Canada: Aboriginal children were used in government experiments

Hungry Canadian aboriginal children were used in government experiments during 1940s, researcher says

New historical research says hungry aboriginal children and adults were once used as unwitting subjects in nutritional experiments by the Canadian government.

By: Andrew Livingstone News reporter, Bob Weber The Canadian Press,

July 16 2013

Aboriginal children were deliberately starved in the 1940s and ’50s by government researchers in the name of science.

Milk rations were halved for years at residential schools across the country.

Essential vitamins were kept from people who needed them.

Dental services were withheld because gum health was a measuring tool for scientists and dental care would distort research.

For over a decade, aboriginal children and adults were unknowingly subjected to nutritional experiments by Canadian government bureaucrats.

This disturbing look into government policy toward aboriginals after World War II comes to light in recently published historical research.

When Canadian researchers went to a number of northern Manitoba reserves in 1942 they found rampant malnourishment. But instead of recommending increased federal support to improve the health of hundreds of aboriginals suffering from a collapsing fur trade and already limited government aid, they decided against it. Nutritionally deprived aboriginals would be the perfect test subjects, researchers thought.

The details come from Ian Mosby, a post-doctorate at the University of Guelph, whose research focused on one of the most horrific aspects of government policy toward aboriginals during a time when rules for research on humans were just being adopted by the scientific community.

Researching the development of health policy for a different research project, Mosby uncovered “vague references to studies conducted on ‘Indians’ ” and began to investigate.

Government documents eventually revealed a long-standing, government-run experiment that came to span the entire country and involved at least 1,300 aboriginals, most of them children.

These experiments aren’t surprising to Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission became aware of the experiments during their collection of documents relating to the treatment and abuse of native children at residential schools across Canada from the 1870s to the 1990s.

It’s a disturbing piece of research, he said, and the experiments are entrenched with the racism of the time.

“This discovery, it’s indicative of the attitude toward aboriginals,” Sinclair said. “They thought aboriginals shouldn’t be consulted and their consent shouldn’t be asked for. They looked at it as a right to do what they wanted then.”

In the research paper, published in May, Mosby wrote, “the experiment seems to have been driven, at least in part, by the nutrition experts’ desire to test their theories on a ready-made ‘laboratory’ populated with already malnourished human experimental subjects.”

Researchers visited The Pas and Norway House in northern Manitoba in 1942 and found a demoralized population marked by, in their words, “shiftlessness, indolence, improvidence and inertia.”

They decided that isolated, dependent, hungry people would be ideal subjects for tests on the effects of different diets.

“In the 1940s, there were a lot of questions about what are human requirements for vitamins,” Mosby said. “Malnourished aboriginal people became viewed as possible means of testing these theories.”

These experiments are “abhorrent and completely unacceptable,” said Andrea Richer, spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt.

The first experiment began in 1942 on 300 Norway House Cree. Of that group, 125 were selected to receive vitamin supplements, which were withheld from the rest.

At the time, researchers calculated the local people were living on less than 1,500 calories a day. Normal, healthy adults generally require at least 2,000.

In 1947, plans were developed for research on about 1,000 hungry aboriginal children in six residential schools in Port Alberni, B.C., Kenora, Ont., Schubenacadie, N.S., and Lethbridge, Alta.

One school for two years deliberately held milk rations to less than half the recommended amount to get a ‘baseline’ reading for when the allowance was increased. At another school, children were divided into one group that received vitamin, iron and iodine supplements and one that didn’t.

One school depressed levels of vitamin B1 to create another baseline before levels were boosted.

And, so that all the results could be properly measured, one school was allowed none of those supplements.

The experiments, repugnant today, would probably have been considered ethically dubious even at the time, said Mosby.

“I think they really did think they were helping people. Whether they thought they were helping the people that were actually involved in the studies — that’s a different question. Source

More on this story

Hungry aboriginal people used in bureaucrats’ experiments

Update July 18 2013

First Nations leaders demand apology for nutritional experiments

Update July 19 2013

Canadian nutrition experiments ‘alarming’ but not surprising, says former aboriginal student

Update July 30 2013

Aboriginal nutritional experiments had Ottawa’s approval

Update July 31 2013

Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says

Aboriginal Canadians were not only subjected to nutritional experiments by the federal government in the 1940s and 1950s but were also used as medical test subjects, says the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s All Points West on Tuesday, Justice Murray Sinclair told host Jo-Ann Roberts that commission staff has “seen the documents that relate to the experiments that were conducted in residential schools.”

Other documents related to experimentation in aboriginal communities outside of residential schools have not yet been obtained, Sinclair said.

“We do know that there were research initiatives that were conducted with regard to medicines that were used ultimately to treat the Canadian population. Some of those medicines were tested in aboriginal communities and residential schools before they were utilized publicly.”

Sinclair said some of those medicines developed were then withheld from the same aboriginal children they were originally tested on.

“Some of those medicines which we know were able to work in the general population, we also have discovered were withheld from children in residential schools, and we’re trying to find the documents which explain that too,” Sinclair said.

CBC News has not seen the documents in the possession of the commission.

Recent revelations that the Canadian government used at least 1,300 aboriginal children attending residential schools in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia as test subjects have prompted further calls from aboriginal groups to pressure the federal government to turn over all archival documents related to residential schools.

“Our government recognizes that the relationship between Canada and First Nations has helped shape the country we know today,” Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt’s director of communications Jason MacDonald said Wednesday in a statement.

“While we cannot undo the past, we can learn from it and ensure that those dark chapters are not repeated.”

MacDonald said that is why the Conservative government apologized for the residential school policy and “that is why we continue to focus on the work of reconciliation, on improving living conditions for First Nations, and on creating economic opportunities for First Nation communities.”

The commission, according to Sinclair, is in possession of the documents used by historian Ian Mosby to show that the Canadian government conducted nutritional experiments on malnourished aboriginal children and adults attending residential schools during and after the Second World War.

However, the commission has not been able to obtain documents “related to experimentation that went on in aboriginal communities outside of the residential school setting.”

“We haven’t seen those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

Valcourt’s office has said they have turned over 900 documents related to this to the work by the commission.

Ottawa ordered to provide all documents

In January, an Ontario Court ordered the Canadian government to turn over all residential school archival documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and while the federal government has expressed a willingness to comply, Sinclair said “we haven’t seen the documents start to flow yet.”

The worry now, said Sinclair, is that even with the best of intentions Ottawa may not have the resources to provide all these archival documents in a timely manner.

“It’s a question of capacity and whether they have sufficient resources and time to be able to get them to us before our mandate as a commission expires on July 1, 2014.”

Sinclair said that if the federal government is unable to turn over all of the documents from Library and Archives Canada before the commission’s mandate expires next summer, the commission may have to turn to the courts once more.

Many of the documents are said to reside with departments outside of Aboriginal Affairs, such as the Health Department.

But a final report without all the documents would not be a “truthful” report, according to Sinclair.

“The report itself, in our view, only complies with the mandate if we are able to write a full and complete history of residential schools and in order to do that, we need those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

The residential schools system, which ran from the 1870s until the 1990s, removed about 150,000 aboriginal children from their families and sent them to church-run schools under a deliberate policy of “civilizing” First Nations.

Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide. Mortality rates reached 50 per cent at some schools.

In the 1990s, thousands of victims sued the churches that ran the schools and the Canadian government.

The $1.9-billion settlement of that suit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper followed by the creation of the commission in 2008. Source

August 19 2013 Update

80 per cent of Kenora residential school students had TB

Newly released archival documents show alarming rate of deadly disease

For the rest of the story go HERE

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‘Greek Syndrome’ is catching as youth take to streets

First it was Athens. Now the Continent’s disillusioned youth is taking to the streets across Europe.

John Lichfield reports

December 20 2008

Protesters clash with police in Athens on Thursday

GETTY IMAGES

Protesters clash with police in Athens on Thursday

Europe exists, it appears. If Greek students sneeze, or catch a whiff of tear-gas, young people take to the streets in France and now Sweden. Yesterday, masked youths threw two firebombs at the French Institute in Athens. Windows were smashed but the building was not seriously damaged. Then youths spray-painted two slogans on the building. One said, “Spark in Athens. Fire in Paris. Insurrection is coming”. The other read, “France, Greece, uprising everywhere”.

It was a calculated and violent attempt to link disparate youth protest movements. Links between protests in Greece and France – and, to a lesser degree, unrest in Sweden – may seem tenuous, even non-existent. But social and political ailments and their symptoms transmit as rapidly as influenza in the television, internet and text-message age.

With Europe, and the world, pitching headlong into a deep recession, the “Greek Syndrome”, as one French official calls it, was already being monitored with great care across the European Union. The attempt to politicise and link the disputes across EU frontiers may prove to be a random act of self-dramatisation by an isolated group on the Greek far left. But it does draw attention to the similarities – and many differences – between the simultaneous outbreaks of unrest in three EU countries.

Thousands of young Greeks have been rioting on and off for almost two weeks. They are protesting against the chaotic, and often corrupt, social and political system of a country still torn between European “modernity” and a muddled Balkan past. They can be said, in that sense, to be truly revolting.

The riots began with a mostly “anarchist” protest against the killing of a 15-year-old boy by police but spread to other left-wing groups, immigrants and at times, it seemed, almost every urban Greek aged between 18 and 30. The protesters claim that they belong to a sacrificed “€600” generation, doomed to work forever for low monthly salaries. French lycée (sixth-form) students took to the street in their tens of thousands this week and last to protest against modest, proposed changes in the school system and the “natural wastage” of a handful of teaching posts. In other words, they were engaged in a typical French revolution of modern times: a conservative-left-wing revolt, not for change but against it. The lycée students are, broadly, in favour of the status quo in schools, although they admit the cumbersome French education system does not serve them well.

But behind the unrest lie three other factors: a deep disaffection from the French political system; a hostility to capitalism and “globalism” and the ever-simmering unrest in the poor, multiracial suburbs of French cities.

In Malmo on Thursday night, young people threw stones at police and set fire to cars and rubbish bins. This appears to have been mostly a local revolt by disaffected immigrant and second-generation immigrant youths, joined by leftist white youths, against the closure of an Islamic cultural centre. As in Greece and France, the Swedish authorities believe the troubles have been encouraged, and magnified, by political forces of the far left.

There may be little direct connection between the events in the three countries but they were already connected in the minds of EU governments before yesterday’s attack on the French cultural institute. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, forced his education minister, Xavier Darcos, to delay, then abandon his planned reform of the lycée system this week. Why the change? Largely because of the events in Greece, French officials say. There was a heated debate in the Elysée Palace last weekend. One faction of advisers and ministers wanted to push ahead with the school reforms (already much watered down). Another faction was disturbed at signs that the lycée protests, although relatively limited, were spinning out of control.

The student leaders were no longer in charge of their troops, they said. Violent elements were joining the marches from the poor, multi-racial suburbs. Far left and anarchist agitators were said to be getting involved. With the Greek riots on the TV every night, and the French economy heading into freefall, the officials feared the lycée protests could spark something much wider and more violent.

President Sarkozy agreed to give way. The lycée protests went ahead anyway. There were more students on the streets of French cities on Thursday, after the government backed down, than there were last week when the education minister insisted that he would press ahead. A few cars were burnt and overturned in Lyons and Lille and a score of protesters were arrested but the marches were mostly peaceful.

Students interviewed on the streets of Paris refused to accept that the reforms had been withdrawn. President Sarkozy was not in control, they said. He was “under orders from Brussels and Washington”. The real motive was to take money out of the French education budget to “refloat the banks”.

The Greek, French and Swedish protests do have common characteristics: a contempt for governments and business institutions, deepened by the greed-fired meltdown of the banks; a loose, uneasy alliance between mostly, white left-wing students and young second-generation immigrants; the sense of being part of a “sacrificed generation”.

Source

Seems they know what is going on maybe even better informed then some of the adult.  The financial crisis, could very possibly  take a toll on their education and futures. The see their future is at risk.

I think they know much more then most give them credit for.

Maybe everyone should be out their rallying with them.

The elite of the world should be informed that the people rule and not those who are power hungry.  Our future generation is voicing their opinion and we should listen to what they are saying.  They will become the new leaders of the world in the future. They want the best education and decent jobs with decent pay. They want to be treated fairly.

The want to be heard. So listen to what they are saying.

Seems the profiteers and those who make policies around the planet are doing a  sloppy job. They all pretend to be experts but seems they are anything but. If they were such experts the Financial Crisis would never have happened. Of course as we all know by now, it was caused by deregulation, privatization and greed.  Greed being the at the fore front of it all.

Who pays for all the mistakes of the so called experts none other then the future generations.

When it comes to pollution it is the future generations who will pay a heavy price as well.

Children deserve a better future then the legacy this generation is leaving them.

It’s time to clean up the world. We all must work together to assure future generations are left with a world that is healthy, free from war mongers, hunger and power seeking profiteers.

It can be done.

A glimps into the minds of Greek Teenagers

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 5:19 am  Comments Off on ‘Greek Syndrome’ is catching as youth take to streets  
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Canadian Government to Curb Parliamentary Perks

November 25 2008

Marie-Rose Angers, left, and Kevin Larocque clean the the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.  (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Marie-Rose Angers, left, and Kevin Larocque clean the the

Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on

Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Kory Teneycke, the prime minister's communications director, speaks on Mike Duffy Live in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.

Kory Teneycke, the prime minister’s

communications director, speaks on

Mike Duffy Live in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.

As the economic storm clouds gather, Ottawa plans to curb the pay, bonuses and perks of politicians and top bureaucrats in Thursday’s fiscal update, CTV News has learned.

“In this time of belt-tightening, politicians have to be able to demonstrate to people that they are able to do that themselves,” Kory Teneycke, the prime minister’s communications director, told CTV News on Tuesday.

Sources told CTV News the measures will include:

  • Cancellation of a planned three per cent or $4,600 pay hike for MPs who already earn $155,400
  • Restricting the use of government challenger jets
  • Ending all unnecessary travel and entertainment
  • Cutting all business-class travel for cabinet ministers and top civil servants

It’s also believed that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will order spending cuts at Crown corporations and other federal agencies. Insiders say the financial belt-tightening could save Canada tens of millions of dollars each year.

On Tuesday, debate in the House of Commons focused on the way the Conservative government has handled the country’s economy in recent months. Flaherty took much of the heat from opposition members on behalf of the absent prime minister.

Stephen Harper, who recently attended the APEC conference in Lima, Peru, this past weekend, was not present during question period.

Flaherty has said that there will be no fiscal stimulus included in the fiscal update, set to be delivered at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Flaherty was on the defensive, telling his fellow MPs that the Conservatives made prudent financial moves in recent years that left Canada in a better position than many of its peers.

“Canada is not an island, but fortunately, we are well prepared,” Flaherty said Tuesday, noting that the Conservatives had cut taxes and increased spending on infrastructure in the past two years.

But Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said it appeared to him that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had failed to predict the coming recession.

“The prime minister contradicts himself on deficits. He contradicts himself on recessions as well,” said Dion, pointing to the prime minister’s recent referrals to ‘structural’ deficits and ‘technical’ recessions.

“Recessions are not about semantics — they are about job losses, about Canadians who need help,” Dion said.

“Why doesn’t the prime minister get it?”

In response, Flaherty said Dion “ought to take the advice of the expert on deficits in his own caucus” — whom he named as Liberal MP Bob Rae.

Rae served as premier of Ontario during the recession of the early 1990s.

Flaherty quoted Rae as saying that it was “not a reasonable position or an intelligent position to take” that the prime minister was personally to blame for any recent deficit that may have occurred at the federal level.

A few minutes later, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe returned to the issue of the prime minister not predicting the economic crisis.

“The prime minister said during the election that there would not be a recession, but today he admits that there will be a recession — and that the recession is right at our door,” Duceppe said in French.

“Can the minister explain what was so urgent to call an election because of the economic crisis, whereas now it’s not so urgent to take action to deal with the impacts of this crisis?”

Flaherty said “no one in the world was predicting the kind of economic downturn, and the severity and depth of the economic downturn that we’ve experienced in the last 12 weeks.’

Things also got a little heated during an exchange between the finance minister and Liberal backbencher Yasmin Ratansi, who asked Flaherty about the way he would use “non-core federal assets” to help raise funds for the government.

Flaherty said the government intended to review corporate assets under the expense management program, to determine if individual assets “still fulfill a need for the people of Canada.”

The finance minister bristled at a follow-up question from Ratansi, who suggested the finance minister had shown a “lack of fiscal discipline” in doing his job prior to the current economic crisis.

“Fiscal discipline is an oxy moron coming from a Liberal member,” Flaherty said, while house members both cheered and jeered.

Think-tank predicts big deficit numbers for Canada

Also on Tuesday, the Ottawa-based Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-of-centre research institute, said Canada may see a $46.8 billion deficit in the coming years, if there is a major recession.

That’s much bigger than the high end of the parliamentary budget officer’s prediction, who said last week that Canada’s deficit could be as high as $14 billion as the economy slows in the next two years. Kevin Page put the low end of possible deficits at just below $4 billion.

According to the CCPA, those numbers may be too low.

“A major recession starting in the fourth quarter of 2008 and lasting through 2009 could produce deficits of $1.4 billion in 2008/09, rising to $27.9 billion in 2009/10, and $46.8 billion in 2010/11,” said a CCPA press release.

However, it also noted that a mild recession would create:

  • a very small deficit in 2008/09, perhaps in the $1.4 billion range
  • a $12.6 billion deficit in the following year that would go up to $20.5 billion in 2010 and 2011

The CCPA is calling on Ottawa to take decisive action to curtail the damage from a global economic slowdown.

“The real underlying question now is not whether the federal government should run a deficit but how large the planning deficit for 2009/10 should be,” Marc Lee, CCPA senior economist, said in a press release.

“The federal government has a lead role to play in cushioning the impact of a recession, both through federal programs and in partnership with the provinces.”

Source

Canada urged to join U.S. in creating ’strong, bold’ stimulus package

Icelandic politicians to get paid less

Nationalisation threat to banks in UK

November 22 2008

By Nigel Morris

Banks are told to do their bit for the economy / Downing Street considers ‘nuclear option’ to make lenders release cash

The Government is using the threat of a wholesale nationalisation of banks in an attempt to force institutions to lend billions to small companies struggling to survive as Britain slips into recession.

Downing Street yesterday made plain its fury over high street banks which refuse to use the massive injection of taxpayers’ money they have received to come to the rescue of businesses hit by the credit crisis. Lenders have also faced criticism over interest rates charged to homeowners and for stepping up repossessions.

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown dismissed suggestions that he should take advantage of his reviving popularity by calling a June general election, insisting he was fully focused on steering Britain out of the downturn, starting with Monday’s pre-Budget report.

It will spell out plans for tax cuts and assistance for the country’s 4.7 million small firms. The aid will be funded by increases in government borrowing, which is on course to exceed £100bn next year. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, will also announce that taxes will have to rise in the medium term to reduce the national debt. The financial stimulus package is designed to breathe new life into the economy but Mr Darling fears the behaviour of the banks could undermine the moves.

He is expected to announce controlson the interest rates charged on small business loans, as well as measures to stem the rising tide of repossessions.

Ministers are irritated that banks the Treasury bailed out are dragging their feet over passing on the money. The Treasury took stakes in HBOS, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland in return for £37bn of public funds. The banks promised to return lending to last year’s levels. John McFall, the chairman of the Treasury select committee and an ally of Mr Brown and Mr Darling, raised the prospect of state control, saying: “If the banks do not play ball, and will not resume lending, then the demand for full-scale nationalisation may well grow.”

No 10 refused to rule out such a step, regarded by officials as the “nuclear option”. Mr Brown’s spokesman said: “In these circumstances, of course we have got to look at all the options. But we want to work constructively with the banks to ensure they fulfil the commitments they have entered into.”

Asked a second time about full nationalisation, he replied: “It would clearly be foolish for anybody to rule out specific options at this stage.”The Government has made little effort to disguise its frustration at the behaviour of banks towards small businesses and mortgage-payers.

Mr Darling is preparing to use his pre-Budget report to fire a shot across their bows with tough demands on lending. He is not expected to impose further legal sanctions on banks, such as the appointment of a powerful watchdog to monitor lending rates, but officials want to keep options in reserve if the banks fail to respond.

As figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed a 12 per cent increase in house repossessions in the third quarter, Mr Brown signalled further help was on the way for families at risk of losing their homes. He acknowledged that Northern Rock, which is already in public hands, was among the worst offenders. “We have been talking to Northern Rock about its practices and I think you will see some changes … very soon,” he said.

Mr Brown dismissed suggestions he could call a general election on 4 June, to coincide with European and local elections, if Labour’s recovery in the polls is sustained into next spring. “My undivided attention is on the economy, I’m not thinking about anything else, it’s 100 per cent of my attention and you just discount all these stories. I’m actually not thinking about anything related to internal politics.”

Angela Knight, the chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, insisted that lending to small firms was at the same level as last year.

Meanwhile, Honda said that production would halt at its Swindon plant for two months, but none of its 4,800 workers would be laid off.

Source

Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 8:30 am  Comments Off on Nationalisation threat to banks in UK  
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Campaign Boogeyman William Ayers Talks to ‘GMA’

November 14 2008

By Mark Mooney

William Ayers, the 1960s radical whose violent history became a focal point in the 2008 presidential election, said today that the Republicans unfairly “demonized” him in an attempt to damage the campaign of President-elect Obama.

Ayers defended his bomb-throwing past and repeated a statement that has infuriated his critics: “I don’t think we did enough.”

The college professor also argued to “Good Morning America’s” Chris Cuomo today that the bombing campaign by the Weather Underground, the group he helped found, was not terrorism.

The Weather Underground bombed the Capitol, the Pentagon and the New York City Police Department in protest of the Vietnam War.

“It’s not terrorism because it doesn’t target people, to kill or injure,” Ayers said.

Ayers became a boogeyman for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, who demanded to know more about Obama’s relationship with his Chicago neighbor. Palin accused Obama of “palling around … with a terrorist.”

Breaking his silence today, Ayers said that the GOP attack was a “dishonest narrative … to demonize me.”

“I don’t buy the idea that guilt by association should have any part of our politics,” he said.

Ayers scoffed at the Republican effort to make his ties to Obama appear suspicious.

“This idea that we need to know more, like there’s some dark, hidden secret, some secret link,” Ayers said. “It’s a myth thrown up by people who want to exploit the politics of fear.”

But he was unapologetic about his militant actions during the Vietnam War.

“What you call the violent past, that was a time when thousands of people were being murdered every month by our own government. … We were on the right side,” he told “GMA.”

The co-founder of the Weather Underground was, as McCain has claimed, unrepentant about the the bombings his group committed during the 1960s.

“The content of the Vietnam protest is that there were despicable acts going on, but the despicable acts were being done by our government. … I never hurt or killed anyone,” Ayers said.

“Frankly, I don’t think we did enough, just as today I don’t think we’ve done enough to stop these wars,” he said.

Ayers softened his stand on violence during the “GMA” interview.

Bill Ayers

(ABC/AP Photo )

“We knew it was wrong. We knew it was illegal. We knew it was immoral,” he said, but the group’s members felt they “had to do more” to stop the Vietnam War.

He urged people today “to participate in resistance, in nonviolent, direct action” to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ayers, 63, currently a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, became a political pinata for McCain and Palin during the presidential campaign.

Despite Obama’s attempt to portray their relationship as a distant one, Ayers, in a new afterward to his book “Fugitive Days,” describes Obama as a “neighbor and family friend.”

On “GMA,” Ayers again downplayed any close ties to Obama despite the reference to”family friend.”

“I’m talking there about the fact that I became an issue, unwillingly and unwittingly,” he said. “It was a profoundly dishonest narrative. … I’m describing there how the blogosphere characterized the relationship.”

“I would say, really, that we knew each other in a professional way on the same level of, say, thousands of other people,” he said.

He added, echoing a phrase that Obama used to describe Ayers, “I am a guy around the neighborhood.”

Ayers acknowledged that he held a reception in his home when Obama began his political run for state office.

“He was probably in 20 homes that day,” Ayers said.

During the campaign, Obama tried to defuse the Ayers issue by condemning Ayers’ past actions as “detestable.”

“The notion that … me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense,” Obama said.

Ayers remained silent during the presidential race, but his proximity to Obama was highlighted on Election Day when the two men nearly ran into each other in the same polling place. As recently as Wednesday, Palin was still raising the Ayers’ issue, telling NBC that she was still concerned about Obama’s relationship to the former radical. Palin was the fiercest critic of the Obama-Ayers tie, accusing Obama of “palling around with a domestic terrorist.” While he was a fugitive, he married Bernardine Dorhn, another member of the Weather Underground.

Obama and Ayers have several connections. The two men have also served on boards together, including the Woods Fund of Chicago and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

Source

In Vietnam

Time line
North Vietnam

According to the Vietnamese government, 1,100,000 North Vietnamese Army and National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam military personnel died in the conflict. (Technically, some of these dead were South Vietnamese members of the NLF, but it would be impossible to separate their constituency from the total.) Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52,000 to 182,000.

Complete statistics for the 1972 bombings are unavailable. Overall figures for North Vietnamese civilian dead range from 50,000 to “several million.”

South Vietnam

The Army of the Republic of Vietnam ARVN lost approximately 184,000 servicemen during the war with some estimates as high as a quarter of a million. Because it was the country most devastated by the war, South Vietnam suffered the bulk of the estimated 500,000 to 2,000,000 civilian deaths sustained by the entire Vietnamese population during the conflict; out of a possible median of 1,200,000 dead for the whole country, considering the above figures for North Vietnamese losses, in South Vietnam itself about one million civilians likely died.

Source

Winter Soldier Investigation

Testimony given in Detroit, Michigan, on January 31, 1971, February 1 and 2, 1971

Sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc.

Maybe if you read this it will give a much clearer picture of the truth.

It is heart breaking and very detailed. Bless their dear hearts for coming forward with their stories.

We should all know the truth.

Many became homeless.

Many suffer from mental illness.

Many suffer from injuries.

Many of the Vietnam soldiers have since died from Agent Orange or other war related injuries.

Those who remain, are left with the horrifying memories.

Country Branch of service Number served Killed Wounded Missing
USA[2] Army 4,368,000 38,218 96,802 617 {A}
Marines 794,000 14,840 51,392 242{B}
Navy 1,842,000 2,565 4,178 401{C}
Air Force 1,740,000 2,587 1,021 649 {D}
Coast Guard 7 59 0 {E}
Civilians 38 {F}
Total 8,744,000 58,217 153,452 1,947

War is a cruel and deadly creature.

The Vietnam war should never have happened.

The war in Iraq should never have happened.

There are no winners when it comes to war.

William Ayers and many others were trying with all their hearts be it right or wrong to stop the war. Some died for the cause as those who died at Kent State.  May they be remembered for their sacrifice.

Like the Protests of today against the Iraq war, the government did everything imaginable to shut them up. Death was part of it.

Those who protest against war are demonized.

To understand the true nature of war is to know the face of death and sorrow.

There is no glory in war. There are no winners.

Those who profit from war should hang their heads in shame.

“We knew it was wrong. We knew it was illegal. We knew it was immoral,” he said, but the group’s members felt they “had to do more” to stop the Vietnam War.

“We know it is wrong. We know it is illegal. We know it is immoral,”  we “have to do more” to stop the Iraq War.

Over a million have died in Iraq, how many must perish before we say NO MORE?


We must never Forget. What war really means.

In memory those who gave their lives

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 10:16 pm  Comments Off on Campaign Boogeyman William Ayers Talks to ‘GMA’  
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Brown to act over credit card rate rises

By Andrew Grice

November 12 2008

Gordon Brown ordered a crackdown on credit and debit card rises yesterday after The Independent revealed that banks had raised rates even though borrowing costs had fallen.

The Government has called a summit with the credit card industry, which will be held soon, at which ministers will ask lenders to draw up a new “statement of best practice” to protect their customers. If the statement is not tough enough, ministers might ask the Office of Fair Trading to take action against individual firms. Ministers want to ensure the 1.5 per cent base rate cut announced by the Bank of England last week is reflected in interest rates on credit cards. They also want companies to stop using small print in contracts to raise rates suddenly and to give more support to people who run into problems.

The Government wants a pledge for “clear and fair principles” to apply to the costs people face on existing debts and that only “responsible lending” will be entered into in future.

The Prime Minister intervened after research for The Independent showed that while the base rate had fallen from 5 to 3 per cent since May, the average annual percentage rate for credit cards had increased from 17.2 to 17.6 per cent, and on store cards to 25 per cent. Mr Brown told a Downing Street press conference: “We have got to bring the credit card industry in, talk to them, so they join with us in enabling clearer principles to apply to the costs people face.” His spokesman said Mr Brown was “very concerned” about the behaviour of some credit card companies.

Ministers are expected to reject a cap on interest charges. Gareth Thomas, Consumer Affairs minister, said: “Interest rates are going down and we want people to benefit from those interest rate reductions.” Latest figures showed spending was lower and repayments higher than three years ago.

Source

Well The ones in the US are worse then those from the UK much worse and they have been uping the interest to as high as 32%. Hy way robbery theirs are.

Banks Ripping off Credit Card Customers
Well the higher the interest the more in debt people get and the more bankruptcies there will be.

Being greedy is self deductive.

Lets face it banks haven’t been exactly to bright these days.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 8:40 am  Comments Off on Brown to act over credit card rate rises  
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Iceland’s President Wants Lower Salaries

November 11 2008

President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has expressed his view that the salaries of the president and of other officials should be lowered in light of the current economic crisis facing Iceland.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

“I would celebrate such a decision made by Althingi [Iceland’s parliament] or the wage council [which’s decides the salaries for elected officials and other state employees] and I believe it should be made as soon as possible,” Grímsson told Fréttabladid.

Fréttabladid newspaper sent out a questionnaire to MPs and other officials, requiring whether they believed it was natural for the country’s highest-ranking officials to receive lower salaries like the general public has to live with during this economic recession.

Apart from the president, three MPs from the coalition parties and eight MPs from the opposition parties replied.

“If there will be a general cut in salaries it is natural that MPs will suffer it as much as everyone else,” said Gudlaugur Hannesson of the Social Democrats, who have a seat in Iceland’s government along with the Independence Party.

Source

Maybe they should do that all over the planet.


Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 6:52 am  Comments Off on Iceland’s President Wants Lower Salaries  
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Prime Minister Harper officially endorses North American Union!

YOU WANT HARPER IN A MAJORITY GOVERNMENT?? CANADA WILL BE LOST, PLEASE VOTE SMART.

Mr. Harper’s speech at the CFR on 25 September 2007 affirms Mr. Harper’s Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPPNA) commitment to hand over Canada to full control by no later than 2010, to a political fraternity which is associated with the current U.S. Bush administration. Mr. Harper’s government apparently reports to the CFR.

In effect, the Government of Canada appears to be governed not from a sovereign Parliament in Ottawa, but run through a New York City-based political fraternity, which seeks to replace a democratic form of government, with the rule of society by a “Council of Wise Men”.

The architects of such a fascistic government look upon their vision of society, to be much more “efficient” in dealing with the need to vanquish enemies, i.e. “terrorists”.

Be sure to check out the sight for the rest of the information.

Source information and Video Presenting Stphen Harper

He wants to sell out the country

The Three Amigos are still at it.

Published in: on October 14, 2008 at 3:18 am  Comments Off on Prime Minister Harper officially endorses North American Union!  
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UK Government ‘ignored Iceland warning’/ Charities may lose

Charities’ fear over failed banks

UK charities say they fear they have lost up to £120 million of funds invested in collapsed Icelandic banks.

UK charities fear they may have lost up to £120m of funds invested in failed Icelandic banks.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations says at least 60 members have reported funds may be at risk.

The NCVO has met ministers, who are promising to do all they can to protect an estimated £1bn held by charities, UK councils and other bodies in Iceland.

A Treasury delegation is in Reykjavik and the UK and Iceland say they will now work together for a solution.

The group includes officials from the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority.

‘Disconcerting remarks’

The crisis sparked a war of words between London and Reykjavik on Thursday, with Gordon Brown criticising the Icelandic authorities for failing to guarantee UK depositors would get their money back.

Under Iceland’s financial regulations, the government is supposed to pay up to £16,000 compensation per account at a total cost of £2.2bn.

A spokesman for Mr Brown said the UK now hoped to work “constructively and co-operatively” with the Icelandic authorities.

Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde had accused the UK of being responsible for the collapse of the country’s third largest bank, Kaupthing, after anti-terrorism laws were used to freeze assets in the UK.  (Like Iceland is a terrorist.)

Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir Haarde said he had received a letter from Gordon Brown

On Friday, Mr Haarde confirmed both countries were working together but said Mr Brown’s comments had been “disconcerting” and “not very helpful”.

Meanwhile, the UK government has denied claims of “complacency” after it apparently ignored warnings in July about Icelandic banks facing collapse.

Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott and Tory MP Michael Fallon both raised the issue with ministers on separate occasions.

They were reassured savers would be protected by law.

A Treasury spokesman said: “As the minister made clear at the time, the Icelandic authorities have a legal obligation to pay out depositors under their existing compensation scheme and we expect them to honour this commitment.”

He added it was not the role of the UK government to advise UK residents and citizens of financial institutions around the world, and few people had anticipated the current situation.

Chancellor Alistair Darling, who is in Washington for meetings with other G7 finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund, told the BBC that simply “talking” would not lead to a solution.

‘Uncertain position’

Meanwhile, as details of charity deposits emerged, a cancer hospital in Manchester has announced it was the latest victim of the Icelandic bank collapse.

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, based in Withington is facing losses of £7.5m after depositing the funds with Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander. Up to £6.5m was charity money.

The Cats Protection League said it also had £11.2m deposited in a UK bank owned by the collapsed Kaupthing.
NCVO said City Minister Paul Myners had given no guarantees during their meeting that such assets would be secure, although he was “reassuring”.

Chief executive Stuart Etherington said: “He was saying the government would do all it can to ensure the assets of these charities are reunited with them. He was very positive about that.

“What’s important is the charities which have been affected by this come forward. If we’re going to secure adequate compensation for them, with the strength of the UK government, it’s important they come forward.”

Some NCVO members which provide services for councils fear they will not be paid if town halls lose money in the crisis.

Most of the charities which have investments in troubled Icelandic banks have not yet been named, but they are thought to include major organisations.

Other charities known to be affected include Naomi House children’s hospice in Sutton Scotney, near Winchester, which has £5.7m of deposits invested with KSF

The Physiological Society in London has £523,000 invested with the same bank, and Samaritans has links to KSF because it is the parent company of Investment Managers, which looks after the charity’s investment portfolio.

Graham McGeown, of the Physiological Society, said: “This is a difficult time for our organisation. We have £523k tied up in KSF and are not entirely sure if we will get this money back.

“With NCVO we are calling on the government to help protect our money as well as other organisations who may also be involved in the banking crisis.” Under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, charities classified as small businesses are covered for the first £50,000 of any investments.

But it is not clear whether they would benefit from the wider guarantee given to individual savers by the chancellor that they would recover all of their money.

The NCVO’s head of campaigns and communications, Louis High, said many of its members were also concerned about local authorities’ ability to pay for services.

He said: “For many smaller organisations that rely on this money and have tight financial constraints, non-payment for their work could be disastrous or even spell their death knell.”

The organisation has called a sector-wide summit to examine the potential impact of a recession and what can be done to protect charities from financial disaster.

UK ‘ignored Iceland warning’

The government has been accused of “complacency” after it apparently ignored warnings in July about Icelandic banks facing collapse.

Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott and Tory MP Michael Fallon both raised the issue with ministers on separate occasions.

They were reassured savers would be protected by law.

The Treasury said it was not the government’s role to advise savers and ministers had stressed Iceland had a legal obligation to pay compensation.

Lord Oakeshott said: “Alarm bells were ringing all over about the Icelandic banks and the Treasury must have been blind and deaf not to hear them.”

But a Treasury spokesman said: “As the minister made clear at the time, the Icelandic authorities have a legal obligation to pay out depositors under their existing compensation scheme and we expect them to honour this commitment.”

He said a government delegation was now in Iceland to find a solution to the current situation.

“This is part of the action the Treasury is taking action to ensure the interests of all retail depositors are safeguarded and that legal obligations to UK creditors are honoured.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacted with anger on Thursday after the Icelandic government refused to guarantee the deposits of UK citizens with money in three of its biggest banks, following their collapse.

Crisis talks

Under Iceland’s financial regulations, the government is supposed to pay up to £16,000 compensation per account at a total cost of £2.2bn.

Mr Brown is angry as the UK has received no assurances from the Icelandic government that they will meet this commitment. Treasury officials have travelled to Iceland for crisis talks on repayment.

Lord Oakeshott, a pension fund manager and former director of Warburg Investment Management, raised the alarm about possible shortfalls in the compensation funds – and the danger of an Icelandic bank collapse – in written questions more than two months ago.

In the first question, he asked how much cash was in the Icelandic compensation fund and if Britain would be left to pick up the bill if there was a shortfall.

He was told by Treasury minister Lord Davies that the liabilities of the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme would be limited to “topping-up” funds provided by the country in which the bank is based.

In a second question, he asked: “What steps [have] the United Kingdom financial authorities taken to satisfy themselves, independently of the Icelandic financial authorities, of the solvency and stability of Icelandic banks taking deposits in the United Kingdom and of that of the Icelandic Deposit Guarantees and Investor-Compensation Scheme behind which the United Kingdom Financial Services Compensation Scheme stands as guarantor of last resort?”

Lord Davies, for the government, replied that there was no concern about the liquidity or capital base of Icelandic banks operating in the UK: “All UK-incorporated subsidiaries of Icelandic banks regulated by the Financial Services Authority continue to meet threshold conditions.”

Some banks had been allowed to open branches in the UK through a process known as “passporting,” which meant they were not regulated by the FSA, explained Lord Davies.

But he added: “The FSA has a regular dialogue with overseas regulators and firms where the firms passport into the UK, to share information about the firms and specifically their UK operations.”

‘Sky high rates’

He also assured UK citizens with money in Icelandic banks that they would be “protected against any losses in a similar way as if their savings were in a British bank”.

On Monday, Lord Oakeshott again quizzed Lord Davies about how much money was in the Icelandic compensation fund and what would happen if it “cannot or will not pay out”.

He told peers: “If my cash were in an Icelandic bank I would be very worried indeed: the currency has collapsed, interest rates are sky high and bank liabilities are hundreds of thousands of pounds for each Icelandic citizen. Would the minister be happy if his savings were in an Icelandic bank?”

In contrast to the lengthy and detailed reply he had given in July, Lord Davies said he had not been “fully briefed” on the situation in Iceland.

“It is not for me at the dispatch box to judge whether it is safe to invest in Icelandic banks,” he told peers.

“However, the safeguarding of their position will depend on co-ordinated action in which this country must play a leading role.”

Speaking earlier on Friday, Lord Oakeshott accused the government and the FSA of ignoring the growing warnings from the City about the position of Icelandic banks, one of which, Icesave, had deposits that were almost the equivalent of Iceland’s entire GDP.

“I asked these various, very hard questions and I got a very complacent answer back from the treasury minister, he told the BBC News Channel, adding he had been alerted to problems in Iceland by credit rating agencies, which had downgraded the country’s banks.

“The Financial Services Authority is responsible for the security of British savers’ money. They should not have trusted the Icelandic banks to look after £5bn of their money,” he added.

Minister grilled

The peer said that together with Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, he had put his concerns about the Icelandic banks to the new head of the FSA, Lord Turner, in an hour long meeting on Tuesday, adding Lord Turner had been “very receptive”.

Concerns were also raised in July by the Conservative deputy chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Michael Fallon, who asked junior Treasury minister Kitty Ussher how much money was in the compensation fund, after press reports there was a shortfall.

Ms Ussher told him: “I do not have figures for the Icelandic compensation scheme.”

Mr Fallon then asked if she was satisfied that British investors in Icelandic banks are fully guaranteed in the event of a bank collapse.

Ms Ussher replied: “I am satisfied that the law exists to guarantee them, yes.”

Mr Fallon: “You are satisfied that the law exists to guarantee them?”

Ms Ussher: “Yes, under a combination of European and British law.”

Mr Fallon: “So they will get all their money back?”

Ms Ussher: “That is the legal situation.”

Darling calls for action from G7

Britain v Iceland

Iceland’s banks dominate papers

Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 5:51 am  Comments Off on UK Government ‘ignored Iceland warning’/ Charities may lose  
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How Britain’s banks will never be the same again

By Sean Farrell

October 9 2008

The party’s over. Yesterday’s extraordinary set of Government measures to bolster the banking system will change how the sector operates, firmly closing the door on the era of excess in the financial industry.

After more than a year of telling the banks to put their own houses in order, the authorities were finally forced by tumbling share prices and seizure in the money markets to come to the industry’s rescue.

There will be the widely expected industry-wide recapitalisation, with the big seven banks plus Nationwide boosting their safety buffers by about £25bn this year.

But the most important elements were the doubling of the Bank of England’s Special Liquidity Scheme to £200bn and the acceptance of a wider range of collateral and – especially – the Government’s offer to guarantee up to £250bn of their debt. Lack of liquidity was the biggest concern for the banks and if increasing their capital ratios is the price they have to pay for the Government’s largesse then so be it.

The initial £25bn capital boost would take the big eight’s average tier one capital ratio from 9.1 to 10.3 per cent, Keefe Bruyette & Woods analysts calculate. All the big lenders have agreed to get their capital ratios up to the required level, but not necessarily by taking the Government’s money.

HSBC, Abbey Santander and Standard Chartered all said they were participating, but that they would either raise the money internally or in the market. Barclays is also understood to believe it can raise the money from existing investors by issuing preference shares on the same terms the Government would have demanded.

But whether or not they take the Government’s money – paying a reported coupon of 9-12 per cent – the banks will have to hold more capital and will face greater scrutiny of their business risk by the Financial Services Authority, which is throwing its weight around after being caught napping during the boom years.

The Government has not set a common ratio, and instead the FSA will negotiate with – or tell – individual banks about what levels of capital they should hold. They will also have to pay more for the Government’s guarantee of their debt if their business models are judged to be risky – another incentive to toe the line.

Is this the socialisation of the banking system? Not really. But the measures will add to existing pressures that will constrain banks’ businesses and reshape the sector.

Alex Potter, banking analyst at Collins Stewart, says the Government’s drive to improve capital ratios is correct and has echoes of banking regulation under the Bank of England when each bank was given guidance over its capital levels. That system gave way to a free-for-all in recent years where both the level and quality of banks’ capital buffers was allowed to slip as lenders lent more and more against their reserves, moved assets off balance sheet and replaced top-notch shareholder equity with new debt instruments.

“The Government is taking more interest in the banking system and is saying if you want access to these funds you will have to run less risky business models. I’m not sure we are going back to a more boring banking system, but we are going to a system that is not going to get any more interesting,” Mr Potter says.

Banks used to act simply as middle men between depositors with excess funds and borrowers who wanted to buy houses or invest in their businesses. This “maturity transformation” plays a vital role in the economy by using short-term funding for longer term purposes.

But to boost profitability in what is naturally a mature, slow-growth banking market, Britain’s lenders spent the last 10 years gearing up their balance sheets. This meant expanding lending massively and using the booming wholesale markets to offload assets and raise fresh funds. Northern Rock securitised mortgages and used short-term funding to the point where only a quarter of its loans were supported by old-fashioned deposits. Banks with big corporate and markets arms, like Royal Bank of Scotland, expanded in leveraged lending and parcelling up mortgages into structured products that could be sold to investors.

The Government wants to be seen to be bringing the banking industry into line after the years of excess. Shareholders and bosses will be penalised while ordinary taxpayers will be rewarded. The Government said it “will need to take into account dividend policies and executive compensation practices and will require a full commitment to support lending to small businesses and home buyers”.

Paul Niven, head of asset allocation at F&C, says the Government intervention was inevitable and welcome in the short term but that the longer-term implications for the sector are less rosy.

“Banks will have to operate within a much tighter framework. What kinds of loans are they going to have to make and to which businesses and on what criteria? Will it be profitable lending? What is the benefit to a lot of these banks that have investment banks which have generated large profits on the back of proprietary trading? Maybe it is not in the taxpayer’s interests to have them punting their balance sheets around.”

Simon Gleeson, a partner at the law firm Clifford Chance, argues that in the furore over the Government’s capitalisation and liquidity plans the market has missed the more important changes lurking in the banking reform Bill, published yesterday. Because retail depositors will take precedent over commercial lenders to a troubled bank, UK banks will have a far higher cost of borrowing in commercial markets.

“What we end up doing is breaking up the industry,” Mr Gleeson says. “You will have deposit takers which do little else but take deposits and make personal loans, and separate unregulated or lightly regulated entities which do what used to be called investment banking. The 1980s have been declared a mistake.”

The change could threaten the universal banking model in the UK, which is back in fashion in the US after JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch was forced to sell itself to Bank of America. The main British banks that will have to grapple with this problem will be Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, which have built up large debt-focused investment banks on top of their core retail banking activities.

Experts warn the Government’s intervention could backfire if it does not secure a similar response from other major global regulators in a new international settlement for the financial system. Giorgio Questa, professor of Finance at Cass Business School, says: “The Government is trying to get political mileage out of using the taxpayer to make good for their mistakes in the last 10 years. They have been abysmal in the conduct of supervision and now they want to interfere again. If England tries to do its own regulation separately from global regulation, it can kiss goodbye to London as a global financial centre.”

Bosses’ pay to be curtailed

After years of cosying up to the City of London, the Labour Government is clamping down on pay in the banking sector. The Treasury said explicitly yesterday that the authorities would look at banks’ pay when deciding whether to support banks with capital injections.

Financial authorities in the US and the UK believe the high pay and bonus culture at banks contributed to the sector’s reckless practices by offering massive rewards for short-term profit. Bonuses in the millions for chief executives and traders alike helped turn the stolid industry of banking into a casino of proprietary trading, overstretched balance sheets and warehousing of dodgy securities.

Those practices created massive profits for banks in the boom years but many have now lost all the gains and the wider economy is paying the price. Yet though their companies may have gone to the wall or come close to oblivion, individual bankers have kept the bonuses that rewarded their excess.

Sir Fred Goodwin, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, earned £4.1m last year, including a bonus for the bank’s acquisition of ABN Amro, which the bank now admits it overpaid for. Andy Hornby, the boss of HBOS, earned £1.9m in 2007 but his bank was forced to sell itself to Lloyds TSB last month to avoid going bust.

Lloyds own chief executive, Eric Daniels, was paid £2.4m last year.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the Financial Services Authority would draw up a code covering executive pay at the banks. The move will formalise measures announced earlier this year when the FSA said it would include pay schemes when assessing the riskiness of a bank’s business model.

Watchdogs already exercise control over pay in regulated industries such as the energy sector, Stella Brooks, director at Inbucon, the pay consultant, says. It is easier for those regulators because they control pricing and companies know that excessive pay can be punished with lower prices.

Banks are also more complicated because their chief executive’s pay is often vastly outstripped by earnings of top traders or merger advisers. The most high-profile disclosed bonus in the City is that of Bob Diamond, the president and investment banking chief at Barclays. Mr Diamond earned £250,000 in salary last year but was paid a £6.5m cash bonus, with share options taking his total remuneration to £18.5m.

Peter Hahn, a fellow at Cass Business School, argues that changing banks’ pay structure to ward against short-term excess is simple. Simply align chief executives’ pay more closely to risk and they will do the rest of the work to make sure they get a bonus at the end of the year.

The banks have insisted for years that they operate in international markets and that their chief executives are in constant danger of being poached by US banks for far higher rewards. But that argument is harder to make with banks in the US reporting massive losses and a big backlash against excessive pay and pay-offs for chief executives.

“If banks try to use that argument now, that is when the regulator turns round and says, ‘Fine’,” Ms Brooks says.

Critics of the Government have said that its claim to be clamping down on City pay is political posturing that will be conveniently forgotten because the country relies on financial services’ pay to drive the economy and provide tax revenue. The Centre for Economic and Business Research has forecast that City-type bonuses will fall to £5bn this year, from £8.5bn in 2007. That spells bad news for the UK’s finances, which CEBR calculates could have received about £3bn from last year’s bonus pool.

Source

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 11:11 am  Comments Off on How Britain’s banks will never be the same again  
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Council millions at risk in Icelandic banks

By Joe Sinclair
October 9, 2008

Britain’s local authorities came under fire today after it emerged that millions of pounds of council taxpayers’ money invested in Icelandic banks is at risk.

Critics branded the investments an “absolute disgrace” and said those responsible should consider their positions.

One authority – Kent County Council – has £50 million deposited in Icelandic banks while more than 20 others are thought to have exposure running into millions of pounds.

Barnet Council in north London is thought to have in the region of £27 million deposited and Westminster Council said it had £17 million with Icelandic institutions.

Transport for London said it has a £40 million deposit with Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, which has been placed into administration.

Mark Wallace, campaign director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “People will be shocked that the councils had this money stashed away in the first place.

“Every year we hear that councils don’t have enough money and need to raise taxes but it seems they have had sufficient excess tax to salt tens of millions of pounds away.

“The fact that they have invested this money and seem to have lost it is even more shocking and is sadly yet another reminder of the poor financial management in local councils.

“In short, they should not have stashed this money in the first place and they simply weren’t equipped to try to be clever in the markets with it.”

He continued: “It’s an absolute disgrace. If the councils can’t get their money back, the people who took these excesses should seriously consider their positions as councillors.”

Edward Welsh, of the Local Government Association (LGA), insisted councils acted along “prudent lines” by spreading their money across several financial institutions at home and abroad. But he admitted the money was now “at risk”.

Mr Welsh told BBC Breakfast: “Councils are large employers, they have large wage bills to pay off, they collect large amounts of money in council tax.

“The reason why this money has been put in these banks is to try to reduce risk by putting their money in as many banks as possible .

“In a world where the global banking system is under such enormous pressure, it’s perhaps not surprising that a council has been caught out in this way.”

He said councils follow government guidance and use independent financial advice but the financial “world is changing as we speak”.

He said of the money: “We don’t know it’s lost, we know it’s at risk. That’s why we are speaking to the Treasury, that’s why we want to find out what we can do to try and get that money back.”

The LGA has urged Government to guarantee them against any losses.

Chancellor Alistair Darling announced yesterday he will protect the savings of private investors in Icelandic banks.

He said local authorities were “more of an informed investor”.

“But this situation is evolving, we are trying to sort the matter out with the Icelandic government,” he said

Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised legal action against the Icelandic authorities to recover the funds.

Conservatives said town halls faced a “massive financial shock”, threatening council tax hikes or cuts in local services.

The LGA insisted that frontline services should not be affected by any losses.

London public authorities are thought to face exposure of around £200 million, according the umbrella organisation London Councils.

At least eight borough councils in the capital are thought to be affected – Westminster (£17 million), Havering (£12.5 million), Sutton (£5.5 million), Barnet (£27 million), Brent (£15 million), Hillingdon, Haringey and Bromley.

London Councils’ chairman Merrick Cockell said: “It is essential that the Chancellor provides local authorities with a guarantee that their investments will be protected alongside personal investments.

“While nobody could have anticipated the collapse of what were once safe deposits, the Government must now act swiftly to safeguard these assets and protect London’s council taxpayers.”

Nick Chard, cabinet member for finance at Kent County Council, said the issue would have “no impact” on the council’s services – but warned smaller authorities might not be able to avoid cuts.

He said: “In Kent there will be no impact on council services but the concern I have is for some of the smaller authorities. It may well have some impact there.”

The council had “followed the protocols absolutely to the letter” in deciding, on professional advice, to invest in the banks, which were highly-rated until just a week ago, he said.

North East Lincolnshire Council has £2.5 million on deposit with Landsbanki out of a total of £90 million of investments, a spokeswoman said.

Alan Madin, executive director of corporate services, said: “The council and our treasury advisers are awaiting further information on the support for Landsbanki from the Icelandic government who are aware of the reputational risks should Iceland’s second largest bank default on foreign loans.

“It is clear that deposits due in the next few weeks are unlikely to be repaid on the due date but it is too soon to speculate on the size of any ultimate loss of capital.

“A delay in repayment is manageable without impact on council services and the council carries a level of self insurances that would help cushion a loss should any occur.”

Gateshead Council said it had money invested in a UK subsidiary of Landsbanki, but was unable to give an exact figure.

Derek Coates, strategic director of finance, said: “We are therefore seeking clarification from the administrators and our financial advisers about the situation.”

LGA deputy chief executive John Ransford said: “This is a very fast-moving situation. It is changing all the time, and we need to talk to Government to make sure we act sensibly in the interests of local taxpayers and making sure services are preserved.

“This is public money – it’s your money and my money – we need to treat this in exactly the same way as individual investors in these banks.”

Shadow local government secretary Eric Pickles said: “Councils have been actively encouraged, and indeed praised, by Whitehall to undertake these kinds of investment.

“Local government finances are now at risk and people will be concerned about their local services and council tax bills. The Government needs to stop dithering and clear up this uncertainty.”

Mr Pickles told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the sums involved could exceed £1 billion and some district councils had large proportions of their cash tied up in the banks.

Liberal Democrat local government spokeswoman Julia Goldsworthy said: “The easiest way for the Government to reassure local taxpayers is to make clear how local authority funds will be protected.

“Ultimately this is council taxpayers’ money at risk and these are funds which are essential for the delivery of local services.”

North Lincolnshire Council said that it had £2 million invested with Landsbanki and and a further £3.5 million with its subsidiary, Heritable.

A spokeswoman said: “We invested the money in line with the council’s approved treasury policy and at a time when markets were much more stable.

“At this point in time we don’t know whether the money is totally lost, partly lost or secure and are awaiting confirmation. But it does not affect the council’s ability to pay staff and creditors.”

Hillingdon Council in west London said a total of £20 million was invested with Icelandic banks – £5 million with Landsbanki and £15 million with Heritable.

Westminster Council said its £17 million deposited in Icelandic institutions was a small percentage of total investment.

The council said it had £300 million-worth of investment at home and abroad with reserves of £70 million.

The council’s budget requirement is £224 million, with £48 million of that funded via council tax.

A spokesman said: “It’s very much business as usual at Westminster.

“Westminster Council has been awarded the highest accolades from the Audit Commission over recent years with regard to the standards of its front-line services, financial management and the value for money we offer our residents.”

Cornwall County Council said the £5 million invested with the Icelandic bank Landsbanki was from total investments of £360 million.

Dorset County Council has deposits in the form of temporary loans to Landsbanki and Heritable totalling £28.1 million.

The council made the fixed-term deposits months ago when the two banks had a high credit rating and repayment was due at various times over the next eight months.

The council said it would not cause “significant cash flow problems” in the short term but there would be budget implications if the cash is not recovered.

County council leader Angus Campbell said: “The council has followed Government guidelines and deposited its cash balances with a wide range of banks to ensure that any risk is minimised.

“We will continue to press the Government to protect our investment and take every possible step to recover this money.”

The county council manages the cash balances for itself and the Dorset County Pension Fund, which in total comprise £225 million.

Perth and Kinross Council said it has £1 million invested with Glitnir bank.

A spokeswoman said: “We have a short-term investment with Glitnir. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Source

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 10:56 am  Comments Off on Council millions at risk in Icelandic banks  
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Questions the Government faces over banking guarantees

October 6, 2008

The Government is facing increased pressure to follow its European counterparts in pledging 100 per cent protection for UK savers.

What has the German government pledged?

Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed that the federal government would guarantee all private savings accounts in German banks. Finance minister Peer Steinbrueck said that from today German citizens need not worry about “a single euro of their deposits” during the global financial crisis.

Is Germany the only country to offer such a promise?

No. Last week Ireland said all money held in savings accounts at six institutions – Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, Anglo-Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Nationwide Building Society and the Educational Building Society – will be guaranteed in their entirety.

Greece has likewise guaranteed its depositors’ savings.

What is the situation in the UK?

In the UK, savings of £50,000 are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The limit relates to deposits with an organisation, regardless of how many accounts the customer holds. The limit had, until recently, been set at £35,000 but as a result of the current crisis, ministers agreed to up the ceiling.

Can UK citizens benefit from the announcements in other countries?

Yes. Three Irish banks – Allied Irish Bank, Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland – have branches in the UK. These will be covered by the Irish Government’s guarantee and British citizens can open accounts with relative ease at branches in the UK. In addition, the Post Office’s savings products are run by Bank of Ireland, giving customers 100% protection.

There is also nothing stopping UK customers opening up an account with a bank branch in Ireland. Although it may be harder, as many will want you to appear in person to open the account.

How have British banks responded? Aren’t they at a disadvantage?

On Wednesday the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) challenged the Irish government, claiming that the guarantee was anti-competitive, especially for banks in Northern Ireland. It fears that UK savers will move their money to Irish banks in a bid to benefit from the guarantee offered.

But don’t some institutions in the UK already offer 100 per cent protection?

Yes. When Northern Rock collapsed, the UK Government made an exception to end the run on the bank, ensuring that all of the Rock’s savers will have deposits covered in their entirety.

National Savings & Investment, which is backed by the Treasury, also offers complete protection on people saving through its products.

And Bradford & Bingley savings are safe while part of the collapsed bank goes through the process of being transferred to Santander, owners of Abbey.

So, if ministers pledged complete protection for Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, what’s to say they won’t do the same if another bank fails?

Nothing. The whole question in many experts’ view is purely theoretical. It would, it is argued, be almost inconceivable for the Government to let savers lose their money as a result of a bank failing.

Unlike more risky investments, people are not given explicit warnings that they could lose their savings – the whole stability of the banking system depends on the belief that money is safe in the bank.

If people started to lose money, it would lead to instability on a grand scale and a return to a run on the banks as panicked savers attempt to move cash out.

So why don’t the Government just follow the German and Irish lead and guarantee all savings?

Because it shifts liability from the banks to the taxpayers. And we are talking about a lot of money. Estimates suggest it would mean a risk running into the trillions of pounds – that is £1,000,000,000,000s. This would place a huge burden on public finances.

And it could be the “thin end of the wedge”, some fear. Bank’s business customers may be next in asking for their money to be covered.

An 100 per cent guarantee could also impact on the Government’s ability to raise funds which in turn could hit public spending. The theory has it that with a promise to protect all savings, people would be less willing to buy into secure state-backed bonds.

The main attraction of Government “gilt-edged” bonds is that they are seen as one of the safest places you can put money.

If bank saving accounts are covered by a Government guarantee this will no longer be the case. As such they would be deemed to be less attractive, especially as they currently offer a return which is less than that of a top savings account.

Source

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 8:54 pm  Comments Off on Questions the Government faces over banking guarantees  
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