Masses in opposition to globalization demonstrated in Pittsburgh, PA against the meeting of oligarchs from the Group of 20 industrialized nations (G-20). The militarized police assaulted protesters, curbed free speech, and made overt threats to ensure the elite attendees of the highly politicized G-20 Summit were pleased.
The 19 nation-states and the European Union that make up the G-20 represent 90% of the global GNP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the global population.
“G-20 sources said the new powers vested in the G-20 would not come from abolishing other groups such as the G-7 or G-8, but in the future the G-20 would focus on economic issues while the G-8 would deal primarily with international relations and foreign policy,” Chris Giles reports at the Financial Times, adding:
As had been expected, the new framework – also termed a global compact in the communiqué to be issued on Friday – will involve G20 leaders setting the economic agenda, receiving reports from all members detailing how their individual policies meet those ambitions, and it will be monitored by the International Monetary Fund. There will not be formal sanctions for non-compliance and the ambitions will be enforced by a system of peer review.
The communiqué will say: “We designate the G20 to be the premier forum for our international economic cooperation.”
The communiqué is said to increase access to special drawing rights (S.D.R.’s) from the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.)—as confidence in the ever inflating U.S. dollar diminishes. The greenback was trading at a 12-month low against the euro this week after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered all U.S. dollar holdings by the nation-state be replaced by euros in foreign exchange accounts. Thursday morning, P. Parameswaran reported at the Agence France-Presse:
Beijing was the first to call for a new global currency as an alternative to the U.S. dollar as the U.S. deficit rocketed—the White House estimates it could reach nine trillion dollars over a decade.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed concern as early as March over the safety of his country’s huge U.S. bond holdings now worth more than 800 billion dollars, making it the largest creditor to the United States.
Then, Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who supervises more than two trillion dollars worth of dollar reserves, the world’s largest, raised the stakes by calling for a new reserve currency in place of the dollar.
He wanted the new reserve unit to be based on the S.D.R., a “special drawing right” created by the International Monetary Fund, drawing immediate support from Russia, Brazil and several other nations.
But what is baffling analysts is that a key U.N. agency—the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or UNCTAD—has joined the chorus of calls for a new reserve currency.
An UNCTAD report this month endorsed a proposal that I.M.F.-issued S.D.R.’s “could be used to settle international payments.”
Until the current global economic crisis, S.D.R.’s issued by the I.M.F. have been used by I.M.F. member nation states “primarily as a reserve account to support international trade transactions, not as an alternative international currency available to settle international debt transactions in danger of default,” said political scientist Jerome Corsi in Red Alert, a global financial newsletter.
This enhanced consolidation of power and wealth one year after Washington, D.C. wielded its government force to bailout Wall Street oligarchs comes as Former Federal [sic] Reserve Chairman and Obama Administration top economic adviser Paul Volker says the the president’s economic policy preserves “too big to fail” assessments of Wall Street institutions that could lead to even more corporate welfare-induced inflation. The people—whose backs this multi-trillion dollar policy is piled on—protested the G-20 Summit and the government’s foot soldiers abused its privilege to use violence in order to defend their masters.
“Thursday, the police were out in force,”—Ian Urbina reports at The New York Times (NYT)—“patrolling on bicycles, foot and horseback, by water and air.” Protesters marching toward the convention center where the Summit was being held chanting, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people, ’cause the power of the people don’t stop,” were confronted by “roaming squads” of cops in full municipally militarized riot gear. Mr. Urbina reports, “The police fired a sound cannon that emitted shrill beeps, causing demonstrators to cover their ears and back up, then threw tear gas canisters that released clouds of white smoke and stun grenades that exploded with sharp flashes of light.” 1,000 jail cells were made ready for protesters kidnapped after 300 people were released from captivity to make room.
“The people on the streets say that the [economic] emergency is continuing,” al Jazeera correspondent Avi Lewis said, adding: ““Thousands of people took to the streets—including a strong contingent of ‘black flag’ anarchists who, contrary to popular stereotypes, have not smashed a single window nor damaged any property.” At Reuters, Michelle Nichols’ report contradicts that of Mr. Lewis—writing that protesters threw bottles and rocks and “broke windows at Boston Market and KFC fast-food restaurants, a BMW dealership and a Fidelity bank in the area”.
Alexandra Frean and David Byers at the Times of London report that the “clash” began as the protesters were not allowed to reach the convention center. The Associated Press (AP) reports: “The marchers did not have a permit and, after a few blocks, police declared it an unlawful assembly. They played an announcement over a loudspeaker telling people to leave or face arrest and then police in riot gear moved in to break it up.” All reports have consistently remarked that the protesters did not have a permit issued by the government to protest government as if this assertion should legitimate violence, excessive intimidation and the blockade created by the police against individuals with no voice in how a extraordinary few decide their economic fate. Russia Today’s report was titled, “Police Silence Freedom of Speech” (2:20):
“The fact that 20 or so individuals right now are determining economic trade policies for four to five billion people just isn’t right,” Trevor Griffith, a 21-year-old protester told the NYT. “That’s why we’re here.”
“We were barely even protesting,” said T.J. Amick, 22, of Pittsburgh told the AP. “Then all of a sudden, they come up and tell us we’re gathered illegally and start using force, start banging their shields, start telling us we’re going to be arrested and tear gassed. … We haven’t broken any laws.”
Bret Hatch, 26, of Green Bay, WI—who was “carrying an American flag and a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag—told the AP: “This is ridiculous. We have constitutional rights to free speech.”
A CNN reporter was hit with chemicals by the police on live television (2:44):
The National Lawyers Guild had observers wearing green hats. One of its observers, a second year law student, was arrested. “I think he was totally acting according to the law. I don’t think he was provoking anyone at all,” Joel Kupferman, a member of the guild, told the AP. “It’s really upsetting because he’s here to serve, to make sure everyone else can be protected. … It’s a sign that they are out of control.”
In this video (h/t: George Donnelly), the militarized police marched in on a peaceful crowd voicing their rights to assemble and speak freely like stormtroopers. Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange.org is the voice you hear educating the police of their immorality (10:45):
If you’re a subscriber to the NYT by region, maybe you noticed that Edmunds Andrews’ article on the “old boys’ club”—the G-20—replacing the “once elite” G-7 as the “global forum for economic policy” was posted in several regions. Those who subscribe to “NYT Africa” might’ve noticed that that article now titled “Global Economic Forum to Expand Permanently” was initially titled, “In New World Order, Global Forum Expands Permanently“. Make of that what you will…