Racketeering as a Global Business Model
You’re like Han Solo. You know there’s an Empire.
You’ve got a bad feeling but you can’t quite make out what you’re looking at. You’ve heard about the construction of a so-called free-trade deal, the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP). Let me be your Obi-Wan Kenobi before we get sucked into the Mega Cartel Death Star.
Consulting my galactic dictionary I’ve had since my days at The Academy of Jedi Knights, a trope means the deployment of figurative language and imagery for creatively persuasive impact. I’m using the Star Wars’ tropes of the Death Star, The Force and the Jedi Knights as literary devices here to enlighten you to the grave danger of ignoring your worst fears by blocking them out, in the flawed belief that they won’t come to zap you. It is this fear that you need to face, because the oligarchs of the Anglo-American ‘Deep State’ are just as callous and vicious as the world’s most notorious tyrants.
As Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley writes in his Against Oligarchy e-book series, oligarchs are dangerous. Such super-rich people can only exist in societies where there is a great disparity in wealth. Oligarchies cause war, famine, poverty, pestilence, pandemics, environmental collapse and oppression, serfdom and slavery. Their vast control of economic resources leads to structural domination of the political trajectory of whole societies. Oligarchs thrive in crisis-ridden societies.
Not surprisingly, given this scathing introduction about oligarchies, I’m going to point out there are several things extremely wrong about so-called free trade deals. Three such deals are the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP), and its Atlantic Ocean fraternal sibling, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, (or TIPP) and the all-encompassing stealthy sibling, Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).WikiLeaks describes the three deals as “the TPP-TISA-TTIP mega-treaty package” that together comprises two thirds of global economic activity across 78 states. These secret investor deals are so evil they would make most people across the political spectrum balk and join the rebellion – if they knew what they are really about.
As your Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi-journalist, I have to tell you that you are witnessing the construction of totalitarian super-states. If my claim makes you guffaw and think I’ve been watching too many sci-fi movies, please entertain me by letting me ‘entertain’ you through to the end of this piece.
One important aspect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is the secrecy about what exactly is in the TPP agreement. Recently, a US Congress Senator, Elizabeth Warren, told The Nation magazine, “Supporters of the deal say to me, ‘They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.’ ”
Captured governments are being persuaded to totally give in to the ‘dark side’ of The Force.
Key insiders that comprise the transnational capitalist class learned this lesson of secrecy from their failed attempts to railroad through a similar multi-country investment deal, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), in the late 1990s. The deal-making is deliberately secret because the key players know that what they want will harm society and that if there is full disclosure, public opposition would be huge.
From a leaked investment chapter supplied by WikiLeaks and its editor Julian Assange, we know that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses that enable transnational corporations to sue the partnering governments if their boards and wealthy owners decide that their expectations about future profits are being blocked by pesky legislation, oversight and treaties. Conflicts over international trade are often taken to the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investments Disputes in downtown Washington D.C. As New Zealand documentary-maker Bryan Bruce says, big-shot lawyers can be working for transnationals one day and the next day they can play the role of judges in these secretive tribunals.
Indeed, as TPP critic Lori Wallach stated in The Nation (July 16-23/2012), “the TPPA is mainly about new corporate rights, not trade.” A senior scholar at York University in Toronto, David Cooke, argued that this means that the Trans-Pacific Agreement is really about “safeguards for investors to move jobs off-shore, rights for corporations to sue governments, and removal of regulations in financial services, land use, food safety, natural resources, energy, healthcare.”
In this role-play as Obi-Wan Kenobi I’m essentially reporting in ‘polite company’. Despite this, I’m going to use the R-word: Racketeering. Racketeering is the fraudulent practice of covertly creating problems and then offering ready-made solutions for extortionate fees. When it comes to dominant capitalist ‘Coalitions of the Colluding’, profit is not so much a return on investment. Rather, when we are talking about massive transnational cartels that control finance, oil, minerals, food, water, electricity, transport, telecommunications and media propaganda, profit is the fee charged for not withdrawing supply, as political economists Jonathan Nitzan and Shimson Bichler argue in their book, Capital as Power.
Indeed, real free trade agreements are in peril in an era where vast anti-competitive transnational corporations operate as cartels to restrain trade for the benefit of big monopolizing businesses. These huge corporate combinations – that dominate extraction, production, distribution, financing, marketing and indoctrination – undermine bona fide competition by fixing prices (both high and low), controlling supply (since ‘free trade’ agreements fix market access with quotas), and reduce diversity (by mass-producing similar soon-to-be obsolete products and services) through collusion. Their purpose is to make massive economic gains in order to accumulate political power and maintain the privileged lives of their super-rich owners on a permanent basis, as F. William Engdahl makes clear in his book, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. It follows that one major cost for society is that cartels undermine new market entrants through these and other patterned behaviours that amount to racketeering.
Therefore, cartels boil down to one feature. Cartels dominate markets by their scale. They get big through collusion and grow bigger through coercion, corruption, and capitulation, as the book Government of the Shadows: Parapolitics and Criminal Sovereignty makes clear. When you have a trade deal that is being negotiated in secretive discussions, between the representatives of the biggest transnationals of 12 Pacific-rim countries, you have the construction of a collusive Mega Cartel Deal. When you combine that with a similar ‘investment and trade’ agreement to bind North America with the European Union, you have the construction of two huge economic blocs centred upon the United States ‘homeland’, or core, of the Anglo-American Empire. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement excludes the industrial powerhouse China, as a means to undermine one of the world’s oldest civilizations from making the leap from regional power to a global military power, and thereby becoming a rival empire.
Re-serfication of the Planet
Governments around the world are giving away a dangerous level of sovereign power to a transnational capitalist class. This strategy is known as ‘new constitutionalism’, as law scholar Stephen Gill identified.
By exploiting new constitutionalism as a strategy, unseen oligarchs (or super-rich people) and their submissive elite professionals seek to expand markets by locking in the changes within supranational jurisdictions, thereby closing off democratic participation of citizens fixed by place and indigenous peoples marginalized in their own ancestral lands.
The transformations in the global economy, such as these huge economic protective trade-blocs promoted under the slogan of ‘free trade’, are really about creating a slickly-marketed, hi-tech totalitarian superstructure, worldwide. American journalist Chris Hedges has reported a corporate totalitarian core thrives inside a fictitious democratic shell. When we consider, that from the perspective of dominant capitalist coalitions, or oligarchs, the public and private sectors are two divisions of capitalism and democracy is its administrative system, it becomes clearer that democracy is being replaced.
As political economists Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan persuasively argue in their book, Capital as Power, capitalism is a private political system that uses economic means to control society. Their ‘capital as power’ theory aligns with Jeffrey Winters ‘oligarchy’ thesis.
It turns out that Monopoly Capitalism’s core motive is social control. Monopoly Capitalism achieves this by limiting as many people as possible from having access to land and other resources, as Frances Hutchinson argued in What Everyone Wants to Know About Money and in The Politics of Money (as well as Nitzan and Bichler in Capital as Power). This political control is primarily achieved through a deliberate scarcity of cash and an abundance of manufactured credit/debt that banks whisk out of annoyingly thin-air through the possession of a metaphorical magical wand (or the power a fraternal Old Boys’ Network). Or, to put it another way, dynastic banking families and their global banking cartels sucker mass populaces to borrow credit funds into existence, as English economist Michael Rowbotham showed in his book, The Grip of Death: A Study in Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics and Goodbye America! Globalisation, Debt and the Dollar Empire. Therefore, Monopoly Capitalism is a private political system that is controlled by huge combinations of industrial, banking, service, and media corporations through highly networked elites, that implement the psychopathic vision of their super-rich owners (or oligarchs), who are protected by tax-sheltered trusts and captured governments.
Mechanisms of Coercion: 63,000 rich and super-rich people possess $39 trillion in wealth, while 800 million people are starving.
If you’re still not convinced that the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its Atlantic fraternal sibling, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, (or TIPP) and the all-encompassing stealthy sibling, Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) are an evil conspiracy against humanity, then ponder this perspective. In a recent article, titled “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Totalitarian End-game of the Global Elite”, Dr. Gary G. Kohls said:
“I realized that if the TPP had been the law of the land before Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation [following the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865)], the tyrannical, apartheid-style (AKA, fascist) plantation slavery system in the South could have successfully sued the Lincoln administration and then fined the government hefty amounts of money for harming its economic bottom line and its future profits if it ever tried to end the highly lucrative business.”
When your metaphorical Obi-Wan Kenobi landed in the disciplinary field of scholarly conspiracy law, he found white papers such as one by Neal Kumar Katyal’s titled, “Conspiracy Theory” published in The Yale Law Journal. I found that a conspiracy is a secret agreement made with the intent to harm society. As an intrepid Jedi-journalist who read Canadian journalist Naomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine and Laurence Shoup’s and William Minter’s book, The Imperial Brain Trust, I saw that even projects like the global deployment of ‘free market shock treatments’, which have a public profile, can have nasty hidden intent even as they are promoted as being in everyone’s interests.
While promoting the ‘free markets’ in the 1980s, key insiders claimed that an ‘Invisible Hand’ would price products and services efficiently through rigorous competition. The ‘Invisible Hand’, was a euphemism for a North Atlantic oligarchy and their army of unseen professionals, who have constructed a Worldwide Financial-secrecy Haven Complex (which are more commonly known as tax havens). However, the highly-networked North Atlantic capitalist class used private political mechanisms to ensure that wealth accumulated upward, so that there was only just enough income trickling-down to avert rebellion. Meanwhile, fees for ‘public’ services increased, even as the universal income tax system remained in place. Therefore, the apparent ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures’ that many economists, academics and social change agents resort to explain government policy that wrecks havoc on so many lives, needs to be reconsidered. Western governments are unrelenting in their commitment to ‘free market’ economic frameworks because their key insiders have consciously joined in systemic economic warfare, or a planetary-scale class war.
Trust your feelings: Open your brain-washed mind
In the early 1970′s, elite planners that were part of the North Atlantic capitalist class met to discuss threats to their power under the auspices of the “1980’s Project;” the goal of which was to reconfigure control of the planet. Central to this project was the deployment of neo-liberal ideology under the rubric of ‘free market reforms’. Despite the ideological claim of ‘prosperity for all’ used to promote the deployment of ‘free market economic shock treatments’, the intention was to reduce the material wealth of mass populaces so that they would be less able to assert their political independence. The purpose was to hinder the efforts of the ‘disobedient’ and thereby counter the cultural movements that had emerged in the 1960s, as well as the developmental demands of ‘Third World’ countries that sought to be decolonized.
To this end, in April 1972, oligarch David Rockefeller, who was the chairman of a New York-based global-policy shaping group, the Council on Foreign Relations, presented his idea of a new alliance between the wealthy and politically connected of America, Europe and Japan to a another secretive global policy-shaping group called the Bilderberg Group, which convened in Knokke, Belgium. It’s difficult to overstate the role played by this oligarch. If there were a board game invented to make Monopoly obsolete, called Oligarchy, David Rockefeller would inspire a special oligarchic game-piece that looks, thinks and moves like an octopus, for he has been a prominent member of the Bilderberg Group since its first meeting in 1954. As Editor-in-Chief of the Voltaire Network, Thierry Meyssan, who has accessed the Bilderberg Group’s records for 1954 to 1966 (and numerous records pertaining to later years), stated, the Group is a lobbying tool for the NATO Alliance, or North Atlantic militarists, who intend to be a secret world government. Worse, NATO conducted terrorism operations in Europe, codenamed Operation ‘Gladio’ (Latin for Roman sword), up until its highly public exposure in 1990, as Madhi Darius Nazemroaya reported in his book, The Globalization of NATO.Operation Gladio was a low-grade war that exploited a ‘Strategy of Tension’ designed to frighten the mass populaces of Europe and thereby shift the political gravity to the ‘right’ by blaming ‘left’ wing groups for the carnage, and thereby create propagandist media events to equate a ‘free world’ with capitalism.
While the Anglo-American Deep State was busy frightening Europeans, in 1973, the brother of Bilderberger stalwart David Rockefeller, John D. III, published a book called The Second American Revolution, in which he argued for a radical transference of state “functions and responsibilities” to private interests. The following year, Columbia University academic Richard Gardner published an article called “Hard Road to World Order” in Foreign Affairs magazine published by the global-policy shaping think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations. Gardner wrote that the building of a new world economic order would require “an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece” because “the old-fashioned frontal assault” had become less effective. Gardner’s think-piece expressed the same sentiment as that espoused by another Columbia University professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who stated in his 1969 book called Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era that “[i]nternational banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the national-state”. Brzezinski, who later co-founded a taskforce group, the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller, stated that “political innovation” was unlikely to occur with open debate, but rather through covert incrementalism. Gardner, who had been a member of president Nixon’s Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy, argued that the construction of a new world economic order would appear as a “great ‘booming, buzzing confusion.” Indeed, such confusion was the linchpin of neo-liberal ideology.
In other words, the ‘New constitutionalism’ strategy that seeks to permanently lock-in a new technocratic regime and replace democracy, is embedded into the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Armies of professionals, sponsored politicians and elite technocrats are working on what I call the Global Neo-Colonial Project (of which one part is known as ‘globalization’). There are other more sinister reasons why I regard this new constitutional framework to permanently lock in the property rights of a transnational capitalist class with a status that amounts to ‘commercialized sovereignty’ as the world’s leading scholars on tax havenry, Ronen Palan, Richard Murphy, and Christian Chavagneux argued in their book, Tax Havens: How Globalization Really Works. This ‘free market’ economic framework began with a violent field-testing stage that occurred between the mid-1960s to mid-1970s.
The field-testing ‘required’ US-backed terrorism to clear opposition for the ‘free market economic shock treatments’ that followed. Five countries – Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina – pursued a developmentalist economic framework and were all subjected to military juntas and/or CIA-backed coups. In the Chilean case, General Augusto Pinochet’s CIA-backed coup of September 11 1973 was ordered by US National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, who viewed president Salvador Allende’s socialist government as a “contagious example”, because he had nationalized key infrastructure and resources, owned by American and Chilean corporations, as is clear from viewing the documentaries, The Shock Doctrine, Why We Fight and The Trials of Henry Kissinger. But, these ‘developmentalist’ countries were not the only ones in need of ‘free market’ discipline.
The entire world was targeted for the stiff therapy of economic warfare when Henry Kissinger conspired with his close accomplices, David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski at the May 1973 Bilderberg Group meeting that took place on the island resort of Saltsjöbaden, owned by the Swedish Wallenberg banking dynasty. As William Engdahl revealed in his book, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, the Bilderbergers discussed a plot to trigger oil price shocks, which would return enormous profits for key banks and the oil majors, including Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank and the Standard Oil cartel. The Rockefeller-Kissinger-Bilderberger nexus needed a trigger event that would work as a cover for the Shah of Iran to hike oil prices by 400% so that he could buy US weaponry that Kissinger was inducing him to buy. Kissinger, with the assistance of ‘back channels’ in London, orchestrated the Yom Kippur War of 1973 by deceiving the Egyptians, Syrians and Israeli’s about each other’s agendas. (These shocks would also reinvigorate the indebted US dollar, through which oil was traded universally). The Bilderberger Nexus Oil Price Shocks of 1973-1974 were anticipated to cause a 400% hike in oil prices, according to the 1973 Saltsjöbaden Bilderberg Meeting Report, a copy of which William Engdahl found in a second-hand bookshop in Paris.
In keeping with the anti-competitive behaviour of cartels, Henry Kissinger explained at one session of a US Federal Staff Energy Seminar held in Washington D.C., (which ran for four years), that the US was seeking to, create a world price for oil former US Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty. This ‘energy crisis’ served as a pretext for the Wall Street-Washington-City of London Complex to increase the cost of credit to 20% (amid runaway inflation), and when combined with the underlying Bilderberg Nexus-induced economic crisis, a world debt crisis emerged. Thus, the oil price shocks designed by the Anglo-American ‘Deep State’ laid the groundwork for further ‘free market economic shock therapies’, which were themselves mechanisms of coercion, because all governments and sectors of society were thrown further into crisis. Everyone suffered, except key insiders, who became richer and accumulated more political power.
Forty years on, so-called ‘free and open societies’ typically have a ‘Look, Don’t Touch’ democracy, wherein systemic political apathy has taken root. As is made clear in Naomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine; in Noam Chomsky’s book, Failed States and Eugene Jarecki’s documentary, Why We Fight; the United States continues to use military violence, or terrorism, to deliver the ‘freedom’ of ‘free markets.’ This situation has been sustained by excellent satirist-generated propaganda posing as news (reproduced by the Global Media Complex), which keeps a significant fraction of mass populations confused, misinformed and naïve, while conditioning new audiences to believe they are well informed. We’ve all been brain-washed with sanitized narratives.
So, I hope it’s clear to you by now that the euphemistic term ‘austerity’ really means economic warfare, or the Shock Doctrine, and it is being inflicted upon the Western developed countries too.
In short, what we know as democracy is being shelled-out, and is being replaced by the new administrative system – technocracy – to be run by scientists, engineers, and technocrats on behalf of an unseen oligarchy. A technocracy is a totalitarian system of government that administers resources with an ideology that they are fairly distributed. Technocracy fuses the market price system of capitalism with an obsession for measuring the flow of every object from extraction to waste by tracking everything with radio-frequency micro-and-nano-sized computer chips. In other words, technocracy seeks to extinguish the privacy of everyone who isn’t an oligarch, by building-out a control freak creepy Smart-Grid totalitarian nightmare, as Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre prove in their book, Spychips, Josh del Sol shows in his documentary,Take Back Your Power, and Patrick Wood compellingly argues in his book, Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation.
The first step to shining light on the transnational oligarchy is by the masses of Amazing People confronting that vulnerable area in ourselves that lacks self-esteem. That area is a neglected belief in the human spirit that together we can be powerful agents of ‘the rebellion’, who can harness the abundant transformative forces of the universe. It is totally necessary to build self-esteem in that neglected spot of ourselves where we lack confidence to be gutsy political people, if we are to fight when our ‘deal-breakers’ have been breached.
Otherwise, we won’t be whole humans, but rather, not-so amazing grown-ups in children’s bodies with under-developed balls and ovaries. The only way to have un-shakable self-esteem is to face our fears. In the process, we build our self-respect and from this, our confidence grows, as I learned when I applied my Jedi-snooping powers to a conversation a filmmaker was directing with her lunch-date next to me when I was researching this piece.
So, as your Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi-journalist, I’m saying it is a slickly-marketed trap to think that by focusing on ‘the positive’, you’re not giving energy to ‘the negative’ and therefore you’re in control of your ‘fear space’. Even projects that seek to build resilient, self-sustaining, self-determining communities, which are essential to creating a world beyond Crony Monopoly Capitalism, can be slammed in less than a day if we don’t confront the Deep State criminal groups that remain at-large.
All we need is one good bolt of light.
Steve Edwards completed a thesis on the Global Financial Crisis in 2012, titled “It’s the financial oligarchy, stupid”. It showed that global banking cartels applied a boom-bust-bailout formula to the deliberate engineering of the Global Financial Crisis. His Thesis has subsequently been vindicated by various banking scandals, including the rigging of loan interest rates around the world, known as the Libor scandal. He writes on Snoopman News at: http://snoopman.net.nz