The Cardinal Crisis
credit: Denise Merhi
Floods & Senseless Violence
Top American General Outed By Rolling Stone?
Economic Crisis Arrives in Texas?
Austerity in the United Kingdom
The opening series of the Cardinal T-Square World Transits has now begun, and, as we can see up to this point in time, global events continue to correlate to the powerful planetary configurations relative to the Earth.
We have seen and confirmed repeatedly, time and again, through the lens of Mundane Astrology as it applies to world history and current global events.
I also continue to forecast that senseless violence, inclined by the configurations of the cardinal positions of the planets, should be guarded against with great caution, prudence and patience or things could get out of hand.
From mid-June to the early weeks of July 2010 the transits of the outer planets continue to play powerful roles in personal relationships that have gone awry, such as the senseless acts of violence of early summer in the northern hemisphere.
New leaders emerge on the scene as Australians awoke to the news last week that it has its first female prime minister.
The economic crisis continues to make major news as England's new coalition government unveils its austerity package leading to calls from the opposition that it will destroy the social fabric of the nation.
Meanwhile, giving in to haste and impulse of the cardinal inclinations, a top commander over the war in Afghanistan, which in June 2010 eclipsed Vietnam as the longest running war in American history, was suddenly ousted by President Barack Obama after disturbing reports about a general's comments were revealed by a rock-and-roll magazine.
Meanwhile, signs of economic crisis arrives in rural Texas, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation says it has broken a sleeper Russian spy ring they say has been operating in the United States for over a decade.
We can see the signs of Uranus' coming re-entry into Aries next March with these scenes from Toronto, Canada, where there has been a meeting of the G20 Economic Summit.
Under the cardinal crisis inclinations, Uranus in Aries, as forecasted by me, will see scenes like this becoming more common throughout the world.
Although the G20 Summit was expected to be a contentious gathering - even for calm, cool and collected Canada, events have proved that global transits are just that ~ global.
The Cardinal Crisis
You Go Your Way, I'll Go Mine!
Canadians Push Back Hard Against Corrupt Corporations At G8/G20 Summits
Signs Of The Times: Riot-geared police officers and Canadian demonstrators struggle with one another at the G8/G20 summits on June 26, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Store windows were smashed and a police car set on fire during the protests, one of many planned in the city to coincide with the gathering of world leaders for the G20 & G8 summits being held in Toronto and nearby Muskoka, Canada from June 25-27.
Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images
The G20 Summit in Toronto Canada has seen stringent protests in light of the economic crisis, and calls for open government, and an end to greed, and corruption in financial and political affairs.
These protests on the streets of Toronto, (click on link) which felt a 5.5 magnitude earthquake just days ago, is part and parcel of the Cardinal T-Square involving the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto.
G20 Protests In Canada: A protester at the G8/G20 Summits pounds on a burnt-out car as a Toronto city police vehicle nearby has been set ablaze in downtown Toronto, Canada June 26-27, 2010.
Credit: Ryan Remiorz/AP
~ Robert Booth for the Guardian reports June 28, 2010 ~
Toronto, Canada -- More than 560 people were arrested across Toronto over the weekend after violence erupted between riot police and masked protesters as leaders of the G20 countries gathered behind the toughest security cordon in the history of the summit.
Many of those arrested had been staging peaceful protests, but trouble broke out on Saturday afternoon when a group of anarchists broke away from the main, non-violent protest by trade unions and other groups around the summit conference center and began smashing the windows of banks and chain stores and torching police patrol cars in the shopping and financial districts.
Credit: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
They covered their faces, and used litter bins, poles and bricks to smash the facades of an Urban Outfitters, a branch of Scotia Bank and an Adidas store. Footage from the Canadian broadcaster CTV also showed them looting, and threatening photographers.
Police armed with batons, tear gas, pepper spray and plastic bullets and mounted divisions were deployed to try to control the violence, according to news reports.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers had fired muzzle blasts — or "individual applications of tear gas" — that are used typically against people at close range.
It is thought to be the first time police in Toronto have used tear gas against the public.
Four people who climbed through the sewer system and emerged near the lock-down area where world leaders were attending the summit were arrested and police said they were urgently sealing sewer access near the zone.
Another 70 were detained after police raided the University of Toronto's city center campus.
Police said they seized weapons, including rocks and sticks.
Clashes also broke out when several hundred protesters marched on a temporary detention center for demonstrators arrested in the previous day's riots.
Jesse Rosenfeld, a freelance journalist who has written for the Guardian's Comment is Free website, was arrested and hit by police officers, according to a Canadian TV journalist who witnessed the arrest.
The rioting intensified into the night, with shop fronts smashed and media vehicles damaged. Police charged the crowds to seize individuals, and fired plastic bullets in an effort to clear a park, Reuters news agency reported.
"We have never seen that level of wanton criminality and vandalism and destruction on our streets," Toronto police chief Bill Blair told a news conference. "There are limits to free speech, and these limits really end when it infringes on the rights and the safety of others."
"This isn't violence," one masked protester told the Toronto Star newspaper.
"This is vandalism against violent corporations. We did not hurt anybody. [The corporations] are the ones hurting people."
There was considerable anger at some of the police tactics.
In scenes broadcast live in Toronto, an officer in riot gear could be seen striking an apparently unarmed protester several times during a standoff between lines of protesters and police.
A Montreal journalist, Stefan Christoff, said he was hit many times by a riot policeman with a plastic-coated metal baton after chanting slogans opposed to the G20.
Steve Paikin, who presents TV Ontario's current affairs programme Agenda, said he saw the assault on Rosenfeld.
"As I was escorted away from the demonstration, I saw two officers hold a journalist. A third punched him in the stomach.
The man collapsed.
Then the third officer drove his elbow into the man's back."
Toronto Police were also accused of being slow to respond when the violence began. Shops had not been boarded up in preparation for violence.
Security was meant to be tight. Canada has estimated that the cost of security for the G20 and earlier G8 summit, in Huntsville, Ontario, would be a record C$1bn (£640m) for the two centers.
Security costs for the 2008 G8 summit in Japan were US $381m (£211m), and $30m for the 2009 London G20 summit.
The costs in Canada included 19,000 police officers and 1,100 private security guards, working behind a 3 meter (9ft) metal fence around the Metro Toronto Convention Center.
The tight security has caused resentment. L Ian MacDonald, a columnist for the Toronto Star, said the city "looked like West Berlin, 1961, not Toronto, 2010".
Toronto's baseball team, the Blue Jays, were sent to play away from home and the CN tower was closed because of its proximity to the convention center.
One particular target for criticism was the introduction of a regulation allowing police to stop and search anyone coming within five meters of the security fence and make arrests if no identification is provided.
Lawyers have said that may violate Canada's charter of rights and freedoms, which guarantees freedom of assembly."
The Cardinal Crisis
G8/G20 Accord: Austerity Or Bust?
You Go Your Way... I'll Go Mine?
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Toronto for the G8/G20 Summit June 27-28, 2010.
"Born out of necessity in the dark days of late 2008, the cracks are beginning to show in the G20.
Developed and developing nations were united when confronted with the collapse of world trade and the shriveling of industrial output but are finding it harder to keep the show on the road now that the immediate crisis is over.
The communique from the weekend's meeting is easily summed up: do your own thing.
The Americans cannot persuade the Europeans to hold off from fiscal tightening until the recovery is assured; the Germans and the British think the risks of a sovereign debt crisis are far more serious than the possibility of a double-dip recession.
That was not the only contentious issue this weekend. Canada, Australia, China, India and Japan were unhappy with the idea that their banks – which proved resilient during the financial crisis – should have to pay the levy backed by Washington, Berlin, Paris and London.
Again, it was a case of go your own way.
Cause of friction?Meanwhile, the summit danced around a long-standing cause of friction; China's unwillingness to allow its currency – the yuan – to appreciate to a level that might help reduce its trade surplus with the US.
In one sense, the public manifestation of these differences should come as no surprise.
They were buried during the period of maximum danger – September 2008 to April 2009 – but the G20 no longer believes that the world economy is about to descend into a second Great Depression.
For the super-optimists, the return of diplomatic "business as usual" might even be seen as a good thing to the extent that it means normality has returned.
That, though, is a perverse way of looking at things.
The G20 was meant to be rather more than a crisis-resolution body; it was meant to be an institution that, through the inclusion of China, India and Saudi Arabia, could better deal with the chronic imbalances in the global economy that caused the crisis in the first place.
On the evidence of Toronto, it will take a second, perhaps even bigger, crisis to lead to such an outcome.
Barack Obama thinks that remains a possibility despite his emollient words to David Cameron at their bilateral meeting on Saturday.
Before explaining how a second crisis could already be brewing, it's worth sketching out a couple of alternative scenarios.
One is that the full effects of the colossal stimulus administered 18 months ago have yet to be felt. Growth will surprise on the upside over the coming months, so policymakers should be fretting about the risks of inflation.
Andrew Sentance, the Bank of England monetary policy committee member who voted for an increase in interest rates this month, is from this camp.
Unless the recovery is far stronger and broader than it appears, it is unlikely that the global economy could withstand a synchronized rise in interest rates prompted by an inflation shock.
Even if it could, there would only be a short sweet spot before old problems resurfaced: ever bigger surpluses in the export-dependent countries and ever bigger deficits in the US.
A second scenario is the one George Osborne envisages for Britain: a long and relatively joyless period of cold turkey after the excesses of the early and mid-noughties.
The Treasury view of the world envisages consumer spending growing only modestly, with investment and exports the main engines of growth.
The Germans, the Greeks, the Irish, and the Spanish – not to mention Japan, the US and the fast-growing emerging nations of China – all see their economic future in much the same way.
Just how every country in the world can enjoy export-led growth has not yet been explained.
The risks of a period of sub-par growth are acknowledged, but deemed as a price worth paying to keep the financial markets happy.
Governments are terrified that they will be punished severely if they fail to take deficit reduction seriously; investors will demand a higher price for buying the bonds that have to be sold to finance the deficit, which in turn drives up long-term interest rates for those home-buyers with fixed-rate mortgages and businesses with bank loans.
Better to slash spending and raise taxes so that monetary policy can remain loose. That is the advice Osborne has been getting from Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England.
Jean-Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank thinks the same way.
There are two points to mention here. The first is that King and Trichet, eminent though they may be, are not infallible.
King voted to keep interest rates above 5% in summer 2008 even though the economy was already in recession and the strains in the financial system that culminated in the collapse of Lehman Brothers were already in evidence.
Trichet seemed oblivious to the threat posed to the whole of the Eurozone by the crisis in Greece.
As for the markets, it is certainly true that sovereign debt is their concern this month. But next month they may be getting in a lather about the slow growth caused by the austerity programs they themselves have necessitated.
The risk is that satisfying the capricious whims of the financial markets leads to policy error and the doomsday scenario.
It goes something like this: even before the sovereign debt crisis erupted this spring, there were some tentative signs that the recovery that began in the spring of 2009 was losing momentum.
The US has just revised down its growth for the first quarter and has yet to see the pick-up in the labor market that it enjoyed in previous recoveries.
Europe's expansion over the winter was barely perceptible. China has been pounding along but Beijing has been seeking to tighten credit conditions after 2009's monetary laxity.
The sluggish recovery has meant that core inflation in the US and Eurozone is already below 1%. They are one recession away from deflation, and perhaps not even that.
There is so much spare capacity – particularly in European and North American labor markets – that a marked slowdown in activity rather than falling output would do the trick.
Central banks are terrified by the prospect of deflation, not least because none of them – outside of the Bank of Japan – have any experience of coping with it.
They would have every right to be worried. Deflation raises the real level of debt; it would hurt consumers, businesses and – crucially – banks.
Having barely survived the near-death of the global financial system in October 2008, central banks have no desire for a repeat performance.
They would feel the need to act decisively to prevent a deflationary spiral, but with interest rates already hovering just above zero could only do so through quantitative easing (QE) – creating electronic money through the banking system.
To have an impact this would need to be aggressive.
The trouble is that central banks know very little about the effects of QE and the chances of getting it wrong would be high.
Attempts to cure deflation could easily turn into the opposite problem: hyperinflation. In terms of chronology, it would pan out like this: sharp slowdown in US and European growth in the second half of 2010.
Pressure on heavily indebted banks intensifies as deflation becomes a reality in the first half of 2011. Second leg of the financial and economic crisis in the second half of 2011. G20 get serious in early 2012."
As the world nears the first series of the Cardinal Crisis transits, I continue to forecast serious problems and accidents on the high seas, increasing flood events, and climate change leading to the arrival of La Nina during the second half of 2010 and into the first half of 2011.
The transits of the outer planets can be sparked by transits of inner planets. In the case of the Cardinal Crisis transits, we see increasing signs of senseless acts of violence throughout the world.
My advanced climate and weather forecasts for 2010 called for increasing floods throughout the world. This is especially the case due to the conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus, and the position of Saturn in the late degrees of tropical Virgo.
I forecasted back in 2009 that expanding floods would increase in 2010:
Raging Global Floods:
Floods Flatten Entire Town
150,000 People Marooned By Floods
Flash Floods Strike in France
Floods Hit Western Canada
Storms & Floods In American Midwest
Missouri River Floods Towns South of Omaha Metro
Report on the May 2010 Tennessee Floods
Death Toll From Myanmar Floods Hits 63
30 People Die in Ghana Floods
Floods Strike in Romania
Downpours Triggered Floods in Oklahoma
Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake Felt In Canada
A car sits overturned on a sidewalk in central Paris, France, June 23, 2010 following Algeria’s devastating loss to the United States in the World Cup, as 200 to 250 youths who had been watching the game on a giant screen at an inner-city stadium took to the streets. Shop windows were smashed and about 20 cars were incinerated or flipped over, among other incidents which spread to nearby neighborhoods.
Two Teens Stabbed To Death In The Bronx
Gang Members Burn Bus In El Salvador, Killing 14
Mass Violence in South Kyrgyzstan
Jamaican Government Extends Curfew After Drug Lord Captured
Violence Spreads In Chicago, Leaving 10 dead, 60 Wounded
California Restaurant Gunman Bent on Domestic Violence
Family Man Arraigned In Brutal Slaying Of His Family
Seven Afghan Construction Workers Killed By Bomb Attack
Hooded Men Shoot & Hack Four Commuters To Death In Philippines
Gunman Fire On Mexican Town Hall, Kill 3 Police Officers
Australian Tycoon's Plane Crashes in Congo, 10 Bodies Found
Plane Crash Kills 7 Near Quebec City
Chaos At Connecticut Airport With Passengers Stranded on Plane
Afghan Chopper Crash Kills 3 Aussies, 1 American
Death Toll Continues To Climb In Congo Train Disaster
Speeding Train Kills 13 Summer Solstice Revelers Crossing Tracks
15 Indonesians Missing In Boat Accident
Credit: Steve Klayer/AP
The powerful inclinations of the transit of Mars in Virgo, along with the configurations of the cardinal t-square transits, offer a potent mix of violence which has been observed increasing, including within personal relationships, or rather, the lack thereof.
Consider these two recent events:
A suburban mother, stuck in an unsatisfying marriage, takes up with a young worker at her husband's landscaping company.
Secretly, they plot her husband's murder. The young laborer tries to poison his boss' lemonade, then beats him with a shovel before burying the body in a field.
The woman tells everyone her husband simply left.
The paramours plant diversions: She signs on to Facebook and changes his profile.
The lover sends her phony texts from the dead man's phone. But the questions build. First from relatives. Then from police. So does the pressure.
Their plan unraveled Friday, June 25, Chester County authorities said, when 34-year-old Morgan Marie Mengel admitted to conspiring to kill Kevin Mengel Jr., 33, the father of her three children, and told them where to find his body.
A cameraman photographs the area where the body of Kevin Mengel was said to be found late Friday night, June 25. His body was removed early Saturday morning by detectives and the Delaware County, PA., medical examiner.
Credit: Tom Kelly IV
The next day, police and cadaver-sniffing dogs found Mengel's body near Marple Newtown High School in Pennsylvania.
On Sunday night, police announced that the manhunt for Stephen Michael Shappell had ended with his capture in Denver, Colorado.
Stephen Shappell, 22, of Broomall, Marple Township, Pennsylvania is accused of allegedly murdering 33-year-old landscaper owner Kevin Mengel
The 22-year-old worker was last seen leaving the Mengels' landscaping business on Friday.
When he fled the area, Shappell was driving the Mengels' white Ford pickup truck with a pile of clothes on the backseat, police said.
A Denver Police Department spokesman said members of the force's fugitive unit, acting on information from West Goshen Township police, found Shappell walking in an area west of downtown Denver. He was taken into custody without incident.
Morgan Mengel remained jailed in Chester County Prison as investigators awaited toxicology tests to determine her husband's cause of death. Records show Shappell has had minor scrapes with the law, including a drug-possession charge.
First Assistant Chester County District Attorney Patrick Carmody called the case "strange and disturbing."
"Obviously, this is an extremely tragic case for the three children who are left with no parents," he said.
The children - a 12-year-old girl and her brothers, ages 10 and 6 - are with relatives, police said. Neighbors and others who knew the family were stunned.
"I'm speechless. That's just so horrible," said Laura Delgadillo, who lived in the same townhouse development, the Golf Club Apartments, along West Chester Pike. "I just saw them a few days ago and everything seemed normal."
But the couple's problems were not new. They married 12 years ago, around the same time they had their first child, records show. In 2004, Morgan Mengel filed for divorce but later withdrew the petition.
The next year, Kevin Mengel incorporated his landscaping business, MKB, according to state records. He ran it from a garage about a half-mile from their development.
Both Mengels worked for the firm, and neighbors said they would often see them leave together in their matching blue polos shirts with the company logo - MKB - one initial for each of their children.
"I never saw any problems," said Kevin Buckingham, a friend who occasionally did landscaping jobs with the Mengels. "They were always smiling together."
But Morgan Mengel wasn't happy, she told police, according to an affidavit from West Goshen Detective David Maurer.
Accused of plot to murder her own Husband? Morgan Mengel, 34, originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, is charged with complicity in the murder of her husband, Kevin Mengel, the father of three children.
She said she and Shappell began their affair in March. Weeks later, they hatched their scheme - "so they could be together," according to the affidavit.
On June 17, it says, Shappell placed "some sort of drug" in a bottle of lemon Snapple.
Morgan Mengel allegedly left the bottle on the hood of her husband's truck at the garage.
"No one else that worked there drank Snapple," the detective wrote. "She knew Kevin would drink it."
Soon after, Shappell sent Morgan Mengel a text message telling her that he had struck Kevin Mengel in the head with a shovel, the affidavit says.
She asked whether the body still had a pulse.
She reportedly asked if he was serious and he replied, "Dead serious," reported police investigators.
"Get down here now," Shappell allegedly replied.
Kevin Mengel's mother initially stirred police interest. Three days after the killing - on Father's Day - Kathleen Barton called them to report her son missing.
Barton said her daughter-in-law had told her that Kevin Mengel was stressed about his work and money and had simply left.
Barton told police it was "extremely abnormal" for her son not to have called her, according to the affidavit.
At the townhouse complex, Morgan Mengel tried to keep up appearances. A neighbor who asked not to be identified said the woman went to the pool at the complex last week with the three children - and with Shappell.
Kevin Mengel's mother kept digging. By midweek, she told police that someone other than her son appeared to have changed his Facebook page.
She said she learned that Morgan Mengel had been having an affair, and that she had been cashing big checks from the landscaping company's accounts.
On Thursday afternoon, Maurer interviewed Morgan Mengel and Shappell at her townhouse, according to his statement. Both denied any affair.
Mengel told the detective her husband had "packed up all of his belongings and had moved out."
But, Maurer said, he noticed what appeared to be Kevin Mengel's clothes in the bedroom and his toothbrush in the bathroom.
Around 6 a.m. the next day, the detective went to the Mengels' landscaping business to interview employees, according to his affidavit.
Soon after, Shappell and Morgan Mengel drove up in the white pickup filled with clothing.
Maurer asked what the clothes were for and got conflicting answers.
As the detective walked with Morgan Mengel into the shop, Shappell climbed back into the truck, a white four-door 2001 Ford Quad-Cab short-bed pickup truck bearing the Pennsylvania registration YSB-9330, and sped away, according to the affidavit.
Morgan Mengel agreed to go to the police station for an interview.
It's not clear how long the questioning lasted, but the affidavit said she ducked out "numerous times" to smoke. Then she outlined the whole plot, the affidavit said.
After the visit from the detective last week, Shappell decided to leave the area, Morgan Mengel told police.
On Thursday night, the affidavit says, "Morgan observed Stephen looking at maps and places to go to hide."
As if that weren't enough - the inclinations of Mars' transit in Virgo, along with that of Saturn, and the planets which form the cardinal T-square configurations rotating globally - we come to this second horrid tale of betrayal, haste, impulse, senseless violence and quadruple murder.
The photograph of the woman holding the tiny seahorse in her hand who is featured in this issue of Global Astrology is below.
Denise Merhi was sitting in her home, recovering from a case of sunburn on the day of the lunar eclipse in Capricorn with her father and grandfather, when all three were suddenly attacked by a knife-wielding former boyfriend of hers whom she had briefly dated two years before, police say:
Pennsylvania Rampage Suspect Had Been Sent to Anger Therapy
Northampton, Pa. – June 28, 2010 - A convicted murderer charged in the weekend stabbing deaths of four people was released from prison in 2006 but was put back behind bars two years ago for failing to complete anger management therapy.
Michael Ballard, 36, who is charged with four counts of homicide in Saturday's rampage in Northampton, was paroled again on April 19.
He was living at a halfway house in Allentown when authorities said he attacked his former girlfriend, her father, her 87-year-old grandfather and a neighbor who ran over to help after hearing screams.
Police charged Michael Eric Ballard, 36, with four counts of homicide for the Saturday, June 26th rampage in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Northampton, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia.
Police allege that Ballard killed 39-year-old Denise Merhi, her father and her grandfather along with a neighbor who rushed over to help when he heard the initial screams from Merhi's home.
Denise Merhi, 39, takes a photo of herself. The beautiful mother of two was brutally slaughtered in broad daylight in her Northampton, Pennsylvania home. Also murdered was her father, and grandfather, along with Merhi's next door neighbor who came to help after hearing her screams. Police detectives say the four murders were allegedly committed by a single man - Merhi's former boyfriend - on Saturday afternoon, June 26, 2010.
Credit: Denise Merhi
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said he will seek the death penalty.
"It was a very difficult crime scene to see these individuals essentially slaughtered by this fellow using a knife," Morganelli said.
Confidantes of Merhi told the Associated Press that she and Ballard dated briefly about two years ago.
Ballard told police he "murdered [his] girlfriend and her family and then the neighbor," according to court documents.
Ballard pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in 1992 and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, according to court records in Lehigh County.
Ballard, then 18, was accused of stabbing Donald Richard in December 1991 in Richard's Allentown apartment, according to newspaper accounts from the time.
The motive for Saturday's attack remained unclear. Friends and relatives of Merhi said there was no indication that Ballard posed a threat to the family.
Police identified the other victims as Merhi's father, Dennis Marsh, 62; her grandfather, Alvin Marsh Jr.; and her neighbor, Steven Zernhelt, 53.
Merhi had two children, but neither was home at the time of the attack.
Ballard, who was injured in a car accident shortly after the rampage, was arraigned at his hospital bedside. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Merhi's close friend, Nicole Young, and her cousin, Desiray Dolly, told the AP on June 27, 2010 that Merhi and Ballard once dated, but that it wasn't serious and she broke it off.
Dolly said Ballard showed up at her 16th birthday party two years ago and behaved inappropriately around her friends.
"He just gave you that kind of feeling, that uneasy feeling," said Dolly, now 18.
"He was offering us, 'If you ever need [alcohol], just let me know.' Constantly touching, putting hands on shoulders..."
Ballard, however, did not bother Merhi after their relationship ended, according to Dolly and Young.
"I just don't get it," Dolly said. "He didn't give any kind of warning that I know of."
Merhi, who was divorced, recently celebrated her daughter's 10th birthday ("Happy bday babygirl," she wrote on her Facebook page), attended a Phillies game and a Sugarland concert, and spent a "hot as Hades" weekend at the Jersey Shore with her children.
Denise Merhi at the seashore days before her murder.
The medical assistant was "bubbly, funny, cheery, high-spirited," said Young, 35. "She was always there when you needed someone to talk to."
Police were called to the brick twin house at 4:47 p.m. Saturday and found a gruesome crime scene, with blood puddled on the floor and splattered on the walls, according to Morganelli.
Each victim had been stabbed multiple times.
Zernhelt, who lived in the adjoining twin, heard the commotion, ran over to help and was stabbed as he got through the front door, according to his brother.
"I'll say this about my brother: He died a hero to me because he was trying to go over there and do whatever he could to help. I love him, I always will," said David Zernhelt, 36, of Allentown.
Steven Zernhelt, who hailed from a family of 10 children, worked as a heating and air conditioning instructor. He and his wife had three grown children.
"Growing up, he always tried to resolve situations," his younger brother said.
"He was the political family member of the brothers and sisters, who would always try to get everybody to get along with each other. So it wasn't surprising that he would try to help his neighbor like that."
After the attack, Ballard allegedly drove away in Merhi's Pontiac Grand Prix, and crashed it less than 10 minutes after police discovered the bodies.
He had extensive leg injuries and was bleeding heavily. Medics who treated him at the scene spotted an empty knife sheath attached to his belt, according to a police affidavit.
An off-duty state police trooper who saw the accident asked Ballard what happened. Ballard replied, "It's obvious, I just killed everyone," the affidavit said.
Many of Merhi's family members learned of the rampage while attending a high school graduation party for Dolly at a local park.
Merhi was supposed to be there, too, but she had suffered a bad sunburn at the beach and didn't feel well enough to go, Dolly said.
It was unclear Sunday whether Merhi knew of Ballard's past while they were dating.
"Michael Ballard, I hope you get what's coming to you," Young wrote on her Facebook page.
Ballard served about 18 years for the murder of Richard, 56, according to The Express-Times. He was released for a year in 2007 but was jailed again for a parole violation and then paroled on April 19, the newspaper reported.
On Saturday, Ballard was scheduled to return at 2 p.m. to a halfway house for state prison inmates where he had been living, the paper said, citing a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections spokeswoman.
But three hours later, he crashed a stolen car, officials said.
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, who has long railed against the state's parole system, said he was outraged that Ballard won early release from prison.
He likened Ballard to a rabid dog that needs to be put down.
"These are sociopaths and they need to be warehoused," Morganelli said. "Unfortunately, this is not a unique situation."
Ballard fatally stabbed 56-year-old Donald Richard in Richard's Allentown apartment in 1991, when Ballard was 18 years old. He pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, theft and fraud and was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.
Ballard stabbed Richard 13 times, cut his throat, stole his car and used his credit cards to buy clothing and dinners for friends, according to newspaper accounts from the time.
Then-Lehigh County District Attorney Robert Steinberg linked Ballard — an Arkansas man whose parents had sent him to Pennsylvania to live with an aunt — to the Ku Klux Klan, and Ballard claimed to investigators that Richard had made sexual advances.
Ballard had spent 15 years in prison when the state Board of Probation and Parole released him to a halfway house in November 2006.
Ballard's parole came with several conditions, including that he participate in "outpatient anger management treatment," according to documents released Monday by the board.
Ballard was required to remain in treatment "until the treatment source and/or parole supervision staff determine it is no longer necessary," the board said.
Ballard stopped going to anger management by April 2008, and he was returned to prison as a parole violator.
He came back before the parole board in November 2008, but the panel decided to keep him locked up, citing his "failure to demonstrate motivation for success" and his minimization of and "refusal to accept responsibility" for his crimes.
The board next considered Ballard's case in December 2009. Board members decided he was ready to be released and did not order any additional treatment for Ballard.
Board spokesman Leo Dunn declined to comment about the decision.
Ballard was scheduled to return at 2 p.m. Saturday to the halfway house where he had been living, but he failed to show and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton.
Police allege Ballard fatally stabbed 39-year-old Denise Merhi; Merhi's father, Dennis Marsh, 62; her grandfather, Alvin Marsh Jr.; and her neighbor, Steven Zernhelt, 53, inside Merhi's brick twin on a quiet street in Northampton, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia.
After the attack, Ballard drove away in Merhi's Pontiac Grand Prix, and crashed it less than 10 minutes after police responded to a 911 call and discovered the bodies.
Morganelli is seeking a death sentence for Ballard, who remained hospitalized Monday with injuries believed to have been suffered in the crash.
"This guy's a rabid dog and he needs to be put down, and I'm going to put him down with a death sentence," Morganelli said Monday."
June 28, 2010 -- In a case that reads like a less violent version of "The Bourne Identity," the U.S. Department of Justice has filed two sprawling criminal complaints today that claim to uncover a vast network of alleged Russian moles living in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., who were tasked with gaining access to U.S. policy makers.
The complaints charge the defendants with conspiracy to act as unregistered agents of a foreign government, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The complaints allege that Russia maintained what it calls an "illegals" program, consisting of a "network of [Russian agents] ... living and operating in the United States in the service of one primary, long-term goal:
To become sufficiently 'Americanized' such that they can gather information about the United States for Russia, and can successfully recruit sources who are in, or are able to infiltrate, United States policy-making circles."
FBI agents arrested 10 of the illegals on Sunday. Their names (some of which are fake) are Richard and Cynthia Murphy of Montlair, N.J.; Vicky Pelaez and Juan Lazaro of Yonkers, N.Y.; Anna Chapman of New York City; Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills of Arlington, Va.; Mikhail Semenko of Arlington, Va.; and Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley of Boston.
One suspect, Christopher R. Metsos, is still at large.
According to the complaints, the Russian "illegals" have been operating in the United States since the mid-1990s, and have been under FBI surveillance since at least 2002.
Their tactics and modes of communication include classic spy craft of the sort that is rarely aired in a courtroom; the complaint details, for instance, how two undercover FBI agents somehow managed to pose as Russian handlers for Chapman and Semenko in order to gather evidence against them.
One communication from Russian intelligence to one of the illegals, apparently intercepted by the U.S., explained the group's mission:
"You were sent to USA for long-term service trip. Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in US and send intels [intelligence reports] to C[enter]."
The alleged spies communicated with their handlers by special wireless computer networks set up through their laptops.
Through that network, they were able to exchange data without meeting.
FBI surveillance of Chapman showed her going to coffee shops and bookstores in New York at the same time that a representative from the Russian consulate was in the immediate vicinity; both would allegedly open their laptops and exchange data without speaking or being in the same room.
But, like all computer programs, the spy software was bug-ridden, and complaints about it helped two undercover FBI agents convince Chapman and Semenko, a D.C. operative, that they were working with the Russians.
One undercover agent posing as a Russian met with Chapman and asked how everything was going:
"Everything is cool apart from the connection," she replied. "I am not the technical guy... I don't know how to fix it," the agent said. "But if you tell me, I can pass it up."
The complaint also details the use of steganography, or the practice of embedding encrypted data in innocuous-seeming photos, and radiograms — rapid bursts of encrypted radio information that sound like static — to transmit information to handlers.
Some of the evidence contained in the complaint comes from listening devices stored in the moles' homes going back as far as 2002, suggesting that once the FBI discovered the network, it decided to spy on it for nearly a decade rather than wrap it up immediately."
Ten Alleged 'Sleeper Russian Spies' Operating in America?
WASHINGTON D.C. – June 28, 2010 - The FBI has arrested 10 people for allegedly serving for years as secret agents of Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, with the goal of penetrating U.S. government policy-making circles.
According to court papers unsealed Monday, the FBI intercepted a message from SVR headquarters, Moscow Center, to two of the defendants describing their main mission as "to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in US."
Intercepted messages showed they were asked to learn about a broad swath of topics including nuclear weapons, U.S. arms control positions, Iran, White House rumors, CIA leadership turnover, the last presidential election, the Congress and political parties.
After a secret multi-year investigation, the Justice Department announced the arrests Monday in a blockbuster spy case that could rival the capture of Soviet Col. Rudolf Abel in 1957 in New York.
There was no clue in initial court papers how successful the agents had been, but they were alleged to have been long-term, deep cover spies, some living as couples.
These deep-cover agents are the hardest spies for the FBI to catch because they take civilian jobs with no visible connection to a foreign government, rather than operating from government jobs inside Russian embassies and military missions.
Abel was just such a deep cover agent; he was ultimately swapped to the Soviet Union for downed U-2 spy pilot Francis Gary Powers in 1962.
The court papers described a new high-tech spy-to-spy communications system used by the defendants: short-range wireless communications between laptop computers — a modern supplement for the old-style dead drop in a remote area, high-speed burst radio transmission or even the hollowed-out nickels used by Col. Abel to conceal and deliver microfilm.
Eight of 10 were arrested Sunday for allegedly carrying out long-term, deep-cover assignments in the United States on behalf of Russia.
Two others were arrested for allegedly participating in the same Russian intelligence program within the United States.
An 11th defendant, who allegedly delivered money to the defendants, is at large.
The court papers cited numerous communications intercepted in the FBI probe that spelled out what the 10 allegedly were trying to do.
The timing of the arrests was notable given the efforts by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev to "reset" U.S.-Russia relations.
The two leaders met just last week at the White House after Medvedev visited high-tech firms in California's Silicon Valley, and both attended the G-8, G-20 meetings over the weekend in Canada.
Intelligence on Obama's foreign policy positions, particularly toward Russia, appears to have been a top priority for the alleged spies.
In the spring of 2009, the documents say, alleged conspirators, Richard and Cynthia Murphy, who lived in New Jersey, were asked by Moscow for information related to Obama's impending trip to Russia that summer.
They were asked to learn about the U.S. negotiating position on the START arms reduction treaty as well as Afghanistan and the approach Washington would take in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear program, the documents said.
They were also asked to send background on U.S. officials who would be traveling with Obama or involved in foreign policy.
"Try to outline their views and most important Obama's goals (sic) which he expects to achieve during summit in July and how does his team plan to do it (arguments, provisions, means of persuasion to 'lure' (Russia) into cooperation in US interests," Moscow asked, according to the documents.
Moscow indicated that it needed intelligence reports "which should reflect approaches and ideas of "four sub-Cabinet U.S. foreign policy officials."
One intercepted message said Cynthia Murphy, "had several work-related personal meetings with" a man the court papers describe as a prominent New York-based financier who was active in politics.
In response, intelligence headquarters in Moscow described the man as a very interesting target and urged the defendants to "try to build up little by little relations.
..."Maybe he can provide "Murphy " with remarks regarding US foreign policy, 'rumors' about White House internal 'kitchen,' invite her to venues (to major political party HQ in NYC, for instance. ... In short, consider carefully all options in regard" to the financier."
Each of the 10 was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Two criminal complaints outlining the charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York.
Nine of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison on conviction.
The papers allege the defendants' spying has been going on for years.
One of the defendants living in Massachusetts made contact in 2004 with an unidentified man who worked at a U.S. government research facility.
"He works on issues of strategic planning related to nuclear weapon development," the defendants' intelligence report said of the man.
The defendant "had conversations with him about research programs on small yield high penetration nuclear warheads recently authorized by US Congress (nuclear 'bunker-buster' warheads)," according to the report.
One message back to Moscow from the defendants focused on turnover at the top level of the CIA and the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
The information was described as having been received in private conversation with, among others, a former legislative counsel for Congress. The court papers deleted the name of the counsel.
In the papers, FBI agents said the defendants communicated with alleged Russian agents using mobile wireless transmissions between laptops computers, which has not previously been described in espionage cases brought here:
"They established a short-range wireless network between laptop computers of the agents and sent encrypted messages between the computers while they were close to each other."
The papers also said that on Saturday an undercover FBI agent in New York and another in Washington, both posing as Russian agents, met with two of the defendants, Anna Chapman at a New York restaurant and Mikhail Semenko on a Washington street corner blocks from the White House.
The FBI undercover agents gave each an espionage-related delivery to make.
Court papers indicated Semenko made the delivery as instructed, but apparently Chapman did not.
FBI agents arrested the defendants known as Richard Murphy and Cynthia Murphy at their residence in Montclair, New Jersey.
A neighbor, Louise Shallcross, 44, said she often saw Richard Murphy at the school bus stop.
"We were all very excited to have a stay-at-home dad move in," Shallcross said.
Three other defendants also appeared in federal court in Manhattan — Vicky Pelaez and a defendant known as "Juan Lazaro," who were arrested at their residence in Yonkers, N.Y., and Anna Chapman, who was arrested in Manhattan on Sunday.
A federal magistrate ordered Richard and Cynthia Murphy, Juan Lazaro, Vicky Pelaez and Anna Chapman held without bail.
The defendants — most dressed in casual clothes like blue jeans, shorts and T-shirts — answered "Yes," when asked if they understood the charges. None entered a plea.
"The evidence is truly, truly overwhelming," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz.
Another hearing was set for Thursday.
Pelaez is a Peruvian-born reporter and editor for El Diario/La Prensa, one of the country's best-known Spanish-language newspapers, for several years.
She is best known for her opinion columns, in which she often criticizes the U.S. government.
A senior editor at the newspaper confirmed the arrest but declined to comment on the allegations. The editor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was not authorized to speak for the company.
In January 2000, Pelaez was videotaped meeting with a Russian government official at a public park in the South American nation, where she received a bag from the official, according to one of the criminal complaints filed in the case.
An attorney for Chapman, Robert Baum, argued that the allegations were exaggerated and that his client deserved bail.
"This is not a case that raises issues of security of the United States," he said.
The prosecutor countered that she was a flight risk, calling her a highly trained "Russian agent" who is "a practiced deceiver."
Two other defendants, known as Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills, were arrested at their residence in Arlington, Va. Also arrested at a residence in Arlington, Va., was Mikhail Semenko.
Zottoli, Mills and Semenko made their initial appearance before Magistrate Theresa Buchanan early Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.
The hearing was closed because at that point the case had not yet been unsealed in New York. The three did not have attorneys with them at the hearing, spokesman Peter Carr said.
In Arlington, where Zottoli and Mills lived in a ninth-floor apartment of a high-rise building, next-door neighbor Celest Allred said her guess had been that "they were Russian, because they had Russian accents."
Two defendants known as Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley were arrested at their residence in Cambridge, Mass., on Sunday.
They appeared briefly in Boston federal court on Monday afternoon. A detention hearing was scheduled for noon Thursday.
In Moscow, calls to the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) were not answered early Tuesday.
The two most prominent cases involving the SVR in the past decade may have been those of Robert Hanssen, the FBI counterintelligence agent who was convicted of passing along secrets to the agency, and Sergei Tretyakov, deputy head of intelligence at Russia's U.N. mission in 1995-2000.
Tretyakov, who defected in 2000, claimed in a 2008 book that his agents helped the Russian government steal nearly $500 million from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein.
He said he oversaw an operation that helped Saddam's regime manipulate the price of Iraqi oil sold under the program and allowed Russia to skim profits."
The Cardinal Crisis
Russian Sleeper Spy Cell Making The Rounds in U.S. Policy-Making Circles?
Why is it just so hard to get ourselves a peaceful summer this year honey?
By John Cook
June 28, 2010 -- One of the 10 people arrested on Sunday as part of a Russian spy network aimed at infiltrating U.S. policy-making circles appears to have attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University — one of the most influential venues in U.S. policy-making circles.
The complaint filed today by the Department of Justice claims that Donald Howard Heathfield and his wife, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, surveilled by the FBI in their townhouse, discussed how to send digital photographs encrypted with data to their Russian handlers.
The surveillance operation also discovered that the pair was receiving electronic messages from Russian agents discussing communication via radiograms—or short bursts of radio static encoded with data.
It appears that the same Donald Heathfield has a profile on the business social network LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn profile lists Heathfield as the CEO of Future Map, a company that shares a Cambridge address, according to public records, with a Donald Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley.
Calls to the Kennedy School of Government seeking comment were not immediately returned.
According to the LinkedIn profile, Heathfield attended Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1999 and 2000 after going to school in Paris.
That matches the Department of Justice complaint that says that Heathfield arrived in the U.S. in 1999.
Future Map, according to its website, "help[s] governments, enterprises and international organizations better prepare for the future and make better strategic decisions."
Future Map's website claims that the technology for the software was "born as an initiative involving a group of graduates from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and private sector specialists in the USA, the UK and France working to support forward-looking decision processes."
The LinkedIn profile also lists Heathfield as a past partner at Global Partners Inc., a management consulting firm that lists Abbott Labs, Boston Scientific, and GE as clients.
Global Partners' website also lists a Donald Heathfield. When Yahoo! News told Carolyn Quintin, one of Heathfield's partners at the firm, of his arrest, she replied, "that doesn't make much sense."
"I'm in total shock," she said. "He's got such good training skills." Quintin said she believed the Heathfield is a Canadian with U.S. citizenship. She first met him, she recalled, "around 2001," before she had joined the firm herself.
She hired Global Partners Inc. to do training for the American division of Essilor, a French lens manufacturer.
"He was a great facilitator," she said. "He was great at looking at international cultures and communications."
However, if one thing is certain, it is that the Cardinal Crisis world transits will not disappoint, as the Russian Sleeper Cell Spy stories get stranger by the hour, and in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
The Cardinal Crisis
From The Mundane To The Glamourous?
Lives Of Suspected Sleeper Spies In America
~ AP reports June 29, 2010 ~
Anna Chapman, one of the 10 alleged Russian spies arrested by the FBI over the weekend, was dogged by a common sort of IT headache, according to the criminal complaint filed against her:
She spent a great deal of time trying to get her Russian-issued laptop to work properly.
Chapman was allegedly a member of the spy network the Russians dubbed "illegals," a group tasked with posing as Americans in order to get close to American policymakers.
But she had persistent trouble getting the computer issued by her Russian handlers to wirelessly transmit her weekly intelligence reports; as the complaint from the Department of Justice alleges, she complained that the connection didn't work.
Anna Chapman, Russian Sleeper Spy in America?
Still, she liked her American computer well enough. In January, she raved on her Facebook page: "My new Mac has been the buy of the year... Love it!"
Apparently, Russian spies are Mac evangelists. Who knew?
Emerging details on the so-called "illegals" Russian spy ring show that some were living mundane suburban family lives--but that others, including Chapman, were operating as glamorous single party-goers.
The New York Post is calling Chapman a "007-worthy beauty who flitted from high-profile parties to top-secret meetings around Manhattan."
The 28-year-old redhead reportedly owned an online real estate business worth $2 million--so far unnamed in news reports--and lived in a "fancy financial district apartment."
Her Facebook page is stocked with glamor shots worthy of a model, and noted New York party photographer Patrick McMullan has snapped her attending high-society events like the 2010 FDNY Foundation Dinner and an Armory Show Kickoff Party hosted by Whitewall Magazine.
Chapman's alleged colleagues appeared to live more ordinary lives.
Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley are a typical 40-something couple with two teenaged children who--like almost all teens--sometimes disrupted their Cambridge, Mass., with neighborhood loud parties, reports the Washington Post's Jeff Stein.
Foley owned her own real estate web site and worked as an agent for Redfin Realty, while Heathfield was a consultant doing leadership training for a firm called Global Partners Inc.
Yesterday one of Heathfield's partners there, Carolyn Quintin, said she was "shocked" at news of Heathfield's arrest, and this morning another partner, Jay Gronlund, said he was "very impressed with Don's professional skills--smart, personable."
Gronlund said Heathfield hadn't done much work for the firm in recent years, even though he's listed as a partner. He's also the founder of a company called Future Maps, which claims on its web site to sell strategic planning software to governments and corporations.
The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University confirmed to Yahoo! News that Heathfield earned a mid-career masters in public administration from the school in 2000, but declined to say what courses he took or which professors he studied under.
According to Wicked Local, a Cambridge blog, Heathfield made a campaign donation to Massachusetts state Rep. Marty Walz, one of his Kennedy School classmates, in 2004.
Heathfield's colleagues say they believed him to be a Canadian national who'd earned American citizenship; according to the Associated Press, Foley describes herself on her website as "a native of Montreal who had lived and was educated in Switzerland, Canada and France."
Their neighbors describe them as a typical Cambridge couple: "I’m surprised, very surprised,” one told the Boston Herald.
"She was a friendly neighbor. She was gorgeous. She was nice. They were European but I didn’t know what kind."
Another accused couple, Vicki Pelaez, and Juan Lazaro, lived on a quiet suburban street in Yonkers, N.Y., and also had children.
Pelaez is a columnist of El Diario/La Prenas, one of the largest-circulation Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S., and has written critically of the United States, calling the American prison industry a form of slavery.
Lazaro is a retired professor of political science at the New School for Social Research; both are Peruvian. The couple was arrested on Sunday while returning home from a party with their 17-year-old son, according to El Diario.
Richard and Cynthia Murphy lived in Montclair, N.J. One neighbor joked to the New York Times that their gardening skills didn't quite fit in with the charge of espionage: "They couldn’t have been spies--look what she did with the hydrangeas."
According to Politico, Cynthia Murphy was a vice president at a Manhattan accounting firm called Morea Financial Services, and claimed on her LinkedIn profile--a service that many of the alleged spies seemed to have joined--to have attended Columbia University.
Cynthia Murphy is described in the complaint as having made contact with an unnamed high-profile financier and political donor.
In Washington, D.C., Mikhail Semenko, an unmarried alleged operative, was described by neighbors as living a lifestyle closer to Chapman's.
The New York Times called him "a stylish man in his late 20s who drove a Mercedes S-500."
Little has been reported about another couple, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills, who recently moved to Arlington, Va., from Seattle.
The one remaining member of the alleged ring who remained at large after the weekend arrests--Christopher Metsos, their alleged handler--was arrested today in Cyprus while trying to board a flight for Hungary."
The Cardinal Crisis
Russian Government Says Suspected Sleeper Spies are, well, "Russian?"
Alleged Sleeper Russian Spy Anna Chapman stands in front of the Statue of Liberty in an undated photograph.
MOSCOW – June 29, 2010 - Some of the suspected spies arrested in the United States are Russian citizens, Russia's Foreign Ministry acknowledged Tuesday, but it insisted they did nothing to hurt U.S. interests.
The ministry statement said Russia is counting on the U.S. "to show proper understanding, taking into account the positive character of the current stage of development of Russian-American relations."
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivered the same message during a meeting at his country residence with former President Bill Clinton, who was in Moscow to speak at an investment conference.
"I understand that back home police are putting people in prison," Putin said, drawing a laugh from Clinton. "That's their job. I'm counting on the fact that the positive trend seen in the relationship will not be harmed by these events."
The Foreign Ministry would not say specifically how many of the 11 alleged deep-cover agents are Russian.
NTV television identified two of the defendants as Russian and showed their photographs from a social networking website. NTV said Mikhail Semenko had moved to the U.S. in 2008 and Anna Chapman, said to have an English husband, moved to the U.S. in February of this year. Both are in their late 20s.
The FBI announced the arrests of 10 suspects Monday, and an 11th person allegedly involved in the Russian spy ring was arrested Tuesday in Cyprus.
Court papers said the operation goes back as far as the 1990s and many of the suspects were tracked for years.
Semenko and Chapman, however, were listed in a separate complaint and said to use their real names.
Most of the other suspects were accused of using fake names and purporting to be U.S. or Canadian citizens while really being Russian.
They are accused of attempting to infiltrate U.S. policymaking circles while posing as ordinary citizens, some of them as married couples.
Oleg Gordievsky, a former deputy head of the KGB in London who defected in 1985, said Russia probably has about 50 deep-cover couples spying inside the United States.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would know the number of illegal operatives in each target country but not their names, the 71-year-old ex-double agent told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday.
Countries often have a number of intelligence officials whose identities are declared to their host nation, usually working in embassies, trade delegations and other official posts.
Gordievsky, who spent nine years working in the KGB directorate in charge of illegal spy teams, said he estimates there are 400 declared Russian intelligence officers in the U.S., as well as up to 50 couples charged with covertly cultivating military and diplomat officials as sources of information.
He said the complexity involved in training and running undercover teams means Russia is unlikely to have significantly more operatives now than during his career.
"I understand the resources they have, and how many people they can train and send to other countries," Gordievsky said.
"It is possible there may be more now, but not many more, and no more than 60 (couples)."
The ex-KGB officer said deep-cover spies often fail to deliver better intelligence than their colleagues who work in the open.
"They are supposed to be the vanguard of Russian intelligence," Gordievsky said. "But what they are really doing is nothing, they just sit at home in Britain, France and the U.S."
The Foreign Ministry's first reaction to the U.S. arrests was less amicable, and some senior Russian lawmakers said some in the U.S. government may be trying to undercut President Barack Obama's warming relations with Moscow.
"These actions are unfounded and pursue unseemly goals," the ministry said in a statement issued earlier Tuesday.
"We don't understand the reasons which prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to make a public statement in the spirit of Cold War-era spy stories."
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that U.S. authorities announced the arrest just days after Medvedev had visited the United States and met Obama at the White House.
"They haven't explained to us what this is about," Lavrov said at a news conference during a trip to Jerusalem.
"I hope they will. The only thing I can say today is that the moment for doing that has been chosen with special elegance."
Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service refused to comment on the arrests of its alleged agents.
Nikolai Kovalyov, the former chief of the main KGB successor agency, the Federal Security Service, said some of the U.S. charges against the alleged spies resembled a "bad spy novel."
Kovalyov, now a lawmaker, said the arrests were an attempt by some "hawkish circles" in the United States to demonstrate the need for a tougher line toward Moscow.
Kovalyov added that Russian-U.S. ties will continue to improve despite the spy scandal.
"Our two great powers must stand together," he said.
Some lawmakers suggested a tit-for-tat Russian response, but Kovalyov said Russia would reciprocate only "if the Americans don't stop at that and risk evicting our diplomats," the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
Other senior Russian lawmakers also alleged that some in the U.S. government resented warmer ties with Russia.
"This was initiated, was done by certain people of certain political forces, who aren't in favor of improving relations between Russia and the United States, and I feel deeply sorry about that," Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house, the State Duma, told Associated Press Television News.
"Not all of them support Obama's policy," Mikhail Grishankov, a deputy head of the Duma's security affairs committee, told AP. "There are forces interested in tensions."
Viktor Kremenyuk, a deputy head of the U.S. and Canada Institute, a Moscow-based think tank, said the spy case could threaten a planned ratification of a new nuclear arms reduction deal signed by Obama and Medvedev in April.
"That may change the atmosphere, that may change the attitudes among Americans toward Russia, (and) that may cause very significant political consequences," Kremenyuk said.
In Britain, the case stirred memories of the country's own illegal Soviet spy — Melita Norwood, a civil servant who spent about 40 years passing atomic research and other secrets to Moscow.
Authorities ruled against prosecuting the elderly grandmother when she was exposed in 1992. Norwood died in 2005 at the age of 93."
Also see -> Curiosities Emerge About Suspected Russia Agents.
Wimberley, Texas - "The grass in the pasture stands tall. Throughout the spring, bluebonnets, Indian paint brushes and black-eyed Susans waved from the roadside.
The Blanco River runs clear and full now, and the tourists return to the town square. A wet winter and cold spring have broken the grip of a two-year drought in Texas.
But this plenty camouflages a drought of another sort: the economic one. Texas was slow to be swept up by the Great Recession.
But now its pain has come home to big cities and small towns, as the lagging effects of the recession batter the ranchers, storekeepers and families who all withstood — until now.
While Washington's fury is directed toward the Gulf oil pill, it has largely lost sight of the recession.
Yet Congress continues to weigh financial reform, and it would do well to remember the human cost of the Great Recession, triggered by the titans of Wall Street but borne heavily by everyday people.
Since the crisis began and through the first quarter of this year, more than $2 trillion in mutual funds have been wiped out, 4.5 million homes have gone into foreclosure and 6.8 million jobs have been lost.
With its art, eclectic character and natural beauty ours is one of the best little towns in the nation to visit; it says so right in the pages of The New York Times and Travel Holiday Magazine.
But for those of us who live here, a quiet crisis whispers of impending poverty. A merchant confides he can't take another year like the last two.
A Mexican stonemason tells me that a single project tided his family through winter.
A Realtor relays that all over town, people who never took a mortgage they couldn't afford are looking to give up, sell out and move on.
The alternative is tallied and cataloged at the stately 102-year old, brick-and-limestone county courthouse over in San Marcos. Jack Hays, for whom this county was named, was a living legend for his exploits as a Texas Ranger, namely for fighting the Comanche.
Today, people are losing their homes not to raiding parties but to banks.
There were 157 up for auction in April alone. For 15 withering months there have been 100 or more, according to the San Marcos Daily Record.
It cites George Roddy, whose company dutifully counts all of them: "This foreclosure storm is far from over."
The list carries the names of familiar ranches, springs and creeks. Yet the tale of Hays County is, sadly, more emblematic than unique in the vast landscape that stretches westward beyond the Hudson and the Potomac.
Up in Austin, $6.5 billion in real estate value has been wiped out as if by a tornado.
The resultant cuts in money for teachers, cops and services in the city are likely just around the corner.
In Austin and elsewhere, the conservative cultural boosterism of Texas initially downplayed the recession.
Heir to George W. Bush's original political office and many of his finest traditions, Republican Gov. Rick Perry quipped of the recession in 2009, "We're in one?"
It was his so-far-overlooked Katrina moment as time proved that bravado as prematurely false as that of his predecessor.
"Texas has been hit much harder by the 2008-09 recession than previous ones," according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Starting with a 6.1 percent unemployment rate at the beginning of the crisis, the job market fell throughout last year to end 2009 at an 8.2 percent unemployment rate.
This year, manufacturing orders picked up, but the job creation rate stood stubbornly at zero in the first quarter.
Click on Graphic To Enlarge
Today in Texas, one in five people struggle to feed themselves and one in five children live in poverty, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, founded by Benedictine nuns.
Perhaps Perry's economic prowess will trail him out of the state like a coyote when he seeks the presidency.
However, this is not a Texas story but an American one, told in fiscal crises that stretch from California to Illinois, from Alabama to New York.
It is in Washington where the Great Recession will be justly dealt with — or not.
Realistically, after all, Congress and the regulators have assiduously polished their reputations as hand-maidens of the banks at least since the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999.
It doesn't take an expert to understand that much of the legislation in Congress is mere cover for the politicians and the big banks. It isn't designed to redress the latest crisis or stop the next one.
It puts matters in the hands of regulators who consistently failed, to, well, regulate.
Regardless of party, the politicians will let the big banks go on gambling with other people's money.
The only real solution is to reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the big banks.
Only one senator, Democrat Ted Kaufman of Delaware, railed for that and against something dressed up in the Orwellian costume of "reform."
Back here in Texas, when European settlers first came to the Hill Country they pushed ever deeper, establishing ranches, farms and homesteads because those early wet years made the land lush, green and inviting.
When the Comanche came they scared some settlers. But when the droughts came, revealing a harsh, arid landscape clinging to hard-scrabble rock, it forced the hands of far more.
I have taken what I have left and squirreled it away in a small Hill Country bank. But I, too, have to face the inevitable:
I ask my 16-year old, Olivia, what she thinks about selling our little place high in the oaks and cedars over the Blanco.
She looks at her sister, Isabel, and reflects, then replies: "We've made a lot of good memories here." I nod. So we have.
So I will wait until, or unless, this drought forces my hand, too."
The Cardinal Crisis
However, there has been a "flash crash analysis" done on the New York Stock Exchange event that shocked world markets amid the sovereign debt crisis in Greece which then led to the near crash of the Euro and fueled an ongoing American federal investigation into stock market manipulation.
"Even as the idiots at the SEC mope about cluelessly; confirming they deserve not one cent of taxpayer money to fund their massively over bloated budget, and should all be summarily fired to collect tarballs in the Gulf of Mexico (and soon Maine.)
Our friends at Nanex have conducted an exhaustive analysis (must read for everybody concerned about market structure), in which they identify the various parties responsible for the market crash, and, drumroll please, High Frequency Trading stands at the pinnacle of culprits for the 1,000 point Dow drop.
What we discovered was a manipulative device with destabilizing effect."
Beginning at 14:42:46, bids from the NYSE started crossing above the National Best Ask prices in about 100 NYSE listed stocks, expanding to over 250 stocks within 2 minutes (See Part 1, Chart 1-b).
With NYSE's bid above the offer price at other exchanges, HFT systems would attempt to profit from this difference by sending buy orders to other exchanges and sell orders to the NYSE. Hence the NYSE would bear the brunt of the selling pressure for those stocks that were crossed.
Seconds later, trade executions from the NYSE started coming through in many stocks at prices slightly below the National Best Bid, setting new lows for the day. (See Part 1, Chart
If the quotes sent from the NYSE were stuck in a queue for transmission and time stamped ONLY when exiting the queue, then all data inconsistencies disappear and things make sense.
Charting the bid/ask cross counts for those two days reveals the same pattern as 5/6! Looking at the details of the trade and quote data on those days shows the same time stamp/price inconsistencies. The NYSE stated that during the same intervals, they were experiencing delays in disseminating their quotes!
In summary, quotes from NYSE began to queue, but because they were time stamped after exiting the queue, the delay was undetectable to systems processing those quotes.
This situation led to orders executing against whatever buy orders existed in the NYSE designated market maker (DMM) order book.
Because many of the stocks involved were high capitalization bellwether stocks and represented a wide range of industries, and because quotes and trades from the NYSE are given higher credibility in many HFT systems, when the results of these trades were published a few milliseconds later, the HFT systems detected the sudden price drop and automatically went short, betting on capturing the developing downward momentum.
Some trading firms have stated that they detected a problem with the accuracy of the data feed and decided to shut down which further reduced liquidity. We think the delay in NYSE quotes was at the root of this detection.
On the subject of HFT systems, we were shocked to find cases where one exchange was sending an extremely high number of quotes for one stock in a single second -- as high as 5,000 quotes in 1 second!
- Quote and trade data must be time stamped by the exchanges at the time it is generated. This will ensure delays can be detected by everyone.
Reasoning: Changing the procedure to time stamp at the time a quote or trade is generated is a near trivial exercise. It probably comes as a surprise to many that time stamping isn't done that way now.
- Quote-stuffing should be banned.
Reasoning: It is a manipulative device designed to overload the quotation system. Quote and trade dissemination (data feed) is a finite resource, and should be treated as such.
- Add a simple 50 millisecond quote expiration rule: a quote must remain active until it is executed or 50ms elapses. If the quote is part of the NBBO, it may be improved (higher bid or lower offer price) at any time without waiting for the expiration period.
Reasoning: The exchanges must protect the integrity of the National Best Bid/Offer system. What is the point of having a National Best Bid/Offer, if not everyone in your nation (apologies to Alaska/Hawaii) can reasonably execute a trade against it?
The Cardinal Crisis
Click On Graphic To Enlarge
~ The New York Times reports ~
"When the housing boom began to cool in 2006, an increasing number of homeowners began to fall into foreclosure; that is, lost ownership of their home or were threatened with it because of a failure to keep up with their mortgage payments.
That rise in foreclosure blew up the house of cards Wall Street had built around mortgages, leading eventually to the near-collapse of the financial system, the global recession and a drop in property values not seen since the Great Depression.
Four years later foreclosures were not only still wracking homeowners and communities, but actually continued to rise, despite several rounds of efforts by the federal government to break the cycle.
The waves of foreclosures have fed on themselves, since foreclosure sales can drive down the value of homes in the surrounding area, thereby making further foreclosures more likely.
And falling property values have sharply eroded the tax base of some areas, forcing spending cutbacks by state and local governments already hurting from the general economic slowdown.
In the first quarter of 2010, there were 930,000 foreclosure filings — an increase of 7 percent from the previous quarter and 16 percent from the first three months of 2009, according to recent data from RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties.
The surge seems to indicate that homes that were in the foreclosure pipeline are now being lost for good.
In March, the Treasury reported nearly 228,000 troubled loans qualified under President Obama's plan for long-term payment reductions; another 108,000 long-term modifications were pending.
Currently, some six million borrowers are more than 60 days delinquent.
Observers of the housing scene see three distinct waves in foreclosures:
The initial spike involved speculators who gave up property because of plunging real estate prices, and the secondary shock centered on borrowers whose introductory interest rates expired and were reset higher.
The third wave represents standard mortgages, known as prime, written to people who had decent credit ratings, but who have lost their jobs in the economic downturn and are facing the loss of homes they had considered safe.
Those sliding into foreclosure today are more likely to be modest borrowers whose loans fit their income than the consumers of exotically lenient mortgages that formerly typified the crisis.
It was said in 2009 that 60 percent of the mortgage defaults that year would be set off primarily by unemployment, up from 29 percent in 2008."
See Interactive Feature:
The Faces of Foreclosure
~ The GoldenTruth.com reports June 23, 2010 ~
Property manager Paul Martinez kicks in a tenant's door after no one answered the knock during an eviction in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The tenant said he was laid off from his job in a retail store and had fallen behind on his payments.
Credit: John Moore/Getty Images
This just in from Bloomberg: -- Sales of new homes collapsed last month, sinking 33 percent to the lowest level on record as potential buyers stopped shopping for homes once they could no longer get government incentives."
The housing market is in full collapse.
Of course, The Golden Truth has been explaining why the housing market is in trouble since the absurd taxpayer subsidy of the housing market ended April 30th.
The Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage applications index showed another steep decline last week, falling seasonally adjusted 5.9% from the previous week.
On a nominally calculated unadjusted basis, the purchase index dropped 2.3% (vs. 1.2% as adjusted) and has plunged 36.8% from the same week a year ago.
Here's the MBAA press release: OOPS.
And yesterday it was reported that existing home sales dropped 2.2% from April to May.
What is stunning about the nominal magnitude of the serial declines being reported for all aspects of the housing market is that this time of year is supposed to be the seasonally strong period for housing.
It can be argued with a high degree of credibility that Obama's taxpayer subsidy of the last year has served no purpose other than to "pull forward" home sales and prop up prices - both are unsustainable given the deteriorating underlying fundamentals.
The other big problem facing the housing market, and a problem which has had an incredible amount beauty salon treatment to the real numbers, is that the total inventory of homes building up in the system is massive.
American middle-class anger over banking corruption, foreclosures and double-digit unemployment continues to build into the Cardinal Crisis of summer 2010
When I say "total," I am including not only MLA listings, but also bank REO (foreclosed homes owned by banks) and homes currently in the foreclosure process.
Foreclosures hit a new record high last month, climbing an astonishing 44% from May 2009. Foreclosures increased in every State.
Not only that, but Zillow reported that a full 25% of all homes with mortgages are now worth less than the amount of the outstanding mortgage on the home.
I would bet good money that the real number is higher, as it is likely that - on average - owner-perceived and appraised home values are higher than actual market values. I would bet the number is more like 30%.
I have seen estimates that use this "total" inventory calculation that show the true inventory of homes out there to be 8 years, based on trailing twelve month sales rates.
But as we go forward and the rate of sales decline, obviously the number of years worth of inventory climbs even higher.
There's not much I can opine about this beyond what I've suggested in previous blogs.
So I'll will summarize this situation with a quote from the great Austrian economist, Ludwig Von Mises:
"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion.
The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."Obama and Larry Summers can throw as much taxpayer money as they want at the housing market in order to buy votes.
But ultimately all this does is create a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the banks, real estate brokers and sellers of the homes.
Just like water eventually finds its own level, the housing market will eventually settle at a sales rate and price level which is substantially lower than where it is today.
Rest assured that the Govt/Fed will attempt to fight this process by printing massive amounts of money and creating even larger fiscal deficits.
But the process is doomed. The ONLY way to protect yourself from this is with gold/silver/mining stocks. I can only lead a horse to water..."
We can see in this next feature on Global Astrology how Afghanistan's top commander did not take this mundane advice, which then led to his disgrace and ultimate dismissal by President Barack Obama in a surprising, and sudden series of developments.
A General Dismissed With the Help of Rolling Stone?
Rolling Stone Magazine Story Causes Changes In Top Command: U.S. President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joseph Biden Jr., Gen. David Petraeus & Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, announced the removal of General Stanley A. McChrystal as top commander in Afghanistan on June 23, 2010, and the appointment of General Petraeus as his replacement to lead the war effort there.
Credit: Doug Mills/New York Times
~ The New York Times reports June 23, 2010 ~
By Helene Cooper & Jack Healy
Mr. Obama, standing with General Petraeus and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the White House Rose Garden to underline the continuity and solidity of his Afghan policy, said that he had accepted General McChrystal’s resignation “with considerable regret.”
Mr. Obama said he had done so not out of personal insult over a magazine article featuring contemptuous quotes from the general and his staff about senior administration officials, but because it showed the general had not met standards of behavior for a commander, which threatened to erode trust among administration and military officials, as well as undermine civilian control of the military.
“War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or president,” Mr. Obama said. “As difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe it is the right decision for our national security.”
“I welcome debate among my team,” he said, “but I won’t tolerate division.”
General Petraeus, who holds overarching responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the head of the United States Central Command, would be required to leave his current post to take on his new appointment, which must now be confirmed by the United States Senate.
Mr. Obama stressed that the change in leadership did not signal a shift in his overall war strategy in Afghanistan, where thousands of new American troops have been arriving in recent months among increasing casualties and growing questions about the progress of the war.
“This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy,” Mr. Obama said.
The reshuffle injected new uncertainties into relations between the United States and the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who had urged American leaders to let General McChrystal remain in place.
“We are not opposing his successor, but we would prefer that General McChrystal come back,” Ahmed Wali Karzai, the influential half brother of Mr. Karzai, said earlier Wednesday, suggesting that the Afghan government was realistic about the possibility that General McChrystal would be replaced.
General McChrystal had proved to be one of the few Western leaders who could work well with President Karzai, building trust and traveling to tribal meetings with him, and personally apologizing when Western military actions resulted in major civilian casualties, which have been a source of deep anger for Afghans.
In a brief statement, General McChrystal said he supported the strategy in Afghanistan and had resigned out of a “desire to see the mission succeed.” His dismissal did not alter his rank, but it was unknown what role he would next play in the Pentagon, if any.
General McChrystal and Mr. Obama met for about 20 minutes earlier in the day, after the general flew from Afghanistan to Washington on Tuesday amid a growing furor over the article, which Rolling Stone magazine posted on its Web site on Tuesday after it had leaked to other news outlets.
The article quoted General McChrystal and his aides speaking critically of nearly every member of the president’s national security team, dismissing Vice President Biden as “Bite Me”; calling the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, a “clown”; and disparaging other top officials.
Former Afghanistan Top American Commander Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal
Credit: Luke Sharrett/New York Times
The firestorm over the article was fueled by increasing doubts — even in the military — that Afghanistan can be won and by crumbling public support for the nine-year war as American casualties rise.
The remarks also laid bare the disarray and enmity in a foreign policy team that is struggling with the war.
In replacing General McChrystal, Mr. Obama decisively showed that he remained the ultimate decision-maker on military matters and would not tolerate insubordinate behavior or internal rifts among his top officers.
But the decision also invited criticism that Mr. Obama was shaking up his military command at a crucial moment in the conflict, when coalition forces are preparing to try to take control of the country’s second-largest city, Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban.
Beyond that, Mr. Obama’s war strategy is in many ways a McChrystal strategy. The general devised the plan, which called for thousands of extra troops to fight the insurgency and, perhaps more important, create a sense of security for the Afghan people.
But Mr. Obama said the mission in Afghanistan, where the United States now has more than 90,000 troops, remained unchanged by General McChrystal’s removal. “We have a clear goal,” Mr. Obama said.
“We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity. We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on Al Qaeda and its leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same.”
The Afghanistan team has suffered many internal conflicts, including complaints from the American ambassador, Karl W. Eikenberry, about Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In one episode that dramatized the building animosities, General Jones, the national security adviser, wrote to Ambassador Eikenberry in February, sympathizing with his complaints about a visit Mr. Holbrooke had recently made to Afghanistan.
In the note, which went out over channels that were not secure, officials said, General Jones soothed the ambassador by suggesting that Mr. Holbrooke would soon be removed from his job.
The Jones note prompted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to complain to Mr. Obama, and her support for Mr. Holbrooke has kept him in his job.
The infighting has been made more severe by the increasingly perilous situation on the ground. Violence in Afghanistan is on the rise.
The mission to pacify Marja and Kandahar is far off track. And the effort to create a viable Afghan government is increasingly in doubt because of widespread corruption.
Criticism is mounting on Capitol Hill, even among the president’s backers, and many allies have announced that they are looking for the exit, with others expected to do the same in the coming months.
There has been vigorous debate within the administration about how to proceed in Afghanistan, but in the article General McChrystal and his aides did not overtly criticize administration policy.
Rather, the differences revealed were personal. One administration official described Mr. Obama as being particularly furious at a characterization of him in the article as not seeming “very engaged” during that first White House meeting.
A General's Nunchucks: General McChrystal carries a custom-made set of nunchucks in his convoy engraved with his name and four stars. His itinerary often bears a quote from the late Bruce Lee: "There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
Credit: Mikhail Galustov/Rolling Stone/Redux
Over all, the article depicted General McChrystal at the head of a small circle of aides engaged in what came close to locker-room trash talk as they discussed foreign policy, the French, their allegiance to one another and their own concerns about course of the war.
The civilian communications adviser who set up the interview, Duncan Boothby, has resigned."
The Cardinal Crisis
A Volcano, Rolling Stone Magazine & A Blunt General?
General McChrystal walks towards a helicopter at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan in May 2010.
Credit: Mikhail Galustov/Rolling Stone/Redux
By Jeremy W. Peters
New York Times
June 22, 2010 -- Of all the questions surrounding the Rolling Stone article that detailed Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s surprisingly blunt criticisms of the Obama administration, few are as puzzling as this:
Why would a top military commander allow a journalist so much unfettered access to his inner circle?
The answer, it seems, is a volcano.
Michael Hastings, the freelance journalist who wrote the bombshell article about General McChrystal’s displeasure with the war effort in Afghanistan, was with the general and his staff in Paris in April as the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in Iceland, forcing the closing of airspace over most of Europe.
As a result, Mr. Hastings waited in Paris with the general and his staff as they tried to get to Berlin by bus.
Mr. Hastings traveled to Berlin separately. He later rejoined the general’s inner circle at the Ritz-Carlton hotel there, where they all spent the week waiting for the ash cloud to clear so they could fly to Afghanistan.
“I was so amazed by it myself,” Mr. Hastings said in a telephone interview from Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he is now reporting on another story for Men’s Journal.
“At times I asked myself that question: Why are they giving me all this access?”
Though Mr. Hastings said that most of the eyebrow-raising comments in the article came from the general during the first two days in Paris, he found him and his staff to be more welcoming as time went by.
Initially, Mr. Hastings was not scheduled to travel with General McChrystal to Afghanistan.
Only after he arrived in Europe did Mr. Hastings learn that the general’s staff was eager to take him with them. “They suggested the idea,” Mr. Hastings said.
Mr. Hastings ended up spending about a month on and off with the general and his staff while they were in Afghanistan — most of the time in settings and interviews that the general allowed to be on the record.
“The amazing thing to me was that no ground rules were set,” Mr. Hastings said.
Rolling Stone’s executive editor, Eric Bates, said he also found General McChrystal to be surprisingly willing to vent his grievances.
“I think there’s an enormous frustration there where they feel like people don’t get it,” Mr. Bates said.
“And that seeps through into a lot of those quotes. They feel that the people who are supposed to be working with them aren’t working with them or don’t understand what the strategy is.”
Asked whether he believed that General McChrystal let his guard down because it was Rolling Stone, a publication devoted primarily to pop culture and the music business, Mr. Bates said it would not be the first time a political figure opened up to the magazine.
General Stanley McChrystal prepares his meal at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. The general become known for sleeping just four hours a night, running seven miles each morning and eating one meal a day.
Credit: Mikhail Galustov/Rolling Stone/Redux
“In their mind, I think people sometimes forget how much reporting is in the DNA of Rolling Stone,” he said.
“And there’s some glamour attached to the name. I don’t know at all if that was the case here. But in general, I’d say that sometimes people are excited to be in the magazine.”
Though word of the article began to trickle out on Monday night, Rolling Stone did not post it on its Web site until around 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
But that was not nearly fast enough for the lightning-speed needs of the 24-hour news cycle. Politico and the Web site of Time magazine posted PDF files of the article on their Web sites before Rolling Stone could get its own article up. Rolling Stone asked them to remove the PDFs.
Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, said that the magazine did not always post articles online because it could make more money at the newsstand and that when it did, the articles were typically not posted until Wednesday. But other news organizations made that decision for him."
Global transits continue to show the power of Jupiter and Uranus as they transit tropical Aries and oppose Saturn with the three planets squared by Pluto In Capricorn.
The sudden entry of new leaders emerging unexpectedly on the world scene after gaffes and internal strife leads to swift and immediate change.
Consider this event out of Australia:
Kevin Rudd Dumped?
Australia's first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She will lead Australia's government to fresh elections due within months
Credit: Parth Sanyal/Reuters
~ The British Telegraph reports June 24, 2010 ~
'Australia has its first female prime minister after Kevin Rudd stood down on Thursday, handing over leadership to his deputy Julia Gillard.'
By Bonnie Malkin
Sydney, Australia-- Mr Rudd was convinced to step aside after it became obvious during an emergency caucus meeting that he did not have the support of enough MPs to continue serving as prime minister.
The British-born Ms Gillard was reportedly backed by at least 75 of the Labour Party's 115 MPs, sending a clear and emphatic message to Mr Rudd that it was time to go.
The threat to Mr Rudd's leadership emerged on Wednesday night, after senior Labour power brokers told him that he had lost their support and Ms Gillard revealed that she would challenge him.
The prime minister was urged to step down, but a defiant Mr Rudd announced that he would go to a vote.
Uranus In Aries Strikes Again: Former Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd won a landslide election victory less than three years ago, but then suffered a recent plunge in opinion polls. On June 24, 2010 he is suddenly ousted by his own Party.
After a night of frantic phone calls to gauge support, Mr Rudd decided not to stand against Ms Gillard, handing her the prime ministership unopposed.
The move against Mr Rudd came amid fears that he could not win an election later this year, and hopes that Ms Gillard, who is seen as more voter-friendly than the rage-prone Mr Rudd, had a far better chance.
Ms Gillard is considered to be a consummate political performer, and is viewed by the public as warm and trustworthy.
Born in Barry, Wales, her family came to Australia as "Ten Pound Poms" in 1966. She became engaged in politics at university, while training to be a lawyer, and entered parliament in 1998.
However, there is no guarantee that Ms Gillard's move to take charge of the party will put and end to Labour's problems. Ms Gillard was part of Mr Rudd's "gang of four", a small group of MPs consulted by Mr Rudd over policy issues.
She had a hand in the scrapping of the emissions trading scheme, which infuriated the electorate and could leave her tarred with the same brush as Mr Rudd.
The political violence of the past 24 hours is also expected to badly damage and divide the party, and further anger voters just months from an election.
The leadership spill comes amid increasing public frustration with the government.
The Labour Party has a primary vote of just 35 per cent, with the Liberals polling 40 per cent.
The dire outlook for Labour was triggered a series of unpopular decisions made by Mr Rudd, including the announcement in April that the government was shelving its flagship emissions trading scheme.
Mr Rudd was also embroiled in a high profile fight with the mining industry over his planned 40 per cent super profits tax on resources."
England Unveils Emergency Austerity Plan
By John F. Burns & Landon Thomas Jr.
LONDON — June 22, 2010 -- Setting the scene for years of potential strife with the powerful public-sector unions and their allies in the Labour Party, Britain’s new coalition government on Tuesday unveiled the most severe package of spending cuts and tax increases since the early days of Margaret Thatcher’s era.
After only six weeks in office, the government of Prime Minister David Cameron took what his coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats acknowledged was a historic gamble: that austerity measures will help balance the government’s books without pitching the country into a double-dip recession.
British Prime Minister David Cameron
The cuts and tax increases, including average budget reductions of 25 percent for almost all government departments over the next five years, will make Britain a leader among European countries, including Ireland, Greece and Spain, competing to show they can slash spending and appease investors worried about surging debt.
But the sharp reductions defy conventional economic wisdom, which holds that governments should increase spending to stimulate growth when the private sector is weak.
The steps outlined to the House of Commons by George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, would cut the annual government deficit by nearly $180 billion over the next five years, shrinking Britain’s public sector and instituting tough reductions in public housing benefits, disability allowances and other previously sacrosanct aspects of the country’s $285 billion welfare budget.
Only health and international aid spending would be protected from the 25 percent cuts for government departments by 2015, the steepest fiscal spending reductions since the 1930s.
Mr. Osborne also announced a two-year wage freeze for all but the lowest paid among Britain’s six million public servants and a three-year freeze on benefits paid to parents for rearing children, in addition to new medical screening for people claiming disability benefits, part of a bid to cut $16 billion from the annual welfare budget.
George Osborne, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, holds England's emergency budget brief as he left 11 Downing Street for the House of Commons on June 22, 2010.
Mr. Osborne also announced a raft of tax increases, though he was at pains to say that the government’s plan to sharply reduce the country’s $1.4 trillion national debt would rest on making roughly four pounds in spending cuts for every pound in tax increases, a point of considerable political weight in a country that is already among the highest-taxed in Europe.
The new taxes include an increase next year to 20 percent from 17.5 percent in the value-added tax on most goods and services, and an increase in the capital gains tax, to a new high of 28 percent, to curb what Mr. Osborne described as rich people in Britain “paying less tax than the people who clean for them.”
At the same time, changes in income tax will remove nearly 900,000 of Britain’s poorest people from the income tax system altogether, and corporate taxes will also be reduced over a five-year period, to 24 percent from 28 percent.
“I am not going to hide the hard choices from the British people,” Mr. Osborne said in a speech in which he accused the former Labour government of understating the impact of its 13 years of deficit spending.
But he said the new coalition government, which should have little difficulty enacting the new measures with its Parliament majority, had striven to make the austerity fair.
“Over all, everyone will pay something,” he said, but the poor would pay less than the rich.
The concerns about the budget stringency seemed likely to reverberate well beyond Britain, pitching the Cameron government squarely into the political and economic dispute about the best way to navigate world economies out of the worst recession since the 1930s.
Last week, President Obama wrote to the leaders of the so-called Group of 20 nations, including Britain and other major economies, saying that while “credible plans” to cut national deficits were important, cutting them too quickly could lead to “renewed hardships and recession.”
U.S. President Barack Obama
Obama's letter was seized upon by Cameron government’s opponents in Britain, who cited it on Tuesday in condemning the Osborne budget.
“It’s back to the economics of the 1930s,” Ed Balls, a left-wing Labour figure who is one of five candidates running to succeed the former prime minister, Gordon Brown, as Labour leader, said in a BBC interview.
But the Conservatives believe they can repeat the Thatcher-era revival, when sharp budget cuts — even during a recession — restored market confidence in Britain’s future and helped spark a strong economic expansion through the decade.
Mr. Osborne, at 39 the youngest person in more than a century to preside over Britain’s public finances, said the cuts were made necessary by years of Labour profligacy. “We’ve had to pay the bills of past irresponsibility,” he said.
Savage Budget Cuts? George Osborne, British Chancellor of the Exchequer (standing) delivers his first Emergency Budget to Parliament as deputy prime minister Nick Clegg (yellow tie) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (light blue tie) sit behind him in the House of Commons June 22, 2010.
Calling the new measures “reckless,” Labour Party leaders, still nursing their wounds from their May defeat, appeared to be readying for a rerun of the bitter politics of the Thatcher years, when Britain was hit by widespread labor strife.
“Greece is no alibi,” Harriet Harman, acting leader of the Labour Party, said in her House of Commons reply to Mr. Osborne, referring to the financial meltdown there this spring that prompted a huge international bailout.
Acting Labor Party Leader Harriet Harman gave a scathing rebuke on the austerity plan, saying it would throw more people out of work and England into economic & social chaos.
Over the weekend, Mr. Osborne said in a television interview that unless Britain took radical steps to reduce its $1.4 trillion debt it would be “on the road to ruin” like Greece.
Ms. Harman said the measures were not a necessity forced on the new government by Britain’s parlous national finances, but an ideological choice to promote the traditional right-wing interests of the Conservative Party.
Many details of the austerity plan will not be made public until the fall.
Here is what is known to date:
- VAT to rise 2.5% to 20% from January 2011
- Deficit reduced 77% by spending cuts, 23% by tax rises
- Departments face cuts of 25% over the next five years
- Two-year pay freeze for public sector workers earning over £21,000
- Child benefit frozen for three years & tax credits cut
- Disability benefit claimants face new medical checks
- Corporation tax cut from 28% to 24% over four years
- Capital Gains Tax hiked to 28% for top-rate taxpayers
- Bank levy from 2011, raising £2bn a year
- Income tax threshold raised £1,000 to £7,495
- Pension link to earnings restored or 2.5% rise from next April
- Civil list frozen at £7.9m as Queen also feels the pinch
Click on Graphic To Enlarge
But the most politically untouchable outlays, the $150 billion budget for the National Health Service, Britain’s 60-year-old nationalized medical care system, have been “ring-fenced,” in accordance with Conservative pledges in the election to make annual increases.
Concern among the cuts’ opponents has centered on the annual budgets for schools, universities and defense, an $85 billion cost that is scheduled for sharp cuts despite Britain’s deep involvement in the war in Afghanistan.
Financial markets have so far given a thumbs-up. The pound stayed steady against the dollar, closing on the currency markets in Britain and the United States at, or slightly above, the level at which it closed on Monday.
Over the longer term, the main significance of the budget may be judged to be the signal it gave that the Cameron government is prepared to wage a political war to reduce the size of the public sector in Britain, which expanded rapidly under Labour.
During that time, more than one million jobs were added to the public payroll, and the public sector accounted for roughly half of the economy.
Mr. Osborne made no secret of the government’s intentions. “A genuine and long-lasting economic recovery must have its foundations in the private sector,” he said. “That is where the jobs will come from.”
American Astrologer Jude Cowell, In Her Excellent 'Stars Over Washington' Site, Says Of England's Austerity Plan:
Austerity Cuts A Huge Mistake: Pluto In Capricorn
"This morning I awoke to BBC's reporting of a morning announcement in London of 'austerity cuts' against the good people of the UK and if some had their way in the U.S. we'd be - and probably will be - on the same 'make-things-worse road' as FDR set us on in 1937.
Why, it's almost as if governments want things worse for the people and aren't trying to 'recover' financial systems at all!
Well, they do if all the sky-falling voices are correct (like mine) and the entire 'collapse' is an orchestrated charade that's intended to collapse the global economy so that totalitarianism can have its way with us and a long-planned one-world-government can be instituted.
Such is transformative Pluto traversing governmental Capricorn as in 1776 when America was founded as the 'new world government' on the block - and now Mr. Hades is destructuring governments again.
That nationalist governments must fail is a priority for the power elite's New World Order movers and shakers and if individuals fail in the process, too bad - you're merely collateral damage in the class warfare now being waged.
What's also too bad is that so few citizens of the U.S. and elsewhere have taken seriously the warnings about class warfare putting targets on their backs which have been given to anyone who would listen since (at least) the 90s.
Successful propaganda campaigns against such heralds of doom have been used to make 'conspiracy theorists' appear to be wacky and off the mark.
Yet in most cases, we, dear reader, are not. Plus, even wacky folk can be right part of the time. I proudly count myself among their number.
Well, perhaps you caught Paul Krugman's June 19 article That 30s Feeling which agrees that austerity cuts will do more harm than good so here's its link for you, just in case.
And though it's true that Mr. Krugman won't mention anything to you about Pluto, Capricorn, or the tearing down of current forms and institutions to make way for a much-promoted yet already-lamented-by-the-people NWO, it's okay because I just did.
We must remember that that's why the power elite has worked for decades to knit all financial systems into a world network in the first place - so that the financial collapse with its subsequent governmental failures would be global when they get ready to pull the final plug."
- April 6-7 - Pluto stations retrograde at 5-Capricorn
- April 7, 2010 - Saturn re-enters tropical Virgo
- April 26, 2010 - Saturn opposes Uranus (4th opposition)
- May 23, 2010 - Jupiter opposes Saturn (first time since 1990-91)
- May 27-28, 2010 - Uranus enters tropical Aries
- May 30th, 2010 - Saturn stations direct motion at 27-Virgo
- June 5-6, 2010 - Jupiter enters tropical Aries
- June 6-7, 2010 - Mars enters tropical Virgo
- June 8, 2010 - Jupiter conjoins Uranus at 0-Aries
- July 5, 2010 - Uranus stations retrograde at 0-Aries
- July 8, 2010 - Jupiter turns North in declination
- July 11, 2010 - New Moon total eclipse at 19-Cancer (not seen in N. America)
- July 21, 2010 - Saturn re-enters tropical Libra for good
- July 23, 2010 - Jupiter stations retrograde
- July 25, 2010 - Jupiter Squares Pluto
- July 26, 2010 - Fifth Saturn/Uranus opposition
- July 31, 2010 - Mars & Jupiter turn S in Declination
- July 31 - Mars conjoins Saturn at 0-Libra
- August 3, 2010 - Jupiter, retrograde, Squares Pluto again
- August 6, 2010 - Venus turns South in Declination
- August 13-14, 2010 - Uranus re-enters tropical Pisces
- August 16, 2010 - Jupiter Opposes Saturn
- August 20, 2010 - Mercury retrogrades in Virgo
- August 21, 2010 - Saturn Squares Pluto
- September 8, 2010 - Saturn turns South in declination
- September 8, 2010 - New Moon at 15-Virgo
- September 8, 2010 - Venus enters Scorpio
- September 8-9, 2010 - Jupiter re-enters tropical Pisces
- September 12, 2010 - Mercury stations direct
- September 14, 2010 - Pluto stations direct
- September 14, 2010 - Mars enters Scorpio
- September 19, 2010 - Jupiter conjoins Uranus for first time in Pisces
- October 8, 2010 - Venus retrograde in Scorpio
- October 29-30 - Venus turns to "morning star" phase for ten months
- November 6, 7, 2010 - Neptune direct in motion
- November 18 - Venus stations direct
- November 18 - Jupiter stations direct
- December 5, 6- Uranus stations direct motion
- December 10-30 - Mercury retrograde
- January 4, 2011 - Jupiter conjoins Uranus a third time
- January 22, 2011 - Jupiter enters Aries
- Jan. 25, 26 - Saturn stations retrograde 17-Libra
- February 25, 2011 - Jupiter Squares Pluto
- March 3, 2011 - Transiting Lunar Nodes shift to Mutable Quality of Sagittarius & Gemini
- March 11-12, 2011 - Uranus enters Aries (first time in 84 years)
- March 28, 2011 - Jupiter opposes Saturn
The internal battles in Greece because of heavy sovereign debt and deep austerity will re-ignite over the summer months of 2010.
Nature Erupts: Volcanic activity as Uranus enters Aries.
That 1,000 point drop: May 6, 2010 proved to be one of the strangest days in the history of the Dow Jones. A mysterious "1,000-point" plunge in the afternoon hours, blamed on a "fat finger," lost money for tens of thousands of traders and nearly collapsed the stock market. Federal authorities investigate, but the "glitch" still has not been explained nearly a month later.
The year 2011 is the start of a new cycle, mainly brought on by the official entry of Uranus into Aries, the first time in 84 years.
~ Mundane Review: 2010-2015 ~
There are six (6) major transits of the Cardinal Crisis Years - signified by the planets involved & their inclinations:
- Saturn oppose Uranus -
Much cooperation is needed to avoid falling into the unfavorable inclinations of Saturn's opposition to Uranus.
Extreme viewpoints expressed by the ignorant and mentally ill fall under this influence. Loud public pronouncements shouted with wild mannerisms expressing inconsistent attitudes can be observed.
Common sights are: bugged-eye pundits uttering unsubstantiated personal opinions as facts; personal attacks, insults, and acerbic comments designed to bring attention to oneself.
Impulse, haste, snap judgments, immaturity, poor communication skills lacking any sign of social grace and basic manners can be observed.
There is widespread conflict between the old order and the new emerging order. This is generational.
Concepts and ideas in economic, business and political affairs tend to be impractical, unreliable, and eccentric. Economic life continues to run at a low ebb.
Saturn's opposition to Uranus is unfavorable when dealing with joint accounts, finances, corporate business affairs, inheritances, insurance, and all economic matters important to organizations, groups, and individuals.
Selfish motives within organizations, and groups tend to be those where others try to take credit for the work of others in order to advance their own careers leading to estrangements between associates, colleagues and friends.
The will power of those involved in personal and professional intrigues is heightened to the point of very negative inclinations with some people using coercive methods to achieve what they perceive as success.
Under Saturn/Pluto this can feature acts of blackmail, threats, and plots at the highest levels of government, within political groups, and corporations.
Paranoid individuals with extreme opinions, and viewpoints is also common under A Saturn/Pluto square.
Some individuals will find themselves battling against corruption and rampant dishonesty within organizations, or within associations, be they professional or personal with attacks on their reputation coming as a result of fighting dishonest persons and groups.
The coming revelations of widespread corruption in global financial markets, on Wall Street, and other stock markets will be under the Saturn/Pluto square.
Corporate power plays take center stage under the cardinal crisis transits with increasing political pressure and regulatory scrutiny on major banks, insurance companies, and those implicated in widespread financial malfeasance over the last decade.
The focus on these areas: unemployment, insurance, housing, stock markets, hedge funds, secret bank accounts, general economics, political and government affairs, alimony, and inheritances - is all common under the influences of Saturn's square from Libra to Pluto in Capricorn.
It is also common under these inclinations for opposing groups and individuals to use negative, dishonest, and evil means to obtain personal/profession advantages over others; or attempts to hide past acts of malfeasance to avoid implicating others involved in acts of corruption.
This often backfires under the Saturn/Pluto square and results in public scandal along with damage to the reputation and the careers of those who used negative means to gain what they "perceive" to be an advantage.
Nowhere does "do unto others as you would have them do unto you' applies more than under a Saturn/Pluto world square.
The effect on personal and professional connections can be long-lasting with people completely breaking off any further association with friends, family and colleagues.
Power struggles - both internal and external - is a main theme of a Saturn/Pluto Square.
Often, decisions are based on perceived "associations" with others who are not one's friends, nor who share one's common interests, except to advance their own personal interests while using others as a means to and end. Very common under Saturn's square to Pluto.
After the square aspect passes, the events which have taken place under its influences are fully revealed, leading to permanent estrangements from those once trusted and valued as friends, associates, or lovers.
Saturn's continued transit through Libra (2010-2012) then features a full distrust and estrangement from those who used dishonest means during the Saturn/Pluto inclinations.
The Jupiter/Pluto Square acts much like that of Saturn's square to Pluto. Jupiter's motion into Aries in mid-2010, and then again in February 2011, will square Pluto in tropical Capricorn.
The same kinds of conflicts under Saturn's influence by square to Pluto comes into action with hasty, impulsive and headstrong promotion of one's opinions as facts to gain a perceived advantage over others.
Rampant litigation under Jupiter's inclinations lead to a rush toward legal wars without first seeing the bigger picture. With the Jupiter square to Pluto: it is the forest first, the trees second, but do make sure you count each tree.
The contradictions of this is simple:
Often, this comes about because of ego, and headstrong acts featuring arrogance and pride; but wholly failing to take into account the small, but very important details.
The only way to neutralize this transit, as with all the others of the Cardinal Crisis transits is to slow down, and to be strictly honest at all times in all personal and business affairs.
Also, the need to remain detached and practical while plodding step-by-step without ego, impulse, and haste. This is the antidote to the impulsive inclinations of cardinal transits.
Power-plays, and forced acts of coercion, with promotions of extreme expressions of personal, political and religious viewpoints is quite common under this global square.
Often, one's aspirations to remake others comes with neglecting one's own house while confused attitudes about ethics and morality are cast aside in favor of haste and impulse - rushing to judgment.
Struggles with corrupted individuals and groups is also common under a Jupiter/Pluto Square.
Pisces/Aries - Virgo/Libra
Jupiter at 0-10 degrees Taurus
Such will be the case with the 2010-2012 opposition of Jupiter/Saturn. During these oppositions expect business to suffer as the generational transition continues over the course of Jupiter's opposition to Saturn.
Because of the poor economic climate some people may resort towards using questionable tactics to get ahead and make money.
The desired expansion of business is fraught with frustration after frustration, red-tape, barriers, blocks, delays, and legal problems. Rising defaults & bankruptcies increase as a result of past mismanagement of resources and corruption with credit conditions tighter than normal.
The crush of competition, fighting for a limited amount of customers, with resources lacking can further cause disruptions in professional and personal lives to the point of some leaving entire industries for good.
It is a poor time to seek favors from others, as the business climate of 2010-2012 will continue to suffer from immense commercial & residential real estate losses, double-digit unemployment, and a general sense of malaise from an aging generational establishment.
Those seeing support from official institutions, such as federal, state, and local agencies, may find themselves frustrated with the lack of help usually expected from these offices.
While this takes place, many people will see their own personal and professional responsibilities increase; while wages continue to stagnate from the lack of resources, which will be limited because of prior economic corruption and waste.
The opposition of Jupiter to Saturn can test what the true balance really is between being optimistic, and being pessimistic. Much will depend on the ability of the individual to be creative, and patient, while the opposition is underway.
Many of these people will be older, and due to the transit of Saturn, will exhibit rigid views without realizing that in a short period of time after the opposition has waned and passed; that they themselves will receive similar treatment from the very people whom they denied opportunities and relief.
The conflicts which come about during 2010-2012 under the Jupiter/Saturn opposition will tend towards ethics; morals; joint finances, family responsibilities, friendships, associations, romantic relationships, partnerships and corporate struggles that will test the reliability and strength of relationships in general.
The Jupiter/Saturn opposition will begin to weaken in February 2012, and by the end of March 2012, will move out of orb.
- 25º Libra - "The sign of an autumn leaf brings to a pilgrim the sudden revelation of the mystery of life and death."
- 26º Libra - "An Eagle and a large White Dove Turning into each other."
An unprecedented Seven (7) exact squares occur in just three (3) years: 2012 to 2015
(*) = significant dates
1. June 24, 2012 – first global square at 8-degrees Aries/Capricorn
2. *September 18-19, 2012 – second square at 6-degrees Aries/Capricorn
3. May 20, 2013 – third square at 11-degrees Aries/Capricorn
4. November 1, 2013 – fourth square at 9-degrees Aries/Capricorn
5. *April 21, 2014 – fifth square at 13-degrees Aries/Capricorn
6. December 14-15, 2014 – sixth square at 12-degrees Aries/Capricorn
7. *March 16-17, 2015 – seventh global square at 15-degrees Aries/Capricorn
The last time Uranus and Pluto met in global square aspect was during the 1930s. This was a decade of reactionary, extreme right-wing politics, revolutionary socialism, rising crime, rebellions, revolts, and restrictive laws gradually reducing freedoms throughout Europe and the then-Soviet Union.
The Bank Crisis and Stock Market Crash of 1929-33 fueled the early years of the Great Depression with rising waves of petty crime and bank robberies. The resulting foreclosures of homes, businesses and family farms amid a depressed global economic system cast a dark shadow over the world.
The NYSE reaching its lowest trading point in history. Weather anomalies under the influence of Uranus in Aries led to the hottest year in U.S. history in 1933-34 with drought and dust storms raging across the American Midwest.
Meanwhile, political extremism ensued with the rise of tyrants, as Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany while in Japan, radical forms of militarism spread so much that it was being openly taught in elementary and high schools.
The revolts, rebellions and revolutionary sentiments under the Uranus/Pluto squares thus paved the way for the Second World War that followed by the end of the 1930s.
Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn revolve their squares worldwide for much of the 2010s, but the most powerful periods are between 2012 through 2015.
This is a time of great upsets within nations which have now experienced at least four to seven years in the wake of the global economic crisis.
Uranus' penchant for sudden change against Pluto's desire structure in Capricorn for a kind of transformational war that butt heads over the "kinds" of new changes to be realized and those not to be supported.
While this is happening, populations around the world seem to have had it to their chins with the constant disruptions of their lives; the losses of lifestyles over the years.
Groups, organizations and individuals have become radicalized by the events since 2008. So much so, that by the time (June 2012) of the first of seven exact Uranus/Pluto square social unrest is a certainty in regions around the world.
There are increasing signs of rebellions, revolts and foreboding examples of revolutionary sentiments expressed in various nations upset with the status quo, represented by Pluto in Capricorn.
The headstrong inclinations of Aries, with Uranus in it's 7-year transit in this sign, squaring Pluto can indicate sudden deaths coming about unexpectedly; usually through acts of violence, and from common accidents, and unexpected large-scale disasters related to weather extremes.
Past associations, friendships and relationships can become radically changed under Uranus and Pluto's cardinal squares. It is at this time, between 2012-2015 that companies that were hanging on by a thread financially - can suddenly break and fall into bankruptcy.
The entry of Neptune into tropical Pisces in February 2012 will impress dissolution on failing companies afterward, with a slow, but gradual death into the mid-to-late 2010s.
The sudden losses associated with Uranus' transit in Aries can bring about greater financial losses than expected while corporations continue to witness power struggles as the generational transition picks up speed in the early to mid-2010s.
The revolutionary sentiments inclined by Uranus/Pluto come about as a result of the frustrations of the decade of the 2000s.
The global economic crisis, and the resulting societal effects have angered many populations who feel that their governments and representatives were not representing them, but corporate monied-interests that pilfered society's resources.
The resulting backlash featured under the Uranus/Pluto squares of the 2010s will be widespread, and quite unsettling for those involved in the mismanagement of trillions of dollars and euros over the previous decade.
Rising crime can be a problem; also fueled by the lack of resources because of the Banking Crisis of 2008-2012.
State officials, under pressure financially, are forced to release thousands of prisoners in the early 2010s to relieve the system from overcrowding.
If there has been little reform of the system during the time of incarcerations, then obviously the lingering effects of the economic crisis that awaits convicts on the street can be a threat to public safety under the Uranus/Pluto squares.
By the spring of 2014, things become quite tense again globally with another Cardinal Cross - this time a Grand Cross configuration featuring Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto in the Signs of Libra, Cancer, Aries and Capricorn.
Grand Cross configurations in cardinal signs seek immediate release of strong, emotional pent-up energies.