It just seems that the news is getting more and more strange and unusual by the day. This weekend's news seems even more atypical than the usual cycle. Below are just a few of the stories that indicate where we are as a society. Once again, we can see the shadow looming:
This article by investigative reporter Olga Luzanova provides photographic and video evidence of the impacts of Kiev regime bombings directed against residential areas and schools in Donbass.
Civilians have been deliberately targeted.
These war crimes have been ignored by the mainstream media. They been not been acknowledged by the UN Human Rights Commission.
The fundamental rights of children have been blatantly violated by the US sponsored Kiev regime in derogation of international law.
We recall that last October, President Petro Poroshenko contrasted the prospects for Ukrainians with those of the people from the Donbass region during a speech in Odessa. In particular, the President promised:
“Our children will go to schools and kindergartens, while theirs will be holed up in basements!”
Thus far, the Ukrainian government has been doing its best to keep its word. Here is one of the children sitting in a basement in accordance with the Ukrainian President’s will.
The Acting Commander of the Perevalsk Command offered me a short tour of a little town which just happened to be in the immediate vicinity of the front-line. The Ukrainian forces had been firing towards the residential district of the town right up until the day when the Militia had mopped up Debaltsevo. We took the road which I knew very well. We drove through the town where I could see the consequences of the shelling all around. We approached the school from its rear and saw there a football pitch with a huge crater in the middle of it. Then we saw another crater from an Uragan missile near the school.
The school had not a single window left intact on the side facing towards Debaltsevo. Evidently, it had not been random fire—we could see that all the strikes on the school were direct hits.
We walked round the school—its façade, which faced the direction of territory controlled by the Militia, remained almost undamaged. Incidentally, this school used to be one of the most beautiful in the Perevalsk region: it had won a grant for renovation two years ago and was then completely refurbished.
Now, the image of the book with hammer and sickle and the engraved phrase “Peace to the World” adds more sadness to the whole scene.
The condition of the building inside was no less terrible: overthrown pieces of furniture, broken window frames. splinters of glass and crumbled plaster on the floor, fragments of wood and brick everywhere, everything slashed and holed
I heard a child’s voice outside—a little girl was coming up with a few adults, pointing in the direction of the worst damaged part of the school, saying: “My class was there.” Seven year old Vika was very sad about her school; almost all her friends have left the town, and now, she and her family may have to leave too:
Mass Beashing Of Melon-Headed Whales In Japan Sparks 'Unscientific' Fears Of Underwater Earthquakes
Japan: Dolphin Beaching 'Sign Of Tsunami Earthquake'?
150 Dolphins Feared Dead After Mass Beaching In Japan
Japan: Dolphin Beaching 'Sign Of Tsunami Earthquake'?
150 Dolphins Feared Dead After Mass Beaching In Japan
Six days prior to Japan's devastating 2011 undersea earthquake that killed over 18,000 people, around 50 melon-headed whales - a species that is a member of the dolphin family - beached themselves on Japan’s beaches. Now, 4 years later, and despite a lack of scientific evidence linking the two events, many Japanese took to social media in fear as the mass beaching of over 150 melon-headed whales on Japan’s shores has fueled fears of a repeat of the monster quake, which unleashed a towering tsunami and triggered a nuclear disaster.
The mass beaching of over 150 melon-headed whales on Japan’s shores has fueled fears of a repeat of a seemingly unrelated event in the country — the devastating 2011 undersea earthquake that killed over 18,000 people.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence linking the two events, a flurry of online commentators have pointed to the appearance of around 50 melon-headed whales — a species that is a member of the dolphin family — on Japan’s beaches six days prior to the monster quake, which unleashed a towering tsunami and triggered a nuclear disaster.
The 2011 Japan earthquake is not the only instance of beached whales closely preceding a massive tremor.
More than 100 pilot whales died in a mass stranding on a remote New Zealand beach on Feb. 20, 2011, two days before a large quake struck the country’s second-largest city, Christchurch.
Local officials said a total of 149 dolphins were found stranded on the beach in Hokota in Ibaraki prefecture, according to RT. Some of the dolphins, mostly melon-headed whales or blackfish, were found alive but were extremely weak.
Videos from the scene showed rescuers trying to release the dolphins back into the ocean, but the tide washed the weak animals back onto the beach.
“This current (Greek) government isn’t willing to do that, or at least so far has not been willing to do that. And they understand that the debt cannot be repaid. The Greeks can’t pay the bailout and so the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who has been accepting indignity after indignity from the EU and Washington, lie after lie, sanction after sanction, he saw an opportunity. He said, ‘Look, come do business with us Greece.'
So the possibility is there now that the Greeks will simply default on the entire debt. If I was the Greek government that is exactly what I would do. I would tell the West:
"You’re trying to drive us into the ground — to force starvation on the Greek people. You go to hell, we’re not paying you one nickel. In fact, we’re not having anything else to do with you. We’re out of NATO, we’re out of the EU, we’ve got our own currency back, and if we need any financing, our Russian friends are going to finance us.
So Greece and Russia (together) is the beginning of the possibility of the breakup of NATO because if the Greeks were to default on the debt, that would leave Greece debt free. It would have zero debt to GDP, and if they needed financing for some reason, the Russians could finance them.
Now, if this happens with Greece, it’s bound to happen with Italy and Spain because Italy and Spain are in the same situation — they’ve got more debt than they can service. And the United States has been very active to make sure that the governments of Italy and Spain are governments that Washington controls — who will ruin their own people and their own country in order to pay off Washington and the New York hedge funds, Germany, Netherlands, and the European big banks (banksters).
But if Greece were to leave, then that shows the politicians in Spain and Italy that they can do the same thing — they could default and have a debt free balance sheet. And if they needed to have any kind of financing, they can turn to Russia, or Russia and China, or the BRIC bank (AIIB), which is now funded with $100 billion.
Over the centuries there have been many stories, some based on loose facts, others based on hearsay, conjecture, speculation and outright lies, about groups of people who "control the world." Some of these are partially accurate, others are wildly hyperbolic, but when it comes to the historic record, nothing comes closer to the stereotypical, secretive group determining the fate of over 7 billion people, than the Bank of International Settlements, which hides in such plain sight, that few have ever paid much attention.
The following is an excerpt from TOWER OF BASEL: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World by Adam LeBor. Reprinted with permission from PublicAffairs.
The world’s most exclusive club has eighteen members. They gather every other month on a Sunday evening at 7 p.m. in conference room E in a circular tower block whose tinted windows overlook the central Basel railway station. Their discussion lasts for one hour, perhaps an hour and a half. Some of those present bring a colleague with them, but the aides rarely speak during this most confidential of conclaves. The meeting closes, the aides leave, and those remaining retire for dinner in the dining room on the eighteenth floor, rightly confident that the food and the wine will be superb. The meal, which continues until 11 p.m. or midnight, is where the real work is done. The protocol and hospitality, honed for more than eight decades, are faultless. Anything said at the dining table, it is understood, is not to be repeated elsewhere.
Few, if any, of those enjoying their haute cuisine and grand cru wines— some of the best Switzerland can offer—would be recognized by passers-by, but they include a good number of the most powerful people in the world.
These men—they are almost all men—are central bankers. They have come to Basel to attend the Economic Consultative Committee (ECC) of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is the bank for central banks. Its current members [ZH: as of 2013] include Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England; Mario Draghi, of the European Central Bank; Zhou Xiaochuan of the Bank of China; and the central bank governors of Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Canada, India, and Brazil. Jaime Caruana, a former governor of the Bank of Spain, the BIS’s general manager, joins them.
In early 2013, when this book went to press, King, who is due to step down as governor of the Bank of England in June 2013, chaired the ECC. The ECC, which used to be known as the G-10 governors’ meeting, is the most influential of the BIS’s numerous gatherings, open only to a small, select group of central bankers from advanced economies. The ECC makes recommendations on the membership and organization of the three BIS committees that deal with the global financial system, payments systems, and international markets. The committee also prepares proposals for the Global Economy Meeting and guides its agenda.
That meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning, in room B and lasts for three hours. There King presides over the central bank governors of the thirty countries judged the most important to the global economy.
Those discussions, say central bankers, must be confidential. “When you are at the top in the number one post, it can be pretty lonely at times. It is helpful to be able to meet other number ones and say, ‘This is my problem, how do you deal with it?’” King continued. “Being able to talk informally and openly about our experiences has been immensely valuable. We are not speaking in a public forum. We can say what we really think and believe, and we can ask questions and benefit from others.”
The BIS management works hard to ensure that the atmosphere is friendly and clubbable throughout the weekend, and it seems they succeed.
The bank arranges a fleet of limousines to pick up the governors at Zürich airport and bring them to Basel. Separate breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are organized for the governors of national banks who oversee different types and sizes of national economies, so no one feels excluded. “The central bankers were more at home and relaxed with their fellow central bankers than with their own governments,” recalled Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, who at- tended the Basel weekends. The superb quality of the food and wine made for an easy camaraderie, said Peter Akos Bod, a former governor of the National Bank of Hungary. “The main topics of discussion were the quality of the wine and the stupidity of finance ministers. If you had no knowledge of wine you could not join in the conversation.”
The central bank governors traveling to Basel for the bimonthly meetings enjoy the same status while in Switzerland. All bank officials are immune under Swiss law, for life, for all the acts carried out during the discharge of their duties. The bank is a popular place to work and not just because of the salaries. Around six hundred staff come from over fifty countries. The atmosphere is multi-national and cosmopolitan, albeit very Swiss, emphasizing the bank’s hierarchy. Like many of those working for the UN or the IMF, some of the staff of the BIS, especially senior management, are driven by a sense of mission, that they are working for a higher, even celestial purpose and so are immune from normal considerations of accountability and transparency.
The bank’s management has tried to plan for every eventuality so that the Swiss police need never be called. The BIS headquarters has high-tech sprinkler systems with multiple back-ups, in-house medical facilities, and its own bomb shelter in the event of a terrorist attack or armed conflagration. The BIS’s assets are not subject to civil claims under Swiss law and can never be seized.
The BIS strictly guards the bankers’ secrecy. The minutes, agenda, and actual attendance list of the Global Economy Meeting or the ECC are not released in any form. This is because no official minutes are taken, although the bankers sometimes scribble their own notes. Sometimes there will be a brief press conference or bland statement afterwards but never anything detailed. This tradition of privileged confidentiality reaches back to the bank’s foundation.
But the governors who meet in Basel every other month are public servants. Their salaries, airplane tickets, hotel bills, and lucrative pensions when they retire are paid out of the public purse. The national reserves held by central banks are public money, the wealth of nations. The central bankers’ discussions at the BIS, the information that they share, the policies that are evaluated, the opinions that are exchanged, and the subsequent decisions that are taken, are profoundly political. Central bankers, whose independence is constitutionally protected, control monetary policy in the developed world. They manage the supply of money to national economies. They set interest rates, thus deciding the value of our savings and investments. They decide whether to focus on austerity or growth. Their decisions shape our lives.
Nowadays the countries represented at the Global Economy Meetings together account for around four-fifths of global gross domestic product (GDP)— most of the produced wealth of the world—according to the BIS’s own statistics. Central bankers now “seem more powerful than politicians,” wrote The Economist newspaper, “holding the destiny of the global economy in their hands.” How did this happen? The BIS, the world’s most secretive global financial institution, can claim much of the credit. From its first day of existence, the BIS has dedicated itself to furthering the interests of central banks and building the new architecture of transnational finance. In doing so, it has spawned a new class of close-knit global technocrats whose members glide between highly-paid positions at the BIS, the IMF, and central and commercial banks.
For a staid, secretive organization, the BIS has proved surprisingly nimble. It survived the first global depression, the end of reparations payments and the gold standard (two of its main reasons for existence), the rise of Nazism, the Second World War, the Bretton Woods Accord, the Cold War, the financial crises of the 1980s and 1990s, the birth of the IMF and World Bank, and the end of Communism. As Malcolm Knight, manager from 2003–2008, noted, “It is encouraging to see that—by remaining small, flexible, and free from political interference—the Bank has, throughout its history, succeeded remarkably well in adapting itself to evolving circumstances.”
The bank has made itself a central pillar of the global financial system. As well as the Global Economy Meetings, the BIS hosts four of the most important international committees dealing with global banking: the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Committee on the Global Financial System, the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, and the Irving Fisher Committee, which deals with central banking statistics. The bank also hosts three independent organizations: two groups dealing with insurance and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The FSB, which coordinates national financial authorities and regulatory policies, is already being spoken of as the fourth pillar of the global financial system, after the BIS, the IMF and the commercial banks.
The BIS is now the world’s thirtieth-largest holder of gold reserves, with 119 metric tons—more than Qatar, Brazil, or Canada. Membership of the BIS remains a privilege rather than a right. The board of directors is responsible for admitting central banks judged to “make a substantial contribution to international monetary cooperation and to the Bank’s activities.” China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia joined only in 1996. The bank has opened offices in Mexico City and Hong Kong but remains very Eurocentric. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Slovakia (total population 16.2 million) have been admitted, while Pakistan (population 169 million) has not. Nor has Kazakhstan, which is a powerhouse of Central Asia. In Africa only Algeria and South Africa are members—Nigeria, which has the continent’s second-largest economy, has not been admitted. (The BIS’s defenders say that it demands high governance standards from new members and when the national banks of countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan reach those standards, they will be considered for membership.)
Considering the BIS’s pivotal role in the transnational economy, its low profile is remarkable. Back in 1930 a New York Times reporter noted that the culture of secrecy at the BIS was so strong that he was not permitted to look inside the boardroom, even after the directors had left. Little has changed. Journalists are not allowed inside the headquarters while the Global Economy Meeting is underway. BIS officials speak rarely on the record, and reluctantly, to members of the press. The strategy seems to work. The Occupy Wall Street movement, the anti-globalizers, the social network protesters have ignored the BIS. Centralbahnplatz 2, Basel, is quiet and tranquil. There are no demonstrators gathered outside the BIS’s headquarters, no protestors camped out in the nearby park, no lively reception committees for the world’s central bankers.
As the world’s economy lurches from crisis to crisis, financial institutions are scrutinized as never before. Legions of reporters, bloggers, and investigative journalists scour the banks’ every move. Yet somehow, apart from brief mentions on the financial pages, the BIS has largely managed to avoid critical scrutiny. Until now.