Category Archives: Honduras

Golden Dawn Immigrants-Fake NeoNazi’s

All those links were sent to me on Twitter and I am more than glad to post them,I do beleive I will find more on those people due time.No threats allowed according to the WP policy or the HR declaration. So please stay vigilant of what you are going to post :)I checked all blog categories so that the post can get the most views possible. Regards!

“##Spiros Macrozonaris## IMMIGRANT Golden Dawn Deputy leader in Montreal, Canada” :

Facebook profile :

INTERESTING FACEBOOK POST MR. MACROZONARIS, HE CANNOT EVEN WRITE GREEK! BAD NAZI BAD! :

His NON 100% PURE GREEK son’s Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/macrozonaris?ref=ts&fref=ts

1. Greek Immigrant who married a “foreigner” >>>>>French-Canadian Doris Morrissette, they bore a son, Nicolas Macrozonaris (World-Class Sprinter – CANADIAN Olympian 🙂 ..who unfortunately is not 100% Pure Greek…

2. Conversations with Nicolas on Twitter, lead to nothing, he is ‘pretending’ that he has NO knowledge of what Golden Dawn supports and believes YET he states that he does not condone his fathers “actions”

Twitter @Macrozonaris TWEETER CONVERSATIONS with Nicolas –>

###### MUST WATCH #####
Video from CBC Montreal, from week of Oct 12th – INTERVIEW with Spiros Macrozonaris – next to him sits LOOSER Ilias Hondronicolas : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3rbLI4K78

#Ilias Hondronicolas ———> on PHOTO second guy from the left :

#MORE HONDRONICOLAS:

(FRIENDS WITH ELENI ZAROULIA SHARING HER PHOTOS!)
( MUST SEE )

#MORE PAPAGEORGIOU:

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Company Profile: Exxon and the Ties to the Rockfellers

 

Web site: http://www.exxon.com

Public Company
Incorporated: 1882 as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
Employees: 79,000
Sales: $117.77 billion (1998)
Stock Exchanges: New York Boston Cincinnati Midwest Philadelphia Basel Dusseldorf Frankfurt Geneva Hamburg Paris Zurich
Ticker Symbol: XON
NAIC: 211111 Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas Extraction; 324110 Petroleum Refineries; 324191 Petroleum Lubricating Oil & Grease Manufacturing; 325110 Petrochemical Manufacturing; 447100 Gasoline Stations; 486110 Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil; 486910 Pipeline Transportation of Refined Petroleum Products; 212110 Coal Mining; 212234 Copper Ore & Nickel Ore Mining; 212299 All Other Metal Ore Mining; 221112 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation

As the earliest example of the trend toward gigantic size and power, Exxon Corporation and its Standard Oil forebears have earned vast amounts of money in the petroleum business. The brainchild of John D. Rockefeller, Standard Oil enjoyed the blessings and handicaps of overwhelming power—on the one hand, an early control of the oil business so complete that even its creators could not deny its monopolistic status; on the other, an unending series of journalistic and legal attacks upon its business ethics, profits, and very existence. Exxon became the object of much resentment during the 1970s for the huge profits it made from the OPEC-induced oil shocks. The uproar over the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989 put the corporation once more in the position of embattled giant, as the largest U.S. oil company struggled to justify its actions before the public. At the end of the 1990s Exxon stood as the second largest of the world’s integrated petroleum powerhouses—trailing only the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. In addition to its oil and gas exploration, production, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing operations, Exxon was a leading producer and seller of petrochemicals and was involved in electric power generation and the mining of coal, copper, and other minerals. Exxon was also once again making history, through a proposed merger with Mobil Corporation, to create the largest petroleum firm in the world in one of the biggest mergers ever—and to reunite two of the offspring of the Standard Oil behemoth.
Prehistory of Standard Oil

The individual most responsible for the creation of Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller, was born in 1839 to a family of modest means living in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. His father, William A. Rockefeller, was a sporadically successful merchant and part-time hawker of medicinal remedies. William Rockefeller moved his family to Cleveland, Ohio, when John D. Rockefeller was in his early teens, and it was there that the young man finished his schooling and began work as a bookkeeper in 1855. From a very young age John D. Rockefeller developed an interest in business. Before getting his first job with the merchant firm of Hewitt & Tuttle, Rockefeller had already demonstrated an innate affinity for business, later honed by a few months at business school.

Rockefeller worked at Hewitt & Tuttle for four years, studying large-scale trading in the United States. In 1859 the 19-year-old Rockefeller set himself up in a similar venture—Clark & Rockefeller, merchants handling the purchase and resale of grain, meat, farm implements, salt, and other basic commodities. Although still very young, Rockefeller had already impressed Maurice Clark and his other business associates as an unusually capable, cautious, and meticulous businessman. He was a reserved, undemonstrative individual, never allowing emotion to cloud his thinking. Bankers found that they could trust John D. Rockefeller, and his associates in the merchant business began looking to him for judgment and leadership.

Clark & Rockefeller’s already healthy business was given a boost by the Civil War economy, and by 1863 the firm’s two partners had put away a substantial amount of capital and were looking for new ventures. The most obvious and exciting candidate was oil. A few years before, the nation’s first oil well had been drilled at Titusville, in western Pennsylvania, and by 1863 Cleveland had become the refining and shipping center for a trail of newly opened oil fields in the so-called Oil Region. Activity in the oil fields, however, was extremely chaotic, a scene of unpredictable wildcatting, and John D. Rockefeller was a man who prized above all else the maintenance of order. He and Clark, therefore, decided to avoid drilling and instead go into the refining of oil, and in 1863 they formed Andrews, Clark & Company with an oil specialist named Samuel Andrews. Rockefeller, never given to publicity, was the “Company.”

With excellent railroad connections as well as the Great Lakes to draw upon for transportation, the city of Cleveland and the firm of Andrews, Clark & Company both did well. The discovery of oil wrought a revolution in U.S. methods of illumination. Kerosene soon replaced animal fat as the source of light across the country, and by 1865 Rockefeller was fully convinced that oil refining would be his life’s work. Unhappy with his Clark-family partners, Rockefeller bought them out for $72,000 in 1865 and created the new firm of Rockefeller & Andrews, already Cleveland’s largest oil refiners. It was a typically bold move by Rockefeller, who although innately conservative and methodical was never afraid to make difficult decisions. He thus found himself, at the age of 25, co-owner of one of the world’s leading oil concerns.

Talent, capital, and good timing combined to bless Rockefeller & Andrews. Cleveland handled the lion’s share of Pennsylvania crude and, as the demand for oil continued to explode, Rockefeller & Andrews soon dominated the Cleveland scene. By 1867, when a young man of exceptional talent named Henry Flagler became a third partner, the firm was already operating the world’s number one oil refinery; there was as yet little oil produced outside the United States. The year before, John Rockefeller’s brother, William Rockefeller, had opened a New York office to encourage the rapidly growing export of kerosene and oil byproducts, and it was not long before foreign sales became an important part of Rockefeller strength. In 1869 the young firm allocated $60,000 for plant improvements—an enormous sum of money for that day.
Creation of the Standard Oil Monopoly: 1870–92

The early years of the oil business were marked by tremendous swings in the production and price of both crude and refined oil. With a flood of newcomers entering the field every day, size and efficiency already had become critically important for survival. As the biggest refiner, Rockefeller was in a better position than anyone to weather the price storms. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler, with whom Rockefeller enjoyed a long and harmonious business relationship, decided to incorporate their firm to raise the capital needed to enlarge the company further. On January 10, 1870, the Standard Oil Company was formed, with the two Rockefellers, Flagler, and Andrews owning the great majority of stock, valued at $1 million. The new company was not only capable of refining approximately ten percent of the entire country’s oil, it also owned a barrel-making plant, dock facilities, a fleet of railroad tank cars, New York warehouses, and forest land for the cutting of lumber used to produce barrel staves. At a time when the term was yet unknown, Standard Oil had become a vertically integrated company.

One of the single advantages of Standard Oil’s size was the leverage it gave the company in railroad negotiations. Most of the oil refined at Standard made its way to New York and the Eastern Seaboard. Because of Standard’s great volume—60 carloads a day by 1869—it was able to win lucrative rebates from the warring railroads. In 1871 the various railroads concocted a plan whereby the nation’s oil refiners and railroads would agree to set and maintain prohibitively high freight rates while awarding large rebates and other special benefits to those refiners who were part of the scheme. The railroads would avoid disastrous price wars while the large refiners forced out of business those smaller companies who refused to join the cartel, known as the South Improvement Company.
Company Perspectives:

Ours is a long-term business, with today’s accomplishments a reflection of well-executed plans set in motion years ago. Likewise, Exxon’s success at building shareholder value in the future is dependent on plans we develop and implement today.

The following strategies have and will continue to guide Exxon as we strive to meet shareholder and customer expectations: identifying and implementing quality investment opportunities at a timely and appropriate pace, while maintaining a selective and disciplined approach; being the most efficient competitor in every aspect of our business; maintaining a high-quality portfolio of productive assets; developing and employing the best technology; ensuring safe, environmentally sound operations; continually improving an already high-quality work force; maintaining a strong financial position and ensuring that financial resources are employed wisely.

The plan was denounced immediately by Oil Region producers and many independent refiners, with near-riots breaking out in the oil fields. After a bitter war of words and a flood of press coverage, the oil refiners and the railroads abandoned their plan and announced the adoption of public, inflexible transport rates. In the meantime, however, Rockefeller and Flagler were already far advanced on a plan to combat the problems of excess capacity and dropping prices in the oil industry. To Rockefeller the remedy was obvious, though unprecedented: the eventual unification of all oil refiners in the United States into a single company. Rockefeller approached the Cleveland refiners and a number of important firms in New York and elsewhere with an offer of Standard Oil stock or cash in exchange for their often-ailing plants. By the end of 1872, all 34 refiners in the area had agreed to sell—some freely and for profit, and some, competitors alleged, under coercion. Because of Standard’s great size and the industry’s overbuilt capacity, Rockefeller and Flagler were in a position to make their competitors irresistible offers. All indications are that Standard regularly paid top dollar for viable companies.

By 1873 Standard Oil was refining more oil—10,000 barrels per day—than any other region of the country, employing 1,600 workers, and netting around $500,000 per year. With great confidence, Rockefeller proceeded to duplicate his Cleveland success throughout the rest of the country. By the end of 1874 he had absorbed the next three largest refiners in the nation, located in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Rockefeller also began moving into the field of distribution with the purchase of several of the new pipelines then being laid across the country. With each new acquisition it became more difficult for Rockefeller’s next target to refuse his cash. Standard interests rapidly grew so large that the threat of monopoly was clear. The years 1875 to 1879 saw Rockefeller push through his plan to its logical conclusion. In 1878, a mere six years after beginning its annexation campaign, Standard Oil controlled $33 million of the country’s $35 million annual refining capacity, as well as a significant proportion of the nation’s pipelines and oil tankers. At the age of 39, Rockefeller was one of the five wealthiest men in the country.

Standard’s involvement in the aborted South Improvement Company, however, had earned it lasting criticism. The company’s subsequent absorption of the refining industry did not mend its image among the few remaining independents and the mass of oil producers who found in Standard a natural target for their wrath when the price of crude dropped precipitously in the late 1870s. Although the causes of producers’ tailing fortunes are unclear, it is evident that given Standard’s extraordinary position in the oil industry it was fated to become the target of dissatisfactions. In 1879 nine Standard Oil officials were indicted by a Pennsylvania grand jury for violating state antimonopoly laws. Although the case was not pursued, it indicated the depth of feeling against Standard Oil, and was only the first in a long line of legal battles waged to curb the company’s power.

In 1882 Rockefeller and his associates reorganized their dominions, creating the first “trust” in U.S. business history. This move overcame state laws restricting the activity of a corporation to its home state. Henceforth the Standard Oil Trust, domiciled in New York City, held “in trust” all assets of the various Standard Oil companies. Of the Standard Oil Trust’s nine trustees, John D. Rockefeller held the largest number of shares. Together the trust’s 30 companies controlled 80 percent of the refineries and 90 percent of the oil pipelines in the United States, constituting the leading industrial organization in the world. The trust’s first year’s combined net earnings were $11.2 million, of which some $7 million was immediately plowed back into the companies for expansion. Almost lost in the flurry of big numbers was the 1882 creation of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, one of the many regional corporations created to handle the trust’s activities in surrounding states. Barely worth mentioning at the time, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, or “Jersey” as it came to be called, would soon become the dominant Standard company and, much later, rename itself Exxon.
Key Dates:

1870:
John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler incorporate the Standard Oil Company.
1878:
Standard controls $33 million of the country’s $35 million annual refining capacity.
1882:
Rockefeller reorganizes Standard Oil into a trust, creating Standard Oil Company of New Jersey as one of many regional corporations controlled by the trust.
1888:
Standard founds its first foreign affiliate, Anglo-American Oil Company, Limited.
1890:
The Sherman Antitrust Act is passed, in large part, in response to Standard’s oil monopoly.
1891:
The trust has secured a quarter of the total oil field production in the United States.
1892:
Lawsuit leads to dissolving of the trust; the renamed Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) becomes main vessel of the Standard holdings.
1899:
Jersey becomes the sole holding company for all of the Standard interests.
1906:
Federal government files suit against Jersey under the Sherman Antitrust Act, charging it with running a monopoly.
1911:
U.S. Supreme Court upholds lower court conviction of the company and orders that it be separated into 34 unrelated companies, one of which continues to be called Standard Oil Company (New Jersey).
1926:
The Esso brand is used for the first time on the company’s refined products.
1946:
A 30 percent interest in Arabian American Oil Company, and its vast Saudi Arabian oil concessions, is acquired.
1954:
Company gains seven percent stake in Iranian oil production consortium.
1972:
Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) changes its name to Exxon Corporation.
1973:
OPEC cuts off oil supplies to the United States.
1980:
Revenues exceed $100 billion because of the rapid increase in oil prices.
1989:
The crash of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound off the port of Valdez, Alaska, releases about 260,000 barrels of crude oil.
1990:
Headquarters are moved from Rockefeller Center in New York City to Irving, Texas.
1994:
A federal jury in an Exxon Valdez civil action finds the company guilty of “recklessness” and orders it to pay $286.8 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages.
1997:
Company appeals the $5 billion punitive damage award; it reports profits of $8.46 billion on revenues of $120.28 billion for the year.
1998:
Company agrees to buy Mobil in one of the largest mergers in U.S. history, which would create the largest oil company in the world, Exxon Mobil Corporation.

The 1880s were a period of exponential growth for Standard. The trust not only maintained its lock on refining and distribution but also seriously entered the field of production. By 1891 the trust had secured a quarter of the country’ s total output, most of it in the new regions of Indiana and Illinois. Standard’s overseas business was also expanding rapidly, and in 1888 it founded its first foreign affiliate, London-based Anglo-American Oil Company, Limited (later known as Esso Petroleum Company, Limited). The overseas trade in kerosene was especially important to Jersey, which derived as much as threefourths of its sales from the export trade. Jersey’s Bayonne, New Jersey refinery was soon the third largest in the Standard family, putting out 10,000 to 12,000 barrels per day by 1886. In addition to producing and refining capacity, Standard also was extending gradually its distribution system from pipelines and bulk wholesalers toward the retailer and eventual end user of kerosene, the private consumer.
Jersey at Head of Standard Oil Empire: 1892–1911

The 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, passed in large part in response to Standard’s oil monopoly, laid the groundwork for a second major legal assault against the company, an 1892 Ohio Supreme Court order forbidding the trust to operate Standard of Ohio. As a result, the trust was promptly dissolved, but taking advantage of newly liberalized state law in New Jersey, the Standard directors made Jersey the main vessel of their holdings. Standard Oil Company of New Jersey became Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) at this time. The new Standard Oil structure now consisted of only 20 much-enlarged companies, but effective control of the interests remained in the same few hands as before. Jersey added a number of important manufacturing plants to its already impressive refining capacity and was the leading Standard unit. It was not until 1899, however, that Jersey became the sole holding company for all of the Standard interests. At that time the entire organization’s assets were valued at about $300 million and it employed 35,000 people. John D. Rockefeller continued as nominal president, but the most powerful active member of Jersey’s board was probably John D. Archbold.

Rockefeller had retired from daily participation in Standard Oil in 1896 at the age of 56. Once Standard’s consolidation was complete Rockefeller spent his time reversing the process of accumulation, seeing to it that his staggering fortune—estimated at $900 million in 1913—was redistributed as efficiently as it had been made.

The general public was only dimly aware of Rockefeller’s philanthropy, however. More obvious were the frankly monopolistic policies of the company he had built. With its immense size and complete vertical integration, Standard Oil piled up huge profits ($830 million in the 12 years from 1899 to 1911). In relative terms, however, its domination of the U.S. industry was steadily decreasing. By 1911 its percentage of total refining was down to 66 percent from the 90 percent of a generation before, but in absolute terms Standard Oil had grown to monstrous proportions. Therefore, it was not surprising that in 1905 a U.S. congressman from Kansas launched an investigation of Standard Oil’s role in the falling price of crude in his state. The commissioner of the Bureau of Corporations, James R. Garfield, decided to widen the investigation into a study of the national oil industry—in effect, Standard Oil.

Garfield’s critical report prompted a barrage of state lawsuits against Standard Oil (New Jersey) and, in November 1906, a federal suit was filed charging the company, John D. Rockefeller, and others with running a monopoly. In 1911, after years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s conviction of Standard Oil for monopoly and restraint of trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Court ordered the separation from Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) of 33 of the major Standard Oil subsidiaries, including those that subsequently kept the Standard name.
Independent Growth into a “Major”: 1911–72

Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) retained an equal number of smaller companies spread around the United States and overseas, representing $285 million of the former Jersey’s net value of $600 million. Notable among the remaining holdings were a group of large refineries, four medium-sized producing companies, and extensive foreign marketing affiliates. Absent were the pipelines needed to move oil from well to refinery, much of the former tanker fleet, and access to a number of important foreign markets, including Great Britain and the Far East.

John D. Archbold, a longtime intimate of the elder Rockefeller and whose Standard service had begun in 1879, remained president of Standard Oil (New Jersey). Archbold’s first problem was to secure sufficient supplies of crude oil for Jersey’s extensive refining and marketing capacity. Jersey’s former subsidiaries were more than happy to continue selling crude to Jersey; the dissolution decree had little immediate effect on the coordinated workings of the former Standard Oil group, but Jersey set about finding its own sources of crude. The company’s first halting steps toward foreign production met with little success; ventures in Romania, Peru, Mexico, and Canada suffered political or geological setbacks and were of no help. In 1919, however, Jersey made a domestic purchase that would prove to be of great long-term value. For $17 million Jersey acquired 50 percent of the Humble Oil & Refining Company of Houston, Texas, a young but rapidly growing network of Texas producers that immediately assumed first place among Jersey’s domestic suppliers. Although only the fifth leading producer in Texas at the time of its purchase, Humble would soon become the dominant drilling company in the United States and eventually was wholly purchased by Jersey. Humble, later known as Exxon Company U.S.A., remained one of the leading U.S. producers of crude oil and natural gas through the end of the century.

Despite initial disappointments in overseas production, Jersey remained a company oriented to foreign markets and supply sources. On the supply side, Jersey secured a number of valuable Latin American producing companies in the 1920s, especially several Venezuelan interests consolidated in 1943 into Creole Petroleum Corporation. By that time Creole was the largest and most profitable crude producer in the Jersey group. In 1946 Creole produced an average of 451,000 barrels per day, far more than the 309,000 by Humble and almost equal to all other Jersey drilling companies combined. Four years later, Creole generated $157 million of the Jersey group’s total net income of $408 million and did so on sales of only $517 million. Also in 1950, Jersey’s British affiliates showed sales of $283 million but a bottom line of about $2 million. In contrast to the industry’s early days, oil profits now lay in the production of crude, and the bulk of Jersey’s crude came from Latin America. The company’s growing Middle Eastern affiliates did not become significant resources until the early 1950s. Jersey’s Far East holdings, from 1933 to 1961 owned jointly with Socony-Vacuum Oil Company—formerly Standard Oil Company of New York and now Mobil Corporation—never provided sizable amounts of crude oil.

In marketing, Jersey’s income showed a similar preponderance of foreign sales. Jersey’s domestic market had been limited by the dissolution decree to a handful of mid-Atlantic states, whereas the company’s overseas affiliates were well entrenched and highly profitable. Jersey’s Canadian affiliate, Imperial Oil Ltd., had a monopolistic hold on that country’s market, while in Latin America and the Caribbean the West India Oil Company performed superbly during the second and third decades of the 20th century. Jersey had also incorporated eight major marketing companies in Europe by 1927, and these, too, sold a significant amount of refined products—most of them under the Esso brand name introduced the previous year (the name was derived from the initials for Standard Oil). Esso became Jersey’s best known and most widely used retail name both at home and abroad.

Jersey’s mix of refined products changed considerably over the years. As the use of kerosene for illumination gave way to electricity and the automobile continued to grow in popularity, Jersey’s sales reflected a shift away from kerosene and toward gasoline. Even as late as 1950, however, gasoline had not yet become the leading seller among Jersey products. That honor went to the group of residual fuel oils used as a substitute for coal to power ships and industrial plants. Distillates used for home heating and diesel engines were also strong performers. Even in 1991, when Exxon distributed its gasoline through a network of 12,000 U.S. and 26,000 international service stations, the earnings of all marketing and refining activities were barely one-third of those derived from the production of crude. In 1950 that proportion was about the same, indicating that regardless of the end products into which oil was refined, it was the production of crude that yielded the big profits.

Indeed, by mid-century the international oil business had become, in large part, a question of controlling crude oil at its source. With Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) and its multinational competitors having built fully vertically integrated organizations, the only leverage remained control of the oil as it came out of the ground. Although it was not yet widely known in the United States, production of crude was shifting rapidly from the United States and Latin America to the Middle East. As early as 1908 oil had been verified in present-day Iran, but it was not until 1928 that Jersey and Socony-Vacuum, prodded by chronic shortages of crude, joined three European companies in forming Iraq Petroleum Company. Also in 1928, Jersey, Shell, and Anglo-Persian secretly agreed to limit each company’s share of world production to their present relative amounts, attempting, by means of this “As Is” agreement, to limit competition and keep prices at comfortably high levels. As with Rockefeller’s similar tactics 50 years before, it was not clear in 1928 that the agreement was illegal, because its participants were located in a number of different countries each with its own set of trade laws. Already in 1928, Jersey and the other oil giants were stretching the very concept of nationality beyond any simple application.

Following World War II, Jersey was again in need of crude to supply the resurgent economies of Europe. Already the world’s largest producer, the company became interested in the vast oil concessions in Saudi Arabia recently won by Texaco and Socal. The latter companies, in need of both capital for expansion and world markets for exploitation, sold 30 percent of the newly formed Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) to Jersey and ten percent to Socony-Vacuum in 1946. Eight years later, after Iran’s nationalization of Anglo-Persian’s holdings was squelched by a combination of CIA assistance and an effective worldwide boycott of Iranian oil by competitors, Jersey was able to take seven percent of the consortium formed to drill in that oil-rich country. With a number of significant tax advantages attached to foreign crude production, Jersey drew an increasing percentage of its oil from its holdings in all three of the major Middle Eastern fields—Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia—and helped propel the 20-year postwar economic boom in the West. With oil prices exceptionally low, the United States and Europe busily shifted their economies to complete dependence on the automobile and on oil as the primary industrial fuel.
Exxon, Oil Shocks, and Diversification: 1972–89

Despite the growing strength of newcomers to the international market, such as Getty and Conoco, the big companies continued to exercise decisive control over the world oil supply and thus over the destinies of the Middle East producing countries. Growing nationalism and an increased awareness of the extraordinary power of the large oil companies led to the 1960 formation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Later, a series of increasingly bitter confrontations erupted between countries and companies concerned about control over the oil upon which the world had come to depend. The growing power of OPEC and the concomitant nationalization of oil assets by various producing countries prompted Jersey to seek alternative sources of crude. Exploration resulted in discoveries in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay and the North Sea in the late 1960s. The Middle Eastern sources remained paramount, however, and when OPEC cut off oil supplies to the United States in 1973—in response to U.S. sponsorship of Israel—the resulting 400 percent price increase induced a prolonged recession and permanently changed the industrial world’s attitude to oil. Control of oil was, in large part, taken out of the hands of the oil companies, who began exploring new sources of energy and business opportunities in other fields.

For Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), which had changed its name to Exxon in 1972, the oil embargo had several major effects. Most obviously it increased corporate sales; the expensive oil allowed Exxon to double its 1972 revenue of $20 billion in only two years and then pushed that figure over the $100 billion mark by 1980. After a year of windfall profits made possible by the sale of inventoried oil bought at much lower prices, Exxon was able to make use of its extensive North Sea and Alaskan holdings to keep profits at a steady level. The company had suffered a strong blow to its confidence, however, and soon was investigating a number of diversification measures that eventually included office equipment, a purchase of Reliance Electric Company (the fifth largest holdings of coal in the United States), and an early 1980s venture into shale oil. With the partial exception of coal, all of these were expensive failures, costing Exxon approximately $6 billion to $7 billion.

By the early 1980s the world oil picture had eased considerably and Exxon felt less urgency about diversification. With the price of oil peaking around 1981 and then tumbling for most of the decade, Exxon’s sales dropped sharply. The company’s confidence rose, however, as OPEC’s grip on the marketplace proved to be weaker than advertised. Having abandoned its forays into other areas, Exxon refocused on the oil and gas business, cutting its assets and workforce substantially to accommodate the drop in revenue without losing profitability. In 1986 the company consolidated its oil and gas operations outside North America, which had been handled by several separate subsidiaries, into a new division called Exxon Company, International, with headquarters in New Jersey. Exxon Company, U.S.A. and Imperial Oil Ltd. continued to handle the company’s oil and gas operations in the United States and Canada, respectively.

Exxon also bought back a sizable number of its own shares to bolster per-share earnings, which reached excellent levels and won the approval of Wall Street. The stock buyback was partially in response to Exxon’s embarrassing failure to invest its excess billions profitably—the company was somewhat at a loss as to what to do with its money. It could not expand further into the oil business without running into antitrust difficulties at home, and investments outside of oil would have had to be mammoth to warrant the time and energy required.
The Exxon Valdez: 1989–98

In 1989 Exxon was no longer the world’s largest company, and soon it would not even be the largest oil group (Royal Dutch/Shell would take over that position in 1990), but with the help of the March 24, 1989, Exxon Valdez disaster the company heightened its notoriety. The crash of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound off the port of Valdez, Alaska, released about 260,000 barrels, or 11.2 million gallons, of crude oil. The disaster cost Exxon $1.7 billion in 1989 alone, and the company and its subsidiaries were faced with more than 170 civil and criminal lawsuits brought by state and federal governments and individuals.

By late 1991 Exxon had paid $2.2 billion to clean up Prince William Sound and had reached a tentative settlement of civil and criminal charges that levied a $125 million criminal fine against the oil conglomerate. Fully $100 million of the fine was forgiven and the remaining amount was split between the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (which received $12 million) and the U.S. Treasury (which received $13 million). Exxon and a subsidiary, Exxon Shipping Co., also were required to pay an additional $1 billion to restore the spill area.

Although the Valdez disaster was a costly public relations nightmare—a nightmare made worse by the company’s slow response to the disaster and by CEO Lawrence G. Rawl’s failure to visit the site in person—Exxon’s financial performance actually improved in the opening years of the last decade in the 20th century. The company enjoyed record profits in 1991, netting $5.6 billion and earning a special place in the Fortune 500. Of the annual list’s top ten companies, Exxon was the only one to post a profit increase over 1990. Business Week’s ranking of companies according to market value also found Exxon at the top of the list.

The company’s performance was especially dramatic when compared with the rest of the fuel industry: as a group the 44 fuel companies covered by Business Week’s survey lost $35 billion in value, or 11 percent, in 1991. That year, Exxon also scrambled to the top of the profits heap, according to Forbes magazine. With a profit increase of 12 percent over 1990, Exxon’s $5.6 billion in net income enabled the company to unseat IBM as the United States’ most profitable company. At 16.5 percent, Exxon’s return on equity was also higher than any other oil company. The company also significantly boosted the value of its stock through its long-term and massive stock buyback program, through which it spent about $15.5 billion to repurchase 518 million shares—or 30 percent of its outstanding shares—between 1983 and 1991.

Like many of its competitors, Exxon was forced to trim expenses to maintain such outstanding profitability. One of the favorite methods was to cut jobs. Citing the globally depressed economy and the need to streamline operations, Exxon eliminated 5,000 employees from its payrolls between 1990 and 1992. With oil prices in a decade-long slide, Exxon also cut spending on exploration from $1.7 billion in 1985 to $900 million in 1992. The company’s exploration budget constituted less than one percent of revenues and played a large part in Exxon’s good financial performance. Meantime, Exxon in 1990 abandoned its fancy headquarters at Rockefeller Center in New York City to reestablish its base in the heart of oil territory, in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas. In 1991 the company established a new Houston-based division, Exxon Exploration Company, to handle the company’s exploration operations everywhere in the world except for Canada.

At the end of 1993 Lee R. Raymond took over as CEO from the retiring Rawl. Raymond continued Exxon’s focus on cost-cutting, with the workforce falling to 79,000 employees by 1996, the lowest level since the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. Other savings were wrung out by reengineering production, transportation, and marketing processes. Over a five-year period ending in 1996, Exxon had managed to reduce its operating costs by $1.3 billion annually. The result was increasing levels of profits. In 1996 the company reported net income of $7.51 billion, more than any other company on the Fortune 500. The following year it made $8.46 billion on revenues of $120.28 billion, a seven percent profit margin. The huge profits enabled Exxon in the middle to late 1990s to take some gambles, and it risked tens of billion of dollars on massive new oil and gas fields in Russia, Indonesia, and Africa. In addition, Exxon and Royal Dutch/Shell joined forces in a worldwide petroleum additives joint venture in 1996.

Exxon was unable—some said unwilling—to shake itself free of its Exxon Valdez legacy. Having already spent some $1.1 billion to settle state and federal criminal charges related to the spill, Exxon faced a civil trial in which the plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages amounting to $16.5 billion. The 14,000 plaintiffs in the civil suit included fishermen, Alaskan natives, and others claiming harm from the spill. In June 1994 a federal jury found that the huge oil spill had been caused by “recklessness” on the part of Exxon. Two months later the same jury ruled that the company should pay $286.8 million in compensatory damages; then in August the panel ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages. Although Wall Street reacted positively to what could have been much larger damage amounts and Exxon’s huge profits placed it in a position to reach a final settlement and perhaps put the Exxon Valdez nightmare in its past, the company chose to continue to take a hard line. It vowed to exhaust all its legal avenues to having the verdict overturned—including seeking a mistrial and a new trial and filing appeals. In June 1997, in fact, Exxon formally appealed the $5 billion verdict. Exxon seemed to make another PR gaffe in the late 1990s when it attempted to reverse a federal ban on the return to Alaskan waters of the Exxon Valdez, which had by then been renamed the Sea-River Mediterranean. Environmentalists continued to berate the company for its refusal to operate double-hulled tankers, a ship design that may have prevented the oil spill in the first place. In addition, in an unrelated but equally embarrassing development, Exxon in 1997 reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in which it agreed to run advertisements that refuted earlier ads claiming that its high-octane gasoline reduced automobile maintenance costs.
Nearing the Turn of the Century: Exxon Mobil

In December 1998 Exxon agreed to buy Mobil for about $75 billion in what promised to be one of the largest takeovers ever. The megamerger was one of a spate of petroleum industry deals brought about by an oil glut that forced down the price of a barrel of crude by late 1998 to about $11—the cheapest price in history with inflation factored in. Just one year earlier, the price had been about $23. The oil glut was caused by a number of factors, principally the Asian economic crisis and the sharp decline in oil consumption engendered by it, and the virtual collapse of OPEC, which was unable to curb production by its own members. In such an environment, pressure to cut costs was again exerted, and Exxon and Mobil cited projected savings of $2.8 billion per year as a prime factor behind the merger.

Based on 1998 results, the proposed Exxon Mobil Corporation would have combined revenues of $168.8 billion, making it the largest oil company in the world, and $8.1 billion in profits. Raymond would serve as chairman, CEO, and president of the Irving, Texas-based goliath, with the head of Mobil, Lucio A. Noto, acting as vice-chairman. Shareholders of both Exxon and Mobil approved the merger in May 1999. In September of that year the European Commission granted antitrust approval to the deal with the only major stipulation being that Mobil divest its share of a joint venture with BP Amoco p.l.c. in European refining and marketing. Approval from the Federal Trade Commission proved more difficult to come by, as the agency was concerned about major overlap between the two companies’ operations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. The FTC was likely to force the companies to sell more than 1,000 gas stations in those regions as well as accede to other changes to gain U.S. antitrust approval.
Principal Subsidiaries

Ancon Insurance Company, Inc.; Esso Australia Resources Ltd.; Esso Eastern Inc.; Esso Hong Kong Limited; Esso Malaysia Berhad (65%); Esso Production Malaysia Inc.; Esso Sekiyu Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan); Esso Singapore Private Limited; Esso (Thailand) Public Company Limited (87.5%); Exxon Energy Limited (Hong Kong); Exxon Yemen Inc.; General Sekiyu K.K. (Japan; 50.1%); Esso Exploration and Production Chad Inc.; Esso Italiana S.p.A. (Italy); Esso Standard (Inter-America) Inc.; Esso Standard Oil S.A. Limited (Bahamas); Exxon Asset Management Company (75.5%); Exxon Capital Holdings Corporation; Exxon Chemical Asset Management Partnership; Exxon Chemical Eastern Inc.; Exxon Chemical HDPE Inc.; Exxon Chemical Interamerica Inc.; Exxon Credit Corporation; Exxon Holding Latin America Limited (Bahamas); Exxon International Holdings, Inc.; Esso Aktiengesellschaft (Germany); Esso Austria Aktiengesellschaft; Esso Exploration and Production Norway AS; Esso Holding Company Holland Inc.; Exxon Chemical Antwerp Ethylene N.V. (Belgium); Esso Nederland B.V. (Netherlands); Exxon Chemical Holland Inc.; Exxon Funding B.V. (Netherlands); Esso Holding Company U.K. Inc.; Esso UK pic; Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited; Esso Petroleum Company, Limited (U.K.); Exxon Chemical Limited (U.K.); Exxon Chemical Olefins Inc.; Esso Norge AS (Norway); Esso Sociedad Anonima Petrolera Argentina; Esso Societe Anonyme Francaise (France; 81.54%); Esso (Switzerland); Exxon Minerals International Inc.; Compania Minera Disputada de Las Condes Limitada (Chile); Exxon Overseas Corporation; Exxon Chemical Arabia Inc.; Exxon Equity Holding Company; Exxon Overseas Investment Corporation; Exxon Financial Services Company Limited (Bahamas); Exxon Ventures Inc.; Exxon Azerbaijan Limited (Bahamas); Mediterranean Standard Oil Co.; Esso Trading Company of Abu Dhabi; Exxon Pipeline Holdings, Inc.; Exxon Pipeline Company; Exxon Rio Holding Inc.; Esso Brasileira de Petroleo Limitada (Brazil); Exxon Sao Paulo Holding Inc.; Exxon Worldwide Trading Company; Imperial Oil Limited (Canada; 69.6%); International Colombia Resources Corporation; SeaRiver Maritime Financial Holdings, Inc.; SeaRiver Maritime, Inc.; Societe Francaise EXXON CHEMICAL (France; 99.35%); Exxon Chemical France; Exxon Chemical Poly meres SNC (France).
[read more]

 


Guatemala Sinkhole Created by Humans, Not Nature

 

Human activity, not nature, was the likely cause of the gaping sinkhole that opened up in the streets of Guatemala City on Sunday, a geologist says.

A burst sewer pipe or storm drain probably hollowed out the underground cavity that allowed the chasm to form, according to Sam Bonis, a geologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, who is currently living in Guatemala City (map).

The Guatemala City sinkhole, estimated to be 60 feet (18 meters) wide and 300 feet (100 meters) deep, appears to have been triggered by the deluge from tropical storm Agatha.

But the cavity formed in the first place because the city—and its underground infrastructure—were built in a region where the first few hundred meters of ground are mostly made up of a material called pumice fill, deposited during past volcanic eruptions.

“Lots of times, volcanic pumice originates as a flow [of loose, gravel-like particles], and because of the heat and the weight, it becomes welded into solid rock,” Bonis said.

“In Guatemala City [the pumice is] unconsolidated, it’s loose,” he said. “It hasn’t been hardened into a rock yet, so it’s easily eroded, especially by swift running water.”

In general, the zoning regulations and building codes in Guatemala City are poor, Bonis said, and the few regulations that exist are often ignored. That means leaking pipes could have gone unfixed long enough to create the right conditions for the sinkhole. (Related pictures: “How Humans Can Trigger Earthquakes.”)

In fact, Bonis thinks calling the Guatemala City chasm a sinkhole is a misnomer—a true sinkhole is an entirely natural phenomenon. There is no scientific term for what happened in Guatemala, he said, adding that he recommends the pit be dubbed a piping feature.

Guatemala Sinkhole Not a Sinkhole

Natural sinkholes generally form when heavy, water-saturated soil causes the roof of an underground limestone cavity to collapse, or when water widens a natural fracture in limestone bedrock.

But there is no limestone beneath the section of Guatemala City where the new sinkhole appeared, at least not at the depth at which the hole formed, Bonis said.

“There may be limestone thousands of meters beneath the city, but not hundreds of meters,” he said.

Instead, nature likely sped up a process set in motion by human actions. (Related: “‘Mud Volcano’ in Indonesia Caused by Gas Exploration, Study Says.”)

Recent eruptions of several volcanoes in Guatemala covered the city in a fresh layer of volcanic ash. If this material got into the city’s pipes and drains, it may have clogged the passageways, making ruptures more likely, Bonis said.

Heavy rains from tropical storm Agatha may also have overloaded underground sewage or drainage pipes, leading to a growing cavity that eventually collapsed, Bonis speculated.

The geologist added that the new sinkhole shares remarkable similarities with a sinkhole that formed in Guatemala City in 2007.

“Both of these things occurred in the same general part of town. They look the same,” he said. “It’s more than a coincidence, especially if they trace” any faulty pipes associated with the 2010 sinkhole to pipes near the 2007 sinkhole.

The danger should not have been news to officials in Guatemala City, noted Bonis, who used to work for the Guatemalan government’s national geology institute.

As part of a volunteer team that investigated the 2007 sinkhole, Bonis co-authored a report warning the Guatemalan government that similar holes will very likely keep appearing unless action is taken to inspect the city’s sewer system for weaknesses. (Watch video of sewer divers in Mexico City.)

The government never replied, Bonis said—possibly due to a lack of funds.

“There’s a minimum of regulation, because that’s money that the government doesn’t have,” he said.

But, he added, “there’s got to be ways of inspecting the sewer system. … These are things that have to be done.”
National Geographic

 


US withholds funds to Honduran police

 

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The U.S. government is withholding funds to Honduran law enforcement units directly supervised by their new national police chief until the U.S. can investigate allegations that he ran a death squad a decade ago, according to a State Department report released this week.

The report says the State Department “is aware of allegations of human rights violations related to Police Chief Juan Carlos Bonilla’s service” and that the U.S. government has established a working group to investigate.

The U.S. had pledged $56 million in bilateral security and development assistance for 2012 in Honduras, where tons of drugs pass through each year on their way to the United States. Under the new guidelines, the U.S. is limiting assistance so that it only goes to special Honduran law enforcement units, staffed by Honduran personnel “who receive training, guidance, and advice directly from U.S. law enforcement and are not under Bonilla’s direct supervision,” according to the report.

Foreign operations law requires that 20 percent of assistance to Honduras be withheld until the Secretary of State certifies that Honduras is taking steps to improve human rights conditions and investigate allegations of abuses. In an unusual twist, the report certifies the Honduran government is meeting human rights requirements, but nonetheless says the U.S. government is withholding aid to agents working under Bonilla.

State Department officials reached late Friday and Saturday could not confirm how much funding was being withheld nor how they determined the conditions were met.

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo’s spokesman Miguel Bonilla, who is not related to the police chief Bonilla, said Saturday that the administration has repeatedly pledged full support for the police chief and that under his leadership “there has been a real improvement in the security situation.” Honduran officials did not comment on the funds being withheld but said the government “has an unconditional commitment to human rights.”

Earlier this year, The Associated Press reported that Bonilla, nicknamed “The Tiger,” had been widely accused of killings and human rights violations in a decade-old internal Honduran police report. The report named Bonilla in at least three killings or forced disappearances between 1998 and 2002 and said he was among several officers suspected in 11 other cases.

Chief Bonilla’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Only one of the allegations against the now-46-year-old Bonilla led to murder charges, however, and he was acquitted in 2004. The verdict was upheld by Honduras’ Supreme Court in 2009. Bonilla took office in May.

Human rights abuses have persisted under a series of law enforcement leaders. In a 2012 human rights report issued in June, the State Department said Honduran law enforcement agents have murdered and tortured people, though it did not mention Bonilla.

“Among the most serious human rights problems were corruption within the national police force,” the report added.

This week’s decision came after a series of letters from Honduran and U.S. academics, activists and members of Congress were sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asking her to reconsider security aid to Honduras because of alleged human rights violations. In recent years there have been reports of kidnappings and killings by law enforcement, more than 65 people killed during farmland conflicts and dozens of deaths of gay and lesbian activists.

“Combatting drug trafficking is not a legitimate justification for the U.S. to fund and train security forces that usurp democratic governments and violently repress our people,” said the June 7, 2012, letter signed by hundreds of academics.

The U.S. suspended $31 million in assistance to Honduras in 2009 after a coup that ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya. Clinton resumed aid in 2010 after Lobo was elected.Source

 


You Can't Prove A Man Innocent If You Have Killed Them Already

 

ABOLITIONIST FOR ALL CRIMES
Countries whose laws do not provide for the death penalty for any crime
ALBANIA
ANDORRA
ANGOLA
ARGENTINA
ARMENIA
AUSTRALIA
AUSTRIA
AZERBAIJAN
BELGIUM
BHUTAN
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
BULGARIA
BURUNDI
CAMBODIA
CANADA
CAPE VERDE
COLOMBIA
COOK ISLANDS
COSTA RICA
COTE D’IVOIRE
CROATIA
CYPRUS
CZECH REPUBLIC
DENMARK
DJIBOUTI
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
ECUADOR
ESTONIA
FINLAND
FRANCE
GABON
GEORGIA

GERMANY
GREECE
GUINEA-BISSAU
HAITI
HOLY SEE
HONDURAS
HUNGARY
ICELAND
IRELAND
ITALY
KIRIBATI
KYRGYSTAN
LATVIA
LIECHTENSTEIN
LITHUANIA
LUXEMBOURG
MACEDONIA (former Yugoslav Republic)
MALTA
MARSHALL ISLANDS
MAURITIUS
MEXICO
MICRONESIA (Federated States)
MOLDOVA
MONACO
MONTENEGRO
MOZAMBIQUE
NAMIBIA
NEPAL
NETHERLANDS
NEW ZEALAND
NICARAGUA
NIUE
NORWAY

PALAU
PANAMA
PARAGUAY
PHILIPPINES
POLAND
PORTUGAL
ROMANIA
RWANDA
SAMOA
SAN MARINO
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
SENEGAL
SERBIA
SEYCHELLES
SLOVAKIA
SLOVENIA
SOLOMON ISLANDS
SOUTH AFRICA
SPAIN
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
TIMOR-LESTE
TOGO
TURKEY
TURKMENISTAN
TUVALU
UKRAINE
UNITED KINGDOM
URUGUAY
UZBEKISTAN
VANUATU
VENEZUELA

ABOLITIONIST FOR “ORDINARY CRIMES” ONLY
Countries whose laws provide for the death penalty only for exceptional crimes such as crimes under military law or crimes committed in exceptional circumstances
BOLIVIA
BRAZIL
CHILE EL SALVADOR
FIJI
ISRAEL KAZAKHSTAN
PERU

ABOLITIONIST IN PRACTICE
Countries which retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes such as murder but can be considered abolitionist in practice in that they have not executed anyone during the past 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions. The list also includes countries which have made an international commitment not to use the death penalty
ALGERIA
BENIN
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
BURKINA FASO
CAMEROON
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CONGO (Republic)
ERITREA
GAMBIA
GHANA
GRENADA

KENYA
KOREA (SOUTH)
LAOS
LIBERIA
MADAGASCAR
MALAWI
MALDIVES
MALI
MAURITANIA
MONGOLIA
MOROCCO
MYANMAR
NAURU

NIGER
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
SIERRA LEONE
SRI LANKA
SURINAME
SWAZILAND
TAJIKISTAN
TANZANIA
TONGA
TUNISIA
ZAMBIA

RETENTIONIST COUNTRIES
Countries which retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes
AFGHANISTAN
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
BAHAMAS
BAHRAIN
BANGLADESH
BARBADOS
BELARUS
BELIZE
BOTSWANA
CHAD
CHINA
COMOROS
CONGO (Democratic Republic)
CUBA
DOMINICA
EGYPT
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
ETHIOPIA
GUATEMALA GUINEA
GUYANA
INDIA
INDONESIA
IRAN
IRAQ
JAMAICA
JAPAN
JORDAN
KOREA (North)
KUWAIT
LEBANON
LESOTHO
LIBYA
MALAYSIA
NIGERIA
OMAN
PAKISTAN
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
QATAR
SAINT KITTS & NEVIS
SAINT LUCIA
SAINT VINCENT & GRENADINES
SAUDI ARABIA
SINGAPORE
SOMALIA
SOUTH SUDAN
SUDAN
SYRIA
TAIWAN
THAILAND
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
UGANDA
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
VIET NAM
YEMEN
ZIMBABWE

COUNTRIES THAT HAVE ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY SINCE 1976
1976 PORTUGAL abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1978 DENMARK abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1979 LUXEMBOURG, NICARAGUA and NORWAY abolished the death penalty for all crimes. BRAZIL, FIJI and PERU abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
1981 FRANCE and CAPE VERDE abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1982 The NETHERLANDS abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1983 CYPRUS and EL SALVADOR abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
1984 ARGENTINA abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
1985 AUSTRALIA abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1987 HAITI, LIECHTENSTEIN and the GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC1 abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1989 CAMBODIA, NEW ZEALAND, ROMANIA and SLOVENIA2 abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1990 ANDORRA, CROATIA,2 the CZECH AND SLOVAK FEDERAL REPUBLIC,3 HUNGARY, IRELAND, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA and SAO TOMÉ AND PRíNCIPE abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1992 ANGOLA, PARAGUAY and SWITZERLAND abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1993 GUINEA-BISSAU, HONG KONG4 and SEYCHELLES abolished the death penalty for all crimes. GREECE abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
1994 ITALY abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1995 DJIBOUTI, MAURITIUS, MOLDOVA and SPAIN abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1996 BELGIUM abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1997 GEORGIA, NEPAL, POLAND and SOUTH AFRICA abolished the death penalty for all crimes. BOLIVIA and BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
1998 AZERBAIJAN, BULGARIA, CANADA, ESTONIA, LITHUANIA and the UNITED KINGDOM abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
1999 EAST TIMOR, TURKMENISTAN and UKRAINE abolished the death penalty for all crimes. LATVIA5 abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
2000 COTE D’IVOIRE and MALTA abolished the death penalty for all crimes. ALBANIA6 abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
2001 BOSNIA-HEZEGOVINA 7 abolished the death penalty for all crimes. CHILE abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
2002 TURKEY abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes. The FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA (now two states SERBIA and MONTENEGRO 9 ) and CYPRUS abolished the death penalty for all crimes
2003
ARMENIA abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes
2004
BHUTAN, SAMOA, SENEGAL and TURKEY abolished the death penalty for all crimes
2005
LIBERIA 8 and MEXICO abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
2006
PHILIPPINES abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
2007
ALBANIA6 abolished the death penalty for all crimes. and RWANDA abolished the death penalty for all crimes. KYRGYZSTAN abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
2008
UZBEKISTAN, CHILE and ARGENTINA abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
2009 BURUNDI and TOGO abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
2010 GABON removed the death penalty from its legislation.
2012 LATVIA abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

Notes:
1. In 1990 the German Democratic Republic became unified with the Federal Republic of Germany, where the death penalty had been abolished in 1949.
2. Slovenia and Croatia abolished the death penalty while they were still republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The two republics became independent in 1991.
3. In 1993 the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic divided into two states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
4. In 1997 Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule as a special administrative region of China. Amnesty International understands that Hong Kong will remain abolitionist.
5. In 1999 the Latvian parliament voted to ratify Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, abolishing the death penalty for peacetime offenses.
6. In 2007 Albania ratified Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances. In 2000 it had ratified Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, abolishing the death penalty for peacetime offences.
7. In 2001 Bosnia-Herzegovina ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, abolishing the death penalty for all crimes.
8. In 2005 Liberia ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, abolishing the death penalty for all crimes.
9. Montenegro had already abolished the death penalty in 2002 when it was part of a state union with Serbia. It became an independent member state of the United Nations on 28 June 2006. Its ratification of Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances, came into effect on 6 June 2006.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/abolitionist-and-retentionist-countries

 


The Echelon USA Surveillance Programme: the documentation

 

In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the US
National Security Agency
(
NSA
) has createda global spy system, codename
ECHELON
, which captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax,email and telex message sent anywhere in the world.

ECHELON is controlled by the NSA and is operated in conjunction with the
Government Communications Head Quarters
(
GCHQ
) of England, the
Communications Security Establishment
(
CSE
)of Canada, the
Australian Defense Security Directorate
(
DSD
), and the
General CommunicationsSecurity Bureau
(
GCSB
) of New Zealand.

These organizations are bound together under a secret 1948 agreement,
UKUSA
, whose terms and textremain under wraps even today.The
ECHELON system
is fairly simple in design: position intercept stations all over the world to captureall satellite, microwave, cellular and fiber-optic communications traffic, and then process this informationthrough the massive computer capabilities of the
NSA
, including advanced voice recognition and
optical character recognition
(
OCR
) programs, and look for code words or phrases (known as the
ECHELON

Dictionary
”) that will prompt the computers to flag the message for recording and transcribing for futureanalysis.

Intelligence analysts at each of the respective “listening stations” maintain separate keyword lists for them to analyze any conversation or document flagged by the system, which is then forwarded to therespective intelligence agency headquarters that requested the intercept.But apart from directing their ears towards terrorists and rogue states,
ECHELON
is also being used for purposes well outside its original mission. The regular discovery of domestic surveillance targeted atAmerican civilians for reasons of “unpopular” political affiliation or for no probable cause at all in violationof the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the
Constitution
– are consistently impeded by veryelaborate and complex legal arguments and privilege claims by the intelligence agencies and the USgovernment.

The guardians and caretakers of our liberties, our duly elected political representatives, give scarceattention to these activities, let alone the abuses that occur under their watch.

Among the activities that the
ECHELON
targets are:
Political spying:
Since the close of World War II, the US intelligence agencies have developed aconsistent record of trampling the rights and liberties of the American people.

Even after the investigations into the domestic and political surveillance activities of theagencies that followed in the wake of the
Watergate fiasco
, the
NSA
continues to target

 


Rational Conflict Resolution: What Stands In the Way?

 

by Johan Galtung, 14 May 2012 – TRANSCEND Media Service

Basel, Switzerland, World Peace Academy

Six conflicts, four current, one past and one future are shaping our present reality. Conflict is a relation of incompatibility between parties; not an attribute of one party. It spells danger of violence and opportunity to create new realities. Thus, to understand the shoa the narratives of unspeakable German atrocity and infinite Jewish suffering are indispensable. But so are the narratives of German-Jewish relations, Germans to others, Jews to others. Failure to do so blocks rationality: if conflict is in the relation, then the solution is in a new relation. This is not blaming the victim. What matters most is changing the relation. Are we able?

First case: USA vs Latin America-Caribbean. The recent meeting of the Organization of American States ended 32 against 1, USA. The 32 wanted Cuba readmitted and decriminalization of marijuana. Obama vetoed both; the relation a scandal, overshadowed by a sex scandal.

Solution: The USA yields to democracy on both, negotiates some time for the transition, and a review clause after 5 years. The USA also welcomes CELAC–the organization of Latin American and Caribbean states without USA and Canada–with OAS as a meeting ground for equitable and amicable South-North relations. Washington would be embraced by CELAC and the whole world. A sigh of relief. And the world could continue its fight against the far more lethal tobacco.

What stands in the way? A falling empire clinging to the past, fear of looking weak, elections, huge problems like a crisis economy and social disintegration: Charles Murray Coming Apart and Timothy Noah The Great Divergence. Backyard treatment of the US backyard.

Second case: Israel vs Iran; the nuclear issue; war or not. Uri Avnery[i]: “–in our country we are now seeing a verbal uprising against the elected politicians by a group of current and former army generals, foreign intelligence [Meir Dagan, Mossad] and internal security [Yuval Diskin, Shin Beth] chiefs–condemn the government’s threat to start a war against Iran, and some of them condemning the government’s failure to negotiate with the Palestinians for peace.”

Diskin: “Israel is now led by two incompetent politicians with messianic delusions and a poor grasp of reality. Their plan to attack Iran will lead to a world-wide catastrophe. Not only will it fail to prevent the production of an Iranian atom bomb–it will hasten this effort–with the support of the world community.

Uri Avnery on the not exactly dialogical, talmudic response:

“They did what Israelis almost always do when faced with serious problems or serious arguments; they don’t get to grips with the matter itself but select some minor detail and belabor it endlessly. Practically speaking no one tried to disprove the assertions of the officers, neither concerning the proposed attack on Iran nor the nuclear issue. They focused on the speakers, not on what was said: Dagan and Diskin are embittered because their terms of office were not extended. They felt humiliated–venting personal frustration”. Then Diskin on Netanyahu: “a Holocaust obsessed fantasist, out of contact with reality, distrusting all Goyim, trying to follow in the footsteps of a rigid and extremist father-altogether a dangerous person to lead a nation in real crisis” according to Avnery.

Solution: A Middle East nuclear free zone with Iran and Israel; 64 percent of Israelis are in favor, Iran the same provided Israel is in it. Could also be a model for the Korean peninsula. Agreement to try, a sigh of relief all over, both countries would be embraced.

There are problems: under whose auspices and whose monitoring. How about Pakistan and Ali Bhutto’s “islamic bomb”, impossible without India that has superpower denuclearization as condition?

There are answers, all worth discussing, in depth, seriously.

Israel is wasting its time. A wonderful talmudic tradition, a precious freedom of expression–generally very present in Ha’aretz–and misused for personal abuse instead of for solutions to very real crises. Like Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, and Gershom Gorenberg, The Unmaking of Israel (2011).

What stands in the way? The horrors of the past defining the discourse. Like some Iraqis use the Baghdad massacre in 1258, some Israelis use the holocaust as a framework for world events, blind to the differences, and to what could have been done at that time. And many let this pass not to hurt Israeli-Jewish feelings or for fear of being labeled as anti-Semites or holocaust-deniers. Not Dagan, Diskin and some generals. Nor real friends searching for solutions: not anti-Semites, nor holocaust deniers, nor prisoners of the past.

Third case: Israel vs Palestine. I have argued since 1971 a Middle East Community of Israel with five Arab neighbors, Palestine recognized according to international law, 1967 borders with some exchanges, Israeli cantons on the West bank and Palestinian cantons in northwest Israel. Solution: A two-state Israel-Palestine nucleus within that six-state community within an Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East (or West Asia). Model: Germany-France 1950, + EEC as of January 1 1958, + OSCE from 1990 onwards. Open borders, a council of ministers, commissions for water, border patrols, economy; capitals in the two Jerusalems; right of return, also for Palestinians: numbers to be discussed, as Arafat insisted.

What stands in the way? Key Israeli and Arab contra-arguments: “Surrounded by hostile Arabs we cannot let them in that close, they overpower us numerically, push us into the sea” says one; “The Jews penetrate us economically and run our economies”, says the other.

There are answers: Decisions would have to be by consensus. Start slowly with free flow of goods, persons, services and ideas; settlement and investment perhaps later. Build confidence. Change a relation badly broken by naqba into a peaceful, evolving relation.

Fourth case: A recipe for disaster: minorities, outsiders in key niches like economy-culture: Turks vs Armenians, Hutus vs Tutsis, Indonesians vs Chinese. But not Malays vs Chinese due to Mahathir’s discrimination in favor of the majority. Israel would gain from lifting the Arabs out of this social rank discordance; also a feature of Germany. Add the Versailles Treaty humiliation, Hitler and willing executioners.

Solution? Cancel the Versailles treaty in 1924, lift the German majority through education and employment into equality and we might have avoided World War II in Europe. What is rationality? Not justify, but explain, understand, and then remove the causes!

What stood in the way? Very few thought of this.

So much for a major fourth conflict of the past. Fifth case: rampant US anti-Semitism, now latent, using scapegoating to explain the decline of the USA and Israel; failing to grasp solutions for their eyes, both lost in the past, one in glory, one in trauma.

Imagine USA losing even more: support from allies, the magic of being exceptional-invincible-indispensable gone, torn between misery at the bottom and incredible riches at the top, the dollar no longer a world reserve currency, etc. A real fear right now: rampant anti-Semitism in the USA. This must be handled constructively, not by churning out anti-Semitism certificates, scaring US congressmen from questioning Israel, thereby jeopardizing US democracy itself. The tipping point from christian zionism to an anti-Semitism against Israel, Wall Street and American Jews in general may be close.

Solution: The US mainstream media become more pluralistic, less monochromatic, opening up to a range of discourses and solutions. Criticism of Israel and Wall Street is not enough, constructive solutions are needed. A solution culture, not a blaming culture. Like the ideas above for USA vs CELAC, Israel vs Iran, Israel vs Arab states. Nothing extreme, outlandish, and much to discuss.

But mainstream media constructive discussions are few in the US. There are hundreds of points to be made, like there once were when Europe was emerging from the ruins of World War II. Instead of degrading and humiliating Germany two brilliant French invited them into the family (now with its problems). Let thousand good ideas blossom! There is too much about the Cartagena sex scandal and too little about new ways of lifting the bottom of US poor into dignity, reducing the ever increasing inequality devastating the US economy.

What stands in the way? Clinging to the past, vested interests, the war industry, a blaming culture rather than a solution culture. But vast majorities and new and old media should be able to overcome.

Sixth case, very much related to this: debt bondage. China-Japan-EU vs USA; Germany vs Greece-Italy-Portugal-Spain-Ireland (GIPSI); the World Bank vs the Third World, with John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man as a gruesome illustration.

Yes, I have mentioned that fabrication by the Russian secret police, the Protocols–a conspiracy revealed long time ago. But like Mein Kampf condemnation is not enough, better know what one talks about. The Protocols read like a textbook on how to get others into debt bondage, starting with making workers believe they can be better paid and how these entitlements as they are called in the US debate can push a country into bondage. The first reaction to credit is a sigh of relief, the second is not knowing how to cut expenses or make some income to service the debt. The third is hatred mobilizing old traumas–look at Greece and Germany.

Solution: debt forgiveness, and contracting fewer debts. The time horizon can vary, and it must be accompanied by mobilization of all internal resources to lift the bottom up from suffering and into some acquisitive power, rejuvenating countrysides with agricultural cooperatives, trade among GIPSI countries. The threat to EU today is not only a single currency with no treasury–much better would have been the euro as a common currency–but a debt bondage gradient in what should be a more egalitarian community. The material out of which aggression is made. Not only forgiveness but also stimulus would be in Germany’s interest relative to the EU periphery, and the same goes for China relative to the USA (possibly coupled to agreed reduction of their arms budgets), and to the World Bank in general.

What stands in the way? Long on neo-liberal market ideology, short on eclecticism, of all good ideas, for alternative economies.

Conclusion: Humanity has vast positive and negative experiences. We should all join building on them, wherever they can be found.

(*) Some recent statements of mine, quoted out of context, have hurt some feelings. I apologize most sincerely for that, it was entirely unintended. One such context was the Breivik case in Norway with its many ramifications. A deeper context are the six conflicts addressed in this presentation.

NOTE:
[i] Uri Avnery, “A Putsch against War.” TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS May 7 2012.
_______________

Johan Galtung, a Professor of Peace Studies, is Rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years – 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgment and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, is included. Thank you.

 


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