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The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class

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opednews.com Headlined to H1 8/19/12

In addition, the state's police and army have been criticized many times for human rights violations in the remote mountainous region, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades. Amnesty International has documented numerous cases in which Indonesian police have used unnecessary force against strikers and their supporters. For example, Indonesian security forces attacked a mass gathering in the Papua capital, Jayapura, and striking workers at the Freeport mine in the southern highlands. At least five people were killed and many more injured in the assaults, which shows a continuing pattern of overt violence against peaceful dissent. Another brutal and unjustified attack on October 19, 2011, on thousands of Papuans exercising their rights to assembly and freedom of speech, resulted in the death of at least three Papuan civilians, the beating of many, the detention of hundreds, and the arrest of six, reportedly on treason charges. [xiv]

On November 7, 2011, the Jakarta Globe reported that "striking workers employed by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold's subsidiary in Papua have dropped their minimum wage increase demands from $7.50 to $4.00 an hour, the All-Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) said." [xv] Virgo Solosa, an official from the union, told the Jakarta Globe that they considered the demands, up from the (then) minimum wage of $1.50 an hour, to be "the best solution for all."

Workers at Freeport's Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru also went on strike around the same time, highlighting the global dimension of the Freeport confrontation. The Cerro Verde workers demanded pay raises of 11 percent, while the company offered just 3 percent.

The Peruvian strike ended on November 28, 2011. [xvi] And on December 14, 2011, Freeport-McMoRan announced a settlement at the Indonesian mine, extending the union's contract by two years. Workers at the Indonesia operation are to see base wages, which currently start at as little as $2.00 an hour, rise 24 percent in the first year of the pact and 13 percent in the second year. The accord also includes improvements in benefits and a one-time signing bonus equivalent to three months of wages. [xvii]

In both Freeport strikes, the governments pressured strikers to settle. Not only was domestic militrary and police force evident, but also higher levels of international involvement. Throughout the Freeport-McMoRan strike, the Obama administration ignored the egregious violation of human rights  and instead advanced US--Indonesian military ties. US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who arrived in Indonesia in the immediate wake of the Jayapura attack, offered no criticism of the assault and reaffirmed US support for Indonesia's territorial integrity. Panetta also reportedly commended Indonesia's handling of a weeks-long strike at Freeport-McMoRan. [xviii]

US President Barack Obama visited Indonesia in November 2011 to strengthen relations with Jakarta as part of Washington's escalating efforts to combat Chinese influence in the Asia--Pacific region. Obama had just announced that the US and Australia would begin a rotating deployment of 2,500 US Marines to a base in Darwin, a move ostensibly to modernize the US posture in the region, and to allow participation in "joint training" with Australian military counterparts. But some speculate that the US has a hidden agenda in deploying marines to Australia. The Thai newspaper The Nation has suggested that one of the reasons why US Marines might be stationed in Darwin could be that they would provide remote security assurance to US-owned Freeport-McMoRan's gold and copper mine in West Papua, less than a two-hour flight away. [xix]

The fact that workers at Freeport's Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru were also striking at the same time highlights the global dimension of the Freeport confrontation. The Peruvian workers are demanding pay rises of eleven percent, while the company has offered just three percent. The strike was lifted on November 28, 2011. [xx]

In both Freeport strikes, the governments pressured strikers to settle. Not only was domestic militrary and police force evident, but also higher levels of international involvement. The fact that the US Secretary of Defense mentioned a domestic strike in Indonesa shows that the highest level of power are in play on issues affecting the international corporate 1 percent and their profits.

Public opinion is strongly against Freeport in Indonesia. On August 8, 2011, Karishma Vaswani of the BBC reported that "the US mining firm Freeport-McMoRan has been accused of everything from polluting the environment to funding repression in its four decades working in the Indonesian province of Papau. . . . Ask any Papuan on the street what they think of Freeport and they will tell you that the firm is a thief, said Nelels Tebay, a Papuan pastor and coordinator of the Papua Peace Network." [xxi]

Freeport strikers won support from the US Occupy movement. Occupy Phoenix and East Timor Action Network activists marched to Freeport headquarters in Phoenix on October 28, 2011, to demonstrate against the Indonesian police killings at Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg mine . [xxii]

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) chairman of the board James R. Moffett owns over four million shares with a value of close to $42.00 each. According to the FCX annual meeting report released in June 2011, Moffett's annual compensation from FCX in 2010 was $30.57 million. Richard C. Adkerson, president of the board of FCX, owns over 5.3 million shares. His total compensation in was also $30.57 million in 2010 Moffett's and Adkerson's incomes put them in the upper levels of the world's top 1 percent. Their interconnectness with the highest levels of power in the White House and the Pentagon, as indicated by the specific attention given to them by the US secretary of defense, and as suggested by the US president's awareness of their circumstances, leaves no doubt that Freeport-MacMoRan executives and board are firmly positioned at the highest levels of the transnational corporate class.

Freeport-McMoRan's Board of Directors

James R. Moffett--Corporate and policy affiliations: cochairman, president, and CEO of McMoRan Exploration Co.; PT Freeport Indonesia; Madison Minerals Inc.; Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans ; Agrico, Inc.; Petro-Lewis Funds, Inc.; Bright Real Estate Services, LLC ; PLC--ALPC, Inc.; FM Services Co. Richard C. Adkerson--Corporate and policy affiliations: Arthur Anderson Company; chairman of International Council on Mining and Metals; executive board of the International Copper Association, Business Council, Business Roundtable, Advisory Board of the Kissinger Institute, Madison Minerals Inc.

Robert Allison Jr.--Corporate affiliations: Anadarko Petroleum (2010 revenue: $11 billion); Amoco Projection Company.

Robert A. Day--Corporate affiliations: CEO of W. M. Keck Foundation (2010 assets: more than $1 billion); attorney in Costa Mesa, California.

Gerald J. Ford--Corporate affiliations: Hilltop Holdings Inc, First Acceptance Corporation, Pacific Capital Bancorp (Annual Sales $13 billion), Golden State Bancorp, FSB (federal savings bank that merged with Citigroup in 2002) Rio Hondo Land & Cattle Company (annual sales $1.6 million), Diamond Ford, Dallas (sales: $200 million), Scientific Games Corp., SWS Group (annual sales: $422 million); American Residential Cmnts LLC.

H. Devon Graham Jr.--Corporate affiliations: R. E. Smith Interests (an asset management company; income: $670,000).

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occupybohemiangrove.com

President Media Freedom Foundation, former director of Project Censored.

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Having only read the first page, I was stunned to ... by Paul Repstock on Sunday, Aug 19, 2012 at 8:44:57 PM
We should be mindful of the reason for the clarity... by Jim Eldon on Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 11:12:43 AM
It is a valuable article. It is important for ever... by Paul Repstock on Sunday, Aug 19, 2012 at 10:54:40 PM
This article represents the mother load.   ... by Ned Lud on Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 6:25:36 AM
One of the most important articles in years. Shoul... by Enoch Page on Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 12:27:24 PM
"An adult requires more than $72,000 to belong to ... by Ralph Dratman on Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 2:11:54 PM
This is a must read article for the 99% Its only c... by Paul Del Gatto on Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 4:13:10 PM
the people was supposed to function, then the mass... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 7:38:14 PM
It seems that most of the people who are aware of ... by Deborah Dills on Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 8:23:54 PM
Voting is most definitely not the answer. See "Con... by Jim Eldon on Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 7:45:13 PM
we need is about another 45% not voting to really ... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 12:50:21 PM
How do you know half the people are already not vo... by Jim Eldon on Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 2:50:54 PM
...that told of how so many, if not all, of the 1%... by Ginger McClemons on Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 2:24:27 PM