The Moment of Truth Series #12: WE ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!
Please try, if you can, to wrap your mind around the following numbers and let their true significance sink into you. As you read this, think about the 100,000,000 human beings - our brothers and sisters - who are said to be too poor now to feed themselves with the sudden global food price hikes and who are dying of starvation at this very moment. Think also about our long-suffering Earth Mother whose global health is fast deteriorating because we have not set our priorities correctly and because of a lack of investment to shift our civilization onto a sustainable path. Don't forget also to think about the unimaginable sufferings the following misguided investments have caused to tens of millions of people and could still cause to billions more if no radical change of direction is not soon made...
"US spending for its military establishment during the current fiscal year, conservatively calculated, to at least $1.1 trillion. (...) On 7 November 2007, the US Treasury announced that the national debt had breached $9 trillion for the first time. (...) The debt accumulated by the federal government did not top $1 trillion until 1981. When George Bush became president in January 2001, it stood at approximately $5.7 trillion. Since then, it has increased by 45%. This huge debt can be largely explained by our defence expenditures. (...)
By 1990 the value of the weapons, equipment and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in US manufacturing. From 1947 to 1990, the combined US military budgets amounted to $8.7 trillion. (...) Between the 1940s and 1996, the US spent at least $5.8 trillion on the development, testing and construction of nuclear bombs. (...) There is today no sane use for them, while the trillions spent on them could have been used to solve the problems of social security and health care, quality education and access to higher education for all, not to speak of the retention of highly-skilled jobs within the economy."
And this merely concerns the United States. Can you imagine how different things could be today if these incalculable resources and all the human ingenuity wasted to develop ever more powerful and lethal weapons of mass destruction and fatten the bloated wallets of a tiny, tiny coterie of megalomaniac monsters had been dedicated instead to enhance everyone's quality of life and make sure everyone is well fed, well educated, and leading a happy fulfilling life?
I guess it is fair to say we have been going the wrong way, and that it is high time we get the enlightened leadership we badly need to pick a new direction towards a brighter future ...
This is definitely a critical Moment of Truth for all of us...
P.S. Your feedback is as always welcomed and may be included in a coming compilation - unless you prefer it is not. Circulating this compilation (or any part of it) and personally inviting your correspondents to subscribe to this list would also help enlarge the circle of people who have access to this material. Please include the following note and the URL address for the archived copy below along with your forwards, so others may have the opportunity to explore the original copy, if they so choose.
This compilation is archived at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2008/MomentTruth12.htm
STATS for this compilation: Over 43,900 words and 204 links provided.
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Note from Jean: In my last compilation I forgot to include a link to the letter from Dr. Carlo entitled "BioPro's Fabricated Science Fiction" recommended by Ken in relation to the cell phone information in item # 12. This link is now embedded in the title above if you wish to review this letter. Incidentally Ken sent me the following comment: " You are doing a service for not only an ignorant and unconscious humanity, but for ALL planetary life! People have NO IDEA what damage they are causing and, sad to say, I'm sure a LARGE number of your readership HAVE and USE CELL PHONES. So they are part and parcel to the problem ... and the problem is CRITICAL. What it will take to wake people up is a MASSIVE number of people getting seriously ill (quickly) with an even larger number getting brain tumors and passing from this plane. I'd LOVE to see the executives of the telecom companies and the colluding bureau-rats in government being hauled off to prison for life ... for murder, manslaughter and crimes against humanity."
... Harsh words to which I replied:
The blind spot most everyone has in their mind - and I certainly don't exclude myself from that! - once they get hooked onto some consumer product is pointing to a critical failure and fundamental flaw in our individual and collective psyche that leads us directly into an ecosuicidal abyss right now. I'm amazed at the disconnect there is in our minds between information that is now widely available - especially if one is subscribed to this list and actually reads and ponders the meaning and consequences of the material networked - and our individual lust for the cheapest, latest convenience or gizmo that make us selfishly focus solely on our immediate need and forget the far-reaching consequences of our consumer choices. Our individual and global ecological footprint is stamping out Life on Earth at such an alarming rate that it calls for a radical re-evaluation of our seemingly "sacrosanct" and completely irresponsible stealing from all future generations of the very Life support system we and they all depend on.
To me only a spiritual revolution of the xth magnitude can divert humanity from our current path towards oblivion, for it is only once we realize and feel how intricately connected we are to all other life forms and to this very living planet that we will make the leap in understanding that a New Way of Being exists and is achievable through a mere shift in perception from selfcentredness to Oneness Awareness - which is exactly the core focus of the next Meditation Focus #185: Healing the Chasm of Separation... (coming your way next Saturday night)
No amount of rational arguing can impart deep within what 30 minutes of intense immersion into the infinite sentient perfection of the One Universal Heart beating in our soul can achieve...
Be there and be-live!
"Jean, It would be so nice if you would post a few photos of yourself for those of us who have never met you in person, but who would like to have a picture in our minds of the person who put all this very valuable information you are so kind and generous to share with us. We would also like a face to put with our thoughts of appreciation and prayers for your continued joyous and long life."
- Beverly (email@example.com) -- Message found in the ERN guestbook. There is a Personal bio page with pictures that has been on the ERN website for over 10 years, but I guess few people manage to find it...
" I come from a future Earth. Our world has been totally purified and everything is in total harmonic balance. Lush green forests lie where once there were deserts. Rivers and streams glisten with clear, pure water teeming with life. The mighty oceans are not such a mystery to us as we can live in chambers below the surface of the water.We telepathically communicate with the intelligent life forms that live there. Many of our kind communicate with the whales and dolphins learning technologies of consciousness that can aid both our species. The planet Gaia is totally honoured and respected as a living, intelligent, co-creative entity. All of our kind have their own unique connection to the planet. We have a new level of connection. We no longer consider ourselves separate to her. We now realise we are an intricate part of her consciousness. Gaia's dream has been accessed by our kind and all are expressing their unique part of the dream. We live on a planet that is ecologically balanced and harmonious. The planet is heavenly with stable, pleasant weather patterns and gentle climates. This enables all life to blossom. Food is in abundance and all the needs of the whole are brought forth from Gaia."
"No state or individual can be secure in an insecure world. The values of nonviolence in intention, thought, and practice have grown from an option to a necessity. These values are expressed in their application between states, groups and individuals. We are convinced that adherence to the values of nonviolence will usher in a more peaceful, civilized world order in which more effective and fair governance, respectful of human dignity and the sanctity of life itself, may become a reality. Our cultures, our histories, and our individual lives are interconnected and our actions are interdependent. Especially today as never before, we believe, a truth lies before us: our destiny is a common destiny. That destiny will be defined by our intentions, decisions and actions today. We are further convinced that creating a culture of peace and nonviolence, while a difficult and long process, is both necessary and noble. Affirmation of the values contained in this Charter is a vital step to ensuring the survival and development of humanity and the achievement of a world without violence. (...) In implementing the principles of this Charter we call upon all to work together towards a just, killing-free world in which everyone has the right not to be killed and responsibility not to kill others."
"No one is above the law! Yet, leaders have placed themselves exactly there: above the law. Perhaps this has always been the case; however, now I am aware of it along with millions of others around the globe. The lights have come on. Through the Internet, we have been given many glimpses behind the curtain and into the ivory towers where those who pull the strings in our world operate with impunity and with intentions that could only be considered evil (anti-life) by any thinking, sentient being. In light of these revelations, how can any loving heart justify neutrality? (...) We do not know how it will work out in the physical world; but I am convinced that until we do take that stand, little will change. In all of your spiritual practices, please choose justice and the changing of the guard. In so doing, we co-create the new heaven and the new earth long prophesied. The planet, Earth herself, travails until we do our part. Heaven asks, Who are you: sovereign or slave? Only those willing to serve the highest good of all are fit to be leaders. May God bless the entire world with people of vision and compassion rising to positions of leadership! May justice with mercy prevail with no exceptions for anyone, no matter how wealthy or seemingly powerful!"
With my newly acquired title as a journalist, I decided to strike a high note.
"Come in," God said to me, "so, you would like to interview Me?"
"If you have the time," I said.
He smiled and said: "My time is called eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?"
"None that are new to you. What's the one thing that surprises you most about mankind?"
He answered: "That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.
"That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.
"That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.
"That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived..."
His hands took mine and we were silent. After a long period, I said, "May I ask you another question?"
He replied with a smile.
"As a Father, what would you ask your children to do for the new year?"
"To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved."
"To learn that it takes years to build trust, and a few seconds to destroy it.
"To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.
"To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. There will be others better or worse than they are.
"To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.
"To learn that they should control their attitudes, otherwise their attitudes will control them.
"To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.
"To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.
"To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to show their feelings.
"To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.
"To learn that while at times they may be entitled to be upset, that does not give them the right to upset those around them.
"To learn that great dreams do not require great wings, but a landing gear to achieve.
"To learn that true friends are scarce, he/she who has found one has found a true treasure.
"To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they forgive themselves.
"To learn that they are masters of what they keep to themselves and slaves of what they say.
"To learn that they shall reap what they plant; if they plant gossip they will harvest intrigues, if they plant love they will harvest happiness.
"To learn that true happiness is not to achieve their goals but to learn to be satisfied with what they already achieved.
"To learn that happiness is a decision. They decide to be happy with what they are and have, or die from envy and jealousy of what they lack.
"To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different.
"To learn that those who are honest with themselves without considering the consequences go far in life.
"To learn that even though they may think they have nothing to give, when a friend cries with them, they find the strength to appease the pain.
"To learn that by trying to hold on to loved ones, they very quickly push them away; and by letting go of those they love, they will be side by side forever."
1. The Axis of Responsibility: Addressing the Critical Global Issues of the 21st Century
2. Bush Launches Economic 'Shock and Awe' on Iran
3. Seeds of Compassion
4. Propaganda, Deception, and the 'Riots' in Lhasa: Why the Chinese regime has incited violence in Tibet
5. The Persecution of Falun Gong and the Olympics
6. Falun Gong "Disappearing by the Thousands"
7. Coming Ecological Collapse: Failing Ecosystems the Mother of All Bubbles
8. Why costs are climbing
9. Warmer seas, over-fishing spell disaster for oceans: scientists
10. The economic disaster that is military keynesianism: Why the US has really gone broke
11. Cardiff Demonstration about the Military Academy proposed to St Athan
12. An Insider's Report on Barack Obama's Meeting with Cleveland Jewish Leaders
Special Focus on the exceptional investigative work of Australian journalist, author and film maker John Pilger The following videos document in gruesome details the litany of ignominious crimes against humanity committed, abetted and financed by the successive governments of the United States of America - and also of the United Kingdom - doing the bidding of a secret cabal bent of imposing its bloody grip of terror upon this entire planet. But they also document how ordinary people fight back often with only their undaunted courage and belief in the possibility of a better, more just world, and in the end show us all that can be accomplished when we let our hearts guide us towards victory against the forces of evil on Earth. Please visit John Pilger's website for more information: http://www.johnpilger.com The following comes from http://www.sprword.com/johnpilger.html where you will find much more material
"The censorship is such on television in the U.S. that films like mine don't stand a chance."
"It is too easy for Western journalists to see humanity in terms of its usefulness to 'our' interests and to follow government agendas that ordain good and bad tyrants, worthy and unworthy victims and present 'our' policies as always benign when the opposite is usually true. It's the journalist's job, first of all, to look in the mirror of his own society."
- John Pilger
John Pilger - Freedom Next Time (43 min 43 sec - 16 Jun 2007) FITTING INTRODUCTION TO HIS VIEWS http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4258131083758254736
John Pilger speaks about global media consolidation, war by journalism, US military's quest for domination/hegemony in the post 9/11 era, false history in the guise of 'objective' journalism. What he says about Barack Obama (at 35 minutes into this video) and the Democrats in general is real eye-opening stuff!!!
The War On Democracy by John Pilger (1 h 33 mn) POWERFUL! http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3739500579629840148
Award-winning documentary maker John Pilger suggests that, far from bringing democracy to the world as it claims, the US is doing its best to stifle its progress. Talking exclusively to American government officials, including agents who reveal for the first time on film how the CIA ran its war in Latin America in the 80s, Pilger argues that true popular democracy is more likely to be found among the poorest in Latin America, whose movements are often ignored in the West. "President Bush has promised to rid the world of evil and to lead the great mission to build free societies on every continent. To understand such an epic lie is to understand history. Hidden history. Suppressed history. History that explains why we in the West know a lot about the crimes of others, but almost nothing about our own. The missing word is Empire. The existence of an American Empire is rarely acknowledged." Recommended by Elisabeth (firstname.lastname@example.org) Ex-DEA Head Admits CIA Imported Cocaine - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR8s-mIj9BM
The New Rulers of The World Produced by John Pilger (53 Minutes) http://www.sprword.com/videos/newrulers/
"Never before has the gulf between rich and poor been so vast and inequality so widespread. The facts of globalization are revealing a small group of powerful individuals...Just two-hundred giant corporations dominate a quarter of the world's economic activity. General Motors is now bigger than Denmark. Ford is bigger than South Africa." In order to examine the true effects of globalization, Pilger turns the spotlight on Indonesia, a country described by the World Bank as a model pupil until its globalized economy collapsed in 1998. The film examines the use of sweatshop factories by famous brand names, and asks some penetrating questions. Who are the real beneficiaries of the globalized economy? Who really rules the world now? Is it governments or a handful of huge companies? The Ford Motor Company alone is bigger than the economy of South Africa. Enormously rich men, like Bill Gates, have a wealth greater than all of Africa. Pilger goes behind the hype of the new global economy and reveals that the divisions between the rich and poor have never been greater -- two thirds of the world's children live in poverty -- and the gulf is widening like never before. The film looks at the new rulers of the world -- the great multinationals and the governments and institutions that back them -- the IMF and the World Bank. Under IMF rules, millions of people throughout the world lose their jobs and livelihood. The reality behind much of modern shopping and the famous brands is a sweatshop economy, which is being duplicated in country after country. The film travels to Indonesia and Washington, asking challenging questions seldom raised in the mainstream media and exposing the scandal of globalization, including revealing interviews with top officials of the World Bank and the IMF. (Excerpt from http://www.sprword.com/johnpilger.html)
Breaking The Silence - Truth and Lies in the War On Terror Directed by John Pilger (51 min 50 sec) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4527835028345509000
"We were sold this war on the basis of Iraq possessing a massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which was never found, and won't be found, because there was no massive arsenal of weapons. We were also promised a need for war on the basis of active cooperation between Iraq and Al-Qaeda and the fact that it was just a matter of time before some of these weapons from this massive arsenal were passed to this terrorist group... There was no hard intelligence to establish there was a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda." -- John Pilger dissects the truth and lies in the 'war on terror'. Award-winning journalist John Pilger investigates the discrepancies between American and British claims for the 'war on terror' and the facts on the ground as he finds them in Afghanistan and Washington, DC. In 2001, as the bombs began to drop, George W. Bush promised Afghanistan "the generosity of America and its allies". Now, the familiar old warlords are regaining power, religious fundamentalism is renewing its grip and military skirmishes continue routinely. In "liberated" Afghanistan, America has its military base and pipeline access, while the people have the warlords who are, says one woman, "in many ways worse than the Taliban". In Washington, Pilger conducts a series of remarkable interviews with William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and leading Administration officials such as Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. These people, and the other architects of the Project for the New American Century, were dismissed as 'the crazies' by the first Bush Administration in the early 90s when they first presented their ideas for pre-emptive strikes and world domination. Pilger also interviews presidential candidate General Wesley Clark, and former intelligence officers, all the while raising searching questions about the real motives for the 'war on terror'. While President Bush refers to the US attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq as two 'great victories', Pilger asks the question - victories over whom, and for what purpose? Pilger describes Afghanistan as a country "more devastated than anything I have seen since Pol Pot's Cambodia". He finds that Al-Qaida has not been defeated and that the Taliban is re-emerging. And of the "victory" in Iraq, he asks: "Is this Bush's Vietnam?"
John Pilger - War By Other Means Directed by David Munro (52 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5399796928596929639
"Contrary to a myth long popular in the West, it's been the poor of the world that finance the rich - not the other way around - and this film sets out to explain why. It's also a film about war, a war you don't see on your television screens for it's seldom news. It's been describe as a silent war. Instead of soldiers dying, there are children dying... Instead of the bombing of bridges, there is the tearing down of forests and other natural resources; the bulldozing of farmland; and the running down of schools and hospitals. In many ways, it's like a colonial war. The difference is that these days, people and the resources are controlled not by viceroys and occupying armies, but by other more sophisticated means of which the principle is debt." John Pilger and David Munro examine the policy of First World banks agreeing loans with Third World countries, who are then unable to meet the cripling interest charges.
John_Pilger - Inside Burma - Land of Fear (52 mn) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=253734287578732261
"More than a million people have been forced from their homes and according to the United Nations, untold thousands have been massacred, tortured, and subjected to a modern form of slavery. Burma, says Amnesty International, is a prison behind bars." John Pilger and David Munro go undercover in one of the world's most isolated, and extraordinary countries, Burma, which Amnesty International calls 'a prison without bars'. They discover slave labour preparing for tourism and foreign investment.
Nicaragua: A Nation's Right To SurviveDirected by John Pilger (52 Minutes) http://youtube.com/watch?v=zJWNof0e2TM
"Almost all the people in Nicaragua rose up against a tyrant called Somoza, whose family had been in power for more than 40 years, put there by the United States marines. That uprising costs 50,000 lives, almost as many as died for America in Vietnam, but out of a population of less than 3 million people." In 1979, the Sandinistas won a popular revolution in Nicaragua, putting an end to decades of the corrupt US-backed Somoza dictatorship. They based their reformist ideology on that of the English Co-operative Movement, but was to prove too 'radical' for the Reagan administration. In this film, Pilger describes the achievements of the Sandinistas and their "threat of a good example".
Year Zero - The Silent Death of Cambodia Directed by John Pilger (52 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9159164859238659487
John Pilger vividly reveals the brutality and murderous political ambitions of the Pol Pot / Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime which bought genocide and despair to the people of Cambodia while neighboring countries, including Australia, shamefully ignored the immense human suffering and unspeakable crimes that bloodied this once beautiful country. "President Nixon and Mr. Kissinger unleashed 100,000 tons of bombs, the equivalent of 5 Hiroshimas. The bombing was their personal decision; illegally and secretly, they bombed Cambodia, a neutral country, back to the Stone Age. And I mean Stone Age in its' literal sense." John Pilger vividly reveals the brutality and murderous political ambitions of the Pol Pot / Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime which bought genocide and despair to the people of Cambodia while neighboring countries, including Australia, shamefully ignored the immense human suffering and unspeakable crimes that bloodied this once beautiful country.
Palestine Is Still The Issue Directed by John Pilger (52 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1259454859593416473
"This is a huge bluff of the Israeli establishment, that every criticism of its' policy is anti-semitism," In 1977, the award-winning journalist and film-maker, John Pilger, made a documentary called Palestine Is Still The Issue (1977). He told how almost a million Palestinians had been forced off their land in 1948, and again in 1967. In this in-depth documentary, he has returned to the West Bank of the Jordan and Gaza, and to Israel, to ask why the Palestinians, whose right of return was affirmed by the United Nations more than half a century ago, are still caught in a terrible limbo -- refugees in their own land, controlled by Israel in the longest military occupation in modern times. "The fate and struggle of the Palestinians," says Pilger, "are not just critical to the overdue recognition of their basic human rights, but are also central to whether the region, and the wider world, are plunged into war. Israel is now one of the biggest military powers in the world. While nothing changes, the dangers become greater. This is a film about a nation of people, traumatized, humiliated and yet resilient. In trying to liberate less than a quarter of historic Palestine, they have had no army, no air force, and no powerful friends -- and have fought back with slingshots and now with the terrorism of the suicide bombers."
Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq Directed by John Pilger (1 Hour and 15 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1867691819991815704
"For almost 10 years of extraordinary isolation imposed by the UN and enforced by America and Britain, have killed more people than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan - including half a million young children."
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations (backed strongly by the US and UK) imposed harsh sanctions on Iraq that lasted for 10 years (1991-2001); the harsh restrictions on imports of everything, including access to key medicines, resulted in over a million deaths, more than half a million of which were women and children. That's more deaths than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan and 9/11 combined. The purpose was regime change, but it never came. The overwhelming majority of those killed were the poor, elderly, women and children. Empirically, sanctions overwhelmingly punish the poor, the destitute. While the sanctions were in place, the richest people in control of the resources (Saddam Hussein et al.) still had everything they wanted: food, cars, mansions, access to the best medicines, etc. Award-winning journalist John Pilger has documented the reality of UN harsh sanctions in this hard-hitting film.
... and the unrelenting torture and killing of Iraqi people and wholesale destruction of their country continue to this day!
Stealing a Nation Produced by John Pilger (56 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3667764379758632511
STEALING A NATION (John Pilger, 2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of people of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean - secretly and brutally expelled from their homeland by British governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to make way for an American military base. The base, on the main island of Diego Garcia, was a launch pad for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. "Hidden from Parliament and the U.S. Congress, the deal was this: the Americans wanted the island, in their words, "swept and sanitized." A brochure of the film is available at http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/stealguide.pdf. On April 8, 2008, the Chagos Islanders have launched a national Campaign for Resettlement of their islands - go to http://www.letthemreturn.com. Please visit the UK Chagos Support Blog at http://chagosuk.blogspot.com.
The Truth Game Directed by John Pilger (1 hr 19 min) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8188389096643641702
"The destruction of Nagasaki was officially described as having achieved "good results". These announcements and especially the words used: experiment, success, good results, to describe the unique and horrific carnage of nuclear war, were the first public examples of a new kind of propaganda. By using reassuring, even soothing language - language which allowed both the politicians and us to distance ourselves from the horror of nuclear war." John Pilger looks at world-wide propaganda surrounding the nuclear arms race. John Pilger's penetrating documentary which looks at world-wide propaganda surrounding the nuclear arms race. When the two American atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, they were code-named 'Fat Man' and 'Little Boy', and President Truman announced after the event: "The experiment has been an overwhelming success." "These", says Pilger, "were words used to describe the awful and horrific carnage of nuclear war. By using reassuring, even soothing language, this new kind of propaganda created acceptable images of war and the illusion that we could live securely with nuclear weapons". Official 'truths' are examined in connection with the bombing of Hiroshima, the build up of arms by Russia and America, the siting of nuclear bases by the US in Britain and Europe, Ministry of Defence statements about the Cruise missile base at Greenham Common, and other US bases, the amount of government money spent on weapons, 'Civil defence' arrangements and a NATO 'limited' nuclear and chemical war exercise in West Germany, which Pilger describes as 'a dry run for the unthinkable'. Many experts give their views, including Paul Warnke who thinks arms reduction is feasible -- 'All we need is the political will to go ahead with it'.
Apartheid Did Not Die Directed by John Pilger (51 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6343784518626528037
"Apartheid based on race is outlawed now, but the system always went far deeper than that. The cruelty and injustice were underwritten by an economic apartheid, which regarded people as no more than cheap expendable labor. It was backed by great business corporations in South Africa, Britain, the rest of Europe, and the United States. And it was this apartheid based on money and profit to allow a small minority to control most of the land, most of the industrial wealth, and most of the economic power. Today, the same system is called - without a trace of irony - the free market." John Pilger was banned from South Africa for his reporting during the apartheid era. On his return thirty years later with Alan Lowery, he describes the extraordinary generosity of a liberated people, but asks who are the true beneficiaries of a democracy - the black majority or the white minority?
Flying the Flag - Arming the World Directed by John Pilger (51 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7896356728565502659
"Britain is still a world leader. Indeed it has twenty percent of a world market, second only to the United States. And this industry is considered so important by the government that it consumes almost half of all research and development funds. Strangely it produces not consumer goods that people want, but machines that hardly any of us use or want to use. Moreover, for all its' preeminence, its' future is uncertain and depends to a large degree on secret deals with some of the most corrupt and brutal regimes on Earth. One of the biggest manufacturing industries in Britain at the close of the century is ARMS." John Pilger and David Munro look behind the political rhetoric and discover the world of international arms dealing.
Breaking The Mirror: The Murdoch Effect Directed by John Pilger (52 Minutes) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5005752483917353600
"The Daily Mirror was the best of them. It was a tabloid when tabloids still meant a peoples' paper that respected its' readers and earned their trust and affection...This film is a personal tribute, but it's also the story of what happened to the once popular Mirror. How the reporting of the blood, sweat, and tears of ordinary people has changed out of all recognition. Above all, it's the story of a rise of a new kind of tabloid and a new kind of media power now set to dominate much of the world." The British public were told that the new information technology, heralded by The Sun's move to Wapping, would bring a greater variety of newspapers and a more diverse media. But it produced a contracted press controlled by ever fewer proprietors. John Pilger describes the downfall of his old paper and the all-pervasive influence of Rupert Murdoch.
Ouch! The Daily Show's Eviscerating "Documentary" About Fox News (April 11, 2008) MUST WATCH! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/11/smackdown-the-emdaily-sho_n_96185.html
The Daily Show's John Oliver put together a stunning smackdown of Fox News on last night's show, punctuated by some damning clips showing egregious comments from some anchors (John Gibson, natch) and some gasp! flip-flopping on certain positions (like, say, executive privilege). Watch as Oliver tries to sneak into Fox HQ dressed as the Statue of Liberty, hosts a pundit shoutfest, and waves many flags. (Look for the April 10 show to view this)
WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil http://www.powerofcommunity.org/cm/index.php and http://globalpublicmedia.com/articles/657
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half and food by 80 percent people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call "The Special Period." The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis the massive reduction of fossil fuels is an example of options and hope. Recommended by Serge St-Amand (email@example.com) who also recommended the Relocalization Network website http://www.relocalize.net/ (which supports and connects groups as they work toward building strong communities) as examples of positive ways to face the Peak Oil global crisis and challenge which can be turned out into a wonderful opportunity to set our civilization onto a sustainable path for the highest good of all future generations.
The End of the World as You Know It http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041508D.shtml
Michael T. Klare writing for TomDispatch.com observes: "Oil at $110 a barrel. Gasoline at $3.35 (or more) per gallon. Diesel fuel at $4 per gallon. Independent truckers forced off the road. Home heating oil rising to unconscionable price levels. Jet fuel so expensive that three low-cost airlines stopped flying in the past few weeks. This is just a taste of the latest energy news, signaling a profound change in how all of us, in this country and around the world, are going to live..." (...) According to the DoE, renewable fuels, including wind, solar and hydropower (along with "traditional" fuels like firewood and dung), supplied but 7.4% of global energy in 2004; biofuels added another 0.3%. Meanwhile, fossil fuels - oil, coal and natural gas - supplied 86% of world energy, nuclear power another 6%. Based on current rates of development and investment, the DoE offers the following dismal projection: In 2030, fossil fuels will still account for exactly the same share of world energy as in 2004. The expected increase in renewables and biofuels is so slight - a mere 8.1% - as to be virtually meaningless. In global warming terms, the implications are nothing short of catastrophic: Rising reliance on coal (especially in China, India and the United States) means that global emissions of carbon dioxide are projected to rise by 59% over the next quarter-century, from 26.9 billion metric tons to 42.9 billion tons. The meaning of this is simple. If these figures hold, there is no hope of averting the worst effects of climate change. When it comes to global energy supplies, the implications are nearly as dire. To meet soaring energy demand, we would need a massive influx of alternative fuels, which would mean equally massive investment - in the trillions of dollars - to ensure that the newest possibilities move rapidly from laboratory to full-scale commercial production; but that, sad to say, is not in the cards. Instead, the major energy firms (backed by lavish US government subsidies and tax breaks) are putting their mega-windfall profits from rising energy prices into vastly expensive (and environmentally questionable) schemes to extract oil and gas from Alaska and the Arctic, or to drill in the deep and difficult waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The result? A few more barrels of oil or cubic feet of natural gas at exorbitant prices (with accompanying ecological damage), while non-petroleum alternatives limp along pitifully. (...) What this adds up to is simple and sobering: the end of the world as you've known it. In the new, energy-centric world we have all now entered, the price of oil will dominate our lives and power will reside in the hands of those who control its global distribution. In this new world order, energy will govern our lives in new ways and on a daily basis. It will determine when, and for what purposes, we use our cars; how high (or low) we turn our thermostats; when, where, or even if, we travel; increasingly, what foods we eat (given that the price of producing and distributing many meats and vegetables is profoundly affected by the cost of oil or the allure of growing corn for ethanol); for some of us, where to live; for others, what businesses we engage in; for all of us, when and under what circumstances we go to war or avoid foreign entanglements that could end in war. This leads to a final observation: the most pressing decision facing the next president and Congress may be how best to accelerate the transition from a fossil-fuel-based energy system to a system based on climate-friendly energy alternatives.
Oil nears $115 a barrel http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/415118
Gasoline and oil futures prices rocketed to new records Wednesday, propelled by concerns about how much gas will be available during the peak summer months. Crude futures approached US$115 for the first time.
Bill C-517: Mandatory labelling of GE food: Your turn to speak out! IMPORTANT ACTION FOR ALL CANADIANS! http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/recent/c-517-mandatory-ge-labelling
By the luck of the Parliamentary draw, a private members bill supporting mandatory labelling of GE food in Canada was randomly selected for debate in the House of Commons in April. ill C-517, presented by a Bloc Québécois MP, was debated during a second resading on April 3, 2008. A second hour of parliamentary debate may take place in as early as two weeks, according to the House of Commons calendar. Following this second debate, the House will be called on to vote on Bill C-517 on mandatory GE labelling in Canada. We have a reasonable chance of winning this vote, but we must get the word out now. Not only will mandatory labelling of GE foods provide you with the information you have a right to, it will also pave the way for a gradual withdrawal of GE foods from the food chain. This will also reduce the dissemination of GE seeds in the environment. If it is adopted in its second reading, Bill C-517 will be studied by a parliamentary committee and then returned for a third reading in the House of Commons followed by a final vote by Canada's 301 MPs.
What YOU can do! It is important that federal MPs vote in favour of Bill C-517 on the second reading. The stakes are high but this time, the bill has a very good chance of becoming law. You have the power to persuade our federal MPs to support this bill and to choose us instead of Monsanto! 5 Easy Steps 1 Message 7 Minutes - Take Action Now! CLIP La version française de cette information est disponible au http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/fr/actualites/c517-a-vous-dagir -- À vous d'agir!
UN Body Urges Agriculture Reforms to Stave Off Food Crisis (April 15 2008) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/15/food.unitednations1
"A UN body today called on world leaders to urgently reform farming rules to boost the state of global agriculture and prevent a food crisis that could threaten international security and the fight against poverty. The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) said in a report that failing to take action would put future generations in jeopardy."Calls for immediate action have gathered momentum after riots in Haiti, Pakistan, Egypt and the Philippines as families struggle to feed themselves. Food prices have rocketed in recent months as climate change, China's increasing consumption and the growth in biofuels intensify demand for limited supplies. CLIP
ORBS and CIRCLES http://www.greatmystery.org/nl/orbs-circles.html
(...) One evening soon after we moved in we were sitting on the porch overlooking the crack and to our astonishment we saw colored balls or orbs about the size of grapefruits moving up and down the crack. We thought that this was something like ball lightening, but later, when talking to an old Hawaiian cowboy in Grandmas Coffee Shop in Keokea a few miles down the mountain, we were told it was the spirit of the mountain showing off for us. The glowing balls were regular visitors during our time on the mountain.They werent the only visitors. Often we would see mysterious lights moving around the volcano which would appear to hover and then rapidly shoot off into the sky. (...) As we drew near the shimmering, to our amazement we saw that the tall grass was pressed down into a perfect circle about 20 feet in diameter with the pressed down ring being around a yard wide, nothing fancy, just a perfect circle. There wasnt any trace in the surrounding grass of any entry by person or animal. We stepped into the grass in the circle center and felt an inexplicable energy surrounding us, as if transporting us into something unknown, a place of power that we couldnt explain away. We sat and meditated in the circle for what we thought was an hour and then headed up the field in an ecstatic state to the grandmother tree and then headed back across the mountain to our nearby home. It was early morning when we began our hike which only covered a mile or so from our house, but as we entered our porch we could see the sun nearing the ocean horizon. We looked at the kitchen clock and to our surprise we had been gone for almost seven hours. We both thought that we had been gone for no more than two or possibly three hours. We had simply lost track of time. CLIP Many more related articles through http://www.greatmystery.org/events/glastonbury08.html
SAVE THE GORILLAS PETITION http://gopetition.com/petitions/save-the-gorillas-stop-mining-coltan/sign.html
The forests are being destroyed and gorillas are being killed and snared for 'bushmeat' to feed thousands of loggers and of miners, and to sell to upscale European markets. Reports indicate that up to 90% of eastern lowland gorillas may have been killed in the last three years, and are headed for extinction. SIGN THIS Petition: We, the undersigned, believe that the situation affecting gorillas is very bad. They are being killed at an alarming rate. We know that your respective companies use coltan for your products. We also know that gorillas also need this mineral in their habitat. So we petition that you should make gorilla friendly products. It would save a species and more people (environmentalists) would buy and support your products. More on the issue of coltan through Blood Phones
PETITION: Protect your health from Electromagnetic Radiation http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bioinitiativeemrpi/index.html
Protect Yourself from Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) hazards by supporting the BioInitiative Report recommendations on EMR exposure limits. The EMR Policy Institute is putting forward this petition to endorse the recommendations of The BioInitiative Working Group Report. We are seeking support from other organizations whose missions call for responsible public health policy for children, for workers and for the general public both where they work and where they reside. We are also seeking the endorsement of individuals to call for tougher EMR safety policy globally as spelled out in the report: BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF). Following the Petition language is the statement of support for The BioInitiative Report that was issued on September 17, 2007, by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). It summarizes the importance of the BioInitiative Report and the EMR safety actions it recommends. Petition: We, the undersigned, find that current government limits do not protect the public from adverse health effects from electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emanating from devices such as power lines, cell phones and wireless internet devices and their associated antenna sites, TV and FM broadcast towers and radar. Most of the existing limits on this form of radiation are 1 to 4 thousand times too lenient to prudently protect humans from adverse health effects ranging from Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, reproduction problems, sleep reduction, learning, memory, slowed ability of the body to repair damage, interference with immune function, cancer and electrohypersensitivity. Based upon the scientific evidence set forth in The BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF) and a large body of additional research, we recommend that the following limits of electromagnetic radiation be set to not exceed: CLIP
Earth Day 2008 http://www.positivenews.org.uk/artman/publish/article_1611.shtml
In 2007 the Earth Day Network (EDN) organised 10,000 Earth Day events worldwide as well as many more in the US. The aim was to disseminate information on a wide variety of environmental challenges, and demonstrating the power of Earth Day to rally millions of people behind our environmental welfare. Of those 10,000, EDN directly collaborated on events in Togo, Russia, Ghana, Somalia, and China.This year on April 22nd people from all over the world will be getting involved in events that raise awareness of the need to protect our planet. Events will range from education packs for young people that teach them how to make their schools greener to providing clean, safe water to remote regions in Africa. Along with these projects, people will be getting together to make their voices heard about the need for senior politicians and governing bodies in their countries to lead by example and legislate to protect the environment. There will be campaigns across the US to get their leaders to take pro-active action on key environment issues as well as pledges to reduce waste or cut back on flights and fuel use.To find out more about getting involved visit the website: http://ww2.earthday.net
Money As Debt (47 mn 7 s - 12 févr. 2007) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279
Paul Grignon's 47-minute animated presentation of "Money as Debt" tells in very simple and effective graphic terms what money is and how it is being created. It is an entertaining way to get the message out. The Cowichan Citizens Coalition and its "Duncan Initiative" received high praise from those who previewed it. I recommend it as a painless but hard-hitting educational tool and encourage the widest distribution and use by all groups concerned with the present unsustainable monetary system in Canada and the United States. Recommended by Ricardo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Call for unification of all Sovereign Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island (Mother Earth) http://www.longestwalk.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=313&Itemid=123
As of the date of this Press Release, more than 100 Indigenous Sovereign Nations who live and prosper in the traditional ways within the current borders of Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Caribbean have agreed to gather together on April 20, 2008, to sign a Declaration of Sovereignty, by which these Indigenous Sovereign Nations will join together to re-assert their inherent sovereignty as ONE, inviting all Indigenous Sovereign Nations from all around the world to join. This movement, foreseen in the Prophesies thousands of years ago, is named The Sovereignty Project. (...) The creation of the New Confederacy will immediately free the Indigenous Sovereign Nations to re-assert their sovereignty, an inherent sovereignty granted by the Creator to each human at birth, which was never surrendered and never could have been surrendered. It has taken the Indigenous Sovereign Nations over 200 years to regroup and arrive at this crucial point in history to re-commence performing their sacred duties to care for Mother Earth, all Her creatures, great and small (and, hence, all humans too). CLIP recommended by Zackoree (email@example.com)
Behind the Veil: A Look at the Phenomenon of Channeling
Interview with Lyssa Royal: November 1998 http://www.lyssaroyal.com/channel.htm
Channeling is the process of receiving information or inspiration from realms beyond our physical reality. There are many forms of channeling such as vocal trance channeling and divination (using tools such as tarot or runes). Even the simplest form of creativity can be considered channeling such as music composition, dance and movement, and artistic endeavors. The specific source of channeled inspiration is not nearly as significant as the essence of the gift brought through to this reality.From where does channeling come? Most people have heard of the process of channeling spirit guides, angels, extraterrestrials and ascended masters. But perhaps the most important aspect of channeling is each person's ability to connect with his or her own unique spiritual energy -- that of the Higher Self. Without that ability, the process of connecting with spirit guides may seem two-dimensional or shallow. As we develop our relationship with our own Higher Selves (thus committing to the process of our personal growth) the universe comes alive with consciousness that helps us learn about the wonders of God's universe. This article is taken from an interview with Lyssa Royal on the subject of channeling and its connection with the Higher Self. Many subjects are discussed but an overall theme is explored -- that the channeling process can only be as clear as the channel. To achieve clarity a channel must commit herself to a journey of intense personal growth and discovery. (...) When you focus on your personal growth and clear your blockages the natural result is to make a connection with the Higher Self. Once you make that connection with the Higher Self many doors will open. The door to your creativity opens along with the door to many hidden talents that you might not know you had. One of these talents might be the talent to channel spirit guides. If you choose to learn to channel spirit guides and focus only on that and do not focus on your personal growth, it will be a difficult road. If you choose the path of your Higher Self, then the door to the universe opens widely before you.The Higher Self is, simply, the part of us that we all have that connects with God. It is our own individual Christ/Buddha consciousness that we possess within us. It also represents the pinnacle of human potential. That Higher Self exists for all of us and is the higher point of view of life on Earth. From the point of view of the Higher Self, our confusing world makes sense. When you make your own intimate connection with the Higher Self, your life begins to make sense. (...) In our distant past, channeling in its many forms was a natural part of life practiced not only by shamans and spiritual teachers but by anyone with a sincere desire to connect with the greater part of themselves. Today's western world has rigid and dogmatic scientific perspectives that leaves many people feeling the void of spirituality within them. People in increasing numbers are turning to their inner selves for guidance. This quest will serve to strengthen the individual as a spiritual being and, when practiced with humility and an open heart, will always lead the seeker back Home.
Community Radio Activists Murdered in Oaxaca (4/09/2008) http://corrugatedfilms.blogspot.com/2008/04/community-radio-activists-murdered-in.html
(...) The Center for Community Support Working Together (CACTUS as the spanish acronym) released a communique denouncing the murders and demanding that the state authorities investigate and punish those responsible for the crime. The state attorney general said that 20 bullet shells, caliber 7.62, were found at the site of the murders, along with other arms including an AK-47. People are encouraged to contact their local embassies and consulates (or to organize demonstrations at their local embassies and consulates) to express their condemnation of this paramilitary repression of indigenous women and community media projects. Recommended by an anonymous reader who wrote: "I'm requesting prayers from your readers for the souls of these brave freedom-fighters and their families. We are losing TOO MANY OF OUR PEOPLE at a time when we need to be massive in numbers to counter the opposition."
Use secure email providers - Useful advice from the RiseUp Net people... http://help.riseup.net/security/measures/#use_secure_email_providers
There are many governments and corporations who "sniff" general traffic on the internet. Even if you use a secure connection to check and send your email, the communication between mail servers is almost always insecure and out in the open.Fortunately, there is a solution! StartTLS is a fancy name for a very important idea: StartTLS allows mail servers to talk to each other in a secure way. CLIP
Global hunger, corporate greed: When will enough be enough? (04/15/2008) http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2008/04/15/global-hunger-corporate-greed-when-will-enough-be-enough.html
Media around the world are currently feeding off the increasing price of food everywhere. The World Bank chief has joined in with the prediction that starvation is a distinct possibility for many of the weaker nations, leading to political turmoil. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) chief says only 14 percent of available water is used in Asia, 2 percent in Africa, with the rest flowing into the oceans each year. If this is the sorry state of affairs, what do our political leaders and their henchmen do at the office every day?The instinctive urge to shoot the messenger is of course misdirected energy. But when you put the disparate pieces of our puzzling world on the table, the emerging picture is embarrassing indeed. A kilogram of rice costs more than US$1 and a barrel of oil costs over $100. One influences the other. The subprime loan crisis will cost more than $1 trillion and the Iraq war will cost the United States alone as much as $3 trillion. Different problem, same instinct. Many pundits will argue none of this has any connection to global hunger, as if these colossal costs aren't real and do not affect the common man. It is all too easy to throw stones at our politicians and bureaucrats. But those of us in business would do well to spend a minute pondering the glass houses we go to work in. The altar of the shareholder has become the convenient excuse for inexcusable conduct. The voracious appetite for dividends and stock prices has allowed CEOs to hold boards and investors alike to ransom. Systemic deception has become acceptable culture in too many boardrooms, with nothing more than a wink and a nod required down the chain of command. CLIP -- PONDER THIS: Trillions go to Wall Street Fat Cats while pennies are spent of feeding the poorest billions of us...
Top 5 Hedge Fund Managers Made Over $1 Billion Each In Last Year (April 16, 2008) http://tinyurl.com/4qbp3r
George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management, was ranked second in a survey of hedge-fund managers' earnings. Soros and the other top-five managers made more than $1 billion in the last year.
A man-made famine (April 15, 2008) http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/raj_patel/2008/04/a_manmade_famine.html
For anyone who understands the current food crisis, it is hard to listen to the head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, without gagging. Earlier this week, Zoellick waxed apocalyptic about the consequences of the global surge in prices, arguing that free trade had become a humanitarian necessity, to ensure that poor people had enough to eat. The current wave of food riots has already claimed the prime minister of Haiti, and there have been protests around the world, from Mexico, to Egypt, to India.The reason for the price rise is perfect storm of high oil prices, an increasing demand for meat in developing countries, poor harvests, population growth, financial speculation and biofuels. But prices have fluctuated before. The reason we're seeing such misery as a result of this particular spike has everything to do with Zoellick and his friends. Before he replaced Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank, Zoellick was the US trade representative, their man at the World Trade Organisation. While there, he won a reputation as a tough and guileful negotiator, savvy with details and pushy with the neoconservative economic agenda: a technocrat with a knuckleduster. His mission was to accelerate two decades of trade liberalisation in key strategic commodities for the United States, among them agriculture. Practically, this meant the removal of developing countries' ability to stockpile grain (food mountains interfere with the market), to create tariff barriers (ditto), and to support farmers (they ought to be able to compete on their own). This Zoellick did often, and enthusiastically. Without agricultural support policies, though, there's no buffer between the price shocks and the bellies of the poorest people on earth. No option to support sustainable smaller-scale farmers, because they've been driven off their land by cheap EU and US imports. No option to dip into grain reserves because they've been sold off to service debt. No way of increasing the income of the poorest, because social programmes have been cut to the bone. The reason that today's price increases hurt the poor so much is that all protection from price shocks has been flayed away, by organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank. CLIP
Credit crunch? The real crisis is global hunger. And if you care, eat less meat (April 15 2008) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/15/food.biofuels
A food recession is under way. Biofuels are a crime against humanity, but - take it from a flesh eater - flesh eating is worse. -- ever mind the economic crisis. Focus for a moment on a more urgent threat: the great food recession that is sweeping the world faster than the credit crunch. You have probably seen the figures by now: the price of rice has risen by three-quarters over the past year, that of wheat by 130%. There are food crises in 37 countries. One hundred million people, according to the World Bank, could be pushed into deeper poverty by the high prices.But I bet that you have missed the most telling statistic. At 2.1bn tonnes, the global grain harvest broke all records last year - it beat the previous year's by almost 5%. The crisis, in other words, has begun before world food supplies are hit by climate change. If hunger can strike now, what will happen if harvests decline?There is plenty of food. It is just not reaching human stomachs. Of the 2.13bn tonnes likely to be consumed this year, only 1.01bn, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation, will feed people.I am sorely tempted to write another column about biofuels. From this morning all sellers of transport fuel in the United Kingdom will be obliged to mix it with ethanol or biodiesel made from crops. The World Bank points out that "the grain required to fill the tank of a sports utility vehicle with ethanol ... could feed one person for a year". This year global stockpiles of cereals will decline by around 53m tonnes; this gives you a rough idea of the size of the hunger gap. The production of biofuels will consume almost 100m tonnes, which suggests that they are directly responsible for the current crisis. CLIP
Military Releases High Casualty Figures http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041408S.shtml
According to CBS News's Pia Malbran, "The Department of Defense has released its latest American military casualty numbers for those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the figures reveal non-fatal casualties that go well beyond the more than 4,000 US troops who have died so far."
Unofficial US-Iran Group Holding "Secret" Nuclear Program Talks http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041408R.shtml
Anne Penketh, The Independent UK, reports: "Iran and the United States have been engaged in secret 'back channel' discussions for the past five years on Iran's nuclear program and the broader relationship between the two sworn enemies."
Source: U.S. Strike on Iran Nearing (April 14, 2008) http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/iran_nuclear_strike/2008/04/14/87887.html?s=al&promo_code=4940-1
Contrary to some claims that the Bush administration will allow diplomacy to handle Irans nuclear weapons program, a leading member of Americas Jewish community tells Newsmax that a military strike is not only on the table but likely.Israel is preparing for heavy casualties, the source said, suggesting that although Israel will not take part in the strike, it is expecting to be the target of Iranian retribution.Look at Dick Cheneys recent trip through the Middle East as preparation for the U.S. attack, the source said. Cheneys hastily arranged 9-day visit to the region, which began on March 16, included stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, and the Palestinian territories.Tensions in the region have been rising.While Israel was conducting the largest homefront military exercises in its history last week, Israels National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned Tehran about expected attacks on the Jewish state.An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel, which will destroy the Iranian nation, he said.He predicted that in a future war, hundreds of missiles will rain on Israel, but added that Iran is definitely aware of our strength.In addition to long-range missiles Iran has been developing to strike Israel, Israels military strategists see the Iranians using terror groups they back like Hamas operating from Palestine and Hezbollah from Lebanon to launch attacks.Iran has supplied Hezbollah with an arsenal that now contains tens of thousands of missiles, according to the Washington Post.IIsraels recent war exercises, including preparations for chemical and biological weapons attacks, drew a sharp response from Syria which held its own military drills. The Syrian government accused Israel of preparing for a war which Damascus predicted would be begin anytime between May 1 and the end of June.Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently told foreign journalists that Israel needs to confront the threat posed by Iran. Privately he has been telling associates his number one priority is have the Israeli military strike Iran if the U.S. is unwilling. CLIP
Manifest Destiny and Israel - By Uri Avnery (15/04/08) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19747.htm
NEXT MONTH, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The government is working feverishly to make this day into an occasion of joy and jubilation. While serious problems are crying out for funds, some 40 million dollars have been allocated to this aim. But the nation is in no mood for celebrations. It is gloomy. From all directions the government is blamed for this gloom. (...) There is no escape from the inevitable conclusion: the government is not working for peace. It does not want peace. And, also, that there is no effective parliamentary opposition pressing for peace, nor any pressure from the media. CLIP
Israel test-fires 'Iran' missile http://tinyurl.com/63yhod
Israel has conducted a test of a ballistic missile aimed at simulating an Iranian attack on Israel.
Iran would 'eliminate Israel' if attacked (LOTS OF SABER RATTLING!) http://tinyurl.com/4dfn45
"We are not worried by Israeli manoeuvres, but if Israel takes such action against the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will eliminate it from the global arena," Mohammad Reza Ashtiani was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
Iran raises nuclear stakes before big powers meet http://tinyurl.com/3lgdpz
Iran says it plans proposals to help end a row over its nuclear ambitions but at the same time it is raising the stakes before world powers meet by expanding work the West fears could produce bombs.
Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S. (April 12, 2008) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103655.html
Congressional Critics Want More Assurances of Legality -- The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department's new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible with traditional scientific and homeland security activities -- such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change and creating terrain maps.Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved, he said. The department has previously said the program will not intercept communications. CLIP
British documentary alleges pope linked to "child abuse cover-up" http://tinyurl.com/6kclbq
A British documentary claimed that Pope Benedict XVI was implicated in the systematic cover-up of child sex abuse allegations against Catholic priests. Before becoming head of the church, the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger enforced church doctrinal orthodoxy, including a "secret Vatican decree which seemed to shelter the perpetrators and silence the victims of abuse", the Panorama programme said.This was the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis, which told top churchmen how to deal with priests who "solicit or provoke the penitent toward impure and obscene matters", according to a translation from Latin on the BBC website. It imposed an oath of secrecy on victims, witnesses and those probing abuse claims and said that anyone breaking this would be excommunicated, the BBC said.Father Tom Doyle, a canon solicitor reportedly sacked by the Vatican after criticising its handling of child abuse claims, told the BBC that Crimen was "an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy, to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen." But the programme's claims have provoked a furious response from the Catholic Church in Britain. CLIP Didn't you cringe when you heard Herr George Bush say to pedophile priests (4392 in the US ONLY!) protector Pope Benedict XVI that "every single human life is sacred"?...
Bill Maher: "Catholic Church is the BearStearns of Organized Pedophilia" http://tinyurl.com/4h435v
Whenever a cult leader sets himself up as Gods infallible wingman, here on Earth, lock away the kids. Which is why Id like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult. Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. Thats right, the Pope is coming to America this week and ladies, hes single!Now I know what youre thinking: Bill, you shouldnt be saying that the Catholic Church is no better than this creepy Texas cult. For one, altar boys cant even get pregnant. But really, what tripped up the little cult on the prairie was that they only abused hundreds of kids, not thousands, all over the world. Cults get raided, religions get parades. How does the Catholic Church get away with all of their buggery? Volume, volume, volume! If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If have a billion, they call you Pope. Its like, if you cant pay your mortgage, youre a deadbeat. But if you cant pay a million mortgages, youre BearStearn and we bail you out. And that is who the Catholic Church is: the BearStearns of organized pedophilia. Too big, too fat. When the current pope was in his previous Vatican job as John Pauls Dick Cheney, he wrote a letter instructing every Catholic bishop to keep the sex abuse of minors secret until the Statute of Limitations ran out. And thats the Churchs attitude: Were here, were queer, get used to it
Strike Over Vote Falters in Zimbabwe http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041508I.shtml
Angus Shaw of The Associated Press writes: "A nationwide strike called by Zimbabwe's opposition to protest the withholding of election results appeared to falter Tuesday as police and soldiers fanned out across the country. Many in the capital said they were not aware of the protest. Zimbabwe is still waiting for the presidential results 17 days after a vote that longtime ruler Robert Mugabe apparently lost."
Dozens arrested in Zimbabwe strike clamp down (April 17) http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/afp/20080416/tts-zimbabwe-vote-c1b2fc3.html
HARARE (AFP) - - President Robert Mugabe's security forces clamped down hard on unrest during a general strike in Zimbabwe, arresting dozens of opposition supporters before the stoppage fizzled out on Wednesday. (...) A torched mini-bus in the capital's Glen View suburb was one of the few visible signs of anything out of the ordinary as workers ignored the call to stay at home, either out of choice, fear or desperation to feed their families (...) After the double-blow of the soft SADC statement and the rejection of its legal bid, the opposition had hoped its strike call would re-energise efforts to put pressure on the veteran strongman.But with the unemployment rate over 80 percent, inflation well into six figures and even the most basic foodstuffs only available on the black market, few workers have heeded the call to stay at home. CLIP
Zimbabwe inflation hits record of nearly 165,000 percent (April 16, 2008) http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gHsXPstmKhRxsCxqkPms_co9pAVA
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's annual rate of inflation soared to an all-time high of almost 165,000 percent in February, according to the latest government statistics obtained Wednesday.In a report seen by AFP, the Central Statistical Office said year-on-year inflation for February stood at 164,900.3 percent -- an increase of 64,320.1 percentage points from the previous month. Official inflation rates have become increasingly difficult to access in recent months as Zimbabwe grapples with a world record hyperinflation. The CSO last released monthly inflation statistics to the media in September. The November figure was only released by the central bank in a statement. Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis characterised by runaway inflation, soaring poverty levels, an unemployment rate hovering at around 80 percent and chronic shortages of fuel and basic goods like cornmeal.While the products are readily available on a burgeoning black market, many Zimbabweans have resorted to buying their essentials from neighbouring countries like Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. At least 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty threshold, often skipping meals to stretch their income, which frequently fails to cover basic needs. The latest increase comes amid rising tensions as the country awaits results from presidential elections held nearly three weeks ago. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he beat 84-year-old President Robert Mugabe outright, and alleges that is why electoral authorities are sitting on the results. But the Mugabe's ZANU-PF ruling party says neither man won a clear victory and insists a run-off will be necessary.
Met Police officers to be 'microchipped' by top brass in Big Brother style tracking scheme (10th April 2008) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=558597&in_page_id=1770
Every single Metropolitan police officer will be 'microchipped' so top brass can monitor their movements on a Big Brother style tracking scheme, it can be revealed today.According to respected industry magazine Police Review, the plan - which affects all 31,000 serving officers in the Met, including Sir Ian Blair - is set to replace the unreliable Airwave radio system currently used to help monitor officer's movements.The new electronic tracking device - called the Automated Personal Location System (APLS) - means that officers will never be out of range of supervising officers.But many serving officers fear being turned into "Robocops" - controlled by bosses who have not been out on the beat in years. CLIP
The Science Of Sleep (March 16, 2008) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/14/60minutes/main3939721.shtml
(CBS) Human beings spend on average one third of their lives asleep. We know we need to sleep but most of us have never really given a whole lot of thought to why. Why do we spend seven or eight hours a night immobile and unconscious? What really happens inside our brains and bodies while we're sleeping? We've known the purpose of our other biological drives for hundreds of years: we eat to give our bodies energy, we drink to keep hydrated, we procreate to perpetuate the species - among other things. But what is the biological purpose of sleep? It turns out no one really knows for sure. As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, why we sleep is one of the biggest unanswered questions in all of science, which is why researchers all over the country are doing studies and coming up with some new and intriguing discoveries. --- Here is a sampling of what she found after talking with sleep researchers from across the United States: You can die from sleep deprivation, just like you can die from being deprived of food. Sleep can actually enhance your memories. A single night of sleeping just four, five or even six hours can impact your ability to think clearly. Sleep deprivation can cause changes in your brain activity similar to those experienced by people with psychiatric disorders. Sleep deprivation puts your body into a pre-diabetic state, and makes you feel hungry, even if youve already eaten.
Monsanto Partners With Bayer CropScience (04.08.08) http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/04/08/ap4868262.html
(...) The partnership is part of Monsanto's plan to offer strains of corn that have multiple engineered genes to make the crops resistant to pests and herbicides. Monsanto said Tuesday that some of those seeds will also be sold with the fungicide treatment the company is developing with Bayer.The fungicide-treated seeds will be available for sale by the year 2010, according to the companies. The new seed treatment will use an existing Bayer CropScience fungicide called Vortex. COMMENT forwarded by Nattanya (firstname.lastname@example.org) : "The same Monsanto who is in the process of patenting the pig and the same Bayer who knowingly shipped AIDS infected "Factor 8" intravenous medication overseas. Could there be a worse team of genocidal eugenicists controlling the food crops? They know that controlling the food means controlling the population and with food riots already happening there are rough times ahead you can be sure."
Monsanto's Harvest of Fear http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805
Monsanto already dominates America's food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation's tactics-ruthless legal battles against small farmers-is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.
'Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child' http://tinyurl.com/5z9yuy
A new form of cloning has been developed that is easier to carry out than the technique used to create Dolly the sheep, raising fears that it may one day be used on human embryos to produce "designer" babies.
Deadly Immunity (June 20, 2005) http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/7395411/deadly_immunity/
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. investigates the government cover-up of a mercury/autism scandal - (...) In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children's health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to "rule out" the chemical's link to autism. (...) "Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic," his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. "This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin." The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of "institutional malfeasance for self protection" and "misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed. CLIP
Canadian Bill C-51 Threatens To Usher CODEX Into Canada & the US: WHAT TO DO TO STOP IT!!! http://tekgnosis.typepad.com/tekgnosis/2008/04/canadian-bill-c.html
(...) The Act gives overly broad discretionary powers to Health Canada inspectors to force compliance on alleged "safety" grounds. Currently, 60% of all licensing applications for Natural Health Products are being rejected by Health Canada. The majority of these are for single ingredient formulations. Buckley estimates that as multi-ingredient product formulations are considered, fully 70% of license applications will be rejected. If this bill passes into law, it will accelerate the speed with which Health Canada is able to destroy the dietary supplement industry because it will enable inspectors to do far more to tie companies up in totally unnecessary red tape. The bill gives Health Canada far more resources to process license applications, which means products will be banned, sooner rather than later. C-51 gives inspectors broad new powers to force products off the market. CLIP
Bangladesh faces climate change refugee nightmare (April 13, 2008) http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080414/india_nm/india330220
DHAKA (Reuters) - Abdul Majid has been forced to move 22 times in as many years, a victim of the annual floods that ravage Bangladesh. There are millions like Majid, 65, in Bangladesh and in the future there could be many millions more if scientists' predictions of rising seas and more intense droughts and storms come true. "Bangladesh is already facing consequences of a sea level rise, including salinity and unusual height of tidal water," said Mizanur Rahman, a research fellow with the London-based International Institute for Environmental Development. "In the future, millions of people will lose their land and houses. Their survival will be threatened," Rahman told Reuters. Experts say a third of Bangladesh's coastline could be flooded if the sea rises one metre in the next 50 years, creating an additional 20 million Bangladeshis displaced from their homes and farms. This is about the same as Australia's population. Saline water will creep deeper inland, fouling water supplies and crops and livestock will also suffer, experts say.Government officials and NGOs estimate about 10 million people are already threatened by annual floods and storms damaging riverine and coastal islands. It is unclear how the government could feed, house or find enough clean water for vast numbers of climate refugees in a country of 140 million people crammed into an area of 142,080 sq km. (...) In a taste of what the future might look like, Bangladesh suffered two massive floods and a cyclone last year that together killed about 4,500 people, made at least two million homeless and destroyed 1.8 million tonnes of rice, the country's main staple. Even without the additional threat of global warming, the country's future is under pressure from a rising population and shrinking farmland. The country lost a third of its agricultural land to accommodate more people as the population rose from 75 million in 1971. Bangladesh has been able to increase food grain production to nearly 30 million tonnes from less than half that in the early 1980s because of better farming practices and high-yielding varieties of rice. But many believe Bangladesh has reached saturation point in producing grains, while the population is still growing at nearly 2 percent annually. CLIP
Soot Plays Big Role in Global Warming (April 7, 2008) http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080407/sc_livescience/sootplaysbigroleinglobalwarming
Black carbon, the stuff that gives soot its dirty color, could be the second most important contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide and a key to preventing warming, at least in the short-run, a new study suggests. Black carbon is a type of aerosol - a small particle suspended in the atmosphere - that is produced in diesel exhaust and when wood, coal or other types of solid fuel are burned. Like other aerosols, soot particles absorb and scatter the sun's radiation; black carbon is the absorbing component of soot. (...) Black carbon can mix with other aerosols to form what are called atmospheric brown clouds, which have been observed in regional hotspots over China, India, Southeast Asia, Africa and parts of Central and South America. These brown clouds absorb incoming solar radiation and prevent it from reaching the surface, warming the atmosphere in the process. CLIP
'Unexpected growth' in CO2 found (23 October 2007) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7058074.stm
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000, says a study. International scientists found that inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels increased levels of CO2 by 17%. The other 18% came from a decline in the natural ability of land and oceans to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere. About half of emissions from human activity are absorbed by natural "sinks" but the efficiency of these sinks has fallen, the study suggests. CLIP
Big Oil to Big Wind: Texas Veteran Sets Up $10 Billion Clean Energy Project http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041408G.shtml
Ed Pilkington writes for The Guardian UK: "This month [T Boone Pickens] will make the first down payment on 500 wind turbines at a cost of $2m each. The order is the first material step towards his goal of building the world's largest wind farm. Over the next four years he intends to erect 2,700 turbines across 200,000 acres of the Texan panhandle. The scheme is five times bigger than the world's current record-holding wind farm and when finished will supply 4,000 megawatts of electricity - enough to power about one million homes."
Slowing deforestation may be worth $billions - study (Apr 7, 2008) http://uk.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUKL06460279._CH_.242020080407
OSLO, April 7 (Reuters) - A slowdown of deforestation from the Amazon to the Congo basin could generate billions of dollars every year for developing nations as part of a U.N. scheme to fight climate change, a study showed on Monday. Burning of forests by farmers clearing land accounts for 20 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions. A 190-nation U.N. climate conference agreed in Bali, Indonesia, in December to work on ways to reward countries for slowing deforestation."Even with quite conservative assumptions, you can generate substantial amounts of money and emissions reductions," said Johannes Ebeling of EcoSecurities in Oxford, England, of a study with Mai Yasue at the University of British Columbia in Canada. They said a 10 percent decline in the rate of tropical forest loss could generate annual carbon finance for developing nations of between 1.5 billion and 9.1 billion euros ($2.4 to $14.30 billion) assuming carbon prices of 5 to 30 euros a tonne.Such curbs would represent about 300 million tonnes of avoided carbon dioxide emissions a year -- about the amount of heat-trapping gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, emitted by Turkey, or half the total of France. The United Nations wants reduced emissions from deforestation to be part of a new long-term climate treaty beyond 2012 to help avert more droughts, heatwaves, outbreaks of disease and rising seas. Ebeling told Reuters that any credits for avoided deforestation would have to be matched by tough restrictions elsewhere, for instance forcing coal-fired power plants or cement factories to pay for right to emit carbon dioxide. CLIP
Logging Boreal Forest Could Detonate Massive Carbon Bomb, Says Report (April 10, 2008) http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/04/10/8206/
OTTAWA - Canadas boreal forest is a ticking carbon bomb and its continued logging could trigger a massive release of greenhouse gases, says a new report. A Greenpeace study released Thursday says cutting down trees in the boreal forest is exacerbating climate change by releasing stores of greenhouse gases trapped in soil and vegetation. It also found that logging makes the forest more susceptible to insect outbreaks and wildfires which, if widespread, could cause a spike in greenhouse-gas emissions - the so-called carbon bomb. And the report says a warmer climate melts permafrost, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The idea is that if the current trends continue what could happen is a sudden and massive release of greenhouse gases from the forest caused by a rapid outbreak of forest or peat fires, said Greenpeaces Christy Gerguson. Canadas boreal forest stores 186 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, the report says - about 27 times the worlds yearly fossil-fuel emissions. About 80 per cent of the carbon is stored in the soil as dead organic matter. The rest is stored in the forests evergreen trees, moss and peat. Older, untouched parts of the forest tend to store about three times more carbon than younger trees planted to replace logged ones, Gerguson said. The boreal forest cuts a swath from Canadas Far North down to British Columbia and all the way across to the east coast. Most of the untouched parts of the boreal forest are located in the northern parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. The federal governments national forestry database shows about 900,000 hectares boreal forest are logged each year. CLIP
Jim Hansen, the Big Ice Melt and the Mainstream Media (9 April 2008) http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/040908EA.shtml
Imagine you have a choice between two scenarios on the future impact of climate change: Scenario A: Climate change is real and human-caused, a gradual increase in global temperature that we have a long time to do something about (2050 targets) before drought, sea level rise, etc. get too severe; climate change can be effectively mitigated within continuing political and economic business as usual with carbon taxes and more efficient green technology. Scenario B: Climate change is an emergency where we must make Draconian cuts to our use of fossil fuels immediately and globally in order to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere this decade so that we don't continue over a tipping point where both polar ice caps melt completely, sea level rises by 75 meters, and conditions become fiercely inhospitable to humanity and most of the species with which we share this small blue planet. Political and economic business as usual is far too slow and path dependent for mitigation of this scale, so we must innovate a World War II-style government mobilization so that a systemic reconfiguration of the global economy is possible. Thousands of mainstream media articles and commentaries on TV, in newspapers and magazines, inform about climate change Scenario A, but there has been minimal, almost nonexistent mainstream coverage of Scenario B even though its main proponents - James Hansen and his NASA climate science team - have released several papers explaining this nonlinear vision of climate change focusing upon the unpredicted rapid melting of the polar ice caps. Very few people outside of climate scientists and climate activists even know about Hansen's polar ice melt hypothesis and what it means to each of our distant and more immediate futures. There is probably a scientific debate raging in labs and symposia about this new and compelling vision of climate change, but since publics globally remain, surrealistically, almost completely uninformed, how would we know? CLIP
Melting Mountains Called a Water "Time Bomb" http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/041608EA.shtml
Reuters reports that: "Glaciers and mountain snow are melting earlier in the year than usual, meaning the water has already gone when millions of people need it during the summer when rainfall is lower, scientists warned on Monday."
Home Sweet Non-Toxic Home: Going Beyond 'Green' (April 09, 2008) http://www.naturalnews.com/022976.html
(...) What most people don't realize, unless they get sick themselves and feel the effects firsthand, is that the typical American home is built with materials laden with toxic chemicals. The most common are formaldehyde (found in plywood, particle board, and other pressed wood products that are used to make furniture, cabinets, shelves, and counter tops) and solvents (used in oil-based paints, stains, wood preservatives, carpet glue, and other adhesives that release dangerous fumes containing volatile organic compounds). Many homes are full of electrical pollution caused by problems with wiring, large appliances, cordless phones, and the now-ubiquitous WiFi and other computer and cable TV transmission systems. Homes that are designed to be hermetically sealed trap indoor pollutants and create an environment ripe for mold growth.Even if a person with chemical sensitivities were to have sufficient resources - the finances, knowledge, energy, time, and wherewithal - to build a "safe" house for him- or her-self, there is the persistent problem of neighbors. Wafts of their fabric softeners, air-polluting particulates in smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves, ambient pesticide drifts, gas-powered exhaust-spewing lawn appliances, and those Sunday barbecues all threaten the safety and health of those with allergies and other environmental sensitivities. (...) If individuals are not willing to curb their use of toxic chemicals and EMF-emitting devices, the growing ranks of the chemically and electrically sensitive will be forced out of the workplace and onto disability benefits, where they will burden the community as a whole. If individuals are not willing to curb their use of toxic chemicals and EMF-emitting devices, animals and plant life will continue to bear the toxic brunt, resulting in more species' mutations and extinctions, imbalances of our precious biodiversity, and pollution of our food sources. If individuals are not willing to curb their use of toxic chemicals and EMF-emitting devices, their children will continue to suffer from early exposure to estrogen-mimicking chemicals implicated in a host of childhood illnesses and low-level radiation, which has been thought to be linked to childhood leukemia and other diseases. If we choose not to take the needs of everyone in our communities into consideration (human and nonhuman, adult and child, rich and poor, powerful and vulnerable, alike), it will come back to us eventually. The truth is that industry's use of chemicals is on the rise, as is our own use of chemicals in home and personal care products, triggering a rise in environmental illnesses. The issue of a safe home will continue to be a problem - and might even become your problem. We are in need of a complete overhaul of the architecture and design industries, including how these subjects are taught in our schools. Even the "green" bandwagon many have jumped on does not completely address the issue of toxicity when it comes to building materials. Ask any person with environmental sensitivities who has tried to build green. CLIP
Plastic bottle chemical may be harmful: agency (April 15, 2008) http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080415/sc_nm/plastic_bottles_dc;_ylt=AnohE_GhbINuf11Ueh9Tv4is0NUE
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A chemical in some plastic food and drink packaging including baby bottles may be tied to early puberty and prostate and breast cancer, the U.S. government said on Tuesday. Based on draft findings by the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, senior congressional Democrats asked the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its view that the chemical bisphenol A is safe in products for use by infants and children.The chemical, also called BPA, is used in many baby bottles and the plastic lining of cans of infant formula. (...) Bisphenol A is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and can be found in food and drink packaging as well as compact discs and some medical devices. Some dental sealants or composites contain it as well. (...) In Canada, the Globe and Mail newspaper said the Canadian health ministry was ready to declare BPA a dangerous substance, making it the first regulatory body in the world to reach such a determination. The newspaper said the ministry could announce the decision as soon as Wednesday.Environmental activists long have warned about health concerns regarding the chemical. They praised the draft findings of the National Toxicology Program, which cited more potential worries about the chemical than did a panel of experts that advised the program last year. CLIP
High mobile use puts us at risk of brain tumours (April 13, 2008) http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1159577
NEW DELHI: India could see several cases of brain tumour over the next two-to-three years due to constant use of mobile phones say neurologists, as they debate a recent Australian study that says a correlation does exist between the two.Australian neurosurgeon Dr Vini Khurana's study predicts that the fallout of heavy mobile phone use would be visible soon as the nation's love affair with mobile phone climbs to dizzying heights.In his research, Khurana says heavy usage of cell phones for a period of 10 years or more doubles the chances of brain tumour. It also, he adds, has larger public health ramification than asbestos and smoking. CLIP
MIT Plasmatron - Principles of the Pantone GEET Device - A 2003 REPORT ON A GIZMO THAT COULD CLEAR THE SMOG IN CITIES AND GREATLY IMPROVE GAS MILEAGE -- IF ONLY IT WAS WIDELY KNOWN AND USED! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3kueRyzvlY&feature=related
MIT(Institute of technology of Massachusett) has just launched a prototype of bus whose engine functions with a plasmatron. This new apparatus uses plasma as reformer to produce hydrogen, in order to improve combustion and thus the output of the engine. The particles highly energy of plasma can break the carbon chains of the fuels to form hydrogen. Moreover, associated a catalyst, it would reduce the nitrogen oxide emissions (Nox) of 90%. Far from neglecting work of the scientists of MIT at the origin of Plasmatron (anteriority of the patent of MIT - 1995), it is interesting to note that such reformeurs are realizable, which officializes the principles with work in a PMC Pantone (of which the patent is posterior - 1998). But everyone cannot buy Plasmatron or manufacture it. What is formidable with the PMC Pantone (and which we owe in Pantone which placed at the disposal of all, in the public domain, thanks to Internet), the procedure to do oneself its basic engine), it is that it could be reproduced hundreds of times, and that even at the experimental stage, with now 5 years of retreat, it shows that it is perfectly operational and has undeniable measurable results. First advantage of the PMC Pantone: its reproducibility. The second advantage and not least: not only the results obtained are comparable with those of Plasmatron, but the PMC (Processing Multi-Carbons) Pantone is more economic than him since a good part of the reaction is due to the heat of exhaust fumes, i.e. with calories which otherwise would have been wasted. -- Much more on the Pantone reactor through this LINK
Ultrashort pulse propagation at the photonic band edge: Large tunable group delay with minimal distortion and loss http://www.uah.edu/LSEG/past3.htm
A study commissioned by the U.S. Army Missile Command, Weapons Sciences Directorate (...) We use results of our simulations to gain insight into the physical origin of this unusual excited state. CLIP Note from Jean: Highly complex scientific jargon describing the discovery of a property of crystals that may - or may not - have already led to the design of the same type of crystal-based weapons responsible for the physical and very catastrophic dislocation of Atlantis... I'm currently translating the part in Suzy's second book where the initial destruction of the continents of Atlantis and Lemuria is attributed to "the harnessing of the power of crystals for destructive purposes". So I was curious to find out if this could happen again today and googled the Web with "theoretical use of crystals as weapons" which led me to this material above which was referenced in this webpage http://www.uah.edu/LSEG/pastres.htm related to a seemingly benign quest: "High Energy Lasers May Put Power in Space -- Summary: It may someday be feasible to build an optically based power infrastructure in space that uses high-energy lasers to convert sunlight to optical power. -- ABSTRACT: More than a billion gigawatts of sunlight pass through the area extending from Earth out to geostationary orbit. A small fraction of this clean renewable power appears more than adequate to satisfy the projected needs of Earth, and of human exploration and development of space far into the future. Recent studies suggest safe and efficient access to this power can be achieved within 10 to 40 years. Light, enhanced in spatial and temporal coherence, as compared to natural sunlight, offers a means, and probably the only practical means, of usefully transmitting this power to Earth. We describe safety standards for satellite constellations and Earth based sites designed, respectively, to transmit, and receive this power. The spectral properties, number of satellites, and angle subtended at Earth that are required for safe delivery are identified and discussed.
There are a GREAT number of possible and fascinating technological applications of crystals. Here is another example...
NY team confirms UCLA tabletop fusion (Feb 13, 2006) http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/ny_team_confirms_ucla_tabletop_fusion_10017.html
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a tabletop accelerator that produces nuclear fusion at room temperature, providing confirmation of an earlier experiment conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), while offering substantial improvements over the original design. The device, which uses two opposing crystals to generate a powerful electric field, could potentially lead to a portable, battery-operated neutron generator for a variety of applications, from non-destructive testing to detecting explosives and scanning luggage at airports. The new results are described in the Feb. 10 issue of Physical Review Letters. "Our study shows that 'crystal fusion' is a mature technology with considerable commercial potential," says Yaron Danon, associate professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer. "This new device is simpler and less expensive than the previous version, and it has the potential to produce even more neutrons." The device is essentially a tabletop particle accelerator. At its heart are two opposing "pyroelectric" crystals that create a strong electric field when heated or cooled. The device is filled with deuterium gas -- a more massive cousin of hydrogen with an extra neutron in its nucleus. The electric field rips electrons from the gas, creating deuterium ions and accelerating them into a deuterium target on one of the crystals. When the particles smash into the target, neutrons are emitted, which is the telltale sign that nuclear fusion has occurred, according to Danon. A research team led by Seth Putterman, professor of physics at UCLA, reported on a similar apparatus in 2005, but two important features distinguish the new device: "Our device uses two crystals instead of one, which doubles the acceleration potential," says Jeffrey Geuther, a graduate student in nuclear engineering at Rensselaer and lead author of the paper. "And our setup does not require cooling the crystals to cryogenic temperatures -- an important step that reduces both the complexity and the cost of the equipment." The new study also verified the fundamental physics behind the original experiment. This suggests that pyroelectric crystals are in fact a viable means of producing nuclear fusion, and that commercial applications may be closer than originally thought, according to Danon. CLIP
A COUPLE COMMENTS FROM THIS SCIENTIFIC BLOG ABOVE:
The Fusion of common Hydrogen is now a scientific fact, see the experiments at http://www.fusionpeery.com/
(Norris Ray Peery who just released - March 15, 2008 - on the Web the results of his experiment has a wide-ranging number of interests as shown through http://www.fusionpeery.com/photo3_1.html - and is offering to sell the rights on his discovery for a whopping 50 billion US dollars!!...)
This and the heating and cooling of crystals, both of which give off strong proton emissions for just battery power, will gladly be developed as a weapon.
The Axis of Responsibility: Addressing the Critical Global Issues of the 21st Century
An address by Jonathan Granoff
President, The Global Security Institute
as Representative of The International Peace Bureau
Let us challenge those who aspire to political office:
1) What are your plans to address crushing poverty and ensure sustainable livelihoods and productive, just employment?
2) What are your plans to protect the global commons such as the oceans, the climate, and the rainforeststhe living systems upon which all civilization depends?
3) What are your plans to eliminate nuclear weapons?
Axis of Responsibility: Ensuring Our Common Future
Many native peoples wisely made policies holding before themselves a question: How will decisions today affect the next seven generations?
Today, the world is interconnected as never before. It is not only connected presently but decisions made today will have permanent consequences long into the future. If our decisions today are flawed, we cannot say how long the future will last. This is unique in human history. We are the first generation which must ensure consciously and intentionally that we are not the last.
Our most critical challenges require new levels of holistic creative thinking and governance that can integrate local concerns with global responsibility. The dangers that used to threaten just a few now threaten the existence of all. Wisdom to understand the interconnectedness of these dangers is now also required. No longer can we afford to think locally and act globally. Humanitys global footprint must be met with appropriate thinking and policies.
There is an Axis of Responsibility. Three issues require global cooperation, the rule of law, and universal norms. Whether we effectively address crushing poverty, adequately organize ourselves to protect the global commons such as the oceans, the climate, and the rainforest living systems upon which civilization dependsand eliminate nuclear weapons before they eliminate us, defines whether we pass on a sustainable future.
Successfully addressing the Axis of Responsibility requires new levels of international cooperation. No state, nor even a powerful group of states, can succeed alone. Universal coordinated approaches using our highest values and the arts of law and diplomacy are needed.
Globalization reminds us that we are in fact one human family. The living ecosystem of the planet is our shared home. We would never permit conduct that dishonors our personal homes. Healthy people know that nurturing a family is a crucible of training wherein learning to care for others determines success more effectively that dominating others.
The lesson of the last century is that we cannot find security by attempting to dominate each other, nor by trying to dominate nature. In fact, learning to live in harmony with each other and nature is not an ideal; it is both a moral and practical imperative.
Publics will not empower leaders with the political room required to create necessary changes unless they are made aware. All too often, the media fails to inform the public on important issues. Yet this must not prevent us from engendering the political passion and will to act now. Responsible hope requires clarity of vision and analysis. We must make these global concerns part of domestic and local agendas. By asking the correct questions we can help reframe the public debate.
At the outset, let me thus place before your minds several questions to hold before setting forth the nodes of the Axis of Responsibility:
Will we achieve the necessary cooperation in a world with nuclear weapons in the hands of a few?
Will we achieve a global security framework with this nuclear apartheid system?
Is our planet secure when the problem for some is what to do with the garbage, and survival for all too many others requires picking through garbage for food?
Can civilization be sustained through a global economic order which does not adequately honor the balance and limits of the natural world?
Protecting Global Commons
No nation can be secure when the living systems upon which everyone depends are at risk. Global warming will lead to radical changes in food production and increase the likelihood of disease pandemics. Climate change will cause population displacements leading to instability and conflict. Rainforest destructionwhether in Brazil, Canada, or anywheredestroys the lungs of the planet and thus the air we all need to breathe. If one country can dump in the oceans, all can dump toxic chemicals and life destroying waste through that countrys flag. We must protect the oceans biodiversity and fishing stocks. This issue is gaining public traction but cannot be addressed in isolation. Is there anyone so naive as to think that global warming will exempt any country from its destructive forces?
In this regard, here are some recommendations:
1. Create an International Environmental Protection Agency
2. Create an International Sustainable Energy Agency to advance non-fossil fuel, safe, clean, renewable energy resources
3. Support the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign
4. Complete negotiations for strengthened legal instruments to protect the climate
Poverty and Sustainable Development
Can we survive a world where vast millions lack a simple glass of clean water? A world where half of the population lives on less than $2.00 per day cannot be sustained. It is both immoral and impractical to ignore such suffering when we know there are solutions achievable at low cost. The Marshall Plan worked well, helping to build a post-WWII security system with trading partners. The same principles can now be applied between the developed and developing communities. The Millennium Development Goals and the plans developed at the World Summit on Social Development set forth excellent maps. Crushing poverty is an injustice that breeds instabilities and suffering wherein hopelessness turns to terrorism. Immigration becomes a problem because people cannot sustain their families by staying home. The world is now our collective home. We have to make every room in the home hospitable. And again there is traction and public awareness to pursue a sustainable development agenda.
In this regard, here are some recommendations:
1. Fulfill the Millennium Development Goals
2. Convene a Global Marshall Plan Summit
3. Review and reform agricultural subsidy policies of developed nations
4. Declare that there is a human right to water
5. Advance access to micro-credit
Security in all its aspects must be redefined as integrated and based on cooperation, engagement, law, and shared interests. We cannot sustain a world where the security for some is valued more than for others. The greatest present disequilibrium in the quest for common security is the persistent existence of nuclear weapons apartheid. There are now over 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world in the hands of only a few countries. Five members of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty US, Russia, UK, France, and China have pledged to negotiate nuclear disarmament in exchange for all other parties to the treaty restraint from acquiring the weapons. Three states with weapons remain outside the treaty India, Pakistan and Israel. It is unsustainable for eight nations to try to tell all others that nuclear weapons are legitimate for themselves but not acceptable for others. Nuclear weapons are unworthy of civilization and the only security against their spread and use is their universal, legally verifiable elimination. Every step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons must reduce threats, enhance security, and promote the rule of law. Nuclear weapons themselves are dangerous in anyones hands, and are themselves more dangerous than any problem they seek to solve. We cannot achieve a nuclear weapons free world overnight, but we can diminish risks and begin the journey today.
Also, the weaponization of space will undermine non-proliferation and disarmament efforts on earth. Cooperative security requires cooperation in ensuring the peaceful uses of outer space.
Without clear commitment to the vision of cooperation, law and disarmament, the inequities of the current order will generate greater instabilities and conflicts. Our choice is a sustainable non-proliferation regime with movement toward disarmament, or an irresponsible ignoring of the inequities thus ever more dangerous efforts to stem proliferation through force and even war. We cannot think the status quo will hold. We must either accept ever more violent counter proliferation efforts or get on with nuclear disarmament. There is insufficient public traction on this axis. We know that we cannot achieve a nuclear weapon-free world overnight, but we can diminish risks and must begin the journey today. The process of disarmament will liberate enormous amounts of resources that will benefit needed development.
In this regard, here are some recommendations:
1. Reaffirm the commitment to nuclear disarmament embodied in the nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and expressed in its Review Conferences of 1995 and 2000;
2. Take practical steps that demonstrate that commitment, including:
- permanently banning nuclear weapon testing through universal ratification of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty
- verifiably banning all future production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons;
- taking all nuclear armed missiles off of hair-trigger, launch-on-warning alert status;
- pledging never to use a nuclear weapon first; and
- undertaking verifiable reductions in every nuclear arsenal, leading to the total universal elimination of these horrific devices.
3. Ensureby legally binding instrumentsthat no cities can be targeted with nuclear weapons nor nuclear weapons deployed in or near cities.
4. Advance cooperative security in space and ensure its uses for the common interests of humanity
We must help generate the will to create new initiatives, for the only coalition of the willing that can successfully address the problems identified as the Axis of Responsibility is a global coalition of states, organizations, private enterprises and other relevant actors. Global problems require global solutions, not clubs or vigilante groups.
As members of the human family, we are fully aware that todays choices will dramatically affect those yet to come. We thus ask three powerful questions. We have suggested steps to answer them, but realize that others may have better approaches. But having no coherent approach spells irresponsibility.
For those who understand, for those who care about our future, certainly for Nobel Peace Laureates and Laureate organizations, it is high time that we challenged every significant political candidate with meaningful questions. Thus, it is urged that we collectively and individually ask those aspiring to political office, those individuals who seek to represent the common interest a few basic questions:
1. What are your plans to address crushing poverty and ensure sustainable livelihoods and productive, just employment?
2. What are your plans to protect the global commons such as the oceans, the climate, and the rainforeststhe living systems upon which all civilization depends?
3. What are your plans to eliminate nuclear weapons? If these questions are answered correctly, our responsibilities to future generations will be fulfilled.
Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, is also Co-Chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Senior Advisor to the National Security Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association. He serves on numerous governing and advisory boards including the Global Dialogue Institute, Middle Powers Initiative, Jane Goodall Institute, the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and the Bipartisan Security Group.
In recent days, we've been noting stories indicating a definite "surge" in the Bush Administration's drive toward war with Iran. First, the Saudi government revealed - one day after a visit from Dick Cheney - its urgent plans to deal with "radiations hazards" stemming an attack on Iran's nuclear power facilities. Then General David Petraeus declared that Iran was responsible for a major attack on Baghdad's Green Zone, and the main driver of violence in Iraq generally, laying out, once more, a clear (if mendacious) casus belli for striking at Iran.
Now financial analyst John McGlynn reveals that the Administration has quietly launched a "shock and awe" attack on the Iranian economy, using little-known - and little-understood - financial weapons provided by the Patriot Act to begin "the complete financial and economic destruction of Iran," as McGlynn puts it, with the ultimate goal of turning the nation into "another Gaza or Iraq under the economic sanctions of the 1990s, with devastating impact on the economy and society."
McGlynn's article, in Japan Focus, is long and complex - necessarily so, in order to detail the intricate punitive mechanisms involved, and their earlier test run against North Korea in 2005. You should read the article in full, but to put it briefly, last week the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), set in motion a process that could make any bank or financial institution in the world that does business with Iran subject to an economic death sentence: complete exclusion from the U.S. financial system. McGlynn, speaking plainly and with no addition, calls the move "a declaration of war on Iran."
The move is part of a steady escalation that has seen Washington move from urging sanctions against any firm or bank connected to Iran's nuclear program to its current, highly belligerent stance: seeking to strangle all financial investment or dealing with Iran, nuclear-related or not. As McGlynn notes:
During a daily press meeting with reporters on March 19, the State Department's spokesperson was asked about a deal recently signed between Switzerland and Iran to supply Iranian natural gas to Europe. After condemning the deal, the spokesperson explained that the US is opposed to any "investing in Iran, not only in its petroleum or natural gas area but in any sector of its economy."
All of this, McGlynn says, is an extension of the "Shock and Awe" doctrine formulated by Harlan Ullman and James Wade for the National Defense University in 1995. The strategy became famous after the Pentagon adopted it for the military invasion of Iraq - but as McGlynn points out, the doctrine has always had an economic side too. In fact, the authors believed that the economic ruin visited upon a target nation might be more effective than bombs and bullets - largely because they are more invisible, more politically palatable than big-bang extravaganzas. McGlynn notes:
But Shock and Awe's authors (apparently with something like Vietnam or the 1993-1994 Somalia fiasco in mind) also envisioned that "[i]n certain circumstances, the costs of having to resort to lethal force may be too politically expensive in terms of local support as well as support in the U.S. and internationally." Consequently, they wrote:
"Economic sanctions are likely to continue to be a preferable political alternative or a necessary political prelude to an offensive military step In a world in which nonlethal sanctions are a political imperative, we will continue to need the ability to shut down all commerce into and out of any country from shipping, air, rail, and roads. We ought to be able to do this in a much more thorough, decisive, and shocking way than we have in the past Weapons that shock and awe, stun and paralyze, but do not kill in significant numbers may be the only ones that are politically acceptable in the future."
It was only a matter of finding a sanctions strategy systematic enough to make this more obscure portion of the Shock and Awe doctrine operational. What Ullman and Wade could not have imagined was that Washington's global planners would use extraterritorial legal powers and its financial clout to coerce the global banking industry into accepting US foreign policy diktat.
McGlynn notes that even the Chinese - Iran's biggest trading partner - is feeling the heat from the Patriot Act's "nuclear option" of banishment from the U.S. financial system:
In December 2007 ArabianBusiness.com reported that Chinese banks were starting to decline to open letters of credit for Iranian traders. Asadollah Asgaroladi, head of the Iran-China chamber of commerce, was quoted as saying that China's banks did not explain the refusal but "if this trend continues it will harm the two countries' economic cooperation and trade exchange." In February, ArabianBusiness.com found that China's cutbacks in its banking business with Iran was affecting a joint automobile production arrangement.
Now the screws are growing even tighter. And the effects will be devastating - not to the leaders of Iran, of course, but, as with the genocidal sanctions against Iraq, to Iran's general population - a population, as we noted recently, made up overwhelmingly of young people and children: almost 70 percent of Iranians are under 30. As McGlynn puts it:
If the US succeeds, an international quarantine on Iran's banks would disrupt Iran's financial linkages with the world by blocking its ability to process cross-border payments for goods and services exported and imported. Without those linkages, Iran is unlikely to be able to engage in global trade and commerce. As 30% of Iran's GDP in 2005 was imports of goods and services and 20% was non-oil exports, a large chunk of Iran's economy would shrivel up. The repercussions will be painful and extend well beyond lost business and profits. For example, treating curable illnesses will become difficult. According to an Iranian health ministry official, Iran produces 95% of its own medicines but most pharmaceutical-related raw materials are imported.
The American people are told nothing about this, of course. The presidential candidates will say nothing about it - or about any of the other flashing danger signals as we careen toward another murderous catastrophe. The "progressive" movement, now consumed with the minutiae of the squabble between Clinton and Obama - both of whom have repeatedly declared their bellicosity toward Iran, and their fierce insistence that all options, including the use of nuclear weapons, remain "on the table" - will no doubt continue its long inaction and avoidance of the subject, as Arthur Silber notes so powerfully here, while also providing active, practical steps that could be taken to head off another war -- something no one else is bothering to do.
We'll let Silber have the last word here:
So what is your choice? Do the world -- and your life, and the lives of those you love -- mean so little to you, that you will risk losing them all? Is that what you want? Do you still choose to do nothing?
Ahmadinejad casts doubt over 9/11 http://tinyurl.com/6eroqv
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has cast doubt over the US version of the September 11 attacks, calling it a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.
Washington 'speechless' after Ahmadinejad 9/11 comment http://tinyurl.com/6fnumw
The United States said Wednesday it was "speechless" after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad voiced doubts about the accepted version of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
QUESTION: Will it take Ahmadinejad to finally bring the treasonous nature of the 9-11 false-flag attack to front page news around the world?Will he dare say to everyone that the emperor is naked?...
Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/975574.html
"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."
A VITALLY IMPORTANT REFLECTION ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF REMAINING SPIRITUALLY CENTERED AND FOCUSED ON LOVE AND COMPASSION WHEN FACED WITH AGGRESSIVE REACTIONS TO ONE'S DEEPLY HELD CONVICTIONS.
By Skylark (email@example.com) APRIL 10, 2008
In the past two weeks, I have been undergoing a tremendous emotional roller coaster. The whole city of Seattle is getting ready to celebrate a joyous festival of humanity, a 5-day gathering (organized by Seeds of Compassion) to share the vision of compassion with His Holiness Dalai Lama. Communities from different works of life and different religious faith are coming together for celebrations. People from all over the country are convening to share their visions, experiences and stories of the work of compassion. My friends and I are busy preparing for the upcoming events with excitement and anticipation
On the other hand, I am greatly saddened by the growing hostilities towards Tibetans and His Holiness among my own countrymen. Before this current conflict arise, I thought that Chinese were just indifferent to Tibet issue but I had not imagined that the very people subjected to the suppression and manipulation of the government would choose not to exercise their judgement and discernment. These people include highly educated intellectuals and those receiving PhD degrees and living in US for decades
I had several conversations with some of my Chinese co-workers. I realize that in todays informational age, one pretty much can find hard evidences to back up whatever stories one chose to subscribe to. For example, two things are deeply ingrained in the minds of people from mainland China, due to decades of propaganda. One is Tibet has always been part of China. Second is Dalai Lama is a liar. Along these lines, they can find mountains of "convincing evidences" that further reinforce their beliefs. These two notions were so deeply planted into peoples consciousness that they grew deep roots in their subconsciousness and these roots were tied in with their emotions. Therefore, when I tried to present evidences from the opposite sides, it is no longer an objective discussion, my opposition presented as a serious emotional threat to them. The fact that these opposition came from a Chinese offended them even more.
I also realize that years of suppression have deposited tons of negative emotions in peoples subconsciousness. I saw so much fear, anger and frustration. These emotions are not evident in normal daily life. In fact, people are not aware of these subconscious emotions themselves. Situations like this have created an outlet for them to express these negative emotions.
However, I can feel everything they feel, because I had been one of them. If this conflict had happened 10 years ago, I would have reacted the same way as they did. I probably would have gone to the street and joined the pro-government protest, all the while feeling proud of my patriotic action. That was because 10 years ago, I lived in the confinement of walls that I wasnt aware of. Luckily, the divine force of life has led me out of the prison and showed me love and faith right in face.
A Chinese recently asked me, what would happen if I found out Dalai Lama was lying . I told her that I believed in Dalai Lama not because he is Dalai Lama, but because everything he had said and done was in line with love and compassion, which was my true faith. Whether someone lies or not has nothing to do with my faith. She didnt understand that faith coming from ones own heart did not need any outside proofs. To believe in my faith, I do not need photos from any news agency nor do I need articles written by historians or experts. The people who have touched my heart and soul are my proof. My loving friends and their precious friendships are my proof. The spiritual awakening I experienced on the pilgrimage in Tibet is my proof. The transforming force that has shaped my life and brought me joys beyond my imagination was my proof. My own life is my proof.
At the eve of the Seeds of Compassion festival, I felt deeply saddened that most of my fellow countrymen in Seattle choose not to be part of this feast of joy. Compassion is the most precious gift of life. Nothing is more saddening when people choose not to receive it. Life without compassion is life without sunshine. However, at the end of night, a new day is bound to come. And this new day will only be dawning when we consciously choose to act out of compassion and love in every single moment, even in the face of confrontation, even in the face of hatred, even in the face of animosity, even in this moment!
I pray to the divine forces, please give me infinite capacity for compassion. Please give me strength and endurance to face anything that hurts or makes me squint. No matter what has happened, please never let me lose my compassion and faith.
Propaganda, Deception, and the 'Riots' in Lhasa: Why the Chinese regime has incited violence in Tibet
By Stephen Gregory
March 25, 2008
Asia Talk with Tenzin Dorjee: Understanding the Uprising in Tibet
Before the violent unrest that occurred in Lhasa in March 2008 there was the violent unrest in Lhasa in March 1989.
"On the dawn of March 5, the Armed Police in Tibet received the action order from the Chief Commander of Armed Police headquarter, Mr. Li Lianxiu. The Special Squad should immediately assign 300 members to be disguised as ordinary citizens and Tibetan monks, entering the Eight-Corner Street and other riot spots in Lhasa, to support plain-clothes police to complete the task. Burn the Scripture Pagoda at the northeast of Dazhao Temple. Smash the rice store in the business district, incite citizens to rob rice and food, attack the Tibet-Gansu Trading Company. Encourage people to rob store products, but, only at the permitted locations."
The words are those of the journalist Mr. Tang Daxian in his long article ""Events in Lhasa March 2-10, 1989"," which tells the story of how the CCP orchestrated riots in Lhasa in order to violently suppress the Tibetans.
According to Mr. Chen Pokong, a Han Chinese who was a member of the student democracy movement, then a political prisoner in China, and now a respected economist and commentator living in the U.S., the riot scene this March "was quite similar to that of March, 1989. A group of young men in their twenties acted in a well organized way. They first shouted slogans, then burnt some vehicles near the Ramoche Monastery, and then broke into nearby stores and robbed them, and finally burnt many of the stores."
Seasoned observers of the Chinese regime should not be surprised by this.
After the People's Liberation Army murdered hundreds and possibly thousands of unarmed students and civilians in and around Tiananmen Square in June 1989, the regime then published propaganda claiming that the soldiers had been attacked.
The propaganda campaign convinced masses of mainland Chinese that the regime acted responsibly in suppressing the students.
In January, 2001 it was reported that 5 Falun Gong practitioners had set themselves ablaze on Tiananmen Square. A careful examination of the propaganda video of the immolations that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) broadcast ceaselessly on mainland TV revealed that the immolations had been staged.
But the immolations were nonetheless a propaganda triumph for the CCP. The attitudes of ordinary Chinese, who had not been sympathetic to the regime's persecution of Falun Gong, hardened, and the death rate of Falun Gong practitioners killed by torture began shooting up as the regime intensified its campaign to "eradicate" the practice.
Mr. Ruan Ming knows something of the ways of the CCPhe was the main speechwriter for Hu Yaobang, who served as General Secretary of the CCP from 1981-1987.
In an interview recently with Sound of Hope radio, Ruan warned international society that they need to keep their eyes wide open and understand the violent and deceptive nature of the CCP.
Ruan believes the violent unrest in Lhasa the week before last was carefully planned in order to discredit the Dalai Lama and to justify further suppression.
Why should the CCP need to suppress even further the Tibetans? The Tibetans have been conquered and colonized, have had their culture relentlessly attacked, their language suppressed, and their bodies tortured, while having suffered an estimated 1.2 million dead under a brutal five-decade-long occupation by the CCP.
The existence of minorities like the Tibetans and Uigher Muslims pose difficulties for the majority Han CCP's rule of China, and the regime has a plan for "solving" this problem.
According to an article in the Times Online, Li Dezhu is one of three party functionaries who have laid the plans for dissolving the Tibetans distinctive culture, thus eliminating the "problem" of a separate Tibetan ethnic group.
The Times says that Li's contribution has been to write "the textbook on destroying independent cultures and disintegrating religious minorities by promoting materialism."
"Promoting materialism" involves, among other things, forcing Tibet's monks not to acknowledge the Dalai Lama and to require them to make solemn vows of patriotism, while Tibetan monasteries are closed or turned into tourist attractionsin other words, seeking to uproot Tibetan religion completely.
This strategy is supplemented by flooding the Tibetan region with Han Chinese, so that the Tibetans are becoming a minority in their own country.
The obvious obstacle to this plan is the central role that Tibetan Buddhism has played in the lives of Tibetans, embodied by Tibetan monks and especially by the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama has, in the run-up to the Olympics, been gaining traction in a campaign to call for negotiations with the Chinese regime for Tibetan cultural autonomy. In September, he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and in October with President Bush.
According to Ruan, the "riots" in Lhasa allow the regime to label the Tibetans as terrorists, and so to take away the Dalai Lama's moral authority.
At the same time, the "riots" provide a pretext for any dirty work the regime may wish to do in the shadows to intimidate the Tibetan population so completely that it will eventually give up its stubborn attachment to Tibetan Buddhism, rather than "materialism."
Thus, it is not surprising that, after all Western media were kicked out of Tibet and the region was flooded with Chinese troops, the Dalai Lama was quoted by the Guardian as saying that "a lot of casualties may happen" without outside observers present. In other words, the Dalai Lama fears the Chinese regime may take the opportunity created for them by the need to put down "riots" in Lhasa to engage in a really bloody crackdown.
The message that Chinese propaganda has been pounding home to a populace that has little independent access to information is that the Tibetans, and Dalai Lama in particular, are "splittists"separatists who wish to threaten China itself by breaking away from it.
The head of the CCP in Tibet, Zhang Qingli, made Westerners laugh out loud when he was quoted as saying, "The Dalai is a wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast.
"We are now engaged in a fierce blood-and-fire battle with the Dalai clique, a life-and-death battle between us and the enemy."
But inside China, Zhang's words do not seem so ridiculous. Chinese-language chat rooms are said to be full of abuse of the Tibetans and Dalai Lama, in some cases urging murder for the "separatists."
This cry for blood recalls how the Chinese regime successfully turned the Chinese people against their own students, who in 1989 had simply stood up and asked for democracy.
And it recalls how the Chinese regime for a time succeeded in gaining many Chinese people's support for its indefensible persecution of Falun Gong.
Western observers have assumed the CCP would never jeopardize good public relations months before the Olympics by cracking down on the Tibetans. The leaders of the CCP see things differently. They see the Dalai Lama's escalating campaign for autonomy as a not to be endured provocation and an opportunity to settle the Tibetan question. Decent people have never understood the mentality of gangsters.
With reporting by Shawn Lin and Hao Feng.
Correction and a Note on Deaths in Tibet
April 10, 2008
As originally published, this article misstated the number of deaths in Tibet caused by the Chinese Communist Party's occupation of the country. The most frequently cited estimate for this death toll is 1.2 million. The Epoch Times regrets the error.
Without context, it is difficult to understand the magnitude of such a number as 1.2 million.
The occupation of Tibet began in 1949 with the entry of the People's Liberation Army into the country. In 1953, the population of ethnic Tibetans, according to the Chinese regime's census, was over 2.7 million. In other words, a death toll due to the conquest and occupation of Tibet of 1.2 million represents the loss of 44 percent of Tibet's 1953 population (although this death toll occurred over decades and not in one or two years).
The population of the United States in 1953 was, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 157 million. A proportional death toll in the United States would be 68 million.
Former Advisor to Party General Secretary Claims Regime Staged Lhasa Incident (March 24, 2008) http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-3-24/67972.html
The violent riots that the Chinese state-run media have reported as having taken place in Lhasa are not what they seem to be, according to a former highly placed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official. Mr. Ruan Ming claims the CCP carefully staged the incidents in Tibet in order to force the Dalai Lama to resign and to justify future repression of the Tibetans. Since 1997 Ruan has lived in Taiwan, where he has served as a diplomatic advisor to President Chen Shui-bian. He is also the author, among other books, of Deng Xiaoping: Chronicle of an Empire. Earlier in his life, he worked as the main speechwriter for Mr. Hu Yaobang, who served as General Secretary of the CCP from 1981-1987 and was admired by democracy activists as a reformer. Hu's death in 1989 is said to have sparked the student demonstrations in Beijing of that year.In an interview with Sound of Hope, Ruan warned international society that in considering the unrest in Lhasa, it must keep its eyes open and be aware of the CCP's violent and deceptive nature. At the heart of the deception in Lhasa was the murder of peaceful monks." The CCP carefully staged the unrest in Tibet to deceive the world. Before the incident, the authorities drove away all foreign reporters and even forbade them from going out," according to Ruan. "The demonstration on March 10 was meant to be peaceful. You can see from the pictures that the demonstration was all monks," Ruan explained."The CCP arrested some of these monks and killed them. The killing angered some young Tibetans. By March 14, the Tibetans could no longer stand the killing of innocent monks and protested." According to Ruan, when the young Tibetans reacted, they fell into the CCP's trap. "The CCP seized this opportunity and took pictures of these Tibetans in violent actions and sent out officers to do a door-to-door search, calling on the 'guilty' to surrender themselves." While Ruan said the CCP meticulously staged the whole thing in Lhasa, there were things it missed. CLIP
China and America: The Tibet Human Rights PsyOp (April 13, 2008) A VERY DIFFERENT PICTURE!! http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8673
The human rights issue has become the centerfold of media disinformation. China is no model of human rights but neither are the US and its indefectible British ally, responsible for extensive war crimes and human rights violations in Iraq and around the World. The US and its allies, which uphold the practice of torture, political assassinations and the establishment of secret detention camps, continue to be presented to public opinion as a model of Western democracy to be emulated by developing countries, in contrast to Russia, Iran, North Korea and the People's Republic of China. Human Rights "Double Standards"While China's alleged human rights violations in relation to Tibet are highlighted, the recent wave of killings in Iraq and Palestine are not mentioned. The Western media has barely acknowledged the Fifth "anniversary" of Iraq's "Liberation" and the balance sheet of the US sponsored killings and atrocities perpetrated against an entire population, in the name of a "global war on terrorism". There are more than 1.2 million Iraqi civilian deaths, 3 million wounded. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) indicates a figure of 2.2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled their country and 2.4 million "internally displaced persons": "Iraqs population at the time of the US invasion in March 2003 was roughly 27 million, and today it is approximately 23 million. Elementary arithmetic indicates that currently over half the population of Iraq are either refugees, in need of emergency aid, wounded, or dead." (Dahr Jamail, Global Research, December 2007) The Geopolitical Chessboard -- There are deep-seated geopolitical objectives behind the campaign against the Chinese leadership. US-NATO-Israeli war plans in relation to Iran are at an advanced state of readiness. China has economic ties as well as a far-reaching bilateral military cooperation agreement with Iran.
(...) In the context of US war plans directed against Iran, the US is also intent upon weakening Iran's allies, namely Russia and China. In the case of China, Washington is seaking to disrupt Beijing's bilateral ties with Tehran as well as Iran's rapprochement with the SCO, which has its headquarters in Beijing. China is an ally of Iran. Washington's intention is to use Beijing's alleged human rights violations as a pretext to target China, an ally of Iran. In this regard, a military operation directed against Iran can only succeed if the structure of military alliances which link Iran to China and Russia is disrupted.
(...) With the exception of its Northern frontier which borders on the Russian Federation, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, China is surrounded by US military bases. The Eurasian Corridor Since the 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the US has a military presence on China's Western frontier, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. is intent upon establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan, which occupies a strategic position bordering on the former Soviet republics, China and Iran. (...) Consistent with its policy of weakening and ultimately fracturing the People's Republic of China, Washington supports secessionist movements both in Tibet as wall as in the Xinjiang-Uigur autonomous region which borders onto North Eastern Pakistan and Afghanistan.
(...) The violent riots in Tibet's capital in mid-March were a carefully staged event. In their immediate aftermath, a media disinformation campaign supported by political statements by Western leaders directed against China was launched. There are indications that US intelligence played a behind the scenes role in what several observers have described as a carefully premeditated operation.(See our analysis below). The Lhasa event in mid-March was not a spontaneous "peaceful" protest movement as described by the Western media The riots involving a gang of mobsters were premeditated. They had been carefully planned. Tibetan activists in India associated with the Dalai Lama's government in exile "hinted they were indeed expecting the disturbances. But they refuse to elaborate how they knew or who their collaborators were" (Guerilla News) The images do not suggest a mass protest rally but rather a rampage led by a few hundred individuals. Buddhist monks were involved in the rampage. According to China Daily (March 31, 2008), the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) based in India, considered by China as a "hard-line organization" affiliated to the Dalai Lama, was also behind the violence.
(...) Video footage confirms that civilians were stoned, beaten and in some cases killed. Most of the victims were Han Chinese. At least ten people were burned to death as a result of acts of arson, according to statements by the Tibet government. These statements were confirmed by several eyewitness reports.
(...) The organization of the Lhasa riots are part of a consistent pattern. They constitute an attempt to trigger ethnic conflict in China. They serve US foreign policy interests. To what extent has US intelligence played an undercover role in the current wave of protests regarding Tibet? Given the covert nature of intelligence operations, there is no tangible evidence of direct CIA involvement. However, there are various Tibetan organizations linked to the Tibet "government in exile" which are known to be supported by the CIA and/or by the CIA's civilian front organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The CIA's involvement in channeling covert support to the Tibetan secessionist movement goes back to the mid-1950s. The Dalai Lama was on the CIA's payroll from the late 1950s until 1974: CLIP
As world watches Tibet, China's Muslim Uighurs face growing repression (April 14, 2008) http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/33659.html
KHOTAN, China - Almost unnoticed amid the wide-scale protests by Tibetans over the past month is the social unrest among the 8 million or so Muslim Uighurs in China's resource-rich far western territory. Recently, hundreds of Muslim women in black veils gathered outside the market in this oasis city in an impromptu protest. Some carried signs demanding an independent state."I saw the demonstration myself. There were 500 to 700 women in black, waving placards for East Turkestan," said Wu Jiangliang, a hydroelectric company employee. China handled the unrest forcefully, ensuring the stability of a region rich in oil, coal and minerals. Police moved quickly to quell the March 23 protest, arresting numerous women and shooing others away. It drew only minor notice. China also has broken up what it said were two terrorist rings that intended to disrupt the Beijing Summer Olympic Games and thwarted what it said was a terrorist attempt last month on a commercial airliner. (...) Some adhere to the government line that the Han majority enjoys harmonious relations with all 56 ethnic minority groups dwelling in China, and particularly with the Uighurs. (...) Kadeer, speaking by telephone from the United States, said Hajim had been tortured and that a number of Uighur men were subsequently arrested, enraging their wives and leading to the women's March 23 protest. The women also were angry that the government discourages them from wearing black headscarves."The government has been really heavy-handed," Kadeer said. "The Uighurs are ready to take to the streets and the government knows that. This is only the tip of the iceberg." (...) The history of the Uighurs can be traced back 2,600 years. According to a history compiled by the London Uighur Ensemble, a group formed to popularize the traditional and popular music of the Uighurs, the nomadic tribes of that era rose "to challenge the Chinese Empire" and to become "the diplomatic arm of the Mongol invasion." China's ethnic Uighurs are moderate Muslims who are related to the Turks. Like the Kurds of Asia Minor and the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Uighurs are a dissatisfied transnational ethnic minority spread across several countries, without an independent homeland or a strong leader. They are located mainly China, but also Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. CLIP
A Conversation with the Dalai Lama (April 14, 2008) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89612950
The Dalai Lama renewed his call for "meaningful" autonomy for Tibet within China and said China, "whether intentionally or unintentionally," is carrying out "cultural genocide" in Tibet. The Dalai Lama arrived in Seattle late last week to promote "compassion." He found himself talking about confrontation - in Tibet, in China and along the path of the Olympic torch.Once again, the Dalai Lama is caught up in the complications of being both a spiritual and a political leader. And he carries the expectations of those who come to see him, including 55,000 people who filled Seattle's football stadium. (...) The Dalai Lama said Tibet gains many benefits by remaining part of China, but it must hold on to its cultural heritage.Tibet is "materially backward," he said. "Every Tibetan" wants a "modernized Tibet," he added. "It's their right: more prosperity, better [facilities for] education, health and daily life. So in this respect, China [is] becoming richer and richer. So therefore, [Tibet should] remain within the People's Republic of China. As far as material development is concerned, we gain much benefit. "Since we have our own unique cultural heritage, including our language, our script, these matters should be in the hands of [Tibetans who know] about our culture, about our religion," the Dalai Lama said. He agreed that Tibetan culture is in the process of being destroyed or overwhelmed by China."With this present arrangement, whether intentionally or unintentionally, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place," he said. The Dalai Lama said China's central government should be in charge of foreign affairs, but "the rest of local business should be in the hands of Tibetans. Autonomy is meaningless just on paper. So we are appealing to the Chinese central authority: Now give us meaningful autonomy. CLIP
THIS IS ANOTHER HORRENDOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE THAT DOES NOT GET THE EXPOSURE IT DESERVES
Why have millions of peaceful Chinese people been branded as criminals by Chinas worst (former) dictator Jiang Zemin and killed for their belief? The year was 1992. Before the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners enjoyed the quasi freedom to do their traditional Tai-chi-like exercises freely and peacefully. Owing to the practices great health benefits, practitioners enabled the government to save oodles of money in health care costs that was favourably recognized by the government at the time. Politburo officials read Zhuan Falun (Falun Gong main teachings) and were quickly becoming adepts. What went wrong? It was the 1998 government survey revealing that there were 70-100 million adherents in China, with Beijing alone having 2000 exercise sites, that spooked the dictator. Soon after that, to protest random beatings and much slandering of the faith, about 10,000 practitioners gathered at the government compound in a very orderly manner on April 25, 1999.
This unexpected 4.25 peaceful appeal no doubt came upon Jiang like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, bringing with it nuances of deja vu - think June 4, 1989 TAM massacre - and the surreality of a Tiananmen II incident manifesting right before his own eyes. Unprepared to confront his new class enemy, it wasnt long after that, that Jiang launched a genocidal campaign against Falun Gong that went into full swing eight years ago, on July 20, 1999. His directive: "destroy them physically, defame their reputations and bankrupt them financially." This persecution is by far the most sinister form of evil occurring in China today--organ harvesting being the preferred method for eradicating practitioners from Chinese society. (Ref. Bloody Harvest; http://organharvestinvestigation.net )
As Falun Gong practitioners stand strong behind their truth campaign against their brutal persecutors--the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)--China has seen 24 million nationals quit the Communist Party. This wave of resignations, triggered by the book Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party http://ninecommentaries.com recounting Chinas history of bloodlust and merciless killing of over 90 million people, is a cause for celebration. China-watchers all agree that true peace will not occur in China until the party is completely disintegrated.
Yet sadly, Chinas vast economic boom makes diplomats look the other way.
Thanks to the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), the global human rights torch relay will soon begin its peaceful journey on five continents to beam the spotlight on the persecution thus saying no to the 2008 China Olympics. http://www.boycottccpolympic.org/ol/en/ol2.jsp
So far, Beijing apologists argue that the increased international attention will cause China to improve its behaviour before the Games. Hmm! Organ harvesting of live Falun Gong practitioners is a vivid proof that it isnt so. Furthermore, a blacklist has been distributed by the CCP, on which 43 different categories of undesirable people that should not be allowed to come to China for the Olympics are listed--among them are Falun Gong practitioners. Some improvement!
Hu Jintao, the leader of China, and the members of the IOC should be well aware by now that the Olympic games are built on the premise of fairness and justice, precisely the opposite of today's human rights situation in China. The brutal persecution of Falun Gong must be stopped and the CCP must be held accountable for their crimes against humanity. Beijings face lift and cosmetic laws account for naught--genocide and the Olympics cannot co-exist! Help keep the flame alive, on August 8, light a torch for human rights.
Falun Gong is a system of "mind and body cultivation" introduced by Li Hongzhi (surname "Li") to the public in 1992. Falun Dafa has five sets of meditation exercises (four standing and one sitting meditation). The teachings of Falun Dafa are articulated in the two main books of the practice, Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun. The teachings refer to Falun Dafa as "cultivation practice", meaning that it involves a set of teachings, often referred to as "the Fa" (or "Dharma", or "Law"): "Falun Buddha Fa is a great, high-level cultivation way of the Buddha School, in which assimilation to the supreme nature of the universe, Zhen-Shan-Ren [Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance], is the foundation of cultivation practice." In these teachings, Li discusses questions such as "cultivation of virtue and character", "moral standards for different levels", and "salvation of sentient beings", among others. The teachings have been described as spiritual, religious or metaphysical, depending on the point of view.
43 categories of undesirables barred from Olympics
Here's an excerpt from FDI--the original leaked document is in Chinese. (link) In what may be its most audacious Olympic act yet, Chinas Ministry of Public Security has issued an incredible directive that lists 43 categories of unwanteds who are to be investigated and barred from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Falun Dafa Information Center has learned. Pariah groups include eerily vague key individuals in ideological fields, overseas hostile forces, counter-revolutionary figures, the Dalai Lama and all affiliates, members of religious entities not sanctioned by the state (e.g. Roman Catholics), individuals who instigate discontentment toward the Chinese Communist Party through the Internet, and even certain types of handicapped persons. Members of the Falun Gong would be barred, as would family members of deceased persons killed in riots -- a euphemism for events such as the Tiananmen Massacre -- and Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which the regime brands national separatists. Only at the very bottom of the directive does it identify violent terrorists and members of illegal organizations as targets for investigation and possible barring. To be investigated are participating athletes, members of the media, Olympic staff members, referees, sponsors, dignitaries, and the International Olympic Committee itself, among others, to determine whether they fall into any of the 43 categories. If carried out, the directive would amount to an espionage effort of astounding proportions, and would fly in the face of international law.
Sujiatun Death Camp: Putting Conscience on Trial http://tinyurl.com/44mff4
Please remember the name: Sujiatun. It will one day be as infamous as Auschwitz and Dachau.On March 8, 2006, a Chinese journalist on the run from the Chinese communist regime disclosed to Falun Gong practitioners in the United States some appalling news: a secret death camp in Sujiatun, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province in China. According to this journalist, over 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been taken to Sujiatun. I believe that once they are in they 100% cannot come back out, the journalist said. He also disclosed that there are incineration chambers and a large number of doctors there. Why are there incineration chambers there? Why are there so many doctors inside? Certainly not for the benevolent treatment of prisoners. Something you simply cannot imagine The prisoners, the Communist Party definitely will not let them just waste food there. Why are they there then? They will all be murdered, and all their organs will be harvested and distributed to hospitals. The sale of human organs is a vastly profitable trade in China. Falun Gong practitioners are not the only victims of such crimes. One week after the journalists disclosure, a former nurse whose ex-husband had taken part in harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners also stepped forward to testify: CLIP
Review in the ERN archives what was networked in the past regarding the horrendous persecutions of Falun Goon practitioners by the Chinese government http://tinyurl.com/4jukh6 such as...
YET, CHINA DOES NOT HAVE MONOPOLY OVER INHUMANE TREATMENTS...
Died hanging from wrists and gagged, with over 25 rib fractures (April 12, 2008) http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/12/151937/351/893/494404
This is my first of a series of diaries about prisoners murdered by US forces. It will tell the story of an Iraqi man who died hanging by his cuffed wrists from a door frame, gagged, and beaten to death by his US interrogators. (...) This is the reality of current US interrogation techniques--they sometimes result in death. Then they are considered torture. Hung by your wrists for an extended period, gagged, and beaten so harshly that you have almost 30 rib fractures and a broken sternum, but still alive? No major organ failure? Not torture, according to John Yoo and our administration has stated it concurs. Receiving zero medical care. Actually losing consciousness and "becoming pulseless" while still hanging, feeling your broken ribs slice into your lungs, the skin falling off your wrists where the handcuffs are supporting your weight. CLIP
ABC News Busts Condi's Torture Planning (MUST SEE - 2 min 30 sec video) http://condimustgo.com/?utm_source=rgemail
America will not stand for a Secretary of State who approved torture and then misled Congress. We call on the Presidential candidates to ask Secretary of State Rice to resign.
Cheney, Torture and the Chance to Restore the Rule of Law (04/12/2008) http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat?bid=1&pid=309223
The Constitution of the United States is absolutely clear when it comes to matters of torture. Amendment 8 specifically states that,"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."Acts of torture are by definition and common understanding -- certainly at the time of the drafting of the nation's essential document and arguably even in this less-enlightened era -- cruel and unusual punishments (...) Yet we now know from revelations made by former senior intelligence officials to ABC News and the Associated Press that Cheney and other members of the administration -- who apparently took care to insulate President Bush from a series of meetings where CIA interrogation methods were discussed -- authorized the use of waterboarding and other generally recognized torture techniques. There is no question that Cheney violated his oath of office, which bound him to support and defend a Constitution that he disregarded. The question is: How will responsible Americans respond? The power to hold Cheney to account rests with Congress. The power to get Congress to act rests with the American people. CLIP
Obama: AG Would Review Potential White House Crimes http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041508B.shtml
Will Bunch, reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer, recounts: "Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama ... whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House. Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to 'immediately review the information that's already there' and determine if an inquiry is warranted."
The Constitutional Conspiracy:Courts Colluding With White House to Avoid Accountability (April 12, 2008) http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/UPDATE/Update2008-04-12.htm
The proof is in. The federal courts have been found to be co-conspirators with the Executive Branch in a collusive scheme to avoid being held accountable to the Constitution by the People. There can be no doubt. The federal judiciary is now being utilized as an weapon of oppression rather than for the ends of Justice for which it was designed. Not only has the Judiciary abandoned its role as an independent arbiter of legal controversies involving injured citizens seeking remediation for Government wrongs, the Judiciary now refuses to even discuss the most basic, underlying Founding Principles upon which our Republic rests, i.e., the Rights of the People to Sovereignty and to hold Government accountable -- particularly its obligation to respond to Petitions for Redress of constitutional torts as provided by the First Amendment. CLIP
Is U.S. Support for Chinese Olympics the Anaconda in the Chandelier?
The ancient city of Beijing will be the epicenter of world attention as China prepares to host the next Olympiad this summer. Rarely have the Olympic Games escaped scrutiny and controversy, but the real story of the Chinese Olympics is lost in a fog of media pollution and disinformation that is a smokescreen more deadly than the smog feared by world athletes who are boycotting the games because of health concerns. German Chancellor Angela Merckel announced she would not attend the Opening Ceremonies because of the situation in Tibet. While President Bush plans to attend the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a statement on April 1, said it might be wise for the president not to attend the Games' Opening Ceremonies. Pelosi questioned the award of the Olympic venue to China and said China has not improved or honored its stated commitment to human rights. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in a recent speech, "China is the "world's worst human right's abuser," and added that Falun Gong practitioners are "disappearing by the thousands."
Human rights activists and organizations maintain that mainstream media reports on world leaders and their personal plans for the opening ceremonies are nothing but a diversion and window dressing. Pull the curtains aside and you will find no benevolent Wizard of Oz. There is significant, under-reported evidence that Falun Gong prisoners have been and are being used as a human transplant bank.
Deep in the Chinese provinces, in prisons where human rights are a non sequitur, are whispers, cries, and chilling stories of egregious human rights violations involving organ harvesting from live donors. This living hell is aided and abetted by a system of persecution that thrives on money, power, and secrecy. The stories are similar to those that surfaced from Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the Second World War. When the story is beyond human comprehension and morality, it becomes as the Bard wrote in Macbeth, " A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
The perceived idiots in this tale are, ironically, the truth tellers- the Diogenes and Cassandras who offer lamps of enlightenment and words of warning. These modern "idiots" appear to be on a fools' mission to shred the veils of secretive multinational trade interests, geo-political collusion, and out-right lies. The truth tellers include United Nations Special Rapporteurs, members of the U.S. Congress, human rights activists, former Chinese prisoners, Canadian attorneys, and a maverick PhD from the University of Minnesota.
The stories of atrocities perpetrated against prisoners of conscience in China, most especially, the Falun Gong, are not new. There have been media blips regarding this tragic story since 1999, when it became obvious that an uptick in foreign visitors to China for organ transplants was beginning to appear on websites and graphs that chart such things. A 2007 Yale econometric study came to the conclusion that that the organs of detained Falun Gong practitioners have been systematically harvested for use in China's organ transplant industry. Where is the expected outrage?
Part of the problem may reside in the term "Falun Gong." For westerners, the exotic name has no real meaning. Like the name "Tutsi" from the Rwandan genocide, there is no intellectual or emotional connection-an exotic name from a dangerous place-but what or who is a Falun Gong? When media, especially photo documentation of the murder of up to 800,000 Tutsis, finally made its way to the broadcast booths of CNN during the "100 Days" of genocide in Central Africa in 1994, it was too late, but outrage became the appropriate response, even in the United States where President Clinton had stood silently, afraid of a repeat of Mogadishu and another assault on his presidency.
Falun Gong is a meditative practice- the revival of the practice of Qigong, an ancient Chinese tradition of breathing and movement. Human rights activists charge that not only has China been bankrolling Darfur's conflicts for more than eight years, it has also sought to eliminate the Falun Gong, which at one point had an estimated 70 million practitioners in China.
In 2004, Asma Jahangir the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions stated, "The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by deaths in custody in China. Reports describe harrowing scenes in which detainees, many of whom are followers of the Falun Gong movement, die as a result of severe ill treatment, neglect or medical inattention. The cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description."
In a second investigation, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, completed a fact-finding mission to China after which he issued a press release on December 2, 2005, detailing some of the alleged torture methods the Communist regime uses on its victims. The most evil include electric shock, cigarette burns, guard instructed beatings, submersion in sewage pits, exposure to heat or cold and deprivation of sleep, food or water. In March 2006, Nowak reported that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of the victims of alleged torture while in the Chinese government's custody.
On March 20, 2007, in a more extensive report to the Human Rights Council's Fourth Session, as part of their Agenda item 2, "The Implementation of General Assembly Resolution 60/251," Nowak lists allegations and Chinese government responses to allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese denied the allegations.
According to Amnesty International, China continually holds thousands of political prisoners without charge or trial and is responsible for over 80 percent of all executions documented in the world.
All of these reports segued on August 3, 2007, when Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced House Resolution 610, aptly named because the "610 Office" in China is an extra-constitutional agency established by the former leader Jiang Zemin. 610 was specifically created to persecute Falun Gong and has absolute power over every level of the Communist Party and all political and judiciary systems.
Rohrabacher's H.Res. 610 states "the sense of the House of Representatives is that the United States Government should take immediate steps to boycott the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008 unless the Government of the People's Republic of China stops engaging in serious human rights abuses against its citizens and stops supporting serious human rights abuses by the Governments of Sudan, Burma, and North Korea against their citizens."
THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES- Voices Shouting "Foul" From Canada
David Kilgour, J.D. and David Matas are independent Canadian investigators who are absolutely convinced that the reports coming from China are true and that the organs of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been harvested for profit. In May of 2006, they received a formal request from the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China (CIPFG). The coalition is a non-governmental organization, registered in Washington, DC with offices in Ottawa. Kilgour is a former Member of Parliament and a former Secretary of State of the Government of Canada for the Asia Pacific Region. Before he became a parliamentarian, he was a Crown prosecutor. Matas is an immigration, refugee, and international human rights attorney in private practice. He received his law degrees at Oxford-a Bachelor of Arts in the Honour School of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Civil Law.
In 2007 Kilgour and Matas finalized a 46-page document, accompanied by 14 appendices, which is the culmination of their investigation into allegations that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in China have been murdered for their vital organs-including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas-which are then sold for profit. Some of the customers are foreigners "who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries," Kilgour said.
As a result of the investigation, David Kilgour has no problem indicting the Chinese government. In a phone interview from his office in Ottawa, Kilgour expressed outrage at a society he believes is "modeled after the regimes of Hitler and Stalin," a society in which police will sign detention orders for non-capital crimes against anyone who is considered a threat to the state.
Labor camps have been operating across China since the 1950s, Kilgour says. They operate outside the legal system and allow the Party to send anyone to them for up to four years with neither hearing nor appeal. The reason?
"When the practitioners of Falun Gong began to outnumber the members of the Communist Party in China, there was a crackdown," Kilgour said.
Kilgour has looked deep beneath the surface of Chinese society, a society that he believes is largely misunderstood and unknown to the Western World.
Mass Media Fails in its Duty as Messenger
As Kilgour and David Matas, his partner in the investigation, discovered, when you scratch beneath the surface of a society, you had better be prepared for what you will find. Kilgour does not mince words and blames the mainstream media for ignoring what he believes to be a fact--that since 2001 the the Falun Gong, a spiritual group, continues to be treated in a 21st century industrialized society, "not as human beings," "but essentially as objects for sale as body parts." Their body parts were sold to "organ tourists" from wealthy countries, he says. The Kilgour/Matas report is available in nineteen languages at: Investigation
In an official response to the report, the Chinese government said, "It is very clear that Falun Gong's rumour has ulterior political motives." Kilgour responds: "None of our findings are based on rumour. Every finding we make is sourced and independently verifiable."
In its second and final response, the Chinese government describes the Falun Gong as being "against everything from China." Kilgour asks: "What could the politics of the Falun Gong possibly be? They are not a political party or movement with a political agenda. The Chinese Government (presents) a bizarre charge, but all too typical of the hyperbole into which the Government launches when discussing this group."
AND THEN WHAT ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF THESE OLYMPIC GAMES...
Action Alert: China Olympics 2008: Destroying Papua's Ancient Rainforests to Raise the Olympic Torch http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=olympic_timber
Protest China's Plundering of Indonesian Rainforests to Build 2008 Olympic Facilities. (...) It has been estimated that China's construction of infrastructure to host the Olympics will consume tens of millions of cubic meters of primary forestry products, including solid wood flooring, which could amount to one half of China's annual timber imports. Where will this massive amount of timber come from? We need more than a cursory, dismissive and unsubstantiated response to this burning question from the Chinese Olympic Committee.
China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter (June 19 2007) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/jun/19/china.usnews
China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China's growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year. But according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production have helped to push China's recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those from the US already. It says China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes. Jos Olivier, a senior scientist at the government agency who compiled the figures, said: "There will still be some uncertainty about the exact numbers, but this is the best and most up to date estimate available. China relies very heavily on coal and all of the recent trends show their emissions going up very quickly." China's emissions were 2% below those of the US in 2005. Per head of population, China's pollution remains relatively low - about a quarter of that in the US and half that of the UK. The new figures only include carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production. They do not include sources of other greenhouse gases, such as methane from agriculture and nitrous oxide from industrial processes. And they exclude other sources of carbon dioxide, such as from the aviation and shipping industries, as well as from deforestation, gas flaring and underground coal fires. CLIP
China 'now top carbon polluter' (14 April 2008) With a telling video! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7347638.stm
China has already overtaken the US as the world's "biggest polluter", a report to be published next month says. The research suggests the country's greenhouse gas emissions have been underestimated, and probably passed those of the US in 2006-2007. CLIP
YET THERE ARE NEVERTHELESS SOME MUCH NEEDED IMPROVEMENTS UNDERWAY
Cross-Border Pollution: A Growing International Problem http://environment.about.com/od/pollution/a/cross_border.htm
(...) China is Working to Reduce and Repair Environmental Damage: China has taken several steps recently to lessen its environmental impact, including announcing a plan to invest $175 billion (1.4 trillion yuan) in environmental protection between 2006 and 2010. The moneyequal to more than 1.5 percent of Chinas annual gross domestic productwill be used to control water pollution, improve air quality in Chinas cities, increase solid waste disposal and reduce soil erosion in rural areas, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. China also made a commitment in 2007 to phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbsa move that could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 500 million tons annually. And in January 2008, China pledged to ban the production, sale and use of thin plastic bags within six months. China is also taking part in international talks aimed at negotiating a new treaty on greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires. Before long, China is expected to surpass the United States as the nation most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions worldwidea cross-border pollution problem of global proportions.
Olympic Games May Lead to Better Air Quality in China - Some observers believe the Olympic Games may be a catalyst that will help China turn things aroundat least in terms of air quality. China is hosting the Summer Olympics in Beijing in August 2008, and the nation is under pressure to clean up its air to avoid international embarrassment. The International Olympic Committee gave China a stern warning about environmental conditions, and some Olympic athletes have said they will not compete in certain events because of poor air quality in Beijing.
Pollution in Asia Could Affect Air Quality Worldwide - Despite these efforts, environmental degradation in China and other developing countries in Asiaincluding the problem of cross-border pollutionis likely to get worse before it gets better.According to Toshimasa Ohohara, head of air pollution monitoring research at Japans National Institute for Environmental Study, emissions of nitrogen oxidea greenhouse gas that is the primary cause of urban smogare expected to increase 2.3 times in China and 1.4 times in East Asia by 2020 if China and other nations do nothing to curb them.
AND THEN THERE IS THIS!!... (Warning!! This is extremely disturbing!)
McCartney attacks China over fur (28 November 2005) With a telling video on this horrific situation http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4476664.stm
Sir Paul McCartney has vowed never to perform in China after seeing horrific undercover footage of dogs and cats being killed for their fur. The former Beatle also said he would boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics after viewing the footage taken in a fur market in Guangzhou, southern China. The film shows animals being thrown from a bus, and into boiling water. A Chinese official said boycotts were not justified, and blamed US and European consumers for buying the fur. In the film, dogs and cats packed by the dozen into wire cages little bigger than lobster pots are pictured being thrown from the top deck of a converted bus onto concrete pavements. The screaming animals, many with their paws now smashed from the fall, are then lifted out with long metal tongs and thrown over a seven foot fence. They are then killed and skinned for their fur. Animal welfare group Peta believes many of them are still alive as their skins are peeled away. Sir Paul, and his wife Heather, looked aghast and close to tears as they watched the footage for a special report for the BBC's Six O'clock News to be screened on Monday. They urged people not to buy Chinese goods."This is barbaric. Horrific," said Sir Paul. CLIP
China leading the way in global executions: Amnesty (April 15, 2008) http://tinyurl.com/535vyj
LONDON (AFP) - At least 1,200 people were executed globally last year with China leading the way amongst the world's most prolific users of the death penalty, Amnesty International said in a report published Tuesday. The London-based human rights group warned, however, that those figures were only minimum estimates, and cautioned that the true extent of the use of capital punishment could not be known because in many countries, state executions were shrouded in official secrecy. "The secretive use of the death penalty must stop: the veil of secrecy surrounding the death penalty must be lifted," Amnesty said in a statement." Many governments claim that executions take place with public support. People therefore have a right to know what is being done in their name." Amnesty said that at least 1,252 people had been executed in 24 countries around the world in 2007, 88 percent of which took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United States." These were only minimum figures; the true figures were certainly higher," its report read. Of the countries using the death penalty, China led the way with at least 470 executions, followed by Iran with more than 317, Saudi Arabia with a minimum of 143, and Pakistan with at least 135, according to Amnesty. It challenged Beijing in particular to "end its secretive use of the death penalty and provide detailed information about the use of capital punishment" as China prepares to host the Olympic Games in August. "In a country as vast as China with tight government controls on information and the media only the authorities know the reality behind the use of the death penalty," the report read.Nearly 70 crimes can carry the death penalty in China including tax fraud, stealing VAT receipts, damaging electric power facilities, selling counterfeit medicine, embezzlement, accepting bribes and drug offences, said Amnesty.In a report earlier this month, Amnesty warned that China's human rights record was getting worse as Beijing bids to present a united front by cracking down on dissent. CLIP
Europeans see China as biggest threat to global stability: poll (April 15, 2008) http://tinyurl.com/4zuvtg
LONDON (AFP) - Europeans see China as a bigger threat to global stability than the United States, Iran or North Korea, according to a poll published Tuesday. The Harris survey for the Financial Times showed that an average of 35 percent of voters in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy saw China as the biggest threat to global stability, compared to 29 percent who thought the same of the United States. CLIP
Coming Ecological Collapse: Failing Ecosystems the Mother of All Bubbles
Dr. Glen Barry
The converging mortgage, financial, food, fuel and climate crises are all symptoms of a massive global ecological bubble...
Ecological overshoot whereby humanity exceeds the Earth's carrying capacity is the mother of all "bubbles". Within the current sub-prime mortgage and financial bubbles, and food and energy price increases, we are witnessing the logical and inevitable economic consequences of over-population, resource scarcity, inequitable and unreasonable consumption, and unsustainable economic growth. Growth and livelihoods based upon unreasonable presumptions of continued resource outputs from dwindling ecosystems is a dangerous, unprecedented "ecological bubble" that threatens civilization and mass apocalyptic death.
The global growth machine is seizing up because it is hitting ecological limits, and as a result of its own greed. Clearly the addition of a billion more people every decade and a half, physical limits upon arable land and fossil fuels -- as well as exceeding the atmosphere's waste absorption capacity and minimum amount of intact terrestrial ecosystems necessary to power the biosphere -- are together severely negatively impacting economies and individual's well-being.
The economic slowdown is painful for many families. I personally share economic anxieties associated with the mortgage bubble popping. We are all finding it harder to pay the mortgage, buy food and fuel, and enjoy some special luxuries. Yet all bubbles burst -- be they historically for tulips in Holland or property in Japan -- and you deal with the underlying causes or you suffer further. I believe strongly that there should be no bailout of high flying bankers, home flippers, or people that took out mortgages they cannot afford. Wall Street fat cats that created the mortgage backed security Ponzi scheme should go to jail.
Endless Growth Impossible in a Finite World
Yet this economic cooling may also offer a welcome respite to reconsider the growth at any cost madness devouring the Earth's life giving ecosystems, and which threatens to impoverish and kill many or all of us. It is essential that we look at the far deeper ecological roots to this economic crisis, and their foretelling of related environmental bubbles. The ongoing biofuel scam, using first food and soon trees as fuel to supposedly avert climate change, shows the potential for ill-conceived climate change responses to increase land pressures, food prices and negatively impact economies. These sorts of macro ecological/economic connections are examined further here.
Humans seem to always want more, even when there is none, or achieving it diminishes the future. A colleague recently pointed out to me that there may be a genetic component, expressed sub-consciously, to humanity's expansionist bent that constantly seeks more, bigger and better human works. And that there are societal memes that foster and promote this myth that endless growth and expansion in population, consumption and resource use at the expense of ecological habitats is possible. For a few hundred years the western economic model of markets and growth that builds upon these human proclivities has created wealth while wreaking havoc upon peoples, societies and ecosystems.
Growth in economies, human populations and resources accessed by destroying ecosystems is a disease upon the living Earth. The malignant growth machine turns ecosystems into resources and then into financial investment papers and consumption. A year later the consumer products are in the landfill, the paper wealth may be further over-priced or just scrap paper, and there are both fewer resources and ecosystems -- but always more people. The ability to live well based upon long-term steady-state interdependence with intact, healthy ecosystems and their natural capital is lost forever.
The Mortgage Bubble: Destroying Our Habitat to Build Homes
The mortgage bubble is a case is point. In America and many other over-developed countries the size of new homes grew and amenities seemed to know few limits. Each had to have restaurant quality kitchens, hardwood floors, multi-car garages, track lighting, and other seemingly endless conspicuous consumption to denote social class. Each represents the unsustainable consumption of resources from ecosystems, and requires continued intensive inputs to maintain. Most such development requires extensive automobile travel, sprawl into native ecosystems, and energy that will not be there in the future.
These extravagant McMansions are the epitome of everything wrong with "modern" society, industrial capitalism, and demonstrates our detachment from Earth, whose habitats are our true home. This more at any expense economy that knows no limits and has no concept of enough is responsible for our current economic downturn and is literally killing our future economic and ecological prospects. Can those that believe in markets and capitalism not entertain any limits upon the size and resource use intensity of our homes? Does anyone see the connection between more people using more resources to build large homes, leading to less farmland and overuse of limited energy, resulting in food and energy price hikes?
In the mortgage bubble, we are seeing the first signs of many wholly ecological bubbles to come. The world is not only at peak oil, but well past peak water, land, climate, oceans, food and energy in general. Rising food prices are the front edge of the food bubble -- a result of over-population, climate change, water shortages and land scarcity. The climate bubble has already begun to burst -- it is too late to return to the relatively stable set of climate patterns with which we evolved -- but failure to stabilize emissions as early as possible will bring far worse. And perhaps most ominously, and by extension of the food and climate bubbles, we are facing a deadly water bubble that is already disrupting societies and may prove insurmountable.
Ecological Bubbles and a New Global Dream
These ecological bubbles are partly responsible for the current economic downturn, and unless addressed now, they are certainly going to soon fully burst with calamitous impacts in their own right upon societal and individual well-being. The American dream which has been embraced by the world -- based upon a sub-conscious urge to expand our dominance over nature and always, forever have more of everything, with constant societal pressure to do so -- will have to give way to a more organic, ecologically-cognizant reality of living simply but well within ecological limits. Sadly for many, but a blessing for the Earth System and the not super rich, the whole world cannot live an over-consumptive super-sized lifestyle without destroying being.
It is time for a new global dream. The new dream would include aspiring that all have their basic needs met, even as individuals are free to pursue their passions and fortunes, as long as they do not undermine common ecological systems. Such a dream seeks to avert apocalyptic ecological and societal collapse through promotion of a sense of personal enoughness, voluntary simplicity and a whole range of necessary fundamental changes in society such as ending the use of coal and logging of ancient forests.
One thing is clear -- more unbridled growth based upon unsustainable resource use will not solve the global ecological problems associated with unbridled growth and unsustainable resource use. The human enterprise and each global citizen's consumption aspirations must be downsized to a scale appropriate to ecosystem limits. Or the Earth herself -- as it turns out, with the assistance of the human created economic system -- will do so brutally.
The industrial resource and illusory financial binge must end if we are to reverse the destruction, and begin the restoration, of the biosphere, its component ecosystems, and their ability to provide natural capital upon which to base a steady-state economy. It is time to get back to making honest, good livings from actually making or doing something of societal value, by making a living with the land and Earth, and that does not depend upon liquidating ecological being and financial speculation.
As the economic bubble deflates we might as well get on with finding a way to live simply, sustainably, equitably and justly with the Earth and each other. Because when the water, food and climate bubbles fully burst -- we are going to need each other, and to be ready.
April 12, 2008 Dr. Barry is founder and President of Ecological Internet; provider of the largest, most used environmental portals on the Internet including the Climate Ark at http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.EcoEarth.Info/. Earth Meanders is a series of ecological essays that are written entirely in his personal capacity. This essay may be reprinted granted it is properly credited to Dr. Barry and with a link to Earth Meanders: http://earthmeanders.blogspot.com/ Emailed responses are public record and will be posted on the web site unless otherwise requested. Dr. Glen Barry, firstname.lastname@example.org
As food prices surge, starvation looms for millions. Experts call for emergency action but admit there's no quick fix
April 12, 2008
ROME Fatal food riots in Haiti. Violent food-price protests in Egypt and Ivory Coast. Rice so valuable it is transported in armoured convoys. Soldiers guarding fields and warehouses. Export bans to keep local populations from starving.
For the first time in decades, the spectre of widespread hunger for millions looms as food prices explode. Two words not in common currency in recent years famine and starvation are now being raised as distinct possibilities in the poorest, food-importing countries.
Unlike past food crises, solved largely by throwing aid at hungry stomachs and boosting agricultural productivity, this one won't go away quickly, experts say. Prices are soaring and stand every chance of staying high because this crisis is different.
A swelling global population, soaring energy prices, the clamouring for meat from the rising Asian middle class, competition from biofuels and hot money pouring into the commodity markets are all factors that make this crisis unique and potentially calamitous. Even with concerted global action, such as rushing more land into cultivation, it will take years to fix the problem.
The price increases and food shortages have been nothing short of shocking. In February, stockpiles of wheat hit a 60-year low in the United States as prices soared. Almost all other commodities, from rice and soybeans to sugar and corn, have posted triple-digit price increases in the past year or two.
Yesterday in Rome, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said the cereal-import bill for the poorest countries is expected to rise 56 per cent this year, on top of the 37 per cent recorded last year. "There is certainly a risk of [people] dying of starvation" unless urgent action is taken, he said. "I am surprised I have not been summoned to the Security Council to discuss these issues."
The UN's donor countries, he said, need to come up with as much as $1.7-billion (U.S.) to implement quick-fix food programs, such as topping up the World Food Programme, whose emergency food-buying power has been clobbered by the rising prices. Its budget shortfall, the difference between the food it intended to buy and can now afford, is $500-million.
Other UN officials have been equally blunt. Sir John Holmes, the UN's top humanitarian official and emergency relief co-ordinator, said this week that soaring food prices threaten political stability. The UN and national governments are especially worried about potentially violent situations in Africa's increasingly crowded urban areas. Rioting triggered by absent or unaffordable food could cripple cities. "The security implications should not be underestimated as food riots are being reported across the globe," Mr. Holmes said.
Nigeria's Kanayo Nwanze, vice-president of the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, sees no short-term fix. "I wouldn't be surprised if there is an escalation of food riots in the next few months," he said. "It could lead to famine in certain parts of Africa if the international community and local governments do not put emergency actions into place."
And it's not just the UN that thinks so. Independent analysts, economists and agriculture consultants say the term most often used to describe the food prices and shortages crisis is not hyperbole.
How did it come to this? Surging food prices, now at 30-year highs, are actually a relatively new phenomenon. In the mid-1970s, prices began to fall as the green revolution around the world made farms dramatically more productive, thanks to improvements in irrigation and the widespread use of fertilizers, mechanized farm equipment and genetically engineered crops. If there was a crisis, it was food surpluses too much food chasing too few stomachs and dropping produce prices had often disastrous effects on farm incomes.
By 2001, the surpluses began to shrink and prices reversed. In the past year or so, the price curve has gone nearly vertical. The UN's food index rose 45 per cent in the past nine months alone, but some prices have climbed even faster. Wheat went up 108 per cent in the past 12 months; corn rose 66 per cent. Rice, the food that feeds half the world, went "from a staple to a delicacy," says Standard Chartered Bank food commodities analyst Abah Ofon.
The price of Thai medium-quality rice, a global benchmark, has more than doubled since the end of 2007. This week it reached a record $854 a tonne, which helps explain why World Food Programme trucks carrying rice in certain parts of Africa have come under attack.
Food prices in the first three months of 2008 reached their highest level in both nominal and real (inflation adjusted) terms in almost 30 years, the UN says. That's stoking double-digit inflation and prompting countries such as Egypt, Vietnam and India to eliminate or substantially reduce rice exports to keep a lid on prices and prevent rioting. But, by reducing global supply, this only increases prices for food-importing countries, many of them in West Africa.
Throughout history, the world has seen food shortages and famines triggered by drought, war, pestilence, crop failures and regional overpopulation. In the Chinese famine between 1958 and 1961, an estimated 30 million people died from malnutrition. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, severe food shortages hit India and parts of southeast Asia. Only the emergency shipment of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain from the U.S. prevented a humanitarian disaster. Drought, violent conflict, economic incompetence, misfortune and corruption created deadly famines in Ethiopia and Sudan in the first half of the 1980s.
In each case, the food shortages were alleviated through emergency aid or investment in farming and crop productivity. While no one so far is dying of hunger in this latest crisis, the UN and agriculture experts predict years of pain, at best, and severe shortages, possibly famine in the worst-hit countries. The reason: High prices are likely to persist for years.
Swelling population explains only part of the problem. The world's population, estimated at 6.6 billion, has doubled since 1965. But population growth rates are falling and, theoretically, there is enough food to feed everyone on the planet, said Peter Hazell, a British agriculture economist and a former World Bank principal economist.
Why millions may go hungry, he said, is because prices are so high, food is becoming unaffordable in some parts of the world.
The "rural poor" (to use the UN's term) in Burkina Faso, Niger, Somalia, Senegal, Cameroon and some other African countries exist on the equivalent of $1 a day or less. As much as 70 per cent of that meagre income goes to food purchases, compared with about 15 per cent in the U.S. and Canada. As prices, but not incomes, rise, the point may be reached where food portions shrink or meals are skipped. Malnutrition sets in.
The dramatic price rises have been driven by factors absent in previous food shortages.
They include turning food into fuel, climate change, high oil and natural gas prices (which boost trucking and fertilizer costs), greater consumption of meat and dairy products as incomes rise (which raises the demand for animal feedstuffs), and investment funds, whose billions of dollars of firepower can magnify price increases.
Driven by fears of global warming, biofuel has become big business in the U.S., Canada and the European Union. The incentive to produce the fuels is overwhelming because they are subsidized by taxpayers and, depending on the country or the region, come with content mandates.
Starting next week, Britain will require gasoline and diesel sold at the pumps be mixed with 2.5-per-cent biofuel, rising to 5.75 per cent by 2010 and 10 per cent by 2020, in line with European Union directives. Ontario's ethanol-content mandate is 5 per cent. As the content requirements rise, more and more land is devoted to growing crops for fuel, such as corn-based ethanol. In the EU alone, 15 per cent of the arable land is expected to be devoured by biofuel production by 2020.
That's raising alarm bells, especially given lingering doubts about the effectiveness of ethanol in combatting climate change. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week he's worried that ethanol production is pushing up food prices everywhere, and he called for an urgent review of the issue. Economist Dr. Hazell has said that filling an SUV tank once with ethanol consumes more maize than the typical African eats in a year.
Rising ethanol demand is one of the main reasons why Wall Street securities firm Goldman Sachs predicts high food prices for a long time. "We believe the recent rise in agriculture prices is not a transient spike, but rather represents the beginning of a structural increase in prices, much as has occurred in the energy and metals markets," Jeffrey Currie, Goldman's chief commodities analyst, said in a research note last month.
Severe weather has clobbered crop production among some big exporting countries. Drought in Australia, the third largest wheat exporter after the U.S. and Canada, has pushed wheat production down by half since the 2005-06 crop year. Statistics Canada said Canadian wheat production fell 20.6 per last year. Exports, as a result, are expected to fall by six million tonnes in the 2007-08 year.
While Australia and Canada could bounce back in the next season or the season after, depending on temperatures and rainfall, rising global temperatures do not bode well for agriculture in many parts of the world.
The UN has predicted that climate change could reduce production in developing countries by 9 to 21 per cent by 2080 and that sub-Saharan Africa could lose more than 30 per cent of its main crop, maize. Southern Asia, it said, could see millet, maize and rice production fall by 10 per cent. The challenge is to offset the losses with higher crop yields on arable land less affected by climate change.
Mr. Ofon, of Standard Chartered Bank, said rising demand in the face of production shortfalls does not fully explain the dramatic price increases. Investors are the other driver. They have discovered they can make money from food commodities as easily as they can in oil, gold or nickel. "Fund money flowing into agriculture has boosted prices," he said. "It's fashionable. This is the year of agricultural commodities."
But Mr. Currie of Goldman Sachs dismisses the theory that funds are pushing prices higher than they would be otherwise, though the funds can make prices rise and fall quickly in the short term. "The simple truth is that the funds don't take delivery of the commodity," he said in an interview. "Therefore they cannot sit on them and put them in silos. Therefore they can't affect prices over the long term."
In other words, the rally in food prices is being caused by demand exceeding production, resulting in dwindling food stockpiles. UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, for one, assumes prices will stay high for as long as 10 years.
Agriculture economists and the UN have not lost all hope. New irrigation systems are inevitable in Africa and have the potential to boost crop production dramatically. Ditto for the use of fertilizers. Only three to five kilos of fertilizer per hectare is used in Africa, compared with about 250 kilos in the U.S. The problem with using more fertilizer is cost. Fertilizers such as urea are derived from natural gas, and gas prices have climbed, too. The price of urea has almost tripled since 2003, to $400 a tonne.
Dr. Hazell said some big countries, notably the U.S., Canada and Ukraine, have the capacity to increase crop production substantially. Already world cereal production is on the rise, although not nearly fast enough to end the crisis. The Food and Agriculture Organization yesterday forecast a 2.6-per-cent rise in cereal production in 2008.
Cutting back on ethanol production alone would go some way to restoring supply-demand balance in the food markets. "If we decide to do something about it, we can just use less food for fuel," he said.
But everyone analysts, economists, agriculture experts, the UN thinks all bets are off in the next two or three years. It's almost impossible to boost production quickly, because of land and water shortages and competition from biofuels.
"I can say with some degree of confidence that if governments and international development agencies do not put in place a concerted effort quickly, then we are looking at a very serious problem," Mr. Nwanze said.
Soaring food prices now top threat, IMF says (April 14, 2008) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080414.wfood14/BNStory/International/home?cid=al_gam_mostview
WASHINGTON The global food crisis has pushed aside fears of a recession and mounting banking woes as top priority for the world's economic leaders.Ministers representing 185 countries agreed on the weekend that soaring food prices threaten global calamity and pledged to co-operate on a solution to save the world's poorest people from starvation.But that solution remains elusive.The finance ministers and central bank governors who oversee the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank left Washington yesterday without a definitive response to agricultural prices that have surged 48 per cent since the end of 2006, sparking a wave of hoarding and riots throughout the developing world. "If food prices go on as they are today, then the consequences on the population in a large set of countries, including Africa, but not only Africa, will be horrific," IMF managing director Dominque Struass-Kahn said at a press conference. "Hundreds of thousands of people will be starving. Children will suffer from malnutrition, with consequences on all of their lives." That level of concern didn't translate into pledges for more food aid or concrete ideas about how food inflation might be reversed. CLIP
Global warming rage lets global hunger grow (15/04/2008) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/04/14/ccview114.xml
We drive, they starve. The mass diversion of the North American grain harvest into ethanol plants for fuel is reaching its political and moral limits. "The reality is that people are dying already," said Jacques Diouf, of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). "Naturally people won't be sitting dying of starvation, they will react," he said. The UN says it takes 232kg of corn to fill a 50-litre car tank with ethanol. That is enough to feed a child for a year. Last week, the UN predicted "massacres" unless the biofuel policy is halted. We are all part of this drama whether we fill up with petrol or ethanol. The substitution effect across global markets makes the two morally identical. Mr Diouf says world grain stocks have fallen to a quarter-century low of 5m tonnes, rations for eight to 12 weeks. America - the world's food superpower - will divert 18pc of its grain output for ethanol this year, chiefly to break dependency on oil imports. It has a 45pc biofuel target for corn by 2015.Argentina, Canada, and Eastern Europe are joining the race. The EU has targeted a 5.75pc biofuel share by 2010, though that may change. Europe's farm ministers are to debate a measure this week ensuring "absolute priority" for food output. "The world food situation is very serious: we have seen riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Haiti and Burkina Faso," said Mr Diouf. "There is a risk that this unrest will spread in countries where 50pc to 60pc of income goes to food," he said.Haiti's government fell over the weekend following rice and bean riots. Five died. The global food bill has risen 57pc in the last year. Soaring freight rates make it worse. The cost of food "on the table" has jumped by 74pc in poor countries that rely on imports, according to the FAO. Roughly 100m people are tipping over the survival line. The import ratio for grains is: Eritrea (88pc), Sierra Leone (85pc), Niger (81pc), Liberia (75pc), Botswana (72pc), Haiti (67pc), and Bangladesh (65pc). This Malthusian crunch has been building for a long time. We are adding 73 million mouths a year. The global population will grow from 6.5bn to 9.5bn before peaking near mid-century. Asia's bourgeoisie is switching to an animal-based diet. If they follow the Japanese, protein-intake will rise by nine times. It takes 8.3 grams of corn feed to produce a 1g of beef, or 3.1g for pork. China's meat demand has risen to 50kg per capita from 20kg in 1980, but this has been gradual. The FAO insists that this dietary shift is "not the cause of the sudden food price spike that began in 2005". CLIP
Finance Ministers Emphasize Food Crisis Over Credit Crisis (14 April 2008) http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041408B.shtml
Reporting for The New York Times, Steven Weisman writes: "The world's economic ministers declared on Sunday that shortages and skyrocketing prices for food posed a potentially greater threat to economic and political stability than the turmoil in capital markets. The ministers, conferring in the shadow of a slumping American economy that threatens to pull down the economies of other countries, turned their attention to the food crisis and called on the wealthiest countries to fulfill pledges to help prevent starvation and disorder in Asia, Africa and Latin America."
Let Them Eat Ethanol! (April 11th, 2008) http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/04/let-them-eat-ethanol/
Wall Street millionaires have spent months mourning their losses from once ridiculously over-valued investments. Yet these same free market cheerleaders remain blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the crisis facing the real victims of the unfolding global meltdown they so enthusiastically enabled. For the three billion people who survive on less than two dollars a day, the upward spiral in global food prices has meant a struggle for the most basic of human rightsthe right to eat. Rice, bread and tortillas are the staple food for this half of the worlds population. In 2007, the price of grain rose by 42 per cent, and dairy products by 80 per cent, according to UN figures, and food inflation has accelerated further in recent months. As the Observer noted on April 6, A global rice shortage that has seen prices of one of the worlds most important staple foods increase by 50 per cent in the past two weeks alone is triggering an international crisis. In recent weeks, mass hunger has spawned violent rioting in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal and Haiti. CLIP
Rising Demand for Meat Takes Toll on Environment (April 16, 2008) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89676010
As global demand for meat products has increased in recent years, so has awareness of the environmental damage that the industry causes. Modern meat production uses enormous amounts of energy, pollutes water supplies and creates greenhouse gases.Renee Montagne talks to professor Roz Naylor, director of the Program on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University.
One Less Burger, One Safer Planet http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/041608EC.shtml
"Earth Day is a week away, so brace yourself for cuddly, hug-the-planet blubbering from the presidential candidates," writes Derrick Z. Jackson for The International Herald Tribune. "John McCain will tell you we must be the 'caretakers of creation.' Hillary Clinton will talk of recycling and efficient light bulbs. Barack Obama will surely tell us we 'cannot afford more of the same timid politics when the future of our planet is at stake.' Ah, but what about hamburgers? When the candidates tell us to stay out of McDonald's, then we will know their light bulbs are on. The end of timid politics is when they say that with the planet at stake, you must eat less steak."
No food price relief seen for poor Afghans (14 Apr 200) http://africa.reuters.com/world/news/usnISL218886.html
KABUL (Reuters) - Impoverished Afghans struggling with rising wheat prices are not expected to get any relief soon with no sign prices are going to come down, a United Nations official said on Monday. Top finance and development officials from around the world called in Washington on Sunday for urgent action to stem rising food prices, warning that social unrest will spread unless the cost of basic staples is contained. Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries with half its 25 million people living below the poverty line. Wheat prices in Afghanistan have risen by an average of 60 percent over the last year with certain areas seeing a rise of up to 80 percent, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said. CLIP
As Other Staples Soar, Potatoes Break New Ground http://www.planetark.org/avantgo/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=47974
LIMA - As wheat and rice prices surge, the humble potato -- long derided as a boring tuber prone to making you fat -- is being rediscovered as a nutritious crop that could cheaply feed an increasingly hungry world.Potatoes, which are native to Peru, can be grown at almost any elevation or climate: from the barren, frigid slopes of the Andes Mountains to the tropical flatlands of Asia. They require very little water, mature in as little as 50 days, and can yield between two and four times more food per hectare than wheat or rice."The shocks to the food supply are very real and that means we could potentially be moving into a reality where there is not enough food to feed the world," said Pamela Anderson, director of the International Potato Centre in Lima (CIP), a non-profit scientific group researching the potato family to promote food security.Like others, she says the potato is part of the solution.The potato has potential as an antidote to hunger caused by higher food prices, a population that is growing by one billion people each decade, climbing costs for fertilizer and diesel, and more cropland being sown for biofuel production.To focus attention on this, the United Nations named 2008 the International Year of the Potato, calling the vegetable a "hidden treasure". CLIP
More than three billion people in the world condemned to premature death from hunger and thirst http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2007/marzo/juev29/14reflex.html
REFLECTIONS OF EX-PRESIDENT FIDEL CASTRO -- That is not an exaggerated figure, but rather a cautious one. I have meditated a lot on that in the wake of President Bushs meeting with U.S. automobile manufacturers. The sinister idea of converting food into fuel was definitively established as an economic line in U.S. foreign policy last Monday, March 26 (2007). CLIP
Castro and Chávez Attack US Backing For Biofuels http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19730.htm
Leaders say diverting crops for fuel starves poor - Cuba and Venezuela have launched an offensive against biofuels, warning that the US-backed rush towards ethanol will worsen global hunger and poverty. Fidel Castro has written two newspaper articles in a week voicing alarm at the prospect of countries boosting sugar and corn crops to make ethanol, a fuel that can be used an additive or a substitute for petrol. By diverting crops to feed cars rather than people, the price of food would rise and the world's poor would go hungry, Mr Castro wrote in the Communist party's official newspaper, Granma. The columns marked an unexpected return to international policy debate after an eight-month convalescence that forced the 80-year-old president to cede day-to-day control to his brother, Raul. CLIP
MSG Obesity Slow Poison! (April 15/08) http://www.rense.com/general67/msg.htm
The food additive MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is a slow poison. MSG hides behind 25 or more names, such as Natural Flavouring.' MSG is even in your favourite coffee from Tim Horton's and Starbuck's coffee shops! I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic and so did a friend of mine, John Erb. He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada , and spent years working for the government. He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called The Slow Poisoning of America. In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born. CLIP
Warmer seas, over-fishing spell disaster for oceans: scientists
April 11, 2008
The future food security of millions of people is at risk because over-fishing, climate change and pollution are inflicting massive damage on the world's oceans, marine scientists warned this week.
The two-thirds of the planet covered by seas provide one fifth of the world's protein -- but 75 percent of fish stocks are now fully exploited or depleted, a Hanoi conference that ended Friday was told.
Warming seas are bleaching corals, feeding algal blooms and changing ocean currents that impact the weather, and rising sea levels could in future threaten coastal areas from Bangladesh to New York, experts said.
"People think the ocean is a place apart," said Peter Neill, head of the World Ocean Observatory. "In fact it's the thing that connects us -- through trade, transportation, natural systems, weather patterns and everything we depend on for survival."
Marine ecosystems and food security were key concerns at the Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, an international meeting of hundreds of experts from governments, environmental groups and universities.
"There is a race to fish, but in wild capture fisheries right now we can catch no more," said Steven Murawski, fisheries chief science advisor at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"We catch 100 million metric tonnes per year, and that's been very flat globally. Our only hope is if we conserve and rebuild stocks," he said, adding that sustainable aquaculture could help make up the shortfall.
The current plunder is risking long-term sustainability with "too many fishing boats taking too many fish and not allowing the stocks to regenerate," said Frazer McGilvray of Conservation International.
"Once the oceans are gone, we're gone. The oceans sustain the planet."
The world has already seen the effects of over-fishing, experts said.
North Atlantic cod fisheries collapsed in the 1990s, anchovies previously disappeared off Chile, herring off Iceland and sardine off California.
Sixty-four percent of ocean areas fall outside national jurisdictions, making it difficult to reach international consensus or to stop illegal fishing -- a growing concern as high-tech ships scour the high seas.
"It's the Wild West. It's a very small number of boats but the technology allows them to take enormous amounts of fish," said Neill.
"They take only the high commercial product and they throw the bycatch overboard. The waste is extraordinary."
Marine life is also being harmed by climate change, said Murawski.
"We've seen that fish populations go up and down with variations in the climate," he said. "Increasingly we are starting to see long term change affect the productivity, the distributions, the migrations."
The trend is speeding up, Murawski said.
"Our forecasts are wrong," he said. "The melt-off is much faster than has been forecast in the models."
Meanwhile land-based pollution puts heavy strain on oceans, said Ellik Adler of the UN Environment Programme.
"Rivers of untreated sewage, factories, refineries, oil industry discharge their effluent into the marine environment, and this causes huge damage," he said. "Marine pollution has no political borders."
There are few easy fixes, experts said, but one initiative now being considered is setting up a global network of marine protected areas.
"You've got to get agreements between countries," said consultant Sue Wells, whose has worked in coastal East Africa. "Some developed countries have already closed some areas, and most coastal countries are now considering it."
Satellites could monitor no-catch areas, she said, while inspiration could come from South Pacific fishing communities.
"They have taboo areas, coral reef sanctuaries, where fish would be saved for bad weather periods or major festivals and feast," she said. "They know if they leave an area and don't fish there, they'll have much better stocks."
It is a view that has been lost in modern times, she said, where the common view now was "if I don't go and fish it, someone else will."
Oil Drilling to Hit Heart of Right Whale Habitat in Bering Sea:Worlds Most Endangered Whale Will Be Sacrificed to Oil Companies http://www.commondreams.org/news2008/0408-06.htm
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - April 8 - The Bush administration today took the first step toward opening up 5.6 million acres in the Bering Sea off Alaska to oil and gas leasing. The proposal, published in todays Federal Register by the Department of the Interiors Minerals Management Service, would allow oil development in an area north of the Aleutian Islands near Bristol Bay that has been designated critical habitat for the North Pacific right whale. The North Pacific right whale, once ranging from California to Alaska and across the North Pacific to Russia and Japan, was decimated by commercial whaling and is now the most endangered large whale in the world. Perhaps fewer than 50 individuals remain in a population that visits the Bering Sea each summer to feed. Drilling in Bristol Bay would be drilling through the heart of the most important habitat of the most endangered whale on the planet, said Brendan Cummings, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. If the North Pacific right whale is to have any chance of survival, we must protect its critical habitat, not auction it off to oil companies. CLIP
The economic disaster that is military keynesianism: Why the US has really gone broke
Global confidence in the US economy has reached zero, as was proved by last months stock market meltdown. But there is an enormous anomaly in the US economy above and beyond the subprime mortgage crisis, the housing bubble and the prospect of recession: 60 years of misallocation of resources, and borrowings, to the establishment and maintenance of a military-industrial complex as the basis of the nations economic life
By Chalmers Johnson
The military adventurers in the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups thought that they were the smartest guys in the room the title of Alex Gibneys prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.
As a result, going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. Its government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of maintaining huge standing armies, replacing the equipment that seven years of wars have destroyed or worn out, or preparing for a war in outer space against unknown adversaries. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay or repudiate. This fiscal irresponsibility has been disguised through many manipulative financial schemes (causing poorer countries to lend us unprecedented sums of money), but the time of reckoning is fast approaching.
There are three broad aspects to the US debt crisis. First, in the current fiscal year (2008) we are spending insane amounts of money on defence projects that bear no relation to the national security of the US. We are also keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segment of the population at strikingly low levels.
Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures military Keynesianism (which I discuss in detail in my book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic). By that, I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.
Third, in our devotion to militarism (despite our limited resources), we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of the US. These are what economists call opportunity costs, things not done because we spent our money on something else. Our public education system has deteriorated alarmingly. We have failed to provide health care to all our citizens and neglected our responsibilities as the worlds number one polluter. Most important, we have lost our competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs, an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing.
It is virtually impossible to overstate the profligacy of what our government spends on the military. The Department of Defenses planned expenditures for the fiscal year 2008 are larger than all other nations military budgets combined. The supplementary budget to pay for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not part of the official defence budget, is itself larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China. Defence-related spending for fiscal 2008 will exceed $1 trillion for the first time in history. The US has become the largest single seller of arms and munitions to other nations on Earth. Leaving out President Bushs two on-going wars, defence spending has doubled since the mid-1990s. The defence budget for fiscal 2008 is the largest since the second world war.
Before we try to break down and analyse this gargantuan sum, there is one important caveat. Figures on defence spending are notoriously unreliable. The numbers released by the Congressional Reference Service and the Congressional Budget Office do not agree with each other. Robert Higgs, senior fellow for political economy at the Independent Institute, says: A well-founded rule of thumb is to take the Pentagons (always well publicised) basic budget total and double it (1). Even a cursory reading of newspaper articles about the Department of Defense will turn up major differences in statistics about its expenses. Some 30-40% of the defence budget is black, meaning that these sections contain hidden expenditures for classified projects. There is no possible way to know what they include or whether their total amounts are accurate.
There are many reasons for this budgetary sleight-of-hand including a desire for secrecy on the part of the president, the secretary of defence, and the military-industrial complex but the chief one is that members of Congress, who profit enormously from defence jobs and pork-barrel projects in their districts, have a political interest in supporting the Department of Defense. In 1996, in an attempt to bring accounting standards within the executive branch closer to those of the civilian economy, Congress passed the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act. It required all federal agencies to hire outside auditors to review their books and release the results to the public. Neither the Department of Defense, nor the Department of Homeland Security, has ever complied. Congress has complained, but not penalised either department for ignoring the law. All numbers released by the Pentagon should be regarded as suspect.
In discussing the fiscal 2008 defence budget, as released on 7 February 2007, I have been guided by two experienced and reliable analysts: William D Hartung of the New America Foundations Arms and Security Initiative (2) and Fred Kaplan, defence correspondent for Slate.org (3). They agree that the Department of Defense requested $481.4bn for salaries, operations (except in Iraq and Afghanistan), and equipment. They also agree on a figure of $141.7bn for the supplemental budget to fight the global war on terrorism that is, the two on-going wars that the general public may think are actually covered by the basic Pentagon budget. The Department of Defense also asked for an extra $93.4bn to pay for hitherto unmentioned war costs in the remainder of 2007 and, most creatively, an additional allowance (a new term in defence budget documents) of $50bn to be charged to fiscal year 2009. This makes a total spending request by the Department of Defense of $766.5bn.
But there is much more. In an attempt to disguise the true size of the US military empire, the government has long hidden major military-related expenditures in departments other than Defense. For example, $23.4bn for the Department of Energy goes towards developing and maintaining nuclear warheads; and $25.3bn in the Department of State budget is spent on foreign military assistance (primarily for Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Republic, Egypt and Pakistan). Another $1.03bn outside the official Department of Defense budget is now needed for recruitment and re-enlistment incentives for the overstretched US military, up from a mere $174m in 2003, when the war in Iraq began. The Department of Veterans Affairs currently gets at least $75.7bn, 50% of it for the long-term care of the most seriously injured among the 28,870 soldiers so far wounded in Iraq and 1,708 in Afghanistan. The amount is universally derided as inadequate. Another $46.4bn goes to the Department of Homeland Security.
Missing from this compilation is $1.9bn to the Department of Justice for the paramilitary activities of the FBI; $38.5bn to the Department of the Treasury for the Military Retirement Fund; $7.6bn for the military-related activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and well over $200bn in interest for past debt-financed defence outlays. This brings US spending for its military establishment during the current fiscal year, conservatively calculated, to at least $1.1 trillion.
Such expenditures are not only morally obscene, they are fiscally unsustainable. Many neo-conservatives and poorly informed patriotic Americans believe that, even though our defence budget is huge, we can afford it because we are the richest country on Earth. That statement is no longer true. The worlds richest political entity, according to the CIAs World Factbook, is the European Union. The EUs 2006 GDP was estimated to be slightly larger than that of the US. Moreover, Chinas 2006 GDP was only slightly smaller than that of the US, and Japan was the worlds fourth richest nation.
A more telling comparison that reveals just how much worse were doing can be found among the current accounts of various nations. The current account measures the net trade surplus or deficit of a country plus cross-border payments of interest, royalties, dividends, capital gains, foreign aid, and other income. In order for Japan to manufacture anything, it must import all required raw materials. Even after this incredible expense is met, it still has an $88bn per year trade surplus with the US and enjoys the worlds second highest current account balance (China is number one). The US is number 163 last on the list, worse than countries such as Australia and the UK that also have large trade deficits. Its 2006 current account deficit was $811.5bn; second worst was Spain at $106.4bn. This is unsustainable.
Its not just that our tastes for foreign goods, including imported oil, vastly exceed our ability to pay for them. We are financing them through massive borrowing. On 7 November 2007, the US Treasury announced that the national debt had breached $9 trillion for the first time. This was just five weeks after Congress raised the debt ceiling to $9.815 trillion. If you begin in 1789, at the moment the constitution became the supreme law of the land, the debt accumulated by the federal government did not top $1 trillion until 1981. When George Bush became president in January 2001, it stood at approximately $5.7 trillion. Since then, it has increased by 45%. This huge debt can be largely explained by our defence expenditures.
The top spenders
The worlds top 10 military spenders and the approximate amounts each currently budgets for its military establishment are:
1. United States (FY 2008 budget) $623bn
2. China (2004) $65bn
3. Russia $50bn
4. France (2005) $45bn
5. United Kingdom $42.8bn
6. Japan (2007) $41.75bn
7. Germany (2003) $35.1bn
8. Italy (2003) $28.2bn
9. South Korea (2003) $21.1bn
10. India (2005 est.) $19bn
World total military expenditures (2004 est) $1,100bn
World total (minus the US) $500bn
Our excessive military expenditures did not occur over just a few short years or simply because of the Bush administrations policies. They have been going on for a very long time in accordance with a superficially plausible ideology, and have now become so entrenched in our democratic political system that they are starting to wreak havoc. This is military Keynesianism the determination to maintain a permanent war economy and to treat military output as an ordinary economic product, even though it makes no contribution to either production or consumption.
This ideology goes back to the first years of the cold war. During the late 1940s, the US was haunted by economic anxieties. The great depression of the 1930s had been overcome only by the war production boom of the second world war. With peace and demobilisation, there was a pervasive fear that the depression would return. During 1949, alarmed by the Soviet Unions detonation of an atomic bomb, the looming Communist victory in the Chinese civil war, a domestic recession, and the lowering of the Iron Curtain around the USSRs European satellites, the US sought to draft basic strategy for the emerging cold war. The result was the militaristic National Security Council Report 68 (NSC-68) drafted under the supervision of Paul Nitze, then head of the Policy Planning Staff in the State Department. Dated 14 April 1950 and signed by President Harry S Truman on 30 September 1950, it laid out the basic public economic policies that the US pursues to the present day.
In its conclusions, NSC-68 asserted: One of the most significant lessons of our World War II experience was that the American economy, when it operates at a level approaching full efficiency, can provide enormous resources for purposes other than civilian consumption while simultaneously providing a high standard of living (4).
With this understanding, US strategists began to build up a massive munitions industry, both to counter the military might of the Soviet Union (which they consistently overstated) and also to maintain full employment, as well as ward off a possible return of the depression. The result was that, under Pentagon leadership, entire new industries were created to manufacture large aircraft, nuclear-powered submarines, nuclear warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and surveillance and communications satellites. This led to what President Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address of 6 February 1961: The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience the military-industrial complex.
By 1990 the value of the weapons, equipment and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in US manufacturing. From 1947 to 1990, the combined US military budgets amounted to $8.7 trillion. Even though the Soviet Union no longer exists, US reliance on military Keynesianism has, if anything, ratcheted up, thanks to the massive vested interests that have become entrenched around the military establishment. Over time, a commitment to both guns and butter has proven an unstable configuration. Military industries crowd out the civilian economy and lead to severe economic weaknesses. Devotion to military Keynesianism is a form of slow economic suicide.
Higher spending, fewer jobs
On 1 May 2007, the Center for Economic and Policy Research of Washington, DC, released a study prepared by the economic and political forecasting company Global Insight on the long-term economic impact of increased military spending. Guided by economist Dean Baker, this research showed that, after an initial demand stimulus, by about the sixth year the effect of increased military spending turns negative. The US economy has had to cope with growing defence spending for more than 60 years. Baker found that, after 10 years of higher defence spending, there would be 464,000 fewer jobs than in a scenario that involved lower defence spending.
Baker concluded: It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy. In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment (5).
These are only some of the many deleterious effects of military Keynesianism.
It was believed that the US could afford both a massive military establishment and a high standard of living, and that it needed both to maintain full employment. But it did not work out that way. By the 1960s it was becoming apparent that turning over the nations largest manufacturing enterprises to the Department of Defense and producing goods without any investment or consumption value was starting to crowd out civilian economic activities. The historian Thomas E Woods Jr observes that, during the 1950s and 1960s, between one-third and two-thirds of all US research talent was siphoned off into the military sector (6). It is, of course, impossible to know what innovations never appeared as a result of this diversion of resources and brainpower into the service of the military, but it was during the 1960s that we first began to notice Japan was outpacing us in the design and quality of a range of consumer goods, including household electronics and automobiles.
Can we reverse the trend?
Nuclear weapons furnish a striking illustration of these anomalies. Between the 1940s and 1996, the US spent at least $5.8 trillion on the development, testing and construction of nuclear bombs. By 1967, the peak year of its nuclear stockpile, the US possessed some 32,500 deliverable atomic and hydrogen bombs, none of which, thankfully, was ever used. They perfectly illustrate the Keynesian principle that the government can provide make-work jobs to keep people employed. Nuclear weapons were not just Americas secret weapon, but also its secret economic weapon. As of 2006, we still had 9,960 of them. There is today no sane use for them, while the trillions spent on them could have been used to solve the problems of social security and health care, quality education and access to higher education for all, not to speak of the retention of highly-skilled jobs within the economy.
The pioneer in analysing what has been lost as a result of military Keynesianism was the late Seymour Melman (1917-2004), a professor of industrial engineering and operations research at Columbia University. His 1970 book, Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War, was a prescient analysis of the unintended consequences of the US preoccupation with its armed forces and their weaponry since the onset of the cold war. Melman wrote: From 1946 to 1969, the United States government spent over $1,000bn on the military, more than half of this under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations the period during which the [Pentagon-dominated] state management was established as a formal institution. This sum of staggering size (try to visualize a billion of something) does not express the cost of the military establishment to the nation as a whole. The true cost is measured by what has been foregone, by the accumulated deterioration in many facets of life, by the inability to alleviate human wretchedness of long duration.
In an important exegesis on Melmans relevance to the current American economic situation, Thomas Woods writes: According to the US Department of Defense, during the four decades from 1947 through 1987 it used (in 1982 dollars) $7.62 trillion in capital resources. In 1985, the Department of Commerce estimated the value of the nations plant and equipment, and infrastructure, at just over _$7.29 trillion The amount spent over that period could have doubled the American capital stock or modernized and replaced its existing stock (7).
The fact that we did not modernise or replace our capital assets is one of the main reasons why, by the turn of the 21st century, our manufacturing base had all but evaporated. Machine tools, an industry on which Melman was an authority, are a particularly important symptom. In November 1968, a five-year inventory disclosed that 64% of the metalworking machine tools used in US industry were 10 years old or older. The age of this industrial equipment (drills, lathes, etc.) marks the United States machine tool stock as the oldest among all major industrial nations, and it marks the continuation of a deterioration process that began with the end of the second world war. This deterioration at the base of the industrial system certifies to the continuous debilitating and depleting effect that the military use of capital and research and development talent has had on American industry.
Nothing has been done since 1968 to reverse these trends and it shows today in our massive imports of equipment from medical machines like proton accelerators for radiological therapy (made primarily in Belgium, Germany, and Japan) to cars and trucks.
Our short tenure as the worlds lone superpower has come to an end. As Harvard economics professor Benjamin Friedman has written: Again and again it has always been the worlds leading lending country that has been the premier country in terms of political influence, diplomatic influence and cultural influence. Its no accident that we took over the role from the British at the same time that we took over the job of being the worlds leading lending country. Today we are no longer the worlds leading lending country. In fact we are now the worlds biggest debtor country, and we are continuing to wield influence on the basis of military prowess alone (8).
Some of the damage can never be rectified. There are, however, some steps that the US urgently needs to take. These include reversing Bushs 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthy, beginning to liquidate our global empire of over 800 military bases, cutting from the defence budget all projects that bear no relationship to national security and ceasing to use the defence budget as a Keynesian jobs programme.
If we do these things we have a chance of squeaking by. If we dont, we face probable national insolvency and a long depression.
U.S. housing collapse spreads overseas http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/13/business/housing.php
The collapse of the housing bubble in the United States is mutating into a global phenomenon, with real estate prices down from the Irish countryside and the Spanish coast to Baltic seaports and even in parts of India.
NYT: Retailer bankruptcies set to prompt thousands of store closings http://tinyurl.com/5u6e8y
"The consumer spending slump and tightening credit markets are triggering a wave of bankruptcies in American retailing," with ensuing store closures "expected to remake suburban malls and downtown shopping districts across the country," writes Michael Barbaro for the Times.
Financial Collapse Will End The Occupation And it won't be "A time of our choosing" http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19742.htm
The Iraq War signals the end of US interventionism for at least a generation; maybe longer. The ideological foundation for the war (preemption/regime change) has been exposed as a baseless justification for unprovoked aggression. Someone will have to be held accountable.
From: Eluned Hurn (email@example.com)
Subject: Fw: Cardiff Demonstration about the Military Academy proposed to St Athan
Date: 16 Apr 2008
PLEASE CAN THIS BE CIRCULATED TO GPJG
National Demo against New UK Military Academy
National Demo against St Athan's UK Military Academy SATURDAY 26th APRIL Assemble at 1.30pm, City Hall, Cardiff Demonstration at 2pm
The Government is spending 14 billion building a huge, privatised UK Military Academy to train the latest recruits to the 'war on terror' and foreign militaries and mercenaries, funded by our taxes, the profits will pour into the coffers of companies like Raytheon. It looks set to become Britain's 'School of the Americas' - a centre for counterinsurgency training and future imperialist adventures abroad. A mass-demonstration is planned for this month supported by local peace groups, anarchists, socialists, trade unions, UK Stop the War Coalition and CND Cymru and anti-awr campaigners from across the length and breadth of Britain!
CALL OUT TO PROTEST:
"Imagine a world in which the armed forces are trained by arms dealers. And we subsidise their profits.
That world will become reality unless we stop the proposed school of death at St Athan. The creation of a military super-academy at St Athan, between Cardiff and Swansea, was announced as a done deal in January 2007. Despite the fact this represented the biggest PFI in history, involving £14 billion of taxpayers' money, there had been no debate in either Westminster or the Welsh Assembly (Senedd). A promise of 5500 local jobs was trumpeted loudly by an uncritical news media and presented as a great victory for Wales.
No wonder the politicians didn't want any debate. The new super-academy, replacing many smaller centres, means that military training will now be in the hands of shameless profiteers. The winning bidders for the project were the Metrix consortium. This consortium includes Qinetiq, the privatised research and development wing of the MoD. Qinetiq was recently the subject of intense criticism by the National Audit Office. Its privatisation was proposed by MoD managers - who then saw their shares rise 10,000% on the day of the sale! 33.8% of Qinetiq was also bought by the US-based Carlyle Group, a sinister lash-up of politicians and arms dealers with a vested interest in promoting war. Former members of its board include one George W. Bush.
Then there is the US arms manufacturer Raytheon. Raytheon make the missiles which deliver cluster bombs, the horrendous weapons which are estimated to have killed 100,000 people - 98% of them innocent civilians. The world can also thank Raytheon for the depleted uranium weapons which have led to thousands of horribly deformed babies and large increases in cancers in war zones and beyond. Raytheon, Qinetiq and friends will not just be training UK armed forces at St Athan. They will train any soldiers, sailors and air force personnel that are willing to pay for the privilege. And like all PFIs, the St Athan academy will be subsidised by the taxpayer, and if necessary, bailed out with public money. There has never been a detailed breakdown of the jobs the academy will bring. However, even Metrix admit that many of the military trainers will relocate from elsewhere. Every PFI has secured profits by cutting costs. St Athan will mean less MoD jobs overall, and the poorest pay and conditions for lowskilled workers.
In any case, imagine what else could be done with £14 billion! With hospitals and schools closing throughout Wales and the UK, with a desperate need to improve social facilities, create sustainable sources of energy etc, such public money could be invested in socially useful projects rather than the preparation for future wars of occupation like Iraq.
If this development goes ahead, 21st century Wales will be become a militarised, security-obsessed nightmare. If you want to stop the war profiteers in their tracks, support the campaign and raise it in your union, student union, workplace and community.
To join our mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org , or write to Stop The St Athan Academy c/o Temple of Peace, Cardiff, CF10 3AP.
Date: 11 Apr 2008
Subject: An Insider's Report on Barack Obama's Meeting with Cleveland Jewish Leaders
This will give you an idea as to the thoughtfulness and intelligence with which Obama approaches tough issues.
This is a very detailed email about a speech/town hall type meeting Obama had in Ohio with a group of Jewish Ohio residents. I highly recommend reading the piece in its entirety (it is quite long) because Obama discussed all of the issues coming out in the media recently in regards to Israel and his spiritual leader.
Subject: Obama on Israel
In late February, Barak Obama had a private breakfast with approx 90 prominent NE Ohio Jews. One of them in attendance was Josh Rolnick. Josh was there for his father-in-law, Joe Kanfer, owner of Go-Jo (Purell). Below are Josh's impressions. I hope you will read them.
An Insider's Report on Barack Obama's Meeting with Cleveland Jewish Leaders
Dear friends and family,
I've received many questions over the last month about Barack Obama, his positions on Israel, and his relationship with the Jewish community I've been deeply troubled by smears directed at Obama - claiming that he attended a radical Islamic school, suggesting that he is anti-Semitic, or implying that he is anti-Israel. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of a small group of Jewish leaders in Cleveland with Obama, during which he answered questions about these smears and discussed a wide range of issues that are critically important to the Jewish community.
Because I think it's important for voters, in particular Jewish voters, to know where Obama stands on all of this, I wrote up this report. (It's attached, and also pasted, for those who may have trouble with the attachment)
Please feel free to forward it widely.
Obama walked into the room at Landerhaven banquet hall shortly after 9 a.m. and was greeted with a warm ovation. There were about 90 Jewish leaders in the room, some supporting Obama, some not. Ron Ratner, who organized the event, was the first to speak. He said he had been supporting Obama for eight months, and had literally "given him his first-born son," Matt, who is working on the campaign.
Next to speak was Congressman Robert Wexler, who represents a district including Boca Raton, Florida, with 300,000 Jews. He spoke enthusiastically about Obama, saying he was a "unique person" who would deliver on a "moderate progressive agenda," mentioning health care, the environment, and the economy as key issues. He said Obama is a "stalwart supporter of the State of Israel," with a conviction that Israel needs to maintain its "military advantage." Obama, he said, unequivocally understands "America's heartfelt and long-term friendship with Israel." He cited a letter sent by Obama in January to the US ambassador to the United Nations, urging the UN to fully condemn Hamas. (In that letter, Obama wrote: "The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks against Israel, and should make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against such actions. If it cannot bring itself to m ake these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all." (Here's a New Jersey Jewish Standard article about the letter: http://www.jstandard.com/articles/3790/1/Obama-supporters-speak-out%3B-he-writes-to-U.N.-on-Israel)
Wexler also noted that Obama was one of the first US Senators to express US support for Israel during the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. After Obama spoke at a recent AIPAC conference, Wexler said, he sought out Bibi Netanyahu, and the two discussed ways to isolate Iran economically. (AIPAC has stressed that it is satisfied with Obama's positions on the Middle East; a spokeswoman recently told the New Republic: "Like all the leading presidential candidates, the senator has a strong record on issues of importance to the pro-Israel community.") Wexler noted that Obama is the lead sponsor of legislation, currently pending in the Senate, promoting divestment from Iran. (The legislation would "provide needed information about which companies are supporting Iran's energy industry, clarify that state and local governments have the authority to divest of such companies, and provide legal protection for those governments that wish to do so.")
The next question was sort of a follow-up. "Given your range of advisors," the questioner asked, "how would you approach foreign policy decision-making on Israel and the Middle East?"
"Well here's my starting orientation," Obama said: "A) Israel's security is sacrosanct, is non-negotiable. That's point number one. Point number two is that the status quo I believe is unsustainable over time. So we're going to have to make a shift from the current deadlock that we're in. Number three, that Israel has to remain a Jewish state and what I believe that means is that any negotiated peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is going to have to involve the Palestinians relinquishing the right of return as it has been understood in the past. And that doesn't mean that there may not be conversations about compensation issues. It also means the Israelis will have to figure out how do we work with a legitimate Palestinian government to create a Palestinian state that is sustainable. It's going to have to be contiguous, it's going to have to work - it's going to have to function in some way.
"That's in Israel's interest by the way. If you have a balkanized unsustainable state, it will break down and we will be back in the same boat. So those are the starting points of my orientation. My goal then would be to solicit as many practical opinions as possible in terms of how we're going to move forward on an improvement of relations and a sustainable peace. The question that I will be asking any advisor is how does it achieve the goal of Israel's security and how does it achieve the goal of sustainability over the long term and I want practical, hardheaded, unromantic advice about how we're going to achieve that."
He added that when he was in Ramallah, he told the Palestinians "you can't fault Israel for being concerned about any peace agreement if the Palestinian state or Palestinian Authority or Palestinian leadership does not seem to be able to follow through on its commitments." With respect to negotiations, he said, "you sit down and talk, but you have to suspend trust until you can see that the Palestinian side can follow through and that's a position that I have consistently taken and the one I will take with me to the White House."
"One of the things that struck me when I went to Israel," Obama continued, "was how much more open the debate was around these issues in Israel than they are sometimes here in the United States. It's very ironic. I sat down with the head of Israeli security forces and his view of the Palestinians was incredibly nuanced because he's dealing with these people every day There's good and there's bad, and he was willing to say sometimes we make mistakes and we made this miscalculation and if we are just pressing down on these folks constantly without giving them some prospects for hope, that's not good for our security situation. There was a very honest, thoughtful debate taking place inside Israel. All of you, I'm sure, have experienced this when you travel there. Understandably, because of the pressure that Israel is under, I think the US pro-Israel community is sometimes a little more protective or concerned about opening up th at conversation. But all I'm saying though is that, ultimately, should be our goal -- to have that same clear-eyed view about how we approach these issues."
Obama said there is a hard-core group of jihadist fundamentalists in the Islamic world who "we can't negotiate with." He said Richard Clarke, the former chief counter-terrorism advisor in the Bush administration, estimates that there are between 30,000 and 50,000 jihadists worldwide -- "the hard core jihadists [who] would gladly blow up this room." He added, though, that it's a "finite number."
"We have to hunt them down and knock them out. Incapacitate them. That's the military aspects of dealing with this phenomenon ... and that is where military action and intelligence has to be directed."
"The question then is what do we do with the 1.3 billion Muslims who are along a spectrum of belief? Some extraordinarily moderate, some very pious but not violent. How do we reach out to them? And it is my strong belief that is the battlefield that we have to worry about, and that is where we have been losing badly over the last seven years. That is where Iraq has been a disaster. That is where the lack of effective public diplomacy has been a disaster. That is where our failure to challenge seriously human rights violations by countries like Saudi Arabia that are our allies has been a disaster. And so what we have to do is to speak to that broader Muslim world in a way that says we will consistently support human rights, women's rights. We will consistently invest in the kinds of educational opportunities for children in these communities, so that madrassas are not their only source of learning. We will consistently operate in ways that lead by example, so that we have no tolerance for a Guantanamo or renditions or torture. Those all contribute to people at least being open to our values and our ideas and a recognition that we are not the enemy and that the Clash of Civilizations is not inevitable."
Obama closed with this: "Now, as I said, we enter into those conversations with the Muslim world being mindful that we also have to defend ourselves against those who will not accept the West, no matter how appropriately we engage. And that is the realism that has to leaven our hopefulness. But, we abandon the possibility of conversation with that broader Muslim world at our own peril."
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