Friday, April 25, 2008

Japan's former top defence official admits bribery

Japan's former top defence bureaucrat pleaded guilty on Monday to taking bribes for military contracts in a scandal that has embarrassed the government.

Takemasa Moriya, 63, who was nicknamed "the emperor" for his influence within the defence ministry until he retired last year, admitted to bribery charges at the first hearing of his trial.

"I apologise to the public and to officials for being behind such crimes," Moriya said in his opening statement at the Tokyo District Court, as quoted by Jiji Press and Kyodo News.

Moriya has previously admitted that he and his wife accepted fine dining, gifts and golf trips from a military contractor. But Moriya had denied wrongdoing, saying the contractor was a friend.

It was Moriya's first public appearance since the former vice defence minister was released on bail in January. He was arrested on November 28.

According to the criminal complaint, he allegedly took 12.5 million yen (125,000 dollars) in bribes that influenced the awarding of defence contracts, including 3.63 million yen in cash deposited into his wife's and daughter's bank accounts.

~ more... ~

 

Actionday on June 6th, 2008 in Warsaw/Poland: SHUT DOWN FRONTEX!

 
Transnational Resistance against the "European Border Agency" - Fight the Border Regime - for Global Freedom of Movement!
 
Protest and press-conference in front of the headquarters of FRONTEX in Warsaw, against european borderregime and its externalisation to the East and South, in the frame of the transnational chain of migrationrelated actions!

While the number of migrants and refugees is rising everywhere, the European Union is implementing a more and more restrictive border regime to limit, control and "manage" migration according to its own interests. The result is violent exclusion of migrants and refugees, leading to thousands of people dying every year outside the walls of Fortress Europe, in the desert, in the Mediterranean sea or in the Atlantic ocean, leading to enforced mass deportations, leading to millions of "undocumented migrants" and asylum seekers who are deprived of fundamental Human Rights and Labour Rights. FRONTEX, the "European Border Agency", plays a crucial core role for this racist european border regime and has achieved rapidly growing importance and budget since its foundation in 2005.

The job of FRONTEX is to link, to coordinate and to harmonise the work of national border control forces of the Eurpean Union's member states, integrating responsibilities of police forces, military forces and secret services. Being granted a high level of autonomy, FRONTEX is exercising its growing power without any obligatory criteria of transparency and parliamentary control. Together with national border guard agencies, FRONTEX officers carry out a growing number of anti-migrant-operations. According to the EU-commission, FRONTEX has participated in picking up and rejecting 53.000 people along the European Union's borders in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, FRONTEX carried out operations outside EU-territory to prevent African migrants from reaching Lampedusa, Malta and the Canary Islands by boat. For this task, FRONTEX produces the image of a war against the threat of "illegal migration", and thus legitimizing the use of military equipment like warships, aircraft and helicopters. As a first step in tightening the closure of the EU's southern sea borders, FRONTEX connected the EU member states in the region in a "European Patrols Network", and Frontex also carries out various joint operations in order to build a common european border regime. With the recently added component of the so-called Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABITs), Frontex is moving fast towards a militarised border guard agency, a cornerstone in the fortification of europe.

To be sure, such border control operations and measures are responsible for more and more migrants dying. Fighting migration does not stop the causes of migration, but forces refugees and migrants to choose increasingly dangerous travelling routes. Nevertheless, FRONTEX and its partner institutions cynically present their chase of migrants as a "humanitarian engagement against criminal human trafficking".

A growing focus of FRONTEX since the enlargement of the Schengen area is the control of the eastern borders. FRONTEX is also involved in research on "illegal migration" and technical measures, technical equipment for border surveillance and training programmes for border police forces. Furthermore, FRONTEX has been given the mandate for negotiations with states outside the EU to collaborate on border surveillance and migration control. Besides this, FRONTEX increasingly engages in networking the national authorities of EU member states to carry out joint charter-flight deportations.

Recently, the EU-commission, presented a proposal for a so-called "Border Package", titled "A comprehensive vision for an integrated European border management system for the 21st century". According to this plan, FRONTEX shall function as a central coordination hub in the architecture of a european border regime unprecedented. An all-encompassing European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) will spy on migrants from the very beginning of their journey to Europe, while a biometric entry/exit system at the borders will control all movements into and out ouf the European Union. All this will have Frontex at it centre. .

FRONTEX represents a militarised security-regime in which police, border control, migration authorities, army and secret services are forming a more and more integrated complex of repression, dividing the world along hierarchies between rich and poor, between (western) Europe and "the others", between those who have rights, those who have less rights and those who have no rights at all. We've had enough of this so-called security. We've had enough of people being killed, of people being rejected, being imprisoned or being deported by the border regime. We want no migration control and no border surveillance. We want no hierarchies of capitalist, racist and sexist exploitation and exclusion. We want Global Freedom of Movement and Global Rights for everyone!

Migrationrelated groups and networks from all over Europe are invited to send delegates to Warsaw:
  • on 5th of June 2008 to attend and contribute to a common information- event in the evening at 7 p.m
  • on 6th of June 2008 to join the press-conference at 12.30 at and the protest-siege with banners and speeches at 2 p.m. in front of the Frontex-headquarter

Let's make the 6th of June in Warsaw as a powerful starting point for a longterm transnational campaign against Frontex, against the monster of European border regime!


First signatures: No Borders Poland; Zwiazek Syndykalistow Polski, Warszawa (Union of Syndicalists, Warsaw); Praga Anarchist Group, Warsaw; No one is illegal Hanau, Caravan-Group Munich, Frassanito Network

Sarkozy and the Specter of May 68

The Liquidator

by Philippe Marlière

Forty years on, the specter of May 68 continues to haunt France. A week before his election to the French presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy launched an astonishing attack on the "moral and intellectual permissiveness" of May 68. According to the rightwing candidate, the heirs of May 68 would be responsible for all French ills: the demise of traditions, the undermining of authority and the making of an "unethical capitalism" (the one of golden parachutes and rogue bosses). Ségolène Royal, his socialist opponent, led a campaign based on law and order issues, exalting the tricolor and the Marseillaise. To hammer home the fact that she was also spurning all things soixante-huitardes, Royal went as far as promising the creation of re-education camps for juvenile delinquents under the supervision of the army.

In his latest book, André Glucksmann (a philosopher who has made the long journey from Maoism to neoconservatism) argues that Sarkozy is in truth the archetypal heir of May 68. Had he been a student in the late 60s, Sarkozy would no doubt had fought on the side of the Gaullist power against the students' chienlit (a term famously coined by Charles de Gaulle and synonymous with disorder or mess). Since then, however, the French president has - like a large majority of the public - embraced most of the anti-authoritarian and hedonistic attitudes of the students' movement. The president's tumultuous private life and his casual demeanor in public bear testimony to these profound social changes.

Furthermore, the son of an immigrant never would have dreamt of making it to the top of French politics in the 60s. Born with the mass media and pop culture, at ease with new technologies, Sarkozy is culturally in sync with the 1968 generation, unlike Mitterrand or Chirac, albeit two political actors of May 68.

To try to import the American debate on the "moral decay of the West" into France is a sham which only few will swallow. Sarkozy's rebuttal of May 68 is nothing else than a political ploy which has a twofold objective: firstly, to embarrass the left; secondly to erase from collective memory the political radicalism at the heart of the May 68 uprising.

In his 2007 speech, Nicolas Sarkozy pointed to the "hypocrisy" of the left which, in reality, "does not like equality", a left that has abandoned workers to Le Pen, that caters for the more affluent and that no longer regards the fight against socio-economic inequalities as its priority. Hence Sarkozy's promotion of "work" and "purchasing power" during the presidential campaign to appeal to disenfranchised working class voters.

For to emphasize the so-called "permissiveness of May 68" was a cunning way to underline how the left had deserted the struggle for social justice to embrace a pro-"Bobos" agenda (the "Bourgeois-Bohemians"): gender equality, promotion of ethnic and sexual minorities, of human rights, defense of the environment; all issues which were allegedly brought to the fore by the "individualistic" and "bourgeois-minded" student rebellion. This was undoubtedly a demagogic charge as all these "post-materialist" issues should indeed be part of the agenda of the left. And yet, Sarkozy is right on one count: the French left let the working class down when, in 1983, Mitterrand made an economic u-turn to reluctantly but surely embrace the Washington Consensus.

Régis Debray said that May 68 was a superb "ruse of capital". The student movement challenged and undermined the three political pillars of post-War France: de Gaulle, the Communist party and the Catholic Church. Then a generation of tiring gauchistes, imbued with cultural liberalism, became in the 70s the involuntary agents of the modernization of capitalism (some of them successfully recycling their agitprop skills in the media, advertising or business). In a way, it could be argued that a part of May 68 helped establish neoliberalism and the American way of life in France. [Anyone reading the special double  issue of Cahiers du Cinema on American films, published in the mid-60s, could see it all coming. AC.]

Yet Sarkozy's attack on May 68's "nihilistic revolution" (as Raymond Aron put it) is essentially a smokescreen. For his real target is the workers' political radicalism: 10 million workers were on strike (three times as many people as during the 1936 Popular Front). The first barricades were not erected by students in the Quartier Latin, but by workers in Caen in January 1968. Following the Grenelle Agreements, the minimum wage was raised by 35 per cent. Workers' working conditions were significantly improved and so were their labor rights.

The whole of the French workforce was involved: blue collar workers, but also dentists, nurses, surgeons, teachers, film directors, actors, jail keepers and even footballers! May 68 was the greatest strike in the history of France as well as the only general insurrection ever experienced in a Western country since the end of the Second World War.

May 68 had a concrete albeit delayed effect: François Mitterrand's victory in 1981. The election of a Socialist President was the consequence of the radicalization of the struggles which took place in France throughout the 70s. These social and political struggles forced an alliance between Socialists, Communists and "radicaux de gauche" (the 1972 Common Programme of the left). Mitterrand's manifesto in 1981 was definitely influenced by some of the radical values of May 68.

Contrary to mainstream discourses, this combative mindset is not dead today. The Juppé plan was successfully defeated by long strikes in the winter 1995. Workers' mobilization later led to the victory of the left in the 1997 general election. Then students and workers successfully opposed the "First Employment Contract" (Contrat Première Embauche – CPE) in 2006. This employment contract, available solely to employees under 26, would have made it easier for the employer to fire employees by removing the need to provide reasons for an initial "trial period" of two years.

Here is the reason for Sarkozy's outburst and this explains his ambition "to liquidate" the workers' May 68. For he knows that a new May 68 could break out should he insist on implementing the whole of his neoliberal agenda.

Philippe Marlière teaches French and EU politics at University College London (UK) since 1994. He is also an activist on the left-wing of the French Socialist Party.

30 Years Ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened?

 

Riots in Haiti over explosive rises in food costs have claimed the  lives of six people.  There have also been food riots world-wide in Burkina  Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivorie, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco,  Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The Economist, which calls the current crisis the silent tsunami, reports that  last year wheat prices rose 77% and rice 16%, but since January rice prices have  risen 141%. The reasons include rising fuel costs, weather problems, increased  demand in China and India, as well as the push to create biofuels from cereal  crops.

Hermite Joseph, a mother working in the markets of Port au Prince,  told journalist Nick Whalen that her two kids are "like toothpicks" they' re not getting enough nourishment.  Before, if you had a dollar twenty-five  cents, you could buy vegetables, some rice, 10 cents of charcoal and a little  cooking oil. Right now, a little can of rice alone costs 65 cents, and is not good rice at all.  Oil is 25 cents.  Charcoal  is 25 cents.  With a dollar twenty-five, you can't even make a plate of rice  for one child."

The St. Claire's Church Food program, in the Tiplas Kazo  neighborhood of Port au Prince, serves 1000 free meals a day, almost all to  hungry children -- five times a week in partnership with the What If  Foundation.  Children from Cite Soleil have been known to walk the five miles to  the church for a meal. The cost of rice, beans, vegetables, a little meat,  spices, cooking oil, propane for the stoves, have gone up dramatically. Because  of the rise in the cost of food, the portions are now smaller.  But hunger is on  the rise and more and more children come for the free meal.  Hungry adults used  to be allowed to eat the leftovers once all the children were fed, but now there  are few leftovers.   

The New York Times lectured Haiti on April 18 that "Haiti, its  agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself."  Unfortunately, the article did not talk at all about one of  the main causes of the shortages -- the fact that the U.S. and other  international financial bodies destroyed Haitian rice farmers to create a major  market for the heavily subsidized rice from U.S. farmers.  This is not the only  cause of hunger in Haiti and other poor countries, but it is a major force.

Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed.  What happened? 

In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc"  Duvalier the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in  desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out).   But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff  protections for their Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some  industries to open up the country's markets to competition from outside  countries.  The U.S. has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF.

Doctor Paul Farmer was in Haiti then and saw what happened.  "Within less than  two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they  called 'Miami rice.'  The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as  cheap, U.S. subsidized rice, some of it in the form of 'food aid,' flooded  the market. There was violence, 'rice wars,' and lives were lost."

"American rice invaded the country," recalled Charles Suffrard,  a leading rice grower in Haiti in an interview with the Washington Post in 2000.   By 1987 and 1988, there was so much rice coming into the country that many  stopped working the land.

Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest who has been the pastor at  St. Claire and an outspoken human rights advocate, agrees.  "In the 1980s,  imported rice poured into Haiti, below the cost of what our farmers could  produce it.  Farmers lost their businesses.  People from the countryside started  losing their jobs and moving to the cities.  After a few years of cheap imported rice, local production went way down."

Still the international business community was not satisfied.  In  1994, as a condition for U.S. assistance in returning to Haiti to resume his  elected Presidency, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced by the U.S., the IMF, and  the World Bank to open up the markets in Haiti even more.

But, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, what reason could  the U.S. have in destroying the rice market of this tiny country?  

Haiti is definitely poor.  The U.S. Agency for International Development reports  the annual per capita income is less than $400.   The United Nations reports  life expectancy in Haiti is 59, while in the US it is 78.  Over 78% of Haitians  live on less than $2 a day, more than half live on less than $1 a day.

Yet Haiti has become one of the very top importers of rice from the  U.S.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2008 numbers show Haiti is the third  largest importer of US rice - at over 240,000 metric tons of rice.  (One metric ton is 2200 pounds).

Rice is a heavily subsidized business in the U.S.  Rice subsidies in  the U.S. totaled $11 billion from 1995 to 2006.  One producer alone, Riceland  Foods Inc of Stuttgart Arkansas, received over $500 million dollars in rice  subsidies between 1995 and 2006. 

The Cato Institute recently reported that rice is one of the most  heavily supported commodities in the U.S. -- with three different subsidies  together averaging over $1 billion a year since 1998 and projected to average  over $700 million a year through 2015. The result?  "Tens of millions of rice  farmers in poor countries find it hard to lift their families out of poverty  because of the lower, more volatile prices caused by the interventionist  policies of other countries."

In addition to three different subsidies for rice farmers in the  U.S., there are also direct tariff barriers of 3 to 24 percent, reports Daniel  Griswold of the Cato Institute -- the exact same type of protections, though much higher, that the U.S. and the IMF  required Haiti to eliminate in the 1980s and 1990s.

U.S. protection for rice farmers goes even further. A 2006 story in  the Washington Post found that the federal government has paid at least $1.3  billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do  no farming at all; including $490,000 to a Houston surgeon who owned land near  Houston that once grew rice. 

And it is not only the Haitian rice farmers who have been hurt.

Paul Farmer saw it happen to the sugar growers as well.  "Haiti, once the  world's largest exporter of sugar and other tropical produce to Europe, began  importing even sugar-- from U.S. controlled sugar production in the Dominican  Republic and Florida.  It was terrible to see Haitian farmers put out of work.   All this sped up the downward spiral that led to this month's food riots."

After the riots and protests, President Rene Preval of Haiti agreed  to reduce the price of rice, which was selling for $51 for a 110 pound bag, to $43  dollars for the next month.   No one thinks a one month fix will do anything but  delay the severe hunger pains a few weeks.

Haiti is far from alone in this crisis.  The Economist reports a  billion people worldwide live on $1 a day.  The US-backed Voice of America  reports about 850 million people were suffering from hunger worldwide before the  latest round of price increases.

Thirty three countries are at risk of social upheaval because of  rising food prices, World Bank President Robert Zoellick told the Wall Street  Journal.  When countries have many people who spend half to three-quarters of  their daily income on food, "there is no margin of survival."

In the U.S., people are feeling the world-wide problems at the gas  pump and in the grocery.  Middle class people may cut back on extra trips or on  high price cuts of meat.  The number of people on food stamps in the US is at an  all-time high. But in poor countries, where malnutrition and hunger were widespread before  the rise in prices, there is nothing to cut back on except eating.  That leads  to hunger riots.

In the short term, the world community is sending bags of rice to  Haiti.  Venezuela sent 350 tons of food.  The US just pledged $200 million extra  for worldwide hunger relief.  The UN is committed to distributing more food.

What can be done in the medium term?  The US provides much of the  world's food aid, but does it in such a way that only half of the dollars  spent actually reach hungry people.   US law requires that food aid be purchased  from US farmers, processed and bagged in the US and shipped on US vessels --  which cost 50% of the money allocated.  A simple change in US law to allow some  local purchase of commodities would feed many more people and support local farm  markets.

In the long run, what is to be done? The President of Brazil, Luiz  Inacio Lula da Silva, who visited Haiti last week, said "Rich countries need to reduce farms subsidies and trade barriers  to allow poor countries to generate income with food exports.  Either the world  solves the unfair trade system, or every time there's unrest like in Haiti, we  adopt emergency measures and send a little bit of food to temporarily ease  hunger."

Citizens of the USA know very little about the role of their  government in helping create the hunger problems in Haiti or other countries.   But there is much that individuals can do.  People can donate to help feed  individual hungry people and participate with advocacy organizations like Bread  for the World or Oxfam to help change the U.S. and global rules which favor the  rich countries.  This advocacy can help countries have a better chance to feed  themselves. 

Meanwhile, Merisma Jean-Claudel, a young high school graduate in  Port-au-Prince told journalist Wadner Pierre "...people can't buy food.  Gasoline prices are going up. It is very hard for us over here. The cost of living is the biggest worry for us, no peace in stomach  means no peace in the mind.¦I wonder if others will be able to survive the days  ahead because things are very, very hard."

"On the ground, people are very hungry," reported Fr.  Jean-Juste.  "Our country must immediately open emergency canteens to feed the  hungry until we can get them jobs.  For the long run, we need to invest in  irrigation, transportation, and other assistance for our farmers and workers."

In Port au Prince, some rice arrived in the last few days.  A school  in Fr. Jean-Juste's parish received several bags of rice.  They had raw rice  for 1000 children, but the principal still had to come to Father Jean-Juste  asking for help.  There was no money for charcoal, or oil.

Jervais Rodman, an unemployed carpenter with three children, stood  in a long line Saturday in Port au Prince to get UN donated rice and beans.   When Rodman got the small bags, he told Ben Fox of the Associated Press, "The beans might last four days.  The rice will be gone as soon  as I get home."

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola  University New Orleans. His essay on the Echo 9 nuclear launch site protests is featured in Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance from the Heartland, published by AK Press. He can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com   People  interested in donating to feed children in Haiti should go to  http://www.whatiffoundation.org/ 

People who want to help change U.S. policy on  agriculture to help combat world-wide hunger should go to:
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/ or http://www.bread.org/

Jihad Comes to Wall Street

 
If you've seen Geert Wilders's film Fitna, you may not have noticed a single headline amongst all the bombings, beheadings, and earnest expressions of Islam's eventual world domination: Halal-fund: investments for Muslims. But the investment vehicles referenced are an essential part of radical Islam's efforts to insinuate itself into Western societies in order to destroy them from within. And Wall Street, barely out of the woods from its disastrous run-in with sub-prime mortgages — and having lost one of its historic investment houses, Bear Stearns, in the process — is now chasing the very kind of "sharia finance" against which Wilders's movie warns, a business line that may eventually wind up being even more calamitous than the subprime-mortgage fiasco.

For the growing army of its acolytes, who salivate at the prospect of tens of billions of dollars in transaction fees from the burgeoning industry, sharia-compliant finance is seen as little more than a cuddly Islamic version of socially conscious investment — with ethical strictures forbidding usury and sin industries, and emphasizing charity. Indeed, a conference on the subject last Fall co-sponsored by the Wall Street Journal was titled just that: "Islamic Ethical Investment." According to this rosy interpretation, sharia finance is a windfall for capital markets — allowing Wall Street to skim some foam off the ocean of petrodollar liquidity in the Middle East, and put it to good use.

Other interpretations are possible, of course. Critics see sharia finance as a massive subversion campaign by radical Islam designed to legitimize sharia in the West, to undermine our markets, and ultimately to imperil our free-enterprise system and national security — all the while exposing banks to financial risks that make the sub-prime fiasco look like a walk in the park. For its proponents and ideological enablers — such as the well known suicide-bombing advocate, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi — sharia finance is nothing less than "Jihad with money." As al-Qaradawi explains, "God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and with our money." Unfortunately for Wall Street, it's hard to argue with the good sheikh on that score. Far from being a guide to ethical investment, sharia finance is indistinguishable from sharia itself.

Sharia is a reactionary-to-the-core medieval Islamic doctrine that claims control over every aspect of every Muslim's life. It imposes such "ethical" mandates on Muslims as the obligation to discriminate against women and non-Muslims; to kill homosexuals, adulterers, and apostates; to establish and maintain Muslim rule around the world; and to carry out violent offensive jihad against infidels. Notably, for those Muslims who cannot engage in physical jihad using force of arms, sharia requires that they support jihad financially. This is what sharia finance is all about.

Far from being a legitimate investment vehicle, sharia finance facilitates religiously sanctioned support for terrorist organizations — as well as providing radical Islamists with highly paid sinecures as sharia-finance board advisors in the sanctum sanctorum of capitalism, all the while that they are pursuing a subversive campaign to destroy it.

Predictably, none of this is even remotely disclosed by any of the dozens of Western banks promoting sharia finance today, which obviously exposes them to huge non-disclosure risks ranging from fraudulent misrepresentation, to material support for terrorism.

Consider the board chairman of the Dow Jones Islamic Index (IMANX), one Mufti Taqi Usmani. Mr. Usmani is widely reputed to be one of the world's top experts on sharia finance. Whatever his stockpicking abilities may be, they are dwarfed by his jihadist credentials. A key executive of Pakistan's prominent Deobandi jihadist factory, the madrassa Darul Karoom Karachi (currently headed by his brother, Rafi Usmani), Taqi Usmani has openly advocated jihad by Muslims in the West, and just last month again publicly endorsed suicide bombing and the Taliban.

Since sharia-finance funds like the IMANX may invest in companies that are not completely halal — that derive their profit from interest or other sharia-prohibited activities — returns on investment in those companies must be purified by donating a portion of that ROI to charity. More often than not, it is people like Usmani who are paid lucratively to sit on sharia-finance boards in order to determine what charities will receive the sharia-finance institutions' donations — and it's a fair bet that the March of Dimes is not among them.

IMANX itself is owned and operated by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an organization listed as an un-indicted co-conspirator by the Department of Justice in a recent terrorism-finance trial, and the proprietor of hundreds of radical mosques and Islamic institutions in the U.S., including some that have been closed down by the government as criminal enterprises.

The chairman of both NAIT and IMANX, Bassam Osman, has been the top executive of terrorist-funding organizations like the Quranic Literacy Institute (suspected financiers of Hamas whose assets were seized by the U.S. in 1998) and the Islamic Academy of Florida (founded by Sami al-Arian, a convicted financier of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist criminal enterprise), and is a board member of other un-indicted co-conspirators like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Is Dow Jones aware of all this? Is Rupert Murdoch? And if they are not, shouldn't they be?

The IMANX marketing slogan is "Markets Fluctuate. Principles Don't." Judging by the ideological principles of those involved in its leadership, that is precisely what Wall Street — and the West — should fear.

The legitimization of sharia in the West and its gradual imposition in Muslim communities and beyond is a key objective of sharia finance, and there is no doubt it has already made huge strides. Indeed, the precedent of legal sharia-finance transactions was used by the hapless archbishop of Canterbury to buttress his argument that introducing sharia in the United Kingdom was unavoidable.

Given the reality of malignant Islamism now spreading into our own capital markets to the loud cheers of the same Wall Street masters of the universe who gave us sub-prime mortgage securitization, Americans have a right to ask: Where are the U.S. Treasury Department and the SEC, whose job it is to protect our markets? Given the outright fraudulent misrepresentation of the potential liabilities of sharia-finance funds under existing regulations, they should get involved soon.

— Alex Alexiev is vice president for research at the Center for Security Policy.

Alaska Independence Movement

An Interview submitted by Lynette Clark, Chairman, Alaskan Independence Party


1. What can you tell us about any new strategies or ideas developed at the recent Alaska Independence Party convention?

Yes, AIP members voted to support taking the Statehood case their founder, Joe Vogler, had prepared, and present same, to the United Nations for full International review.

2. Is there any progress on organizing a vote about secession?

At this point, some progress. The AIP leadership realizes more education of Alaska's population regarding this slice of Alaskan History is necessary and have committed to that effort. When the vote occurs, an informed public is necessary.

3. I doubt very many US citizens know the particulars regarding what happened when Alaska was made a state. Would you tell the readers how Alaskans were denied a vote on secession in the past? It says on your website: "voting was corrupt and residents were not given the proper choice between statehood, commonwealth status, or complete separation - something they say has been granted to other U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico."


The rights of Alaskans, as the residents of a Non-Self Governing Territory, were protected by many UN General Assembly Resolutions. The U.S Government was under obligation to assure that "the right of people and nations to Self-Determination is exercised." People of Alaska were never given a chance to exercise their right to cast the most important vote in their life. Native Alaskans were not allowed to vote because most of them could not read or write in English, and while the rest of Alaskan population was trying to make a sense of what was happening to them, the U.S. Government encouraged the 41,000 U.S. Military Personnel and 36,000 of age their dependents "to help Alaskans" and vote "yes" on statehood.

With 40,000 votes for the statehood and 8,000 votes against it is not difficult to see how this "voting was corrupt". Alaska was no different from other colonies, as Algerians did not see themselves as a part of France, or as Libyans did not see themselves as a part of Italy, most Alaskans did not see themselves as a part of U.S.A. Within the frames of International Law and established political practices of that time it would be natural for Alaskans to vote for Independence and not remain "a colonial warehouse of natural resources to fuel the factories of the United States."


4. How you do think the recent declaration of the Lakota Nation by the Lakota tribe might affect your plan to be placed on the list of "non-self governing territories"?

While the colonies in South America, Asia and Africa attained their freedom, people and tribes in North America are still struggling for Independence. But times are changing and people who had suffered the injustice by the North American colonial masters are making their voice heard. Considering the past American history we do not expect a quick and easy solution coming from Washington DC, and this is why we are prepared to use non-violent means to achieve our goals - to request an International Inquiry as to the illegal "statehood vote" of August 26, 1958 and a free vote for Alaskans to determine their own future.

5. Can you explain exactly what is a non-self governing territory and how this will lead to independence?

The colonized territories previously claimed by UN Signatory Nations and lately being supervised by UN Member-State, had been given a legal status as Trusts or as Non–Self-Governing Territories. Since native population did not have the necessary political and administrative institutions in place to govern the land, the colonizing powers or trusties had to provide the services to local population. In due time, as the local population progresses itself into a functional society, demonstrating ability of self-governance, the Trusties were obligated to assure the people would decide on their own form of government. AIP would expect, and United Nation rules mandate, the U.S. Government to facilitate the vote as:

1) Remain a Territory.
2) Become a separate and Independent Nation.
3) Accept Commonwealth status.
4) Become a State
The U.S. Government did not act in good faith and thus steered the whole process in one direction only – to retain Alaska as a part of the Union.

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