This video from the USA says about itself:
HSBC Couldn’t Track $60 Trillion in Suspicious Activity?
15 December 2012
“Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer has failed at prosecuting financial crime, said Eliot Spitzer, former governor and attorney general of New York. “Lanny Breuer, who is the assistant in charge of the Criminal Division — horrendous,” Spitzer said on Current TV yesterday, a liberal cable channel where he hosts a talk show. “Should be gone tomorrow. The decision’s he’s made over and over — simply anathema to the appropriate execution of the law of this United States of America. I am outraged by these decisions.”
Spitzer, the former New York governor who made his name prosecuting Wall Street crime when he was the state’s attorney general, made his comments on The Young Turks, a Current TV show hosted by Cenk Uygur.”
HSBC was able to track Eliot Spitzer’s 3 deposits to a holding account for an escort service. But they couldn’t track $60 trillion in suspicious activity transfers from drug cartels and al-Qaeda that benefited them? Could it be because Spitzer was investigating the banks? Cenk Uygur breaks down the financial hypocrisy.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
BILLIONS BEING LAUNDERED THROUGH THE CITY OF LONDON – NATIONALISE THE BANKS!
HOME SECRETARY Amber Rudd has warned that billions of pounds have been laundered through the City of London. She has plans for a new national economic crime centre, with the power to task the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the worst cases of fraud, money laundering and corruption.
The move is part of a revised anti-corruption strategy that targets ‘corrupt insiders’ in sectors including policing, prisons and border force, and pledges greater transparency over who owns and controls businesses to improve trust in Britain as a place to do business.
Rudd’s plan is in fact far too little too late! The foxes have run amok in the hen house for decades. The working class equates banking with robbery, after it had to endure generations of austerity to wipe out the debts of the bankers from the 2008 crash onwards.
On the same day that Rudd made her announcement, it was also announced that the HSBC bank no longer faces the threat of prosecution in the US over allegations of money laundering billions in drug money.
HSBC had signed a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) – a form of probation – with the US Department of Justice in 2012 to avoid facing criminal charges for allegedly laundering hundreds of millions for Mexican drug barons, and acting as a conduit for ‘drug kingpins and rogue nations’.
HSBC says the DPA has now expired and the bank has paid US authorities a record $1.9bn (£1.42bn) settlement. All is now well, or is it? In mid-November it was announced that HSBC had agreed to pay £266m to French authorities to settle a long-running investigation into tax evasion by French clients.
The settlement between HSBC’s Swiss Private Bank and the French prosecutor, was the first such deal to be struck under new French rules introduced in 2016 to allow companies to settle without any finding of guilt.
Also in November 2017 Lord Peter Hain told Parliament he had asked the Treasury to refer an unnamed UK bank, that turned out to be HSBC, for investigation into possible involvement in money laundering on behalf of the Gupta family and South Africa’s President Zuma!
In a letter, seen by the BBC, he named HSBC and said it ignored a warning about large transfers of cash. The Guptas are alleged to have bought influence in government in order to loot state enterprises. Hain called for UK authorities to examine the role of British banks in the scandal!
The world banking system is criminal. It won’t reform. It doesn’t need a slap on the wrist and then rescue when it collapses, with working class living standards paying the price – it needs expropriation.
In fact the 2008 banking collapse is due to be replicated but on an even greater scale after trillions of additional debt, quantitative easing money, has been piled up worldwide. In line with this vast debt, there is now a new ‘imaginary would-be currency’ – the Bitcoin, a symbol on a computer screen masquerading as money.
This digital currency was launched on the CBOE Futures Exchange in Chicago at 23:00 GMT Sunday, allowing investors to gamble on whether Bitcoin prices will rise or fall. That casino move is expected to be followed next week by a listing on the rival Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Investors can now gamble on Bitcoin rising or falling in price without actually owning them. Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz has accused their innovation of having no intrinsic value beyond supporting money laundering and tax avoidance. The big banks will be pleased!
It may become just what the bankers have ordered – just before the bubble of debt and fictitious value explodes, and a new massive crash takes place, for which the working class will be required to pay the full price!
This video says about itself:
The Killing$ of Tony Blair | Trailer | Available Now
21 December 2016
Some people make a living, others make a killing.
Many believe Tony Blair should be charged for taking the UK to war in Iraq. Former Labour MP George Galloway has made a career out of challenging Blair: in this film he deftly makes his case. What emerges is a tale of Blair‘s malfeasance whilst in power and power-broking whilst not. Cosying up to dictators and media moguls, Blair has made a string of questionable friends in high places; In the process, he has also made a personal fortune.
“Tony Blair Associates is a very secretive operation that makes a very large amount of money from a large number of governments – some of them you might regard as less than respectable,” relates Francis Beckett, who investigated Tony Blair’s lucrative consultancy firm. One such ‘less than respectable’ government is Nazarbayev’s dictatorship in Kazakhstan, accused of many abuses, including the suppression of a miners’ strike in which sixty people were shot. Tony Blair, however, publicly defended this important and well-paying client. The hypocrisy of such relationships is not lost on critics; as Craig Murray, former British Ambassador, wryly states: “Blair was sustained by a coal-mining district throughout his parliamentary career and now he’s taking massive cheques from somebody who shoots miners if they go on strike.” However, it is not just since leaving office that Blair has turned to Machievellian means. Alleged scandals and counts of corruption plague his term, which was built on propensity for deceit and double-dealing. As he supposedly advised David Miliband on life in public office: “smile at everybody and get someone else to stab their back.”
By Callum Alexander Scott in Britain:
Since when did Tony Blair care about ‘the will of the people’?
Tuesday 12th December 2017
With Blair expostulating over Brexit again, CALLUM ALEXANDER SCOTT reminds us that the former PM had a very loose acquaintance with the concept of democracy
In a slight change of tone from earlier statements where he emphasised that “the will of the people should prevail,” this time around he emphasised that “the will of the people is not something immutable” and that “people can change their mind.”
Of course, there would be nothing wrong with this statement if it weren’t for the simple fact that Blair is not, and has never been, a supporter of “the will of the people.”
To the contrary, he and his centrist disciples have always preferred operating as Blair himself described in an article for the New York Times earlier this year, like self-entitled “managers of the status quo.”
Indeed, ever the champion of the “will of the people,” he even revealed in 2015 his belief that a “government taking effective decisions” is more important than democracy itself.
This no doubt explains his unwavering support for, and dodgy dealings with, numerous dictators around the globe and why he and corporate media dictator Rupert Murdoch always had good time for each other. Blair is, after all, godfather to Murdoch’s daughter.
Here we should recall how, as British prime minister, Blair had zero care for the will of millions of people — specifically Britons and Iraqis but also the international community — who opposed the Iraq war, which we now know he sold to the public on false pretences.
Likewise, he cared little for the will of his own Cabinet. As his former minister for international development Clare Short has said, “No decisions were made in the Cabinet. It didn’t operate in the way that constitutional theory says that it should … He [Blair] didn’t want any clashing or discussion of ideas.” See also Short’s testimony to the Iraq Inquiry Panel in 2010, where she explains this in greater detail.
Former mayor of London and longstanding Labour politician Ken Livingstone has also spoken of how Blair’s party was one in which “dissent really wasn’t tolerated,” while the writer and professor Will Self has said that Blair used “the kind of tactics that one associates with emperors or rulers … who are not democratic.”
It is in fact well documented by politicians, journalists and analysts that under Blair the traditional machinery of party democracy was sidelined. Key decision-making was centralised and representative democracy was effectively replaced by what has been described as government by a “technocratic, managerial elite” who formed policy based largely on information drawn from focus groups and polling.
As one professor of politics has written, the key role of MPs during the Blair era became “simply to secure formal consent from their constituents for the government’s legislative programme by winning elections, by appearing publicly and in the media to be as generically inoffensive as possible to a broad cross-section of the public and above all by appearing unthreatening to key media outlets.” For a good account of all this, see episode 4 of Adam Curtis’s 2002 documentary The Century of the Self.
Andrew Marr called Blair’s New Labour the “most media-obsessed government” of modern times, and there is by now a vast body of literature on the relationship between Blair, New Labour and the media, with many commentators and academics likening the extent of the information control and opinion management to a Gramscian project of unsettling proportions.
The effects of all this were to vastly reshape British politics and politicians, and indeed the media’s relationship to them, for decades.
Accordingly, David Cameron would later describe himself as the “heir to Blair”, while he and George Osborne would openly refer to Blair as “the master,” asking in times of difficulty: “What would the master have done?”
And as former Conservative MP Ken Clarke revealed in his memoirs last year, Cameron was a “PR-obsessed control freak.
“Media handling and public relations are now regarded as the key elements of governing,” he wrote, while “a small army of … PR experts … have far too big a role in policy-making … Next week’s headlines are given more priority than serious policy development and the long-term consequences.”
While Blair has many legacies, it is perhaps one of his most pernicious to have reduced Britain’s already limited form of representative democracy to what is effectively a centralised, “top-down” government of managerial elites who perpetually seek to maintain power by controlling information and public opinion.
Certainly Blair is no champion of the will of the people unless, of course, their will happens to align with his.
As the renowned US theologian Reinhold Neibhur wrote, “Rationality belongs to the cool observer, but because of the stupidity of the average man, he follows not reason but faith and the naive faith requires necessary illusion and emotionally potent oversimplifications which are provided by the myth-maker to keep [the] ordinary person on course.”
This is Blair’s political philosophy in a nutshell. He sees himself as the rational myth-maker, keeping the ordinary people in check, and his penchant for fostering “necessary illusions” and “emotionally potent oversimplifications” is precisely why he’s acquired the nicknames “Tony Blur,” “Phoney Tony,” “Tony Bliar” and “Teflon Tony” (because dirt never sticks to him).
It’s also why he’s managed to convince the world for so long that he’s left-wing. With remarkable self-delusion he’s even managed to convince himself.
But he’s not left-wing. He is in many respects ultra right-wing, not least because of his disdain for the will of the people.
We should always remember that Margaret Thatcher was asked at a banquet in 2002 what she thought her greatest achievement was. She replied: “Tony Blair and New Labour. We forced our opponents to change their minds.”
As Blair himself put it, “On a personal level she [Thatcher] was immensely kind and generous to me when I was prime minister … I always thought my job was to build on some of the things she had done.”
Chief among these things was of course New Labour’s extension of the neoliberal economic model, which has not only done immense harm to the social and economic fabric of British society but has also led to the huge transfer of power from the public to the unaccountable private sphere.
Renowned British sociologist and political scientist Professor Colin Crouch has coined the term “post-democracy” to describe our current political situation.
He writes that, while elections are held, governments fall and a degree of free speech exists, the collective will of the population is mostly ignored by “small circles of a politico-economic elite” that overwhelmingly control the levers of power.
This is the way that Blair likes. It’s the system he’s helped to construct and, as a member of the super-rich, borderless global elite, it suits him just fine.
This video says about itself:
By Felicity Collier in Britain:
Ex-fire chief who led cuts appointed to Grenfell panel
Tuesday 12th December 2017
Mr McGuirk was in a top role when the service was dismantled meaning it was less able to provide a fast, fully crewed response to fires and other incidents, the union said.
He was also a member of the then Chief Fire Officers Association’s presidential team, which advised central government on the very safety issues that are now being scrutinised in the public inquiry into the Grenfell fire.
Both he and Joyce Redfearn — another panel member, who is a retired clerk to the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Authority — were also deputy lieutenants for Greater Manchester (ceremonial appointments representing the Queen), links that were not disclosed when the panel was announced.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “We need someone who supports much-needed investment into the diminishing fire and rescue service.
“Instead we have a former CFO who has effectively agreed that cutting jobs and fire engines, and closing down fire stations, is justified — he has said as much.
“To place him on the panel of an inquiry into the worst fire since WWII, during which the availability of fire-service resources will inevitably be explored, is irresponsible to say the least.”
Following the FBU’s complaint, the inquiry has promised the union the opportunity to challenge Mr McGuirk’s evidence.
The FBU has also sought permission for an operational firefighter expert to be put on the panel to provide additional evidence and to give an independent peer review of Mr McGuirk’s evidence.
The union wants assurances from the inquiry team that all of the assessors and experts have been asked to declare any involvement in or association with firms that may have installed cladding or insulation windows to high rise residential blocks.
The union has also asked that the first phase of the inquiry proceed without further delay, and in tandem with the police investigation, instead of awaiting its outcome.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the government of “failing” survivors of the fire after survivors’ group Grenfell United said last week that 118 families would still be in emergency accommodation over Christmas or staying with friends.
Grenfell Fire forum discusses upcoming six month anniversary: here.
This video says about itself:
See the rise and fall of the Spanish Empire from the unification of Castile and Aragon [in 1979] up to the modern day.
Spanish ruling elite lays out imperialist ambitions in new National Security Strategy
11 December 2017
The strategy replaces the previous version published in 2013 and has the full support of the Socialist Party (PSOE).
The collective effort of academics, the Ministry of Defence, the intelligence services, police and the military-industrial complex, the strategy reflects a ruling elite of a former colonial power battered by international crises and internal opposition to austerity and militarism, desperately attempting to reassert its claim to global markets and spheres of influence.
The strategy document foresees the “uncertainty” of a world with “increased geopolitical tensions,” “different pressures on the multilateral system” and a “complex” security environment becoming “accentuated in coming years.” It warns, “various crises of different natures will be easily triggered and will become almost a constant of this era. The distance between situations of normalcy and crisis is getting smaller.”
According to the report, the Spanish ruling class faces major threats and challenges, including secessionist movements like that in Catalonia, an ageing population, rising inequality, lack of “quality jobs” and unemployment.
Externally, Spain’s major threats include “oil dependency” from unstable sources, “new actors challenging the multilateral system (an unveiled reference to Russia and China), droughts, floods and forest fires” caused by climate change, economic protectionism, terrorism and cyber-attacks.
Beset by these threats, the ruling class is seeking to extricate itself by projecting outwards. Acting as if it was still controlling the Spanish Empire of the 16th and 17th centuries, the document declares “the following areas are of special interest for National Security: Europe, North Africa and Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, North America and Asia-Pacific”—basically everywhere!
Spain is currently involved in no fewer than 19 military operations on four continents, under the aegis of one imperialist alliance or another—all of which are presented as “non-combat” or peacekeeping missions.
Under the umbrella of NATO, Spanish forces have been dispatched to the Baltic States and to the Black Sea region on air patrol missions and exercises threatening Russia. Hundreds of soldiers and civil guard advisors have been deployed to Iraq.
Spain has deployed 149 military personnel to operate Patriot missile systems on the Turkey-Syria border, and is considering a renewed troop deployment in Afghanistan at the request of the US—two years after Spanish forces officially left the country after spending €3.7 billion and sacrificing the lives of 99 soldiers and two interpreters.
The document strongly emphasizes Spain’s special interest in North Africa, where it still retains two enclaves—Ceuta and Melilla—from its colonial empire, and the Sahel, an area of strong “potential economic and commercial interest” and an important area of oil and gas on which Madrid depends.
Since 2013, Spanish armed forces have been involved in European Union military missions and supported French and US imperialist interventions in Africa. Currently, they are active in 10 land, air and naval missions on African soil, including Mali, Somalia, Senegal, Djibouti, Central African Republic and Gabon.
Another area is the oil rich Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, a region stretching from Gabon to Liberia, which includes eight oil producing states and may hold as much as a tenth of the world’s oil reserves. The strategy document describes this area is “a source of important energy resources for Spain, investments in infrastructure, and agricultural, industrial and fishing interests.”
Here the main “threats” to Spain include piracy, illegal fishing, and illicit trafficking in persons, narcotics and weapons—all possible pretexts for future intervention.
The ruling elite is clear that the main threat to its geopolitical ambitions is the Spanish population’s traditional hostility towards the military, which emerged in response to the brutal colonial adventures at the beginning of the century in North Africa and the decades-long dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. The Aznar PP government was brought down in 2004 primarily for its support for the US-led war on Iraq.
To overcome this, the document describes how the population is to be bombarded with militarist propaganda. It states, “The Government will promote channels that facilitate knowledge in society about the effort of the actors and organisations involved in their daily safeguarding of National Security, in areas such as National Defence, the fight against terrorism, cybersecurity or citizen security. It will also encourage awareness of current threats and challenges, and raising awareness regarding collective responsibility in its preservation.”
Only days after the strategy document was published, the Minister of Defence, María Dolores de Cospedal, announced that her department will soon present a new weapons programme investment cycle for the Spanish army.
Cospedal made this announcement while participating in “The Defence Industry, New Budgetary Scenario” conference organized by the El Economista, where she defended the need to build a stronger national weapons industry. “We cannot be mere buyers of external services,” Cospedal declared.
Aware of the unpopularity of the increase in military expenditure, Cospedal claimed that it creates jobs, insisting, “every euro we invest in the defence industry is one euro that we invest in our future and for the benefit of citizens.”
This year’s military budget officially increased by 32 percent, primarily because years of budgetary trickery—aimed at hiding from the public the true extent of the country’s spending on arms and preparation for war—was ended by the Supreme Court in 2015, forcing the Spanish government to openly include it in the national budget.
A report by the Barcelona-based Delàs Peace Studies Center, “The Absurdity of Military Spending,” details how Spain’s Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro has taken a page from the US playbook in hiding spending on arms and war, by using “special appropriations” and other anonymous-sounding budgetary items.
As a result, real military expenditure is more than double the amount officially appropriated to the Spanish Ministry of Defence, amounting to €18.8 billion, which is €51.4 million a day or €404 a year for every man, woman and child in a country not officially at war.
The 2017 budget now includes massive offensive weaponry such as EF-2000 fighter jets, the A400M transport planes, the NH-90 helicopter and the development of the Pizarro II tank.
The US has been demanding for years that European NATO states boost their defence budgets to two percent of GDP, to share more broadly the costs of preparing for potential war with Russia and China. The strategy report shows that Spain is on the road toward meeting that goal, as its defence budget is now equal to 1.64 percent of GDP.
At the same time as the report is calling for increased military expenditure, it reveals that there has been a catastrophic decline in spending elsewhere since 2008—job stimulus (-28 percent), infrastructure (-63 percent), culture (-34 percent), education (-14 percent), and health care (-8 percent).
This video from the USA says about itself:
1 November 2015
Leah Remini stated that at Tom Cruise‘s wedding he sang “You lost that loving feeling” to Katie Holmes and how odd that was. Indeed, at the actual wedding he is singing, “You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ / Now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoa / Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you / And now you’re starting to criticize the things I do / It makes me just feel like crying (baby) / ‘Cause baby, something beautiful’s dying”———–ooohhh, how very romantic.
See my articles on Scientology here.
By Rebecca Klein in the USA:
12/11/2017 06:02 am ET
CLEARWATER, Fla. ― It was a weekday afternoon here in early December, and a gaggle of kids outside of Clearwater Academy International were playing with a ball, their laughter and shouts filling the air. The school is just a few blocks away from the spiritual headquarters for the Church of Scientology, and church volunteers appeared to be preparing for an event.
Garrett Cantrell, who is not a Scientologist, recalled his time at the school as he sat near Clearwater’s harbor, surrounded by Scientologist retreat centers. The school was small and private, exactly what Cantrell was seeking in a high school after moving to Florida from New York in 2008.
He and his family, as they toured the school, had asked about its religious affiliations before he enrolled, specifically wanting to make sure it wasn’t associated with Scientology. An employee told them, no. But a few months into the school year, Cantrell decided the answer was not so clear cut.
Clearwater Academy International is one of dozens of schools and tutoring centers in the U.S. that use learning materials based on the ideas of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church of Scientology. Five of these schools and tutoring centers, including Clearwater Academy, receive public funding through voucher or tax credit scholarship programs, HuffPost has found.
While Cantrell said he was never asked to participate in Scientologist events, he realized that most of his classmates were deeply involved in the church ― participating in events like an off-campus party for Hubbard’s birthday.
After a few months at the school, Cantrell decided he wanted out and he spent the rest of the year slacking off. School leaders eventually asked him to leave ― for which Cantrell was grateful.
“I don’t feel like I learned anything there other than that basically Scientology was obviously not something that I wanted to do,” said Cantrell, now 25 years old.
Clearwater Academy is a private institution, which means that in general, the school can teach what it likes with little oversight. But the learning materials it uses raises questions about its links to the Church of Scientology, in light of the school receiving more than $500,000 in taxpayer money for student scholarships between 2012-2016.
HuffPost has been investigating the schools that receive such money for students, which comes via state-level voucher or tax credit programs.
Over the course of our investigation, we created a database of almost 8,000 schools in the country that participate in these programs and researched what each was teaching. Our first story, published earlier this month, broke down how many religious schools were receiving such funds and dove deep into the curriculums often used in evangelical Christian schools.
But we also came across Clearwater Academy and the four other schools and tutoring centers that use curriculum by Applied Scholastics, a non-profit that says it is non-religious but is dedicated to spreading educational methods developed by Hubbard.
An overwhelming proportion of private schools that participate in state-run, so-called school choice programs that help students afford them -– like vouchers and tax credits ― are religious, and say so upfront. But the schools that use Applied Scholastics claim to be totally secular.
As Applied Scholastics schools continue to receive millions of dollars in taxpayer funds and are therefore more accountable to the public than typical private schools, their claims of secularity deserve heightened scrutiny.
Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology, told HuffPost in an email that while the church “and its members have proudly supported Applied Scholastics in numerous ways through the years … Applied Scholastics is not part of the Church of Scientology or any other religious organization.”
The executive director for Clearwater Academy told HuffPost that it successfully serves children from a diverse array of backgrounds.
Four of five Applied Scholastics institutions that receive public funds are in Florida and have received more than $3 million in taxpayer-funded scholarships between 2012-2016, according to data provided by the Florida Department of Education. Aside from Clearwater Academy, they are the Washburn Academy, the Community Learning Center Academy, and the Hollywood Education Literacy Project.
It is unclear how much money another school, Applied Scholastics Academy Las Vegas, has received through its participation in Nevada’s tax credit program ― a representative for the program did not respond to requests for comment.
Concerning the institutions that use Applied Scholastics, Pouw wrote that “the Church of Scientology has no relationship with these schools.”
Voucher programs provide scholarships for students to go to private schools based on criteria like income. Tax credit programs give tax credits to individuals and corporations who donate to scholarship granting nonprofits. These nonprofits then provide scholarships to students for private schools.
The Florida Department of Education’s directory of schools that participate in its voucher and tax credit programs list the four institutions that use curriculum associated with Hubbard as “non-religious.” (The department’s website lists one other Applied Scholastics school as participating in a private school choice program, but representatives for the state said it has not been approved to do so.)
Before enrolling at Clearwater, Cantrell had spent time in public and Catholic schools, where the academics were tough, but traditional. At the Clearwater school, he was asked to behave in ways he found bizarre, he said.
Cantrell said if he yawned, it wasn’t just considered an involuntary reflex ― it meant he was having difficulty grasping the material, and teachers would prod him to see if this reaction might be the result of a “misunderstood word”.
If Cantrell didn’t understand a concept, he was expected to create clay models of the idea at hand to help him comprehend it. Much of the learning was self-directed, he said, where classroom teachers played a small role in guiding students.
On its website, Clearwater Academy says that as part of the Applied Scholastics network, it teaches students using Study Technology, which was “developed by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.” The concepts in Study Technology “were developed by Mr. Hubbard when he discovered the primary barriers to a student’s comprehension.” Scientology.org, the church’s website, promotes the work of Applied Scholastics.
HuffPost reached out to Applied Scholastics for comment and they did not respond by press time.
HuffPost received several Study Technology books to confirm Cantrell’s claims. Yawning is explained as a potential reaction to encountering a “misunderstood word.” According to the book, not understanding what a word means can act as a major impediment for learners. So if Cantrell yawned, teachers would have him look up words in the dictionary. Study Technology refers to the “misunderstood word” as one of the three major “barriers to study,” which make it difficult for students to learn.
Making clay demonstrations out of concepts and ideas is also one of Hubbard’s recommendations in Study Technology. These clay demonstrations are supposed to help students understand what they are learning through visual representation.
The Study Technology books HuffPost received are filled with simple cartoons explaining Hubbard’s unique take on education.
Some of the concepts in Study Technology are similar to those introduced in Scientology doctrine ― including the use of clay demonstrations. Indeed, when asked about the overlap in ideas, Pouw said that “Mr. Hubbard originally researched Study Technology to help him teach Scientology to his students and it continues to be used in that context today.”
Study Technology also offers controversial ideas about learning disabilities. According to the Applied Scholastics website, learning disabilities may be the result of a student encountering “repeated barriers to study.” Notably, famed scientologist Tom Cruise has said that Study Technology helped him overcome dyslexia and learn how to read.
It is well established among educators, though, that learning disabilities are something with which a child is born or has developed.
The four schools in Florida that use Study Technology take advantage of the state’s voucher program specifically for students with disabilities.
Zwers told HuffPost that students receiving scholarships via the state are given academic assessments when they arrive, and an individualized academic program is then arranged.
“Clearwater Academy works hard to provide a lot of the one-on-one attention that these students need,” wrote Zwers, who provided an example of a student who came to the school with a learning disability and is now studying engineering in college.
On the other hand, HuffPost spoke to three ex-scientologists who attended schools that use Study Technology, as well as other ex-scientologists familiar with the curriculum. They all said these schools walk a murky line between secular and Scientologist.
One former student, who requested to go by the pseudonym Danielle M. because her parents are still in the church, is 25 years old and attended Clearwater Academy for several years. When Danielle was young, she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But due to the church’s view on learning difficulties, she said she never received treatment.
“My parents and the school basically said, ‘Nope. You don’t have that. That’s not real,’″ she said.
Because of her experience, Danielle finds it especially disturbing that schools like Clearwater are receiving thousands of dollars in taxpayer money specifically to help students with disabilities.
“They’re not gonna accommodate for them,” she said.
Leah Farrow, 38, an ex-scientologist who now lives in Alabama and works as a tattoo artist, said the link between the church and school was not always obvious. She moved to Clearwater with her family when she was 10 years old and spent time attending a school that later merged with other institutions to become Clearwater Academy International.
“They use methods that are ingrained in Scientology, but they don’t necessarily teach Scientology”, Farrow said. “I can see the loophole that they’re using. I do think it’s pretty disingenuous.”
She said at her school, Scientologists would encourage students to volunteer at the church through a program called Sea Organization. SeaOrg is comprised of the church’s “most dedicated members,” according to Scientology.org.
But much of the terminology used at her school was uniquely scientologist, Farrow added.
“I really don’t know how someone who’s not a Scientologist could go there. It would be like going to a school that only speaks Spanish,” she said.
David Touretzky, a professor in the computer science department of Carnegie Mellon University, is highly critical of Study Technology and scientology in general.
At Carnegie Mellon, Touretzky specializes in computational neuroscience. He takes issue with some of the broad claims Scientology and Study Technology make about the way the mind works, and said much of it is unsupported by evidence.
“It’s basically pseudo science,” he said. …
Garrett Cantrell, meanwhile, is disturbed by the idea that the school he went to receives public funding via private school choice programs.
He said he feels fortunate that he only stayed at Clearwater Academy for a short time. While he said that everyone was kind to him, and the other kids seemed smart, he feels like he wasted a year of his academic life.
“Look, they have every right to be there, and have their setup like that, but [the school shouldn’t] mislead people like that. They looked at [his grandmother] straight in the face and lied to her and my grandfather. Had they said, ’Yes, [we’re scientologist],′ we would have gone a different route. We wouldn’t have gone there.”
This video from France says about itself:
Syria cement firm scandal: “Yes, they did give money to terrorists”
3 March 2017
The LafargeHolcim company, the world’s biggest cement producer, is in the centre of a huge scandal: the firm is accused of financing rebel groups in war-torn Syria, to maintain business running in the country. Crisotech founder Louis Bernard tells us more on this scandal.
After British and Dutch governmental and non-governmental complicity with terrorism in Syria, and after French governmental complicity, now French non-governmental complicity.
From Prensa Latina news agency:
Lafarge Former President Accused of Being Involved in Syria Case
Paris, Dec 9
French justice blamed the former president of the French company Lafarge (now linked to the Swiss Holcim) Bruno Lafont for the delivery of money made by the company to terrorist groups in Syria, judicial sources reported today.
The ex-director was accused of financing a terrorist organisation and therefore will have to appear to the courts, while he managed to go out on bail and with judicial control, waiting for the trial.
Along with Lafont was also charged the former deputy director of operations, Christian Herrault, so that there are already six former directors of that company accused in the case.
In June, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office opened a judicial investigation into the matter, because according to the information revealed, the company delivered large sums of money to terrorist groups to keep a cement factory running in the city of Jalabiya, located 150 kilometers northeast of Aleppo.
At that time the factory belonged to the French group Lafarge, which later merged with the Swiss company Holcim.
Although the company indicated that during the investigations they could not define which groups are included in the deals, the newspaper Le Monde revealed that the Islamic State [ISIS] benefited.