over the years.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8489236/John-Brennan-In-Quotes.html).

The US government has since admitted that no women were used as a human shield. As there was a live feed to the CIA and the White House of the raid itself plus debriefing of those who took part in the raid, it is difficult to see how the mistake could have been made. Why did the story change? Perhaps it was because there is a filmed record of the raid which shows the original claim was false and the propensity for computer files to be leaked these days persuaded the White House that they could not afford to continue the lie for fear of this file going AWOL.

Brennan also claimed that “If we had the opportunity to take him [Bin Laden] alive, we would have done that.” The US government has since admitted that Obama was not armed, yet they claimed that he had to killed because he was “resisting”. Let’s examine that claim. We are told on the one hand that the Navy Seals who undertook the raid are the cream of the cream of elite special forces. Are we to believe that such men found it necessary to shoot dead an unarmed Bin Laden, a man in his fifties who is seriously ill and frail? There is also, as in the case of the claim of the use of a woman as a human shield, no plausible reason why it should have been claimed initially that Bin Laden was armed.

Brennan also speculated that “It’s inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time. I am not going to speculate about what type of support he might have had on an official basis inside of Pakistan.“ This is a fair point, but an equally telling one, perhaps more telling, is why the US military would not have identified the compound as being worthy of suspicion simply on the grounds of its size and nature. They have ample satellite surveillance and even if they did not have reason to suspect that Bin Laden was there, they should have been curious enough about it to make enquiries.

The other things which remain unclarified are three: (1) how did the Navy Seals leave the compound; (2) why did the local Pakistani military not respond to the attack and (3) what has happened to the surviving members of then Bin Laden family who were allegedly living with Bin Laden. The Seals arrived in two helicopters and left in one because of the claimed malfunction of one helicopter which rendered it useless and led to its destruction by the Seals. It would be interesting to know how many Seals were employed in total and what the lifting and carrying capacity of a single helicopter was . If a single helicopter could not evacuate all of the Seals then we need to know how they got away. The failure of the local Pakistani military to respond to the attack despite the town crawling with army personnel and having forty minutes to respond is peculiar at best and indicative of collusion between the US and Pakistani authorities at worst. Interestingly, there are reports which say the local residents close to the compound were asked to turn off their lights an hour before the attack. As for the alleged surviving members of Bin Laden’s family, it will be interesting to see what happens to them.

Those are the oddities. How about the question of whether it was Bin Laden who was killed? Reports of his death date back ten years, for example, Fox news carried a report in December 2001 claiming Bin Laden was dead. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,41576,00.html).

The last undisputed Bin Laden video dates from 2001. Since then there have only been two videos in which purport to show Bin Laden talking. The last was in 2007. The authenticity of both these videos is disputed. The other tapes have provided audio only. (A good account of these and the Bin Laden story since 911 can be found in the 2010 BBC programme Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive . This is posted on YouTube in six parts and parts 2 and 3 are the most useful for the videos in which Bin Laden is purportedly seen speaking. Go to the url below and you will find all six parts on the page . )

It is also striking that there has been no claimed definite sighting of Bin Laden since 2001 until now despite the fact that his is a face which has been plastered all over the mainstream media and Internet in still photographs and videos and the $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or death offered by the USA. The fact that it is now claimed that Bin Laden was living for a substantial period in a garrison town only 60 miles from the Pakistani capital makes the failure to inform to claim the reward even more extraordinary if the story is true. It also stretches credulity that the Pakistani authorities at some level would not have known he was there .

If Bin Laden was not killed why the raid? Here’s a scenario for you. The US carried out the raid, thought they had Bin Laden, took the body away and then found to their dismay it was not him. They then got rid of the evidence. That would leave them open to Bin Laden putting out another video but it would be impossible for the man to absolutely prove he was still alive without exposing himself to capture or killing. There is also a decent probability that he died some time ago.

Here’s a second scenario. The whole thing was a charade. Bin laden was already dead, perhaps a long time ago, and the US knew it. They staged the attack to provide a distraction from
the failure in Afghanistan, the disaster of Iraq and the new involvement in Libya and potentially the rest of North Africa and the Middle East. In addition, the claimed death of Bin aden brought down the psychological curtain on the USA’s original prime reason for attacking Afghanistan and provided a possible springboard to extract the USA from Afghanistan on the basis that it was “mission accomplished”.

As to the immediate political value of the raid, Brennan rather gave the show away with “It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people asembled here. The minutes passed like days….The president had to evaluate the strength of that information, and then made what I believe was one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory….I think the accomplishment that very brave personnel from the United States government were able to realise yesterday is a defining moment in the war against al-Qaeda, the war on terrorism, by decapitating the head of the snake known as al-Qaida.” That is propaganda not a rational analysis of what the raid had achieved.

Whatever the truth of Obama’s delay in producing his full birth certificate and the alleged killing of Bin Laden , there is a fact about them which cannot be denied: in both instances the powers-that-be in US politics have given ample grounds for rational scepticism. Examining official versions of events for contradictions and unanswered questions does not mean you are away with the fairies. Blindly accepting the official version is the real bending of reality; accepting the official version while knowing it is questionable is worse than naïve, it is sinister.

Andrew S. Rogers Reviews The Churchill Memorandum


Published on amazon.com in March 2011

Anthony Markham is a historian, a biographer, and the world’s leading Winston Churchill scholar (“Then again,” Markham says modestly, “bearing in mind Winston Churchill’s current obscurity, it would have been less flattering, though more correct, to describe me as the *only* Churchill scholar”). Returning from a frightening visit to the police state of the USA, where storm troops of President Harry Anslinger gun down a follower of imprisoned playwright and philosopher Ayn Rand — a mousy fellow named Greenspan — before Markham’s shocked eyes, the historian finds a few sheets of paper added to his sheaves of Churchill files. They turn out to be fragments of “the Churchill memorandum,” the washed-up old drunk’s handwritten chronicle of a secret deal between the UK and Germany to push the United States off the world stage and maintain the peaceful and prosperous world so painstakingly created since 1918. But no sooner does Markham find the memorandum than the bullets start flying, and he finds himself running for his life, caught between those who want to publish the memo and those who want to keep it secret forever.

So, this isn’t your usual Winston Churchill novel.

What it is, is an “alternative history” look at a world where Hitler died in a car crash, Hitler’s War was never fought, and in 1959 the British flag still flies serenely over the quarter of the world’s surface blessed to be part of the Queen-Empress’s realms.

In fact, Sir Winston himself doesn’t really have much to do with the tale — not quite a MacGuffin, but close. He’s here mainly to allow the fact of his obscurity to demonstrate how different the world author Sean Gabb has created is from the one you and I live in. Those differences are significant, but this isn’t a utopian or dystopian novel. The differences are subtly introduced, and Gabb doesn’t hit us over the head with how much better [or worse] things would have been “if only….”

There are definitely political aspects to this story — not surprising, given Gabb’s status as one of the UK’s most visible and productive libertarians. Is there a Lesson in these pages? Well, maybe. But if you choose to ignore that and just read this as a political thriller, you’d still get an lot out of it and have, I think, a good time doing it. Many of the characters in the book — including nearly everyone in the climactic scenes — are figures from mid-twentieth-century British political history (read “The Churchill Memorandum” with Wikipedia handy if you’re not that familiar with this era), and I imagine the author enjoyed the opportunity to paint some of them in unflattering — though not, I think, inaccurate — hues. It’s not a long book, but it’s well-crafted, fast paced, and often surprisingly funny. It works, as they say, on many levels. And if it gets you thinking about politics and How Things Could Be Different, then maybe that makes it even better.

Profiting From Our Loss


by David D’Amato
http://c4ss.org/?p=7034

A recent letter to the editor of the Boston Globe from an officer at the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group asked, “We’ve already paid to bail out banks and other big corporations — is it fair to ask us to pay their taxes as well?” Her question came in response to a Globe article from May 1 that reported on a number of big companies that “paid no federal income taxes last year, despite making millions of dollars in profits.”

Since market anarchists regard taxation as no different from any other form of theft, one might assume that we toast the tax avoidance of Big Business. After all, in a free market everyone is entitled to what they make, right? And the answer to that question is yes — again, assuming we were in anything remotely close to a free market.

Contrary to a free market, the economic system today is a product of what Murray Rothbard called “oligarchic rule:

rule by a coercive elite which has managed to gain control of the State machinery.” What those elites make, then, is in no way something they’re entitled to, something obtained through simple, mutually satisfactory trade in a market where all are allowed to compete.

In the accepted political lexicon, free market phraseology has long been applied in the service of a state capitalist system defined by constraints and controls on economic activity, poisoning the well against the ideas of genuine freedom. Likewise, the language of egalitarianism and social justice has been dominated by advocates of a statist status quo who are hardly motivated by justice for the productive class.

What we’re left with is a distorted ideological framework wherein economic exploitation is associated with free markets, equitable conditions for the worker with state intervention in the economy. But the American Enterprise Institute doesn’t stand for true free markets, and the Center for American Progress doesn’t stand for true social justice.

The truth, though perhaps most will find it counterintuitive, is that unbridled economic freedom leads to economic justice. The two are not at all in conflict, as we’ve been assured by the fallacies of “both sides,” but are naturally and inseparably bound. It is monopolization, possibly only through the state’s coercive restraints on consensual economic behavior, that allows a few to amass enormous hoards of wealth, that allows them to extract rents from the toils of industrious society.

Although we all implicitly understand the effects of monopoly, we have been instructed to believe that they arise naturally from the uncontrolled bedlam of “cutthroat competition.” Monopoly, though, is a creature of the state, requiring coercion to cordon off resources and limit our options for survival.

Where open competition generates choice for workers and drives prices down for consumers, the state’s obstruction of potential competitors allows a favored few to skim off the top. Without the external pressure that would accompany total economic freedom, elites are allowed to pocket the difference between the price as it would be and the price reflecting a state-created condition of undersupply.

Whatever the amount of that difference, it is owed to the state’s violent intrusion into the economy for the benefit of the ruling elite; it is decidedly not owed to Big Business “giving the consumer what she wants,” or coming out on top in anything like real competition. Next time you’re looking for something to blame for “corporate greed” as it exists within state capitalism, look no further than heap of “consumer protection” and “safety” rules that suppress real free market alternatives.

Regardless of what you need — be it food, a job, anything — if you have to genuflect before the plutocrat’s system to get it, you’re going to be paying more than you would if free people were allowed to use their labor and resources in any peaceful way. Within this nefarious context, corporate tax breaks are repugnant enough, but let’s also spotlight all of those structures of privilege that advantage Big Business every day.

From direct subsidies and intellectual property to government contracts and regulatory cartelization, privilege is literally all around us, forcing us into an arrangement created by the ruling class. Counter to prevailing myth, a free market it is not. As Robert McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice rightly observes in the Globe article, “Our swashbuckling capitalists couldn’t live without the government subsidizing them.”

Cherie Blair Writes from Lagos (if only….)


Note: I published this in March 2004 on the Libertarian Alliance Forum. Chris Tame enjoyed it no end. I think it stands up rather well after seven years. Perhaps I should do another one for Mrs Clegg! [SIG]

CONFIDENTIAL 5th March 2004

Dear Sir,

Good day and compliments. This letter will definately come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will go off a long way to determine the future and continued existence of the entire members of my family.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is (Mrs) Cherie Blair, the wife of the late prime minister of Britain, who was put to death with all government ministers after the so-called national revival revolution of October 19th 2005.

My ordeal started immediately after my husband’s arrest on the mourning of 19th October 2005, and the subsequent take over of government by the provisional wing of the Women’s Institute. The present democratic government is determined to portray all the good work of my late husband in a bad light and have gone as far as confiscating all my late husband’s assets, properties, freezing our accounts both within and outside Britain. Yes, we took money from the American Government and
various foreign powers, but we did this always for the best interests of the right British people who has become very uppity and ungrateful four all the good things my late husband and I has done for them – eg, protection against evil doers by new criminal laws against terror and evil drugs and health and eeucation for all plus new constitution in Europe to curb turbulent and licencious ways of past.

As I am writing this letter to you, my son Baby Leo is undergoing questioning with the government which is not allowing him the combined vaccine that he so desperately needs. All these measures taken by past/present government is just to gain international recognition and please local people who celebrated five day drunken street parties after 87% vote in tv poll for my husband to be killed by pubic hanging.

Americans will not help me since beginning of their civil war following secession of all states along Mexican boarder and Iranian/North Korean invasion via tunnel under Pacific.

I and the entire members of my family plus my very dear friend Carole have been held incommunicado since the trial of my husband began in the Millennium Dome in London. I was threatened with beaten and raped, though guards looked in my face pray to Jesus and said they could not go through with latter; hence I seek your indulgence to assist us in securing these funds. We are not allowed to see or discuss with anybody.

Few occasions I have tired travelling abroad through alternative means all failed. I was repeated stopped because I had no ticket.

It is in view of this I have mandated Mr Peter Foster, who has been assisting the family to run around on so many issues to act on behalf of the family concerning the substance of this letter. He has the full power of attorney to execute this transaction with you.

My late husband had/has Eighty Thousand Million USD ($80,000,000,000.00) specially preserved and well packed in trunk boxes of which only my
husband and I knew about. It is packed in such a way to forestall just anybody having access to it. It is this sum that I seek your assistance to get out of Britain as soon as possible before the present democratic government finds out about it and confiscate it just like they have done to all our assets.

I implore you to please give consideration to my predicament and help a widow in need. At least do if for Baby Leo.

May Jesus and Carole’s crystals show you mercy as you do so?

Your faithfully,

Cherie Blair (Mrs)

Sean Gabb (away from home computer)
Director, The Libertarian Alliance (Carbon Positive since 1979)
sean@libertarian.co.uk Tel: 07956 472 199
Skype Username: seangabb

http://www.libertarian.co.uk
http://www.seangabb.co.uk
http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk
http://www.richardblake.org.uk/
https://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/sean.gabb
http://vimeo.com/seangabb

Wikipedia Entry: http://tinyurl.com/23jvoz

Buy these novels by Richard Blake: “Conspiracies of Rome” <http://tinyurl.com/l8uj8r> (“Fascinating to read, very well written, an intriguing plot” Derek Jacobi); “Terror of Constantinople” <http://tinyurl.com/n9ugw3> (“Nasty, fun and educational” The Daily Telegraph); “Blood of Alexandria” <http://tinyurl.com/356mwdr>. “Sword of Damascus” will be published in June 2011. Buy them for your own enjoyment. Buy them as presents for your friends and loved ones.

Monarchy, Nation-States, And The Failed Reign of “Elizabeth The Useless”


By Sean Gabb

At the last Royal Wedding, back in 1981, I spent most of the day in bed, listening to Die Meistersinger. This time, I was bullied by my (Slovak immigrant!) wife and our daughter into having a shave and watching every ghastly detail on the telly.

Full article here:

http://www.vdare.com/gabb/110429_monarchy.htm

Osama bin Laden, Degeneration and Savagery


by Sean Gabb
 
I have just heard about the reported death of Osama bin Laden. I believe the Americans had been watching him for several months in Pakistan. I know that words like arrest and trial seem horribly dated nowadays. Even so, to have arrested the man would at least have allowed the world to know if it was Osama bin Laden who had been found. To have given him a trial would have let us know if he was guilty of the offences alleged against him, and that there was nothing embarrassing about the nature of his dealings with western governments. As it was, a house appears to have been raided, and the main occupant was shot twice through the head. His body was then dumped at sea. We shall never know if this was indeed Osama bin Laden, or about the nature of his guilt.
 
I might suggest that the  American Government has a less than perfect record in telling the truth. When not killing the wrong people entirely, it frequently lies about what they are supposed to have done. I will say instead, though, that this whole operation stinks. Even if there was no doubt regarding identity and guilt, this is not how civilised governments behave. If millions of Americans really are pleased with their government, that merely shows that they deserve the media and political classes they have.
 
I see no reason, however, for complacency as an Englishman. Our Prime Minister has welcomed this murder. And he and the freakish thing he currently has for his foreign Secretary are currently patting each other on the backs for the murder of one child and three grandchildren of Colonel Gaddafi.
 
I say again, this is not how civilised governments behave. It has been obvious since the Great War that most “collateral damage” is the deliberate targeting of civilians for the purpose of demoralising an enemy. I do suggest, however, that, while terror bombing involves murder on a much larger scale, the assassination of alleged enemies – or the murder of their relatives when they themselves cannot be reached – marks a further stage in the moral decline of our civilisation. What right have we to complain about terrorism in our own countries when the only difference between this and what our own governments do abroad is the words used to describe it?