Dec 27

27 December 2008 – Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation in Gaza and southern Israel

The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by today’s heavy violence and bloodshed in Gaza, and the continuation of violence in southern Israel.

He appeals for an immediate halt to all violence.

While recognizing Israel”s security concerns regarding the continued firing of rockets from Gaza, he firmly reiterates Israel”s obligation to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law and condemns excessive use of force leading to the killing and injuring of civilians. He condemns the ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants and is deeply distressed that repeated calls on Hamas for these attacks to end have gone unheeded.

The Secretary-General reiterates his previous calls for humanitarian supplies to be allowed into Gaza to aid the distressed civilian population. He is making immediate contact with regional and international leaders, including Quartet principals,in an effort to bring a swift end to the violence.

Related articles and video:
Israeli jets kill ‘more than 200′ in revenge strikes on Gaza (The Times)

- Israel vows to keep up Gaza attacks through the night (CNN)
Witness describes Gaza attacks (BBC)
EU Calls for Ceasefire as Casualty Numbers Rise in Gaza (Deutsche Welle)
Hamas source: IDF strike unexpected (ynet news)

Source: UN

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Dec 27

Pam Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years; she has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article:

I seldom have the urge to give a comforting pat on the back to people profiled in the Wall Street Journal.  But that was my reaction when I read the 21-page whistleblower document about Madoff that was written by Harry Markopolos to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 7, 2005. The Journal still has the document on its web site and Markopolos provides a step by step plan for the SEC to follow to nail Madoff as a Ponzi fraudster. The letter followed a five-year effort by Markopolos, who supplied documentation and made repeated requests to the SEC to investigate Madoff.

Here’s how the SEC characterized the letter from Markopolos  in a January 4, 2006 memo: “The staff received a complaint alleging that Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, a registered broker-dealer in New York (“BLM”), operates an undisclosed multi-billion dollar investment advisory business, and that BLM operates this business as a Ponzi scheme.  The complaint did not contain specific facts about the alleged Ponzi scheme…”

Here’s a tiny sampling of what Markopolos told the SEC in his 21-page November 7, 2005 letter.  You decide if these are “specific facts.”

“I am a derivatives expert and have traded or assisted in the trading of several billion $US in options strategies for hedge funds and institutional clients…(Highly Likely) Madoff Securities is the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme…The [Madoff] family runs what is effectively the world’s largest hedge fund with estimated assets under management of at least $20 billion to perhaps $50 billion…The third parties organize the hedge funds and obtain investors but 100% of the money raised is actually managed by Madoff Investment Securities, LLC in a purported hedge fund strategy.  The investors that pony up the money don’t know that BM [Bernie Madoff] is managing their money…Some prominent US based hedge fund, fund of funds, that “invest” in BM in this manner include: A. Fairfield Sentry Limited (Arden Asset Management) which had $5.2 billion invested in BM as of May 2005…Access International Advisors…which had $450 million invested with BM as of mid-2002…Tremont Capital Management, Inc…Tremont oversees on an advisory and fully discretionary basis over $10.5 billion in assets.  Clients include institutional investors, public and private pension plans, ERISA plans, university endowments, foundations, and financial institutions, as well as high net worth individuals…Madoff does not allow outside performance audits.  One London based hedge fund, fund of funds, representing Arab money, asked to send in a team of Big 4 accountants to conduct a performance audit during their planned due diligence.  They were told ‘No, only Madoff’s brother-in-law who owns his own accounting firm is allowed to audit performance’…Only Madoff family members are privy to the investment strategy.  Name one other prominent multi-billion dollar hedge fund that doesn’t have outside, non-family professionals involved in the investment process.  You can’t because there aren’t any…There are too many red flags to ignore.  REFCO, Wood River, the Manhattan Fun, Princeton Economics, and other hedge fund blow ups all had a lot fewer red flags than Madoff and look what happened at those places…”

Here is what the SEC’s memo of November 21, 2007 said following its investigation:

“The staff found no evidence of fraud…All files have been prepared for closing…Termination letters have been sent to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, Bernard L. Madoff, and Fairfield Greenwich Group.  The staff has no objection to the eventual destruction of the files and has no knowledge of any impediment to such a disposition.”

Let me run that by you again.  Mr. Markopolos, a private citizen, uses his personal time and energy over a seven year period to document a fraud occurring under the nose of the SEC that could impact the international reputation of the United States along with the financial well being of pensioners, university endowments, foundations and private investors.  After losing track of the case for five years, the SEC finally gets around to investigating using taxpayers’ monies.  They come up with nothing despite being given a perfect path to follow to the fraud.  And their final suggestion for dealing with the investigation is to destroy the files!  With regulators like these, who needs Ponzi artists?

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Dec 27

Source: Wall Street Journal

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Dec 27


Traffic moves during a snow storm in Towada City, Aomori Prefecture, north of Honshu, Japan, on Dec. 26, 2008. Photographer: Yoichi Okuyama/Bloomberg News

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) — Japan Airlines Corp. and All Nippon Airways Co. canceled flights between Japan’s northern islands of Hokkaido and Honshu as snow storms swept across the country, prompting warnings of avalanches and gales.

Japan Airlines canceled 78 flights, leaving more than 11,000 people stranded, a faxed statement from the airline said.

ANA had canceled 109 flights affecting 16,729 passengers, according to company spokeswoman Mie Takeichi said.

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Dec 27

Russia is bracing for further unrest as the rouble on Friday slid to a new low against the euro after a succession of moves to devalue its currency.

A cut on Friday extended six weeks of devaluations by Russia’s central bank designed to offset the impact of the global economic crisis and falling oil prices as the country’s main export commodity approached its lowest level since 2004.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, warned Russia faced “unprecedentedly difficult and dangerous circumstances” and could be “heading into a black hole”. “It is not clear what the fate of our rouble will be or if society has sufficient financial and moral resources,” he said.

After the depreciation, which was the eighth so far this month, the rouble declined as much as 1.2 per cent to Rbs29.06 versus the dollar on Friday, a four year low. The rouble has now lost nearly 20 per cent of its value against the US currency since August.

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Dec 27

Rising unemployment may prompt new capital raisings

The worsening economic slowdown is increasing fears that Britain’s banks will have to raise still more capital next year in a market starved of investors.

Investment bankers are preparing for a second round of capital raising by UK lenders on top of the £65bn already declared. Having rebuilt their balance sheets after toxic debt writedowns, the banks face an increasingly dire economic outlook that threatens to take ordinary loan impairments from individuals and businesses to levels not seen since the early 1990s.

Under those worst-case conditions, impairment charges at the domestic banks – Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and the combined Lloyds Banking Group – could hit £60bn next year, according to Credit Suisse analysts.

“There could be a second credit crunch for banks, with a whole new round of writedowns late in 2009 as the economy filters back to banks,” a senior investment banker said. “They have so far only provisioned for the credit crunch – so they will need to undertake a whole new round of capital raising.”

A trading update earlier this year from HBOS, which will be bought by Lloyds next month, made grim reading for the sector. Impairments from commercial and residential property shot up, and the bank warned of more bad news to come as unemployment, the biggest driver of bad debts, continues to rise.

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Dec 27

Getting closer to the truth….’The Great Depression of 2009.’
For the US it will be the Greatest Depression with the dollar and the financial markets collapsing.


The UK economy looks set to contract at its fastest pace since the 1940s next year, according to a report by an independent group of economists.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) expects the UK’s gross domestic product to decline by 2.9 per cent in real terms over the next year, the biggest annual fall since 1946, when the country faced mass de-mobilisation after the Second World War.

Business investment – forecast to collapse by more than 15 per cent in 2009 – is pegged to pose the biggest risk to the economy while household expenditure is expected to fall by 1.8 per cent in the New Year.

CEBR’s managing director, Mark Pragnell, said his team “had to get the history books to find a year with as a large a fall in national output as we expect for 2009.”

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Dec 27

The Times first published the article with the following picture:
A wounded child awaits medical attention at the Shifa hospital

A few minutes later the Times exchanged it for this one:
The Israeli missile attacks left hundreds of Palestinians killed or wounded in the Bureij refugee camp and elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. The strikes, which involved 60 planes, came days after a six-month ceasefire with Hamas expired. The militant group vowed to carry out revenge attacks (Yasser Saymeh/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel yesterday launched its largest raid on Gaza with two waves of air attacks that killed at least 205 people and injured more than 700, according to Palestinian doctors.

Children on their way home from school and policemen parading for a graduation ceremony were the principal victims of a bloody few hours that left the territory in flames.

Related articles and video:
Israel vows to keep up Gaza attacks through the night (CNN)
Witness describes Gaza attacks (BBC)
EU Calls for Ceasefire as Casualty Numbers Rise in Gaza (Deutsche Welle)
Hamas source: IDF strike unexpected (ynet news)

The short but brutal aerial blitz was aimed at targets held by the Islamic fundamentalists of Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip 18 months ago.

After weeks of rising tension and repeated Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli territory, the air force struck with warplanes and unmanned drones loaded with guided missiles.

They hit at least 100 security compounds and rocket-launching bases across the heavily populated Strip.

The strikes caused panic and confusion as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory. Most of those killed were security men – including Gaza’s police chief – but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead.

One perfectly aimed missile demolished the Hamas-control-led Rafah police station. But the building next door was a school and several pupils were on the street outside when a huge explosion sent shards of shrapnel and concrete hurtling in all directions. Parents rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children.

The strikes on Gaza yesterday were unparalleled. Israeli warplanes screamed in from the sea across Gaza in wave after wave, pounding at least 30 security compounds in the strip controlled by the Hamas government.

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Dec 26

Millions of middle-class home owners living in desirable neighbourhoods are facing higher council tax bills after the next election following a secret Government exercise to assess the “niceness” of different areas.

Labour planning secret tax on 'nice houses'. (Pictured: Holland Park, London)
Cities are being divided up under the new tax plans, with desirable neighbourhoods being charged higher rates. Tories plan to publish a dossier on the system today.

Tax inspectors have divided England into 10,000 new “localities” with each neighbourhood ranked on the socio-economic class of its residents and environmental factors such as crime and traffic levels.

The inspectors have even purchased demographic data disclosing how many company executives, pensioners or students live in particular streets, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

This has been collated on a secret database which is being used to assess the desirability of neighbourhoods to help determine council tax bills if Labour wins power again at the next election. (It really does not matter who you vote for, because those politicians are all puppets.)

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Dec 26

Hard-up families are increasingly turning to insurance fraud to help see them through the credit crunch.

Insurers have seen an 80 per cent increase since last year in the number of bogus household and vehicle claims, many of which are being made by middle-class families struggling to pay their bills.

Typical scams include householders hiding their valuables and staging a burglary in an attempt to claim thousands of pounds in cash, or dropping their old television down the stairs so they can claim for a new flatscreen model.

In 2007 the insurance industry detected 91,000 frauds, which is set to rise to more than 160,000, in 2008.

Fraud costs the insurance industry an estimated £1.6 billion every year, adding £40 to the average annual household premium.

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Dec 26

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan has redeployed thousands of troops to the border with India, officials said Friday, in a dramatic escalation of tensions with New Delhi in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Washington urged the two sides to avoid escalating tensions and said it was touch with both countries.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh summoned his military chiefs to review New Delhi’s “defence preparedness” while his foreign ministry advised Indians not to travel to Pakistan, saying it was unsafe for them to be in the country.

The developments sent ties plummeting to their lowest point since late 2001, when Kashmiri militants staged a brazen attack on the Indian parliament — an attack New Delhi blamed on the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has blamed the same group for the Mumbai attacks and has repeatedly said Islamabad is not doing enough to rein in militant groups, a claim that Pakistan rejects. Continue reading »

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Dec 26

Russian SA-300 long-range anti-air missile in action
Russian SA-300 long-range anti-air missile in action

An American military intelligence official says Russia’s sale of S-300 long-range missiles to Iran presents a “decision point for Israel, since once the anti-aircraft system is in place it could deter any strike” against Iran’s nuclear sites. In this first gloomy statement, the American source did not rule out such a strike but implied it would be more difficult.

State department spokesman Robert Wood said Monday, Dec. 22: “We have repeatedly made clear… that we would strongly oppose the sale of S-300.” US officials warned the missiles installed within Iran’s borders could reach American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and shift the Middle East military balance of power.

DEBKAfile‘s military sources point to the confusion contrived by Moscow about the state of the consignment. Nonetheless, an American source said Tuesday: “The US believes it is taking place.” In Moscow, a “military-diplomatic source” said Monday the S-300 systems are being packed up and prepared for shipment to Iran: “S-300 air defense systems,” he added, “are expected to be delivered from the defense ministry’s warehouses.” The latter statement indicates that the missiles going to Iran are coming out of Russia’s own emergency stores and not waiting to come off production lines.

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Dec 26


German journalists may soon lose certain legal protections. AP

A new law working its way toward passage in Germany has journalists worried. Certain provisions, they say, could eliminate the ability for reporters to protect their sources. Still, the measure is likely to go into effect early next year.

It has been called the “Big Brother” law in the German media due to its provisions allowing online and telephone surveillance. The Interior Ministry in Berlin describes it as a necessary step to protect the country from the dangers of international terrorism.

But journalists in Germany see the bill — currently in the parliament’s arbitration committee after having failed to get through the country’s upper legislative chamber, the Bundesrat, in November — in a different light. They are concerned the law would make it much easier for investigators to spy on reporters without their knowledge, giving the state access to both their computer files and their sources. That, they say, represents an unacceptable attack on freedom of the press in Germany. Publishers, journalists and media lawyers are up in arms.

This law “is one in a series of so-called security laws that have one thing in common: They endanger the freedom of the press and especially investigative journalism,” Wolfgang Krach, managing editor of the influential daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, told SPIEGEL. “This is not a case of a profession selfishly looking for extra privileges. Rather, journalists want to be conferred the rights guaranteed them by the constitution and to be able to fulfil their role unhindered.”

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Dec 26

In the past, I’ve written papers where the following quotation was included at the end of the treatise as an “exclamation point”:

“We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” -James Paul Warburg, whose family co-founded the Federal Reserve – while speaking before the United States Senate, February 17, 1950

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Dec 26

“The only possible explanation for gold’s gains are the geopolitical tension in Gaza and in India and Pakistan,”

The Treasury bubble will burst and the dollar will be destroyed in 2009. That is why Gold is starting to rise.


Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) — Gold prices rose the most in a week as mounting tensions in the Middle East and South Asia boosted the appeal of the precious metal as a haven.

Palestinian militants yesterday launched their biggest rocket attack on southern Israel in at least six months after a truce expired Dec. 19. Pakistani troops are being diverted from tribal areas near Afghanistan to the border with India, the Associated Press reported. Gold gained 4 percent this week.

“The only possible explanation for gold’s gains are the geopolitical tension in Gaza and in India and Pakistan,” said Leonard Kaplan, the president of Prospector Asset Management in Evanston, Illinois.

Gold futures for February delivery climbed $23.20, or 2.7 percent, to $871.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Dec. 17. The metal is up 6.4 percent this month.

Silver futures for March delivery gained 18 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $10.53 an ounce. The metal is still down 29 percent this year. (Just wait!)

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Dec 25

Mr. Celente long ago warned of the economic malaise that is gripping the planet – but he does have some good news.

Gerald Celente

The Greatest Depression *AUDIO*

To download this audio file to your computer, right click this link and select “save”, “save as” or “save file as” (depending upon your browser).

Source: HoweStreet

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Dec 25


Source: YouTube


Source: YouTube

Gerald Celente, and analyst renowned for accuracy on forecasting trends, explains why the impending economic collapse, next escalating to a serious retail and commercial real estate collapse, will be greater than the Great Depression of 1929; speaking on the Lew Rockwell Show.

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Dec 25


Nissan Motor Co. employees assemble vehicles at the company’s Kyushu Plant in Kanda Town, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, on Nov. 23, 2007. Photographer: Robert Gilhooly/Bloomberg News

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s industrial production fell the most in at least five years in November after exports dropped by a record.

Factory output tumbled 8.1 percent from October, when it dropped 3.1 percent, the Trade Ministry said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 6.8 percent decline.

Plunging demand for cars and electronics is prompting companies to pare output, jobs and investment. Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s three largest carmakers, cut global production in November and chipmaker Renesas Technology Corp. yesterday said it would eliminate all of its 1,000 temporary workers.

“The recession is showing signs of growing longer and more severe,” said Tetsufumi Yamakawa, chief Japan economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in London. “Production is showing stronger signs of a correction in conjunction with a slump in demand in Japan and abroad.”

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Dec 25

“These guys should be in Chapter 11,” said Julian Mann, a mortgage- and asset-backed bond manager at First Pacific Advisors LLC in Los Angeles, referring to the U.S. bankruptcy code. Mann’s firm oversees $9 billion. “We’ve now gotten into the business of discouraging prudence and encouraging risky behavior and irresponsibility.”



A GMAC Real Estate sign, attached to a sign advertising 0% down financing, is posted in the front yard of a home in Norcross, Georgia, on Sept. 12, 2007. Photographer: Chris Rank/ Bloomberg News

Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) — GMAC LLC won Federal Reserve approval to become a bank holding company, a switch that may enable the money-losing auto and home lender to tap U.S. financial bailout programs and help keep General Motors Corp. in business.

The Fed used emergency powers yesterday to grant Detroit- based GMAC’s request, citing turmoil in financial markets and the potential impact on GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, which has warned it’s running out of cash. GM and Cerberus Capital Management LP, GMAC’s majority owner, will give up control of the lender to comply with federal rules on who can own banks.

Saving GMAC is a step toward salvaging GM, which received a temporary bailout earlier this month. The $9.4 billion loan will sustain GM at least until January, when President-elect Barack Obama must find a more permanent way to save millions of auto industry jobs and avoid deepening the year-old recession. Dealers and analysts say a GM rescue is more likely to work if GMAC is still around to make car loans, which the Fed’s action ensures.

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Dec 25

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s production of cars, trucks and buses marked its steepest drop in at least four decades in November, an industry group said Thursday, as the fallout from the U.S. slowdown crimped auto demand.

Vehicle production in Japan, home to Toyota Motor Corp. and other major automakers, plunged 20.4 percent in November compared to the same month a year ago to 854,171 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.

That marked the second straight month of on-year declines and the percentage slide was the biggest since the group began compiling such data in 1967, it said.

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