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Bad News From America’s Top Spy

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By Chris Hedges
Truthdig
February 17, 2009.

The Director of National Intelligence argued that Wall Street, rather than
Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists.

We have a remarkable ability to create our own monsters. A few decades of meddling
in the Middle East with our Israeli doppelgnger and we get Hezbollah, Hamas,
al-Qaida, the Iraqi resistance movement and a resurgent Taliban. Now we trash
the world economy and destroy the ecosystem and sit back to watch our handiwork.
Hints of our brave new world seeped out Thursday when Washington’s new director
of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, testified before the Senate
Intelligence Committee. He warned that the deepening economic crisis posed perhaps
our gravest threat to stability and national security. It could trigger, he
said, a return to the "violent extremism" of the 1920s and 1930s.

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our
most dangerous terrorists. We will see accelerated plant and retail closures,
inflation, an epidemic of bankruptcies, new rounds of foreclosures, bread lines,
unemployment surpassing the levels of the Great Depression and, as Blair fears,
social upheaval.

The United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimates that some 50
million workers will lose their jobs worldwide this year. The collapse has already
seen 3.6 million lost jobs in the United States. The International Monetary
Fund’s prediction for global economic growth in 2009 is 0.5 percent–the worst
since World War II. There are 2.3 million properties in the United States that
received a default notice or were repossessed last year. And this number is
set to rise in 2009, especially as vacant commercial real estate begins to be
foreclosed. About 20,000 major global banks collapsed, were sold or were nationalized
in 2008. There are an estimated 62,000 U.S. companies expected to shut down
this year. Unemployment, when you add people no longer looking for jobs and
part-time workers who cannot find full-time employment, is close to 14 percent.

And we have few tools left to dig our way out. …

Continued here