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August 4, 2010

The Moment of Truth Series #22: Active and Responsible

Hello everysoul!

Despite this being the heart of summertime (here in the northern hemisphere), there is as always much going on in the world that needs our attention, if only to be well informed, but preferably to become actively involved one way or another to help mitigate and/or influence positively the outcome of things happening or possibly on the verge of happening. However it is tempting and easy to adopt a passive attitude in front of the many ills of our time, and often we each have plenty enough already to deal with in our own lives to have time and enough compassion stamina to deal in some efficient manner with all that comes to our attention from "elsewhere". Ignorance is bliss as we may think, possibly remembering a time in our life when we were not yet under the prodding effect of a planet-wide, ongoing news cycle that gives us a front row seat to all the major gory scenes, armed conflicts and catastrophes of the day. But knowledge is also power, the power to make informed choices and to help others do likewise. Yet with knowledge also comes responsibilities, and those on this list who do make time to stay informed on a vast array of issues and situations through browsing or reading through this ongoing chronicle of our times can hardly ignore the facts at hand and the awareness that comes along with them.

Being bold enough to accept assuming our fair share of responsibility for the well-being of this living planet and of our many suffering brothers and sisters and all other sentient beings requires that we are also aware that through the power of our collective beliefs we can contribute in very significant ways towards ameliorating or worsening brewing situations that can shift one way or another depending on the push and pull of countless factors influencing the final shape of things. Moreover, when we infuse with deeply felt emotions the beliefs we chose, consciously or not, to hold in our mind, we project an even more powerful influence that can literally act as a lever to shift the direction of events and decisions made by countless actors. Those souls with malevolent, selfishly ignorant intents who conspire to trigger conflicts that are supposed, in their minds, to play to their advantage have become quite adept at stirring fear and hatred in the hearts and minds of the populace targeted by their nefarious plans to trigger irrational and bellicose actions that may lead to reactions that can then serve as justifications to launch their planned shock and awe military operations. A case in point was the buildup to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, which have become bleeding sores for which the attackers paid and still pay dearly, not to mention the countless innocent human beings who lost lives and limbs in the process.

Another slowly cooking situation has been developing for years with the West's continuing agitation over the possibility of Iran acquiring the ultimate weapon of terror in a part of the world which has become a powder keg that now appears to be ready to explode. As you will find in a Special section below, I've compiled some of the relevant information available on this matter. What you do or don't do with this information is up to you. But if you choose to do something with it, may I suggest you first avoid enabling the long-planned scenario of a possible (just a possibility, never a certainty!) "pre-emptive" military strike at the heart of deep underground bunkers, some located close or within heavily populated cities, in an attempt to replicate a previous surprise bombing raid done by Israel in 1981 against an Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak, through holding the thought that such an attack is inevitable and a forgone conclusion. This is exactly what the Pentagon planners are now trying to instill in the people's understanding of this situation that is likely to come to a head in a matter of months.

Secondly, may I encourage you to hold in your heart and envision in your soul, especially during our moments of collective meditation and soul communion, a positive, peace & love-driven outcome to this situation that will neutralize any and all nefarious efforts deployed to trigger what would assuredly be an apocalyptic drama of untold sufferings, not only for the innocent children, women and men at the receiving end of such an unconscionable action, but also for all beings on Earth who will then be affected, directly or indirectly, by the lethal and long-term repercussions of such an unbearable crime against humanity. Through the power of your unleashed imagination, and as directed from the Source of All within us, see an army of men and women of goodwill rising up to defend the universal right of all beings to live free from any and all terror ploys and to extend loving arms and compassionate hearts to help allay and heal the existential fears instilled in those who would like to undertake such unthinkable actions to protect themselves against their perceived enemies, but in fact against their own fears.

Thirdly, let us all take a moment to decide whether we choose to be active and responsible - as opposed to passive and irresponsible - as cocreators of our common future, starting here and now and in the sanctuary of our own hearts.

In the Light of our One Source of All.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

P.S. As usual you will find lots of other issues and information that might be of interest to you, including the latest updates on the Oil Spill and its aftermath and some really hard-hitting material that demand a calm and serene set of mind to be contemplated, asserted and possibly acted upon through whichever course of action you may be "inspired" to take.

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"Fifty percent of all temperate grasslands and forests have disappeared, largely under the plow. More than 16,000 known species face extinction (785 have already been lost) and as many as 12,000 species unknown to science disappear each year, according to biologist E.O. Wilson of Harvard University. More than 90 percent of some commercial fish species, such as cod, pollock and haddock, are gone. Water tables around the globe plummet precipitously, thanks to human withdrawals for agriculture. And population growth to 9 billion people alone will add as much as 2 billion metric tons more of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse gas blanket smothering Earth. (...) After all, the most profound way a U.S. citizen can impact climate change is to have fewer children, since every American child born today will add almost 10,000 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere under current conditions—five times more than a Chinese child and 160 times more than a baby from Bangladesh. Having one fewer child would reduce a family’s greenhouse gas impact 20 times more than driving a Toyota Prius, using Energy Star appliances and other environmentally friendly lifestyle choices combined, according to researchers at Oregon State University. (...) The average American (just one of 309 million) uses up some 194 pounds of stuff—food, water, plastics, metals and other things—per day, day in and day out. We consume a full 25 percent of the world’s energy despite representing just 5 percent of global population. And that consumerism is spreading, whether it be the adoption of cars as a lifestyle choice in China or gadget lust in the U.S."

- David Biello - Taken from All Consuming below

"I totally agree with you Jean, Bloomsday is a most pertinent word and together we can change the course of the environmental pathway on which we travel presently. Yes we can come up with a pristine planet, together."

- Birgitta Storjohann (b.storjohann@videotron.ca)

"The real source of success in life is located in the six inches between your own two ears. Your success in life is directly dependant on your thoughts and particularly your beliefs; your beliefs about yourself and your beliefs about the world. History is replete with stories of successful men and women who rose from incredible poverty, adversity and social and physical handicaps because of simply one thing: their belief about themselves and the world. What you see is what you get. Have you noticed how most people focus on what is wrong with the world, with themselves or with other people, including their own family members & loved ones? These people live in the world of “Ain’t it awful.” When you are in a gathering of such people, one of them will say “isn’t it awful how….” And this starts everyone talking about how bad things are; whether it is the world situation, the government, politicians or a particular individual. And then they wonder why their world is filled with such negativity. Then there are those rare individuals who hold a different set of beliefs. They know that what you see is what you get and when you focus on problems instead of solutions, what you get are more problems. These pro-active people don’t ignore the problems. They are well aware of the many challenges in the world. However, they use these challenges as a springboard to find and focus on solutions. We only have so much energy and attention and it is up to us how we want to use or focus it; on the problem or on the solution. Which is the most practical choice?"

- Michael Lightweaver (lightweave@aol.com) August 2, 2010

EARTH’S 10 COMMANDMENTS by Ernest Callenbach

- Thou shalt love and honor the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.

- Thou shalt keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of its seasons.

- Thou shalt not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.

- Thou shalt give thanks for thy food to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.

- Thou shalt limit thy offspring for multitudes of people are a burden unto the Earth.

- Thou shalt not kill nor waste Earth's riches upon weapons of war.

- Thou shalt not pursue profit at the Earth's expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.

- Thou shalt not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.

- Thou shalt not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.

- Thou shalt consume material goods in moderation so all may share Earth's bounty.

Also available as a poster -- Check also Callenbach's proposal THE COMING ECO-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX - and watch ECOTOPIA or BUST - Ernest Callenbach - "ECOTOPIA author Ernest Callenbach talks about the signs of the influence his 1975 visionary novel has had at home and abroad, his thoughts on social change, and the urgency he sees of making the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy sources or - the alternative - a plunge into chaos." Also highly recommended: Curriculum for the Gaia Education Design for Sustainability - an education preparing the way for a sustainable future, a complement to the UN's "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development – 2005-2014"... which I found through http://www.gaia.org/gaia/education/ and check also Four Keys to Sustainable Settlements - Many other related resources through Ecovillage Conference Tokyo 2010: Relocalization in Action! (The links embedded in all the Advisory Board members are worth exploring!)

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

- Albert Einstein


1. A Special Gift for Healing Us and Our World
2. CELLS OF LIGHT UNITE - Sign the Gulf Declaration to End the Era of Oil
3. GOOD NEWS! Universe singularity now emanating pre-wave energy for ‘enlightened unity consciousness’
4. Floodwaters test China's dams
5. Will Russia's Heat Wave End Its Global-Warming Doubts?
6. We Are In the Midst of the Second Nuclear Age: How Do We End It?
7. Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine
8. The consequences of a US war crime - Cancer rate in Fallujah worse than Hiroshima
9. Israeli right embracing one-state?
10. Crime and punishment in America
11. The War On Women: The shocking truth about violence against women and female gendercide
12. All Consuming
13. The Rights of Earth and All Gaia's Creatures to Ecological Self-Defense
14. Hope You Like Beets, Because The Bee Crisis Could Soon Be Hitting the U.S. Food Supply
15. Africa to tackle poverty, hunger and malnutrition
16. The 100/0 Principle


Earth Healing Day: August 15, 2010
To facilitate a global experience of unity dedicated to the cleansing and healing of Earth, from noon to 1:00 in successive time zones around the world, participants from all over the planet will dedicate this hour to offering a focus for Earth healing and cleansing, prayer, meditation and chanting, as well as a sharing of love for the planet. Check The Voice of the Turtle - "Look what you have done not only to me but to Creator’s handiwork, your planet and its oceans. If one cannot interpret the sign language being imparted by thousands of forms of sea life, then, perhaps, one is not attuned to Gaia, dear Mother Earth, a truly magnificent living creation upon which we all live. Gaia is one with all of creation—including us humans—something very few really understand and can equate with for if they did, technology would not rape her every chance it gets. When Creator endowed humans with stewardship of this planet, did He/She truly expect the assaults that would be perpetrated upon the lovely Blue Jewel of the Cosmos? Earth lives, just as we do. She is alive and gives life energy to all who dwell within and upon her loving and lovely body. How many times have humans and our technology ravaged her?"

From Seedlings to Servings: 11-Year-Old Grows Tons of Veggies for the Homeless (JULY 15, 2010)
It all began in third grade, when Katie Stagliano's 40-pound cabbage fed 275 homeless people. Now, Katie's six gardens have produced over 4,000 pounds of vegetables to feed the needy. When Katie Stagliano was in third grade, she planted a cabbage in her family's small garden. When it grew to an astounding 40 pounds, she donated it to a soup kitchen, where it was made into meals for 275 people (with the help of ham and rice). "I thought, 'Wow, with that one cabbage I helped feed that many people?'" says Katie, now entering sixth grade. "I could do much more than that."So Katie started planting vegetable gardens as part of her nonprofit Katie's Krops — she has six right now — including one the length of a football field at her school in her hometown of Summerville, S.C. Classmates, her family and other people in the community help plant and water, and Bonnie Plants donates seedlings. This past year, Katie took her commitment to a new level: she has given soup kitchens over 2,000 pounds of lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. Katie and her helpers are now harvesting the spring planting, and another 1,200 pounds will be donated by October. (...) Katie is a well-spoken 11-year-old who juggles the life of a school child with that of a world-changer. Swim practice, tennis matches, and studying (she has had the highest GPA of her class for the last four years) are sandwiched between daily waterings and tending. "It makes me feel good," says Katie. "I feel bad for those people who have to go to Palmetto house [a homeless shelter where she and residents recently planted a garden], but I feel good that I'm helping people." CLIP

Millions of Sea Shells appearing on Pakistani Beaches
No Scientific Explanation: Millions of Seashells appearing every day on Clifton beach, Karachi, Pakistan. Just Last year in March 2009 " Dolphins Beaching " happened here on Pakistani Beaches. What is surprising is that not a single private TV channel has covered this huge Event, No discussion forums on this Topic.Not to mention there are large numbers of Earthquakes happening all around the world in the year 2010. My thought is that all these Events are Signs of Great fluctuations in Earth's Magnetic Field... This magnetic field fluctuation is happening due to the loss of Lubricant of Oil and Gas inside Earth's Crust. Oil and Gas acts as Lubricant for Earth's Crust Movement. Now that we have taken out so much Oil and Gas. Earth's Layers have lost this lubricant and as a result we will observe much bigger more devastating Mega Earthquakes.

Review all the stunning late-July crop formations
Especially recommended: read this whole amazing story by Gerd Estrup... starting with "Dear friends, with this very special crop circle I (at least) have got the absolutely sensation! I think it's the first time that ETC (Extraterrestrial Civilization) showed their own language (letters) within a crop circle!"...
Make sure to also check these amazingly sculptured "nests" from this one
And these stupendous latest ones HERE and HERE

UFO Over Chinese Airport
On July 9, 2010, an unexplained phenomenon appeared over the Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou, China, causing massive flight delays. Check also 2 UFO sightings have China, blogs abuzz

Audio Interview with Paul Hellyer, ex-Defense Minister of Canada
In September 2005, Paul came out to made a public statement that he knew that UFOs and ETs were a reality. Among much else, he was personally informed by a US Air Force General that "Everything in Col. Philip Corso's book THE DAY AFTER ROSWELL is true - and more". The 'more' included confirmation that US representatives had had face to face contact with extraterrestrials. He had also heard that most of the visitors were benevolent, but that one race was hostile. This is a very pleasant, cordial and intelligent conversation with an ex-government minister of remarkable courage and integrity, speaking up with what he knows about the fact of the ET presence.

UFO near White House emits ray of light: horseplay, false flag or ‘socially destabilizing’ event? (July 22, 2010)
A hyperdimensional UFO in over flight approximately one mile south east of the White House in Washington, DC appears to have fired a ray of light or directed energy beam in the vicinity of the White House. The incident, which occurred on July 20, 2010 at 3:18 AM, was photographed in high-speed, high definition photographs by Wilbur “Will” Allen, a former White House employee and Air Force One engineer under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Mr. Allen is also a talented professional photographer for major motion picture studios such as Warner Brothers and record labels such as DefJam. Mr. Allen states, “On July 20, 2010 at 3:18:07 AM in NW Washington DC, a relatively short distance from the White House, I imaged a slow moving UFO pulse through the sky, and then [observed the UFO] fire an energy beam which extended from it.” Mr. Allan also states, “I took several stationary images of the stars as I usually do. However, there is one object I thought to be a star, moving and then discharging a beam of light!!!.... There is one frame that does not make much sense? A Star is either moving or shooting a beam of light that is ‘bent’? The motion is not registered with any of the other ‘stars’ in this sampling.” Bibiana Bryson, Director of Exopolitica Argentina has also prepared an explanatory video of Mr. Allan’s photographs, available in the article below. Mr. Allen’s photographs of the incident have been assembled in a special Examiner.com slideshow in the article below. Hyperdimensional UFOs have been photographed over the U.S. Capitol, Washington monument, and in restricted P-56A air space since at least 1950. Mr. Allen has photographed hyperdimensional UFOs in restricted P-56A airspace overflying and landing on the U.S. capitol in 2002 and 2008, as well as hyperdimensional UFOs over the July 4, 2002 celebration on the U.S. Capitol Mall. This appears to be a first photograph near the White House where a hyperdimensional UFO is emitting a ray of light or directed energy beam. As this Examiner.com article discusses, it is reasonable to whether this event may be (1) horseplay or creative signaling by a hyperdimensional UFO from an inter-dimensional intelligent source as a consciousness awakener to the public at large through Mr. Allen. A veritable lightshow of creative signaling from hyperdimensional UFOs took place over the Millennial Celebration on January 1, 2000; (2) a false flag event from a U.S. or other black ops vehicle; or (3) a ‘socially destabilizing’ event of the sort that John Podesta, Co-Chair of the Obama Transition Team is reported to have warned Mr. Allen his work would result in. CLIP

Project Subterrene and Top Secret Underground Tunnels Under America

An alien-looking shark Caught in Algeria

Key News: Intelligence Agency Secrecy, Videotaping Police Criminalized, Iranian Paid $5 Million by CIA, More

Key News: Pentagon "Fails to Account" for Iraq Funds, Toxic Legacy at Fallujah, BP Buys Scientists, more

Photography is Not a Crime It’s a First Amendment Right

Ads we will never see again
Recommended by Kaia (light@kaia.ca) who wrote: "Somewhere between appalling and comic, these ads are a great comment on changing values. In years to come we might be looking back on ads for cell phone, artificial sweeteners and pharmaceuticals in the same way we see these now."

Out of Gas? Stunning Greenpeace ad

The insider: Chemtrails KC-10 sprayer air to air - The proof (July 17, 2010)
A pilot shots a chemical plane from his cockpit: the video shows an aircraft that spread chemtrails over Canada from the nozzles. The footage is the irrefutable proof of a chemical and clandestine operation that a bold pilot offers to the public in order to demonstrate that chemtrails are real. The "smoke" we can see is neither a fuel dumping nor a contrail. The chemtrails, in fact, is iridescent too. Don't listen to hoaxers who repeat that this document is false or similar lies. CLIP -- "I've always wondered why no one ever flew above a chemtrail spraying plane to document exactly what they're doing. It's pretty obvious from the ground what they're doing, but some people are as dense as logs. Finally, here it is This is not normal engine exhaust. They are spraying something and they have the ability to turn it on and off at will, something you clearly can't do with engine exhaust. What are they spraying? Why? Who is doing it and on what legal authority? How much is this costing us? (because rest assured we are paying for it.) Finally, why and how has this vast program been kept "secret" for so many years?" comment found at http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/899.html - CHECK also Atmospheric Geoengineering: Weather Manipulation, Contrails and Chemtrails

World Air Traffic!!! Most Amazing Sight!! (You need to download the file on this site to see it)
It is a 24 hour observation of all of the large aircraft flights in the world, condensed down to just over a minute. From space we look like a bee hive of activity. Recommended by David Fiske (fiskedavid@hotmail.com)

Chinese Gymnastic Performance

Matt Harding new video - Dancing 2008 - Click to watch full screen
"...spectacular, a cry of life and brotherhood and joy" according to this Chicago Tribune article

The Giving Pledge
The wealthiest people are solicited to give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. And it works! Check the pledges so far. Here is in part what Warren Buffett wrote: "In 2006, I made a commitment to gradually give all of my Berkshire Hathaway stock to philanthropic foundations. I couldn't be happier with that decision. Now, Bill and Melinda Gates and I are asking hundreds of rich Americans to pledge at least 50% of their wealth to charity. So I think it is fitting that I reiterate my intentions and explain the thinking that lies behind them. First, my pledge: More than 99% of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death. Measured by dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense, though, many individuals give more to others every day. (...) The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course."


Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran - Part I: Global Warfare By Michel Chossudovsky
Humanity is at a dangerous crossroads. War preparations to attack Iran are in "an advanced state of readiness". Hi tech weapons systems including nuclear warheads are fully deployed.This military adventure has been on the Pentagon's drawing board since the mid-1990s. First Iraq, then Iran according to a declassified 1995 US Central Command document.Escalation is part of the military agenda. While Iran, is the next target together with Syria and Lebanon, this strategic military deployment also threatens North Korea, China and Russia. Since 2005, the US and its allies, including America's NATO partners and Israel, have been involved in the extensive deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems. The air defense systems of the US, NATO member countries and Israel are fully integrated.

(...) The setting up of new US military bases, the stockpiling of advanced weapons systems including tactical nuclear weapons, etc. were implemented as part of the pre-emptive defensive military doctrine under the umbrella of the "Global War on Terrorism". The broader implications of a US-NATO Israel attack on Iran are far-reaching. The war and the economic crisis are intimately related. The war economy is financed by Wall Street, which stands as the creditor of the US administration. The US weapons producers are the recipients of the US Department of Defense multibillion dollar procurement contracts for advanced weapons systems. In turn, "the battle for oil" in the Middle East and Central Asia directly serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil giants. The US and its allies are "beating the drums of war" at the height of a Worldwide economic depression, not to mention the most serious environmental catastrophe in World history. In a bitter twist, one of the major players (BP) on the Middle East Central Asia geopolitical chessboard, formerly known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, is the instigator of the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Public opinion, swayed by media hype is tacitly supportive, indifferent or ignorant as to the likely impacts of what is upheld as an ad hoc "punitive" operation directed against Iran's nuclear facilities rather than an all out war. War preparations include the deployment of of US and Israeli produced nuclear weapons. In this context, the devastating consequences of a nuclear war are either trivialised or simply not mentioned. The real crisis threatening humanity is not war but global warming. The war on Iran is presented to public opinion as an issue among others. It is not a threat to Mother Earth as in the case of global warming. It is not front-page news. The fact that an attack on Iran could lead to escalation and potentially unleash a "global war" is not a matter of concern.

(...) The planned attack on Iran is part of a coordinated global military road map. It is part of the Pentagon's "long war", a profit driven war without borders, a project of World domination, a sequence of military operations.US-NATO military planners have envisaged various scenarios of military escalation. They are also acutely aware of the geopolitical implications, namely that the war could extend beyond the Middle East Central Asia region. The economic impacts on the oil markets, etc. have also been analyzed. While Iran, Syria and Lebanon are the immediate targets, China, Russia, North Korea, not to mention Venezuela and Cuba are also the object of US threats.

(...) World War III Scenario - "The World Commanders' Areas of Responsibility" (See Map above) defines the Pentagon's global military design, which is one of World conquest. This military deployment is occurring in several regions simultaneously under the coordination of the regional US Commands, involving the stockpiling of US made weapons systems by US forces and partner countries, some of which are former enemies, including Vietnam and Japan.The present context is characterised by a global military build-up controlled by one World superpower, which is using its numerous allies to trigger regional wars. In contrast, the Second World War was a conjunction of separate regional war theaters. Given the communications technologies and weapons systems of the 1940s, there was no strategic "real time" coordination in military actions between broad geographic regionsGlobal warfare is based on the coordinated deployment of a single dominant military power, which oversees the actions of its allies and partners.With the exception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Second World War was characterized by the use of conventional weapons. The planning of a global war relies on the militarization of outer space. Were a war directed against iran to be launched, it would not only use nuclear weapons, the entire gamut of new advanced weapons systems, including electrometric weapons and environmental modification techniques (ENMOD) would be used.

(...) The scale of antiwar protest in relation to Iran has been minimal in comparison to the mass demonstrations which preceded the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq. The real threat to global security emanates from the US-NATO-Israel alliance. The Iran operation is not being opposed in the diplomatic arena by China and Russia; it has the support of the governments of the frontline Arab states which are integrated into the NATO sponsored Mediterranean dialogue. It also has the tacit support of Western public opinion.We call upon people across the land, in America, Western Europe, Israel, Turkey and around the world to rise up against this military project, against their governments which are supportive of military action against Iran, against the media which serves to camouflage the devastating implications of a war against Iran. This war is sheer madness. World War III is terminal. Albert Einstein understood the perils of nuclear war and the extinction of life on earth, which has already started with the radioactive contamination resulting from depleted uranium.

(...) In chorus, the Western media has branded Iran as a threat to global security in view of its alleged (non-existent) nuclear weapons program. Echoing official statements, the media is now demanding the implementation of punitive bombings directed against Iran so as to safeguard Israel's security.The Western media is beating the drums of war. The purpose is to tacitly instil, through repeated media reports, ad nauseam, within people's inner consciousness, the notion that the Iranian threat is real and that the Islamic Republic should be "taken out".A consensus building process to wage war is similar to the Spanish inquisition. It requires and demands submission to the notion that war is a humanitarian endeavor. Known and documented, the real threat to global security emanates from the US-NATO-Israel alliance, yet realities in an inquisitorial environment are turned upside down: the warmongers are committed to peace, the victims of war are presented as the protagonists of war. Whereas in 2006, almost two thirds of Americans were opposed to military action against Iran, a recent Reuter-Zogby February 2010 poll suggests that 56 % of Americans favor a US-NATO military action against Iran. Building a political consensus which is based on an outright lie cannot, however, rely solely on the official position of those who are the source of the lie.The antiwar movement in the US, which has in part been infiltrated and co-opted, has taken on a weak stance with regard to Iran. The antiwar movement is divided. The emphasis has been on wars which have already occurred (Afghanistan, Iraq) rather than forcefully opposing wars which are being prepared and which are currently on the Pentagon's drawing board. Since the inauguration of the Obama administration, the antiwar movement has lost some of its impetus. CLIP

Mullen: US has viable Iran attack plan (08/02/2010)
The United States has a viable military plan to attack Iran and its nuclear facilities, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday, stressing, though, that such a strike was probably a bad idea. Mullen has often warned that a strike against Iran would have serious and unpredictable ripple effects around the Middle East. At the same time, he has said that Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Mullen would not say which risk he thinks is worse. But he told NBC television’s Meet The Press that a strike remains an option. Should it come to that, he said, the US military has a plan at hand. “Military options have been on the table and remain on the table. It’s one of the options that the president has,” Mullen said. “I hope we don’t get to that, but it’s an important option, and it’s one that’s well understood.” Also on Sunday, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards, Yadollah Javani, told the official IRNA news agency that Iran will make the Persian Gulf a war zone unsafe for all nations if the US attempts to attack its nuclear program. “If the American make the slightest mistake, the security of the region will be endangered.Security in the Persian Gulf should be for all or none,” he was quoted as saying to IRNA by AFP. “We will defend ourselves if America or Israel resort to any hostile measures against our vital values,” Javani said. Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization that provides analysis and advice on preventing and resolving conflicts, is scheduled on Monday to release a report on the current Israeli-Hizbullah standoff, in which the NGO concluded that the main obstacle to renewed warfare is the fear, on both sides, that the next conflict will be far more violent and extensive than the Second Lebanon War in 2006. One possible spark for a renewed conflict could be an Israeli or American strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. This mutual fear, the report claims, could lead one side to feel emboldened enough to take risks under the assumption that the other side will limit its response to avoid an escalation. Such action, the report warns, could lead to all-out war.Israel had reportedly considered bombing a convoy of trucks transferring advanced weaponry to Hizbullah from Syria earlier this year. “Thus, Israel might target a weapons storage facility in Lebanon or Syria; it might also attack a Hizbullah-bound weapons convoy it viewed as being particularly dangerous,” the report said. “By the same token, Hizbullah might at some point decide to reassert itself – for example if it were to feel that a strictly defensive posture was gradually eroding its legitimacy – by, say, retaliating against violations of Lebanese airspace.” According to the report, the only long-term way to avoid conflict in the north is to resume meaningful peace talks between Israel and Syria and to start talks with Lebanon. “There is no other answer to the Hizbullah dilemma and, for now, few better ways to affect Teheran’s calculations,” the report said. “Short of such an initiative, deeper political involvement by the international community is needed to enhance communications between the parties, defuse tensions and avoid costly missteps.” - Check also Iran dismisses US admiral's attack plan comments and watch Top US commander: Military option against Iran on the table on Youtube and US could attack Iran Russia's General Staff as well as (Michel Chossudovsky) UNITED STATES TO START WWW 3 ? - Massive New Bomb - Will US Attack Iran In 2010 ? (a 15 ton bomb to be ready for deployment by December... or earlier)

Ahmadinejad says expects U.S. to attack MidEast soon (July 27, 2010)
(Reuters) - Iran expects the United States to launch a military strike on "at least two countries" in the Middle East in the next three months, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state-run Press TV. In an interview recorded on Monday, Ahmadinejad did not specify whether he thought Iran itself would be attacked nor did he say what intelligence led him to expect such a move. The United States and Israel have refused to rule out military action against Iran's nuclear program which they fear could lead to it making a bomb, something Iran denies."They have decided to attack at least two countries in the region in the next three months," Ahmadinejad said in excerpts broadcast on the rolling news channel on Tuesday. CLIP

US Expansion Of War In Middle East Imminent (8/1/10)
(...) At the weekend, former CIA head General Michael Hayden described a possible attack on Iran as "inexorable", noting that airstrikes on the country by Israel and/or the US would "not be the worst of all possible outcomes." "Over recent days, warnings about imminent war and direct calls for war have been proliferating in the world media,"Webster G. Tarpley wrote last week, citing warnings issued by former communist leader Fidel Castro and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Tarpley also cited an editorial penned by former Senator Chuck Robb and former NATO deputy commander General Charles Wald calling for the U.S. to begin preparing an attack. "We cannot afford to wait indefinitely to determine the effectiveness of diplomacy and sanctions. Sanctions can be effective only if coupled with open preparation for the military option as a last resort," Robb and Wald wrote. Just last week, a report in Time magazine stated that Israel has managed to convince Washington to put the option of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities back on the table. Two months ago insiders at the annual Trilateral Commission unwittingly leaked the information that globalist interests are planning a war with Iran, citing the country's fierce nationalist outlook as hampering to an embryonic structure of global governance. Less than a month later, in June, Bilderberg delegates also voiced their support for airstrikes for the first time. CLIP

US imposes more Iran sanctions (AUGUST 04, 2010)
The US government has imposed sanctions on 21 Iranian government firms, increasing international pressure over the country's disputed nuclear programme. Accusing Tehran of trying to dodge sanctions by setting up opaque trading companies, the US treasury department on Tuesday also named a host of banking, mining and other companies - spread throughout Europe and Japan -as government-backed. "As its isolation from the international financial and commercial systems increases, the government of Iran will continue efforts to evade sanctions," Stuart Levey, the treasury undersecretary, said. Those moves, he said, included "using government-owned entities around the world that are not easily identifiable as Iranian to facilitate transactions in support of their illicit activities". The treasury also announced sanctions against individuals and groups to target "the government of Iran's support for terrorism and terrorist organisations," that include Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Taliban. CLIP

Israel's Insane War on Iran Must Be Prevented (July 31, 2010)
(...) Now comes the most relevant sequitur: Are the sanctions, then, merely the non-bellicose means to further weaken Iran, economically, politically, and militarily, as a preparation for a major operation? The example of the prelude to two wars against Iraq is germane. None of the sanctions that crippled Iraq's economy aimed at forcing a policy change. They served only to set up Iraq for the kill. The Fraud of the Nuclear Debate - That there is no serious interest on the part of the Western members of the Permanent 5 (France, Britain, U.S., Russia, and China) in solving the nuclear issue diplomatically is evident in their response to the brilliant initiative signed by Brazil, Turkey, and Iran on May 17 in Tehran, and delivered to the U.N., IAEA, et al. The proposal is simple and eminently workable. It asserts the right to peaceful nuclear energy under NPT rules, then moves to the issue of nuclear fuel exchange. Iran agrees to send 1200 kg of LEU to Turkey, under IAEA observers, and to notify the IAEA. Once the IAEA, Russia, France, and the U.S. respond positively, a detailed written agreement will be drafted for the 120 kg of fuel to be delivered to Tehran. Iran would deliver its uranium within one month and expect delivery of fuel within one year. Finally, Turkey and Brazil welcome Iran's readiness to pursue talks with the 5+1 anywhere, including on their soil.Before they could possibly have had the time to study the proposal, consult others, and weigh its merits, France and Russia responded with skepticism, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just said no.

(...) Build-Up for War - Most ominous in the broader picture are military activities in the region that would cohere with preparations for aggression against Iran. Egypt reportedly allowed one Israeli and eleven U.S. ships to pass through the Suez Canal on their way to the Red Sea, an apparent signal to Iran. The ships, together with a German vessel, moved into the Arabian Sea after "conducting secret exercises off the shore of south-western Israel," according to the June 26 Jordan Times. Citing an Israeli report, the paper said the exercises included "interception of incoming Iranian, Syrian and Hizbollah missiles and rockets against USA and Israeli targets in the Middle East." The exercises featured fighter bombers carrying out simulated bombing missions, and Israeli and U.S. fighter jets practicing long-range bombing missions. Some facts of the naval deployment appeared also in Global Research.(12) The same Jordan Times cited a Jerusalem Post article week earlier about Israeli military plans for a new assault on Gaza preparatory to a military campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities. Such reports should be taken deadly seriously. Again, the precedent of the military build-up prior to the Iraq wars is instructive. A further disturbing symptom is the behavior of two important Arab Gulf states. On June 12, regional press outlets reported that the Saudis had granted Israel the right to fly over its airspace, to which the Saudis immediately issued a perfunctory denial. But one should not forget the perfidious role played by the Saudis vis-à-vis Iraq. More alarming was the statement of the U.A.E. Ambassador to the U.S. on July 6 endorsing a military attack on Iran. Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba was quoted by the Washington Times: "I think it's a cost-benefit analysis," referring to the benefits of war on Iran. "I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion … there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what." His conclusion: "If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?' my answer is still the same: 'We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.' I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E." He added that "talk of containment and deterrence really concerns me and makes me very nervous," because he does not believe either would work.(13) Neocons attending the ambassador's session with the Atlantic magazine, at Aspen, expressed surprise at hearing an Arab diplomat endorse military action publicly, although many in the region have uttered similar thoughts in private. It is no secret that most Arab Gulf states fear a nuclear Iran and would sit on the sidelines during US-Israeli aggression. Clearly, Israel will not make good on its threats without a nod from Washington. And that is not there yet, at least not officially. After talks with Barak and Israel's military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem, Sen. McCain indicated the time had not yet come.

(...) House Republicans Call For Israeli War - This makes all too much sense. Israel is on a war-footing and the U.S. is poised to at least let it happen. If the White House has not yet officially issued an okay, the House on July 23 introduced a resolution, signed by a third of the members, explicitly endorsing war. H. Res. 1553 begins, "Expressing support for the State of Israel's right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel…." Asserting categorically that "the national security of the United States, Israel, and allies in the Middle East face a clear and present danger from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran seeking nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile capability to deliver them," and quoting Obama that a nuclear Iran is "unacceptable," the Resolution proceeds to tick off statements attributed to Ahmadinejad and alleged Iranian violations of IAEA norms. It "condemns" Iran for its threats, pledges cooperation with Israel "to ensure" that it "continues to receive critical economic and military assistance, including missile defense capabilities, needed to address the threat of Iran," and "expresses support for Israel's right to use all means necessary confront and eliminate nuclear threats by Iran … including the use of military force… etc." It would be foolhardy to think these are only a bunch of arch-conservative Republicans trying to boost re-election perspectives by courting the Zionist faction among U.S. voters. The resolution is a declaration of intent toward war. CLIP

This week, the last piece fell into place. The National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Science, heavy on politics and light on science, announced that America was no longer able to track nukes threatening our shores. Their report titled Nuclear Forensics: A Capability at Risk, released last week, outlines the details of a secret study requested by the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense and Energy, specifically the National Nuclear Security Administration. The gist of the story is easy, if a nuke goes off in America, dirty nuke in Times Square, one in a container at a port, anywhere, America won’t be able to tell who made it. Not a word of the report is true. It is wild speculation and disinformation written in broad language with no hard science, written for a reason. A powerful group within the United States, one with influence over the press and the ability to derail an investigation as was done with 9/11, has been “tasked” with laying the groundwork for a terrorist attack on America, one using nuclear material. This report, unneeded, and highly inaccurate was printed in the New York Times to provide “cover.” It isn’t just this report, the pieces are falling together around the world. The Wiki-Leaks story, pre staging Pakistan’s ISI as a terrorist organization, a story built out of almost no information but fleshed out with massive speculation by “operatives” in the press is part of the process.The Defense Authorization Act of 2006 allows, “in case of a terrorist attack” for the president to declare martial law, disband congress and rule by executive decree. With the suspension of habeas corpus by the Military Commissions act, also in 2006, America as we know it officially comes to an end the second a weapon of mass destruction in used. Only then will America learn who has been pulling the strings all along, who is scripting Wolf Blitzer and Glen Beck. (...) Thus, if an attack such as 9/11 were to lead to America fighting wars against enemies of Israel or if, as in Afghanistan, Israeli companies were to profit from weapons or narcotics sales, any deaths of gentiles, no matter how innocent, would be justified by Jewish law as stated in the Torah. Were an attack on the United States to bring that country to war against Iran, even if that attack were perpetrated by Israelis, it would be legal according to Israeli law, the same law being relied upon for justice in the attack on the Mavi Marmara.More often however, attacks on Israel itself are believed to have been staged, not only to instill the population with fear and rage but to continue the “holocaust” tradition of Jewish victimhood as a justification for policies that have led to 62 vetoes in the United Nations by the US, vetoes against sanctions imposed against Israel for violations of international law. (...) A pattern of evidence is emerging that “cold storage” dupes and CIA/Mossad nurtured organizations may have had a hand in, not only the Mumbai attacks but the London and Madrid bombings as well. Additional trails are leading to attacks on American troops inside Iraq and Afghanistan and against security forces inside Pakistan, particularly against Pakistan’s ISI, primary target of press stories on the recent Wiki-Leak. CLIP

Tehran admits access to nuclear, missile technology, will try three US hikers (August 1, 2010)
The statement by parliament speaker Ali Larijani July 31 that Iran can obtain nuclear and missile technology is the closest any Iranian official has come so far to admitting his country is within reach of acquiring a nuclear weapon, DEBKAfile's military sources report.Further turning up the heat on Washington, the foreign ministry in Tehran announced Sunday, Aug. 1, that the three American hikers detained a year ago would stand trial for illegally crossing the Iranian border - and possibly on security charges. Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, who accidentally strayed into Iran while hiking in northern Iraq, have therefore become hostagesin a sharpening face-off between Tehran and Washington.The admission warns Washington that while Iran has not yet begun building bombs, it has the technology available and more pressure through sanctions or covert operations will only tip Tehran over into warhead production. The comment also demonstrated how far Iran's nuclear and missile programs have progressed since last October when the group of five powers plus Germany challenged the Iranians to halt uranium enrichment at their negotiations in Geneva.
(...) Also Saturday, Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, accused Washington of stepping up its war of nerves against Iran. "US Congress Bill 1553 which gives the hated Zionist regime a free hand to confront Iran is part of a propaganda and psychological warfare scenario coupled with military plans… to affect Iranian nuclear insiders," said the Iranian general. Elsewhere in his remarks, he warned other nations against "US and Israeli mischievous acts in the high seas." This was a reference to the UN sanction authorizing searches of Iranian vessels suspected of carrying prohibited freights, such as items for its nuclear production.

Eight Reasons Why We Cannot Afford Another War (AUGUST 2, 2010)
(...) The recent and widely publicized exposure of over 90,000 Pentagon documents by web source 'Wikileaks' illustrates quite well how oblivious some portions of the public are to the fundamental costs of protracted war. The documents themselves revealed little that was not already well known by those of us in the Liberty Movement. Afghanistan was always a quagmire. Battlefront intel has been consistently negative month after month, and anyone who knows anything about guerilla warfare understands that the longer an occupying army takes to secure a piece of real estate the weaker they become, and the stronger the guerillas get. The U.S. has been struggling in Afghanistan for almost ten years to little effect, except to somehow increase the amount of heroin trafficking in the region by around 2000%. The last time I checked, that was not one of the stated goals of "Operation Enduring Freedom". Though the document leak did not produce any new data, it did force the general public to acknowledge all the information they had chosen to ignore over the past decade. When 90,000 secret government documents tell you the war effort is crumbling, it's difficult to just shrug and go back to your vanilla latte. The fact that some people were shocked by the "revelations" of the leak shows how dangerously unaware many of our neighbors are, so dangerous in fact that they could be led to support yet another war without a second thought. There are many possible conflicts brewing in the world today, but to escalate into full-blown siege, nearly all of them require average Americans to remain as dazed, uneducated, and emotionally unstable as they were back in 2001. So far, we have been able to continue our relatively apathetic and uninformed stance towards conflicts overseas unimpeded. However, this is about to change. In the event that another war is opened on a third front, it is not a possibility but a certainty that America herself will be greatly affected. Our economy, our culture, our freedoms, our very infrastructure will come under serious threat. Listed below are ten reasons why… CLIP

Are We Going to War? (July 29, 2010)
War it appears is imminent, current drug shortages are telling the picture!It seems from the drug shortages which are listed on the FDA's website. I see this as "the smoking gun", that only stockpiling for war could explain the combination of shortages seen on their website. The government is citing increased demand as an explanation for shortages, but as usual, it is not being truthful. Only believing we are having tens of thousands more traumas than possible, along with executing every prisoner in the country, could even beset the feeblest of minds.Let me paint a picture for you. Keeping in mind any one drug shortage might be explainable, even two, but this overall combination is a tell tale sign of stockpiling for nuclear war, or even worse!Just think, if you were the government facing nuclear war, what would you do? Would you stockpile things in a certain order? Yes! First, you would think in terms of battlefield casualties, then civilians. The order might be something like this, anesthesia, pain, (troop's are always first priority) then radiation, disease, and malnutrition. You would want to stockpile drugs for these conditions and a pattern might be discerned. The FDA has made this all too easy, listing drugs in short supply.The drugs in short supply, and the theme I believe is developed behind these so called shortages can easily be seen. The shortages are admitted by the FDA on their website. The theme I will develop as such; over the last year anesthesia drugs have been routinely in short supply. Why is this? CLIP

Anesthesia Drug Shortage Confirmation (July 30, 2010)
I would like to confirm the shortage in anesthesia drugs. The hospital where I work in the Midwest has been out of Sodium Pentathol and Propofol for months. Both these drugs are used to induce general anesthesia. Propofol is also used for conscious sedation. Propofol was the first to go. The official story is that the manufacturer, Teva, stopped making it. TEVA IS a company in Israel. I believe that the plant for making Propofol is also in Israel. Propofol is the first choice drug for inducing general anesthesia. But when there was no more Propofol, the Anesthesiologists used Sodium Pentathol. But the hospital has been unable to procure this for several months as well. They are now using a drug called etomidate. It is an older drug that works (sort of) but it is sometimes very painful going in. I've seen the anesthesiologists curse and swear with this drug because it is much harder to intubate or use this drug for conscious sedation or general anesthesia safely. Finally, there is no company that manufactures Propofol in the US. I've thought to myself many times how long the supply lines are for this life-saving drug (and many others.) There is no way to know for sure, of course, but it certainly makes sense that if Israel was expecting battle injuries, they would be stockpiling Propofol. It is a good drug for trauma situations.

Israel air raid on southern Gaza (AUGUST 04, 2010)
At least one Palestinian has been killed and another wounded in an Israeli air attack on southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical officials have said. The Israeli military said troops had targeted a group of Palestinians who had approached the Gaza border fence, where army patrols sometimes face ambushes with guns or bombs. The air attack, near the town of Khan Younis, comes after a spate of violence along Israel's border with Gaza in the past week. Many Palestinians were injured in an Israeli air raid on a Hamas commander's house last Friday after a rocket fired from Gaza struck the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon causing no casualties but damaging property. There has been growing tension in the region, with Israeli troops exchanging rocket and gunfire with Lebanese soldiers along their border on Tuesday. The skirmish left two Lebanese soldiers and an Israeli soldier dead, and heightened fears of a war.

Troops die in Israel-Lebanon clash (AUGUST 04, 2010)
At least two Lebanese and one Israeli soldier have been killed during an exchange of rocket and gunfire along the border between the two countries. A journalist was also killed, and four more Lebanese soldiers wounded by Israeli shelling on Tuesday. The Israeli army did not say how the Israeli soldier was killed."The Israelis fired four rockets that fell near a Lebanese army position in the village of Adaisseh and the Lebanese army fired back," a Lebanese security official in the area said. Lebanese news sources reported that the journalist killed was Assaf Abou Rahhal, from the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.The clashes erupted after Israeli soldiers reportedly attempted to uproot trees on the Lebanese side of the border. (...) "This is a very significant development," said Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Beirut. "For the first time in years, clashes are taking place between Israel and the Lebanese army, not Hezbollah." Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, said in a speech on Tuesday night that he ordered the group's militia not to get involved. He also threatened to retaliate against any future "Israeli aggression". Roots of conflict - General Gadi Eisenkot, the head of Israel's northern command, predicted the clashes were a "one-time event".Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, said Israel "holds the Lebanese government responsible" for the incident, and asked the Israeli envoy to the UN to file a complaint. The fighting reportedly started when a group of Israeli army soldiers went close to the border to uproot some trees near the villages of Adaisseh and Kuferkilla. Israeli security sources said that Israeli army engineers came under fire from Lebanese soldiers while working along the frontier and the troops shot back. CLIP

Unifil 'on shaky ground' in Lebanon (AUGUST 03, 2010)
Four years after the end of the war between Lebanon and Israel, the role of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (Unifil), which had been entrusted with keeping the peace between the two countries, has been thrown into doubt amid intensifying threats of another war.Both Israel and Hezbollah, the latter having been the main target of Israel's 2006 war, have stepped up their accusations against Unifil. Israel is again accusing the peacekeeping forces of failing to prevent, if not of collaborating with, Hezbollah in its replenishment of its military power in south Lebanon. Hezbollah, meanwhile, believes that "certain contingents" of Unifil are spying for, if not assisting, Israel. (...) However, Israel may not wait for the United Nations Security Council to decide whether to grant Unifil more authority to launch an all-out campaign to disarm Hezbollah members and fighters in the south.Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief of the general staff of the Israeli army, said his forces would not hesitate to strike Lebanese towns and villages."Hezbollah is consolidating its presence in populated areas where Unifil can't discover weapons," Ashkenazi told Israeli radio."We will move in these areas if need be."Earlier this month, the Israelis produced photos and surveillance claiming that these proved that Hezbollah had fortified 160 villages below the Litani River "without any interference by Unifil". CLIP

Fuel swap talks with Iran may be close (08/02/2010)
Discussions to facilitate a nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran could start soon, International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said Monday, according to a Reuters report. In October of 2009 Iran backed out of a fuel swap plan negotiated by the IAEA that would have seen the Islamic Republic shipping its low-enriched uranium abroad in exchange for medical reactor fuel. This would be a way for Iran to obtain the nuclear fuel Teheran claims it needs for peaceful purposes without their being any danger of the Islamic Republic using the technology to create nuclear weapons. (...) Amano said that he had received positive signs lately from the US, Russia and France about renewing talks aimed at coming to a fuel swap agreement.Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that talks between his country and the world powers on a plan to supply fuel for a Teheran nuclear reactor should start around late September. Speaking in Singapore, Amano was cautious, stating that such talks wouldn't necessarily lead to an agreement but that dialogue in and of itself would be a positive step. -- Check also China invests $40b. in Iran oil and gas

Iran scientist: CIA offered me $50m to lie about nuclear secrets (July 16, 2010)
An Iranian scientist who says he was abducted and taken to the United States by the CIA returned to Tehran yesterday to a hero's welcome and claimed that he had been pressured into lying about his country's nuclear programme. Shahram Amiri said that he was on the hajj pilgrimage when he was seized at gunpoint in the city of Medina, drugged and taken to the US, where he says Israel was involved in his interrogation. In the US, officials were reported to have admitted that Mr Amiri was paid more than $5m (£3.2m) by the CIA for information about Iran's nuclear ambitions. The offer of a large bribe is reportedly part of a special US programme to get Iranian nuclear scientists to defect. "Americans wanted me to say that I defected to America of my own will, to use me for revealing some false information about Iran's nuclear work," Mr Amiri said at Tehran airport. "I was under intensive psychological pressure by [the] CIA... the main aim of this abduction was to stage a new political and psychological game against Iran." At his press conference at Tehran airport, Mr Amiri stressed that he had acted under compulsion. "Israeli agents were present at some of my interrogation sessions and I was threatened to be handed over to Israel if I refused to cooperate with Americans," he said. He says he was offered $50m to stay in the US. CLIP

Requiem for the Antiwar Movement by Cindy Sheehan (2010-07-09)
"When you vote for war, don't be surprised when you get it." Cindy Sheehan (...) Many antiwar groups and people who claim they are for peace lose their minds during election season thinking that the razor-thin difference between the Democrat and Republican is enough to go ape-sh it crazy in working for the Democrat. Just take the last two Democratic candidates, for example. Kerry and Obama both supported more war. An "antiwar" movement de-legitimizes itself when it works hard for a candidate who does not promise total and rapid withdrawal of troops from wherever they happen to be at the time AND does not promise to end war as an imperial tool of corporate conquest. The majority of the so-called antiwar movement, in fact, voted for a candidate that PROMISED to contract one war only to be able to profoundly EXPAND another. Obama all along said that he is not against all war, just "dumb wars." If there existed an antiwar movement that had integrity-it would have said that "all wars are dumb," and we withhold our support for just another dyed-in-the-wool warmonger. (...) I am going to close with my organization's motivational quote. Peace of the ACTION takes our inspiration from a Mario Savio quote that he said on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley, 46 years ago: "There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part. You have to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who own it, to the people who run it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Award-Winning Movie "SUPERPOWER: The Truth Can Be Hidden": Trailer
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BP claims success in 'static kill' (AUGUST 04, 2010)
BP says it has been successful in plugging a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, signalling an end to the worst spill in the United States' history. The eight-hour "static kill" procedure, which involved pumping mud and cement into the blown-out well, had gone as planned although the situation would continue to be monitored, the energy giant said. "The well pressure is now being controlled by the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling mud, which is the desired outcome of the static kill procedure carried out yesterday," a statement released by BP said on Wednesday. If what BP claims is true, the operation will mean that the leak which spewed more than five millions barrels of oil into the sea from the well over 100 days has finally been plugged. (...) If BP is found guilty of negligence over the spill, the flow rate of 62,000 barrels a day means it could face up to $17.6bn in fines. The firm has also set up a $20bn fund to pay claims from individuals and businesses hit by the disaster. Gulf fishing communities and business owners are still counting the cost of the spill, which forced the closure of large swaths of rich fishing grounds and dealt a severe blow to local tourism. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the spill, said the task is becoming more urgent because peak hurricane season is just around the corner. CLIP

U.S. Puts Oil Spill Total at Nearly 5 Million Barrels (August 2, 2010)
NEW ORLEANS - Nearly five million barrels of oil have gushed from the BP's well since the Deepwater Horizon spill began on April 20, federal scientists said on Monday in announcing the most precise estimates yet of the well's flow rate. The estimates would make this spill far bigger than the 3.3 million barrels spilled by the Mexican rig Ixtoc I in 1979, previously believed to be the world's largest accidental release of oil. Federal science and engineering teams estimated that 53,000 barrels of oil per day were pouring from the well just before BP was able to cap it on July 15. They also estimated that the daily flow rate had lessened over time, starting at around 62,000 barrels a day and decreasing as the reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding the gusher was gradually depleted. The teams believe that the estimates are accurate to within 10 percent. They also reported that of the roughly 4.9 million barrels that had been released from the well, about 800,000 had been captured by BP's previous containment efforts. That leaves over four million barrels that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico between April 20 and July 15. CLIP

EPA: Dispersant-oil mix no more toxic than oil alone (SHEER GREENWASHING AND PATENTLY FALSE)
(CNN) -- Testing has found that eight dispersants, including one used in combating the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, are no more toxic when mixed with oil than the oil alone, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.The tests prove that the oil itself, not the dispersants, is "enemy No. 1," Paul Anastas, EPA assistant administrator for research and development, told reporters on a conference call.Use of the dispersants to break up oil after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion sent millions of gallons of crude gushing into the Gulf has been a controversial topic. Testing was done on sensitive marine species in their juvenile life stage, when they are at their most sensitive, Anastas said. During tests, researchers increased the concentration of the dispersant, mixed with Louisiana sweet crude oil, to concentrations even higher than that species are expected to encounter in the Gulf, Anastas said. The EPA in May directed BP, the company responsible for the ruptured well, to analyze dispersants for toxicity and effectiveness. BP reported it was unable to find a dispersant that is less toxic than Corexit, the product currently in use. Afterward, EPA began its own research into the eight dispersants. On June 30, the EPA released the results from its first round of testing, which showed that none of the eight dispersants appeared to have harmful effects on the endocrine systems of marine life. "I have not seen any evidence, any data, that has shown wildlife sickened or killed because of dispersants," Anastas said Monday. In addition, researchers have seen no data to suggest the dispersant has spread away from the well head, Anastas said. Asked about the oil sinking to the sea floor because of the dispersant, Anastas said the purpose of dispersant is to put the oil in a form where it can be broken down by natural microbes -- where it is now. During that process, the microbes metabolize the oil, breaking it down until it turns into carbon dioxide and water."What we ultimately want is this hazard, the oil ... to of course go away," he said. "The way that it goes away in nature is to be metabolized by these microbes." The ruptured well is currently capped. No new dispersants have been released into the Gulf since July 19, Anastas said, and the dispersant appears to be keeping the oil away from the shore. By law, dispersants cannot be used closer than three miles to shore CLIP

BP oil spill: Obama administration's scientists admit alarm over chemicals (3 August 2010)
The Obama administration is facing internal dissent from its scientists for approving the use of huge quantities of chemical dispersants to tackle the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Guardian has learned.The US Environmental Protection Agency has come under attack in Congress and from independent scientists for allowing BP to spray almost 2m gallons of the dispersant Corexit on to the slick and, even more controversially, into the leak site 5,000ft below the sea. Now it emerges that EPA's own experts have been raising similar concerns within the agency. Jeff Ruch, the exective director of the whistleblower support group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said he had heard from five scientists and two other officials who had expressed concerns to their superiors about the use of dispersants."There was one toxicologist who was very concerned about the underwater application particularly," he said. "The concern was the agency appeared to be flying blind and not consulting its own specialists and even the literature that was available."Veterans of the Exxon Valdez spill questioned the wisdom of trying to break up the oil in the deep water at the same time as trying to skim it on the surface. Other EPA experts raised alarm about the effect of dispersants on seafood.Ruch said EPA experts were being excluded from decision-making on the spill. "Other than a few people in the united command, there is no involvement from the rest of the agency," he said. EPA scientists would not go public for fear of retaliation, he added. (...) Nine leading scientists have written a public letter calling on BP and the Obama administration to release all scientific data related to the spill, including wildlife death. "Just as the unprecedented use of dispersants has served to sweep millions of gallons of oil under the rug, we're concerned the public may not get to see critical scientific data until BP has long since declared its responsibility over," said Bruce Stein of the National Wildlife Federation.

The Gulf oil spill: How nature cleans up our mess
Scientists report that the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected. The New York Times reports that journalists “flying over the area spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil.” The BBC quotes - Jane Lubchenko, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, saying much of the oil had been “biodegraded by naturally occurring bacteria.” Both reports voice a certain surprise: "What we are trying to figure out is, where is all that oil and what we can do about it?"

We shouldn’t be surprised. Somehow we continue to underestimate the power of nature. Bacteria are much more powerful than chemicals when it comes to dissolving and absorbing oil. I remember visiting an oil refinery in Rotterdam, The Netherlands many years ago with a scientist who showed me that bacteria in the polluted, oil-drenched soil of the refinery were cleaning up the mess. As he said at the time, “When we close the refinery and leave this place and come back in a decade or so, nobody will be able to figure out from the soil that oil was spilled here.” Every human activity is met with a cleaning or healing response from nature. And yet we find it difficult to trust this response.

In 2000, reporters from the German environmental magazine Natur went on an expedition to the beaches of Brittany in France, which in March 1978 were seriously polluted by an accident on the oil tanker Amoco Cadiz. The Amoco Cadiz sank off the coast of Brittany and dropped 230,000 tons crude oil on the beaches. Just over 20 years later, the Natur reporters, accompanied by German scientists, spent hours digging in the sand without finding any trace of the oil pollution! A French biologist said, “When the disaster happened, we thought that nature would be spoilt for decades. However, even after six months there was hardly any oil to be found anymore.” Billions of bacteria, supported by the warmth of the sun, had cleaned up the mess.

After the Amoco Cadiz disaster, the Centre of Documentation, Research, and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution (CEDRE) was established in Brest, France. For the past 30 years, the institute has researched many smaller and bigger oil spills. The institute has concluded that clean up operations are generally more harmful than helpful. The chemicals used undermine the power and effectiveness of naturally occurring bacteria. It is also important that an oil slick is not dispersed, as bacteria can be more effective when the oil sticks together. CEDRE argues that the most effective human activity in clean up operations is shoveling polluted sand from the beach.

The Natur team also visited Alaska, where the Exxon Valdez caused a disaster in 1989. The Exxon Valdez lost 40,000 tons of crude oil. In 2000, just over a decade after the disaster, The Natur team concluded that the water and the soil in the area was clean. The team only found remnants of oil when they turned over stones on the sea floor. The scientists argue that the bacterial clean up takes longer because of the cold waters around Alaska. And that’s the good news about the Gulf of Mexico, which is known for its warm, hurricane-provoking waters. The oil spill in the Gulf is a terrible thing, and is a warning sign for all offshore exploration. There are much better renewable alternatives. But in the meantime, we should be grateful that nature will quickly clean up our mess.

On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill Is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay (July 27, 2010)
The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil continue here and there. Reporters flying over the area Sunday spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil, and radar images taken since then suggest that these few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf. John Amos, president of SkyTruth, an environmental advocacy group that sharply criticized the early, low estimates of the size of the BP leak, noted that no oil had gushed from the well for nearly two weeks. “Oil has a finite life span at the surface,” Mr. Amos said Tuesday, after examining fresh radar images of the slick. “At this point, that oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly.” The dissolution of the slick should reduce the risk of oil killing more animals or hitting shorelines. But it does not end the many problems and scientific uncertainties associated with the spill, and federal leaders emphasized this week that they had no intention of walking away from those problems any time soon. The effect on sea life of the large amounts of oil that dissolved below the surface is still a mystery. Two preliminary government reports on that issue have found concentrations of toxic compounds in the deep sea to be low, but the reports left many questions, especially regarding an apparent decline in oxygen levels in the water.And understanding the effects of the spill on the shorelines that were hit, including Louisiana’s coastal marshes, is expected to occupy scientists for years. Fishermen along the coast are deeply skeptical of any declarations of success, expressing concern about the long-term effects of the chemical dispersants used to combat the spill and of the submerged oil, particularly on shrimp and crab larvae that are the foundation of future fishing seasons.

Nature Helps Clean Up Gulf Oil Spill, All On Its Own

Scientists Deeply Concerned About BP Disaster's Long-Term Impact (August 2, 2010)
Contrary to recent media reports of a quick recovery in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists and biologists are "deeply concerned" about impacts that will likely span "several decades"."My prediction is that we will be dealing with the impacts of this spill for several decades to come and it will outlive me," Dr. Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, as well as a marine and oyster biologist, told IPS, "I won't be here to see the recovery." Cake's grim assessment stems partially from a comparison he made to the Exxon Valdez oil disaster and the second largest oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (BP's being the largest), that of the Ixtoc-1 blowout well in the Bay of Campeche in 1979. "The impacts of the Exxon Valdez are still being felt 21 years later," Cake said, "The impacts of the Ixtoc-1 are still being felt and known, 31 years later. I know folks who study oysters in bays in the Yucatan Peninsula, and oysters there have still not returned, 31 years later. So as an oyster biologist I'm concerned about that. Those things are still affected 31 years later, and that was a smaller spill by comparison." He is also concerned about deepwater habitats. Given that BP has used at least 1.9 million gallons of chemically toxic dispersants, the vast majority of the oil has remained beneath the surface, and much of that has sunk to the sea floor. As an example, he cited "a new coral colony ecosystem" within 10 miles of BP's blowout Macondo Well, which was found by a pipeline company whilst it was producing an environmental impact assessment statement of the route of the pipeline. "They found some amazing coral communities that no one knew about, and now they will be covered in oil," Cake said, "Those will not recover."
(...) "In the past month, in Bretton and Chandeleur Sounds, oil was there during the day, it was sprayed with Corexit at night, and the next day it was gone. Where did it go? It went to the bottom, and that's adjacent to where these oyster farms are. So at that point, there's a lot less water for that Corexit to disperse into, and there may be an impact from that on the oysters." Cake said that while scientists have found very large plumes of dispersed oil at depth, "I'm not sure that oil will ever get here as dispersed clouds. It's getting here as sunken clouds, because that's what they [BP] wanted it to do. Sink it, get it out of sight out of mind."
(...) "We're poisoning the entire Gulf of Mexico food web," Hobbs, who is also an instructor and advisor in the Environmental Studies Department at University of West Florida, told IPS. "It's crazy, and it's criminal. I'm deeply concerned with the long-term ecological and human impact." Dr. Cake is among a large and growing group of scientists who are discussing a grim future for much of the Gulf of Mexico as a result of BP's disaster. "The oil itself on the bottom is being eaten by bacteria. This has always been the case in naturally occurring seeps across the Gulf. But now we've introduced much more oil, and as the bacteria grow they are consuming the oxygen that is in that area. And that oxygen loss will result in dead/hypoxic zones, like the one off the West side of the Mississippi over towards Galveston where there's one that is 3,000 square mile area of dead bottom. Now we're looking at that along the eastern part because of the presence of so much more bacteria."

Effort to keep oil spill at bay tips ecological balance (August 3, 2010)
Flushing bayou waters with freshwater has changed salinity levels, which may be killing oysters and other species in the Gulf of Mexico. - There's a destructive liquid flowing into the Gulf of Mexico - and it's not oil.It's the muddy freshwater of the Mississippi River, which has been released from southern Louisiana's vast levee system and into estuaries in greater quantities than usual. The goal has been to use the rush of freshwater to keep sticky oil from reaching the sandy shores of the state. The tactic has proved moderately successful in some areas, but the extra freshwater creates lower-than-normal salinity levels in Barataria Bay and Breton Sound, which flank the southeast portion of Louisiana that juts out into the gulf.Some biologists are worried. Mass oyster deaths have been reported in those two areas, early evidence suggesting that the freshwater could be shaking up a delicate ecosystem and a struggling seafood industry - both already threatened by the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. CLIP

The End of the Oil Spill By David Wilcock (16 July 2010)
The oil spill has ended. Over a week before the cap was placed, I found out the problem would be stopped -- and am very glad my insider sources were correct! Here's the story you're not going to read about in the news...INSIDER SOURCES REVEAL WHAT REALLY HAPPENED (...) None of my insiders had absolute proof that this was deliberately sabotaged, but they all suspected it. That did not surprise me in the least. The most sickening thing I learned is that the New World Order forces originally were planning on allowing this gusher to continue without interruption. This way they could continue pursuing their goals of reducing the population of the planet. Furthermore, the crises could lead to massive migrations and even martial law to manage the chaos. Furthermore, every insider revealed that these power groups were licking their lips with delight at the idea that this crisis would force Obama out of office. There were at least three different camps competing for how they would use the resulting chaos to seize power of the United States. This has also been reflected in the latest disclosures from Benjamin Fulford, who is definitely talking to sources that have real insider information -- regardless of whether it all turns out to be true or not. Granted, we are still expecting some very significant economic changes this year -- and now they're hoping this will be their next big chance to get the results they are seeking. OVERSHOOTING THE TARGET As it turns out, the insiders realized that this event was far too catastrophic and cataclysmic for the Earth if they did not stop it. Most of this information has already appeared in the mainstream to some degree or another -- but the scope of the problem was extremely serious. I do not want to go into specifics as it might compromise the integrity of some of my sources. Suffice it to say that the things I heard about what would happen if they did not stop this were even worse than what most of the paranoid conspiracy sites were talking about. They no longer had a handy-dandy tool to pursue their sickening goals of population reduction. Instead, they had a situation that would destroy life on Earth for everyone if it was not stopped -- including their own friends, allies, wives and children. The decision was therefore made that any and all technologies available had to be implemented to stop the oil gusher. Some of the techniques now being used to insure it does not go any further, or get any worse, will never see the light of day. This includes, from what I am told, drilling technology that goes much, much faster than anything disclosed in the open world. Once relief wells access the area below where the ruptures are, the massive pressure of the oceans will push down all the cracks that have now formed in the rock and seal them back up. This will also collapse the 'dome' of rock that has formed around the area from the pressure as well -- but not fast enough to cause a tsunami, though we may get some decent waves. Suffice it to say that there are drilling technologies that can do in one day what BP says would take months to perform. If you think such a technology could build an underground bullet-train system across continents, and create new routes in very reasonable amounts of time, then you definitely are on the right track. CLIP

BP oil spill Corexit dispersants suspected in widespread crop damage (June 28, 2010)
(...) In a report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. titled "Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview" Corexit 9500 was found to be one of the most toxic dispersal agents ever developed. (...) It seems like damage brought by the oil gusher has spread way beyond the ocean, coastal areas and beaches. Collateral damage now appears to include agricultural damage way inland Mississippi.A mysterious "disease" has caused widespread damage to plants from weeds to farmed organic and conventionally grown crops. There is very strong suspicion that ocean winds have blown Corexit aerosol plumes or droplets and that dispersants have caused the unexplained widespread damage or "disease". CLIP

Scientists call on Obama to stop chem-spray (JULY 22, 2010)
“National and international professional and public outcry must be heard through halls of the White House to immediately stop chem-spraying in the Gulf of Mexico region and globally.” – Deborah Dupre’, B.Sci., MA.Sci., D.C.E., QMHP --
“[B]y dispersing the oil throughout the water column, this practice is making it impossible to recover the dispersed oil at the surface while plumes of the dispersed oil remain at depth, entering the food chain at many levels where it will bioaccumulate as it moves up the food chain. Dispersing the oil means more of it will likely travel with prevailing currents to destinations downstream, including Cuba, Mexico, the Florida Keys, and the eastern seaboard of the United States.” – Scientists Consensus Statement on the Use of Dipersants in the Gulf of Mexico, David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.
Over 100 scientists and academic institution, research laboratory, conservation organization leaders plus human rights defenders from as far away as Norway and Greece signed the Scientists Consensus Statement on the Use of Chemical Dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico calling for the Obama Administration to immediately halt chemical aerial spraying in the Gulf region. A public petition to end dispersant use is also gaining momentum. Non-consensual human experimentation -- Scientists expressing grave concern about the unprecedented aerial spraying of chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico region believe a large-scale, uncontrolled non-consensual human and environmental experiment is being conducted in the Gulf region according to reports sent to the writer including one from the “Ocean Doctor” David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D. Guggenheim is president of 1planet1ocean, a project of The Ocean Foundation of which he is a Senior Fellow.“Corexit aerial sprayed is one of the most toxic dispersants and one of the least effective on Louisiana crude oil,” states Guggenheim. “The mixture of Corexit and oil represents an even greater threat as the toxic effects are magnified according to independent scientists and researchers,”Guggenheim is inviting more scientists to support the immediate halt of the chemical spraying. “The dispersant-oil mixture is killing marine wildlife, including dolphins, whales and fish, while also causing a range of serious human health effects to those who have been exposed,” reads part of the statement that 1plant1ocean is calling more scientists to sign. CLIP

Experts: Health Hazards in Gulf Warrant Evacuations (22 July 2010)
When Louisiana residents ask marine toxicologist and community activist Riki Ott what she would do if she lived in the Gulf with children, she tells them she would leave immediately. "It's that bad. We need to start talking about who's going to pay for evacuations."In 1989, Ott, who lives in Cordova, Alaska, experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdex oil disaster. For the past two months, she's been traveling back and forth between Louisiana and Florida to gather information about what's really happening and share the lessons she learned about long-term illnesses and deaths of cleanup workers and residents. In late May, she began meeting people in the Gulf with symptoms like headaches, dizziness, sore throats, burning eyes, rashes and blisters that are so deep, they're leaving scars. People are asking, "What's happening to me?"She says the culprit is almost two million gallons of Corexit, the dispersant BP is using to break up and hide the oil below the ocean's surface. "It's an industrial solvent. It's a degreaser. It's chewing up boat engines off-shore. It's chewing up dive gear on-shore. Of course it's chewing up people's skin. The doctors are saying the solvents are making the oil worse." In a widely watched YouTube video, from Project Gulf Impact, a project that aims to give Gulf residents a voice, Chris Pincetich, a marine biologist and campaigner with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, said Coast Guard planes are flying overhead at night spraying Corexit on the water and on land. Ott says people who are experiencing discomfort of any kind, especially children, pregnant women, cancer survivors, asthma sufferers and African-Americans because they're prone to sickle cell anemia, should wear a respirator and see a doctor that specializes in chemical poisoning immediately. She also recommends contacting the detox specialists at The Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Texas. "People don't have the information to know that the burning sore throat is actually chemical poisoning," she said. "And this isn't getting any attention, but it's very important. There are no vaccinations for chemical poisoning. None."Because she's gotten to know the locals and has done a number of national media interviews, she's now receiving a barrage of daily phone calls and emails from people who are concerned and don't know where else to turn. She recommends they read this Sciencecorps resource about potential health hazards.
(...) Kaufman and Ott both say the media need to follow the money. The reason why the EPA is covering this up, they say, is because the cost to BP would be astronomical. "The dispersants hide the oil," said Ott. "If you put dispersants in the water, you don't know how much oil was really spilled. Oil fines are based on how much oil was spilled, so it's all about money."If a group listed as a terrorist organization had caused the oil disaster, Kaufman says their assets would be seized immediately and their members would be arrested. So, why hasn't the US government seized BP's assets? Kaufman points to an April Vanity Fair article about Larry Fink, one of the most powerful men on Wall Street. Fink's BlackRock money-management firm controls or monitors more than $12 trillion worldwide, including a billion shares of BP. According to the article, BlackRock "has effectively become the leading manager of Washington's bailout of Wall Street," thanks to Fink's close relationship with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner."It's all about money," says Kaufman. "Follow the money."So, where does this leave the people whose lives have been destroyed by this disaster? Where does this leave the people who will face long-term health problems? Where does this leave our oceans, wildlife and environment? What's next?
(...) Former shrimper Diane Wilson hopes to see more direct action. "This is a crisis. If this oil gusher does not move people to force a change in Washington, then it will never happen. We are seeing the end of the United States as we know it. If people hold their planet dear, they better be out there. Folks are too well behaved. We need to be unreasonable." - THIS IS A MUST READ ARTICLE - Watch the 2 videos as well!! This amounts to a crime against humanity and all life in the Gulf!!

How Will a Hurricane Affect the Oil Spill? (July 15, 2010)
Hurricane Alex provided a preview of the likely impacts of a hurricane on the ongoing oil spill (...) So what does a storm with the energy potential of 10,000 nuclear bombs do to an oil spill covering roughly 6,500 square kilometers? (...) Already, the EPA states on its Web site that the agency has detected "pollutants associated with oil," such as volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and hydrogen sulfide, in Gulf shore air in "low levels."And this polluted air and water vapor certainly will be carried to the near shore and left as an oily residue on everything from trees to electrical transformers, just as the salt from seawater often coats several kilometers inland in the wake of a hurricane. "If there's oil in the water, it will be coming along with it to some extent," says marine physicist Rick Luettich of the University of North Carolina. "I don't know how significant the impact will be."As of now, NOAA is predicting 14 to 23 named storms-the most tropical cyclones ever anticipated by the U.S. government agency in its several decades of forecasts. "A variety of things, all of which are conducive to the formation and propagation of tropical cyclones, are in place this year," Luettich says. "We have to look at the 2005 season. That is the only one we are aware of that seems to be comparable to what we're expecting could happen this year." In that year, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused their own dispersed oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico, along with devastating New Orleans and the Gulf Coast-and there were 28 storms, all told. In 2010, sea surface temperatures-the primary fuel of hurricanes-are already higher than in 2005. "It's actually at unprecedented levels," Greg Holland, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Earth System Laboratory, testified to Congress on June 30. "It's a combination of global warming and natural variability." CLIP

Oil companies pledge $1 billion to spill response system (July 21, 2010)
Four of the nation's largest oil companies said Wednesday they immediately will commit $1 billion to set up a rapid oil spill response system to deal with deep-water blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico.Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Shell said the system of underwater capture devices and surface containment vessels, similar to what BP is using now to control its Macondo well spill, will be designed to capture up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day before it spills into the sea from wells sitting in water as deep as 10,000 feet. (...) The initiative is the industry's signal that it's serious about remedying the problem and protecting the Gulf, Beeby said. "A billion dollars is a pretty significant investment."Not everyone is buying into the message."The industry is doing everything they can to reassure the public that they can continue drilling safely, but the truth is, they can't," said Kristina Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club. "Everywhere they drill, they're putting communities at risk for another disaster." 'Must do better' - The effort could backfire, too, depending on how Congress receives the plan, said Kevin Book, a research analyst with ClearView Energy Partners in Washington. "If a little is good, Congress could decide that more is better, so it may not be the end point of regulation, but the starting line, which would not be the goal of the industry," Book said.The U.S. Interior Department could interpret the proposal as acknowledgement that for the next 18 months, industry will be unable to respond to a deep-water spill, giving the government more justification for the moratorium, Book said.Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who chairs an energy and environment subcommittee, said Wednesday the proposed response system was only one possible tool in what must be a more robust kit." The proposal these companies are submitting is essentially the current BP cap system and plan for 100 percent collection of oil," Markey said. "While this could be a rapidly deployed system, the oil companies must do better than BP's current apparatus with a fresh coat of paint. The oil companies must also invest more in technologies that will prevent fatal blowouts in the first place."The oil companies' announcement comes as Congress queues up bills laying out stiffer offshore regulations and as lawmakers prepare for mid-term elections. "In August, the well will be killed and members will be campaigning, and it's very likely they will be going around campaigning about all the things that are wrong with the oil industry they are going to fix when they get back to Washington," Book said. "It seems a prudent and reasonable effort to try to stop that."

Matthew Simmons Discusses BP's Oil Leak in Gulf of Mexico (July 21, 2010)

The more oil spills change, the more they stay the same

Papantonio: BP Escrow Fund is a Sham - Pt. 1/2

Dr. David Valentine, PhD., Methane expert, explains what he learned while on a research ship in the Gulf this past month. The water can be coaxed to flame and methane levels 10,000 to 100,000 times the natural concentrations! 5%-35% Reduction of dissolved oxygen.100-200 foot, six to seven mile-long clouds of methane in the ocean. Natural gas content - methane, propane - elevated 10,000-100,000 fold over background levels. Floating, dead pyrosomes.

Oliver Stone: US should nationalize oil resources (July 20, 2010)
LONDON - The Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows that the United States should follow the example of South American socialists in nationalizing its energy industry, filmmaker Oliver Stone said Tuesday.The Academy Award-winning director of "Born on the Fourth of July" and "JFK" said that America's country's natural wealth was too important to be left in private hands, telling journalists in central London that oil and other natural resources "belong to the people." "This BP oil spill is typical" of what happens when private industry is allowed to draw revenue on what should be a public good, Stone said."We shouldn't make this kind of profit on oil or on health or on war or on prisons. All these industries should be public industries."Stone, 63, is in the British capital to promote his documentary, "South of the Border," which tells the story of firebrand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his left-wing Latin American allies. The 75-minute film is meant to draw attention to the social improvements ushered in by Chavez, who has nationalized vast swaths of Venezuela's economy, including important parts of the oil sector and big chunks of the banking, electric and steel industries. Bolivian leader Evo Morales, also interviewed by Stone for the documentary, has similarly expanded the state's control over the country's energy infrastructure. CLIP

Witness Cancellations Thwart Hearings on Oil Spill (July 20, 2010)
KENNER, La. - Government investigators looking into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion are colliding with a frequent obstacle: witnesses canceling their scheduled testimonies. So far, nine witnesses have withheld or delayed testimony here before a panel of federal government officials. Many were top-ranking officials aboard the rig, with critical roles in decisions that may have contributed to the disaster. (...) These delays have not stopped the investigation from unearthing new details about the final days of the rig. In Tuesday's hearings, investigators focused on equipment failures leading up to the explosion.A BP official, Ronald Sepulvado, a well-site leader, testified that BP continued drilling for oil in the days before the disaster despite internal reports of a leak on a safety device on the rig.Mr. Sepulvado said he reported the problem to senior company officials and assumed it would be relayed to the Minerals Management Service, the predecessor to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which regulates offshore drilling. The leak was on a control pod connected to the blowout preventer, an emergency mechanism that failed to activate after the April 20 disaster. CLIP

Official: 'Severe threat' as China oil spill grows
China's largest reported oil spill more than doubled in size to 165 sq. miles (430 sq. kilometers) by Wednesday, forcing nearby beaches to close and prompting one official to warn of a "severe threat" to sea life and water quality. The oil slick started spreading five days ago when a pipeline at a busy northeastern port exploded, sparking a massive fire that took more than 15 hours to contain. Hundreds of boats have been deployed to help with the cleanup. At least one person has been killed in those efforts, a 25-year-old firefighter, Zhang Liang, who drowned Tuesday after a wave threw him from a vessel and pushed him out to sea, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Another man who also fell in was rescued. Beaches near Dalian, once named China's most livable city, were closing as oil started reaching their shores, Xinhua reported. "The oil spill will pose a severe threat to marine animals, and water quality, and the sea birds," Huang Yong, deputy bureau chief for Dalian, China Maritime Safety Administration, told Dragon TV. The environmental group Greenpeace China released several photographs this week showing oil-slicked rocky beaches, a man covered in thick black sludge up to his cheekbones. One worker, covered in oil, was being carried away by a colleague, but he was not identified. The amount of oil spilled in the explosion was still not clear Wednesday, though China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons. That would amount roughly to 400,000 gallons (1,500,000 liters) - as compared with 94 million to 184 million gallons in the BP oil spill off the U.S. coast. CLIP


Message de Pierre Rabhi

L'insurrection de Pierre Rabhi

Pierre Rabhi et la sobriété heureuse

Vers la sobriété heureuse

Charte internationale pour la Terre et l'Humanisme
Pour signer la charte aller au site de Colibri ci-dessous

Colibri - Mouvement pour la Terre et l'humanisme
Voir notamment http://www.colibris-lemouvement.org/index.php/TH/Pierre-Rabhi pour y découvrir un bref aperçu de chacun de ses 10 livres

Le sens du sacré
En quelques points, le sens du sacré c'est : se sentir relié aux autres et à la nature dans la solidarité et la complémentarité ; porter les valeurs de la tolérance, de l'entraide, et de la coopération ; être pleinement présent à chaque instant que nous vivons ;responsabiliser notre existence avec honnêteté, sincérité et douceur ; incarner nos engagements et nos valeurs dans les actes simples et quotidiens ; garder confiance quels que soient les évènements que nous traversons, tirer les éléments positifs des épreuves et les leçons qui nous seront utiles pour avancer ;nous laisser surprendre par les cadeaux de la vie ;CLIP

Pierre Rabhi : « Manifeste pour la terre et l'humanisme »
Nicolas Hulot nous dit : « Il faut écouter cet homme là ! » Pierre Rabhi, pionnier de l'agriculture biologique est enchanté par la vie. Son expérience avec la nature nous invite à ouvrir les yeux : la crise planétaire conduit à une récession mondiale économique aux conséquences imprévisibles. « Changer pour ne pas disparaître » dit Pierre Rabhi. Prendre conscience de l'inconscience individuellement pour construire les bases d'une nouvelle époque de mieux être.Depuis plus de 40 ans, Pierre Rabhi s'engage à concilier l'homme avec la nature. Ses messages écologistes et humanistes transmettent une volonté d'action pour changer : - Respecter la terre comme planète à laquelle nous devons la vie - Favoriser l'avènement d'un humanisme planétaire. CLIP

Pierre Rabhi (Français)

Le blog de Pierre Rabhi

Pierre Rabhi (English)

Aidons nos enfants à devenir eux-mêmes Par Pierre Rabhi - 14 avril 2010
Réussir, qu'est-ce que cela signiŽe ? On peut avoir réussi socialement et échoué humainement. Et, dans les temps incertains que nous vivons, même la réussite sociale n'est plus garantie. Aujourd'hui, je ne me vois pas dire à mes enfants : « Travaille bien et tu réussiras. » Je ne l'ai d'ailleurs jamais fait.
Notre système éducatif conforme l'humain aux compétences dont la société a besoin. Il s'agit de les adapter à un « programme », à une « carrière ». Je crois davantage à une pédagogie qui accompagne l'enfant dans la connaissance de lui-même. Notre rôle est de lui dire : « Trouve ta place », sans le pousser dans le sens où nous voudrions qu'il aille. De grandes contestations, telle celle de 1968, correspondent à ce refus d'une éducation ressentie comme n'étant plus en accord avec les aspirations de toute une génération. Aujourd'hui, une autre forme de contestation se fait sentir à travers la multiplication d'écoles alternatives, à l'initiative de parents convaincus que la réforme de la société ne peut se faire sans une réforme de l'enseignement. Il est urgent d'éradiquer ce principe de compétition qui place l'enfant, dès sa scolarité, dans une rivalité terrible avec les autres et lui laisse croire que s'il n'est pas le meilleur, il va rater sa vie. Beaucoup répondent à cette insécurité par une accumulation stupide de richesses, ou par le déploiement d'une violence qui vise à dominer l'autre, que l'on croit devoir surpasser. Aujourd'hui, on est tout Žer lorsqu'un enfant de 5 ans sait manipuler la souris de l'ordinateur et compter parfaitement. Très bien. Mais trop d'enfants accèdent à l'abstraction aux dépens de leur intériorité, et se retrouvent décalés par rapport à la découverte de leur vraie vocation. Dans notre jeune âge, nous appréhendons la réalité avec nos sens, pas avec des concepts abstraits. Prendre connaissance de soi, c'est d'abord prendre connaissance de son corps, de sa façon d'écouter, de se nourrir, de regarder, c'est ainsi que l'on accède à ses émotions et à ses désirs. Quel dommage que l'intellect prime à ce point sur le travail manuel. Nos mains sont des outils magniŽques, capables de construire une maison, de jouer une sonate, de donner de la tendresse. Offrons à nos enfants ce printemps où l'on goûte le monde, où l'on consulte son âme pour pouvoir déŽnir, petit à petit, ce à quoi l'on veut consacrer sa vie. Offrons-leur l'épreuve de la nature, du travail de la terre, des saisons. L'intelligence humaine n'a pas de meilleure école que celle de l'intelligence universelle qui la précède et se manifeste dans la moindre petite plante, dans la diversité, la complexité, la continuité du vivant.

Les pleins pouvoirs de l'argent
« Quand le dernier arbre aura été abattu, la dernière rivière empoisonnée, le dernier poisson pêché, alors vous découvrirez que l'argent ne se mange pas. » dit un proverbe indien. Durant des millénaires, les communautés humaines ne connaissaient pas l'argent et dépendaient directement des ressources naturelles de leur milieu. C'est encore vrai aujourd'hui mais la technlogie masque cette dépendance. D'abord inventé pour réguler les échanges et le troc, l'argent a acquis dans la société technico-industrielle un pouvoir totalitaire. D'un moyen au service des humains, l'argent n'est-il pas aujourd'hui devenu gangraine et simple serviteur d'un système destructeur ? Représente-t-il toujours des richesses véritables ou s'est-il déconnecté du réel et du vivant ? Si l'argent a acquis aujourd'hui davantage de pouvoir qu'une carte électorale, n'est-il pas pas envisageable de l'utiliser avec conscience et éthique pour contribuer à la construction d'un monde plus juste et plus respectueux ? En résumé, ne pas donner les pleins pouvoirs à l'argent c'est : avoir conscience que l'argent n'est qu'un moyen au service des humains ; ne pas oublier que la croissance du PIB peut être accompagnée d'une croissance de la pauvreté, des exclusions et du mal-être ; consommer moins pour vivre mieux, limiter le superflu et opter pour une sobriété heureuse ; incarner une nouvelle logique basée sur la revalorisation de l'économie informelle ; expérimenter de nouveaux modes de vie basés sur le retour à la terre, la sobriété, l'échange, l'entraide et la coopération.


Pakistan warns of further floods (AUGUST 04, 2010)
Pakistan has issued new flood warnings, as heavy rains are expected to inflict more misery on areas where at least 1,500 people have already been killed and 980,000 more have lost their homes. The latest downpour on Tuesday threatened to overwhelm a dam in the country's northwest, while the waters surged through dozens of villages in Punjab, the most populous province.Nadeem Ahmad, chairman of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, estimated that roughly three million people were now affected by floods in the country - 1.5 million in the northwest and the same number in Punjab. An emergency cabinet meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday to estimate the damages, expected to run into millions of dollars, and expedite the relief effort. The rush of water spilling from rivers in Punjab has threatened to destroy vast areas of crops, prompting the United Nations to warn that an estimated 1.8 million people might need food aid in the coming weeks. Water levels were so high in large tracts of the Kot Addu area and parts of the south of the province that only treetops and uppermost floors of some buildings were visible. CLIP

Pakistanis' Anger Grows as Flood Damage Mounts (August 2, 2010)
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The damage from Pakistan's worst floods in generations mounted on Monday as rescue operations continued and public fury rose in the country's most volatile province. The official death toll remains under 800, but on Monday the minister of information in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, formerly the North-West Frontier Province, estimated the true number to be 1,500. Another provincial official said 1.4 million people had lost their homes. As much as 70 percent of the region's livestock is gone.The displaced are clustered in hundreds of schools, largely fending for themselves for food and drinking water. Pakistani television channels showed survivors voicing venomous anger toward a government that has provided little immediate aid. CLIP - See photos of the flood HERE

Pakistan Flood Toll Exceeds 1,500 as Officials Struggle to Reach Survivors (Aug 2, 2010)
Pakistan's deadliest floods in decades killed more than 1,500 people and overwhelmed government efforts to provide aid, officials and relief workers said. With President Asif Ali Zardari touring Europe, the government said it was rushing help to the devastated northwestern province, where the army has fought Taliban guerrillas. Islamic militant groups in the region and the U.S. government both have built public support in the past by providing assistance to bolster government attempts. Monsoon rains will continue for the next few days after ripping out bridges, roads and villages since late last week, said Nasir Khan, a Meteorological Department official in the provincial capital, Peshawar. Regions downstream in the Indus River valley, where most of Pakistan's 162 million people live, braced for floods that may damage crops, according to the nation's biggest agriculture body.More than 1,500 people have died in Pakistan's northwestern province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said Noor Muhammad, a press officer for the provincial development ministry.Government and private relief agencies are managing to provide "only 5 percent of what's required," Mujahid Khan, provincial spokesman for the Edhi Foundation, which runs Pakistan's largest ambulance and rescue services, said by phone from Peshawar. Pakistani television channels showed flood survivors gathered at roadsides, seeking transport to nearby towns. Army Rescue - Pakistani soldiers in the flood-scoured Swat Valley "are rescuing people from the water by helicopter," said Zahid Khan, 55, president of the hotel association in Mingora, the valley's main town. "But the government has sent no help for people who lost their homes and they are camping wherever they can with no drinking water," he said by phone.Islamic militant activists distributed aid packages in the northwestern town of Charsadda, outside Peshawar, the Associated Press reported. An earthquake in 2005 that killed about 86,000 people exposed the government's inadequacy in providing relief as the U.S. and Islamic militants raced to fill the gap. CLIP - More related news HERE

Obama blocked on climate (July 24, 2010)
BARACK Obama's push for bold climate change legislation to curb US carbon emissions has been abandoned, after leaders of his Democratic Party accepted they lacked enough votes in the Senate.The decision means that a comprehensive climate change bill sought by the US President is unlikely to be passed before mid-term congressional elections in November, as he wanted.And Mr Obama's hopes of passing any such legislation in his first term to combat greenhouse gases could be dashed.It is widely expected that Democrats will lose many seats in this year's mid-term elections, threatening their majorities and potentially jeopardising further support for the presidential agenda, including climate change.With Republicans standing as a united bloc against legislation to introduce an emissions target and a cap-and-trade scheme, the Obama administration is left in a similar predicament to Labor in Australia after the Rudd government's bill was rejected in the Senate. Some in the administration still hope to revive the legislation this year, although the preoccupation of congress members has already shifted to election campaigning. CLIP

Climate Bill, R.I.P. (July 21, 2010)
Instead of taking the fight to big polluters, President Obama has put global warming on the back burner -- A comprehensive energy and climate bill – the centerpiece of President Obama's environmental agenda – is officially dead. Take it from the president's own climate czar, Carol Browner. "What is abundantly clear," she told Rolling Stone in an exclusive interview on July 8th, "is that an economy-wide program, which the president has talked about for years now, is not doable in the Senate." But the failure to confront global warming – central not only to Obama's presidency but to the planet itself – is not the Senate's alone. Rather than press forward with a climate bill in the Senate last summer, after the House had passed landmark legislation to curb carbon pollution, the administration repeated many of the same mistakes it made in pushing for health care reform. It refused to lay out its own plan, allowing the Senate to bicker endlessly over the details. It pursued a "stealth strategy" of backroom negotiations, supporting huge new subsidies to win over big polluters. It allowed opponents to use scare phrases like "cap and tax" to hijack public debate. And most galling of all, it has failed to use the gravest environmental disaster in the nation's history to push through a climate bill – to argue that fossil-fuel polluters should pay for the damage they are doing to the atmosphere, just as BP will be forced to pay for the damage it has done to the Gulf. Top environmental groups, including Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, are openly clashing with the administration, demanding that Obama provide more hands-on leadership to secure a meaningful climate bill. "We really need the president to take the lead and tell us what bill he's going to support," says Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. "If he doesn't do that, then everything he's done so far will lead to nothing." But Obama, so far, has shown no urgency on the issue, and little willingness to lead – despite a June poll showing that 76 percent of Americans believe the government should limit climate pollution. With hopes for an economy-wide approach to global warming dashed, Congress is now weighing a scaled-back proposal that would ratchet down carbon pollution from the nation's electric utilities. It has come to this: The best legislation we can hope for is the same climate policy that George W. Bush promoted during the 2000 campaign. Even worse, the "utilities first" approach could wind up stripping the EPA of its newfound authority to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. CLIP

Senate Obstructionism Leads to Abject Failure on Energy and Climate (July 22, 2010)
A minority of Senators has blocked the United States Senate from protecting our children’s and our country’s future. Because of their denial and obstructionism, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today that the Senate cannot take up comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation at this time. This is an abject failure, one that rests in the hands of the Senate Republican Leadership and a small cluster of Democratic Senators. These short-sighted few are failing to invest in job-producing clean energy, failing to secure us from despotic regimes that sell oil and failing to confront runaway global warming. They are fiddling while Rome burns. Their failure means that we will continue to send a billion dollars a day overseas to buy oil, that China will continue to race ahead in creating the jobs of the future and that pollution will continue to increase at home. In short, as our colleagues at Clean Energy Works said this afternoon, “China will get more of our jobs, the Middle East more of our money and Americans will be left with fewer jobs and more pollution.”We are in the midst of the hottest year on record, and the number of natural disasters has more than doubled since 1980. Meanwhile, a new NRDC study shows that 1 out of every 3 U.S. counties will face water shortages by the year 2050. This is the future that a handful of Senators would leave our children.Instead of dealing with the disastrous economic, health, and security consequences of unchecked climate change, these politically motivated senators are using a filibuster to thwart the will of the majority in the House, the Senate, and the American public who want to solve global warming with clean energy investments that will unleash hundreds of billions in investment to create good jobs and insure our global competitiveness. This kind of political gamesmanship is not what American needs right now. We need to confront this crisis.The pollution that causes global warming is a gusher many times the size of the Gulf oil spill. Long after the Deepwater Horizon well is finally killed, we will regret the Senate’s failure this summer to cap carbon pollution. And we will remember these politicians very unkindly. CLIP

Fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables, figures show (3 August 2010)
Despite repeated pledges to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and criticism from some quarters that government support for renewable energy technologies is too generous, global subsidies provided to renewable energy and biofuels are dwarfed by those enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry.That is the conclusion of a major report released late last week by analyst Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which analyses subsidies and incentive schemes offered globally to developers of renewable energy and biofuel technologies and projects.The report concludes that in 2009 governments provided subsidies worth between $43bn (£27bn) and $46bn to renewable energy and biofuel industries, including support provided through feed-in tariffs, renewable energy credits, tax credits, cash grants and other direct subsidies.In contrast, estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA) released in June showed that $557bn was spent by governments during 2008 to subsidise the fossil fuel industry. Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said the study revealed that investors reluctant to finance renewable energy industries because they believe them to be heavily subsidised were operating under a misapprehension."One of the reasons the clean energy sector is starved of funding is because mainstream investors worry that renewable energy only works with direct government support," he said. "Setting aside the fact that in many cases clean energy competes on its own merits – for instance in the case of well-situated wind farms and Brazilian sugarcane ethanol – this analysis shows that the global direct subsidy for fossil fuels is around 10 times the subsidy for renewables."However, the report predicted that the gap between fossil fuel and renewable energy subsidies should "narrow considerably" this year as support for renewable and biofuels increases as a result of green government stimulus packages worth an estimated $188bn, and fossil fuel subsidies operated by countries such as China are cut in line with falling oil prices.The study said sizeable renewable energy subsidy schemes were emerging, with the US providing $18.2bn in renewable energy and biofuel subsidies in 2009, China offering direct subsidies worth $2bn alongside low-interest loans from state banks, and Germany providing about $19.5bn worth of support through its widely adopted feed-in tariff scheme.However, the report will further increase pressure on G20 countries to make good on their recent pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies – a move that the IEA believes could single-handedly slash global carbon emissions by up to seven per cent.

Report: 97 percent of scientists say man-made climate change is real (June 22, 2010)
Forget the four out of five dentists who recommend Trident…. Try the 97 out of 100 scientists that believe in man-made climate change.This data comes from a new survey out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The study found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is "very likely" caused mainly by human activity. The report is based on questions posed to 1,372 scientists. Nearly all the experts agreed that it is "very likely that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth's average global temperature in the second half of the twentieth century." As for the 3 percent of scientists who remain unconvinced, the study found their average expertise is far below that of their colleagues, as measured by publication and citation rates.In the study, the authors wrote: "This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change."(...) The report comes as the Earth continues to sizzle in 2010. So far, through May, 2010 is the warmest year ever recorded, according to the National Climatic Data Center. CLIP

Report: 2000s were warmest decade on record, global warming 'undeniable' (July 28, 2010) http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/07/global-warming-undeniable-2000s-were-warmest-decade-on-record/1
Excellent timing, NOAA. As the nation swelters through what will likely be one of the hottest months in U.S. history, a new report released today by federal government scientists says that the decade from 2000-2009 was the Earth's warmest on record. Global weather records go back to 1880. The new climate report, entitled the 2009 State of the Climate, also states that "global warming is undeniable." Each of the last three decades has been much warmer than the decade before, it reports. At the time, the 1980 was the hottest decade on record. In the 1990s, every year was warmer than the average of the previous decade. And the 2000s were warmer still. Specifically, the decade of the 2000s had a surface global temperature that was 0.96°F above the long-term (20th century) average. This shattered the 1990s value of 0.65°F above average, according to Thomas C. Patterson, chief scientist at the National Climatic Data Center. The report was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The report focused on 10 indicators of a warming world, seven which are increasing and three declining. Rising over the decades are average air temperature, the ratio of water vapor to air, ocean heat content, sea-surface temperature, sea level, air temperature over the ocean and air temperature over land. Indicators that are declining are snow cover, glaciers and sea ice. "The temperature increase of one degree Fahrenheit over the past 50 years may seem small, but it has already altered our planet," said Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report and chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of the data center. "Glaciers and sea ice are melting, heavy rainfall is intensifying and heat waves are more common," he says. Last month was the warmest June on record and this year has had the warmest average temperature for January-June since record keeping began, NOAA reported last week.

China overtakes US as world's biggest energy consumer (3 August 2010)
(...) The giant 250 metre-long screen at The Place retail centre is one of the most conspicuous symbols of an increasingly affluent and energy-hungry nation, which was said last week to have overtaken the United States as the biggest consumer of energy in the world. According to the respected International Energy Agency, China's use of coal, oil, wind and other sources of power more than doubled in the past decade to reach the equivalent of 2.26bn tonnes of oil in 2009, creeping past the US total of 2.17bn tonnes. This is a major turning point. Energy use is closely related to carbon dioxide emissions, economic expansion and the global balance of power. The US has been the world's biggest energy user since records began.The Chinese government has challenged the figure, but the trend is unmistakable. While most developed nations suffered flat or negative economic – and energy – growth last year, China's GDP rose by 8.7%, putting it on course to soon overtake Japan as the world's second biggest economy, and its emissions – already the highest of any nation – increased 9%, while those of most industrialised nations fell. The bulk of China's energy demand comes from industry and infrastructure, but individual consumption is also rising, albeit from a low base. China has a great deal of ground to make up before it can provide its 1.3bn citizens with a lifestyle comparable to those in the US or Europe. But its people are plugging in more air conditioners, microwave ovens, TV sets and computers than ever before. They are also driving more vehicles. Last year, China surpassed the US as the country that sold the most new cars. Cityscapes are being transformed. Several Beijing skyscrapers have transformed themselves into 30- and 40-storey LED screens in the wake of the ancient capital's Olympic makeover into a super-modern urban metropolis. CLIP

Are our oceans dying? Phytoplankton has declined 40% in 60 years as figures reveal Earth has been getting hotter since the Eighties (30th July 2010)
Microscopic marine algae which form the basis of the ocean food chain are dying at a terrifying rate, scientists said today. Phytoplankton, described as the 'fuel' on which marine ecosystems run, are experiencing declines of about 1 per cent of the average total a year.According to the researchers from Dalhousie University in Canada the annual falls translate to a 40 per cent drop in phytoplankton since 1950. The research into phytoplankton comes as a separate report today offered evidence that the world has been warming for the past 30 years. The reduction in the amount of algae in the seas could have an impact on a wide range of species, from tiny zooplankton to marine mammals, seabirds, fish and humans. If confirmed, the decline of the phytoplankton would be a more dramatic change change to nature's delicate balance than the loss of the tropical rainforests, scientist said. The research, published in the journal Nature, said the declines were linked to rising sea-surface temperatures and changes in the conditions of the ocean, particularly close to the equator. Most of the declines were seen in polar and tropical regions and in the open ocean, where most phytoplankton are produced. CLIP CHECK ALSO Scientists warn of global warming threat to marine food chain

Ocean Losing Its Green (July 31, 2010)
The oceans are the lifeblood of our planet and plankton its red blood cells. Those vital "red blood cells" have declined more than 40 percent since 1950 and the rate of decline is increasing due to climate change, scientists reported this week."Phytoplankton are a critical part of our planetary life support system. They produce half of the oxygen we breathe, draw down surface CO2, and ultimately support all of our fisheries," said Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University and one of the world's leading experts on the global oceans. "An ocean with less phytoplankton will function differently," said Worm, the co-author of a new study on plankton published this week in Nature. Plankton are the equivalent of grass, trees and other plants that make land green, says study co-author Marlon Lewis, an oceanographer at Dalhousie. "It is frightening to realise we have lost nearly half of the ocean's green plants," Lewis told IPS. "It looks like the rate of decline is increasing," he said. Climate change is warming the oceans about 0.2C per decade on average. This warmer water tends to stay on top because it is lighter and essentially sits on top of a layer of colder water. This layering, or stratification, is a problem for light-loving plankton because they can only live in the top 100 to 200 meters. Eventually they run out of nutrients to feed on unless the cold, deeper waters mix with those near the surface. Ocean stratification has been widely observed in the past decade and is occurring in more and larger areas of the world's oceans. Phytoplankton or plankton are very small algae that live near the surface of oceans and form the basis of the marine food web. The unheralded plankton tribe may be the hardest- working group of organisms on the planet. Not only do they feed nearly everything living in the oceans, they absorb and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, they also play a key role in cloud formation. Plankton give off dimethyl sulfide, a chemical which floats to the ocean's surface, evaporates, breaking down into sulfur compounds that become the nuclei around which clouds form. Without plankton, the Earth would be a very different planet. CLIP

U.S. worried more secret documents may be released (July 30, 2010) CHECK WHAT GORDON DUFF SAYS FURTHER BELOW IN WIKI-LEAKS IS ISRAEL, LIKE WE ALL DIDN'T KNOW...
(Reuters) - U.S. officials are worried about what other secret documents the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks may possess and have tried to contact the group without success to avoid their release, the State Department said on Friday. The shadowy group publicly released more than 90,000 U.S. Afghan war records spanning a six-year period on Sunday. The group also is thought to be in possession of tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables passed to it by an Army intelligence analyst, media reports have said. (...) Assange told the BBC World Service in an interview that Wikileaks had held back the remaining 15,000 papers to protect innocent people from harm, and was reviewing them at the rate of about 1,000 a day. He did not say if and when they would be published. Assange hit back at comments from Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday, that Wikileaks "might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family." He accused Defense Secretary Robert Gates of attacking Wikileaks to "distract attention from the daily deaths of civilians and others in Afghanistan." "There is real blood in Afghanistan, and it has come about as a result of the policies of Mr Gates and the Obama administration and the general conflict in the region," Assange said. CLIP

WikiLeaks 'has blood on its hands' over Afghan war logs, claim US officials (30 July 2010)
(...) Assange said today that they had tried to comply with a private White House request to redact the names of informants before publication. But the US authorities had refused to assist them. He said in a statement: "Secretary Gates speaks about hypothetical blood, but the grounds of Iraq and Afghanistan are covered with real blood."Thousands of children and adults had been killed and the US could have announced a broad inquiry into these killings, "but he decided to treat these issues with contempt''. He said: "This behaviour is unacceptable. We will continue to expose abuses by this administration and others." Meanwhile, both US and UK authorities remained silent about the disclosures in the 92,000 war log files that hundreds of civilians have been killed or wounded by coalition forces in unreported or previously under-reported incidents. The Ministry of Defence withdrew promises to make an official statement about US allegations that two units of British troops had caused exceptional loss of civilian life. MoD sources said that at least 15 of the 21 alleged cases had now been confirmed, but they were unable to say what investigations had subsequently taken place, or when they would now make a statement. A detachment of the Coldstream Guards was newly arrived in Kabul when innocent civilians were shot on four separate occasions in October-November 2007. Several different companies of Royal Marine commands are alleged to have shot civilians who came "too close" to convoys or patrols on eight occasions in Helmand province during the six-month period ending in March 2008. Sources said that the then Labour foreign secretary, David Miliband, was so concerned about civilian deaths that he helped push forward a UN resolution in 2008, setting up an UN system to monitor such casualties. But it does not function effectively, according to the independent Human Rights Watch. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported 828 civilian deaths in 2008, thanks to "pro-government forces", saying force protection incidents, "are of continuing concern", where innocent drivers, car passengers or motorcyclists, are shot by passing troops. CLIP - CHECK ALSO Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010 AND http://wikileaks.org/

(...) Did anyone ask why nothing was reported in 90,000 pages regarding the massive drug dealing in Afghanistan? With stories in the press around the world reporting that President Karzai and his brother are the biggest druglords in the world, why would this not be mentioned? Is it because Karzai is a good friend of the Indo-Israeli alliance that runs Wiki-leaks? Classified Army documents are filled to the brim with reports that the CIA and their private contractors are involved in drug operations with Karzai but also other names are named including many prominent Americans, some members of congress. I won't leak their names but I know they are in the documents. If Wiki got what they say they got, then most of their documents would have reported corruption, drug dealing, governments of a dozen countries would have been mentioned. If real leaks were made public and we did something about it, first by arresting the gangsters and spies filling congress, the White House and every federal agency, we might balance our budget but who would be left to do the Sunday morning talk shows? If you want the names of those who would really be on leaked documents, check your TV listings. It isn't a coincidence. Those chosen to lie on television are also being paid for other duties as well. Israel would have been cited for laundering drug money for the Taliban. It is in the documents. I didn't release them. That is illegal.
(...) When Joe Biden and General Petraeus both reported that Israel was endangering American troops, the classified portion of this involved Israeli operations in Afghanistan, which are extensive. Why would General Petraeus have gone to congress about Israel if he didn't have documents? We couldn't manage to leak those also? They are all over Washington, anyone could pick them up. They just don't. Ask Oliver Stone why.Hundreds of pages of reports of Israeli and Indian operatives in Pakistan's region called Baluchistan were tossed out also. Their involvement in terrorism, not only against Iran but working directly with the Taliban in Pakistan was there but not included. So much wasn't included. Nothing involving drug flights being serviced by Israeli companies was released. It was in the files. If we really want to leak things, they are out there. It can get bloody. Wikileaks leaves a trail of stench from Mr. Assange right to Tel Aviv. If anyone couldn‚t see it, the corporate press or the Israeli press or the Zionist press or whatever the current buzz word is for the useless press, they put you on the path. They are the ones putting a spotlight on the disinformation and failing miserably to note how obviously the leaks have been edited to serve Israeli games. Wikileaks is Israel. Assange works for them, I hope not unwittingly. I hate it when people are duped. I would rather he were paid or being blackmailed. I always want the useless to be rewarded in this life because, just in case their is another one after this, they know what they can expect there. It won't be pleasant. I didn't want to write this, add to the problem. Even negative publicity is publicity. Every time I am attacked, my readership goes up dramatically. It almost encourages one to be abrasive and unnecessarily controversial, like with Fox News.Let‚s cut this short. Wikileaks is simply another ploy by the ultra powerful Israel lobby, a cheap game meant to humiliate the United States, destroy Pakistan and build a reputation for a puppet. I suspect it will fail. I hope this effort is useful in that endeavor.

No, No, No More Afghanistan War Funding
In the wake of 90,000 leaked documents finally exposing the truth of how completely misguided the occupation of Afghanistan is, and how badly it's really going, the New York Times is reporting that"In Congress, House leaders were rushing to hold a vote on a critical war-financing bill as early as Tuesday, fearing that the disclosures could stoke Democratic opposition to the measure." The truth WOULD tend to put a crimp in continuing hideously bad policy, so of course they want to rush to extend the bad policy even more, before even more truth comes out. Well, we the people have our own urgent message for Congress. Stop it. Stop it cold. Stop it now. Or don't count on being in office after the next election. CLIP

Poll: Waning support for Obama on wars (August 2, 2010)
WASHINGTON - Public support for President Obama's Afghanistan war policy has plummeted amid a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows. Support for Obama's management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.The decline in support contributed to the lowest approval ratings of Obama's presidency. Amid a lengthy recession, more Americans support his handling of the economy (39%) than the war. Even Obama's handling of the war in Iraq received record-low approval, despite a drawdown of 90,000 troops and the planned, on-schedule end of U.S. combat operations there this month. Those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday disapproved 53-41% of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest ratings since he took office in January 2009. Those ratings change daily; his approval in Gallup's daily tracking poll Monday was back up to 45%.The waning support for the Afghanistan war coincides with the deaths of a record 66 U.S. service members in July, up from 60 in June. As the last of 30,000 reinforcements ordered by Obama enter the country, the international military force is encountering heavy Taliban resistance in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand. "It's hard to find any positive news that would boost public opinion," says Richard Eichenberg of Tufts University, who studies presidential polling and foreign policy. The drop in support also follows the online posting of more than 76,000 documents by WikiLeaks.org. Two-thirds of those polled said it was wrong for the website to publish the documents. Obama said Monday he will stick to his war plan - training Afghans to provide their own security, then beginning to withdraw troops in July 2011. The poll showed most Americans agree: 57% want a timetable for removing troops, and two-thirds of those say withdrawal should be done gradually. CLIP

Russia, Afghanistan and Star Wars (July 30, 2010)
Russia's accommodation of the US and NATO continues apace, with new support of the Afghan war and even missile defence, notes Eric Walberg. The Atlantists are on the ascendant these days in Moscow. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's hamburger lunch with United States President Barack Obama during his visit to Silicon Valley last month apparently left a pleasant taste in his mouth. Now relations with NATO are on the mend, as Russia plans to send 27 Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan, NATO Military Committee Chairman Giampaolo di Paola said after a meeting with Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov last Friday. Rosoboronexport has even offered to throw in the first three helicopters for free. Makarov went further, telling di Paola that Russia was now ready to work with NATO "to pool efforts to find solutions to contemporary challenges and threats to international security".
(...) What accounts for this sudden effusion of East-West friendship, after years of complaining about NATO encirclement and missile bases in Poland? Obama's more accommodating tone and NATO's pause in its eastward march has clearly mollified the Russians. It also looks like disagreements over Ukrainian/ Georgian membership in NATO and South Ossetian/ Abkhazian independence are all on the backburner now as the US sinks deeper and deeper into its Afghan quagmire. Russia backs the losing war there because it is very worried about the prospects of a Taliban victory. Better a pro-US dictatorship than another Islamic neighbour. Besides, the helicopter deal (and who knows what else?) will replace its $1 billion loss on Iranian missile sales.
(...) Whatever happens in Afghanistan and Belarus, Medvedev's two greatest wishes now are to get SALT through the US senate and to pave the way for Russia to join Europe. To clinch this westward reorientation, there are now signs that Russia will do the unthinkable: work with the US on missile defence. In a New York Times oped, ex-Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov and ex-German US ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, co-chairmen of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative Commission, joined former senator Sam Nunn in calling for "North America, Europe and Russia to make defence of the entire Euro-Atlantic region against potential ballistic missile attack a joint priority". They propose the creation of a "more inclusive and better-defended Euro-Atlantic community ... what national leaders in their moment of hope at the Cold War‚s close spoke of as a 'Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals whole and free for the first time in 300 years'." Acceding to US plans for missile defence will kill Medvedev's two birds with one stone. The NYT oped panders to Russian self-image by calling for the US, EU and Russia to "undertake as equal parties to design from the ground up a common architecture to deal with the threat". It soothingly assures us that a joint Starwars will "aid progress in bolstering the nuclear nonproliferation regime". Left out of the equation is the glaring fact that a world encircled by hair-trigger missiles is more likely to be a trigger for war than peace, that the whole point of Starwars is to create facts-on-the-ground for the US empire which will allow it to dictate just what kind of world order is acceptable. As for boosting the NPT, the only way to discourage countries from emulating the nuclear powers is for them to give up their deadly weapons and stop threatening the world with them. It is naive of Russia to think it will be able to veto, say, a war on Iran or some other "offender" of what the US deems to be OK, or that countries threatened by US invasion will stop trying to acquire weapons that will make the US think twice. CLIP

Money Laundering and the Global Drug Trade are Fueled by the Capitalist Elites (2010-07-20)
When investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker broke the story four years ago that a DC-9 (N900SA) "registered to a company which once used as its address the hangar of Huffman Aviation, the flight school at the Venice, Florida Airport which trained both terrorist pilots who crashed planes into the World Trade Center, was caught in Campeche by the Mexican military ... carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine destined for the U.S.," it elicited a collective yawn from corporate media. And when authorities searched the plane and found its cargo consisted solely of 128 identical black suitcases marked "private," packed with cocaine valued at more than $100 million, the silence was deafening.But now a Bloomberg Markets magazine report, "Wachovia's Drug Habit," reveals that drug traffickers bought that plane, and perhaps fifty others, "with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.," Wachovia and Bank of America. The Justice Department charge sheet against the bank tells us that between 2003 and 2008, Wachovia handled $378. 4 billion for Mexican currency exchanges, "the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history." "A sum" Bloomberg averred, equal to one-third of Mexico's current gross domestic product." Since 2006, some 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence. Thousands more have been wounded, countless others "disappeared," torture and illegal imprisonment is rampant. In a frightening echo of the Reagan administration's anti-communist jihad in Central America during the 1980s, the Bush and now, Obama administration has poured fuel on the fire with some $1.4 billion in "War on Drugs" funding under Plan Mérida. Much of that "aid" is destined to purchase military equipment for repressive police, specialized paramilitary units and the Mexican Army. There is also evidence of direct U.S. military involvement. In June, The Narco News Bulletin reported that "a special operations task force under the command of the Pentagon is currently in place south of the border providing advice and training to the Mexican Army in gathering intelligence, infiltrating and, as needed, taking direct action against narco-trafficking organizations."One former U.S. government official told investigative journalist Bill Conroy, "'Black operations have been going on forever. The recent [mainstream] media reports about those operations under the Obama administration make it sound like it's a big scoop, but it's nothing new for those who understand how things really work'." But, as numerous investigations by American and Mexican journalists have revealed, there is strong evidence of collusion between the Mexican Army and the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels. A former Juarez police commander told NPR in May that "the intention of the army is to try and get rid of the Juarez cartel, so that [Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman] Chapo's [Sinaloa] cartel is the strongest."The cosy relations among the world's biggest banks, drug trafficking organizations and the U.S. military-intelligence apparatus is not however, a new phenomenon. What is different today is the scale and sheer scope of the corruption involved.

(...) Narco News, citing DEA sources, learned that the crashed Gulfstream loaded with four tons of cocaine "was part of an operation being carried out by a Department of Homeland Security agency."However in a later report, Mark Conrad, a former supervisory special agent with ICE's predecessor agency, U.S. Customs, toldNarco News that the crashed Gulfstream used to transport drugs and prisoners was controlled by the CIA and "that the CIA, not ICE ... [was] actually the U.S. agency controlling the ... operation. If this were the case, then "any individuals or companies involved in a CIA-backed operation, even ones that are complicit in drug trafficking, would be off limits to U.S. law enforcers due to the cloak of national security the CIA can invoke."In other words, a jet purchased by drug traffickers with funds laundered through an American bank and used in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program may have been part of a protected drug operation by U.S. intelligence agencies. An operation furthermore, whose purpose is still unknown. This report tracks closely with evidence uncovered by Peter Dale Scott. In a recent piece in Japan Focus Scott wrote that "it is not surprising that the U.S. Government, following the lead of the CIA, has over the years become a protector of drug traffickers against criminal prosecution in this country." CLIP

"Let Them Eat Cake": A handful of oligarchs are becoming billionaires while the rest of the country goes down the drain by Paul Craig Roberts (July 31, 2010)
(...) The Guardian (UK) reports that according to US government reports, one million American children go to bed hungry, while the Obama regime squanders hundreds of billions of dollars killing women and children in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The Guardian's reporting relies on a US government report from the US Department of Agriculture, which concludes that 50 million people in the US--one in six of the population--were unable to afford to buy sufficient food to stay healthy in 2008. US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that he expected the number of hungry Americans to worsen when the survey for 2010 is released. Today in the American Superpower, one of every six Americans is living on food stamps. The Great American Superpower, which is wasting trillions of dollars in pursuit of world hegemony, has 22% of its population unemployed and almost 17% of its population dependent on welfare in order to stay alive. The world has not witnessed such total failure of government since the final days of the Roman Empire. A handful of American oligarchs are becoming mega-billionaires while the rest of the country goes down the drain. And the American sheeple remain acquiescent.

To Get Medicaid and Education Aid to States, An Unprecedented Cut to Food Stamps (August 3, 2010)
Congress Poised to Cut Billions from Food Stamps, Resulting in an Unprecedented Cut in Monthly Benefits for the Poorest Americans -- This week, the Senate is preparing to rob Peter to pay Paul. They will take from one program helping the neediest of Americans in order to give to another. The lucky recipient is a whittled-down state-aid bill with $16 billion to help sustain Medicaid and $10 billion to keep teachers on the job. That is less money than the states were originally promised, but not nothing: This bill, a compromise of a compromise, could save an estimated 138,800 jobs and ease states’ budget woes by $26.1 billion. But to gain the votes of the Republicans necessary for passage, the bill includes “pay fors” to make it deficit-neutral. There is language to close a foreign tax credit loophole, raising $9 billion. Billions more come from tinkering with Medicaid drug prices and rescinding unspent funds from a variety of programs. But controversially, the bill will also likely slash $6.7 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the benefits formerly known as food stamps. This might result in a cut in benefit checks from one month to the next — an unprecedented event in the history of the benefit. American food stamps are not generous, averaging only $4.50 a day even after being bumped up in the recession-era stimulus — less than you’d need to buy two meals at McDonald’s. And since the start of the recession, the number of families depending on them has skyrocketed. The economic crisis has pushed 12.9 million people into SNAP; as of April, more than 40 million collect the bare-bones benefits. More than 6 million Americans report no income whatsoever except for SNAP — because they are not eligible for unemployment insurance, Social Security, disability or other programs. Sensitive to the risky politics of cutting benefits for the neediest Americans, aides have been on a behind-the-scenes push to convince think tanks, unions and reporters of both the necessity and humanity of the cuts. In their telling, it is not a cut at all. It is merely a “technical fix” for years in the future. CLIP - NOTE FROM JEAN: One of the richest countries on Earth is penny-pinching vital food aid to 40 MILLIONS of its own people while wasting a TRILLION dollars a years on fattening the VERY fat cats of the military corporate complex and waging wars around the world. And of course, don't expect the meanstream propaganda US media to even mention this... much less to raise a ruckus over this blatant injustice

Most countries fail to deliver on Haiti aid pledges (July 15, 2010)
Six months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, most governments that promised money to help rebuild the country have not delivered any funds at all. Donors promised $5.3 billion at an aid conference in March, about two months after the earthquake -- but less than 2 percent of that money has been handed over so far to the United Nations-backed body set up to handle it. Only four countries have paid anything at all: Brazil, Norway, Estonia and Australia. The United States pledged $1.15 billion. It has paid nothing, with the money tied up in the congressional appropriations process. Venezuela promised even more -- $1.32 billion. It has also paid nothing, although it has written off some of Haiti's debt. Altogether, about $506 million has been disbursed to Haiti since the donors' conference in March, said Jehane Sedky of the U.N. Development Program. That's about 9 percent of the money that was pledged. But about $200 million was money that had been in the pipeline for aid work before the earthquake, and about another $200 million went directly to the government of Haiti to help it get back on its feet, Sedky explained. That has left the commission with about $90 million in donations since the conference, Sedky said.

Israel allows 250 trucks into Gaza (08/03/2010)
First large convoy of trucks to enter Gaza after easing of blockade. -- Israel facilitated the transfer of 250 trucks with supplies to the Gaza Strip on Monday for the first time since the government eased up restrictions on the amount and type of merchandise allowed into the Hamas-controlled territory. In late June, Israel announced that it would ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip after it came under pressure following the naval raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla. The trucks made their way into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. In line with increasing the number of trucks allowed into Gaza, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Palestinian Authority have established a joint Israeli-Palestinian team to coordinate work on the renovation of the Kerem Shalom crossing and future international construction projects in the Gaza Strip. The work at Kerem Shalom will include the construction of infrastructure to facilitate the increase in trucks. The infrastructure could eventually be used by the PA if it were to receive control of the crossing from Israel.

Long-Awaited Cluster Bomb Ban Enters Into Force (July 30, 2010)
Thirty-eight countries will start observing the Convention on Cluster Munitions this Sunday, Aug. 1, after a rapid entry into force since the treaty was announced two years ago in Oslo."This new instrument is a major advance for the global disarmament and humanitarian agendas, and will help us to counter the widespread insecurity and suffering caused by these terrible weapons, particularly among civilians and children," noted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Cluster munitions explode in mid-air to release dozens - sometimes hundreds - of smaller "bomblets" across large areas. Because the final location of these scattered smaller bombs is difficult to control, they can cause large numbers of civilian casualties. Bomblets that fail to explode immediately may also lay dormant, potentially acting as landmines and killing or maiming civilians long after a conflict is ended. Children are known to be particularly at risk from dud cluster munitions since they are often attracted to the shiny objects and less aware of their dangers. Since the countdown towards enforcement started in February 2010, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), a civil society campaign, has been raising public awareness and encouraging countries to adhere to the "most significant disarmament and humanitarian treaty in over a decade". (...) So far, 107 countries have signed. Others remain hesitant. (...) "The Convention will have a stigmatising effect even for countries that haven't joined," Conor Fortune, a media officer with the CMC, told IPS. "We've already seen that there was international public condemnation when the weapon was used in recent armed conflicts, by Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia in 2008 and by Israel in Lebanon in 2006." In the West, the United States has also been a focus of the coalition's efforts. "At the moment the [Barack] Obama Administration is engaged in a very in-depth review of their landmine policy to see if they want to join the convention," Goose explained. "The U.S. has already acknowledged that cluster munitions should be banned at some point in the future." Meanwhile, the Pentagon declared that the U.S. will restrain from using cluster munitions with a failure rate of more than one percent, which would include all but a small fraction, by the end of 2018. "[The U.S.] should not wait another eight years to stop using cluster munitions; it should ban them now," Goose declared. Prohibition of cluster munitions, however, is just a part of what the convention stands for. The treaty also requires destruction of stockpiles within eight years and clearance of contaminated land within 10 years. It also recognises the rights of individuals affected by these weapons to receive assistance and compels all countries to support states in fulfilling their obligations. CLIP

US and Colombia Plan to Attack Venezuela (August 3, 2010)
Caracas – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denounced this Saturday US plans to attack his country and overthrow his government. During a ceremony celebrating the 227th birthday of Independence hero Simon Bolivar, Chavez read from a secret memo he had been sent from an unnamed source inside the United States.“
(...) “In the United States, the execution phase is accelerating, together with a contention force, as they call it, towards Costa Rica with the pretext of fighting drug trafficking”. On July 1, the Costan Rican government authorized 46 US war ships and 7,000 marines into their maritime and land territory. The true objective of this military mobilization, said the letter, is to “support military operations” against Venezuela. Assassination and Overthrow - “There is an agreement between Colombia and the US with two objectives: one is Mauricio and the other is the overthrow of the government”, revealed the document. President Chavez explained that “Mauricio” is a pseudynom used in these communications.“The military operation is going to happen”, warned the text, “and those from the north will do it, but not directly in Caracas”. “They will hunt ‘Mauricio’ down outside Caracas, this is very important, I repeat, this is very important”. President Chavez revealed that he had received similar letters from the same source alerting him to dangerous threats. He received one right before the capture of more than 100 Colombian paramilitaries in the outskirts of Caracas that were part of an assassination plan against the Venezuelan head of state, and another in 2002, just days before the coup d’etat that briefly outsted him from power. “The letter warned of snipers and the coup”, explained Chavez, “and it was right, the information was true, but we were unable to act to prevent it”. US Military Expansion This information comes on the heels of the decision last Thursday to break relations between Colombia and Venezuela, made by President Chavez after Colombia’s “show” in the OAS. “Uribe is capable of anything”, warned Chavez, announcing that the country was on maximum alert and the borders were being reinforced. Last October, Colombia and the US signed a military agreement permitting the US to occupy seven Colombian bases and to use all Colombian territory as needed to complete missions. One of the bases in the agreement, Palanquero, was cited in May 2009 US Air Force documents as necessary to “conduct full spectrum military operations” in South America and combat the threat of “anti-US governments” in the region.
(...) The US also maintains forward operation locations (small military bases) in Aruba and Curazao, just miles off the Venezuelan coast. In recent months, the Venezuelan government has denounced unauthorized incursions of drone planes and other military aircraft into Venezuelan territory, originating from the US bases.These latest revelations evidence that a serious, and unjustified conflict is brewing fast against Venezuela, a country with a vibrant democracy and the largest oil reserves in the world.

Ecuador Signs Deal Not to Drill in Amazon Nature Reserve (August 4, 2010)
"The trust fund that we have just established is historic, not only for Ecuador but for the entire world," said Rebeca Grynspan, associate administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), after signing an agreement with the government of Rafael Correa to leave 846 million barrels of oil under the ground in a pristine Amazon jungle wildlife reserve.In the groundbreaking pact, the Ecuadorean government agreed to refrain from tapping three major oilfields in the Yasuní National Park for at least a decade. The 846 million barrels of proven reserves in the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) fields account for 20 percent of Ecuador's total reserves. In return for leaving the oilfields in the ITT section of the park untapped, Ecuador would be paid 3.6 billion dollars, equivalent to half of the expected earnings from the oil. The trust fund will be administered by the UNDP, with the participation of the Ecuadorean state, civil society and representatives of the donors.
(...) The "novel initiative" will have multiple effects, said Grynspan, because not only will it keep over 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, thus combating climate change, but it also sets an example of shared social responsibility. Grynspan and local officials also noted that the agreement will declare the area in question off-limits to development, thus guaranteeing that communities of indigenous people like the Huarani and Taromenane who live in voluntary isolation in the Yasuní National Park will be respected. The interest generated by the fund, of around seven percent, will be invested in the conservation of the national park and 43 other nature reserves in Ecuador, and in social and energy projects. Top priority for funding of social projects will be given to health care and education for the indigenous peoples of Ecuador's Amazon region, an area that has produced oil -- and suffered serious environmental damage as a result -- since 1972.
(...) The 982,000-hectare Yasuní National Park, in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, is one of the world's most bio-diverse areas. It was declared a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1989. Biologists explain that the reason Yasuní is so species-rich is that it forms part of the Pleistocene Refuge, which means it was never subject to glaciations, and animals and plants not able to survive in other areas found refuge here. "The indigenous populations that inhabit the Yasuní use, and are the guardians of, that biodiversity," native leader Manuela Omari Ima, president of the Association of Huarani Women, told IPS. CLIP

How aspartame kills the fetus & maims babies - For 30 years it has been known that aspartame is an abortifacient, and causes birth defects and mental retardation as a teratogen. It's sold as a sweetener, but it is an addictive, excitoneurotoxic, genetically engineered, carcinogenic drug that is poisoning the world. Marketed as NutraSweet, Equal, E951, Canderel, Benevia and just recently as AminoSweet it is even included in vaccines as an adjuvant to stimulate your immune reactions. It interacts with drugs and vaccines, damages the mitochondria or powerhouse of the cell. Many mothers lose their babies even before they know they are pregnant. CLIP

The Genocide Behind Your Smart Phone (July 16, 2010)
Our biggest gadget makers—including HP and Apple—may inadvertently get their raw ingredients from murderous Congolese militias. A new movement wants them to trace rare metals from ‘conflict mines (...) Congo is a classic victim of the resource curse. Its bountiful deposits—in everything from copper to diamonds—are brazenly plundered by corrupt governments and regional warlords while the population goes without basic services. Today, most violence—including mass rape, slavery, mutilation, and possibly even forced cannibalism—is concentrated in the war-ravaged eastern Kivu provinces, where the Congolese Army and ethnic militias bludgeon each other over the right to trade in mineral ore. One study estimates 5.4 million people have been killed since 1998; 45,000 fatalities still occur each month. Infant mortality and death from HIV/AIDS are also rampant—Congo ranks 16th and sixth-highest in the world, respectively, on these measures. Still, minerals like tantalum, tin, and tungsten are essential for our wired lifestyle. Tantalum—of which Congo produces about 20 percent of world’s supply—makes capacitors that store electric charge, allowing our devices to function without batteries. Tin is used to fortify circuit boards. Tungsten helps our iPhones vibrate. But this dependency has a cost in human rights. The U.N. Group of Experts reported last year that the annual trade in gold, tin, and coltan (or tantalum ore) delivers hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers of the FDLR militia, whose myriad factions include Congolese Army renegades and Hutu fighters associated with the 1994 Rwandan genocide. With irregular arms delivery tracked from North Korea and Sudan, there is little doubt that bounty funds butchery.
(...) Replying personally on his iPhone to a concerned customer last month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made similar points: “We require all of our suppliers to certify in writing that they use conflict-[free] materials. But honestly there is no way for them to be sure. Until someone invents a way to chemically trace minerals from the source mine, it’s a very difficult problem.” And Microsoft has said that a “conflict mineral free supply chain is a priority.” CLIP

EMF-Omega-News 24. July 2010
Review of the Information on Hazards to Personnel from High-Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation - Support for EMF researcher goes global, puts Karolinska Pres. Wallberg-Henriksson in spotlight to respond - Expert signals warning over Dundee mast - The LIFE And DEATH ABC's of EMR's - Regular mobile phone use linked to tinnitus - July 2010: Science Update - Wake up call for Scandinavia - Smart Meters far more dangerous than anticipated - Marin County to consider moratorium on SmartMeters - FCC & FDA Cell Phone Regulatory Roles Questioned by Activists - Two new rulings by the Supreme support the local position on cell towers - Environment Ministry halts cellular antenna permits over radiation concerns - Mobile phone towers a cause of worry - Bishopthorpe Road residents' mobile phone mast anger - New O2 phone mast is disguised as flag pole on cinema roof - Joy as phone giants withdraw mast plans - Mast plans appeal bid - Mast refusal a victory for people power - Free Wi-Fi at beach fuels health debate

EMF-Omega-News 31. July 2010
A Basic Summary of the Neurological Effects of Radiofrequency Sickness arrhythmia - Pulse-modulated microwave emissions from masts and mobile phones - Report on a cancer cluster in an antenna ranges facility - Killer Cellphones - Laptop: Wi-Fi radiation may affect male fertility - Cell Phones: Don't Let This Go To Your Head - Cancer Mortality near Air Force Bases - Parents of leukaemia child want to sue Icelandic power company - Radiation Waves from Cellular Tower Melts Mercury Dental Fillings - 'Safe radiation' an oxymoron - Academic persecution for having rendered great public service by testifying - France: The precautionary principle applies to antennas - Restore people’s and council’s right to turn down phone masts on health grounds - Farmland bird numbers in England fall to record low - Cell towers have an effect on property values - Cell Tower in Campbell Valley Park, South Langley, B.C. - Planning application for Dab radio relay at Drumcarrow Craig - Electomagnetic Sensitivity warning for Dunedin City Council - Telstra facing another battle - Burbank ACTION Against Cell Towers In The Neighborhood - Burnaby Hospital among highest death rates in Canada - The most important issue is the health and safety of the people of Stratford - O2 MD 'incognito' in Waltham Abbey mast negotiations - 10 metre phone mast 'disgusting', say Maida Vale traders - Upgrade of mobile phone mast raises health fears - Next-up News - News from Mast Sanity


LONG-TIME ERN SUBSCRIBER BARBARA PECK HAS A WONDERFUL SUGGESTION FOR ALL OF US... Check also the website of the Benefit Network she has founded in 1987!

Date: 20 July 2010
From: Barbara Peck (bmpeck@yahoo.com)
Subject: A Special Gift for Healing Us and Our World

Dear Jean,

As many have been feeling, I too have been at the point of despair for our world, especially in regard to what I call the Great Gulf Oil Disaster.

But now I have greater hope for the future since I joined, on July 12, 2010, a newly-formed meditation group in Santa Monica, CA called: Mother Healing - healing Mother Earth and its children and I would like to share my experience with you and your readers so you can all use the "gift" I was given at the end of my meditation.

Marina, the leader of the group, led us through a series of visualizations for both our own healing and the healing of Mother Earth. At the end of the session Marina mentioned that we each would receive a "gift". I would like to share the gift I received with everyone, as I believe it has the power to heal us and our world.

In my meditation, through my third eye I saw a crystal ball being handed to me by a woman, who I could not see very clearly. In my mind I was told that the crystal ball was filled with an infinite supply of the "water of life". As I grasped the true meaning of this, I took the crystal ball in my hands and tipped it slightly, causing the water of life to flow out. I then visualized the water flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, onto it's shores and the people who live there. I also visualized the water of life flowing from the crystal ball into the mouths of close family and friends that I know are in need of healing, and myself, too.

I believe I received this gift so that I might not only use it for my own lightwork but also to pass on to others. Since I have received this gift and used it daily, for Mother Earth, her children and myself, I have experienced a healing within myself and am more able to operate on a higher level. My mind is now clearer, I am more positive and even more committed to healing both myself, our Mother and her children.

I urge all your readers to use this gift by visualizing the crystal ball filled with an infinite supply of the water of life flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, and anywhere else it is needed. 

Best Wishes to You All,

The Benefit Network
A 501(c) 3 Public Benefit Corporation


From: Doreen Agostino (alignshineprosper@rogers.com)
Sent: July 21, 2010
Subject: CELLS OF LIGHT UNITE - Sign the Gulf Declaration to End the Era of Oil

I sent a similar message below to many people, further to a Gulf Declaration to end the Era of Oil (see below).

Have you read Lynn McTaggart’s Blog about the Gulf oil leak?

Genuine, sustainable alternatives to oil are required for food as well as energy. Without oil, there is no fossil fuel intensive agriculture. Presently, over worked, micro-organism depleted dead farm soil, depends on oil based synthetic fertilizer to grow food. Without oil there is no food production and no transportation. Reflect on how much food is distributed in oil dependent plastic containers.

I suggest egoless cells of Light align on purpose to leverage what is, inform and inspire people to open to new possibilities, get on the same page around the magnitude of this World Age Shift and liberate a plan to victoriously birth a new conscious world.

Perhaps food shortage is a catalyst for humans to awaken consciously and unite now. It's time to educate and inform the masses; to create a plan. Each of us can reduce our carbon footprint every moment, to show Earth we DO care. Let’s unite and ask Earth Mother forgiveness and liberate loving thoughts to restore micro-organisms in soil to grow food in harmony with them, nature and one another. Conscious water, Conscious soil, Conscious us, Homoluminous.

When we surrender ego to egoless Soul Love and come together as one race in a compassionate heart and without judgment, Light liberates authentic SOULutions, beyond a conditioned mind. It’s time for Homo Sapiens to liberate Homo Luminous, Body Mind Soul unconditional Love; Light the only true power to smooth our journey into the heart of a new world.

Every human is naturally equipped to pass through this Shift with least resistance, least stress, least fear, when we unite in our hearts as ONE, cooperate and willingly see Light in every person, event and circumstance. I understand the 2012 fear based movie is about to appear on television. Perhaps it’s time for media people, who also eat, to hear a new world view.

Doreen Agostino
Choose A Greater Destiny


From: http://www.gulfdeclaration.com/

The Gulf Declaration - Join us in calling for the end of the era of oil

Dear President Obama, members of Congress, and elected leaders of the United States of America,
We, the undersigned, recognize your commitment to addressing the Gulf spill but ask you to go still further than you have in your approach. The people of the United States elected you to represent us, and now we ask you to galvanize our nation not only to clean up the oil and to repair the damage but to use this moment to call the American people to our next leap as a country.

This disaster holds the potential to catalyze one of the greatest transformations our nation has known. It illuminates in graphic and brutal terms what we all know in our hearts: we need to end the era of oil as the primary economic foundation for our lives and our country.

The oil economy not only harms the environment. It props up repressive regimes. It inflames wars and provokes violence. Oil is overheating our planet and soiling our lives and it is time to end its reign over people, policies, and planet.

Now is the moment to make an urgent and serious commitment of ingenuity, time, money, and even the soul of this country to create affordable, renewable, and sustainable energy sources at a rate faster than anyone now believes is possible. In short, it is time to rapidly wean ourselves from our addiction to oil before the damage to our planet is too great.

In the 1960s, putting a man on the moon began with an audacious declaration and a seemingly impossible timeline, followed by the marshalling of America's best minds. Further back still, we mobilized our entire country to fight two global wars. And now we need that same level of resolve to mobilize for perhaps a still greater effort: the transformation of our economy. To do so, we will require the same courage to make the sacrifices, commit the resources, and unleash our creative genius.

And when we make this commitment, the effect will be felt in every country around the world. For as we transform, the world transforms with us, especially as they see that we can make this economic transition and thrive.

We know that this transition will not be easy. But this is our generation's moment to rise to greatness and shoulder the necessary responsibilities to create an enduring era of sustainability, peace, and prosperity, with a pristine natural environment.

That is the opportunity the Gulf offers: a turning point for America and for humanity to enter a new and creative era, one in which our intelligence, ingenuity, and love reshape the fabric of our economy and our culture so that we can live honorably on this beautiful planet.

We ask you to stand with us in making the Declaration that this disaster will mark the end of the era of oil and to commit to creating the legislation, oversight, incentives, and investments necessary to turn us from our damaging path. From your positions of elected responsibility, we ask you to call forth the greatness in our country, as we commit to doing so ourselves. Together, we can make the Gulf oil spill the moment that defined a generation and ended the destruction of our ecosystems while restarting the engine of our economy.

Finally, as part of this Declaration, we ask you to join with us in a single shared commitment: to create America's full energy independence by July 4th, 2020 through the accelerated development of clean, renewable, non-polluting, and sustainable energy sources and through vast improvements in energy efficiency.

Let us make that commitment to ourselves and to the world. And may the achievement of that bold goal in a decade be the legacy that we leave our grandchildren and their grandchildren after them.

Original Signatories:
Andrew Cohen, Andrew Harvey, Arielle Ford, Ashok Gangadean, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Brian Hilliard, Bruce Lipton, Carter Phipps, Charles Gibbs, Craig Hamilton, Debbie Ford, Deborah Moldow, Deepak Chopra, Diane Williams, Don Beck, Duane Elgin, Elisabet Sahtouris, Emily Squires, Ervin Laszlo, Gerard Senehi, Gordon Dveirin, Gregg Braden, Howard Martin, Jack Canfield, James O'Dea, Jean Houston, Joan Borysenko, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Kathy Gardarian, Kathy Hearn, Lynne McTaggart, Lynne Twist, Mallika Chopra, Mark Gerzon, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Nina Meyerof, Peter Brauckmann, Peter Russell, Christian Sorensen, Rinaldo Brutuco, Rod McGrew, Scott Carlin, Stephen Dinan, Steve McIntosh, Tom Zender, Wendy Craig-Purcell

Add Your Signature


From: Lance White (zanymystic59@yahoo.com)
Date: 22 July 2010
Subject: GOOD NEWS! Universe singularity now emanating pre-wave energy for ‘enlightened unity consciousness’

Excellent article and analysis of "pre-wave energy for enlightened unity consciousness" by Alfred Lambremonte Weber:


Comment on article and current energies from Lance/Zany:

Many people I know experienced a major transformation and one had a NDE which awakened him fully, on the weekend of the Conscious Convergence on July 17th and 18th, as did I. Perhaps the solar eclipse on the previous weekend was a precursor to this magnification and expansion of the Harmonic Convergence in 1987. "Something" definitely shifted!

If what I'm observing is any reflection of the enormous wave here now, the effects will be highly positive and uplifting for those who are in service to all, or who have some basis in spiritual grounding. This may be as simple as connecting to nature, or simply caring about others. No training, classes or educational materials are necessary, unless one chooses to use them consciously in the moment. It's all a matter of choice. We are moving "out of our minds" and into our hearts, reversing the duality of painful fragmentation and separation into unity and oneness. An amazing and exciting adventure is in store for us all.

Those who are inclined or crystallized in "dark matrix negative" polarization, unconsciously, without conscience or heart, are actively working to impair or destroy those of light qualities, and will themselves be experiencing the negative reverberations of their own actions. As far as I can "see", this is not an implication about "karma", but is the direct result of each choice in the "now". This is not to say that there is no karmic balance, but it's beyond our awareness, and frankly "who cares?"

As Alfred Weber and Carl Calleman state, this period we're in from now until March 9, 2011, is a "pre-wave" which may be similar to having arrived at a bridge, which crosses the raging river below. On the other side is the 9th wave, which accelerates exponentially then stabilizes in October 2011. Another significant moment is likely to bring further changes on November 3, 2010 as the 6th night ends and the 7th day begins. Briefly:

The Sixth Night (Nov. 8, 2009 – Nov. 2, 2010), one last period of Dark in the cycle follows. In the plant’s life the flowers wilt and die setting the stage for fruit development or of seedpods that will dry. This is what happened to the Maya civilization right on queue. Throughout human history there have been conflicts and revolts during this period, the most recent of these having been the Viet Nam War.

The Seventh Day (Nov. 3, 2010 – Oct. 28, 2011) is once again a period of Light, a time of readiness for something new and different, a time of ascension or going from one level to the next higher level. The plant spreads the seeds or drops the fruit to begin again a thousand times over. In human history it was during these repeating sections that Consciousness developed Homo Sapiens, agriculture and domesticated herds, signed treaties to establish the sovereignty of nations and their people, and put up the Internet thereby creating a planetary consciousness in 1992.

Absolute integrity and a loving heart are keys to walking the path leading effortlessly to the bridge. As for "what to do" or "not do", this is uniquely transmitted to each one internally through the intuitive and higher senses guiding us effortlessly. We'll just "know".


Lance - the "Zany Mystic"


From: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2010/07/20107232382616811.html

Floodwaters test China's dams

JULY 23, 2010

Weeks of torrential rains have brought some of the worst flooding seen in China for a decade [Reuters]

The worst flooding seen in China in a decade has put growing pressure on the country's network of dams and reservoirs with many, including the landmark Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze river, at or nearing capacity.

The two typhoons - Conson and Chantu - and weeks of heavy rain have caused widespread flooding across several of China's southern provinces, affecting 110 million people.

More than 1,000 people are dead or missing, and more than eight million people have been forced to leave their homes.

Forecasters have warned that more rains are on the way.

The death toll is the highest since 1998, when more than 4,000 people died, while damages from the ongoing disaster have been estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.

Maximum capacity

The rising flood waters have also begun to test the limits of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest in the world spanning China's longest river, the Yangtze.

With a wall running over two kilometres wide and 185 metres tall, it was built at a cost of $27bn.

The reservoir behind the dam holds around 39 trillion litres of water, but it is now reaching its limit with floodwaters sitting just 20 metres below the dam's maximum capacity.

Already authorities have been forced the close the massive shipping locks built into the dam.

On Thursday the water flow in the region was the fastest ever recorded.

Elsewhere in southern China, Guangdong province was hit by the full force of Typhoon Chanthu, the second such storm to hit the country in less than a week.

Chanthu made landfall late Thursday with winds of up to 126 kilometres per hour sending debris flying through the air and killing at least two people.

State television broadcast images of large waves crashing onto the Guangdong shore and said electricity, telecommunications and water services were cut in some areas.

It warned people in Chanthu's westward-moving path to avoid unnecessary trips outdoors until the all-clear is given.

On Friday the Chanthu was downgraded to a tropical storm as it headed toward the city of Nanning, although it is still causing heavy rains.

More typhoons expected

Liu Ning, the vice-minister of water resources, warned of more misery to come as the typhoon season gets into gear, saying six to eight major typhoons were expected in the coming months.

Guangdong and neighbouring Guangxi province are among the areas already hit by torrential rains and subsequent flooding, which have killed hundreds over the past several weeks and caused scores of rivers and lakes across the region to reach danger levels.

Premier Wen Jiabao, in comments published in Chinese newspapers on Thursday, said the situation was serious and called for greater disaster prevention efforts.

"The country is now at a crucial stage in fighting the floods, with water levels on the Yangtze River, Huai River and Tai Lake surpassing safety limits," Wen said.

"The situation is very serious as typhoons are coming."

Melissa Chan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jiangxi province, said while floods are an annual occurrence in parts of China, what is particularly unusual about these floods is that heavy rain has hit most of the country.

"The big problem now is that there is a storm brewing down south and when it moves northward it's going to bring more rainfall," she said.

"This rain keeps coming and coming and coming. When waters recede a little bit more rainfall comes."

Already, three-quarters of China's provinces have been plagued by flooding and 25 rivers have seen record-high water levels, officials said.

Qinghui Gu from the International Federation of the Red Cross in Hubei province, told Al Jazeera they were concerned about the availability of food, water and shelter for the next few months.

"There are over 300,000 people being evacuated from this area alone," Gu said.

"A lot of farmland has been flooded and completely destroyed. More rain is expected and a lot of small reservoirs have burst."


From: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2008081,00.html

Will Russia's Heat Wave End Its Global-Warming Doubts?

By Simon Shuster / Moscow - Aug. 02, 2010

Russians are not used to heat waves. When the high temperatures that have overwhelmed Russia over the past six weeks first arrived in June, some 1,200 Russians drowned at the country's beaches. "The majority of those who drowned were drunk," the Emergencies Ministry concluded in mid-July, citing the Russian habit of taking vodka to cool off by the sea. But while overconsumption of vodka is a familiar scourge in Russia, extreme heat is not, and as the worst heat wave on record spawns wildfires that are destroying entire villages, Russian officials have made what for them is a startling admission: global warming is very real.

At a meeting of international sporting officials in Moscow on July 30, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced that in 14 regions of the country, "practically everything is burning. The weather is anomalously hot." Then, as TV cameras zoomed in on the perspiration shining on his forehead, Medvedev announced, "What's happening with the planet's climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, meaning all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate."

For Medvedev, such sentiments mark a striking about-face. Only last year, he announced that Russia, the world's third largest polluter after China and the U.S., would be spewing 30% more planet-warming gases into the atmosphere by 2020. "We will not cut our development potential," he said during the summer of 2009 (an unusually mild one), just a few months before attending the Copenhagen climate summit, which in December failed to reach a substantial agreement on how to limit carbon emissions.

But even that pronouncement, grim as it seemed to the organizers of the Copenhagen talks, was mild compared with the broader Russian campaign against the idea that global warming is taking place. Two months before Copenhagen, state-owned Channel One television aired a documentary called The History of a Deception: Global Warming, which argued that the notion of man-made climate change was the result of an international media conspiracy. A month later, hackers sparked the so-called Climategate scandal by stealing e-mails from European climate researchers. The hacked e-mails, which were then used to support the arguments of global-warming skeptics, appeared to have been distributed through a server in the Siberian oil town of Tomsk, raising suspicion among some environmental activists of Russia's involvement in the leak.

"Broadly speaking, the Russian position has always been that climate change is an invention of the West to try to bring Russia to its knees," says Vladimir Chuprov, director of the Greenpeace energy department in Moscow. Case in point: when Medvedev visited Tomsk last winter, he called the global-warming debate "some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects." That was two months after the Copenhagen talks. But Medvedev's climate-sensitive comments on Friday, Chuprov says, could finally mark the start of a policy shift. "You don't just throw comments like that around when you are the leader of the nation, and if you look at what is happening with this heat wave, it's horrible. It's clearly enough to shake people out of their delusions about global warming."

The heat wave first started alarming authorities in June, when local officials recorded abnormally high fatalities on Russia's beaches. At the same time, a devastating drought was withering Russia's crops. As of July 30, some 25 million acres (about 10 million hectares) of grain had been lost, an area roughly the size of Kentucky - and growing. Then last week, fires that had been ignored for days by local officials began spreading out of control. By Aug. 2, they had scorched more than 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) and destroyed 1,500 homes in more than a dozen regions, some of which declared a state of emergency. Scores of people have been killed in the fires, and in the outskirts of Moscow, burning fields of peat, a kind of fuel made of decayed vegetation, periodically covered the city in a cloud of noxious smoke, making it painful to breathe in parts of the Russian capital.

Medvedev has not been the only person in Russia to link the ongoing heat wave to climate change. Alexei Lyakhov, head of Moscow's meteorological center, tells TIME it is "clearly part of a global phenomenon" that is hitting Russia. "We have to start taking systemic measures of adaptation. It's obvious now. Just like human beings at one point took steps to adapt to the Ice Age, we now have to adapt to this," he says, citing cuts to carbon emissions as one of the necessary adaptations.

Now that Medvedev is also acknowledging the effects of climate change, Russia's official line on the subject could start to change, Chuprov says. But he warns that convincing the public of the threat from global warming may be difficult. "The status quo can change quickly in the minds of bureaucrats if the leadership gives the signal. But in the minds of the people, myths are much more difficult to uproot," he says. As if to prove the point, Russia's largest circulation newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, ran a headline on July 31 that asked, "Is the Russian heat wave the result of the USA testing its climate weapon?" The daily's answer was "Yes, probably."

But if Medvedev stands by his pronouncements, there may turn out to be a bright side to Russia's devastating weather: one of the nations most responsible for driving climate change may finally start trying to do something about it.


Related articles:

Russia declares state of emergency over wildfires (2 August 2010)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has declared a state of emergency in seven Russian regions because of wildfires fuelled by a heatwave. The death toll from the fires has risen to 40, the ministry of health said.The Russian emergencies ministry said 500 new blazes had been discovered over a 24-hour period, but most had been extinguished.Homes have been burnt in 14 regions of Russia, the worst-hit being Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh and Ryazan. Nineteen of the 40 deaths recorded were in Nizhny Novgorod, the health ministry said. The state of emergency was announced in a decree that also restricted public access to the regions affected.Moscow is again shrouded in smoke from peat and forest fires outside the city. The fires, caused by record temperatures and a drought, have affected cereal harvests, driving wheat prices up. (...) Russians are bracing themselves for another week of high temperatures, with forecasts of up to 40C (104F) for central and southern regions. Officials also expect stronger winds in some regions, which will fan the flames.By Sunday night, wildfires were still raging across some 128,000 ha (316,000 acres).Thousands of people have lost their homes and nearly a quarter of a million emergency workers have been deployed to fight the flames. Moscow doctors say the elderly and toddlers should wear gauze masks outdoors.

Bad Russian wheat harvest boosts US farmers (August 2, 2010)
MOSCOW - A severe drought destroyed one-fifth of the wheat crop in Russia, one of the world's largest exporters, and now wildfires are sweeping in to finish off some of the fields that remained.Expectations that Russia will slash exports by at least 30 percent have sent wheat prices soaring and this is good news for farmers in the world's largest wheat exporter - the United States.The higher wheat prices may mean that Americans and Europeans pay slightly more for bread, but the bigger burden will fall on people in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia, analysts say. The Russian Grain Union said Monday that it expects exports to decline to 15 million tons, down from 21.4 million tons in 2009, while the SovEcon consultancy sees them at 12 million tons and other analysts at even less. CLIP

Fears mount on food price impact of Russian drought (02 August, 2010)
The UK is warning that Russia's drought could cause a double-digit percentage rise in food prices before Christmas. Russia is a major food exporter, but record temperatures this summer are expected to halve exports. There are also fears the government could start an export ban to protect domestic supplies.Some experts say the food price inflation - non goods like wheat, dairy and meat - is "scary" and could push the country into another recession.


From: http://www.alternet.org/media/147598/we_are_in_the_midst_of_the_second_nuclear_age%3A_how_do_we_end_it?page=entire

We Are In the Midst of the Second Nuclear Age: How Do We End It?

New documentary 'Countdown to Zero' explores just how much danger we are in.

By Daniela Perdomo - July 22, 2010

It's been a long time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yet the horrors of the mushroom cloud still burn starkly in our collective memory. The threat of nuclear war may seem distant; a terrible prospect rendered impossible by the lessons of World War II, but the truth is that nuclear weapons still define much of the global geopolitical landscape.

Currently, nine nations possess nuclear capabilities and other states and entities are rushing to join that powerful club. In light of this Second Nuclear Age and the possibility for nuclear terrorism, Participant Media has released a moving, important film titled Countdown to Zero -- both a play on the launch countdown and a call for a world with precisely zero nuclear weapons.

I recently caught up with Lucy Walker, the film's director, to discuss what it means to live in a world with over 8,000 active nuclear warheads, increasingly easy methods for transporting and producing such weapons, and the chance for human error -- be it total accident or complete misjudgment.

Daniela Perdomo: In your film you spoke to a lot of people on the street, which I thought was a very effective way of gauging how regular people feel. But I was struck by how many of them do not think nuclear weapons are a real threat or problem. Why do you think that is?

Lucy Walker: Oh my, well, there are studies that said that more Americans thought that aliens could land than a nuclear bomb could go off. And, unfortunately, knowing what I know, that's just not true. I think that complacency has set in since the end of the Cold War, since we've had these things 65 years and nothing "that bad" has happened since 1945. And so I think, yeah, there's this idea that if it hasn't happened so far, why should it happen in the future? You get numb and learn to live with the threat. But unfortunately, I think that the opposite is true, which is that the longer that we have them, ultimately, these low risks actually accumulate and luck might not hold out. There have been some scary near-misses and horrible possibilities averted. Unfortunately just statistically, the risk isn't zero as time goes on.

DP: We're talking about how we've grown desensitized to this threat, but there's also the flip side. How can we be aware of the threat and effectively try to address it while not buying into the fear-mongering that, for example, led America into war with Iraq?

LW: I grapple with that a lot. And how I chose to proceed in the movie was to really go to the horse's mouth -- go to the most informed, hands-on people on the planet, to the insiders' insiders and the actual world leaders who have their fingers on the button and the actual heads of intelligence for WMD. It wasn't enough for me to say Al-Qaeda terrorism is scary. I wanted to talk to the guys who knew exactly what Al-Qaeda has to do with nuclear weapons. We have an actual nuclear smuggler in the movie, and the foremost experts on centrifuges and the future enrichment of uranium, which is the technology we have to be particularly concerned about.

Hopefully the movie doesn't ever fall into the empty threat category. And the movie is scary because the facts are scary. I didn't set out to make a scary movie, but it turned out that the real facts were scary.

The conclusion that came back time and time again is that we're in real trouble. The problem is going to get worse. We're at a tipping point now, the time to solve it is now. The only solution moving forward is zero [nuclear weapons], regardless of your position during the Cold War -- whether they were a helpful deterrent or a horrible scourge. And ultimately, that's why I think that across partisan divides around the world, that the course is overwhelmingly to eliminate nuclear weapons, which is actually the policy of the current administration -- President Obama called for a world free of nuclear weapons. And I agree with him.

DP: I do want to get back to the concept of zero and Obama but I wanted to first ask about the images that you used throughout your film. It was really interesting to see how in certain countries -- for example, Pakistan -- citizens rejoiced at the fact that their country had become a nuclear power. What does that say about society or about the way our international relations work that you need this ghastly bomb to feel safe or powerful?

LW: It's interesting, isn't it? And I think it's important to remember what a technical accomplishment it is to get a nuclear weapon. For [a nation] like Pakistan, there was just the mere fantastic accomplishment to be very proud of. And it certainly gets you a seat at the table. And you can see in North Korea, it's a heck of a bartering chip. So I think that's precisely why it's such a pinpoint now with what's going on with Iran. The movie is coming at such an urgent time in terms of dealing with this issue.

The time bomb is really ticking on the possibility of solving this without a catastrophe. My goal is for us to be focused on this issue before something horrible happens so that we don't have to sit around afterward and analyze how we could have ignored this threat or how we could have let these weapons get into the wrong hands. The time is now to make sure that we never have to have that conversation.

DP: Your film talks about a coming age of nuclear terrorism. Has the war on terror only aggravated this possibility? Or do you think we would have reached an age of nuclear terrorism regardless?

LW: To some extent, what you find in my movie is that this a real non-partisan issue. And it's sort of important actually to keep that united front because it's going to be really hard to eradicate nuclear weapons even though I think that's the stated goal of so many people. It's just not easy to achieve.

I think that the more we keep focused on the united desire to do that and less focused on my views on President Bush, for example, probably the better because as you see in the film, many people call for no nuclear weapons: Secretary James Baker, evangelical visionaries, Republicans, Democrats. Indeed, the best thing is that nobody I spoke to could make a sensible counter-argument. I wanted opposition. I wanted an argument. You know, I wanted people to say, "No. They're really what we need for the future." And nobody was saying that. Everyone was saying, "Even if they are used to keep us safe, we're in a lot of trouble moving forward because it's not a choice any longer between a few nation-states having secured arsenals and nobody else in the world having them."

A world in which there are a lot of nuclear weapons held by a lot of less-secured states or even non-state actors -- well, that's not a world that I want to live in. I just can't imagine a world filled with more fear and suffering than that world. Even just one nuclear weapon in the wrong hands would scare me so much that I'm not sure I could live in a city again. You know?

DP: Definitely.

LW: We'd be moving to rural New Zealand. Almost instantly, I would imagine.

DP: Right. This is actually a good segue for my next question. In the film, someone suggests that Pakistan is really the most dangerous place in the world right now, given how unstable it is and given that it is a nuclear power. Do you agree?

LW: If I had to give you my top 10 nightmare scenarios, Pakistan would be among them. It has a lot of nuclear weapons. It's in a hot war -- not even a cold war, with India. That's a really delicate relationship. It's not even like the U.S. and Russia, where you have a little bit of flight time between them. India and Pakistan share a border and the relations are very tense. We saw the incident in Mumbai last year. There's the instability of the state itself. There's all kinds of issues going on now with the tribal lands and so on. And you've got Al-Qaeda's world headquarters. You have Al-Qaeda actually recruiting members of the nuclear weapons establishment.

There are so many things to worry about in terms of that particular arsenal. You've got a [Pakistan-based] proliferation network that traded nuclear secrets with North Korea and with Libya. And Iran, of course -- the centrifuges from Iran actually came from Pakistan. So there's just so much to worry about with regards to Pakistan. And yet it's hard to come up with an answer for [former Pakistani] President Musharraf when he asks in the movie why Pakistan shouldn't have nuclear weapons if other countries are going to claim the need for their security needs. After all, Pakistan lives in a more dangerous neighborhood and has its own need for them. It's really increasingly hard to argue that some countries can have them and some can't.

DP: Let's go back to the idea of zero nuclear weapons. If the only solution is for every country to disable its nuclear weapons, how do we start? Who goes first? Should it be Russia and the United States because they have so many more than anyone else?

LW: That's a really good question. One of the sets of info we unfortunately had to leave out of the film was this narrative about these experts who've devoted their careers to figuring exactly how you get these arsenals down safely to zero. And it's not instant. It's not crazy. It's a really specific and sophisticated and scientific and political long-game. But it's doable -- and presumably the biggest nuclear powers should lead.

DP: Your film ends rather optimistically. You show Obama and Russian President Medvedev signing a treaty, promising to cut down their nuclear arsenals. And in speaking to you right now, it sounds like you are relatively hopeful about what we can achieve with new leadership.

LW: Well, I'm really frightened. I mean, I love good leadership, and I think it's really tough to be a leader. But I do think it's a really exciting moment. You know, back in the 1980s, I think Gorbachev actually did turn the arms race around. It's amazing to hear Gorbachev talking [in the film] about how in 1986, he and President Reagan sat down in Reykjavik and proposed all-out disarmament at a time when the populations were marching. Now they didn't manage to pull that one off. But I think that we are closer now, in a time when the president calls for a world free of nuclear weapons. I hope American citizens support him in this.

DP: What can regular, everyday people do? 

LW: We started a campaign at TakePart and there's also Global Zero. And hopefully, as the shelf life of the movie continues, the action and talking points are going evolve. Right now the START treaty is sort of at the top of the agenda. But as things move forward, hopefully, we'll be able to take steps forward and people are going to become galvanized on this issue. After all, it's just all too likely that a nuclear bomb can go off. In fact, the bomb is ticking and we want to make sure and switch that thing off now before it goes off.


Related video and information:

Countdown to Zero Trailer HD 1080p

Countdown to Zero: Ex-CIA agent on nuclear conspiracies
As the documentary "Countdown to Zero" on non-proliferation is screened at the Cannes Film Festival, RT talked to the consultant behind the movie on the global will to stop the spread of nuclear arms. Valerie Plame was a CIA agent whose mission was to fight the spread of nuclear arms. After her identity was exposed in a White House Scandal, she turned to film-making, yet retained the same ideals.

Social Change Film with Gergen, Guttentag, and Bender (11 min 50 sec)
Harvard recently hosted the Gleitsman Social Change Film Forum, which featured Countdown to Zero. Here's an interview, conducted by David Gergen, with the film's producer Lawrence Bender and Oscar-winning filmmaker Bill Guttentag

Countdown To Zero Q & A (part 1) @ 2010 Sundance Film Festival
With co-producer Lisa Remington, editors Brad Fuller and Brian Johnson. Part 2 HERE - Part 3 HERE

Nuclear Proliferation: After decades of attempts, is a world without nuclear arms possible?

Get the conversation started - Download this Discussion Guide and start spreading the word.
(...) Securing All Vulnerable Fissile Materials In Four Years
What is Fissile Material?
Fissile material is highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium, the essential ingredients for building nuclear weapons and powering nuclear reactors. Without this material, it's impossible to produce a nuclear weapon. Thus, effective control and elimination of fissile material is an essential step toward nuclear disarmament. Roughly 1600 metric tons of HEU and 500 metric tons of plutonium have been produced around the globe. In mid-2009, the global stockpile of nuclear materials was large enough to build more than 120,000 nuclear bombs (that's five times the entire current global stockpile). From the perspective of nuclear terrorism, the most dangerous of the two nuclear weapons materials is HEU because it can be used in a gun-type bomb. A gun-type weapon requires 50-60 kilograms of HEU and is able to deliver a devastating yield. While much of this material can be found in the five official nuclear weapons countries (U.S., Russia, China, UK, and France), a portion of the world's fissile materials lies outside of these nations in more unstable regions of the globe. Terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, have expressed a serious interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction, which would include fissile material. With enough materials available worldwide to build 120,000 nuclear bombs, the possibility that a terrorist network could buy or steal such material is far too great. Failure to recognize the gravity of this threat could have devastating consequences.
What is the status of securing all loose fissile material?
The U.S. has been working with Russia and the former Soviet states since 1994 to secure their stockpiles of nuclear material. The National Nuclear Security Administration recently estimated that approximately 92% of the job is completed. All security upgrades have been completed for 210 out of 250 buildings with weapons-usable nuclear material in Russia and the Eurasian states. Security upgrades have been completed for 97 out of the established 110-130 nuclear warhead sites in Russia. All weapons-usable nuclear material has been removed from more than 47 sites outside of the U.S. and Russia. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done. President Obama recently called for accelerating this mission so that all vulnerable nuclear material in the world will be secured in four years. To meet this goal, a significant push is required by the U.S. and countries across the world. The current net dismantlement rate for Russia and the U.S. is estimated at approximately 200- 300 warheads a year. At these rates, it would take decades for the U.S. and Russia to dismantle the approximately 1000 total warheads each, compared to the 1990s when the average yearly dismantlement rate was 1300 for the U.S. and 2000 for Russia. What can you do? Go to http://www.psr.org/1more4zero and take action to ensure that all loose fissile material is secured in four years.

AN INCONVENIENT NUKE - Xeni Jardin interviews Jeff Skoll and Lawrence Bender on COUNTDOWN TO ZERO
Readers who survived the eighties will remember how deeply the fear of nuclear destruction was embedded in popular culture of the time. We danced to hit songs about atomic ennui, we poked fun at "duck and cover" and bomb shelter blueprints, we believed ourselves less naïve than our parents' generation. But we knew we were no less safe from The Bomb. When the Cold War ended, a new era of nuclear threat emerged. ? "Countdown to Zero", a documentary from the team behind "The Cove" and "An Inconvenient Truth," speaks to that threat, and to a younger generation largely unaware of its existence.
After viewing the film in Los Angeles, I caught up with producer Lawrence Bender and executive producer Jeff Skoll. - XENI: We're speaking on the same day a nuclear nonproliferation treaty review is taking place in New York City. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is the only head of state present, and much of the focus is on concerns over Iran's nuclear program. "Countdown to Zero" addresses the threat posed by Iran as a potential nuclear power, but I walked away even more terrified by the chaotic, less-traceable threat of loose nukes already leaking out of former Soviet Union states and on to the black market.
LAWRENCE BENDER: One of the other things revealed today was our government put a number on the amount of nuclear weapons we have in our arsenal: 5,113. About half are on an alert status allowing them to be launched in a couple of minutes or less. Any one of them are many times the strength of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and could destroy any major city in the world.
The loose nuclear material is a very large issue. President Obama recently convened a nuclear summit which was a pretty big deal and brought 47 heads of state to DC for one purpose. It's hard to underestimate how big a deal this was, that kind of thing hasn't happened since the United Nations was formed in 1945. There was unanimous global consent to secure all nuclear material around the world over the next four years.
Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb would be a game-changer, and is something no-one in the world wants. The first thing to do is secure everything we know about, the second thing is deal with what may be on the black market.
XENI: How did this film project come together? Why now?
BENDER: When we decided to make this movie three years ago, none of this was in the public eye. We were thinking, there are two things that could destroy humanity, two things we could actually change if we have the political will. One is climate change. The other is this. Now, the movie's coming out at a time when the president is taking a lot of action. But people need to be educated, motivated, and mobilized so that politicians know what they want.
(...) The second big surprise has been the timing of all of this. When we started the film a few years ago we had no idea the US and Russia would be close to ratifying a new START agreement. We knew the nonproliferation agreement would be happening about now, but we had no idea it would be any more productive than the one in 2005 which went nowhere. The way the issue of nuclear weapons and proliferation has really popped in the public mind, that was a surprise.
BENDER: I was talking to a CIA person who appears in the movie, Rolf Mowat Larson. He saw the movie and said, 'Wow, you guys did a really great job. But you will never be accused of going too far out on a limb. There is a lot that isn't in the movie. As horrifying as some of the stuff is, there's a lot more to it.' And I said, 'Whoah, is that supposed to make me feel better?' C L IP
MANY related comments at http://boingboing.net/features/nuke.html

Report: U.S. nuclear weapons detection skills at risk (July 29, 2010)
A National Research Council report warns of "concerns" over deteriorating U.S. expertise in detecting and investigating nuclear weapons, amid heightened worries over nuclear terrorism. Nuclear forensics, the ability to detect, defuse and attribute the origin of nuclear weapons materials, remains a well-practiced discipline at Energy Department labs, says the Nuclear Forensics: A Capability at Risk report. However the NRC panel headed by Albert Carnesale of UCLA, details "concerns about the program and finds that without strong leadership, careful planning, and additional funds, these capabilities will decline."As Iran, North Korea and other nations have made recent moves towards atomic weapons, concern has grown about honing U.S. capabilities to determine the source of loose nukes in the world, particularly in the current era of post 9/11 terrorism. The report details shortcomings in organization, skills, funding, personnel and tools at U.S. national labs, where much of the nation's nuclear forensic expertise resides. "Beyond the terrible loss of life, which in itself is difficult to appreciate fully, the successful detonation of one or more nuclear explosives in a U.S. city and the potential for more detonations could transform our nation into a national security state, focused on common defense to the detriment of the justice, general welfare, and blessings of liberty envisioned by our nation's founders," says the NRC report, calling for a revitalized federal effort to streamline training in detecting and neutralizing nuclear materials.

Obama: Nuclear terrorism is 'the single biggest threat' to U.S. (April 11, 2010) http://www.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/04/obama-kicks-off-nuclear-summit-with-five-leader-meetings/1
President Obama issued a grim warning Sunday about the threat of nuclear terrorism, as he kicked off three days of summitry by holding a string of meetings with five world leaders. "If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating," Obama said before meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma. Obama's meetings with Zuma and four other leaders came on the eve of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. The prospect of nuclear terrorism is "the single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term," Obama said. "This is something that could change the security landscape of this country and around the world for years to come." Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are seeking a nuclear device, Obama said, "a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using." CLIP



From: http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/17-10/mf_deadhand?currentPage=all

Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine

By Nicholas Thompson - 09.21.09

Valery Yarynich glances nervously over his shoulder. Clad in a brown leather jacket, the 72-year-old former Soviet colonel is hunkered in the back of the dimly lit Iron Gate restaurant in Washington, DC. It's March 2009-the Berlin Wall came down two decades ago-but the lean and fit Yarynich is as jumpy as an informant dodging the KGB. He begins to whisper, quietly but firmly.

"The Perimeter system is very, very nice," he says. "We remove unique responsibility from high politicians and the military." He looks around again.

Yarynich is talking about Russia's doomsday machine. That's right, an actual doomsday device-a real, functioning version of the ultimate weapon, always presumed to exist only as a fantasy of apocalypse-obsessed science fiction writers and paranoid über-hawks. The thing that historian Lewis Mumford called "the central symbol of this scientifically organized nightmare of mass extermination." Turns out Yarynich, a 30-year veteran of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff, helped build one.

The point of the system, he explains, was to guarantee an automatic Soviet response to an American nuclear strike. Even if the US crippled the USSR with a surprise attack, the Soviets could still hit back. It wouldn't matter if the US blew up the Kremlin, took out the defense ministry, severed the communications network, and killed everyone with stars on their shoulders. Ground-based sensors would detect that a devastating blow had been struck and a counterattack would be launched.

The technical name was Perimeter, but some called it Mertvaya Ruka, or Dead Hand. It was built 25 years ago and remained a closely guarded secret. With the demise of the USSR, word of the system did leak out, but few people seemed to notice. In fact, though Yarynich and a former Minuteman launch officer named Bruce Blair have been writing about Perimeter since 1993 in numerous books and newspaper articles, its existence has not penetrated the public mind or the corridors of power. The Russians still won't discuss it, and Americans at the highest levels-including former top officials at the State Department and White House-say they've never heard of it. When I recently told former CIA director James Woolsey that the USSR had built a doomsday device, his eyes grew cold. "I hope to God the Soviets were more sensible than that." They weren't.

The system remains so shrouded that Yarynich worries his continued openness puts him in danger. He might have a point: One Soviet official who spoke with Americans about the system died in a mysterious fall down a staircase. But Yarynich takes the risk. He believes the world needs to know about Dead Hand. Because, after all, it is still in place.

The system that Yarynich helped build came online in 1985, after some of the most dangerous years of the Cold War. Throughout the '70s, the USSR had steadily narrowed the long US lead in nuclear firepower. At the same time, post-Vietnam, recession-era America seemed weak and confused. Then in strode Ronald Reagan, promising that the days of retreat were over. It was morning in America, he said, and twilight in the Soviet Union.

Part of the new president's hard-line approach was to make the Soviets believe that the US was unafraid of nuclear war. Many of his advisers had long advocated modeling and actively planning for nuclear combat. These were the progeny of Herman Kahn, author of On Thermonuclear War and Thinking About the Unthinkable. They believed that the side with the largest arsenal and an expressed readiness to use it would gain leverage during every crisis.

The new administration began expanding the US nuclear arsenal and priming the silos. And it backed up the bombs with bluster. In his 1981 Senate confirmation hearings, Eugene Rostow, incoming head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, signaled that the US just might be crazy enough to use its weapons, declaring that Japan "not only survived but flourished after the nuclear attack" of 1945. Speaking of a possible US-Soviet exchange, he said, "Some estimates predict that there would be 10 million casualties on one side and 100 million on another. But that is not the whole of the population."

Meanwhile, in ways both small and large, US behavior toward the Soviets took on a harsher edge. Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin lost his reserved parking pass at the State Department. US troops swooped into tiny Grenada to defeat communism in Operation Urgent Fury. US naval exercises pushed ever closer to Soviet waters.

The strategy worked. Moscow soon believed the new US leadership really was ready to fight a nuclear war. But the Soviets also became convinced that the US was now willing to start a nuclear war. "The policy of the Reagan administration has to be seen as adventurous and serving the goal of world domination," Soviet marshal Nikolai Ogarkov told a gathering of the Warsaw Pact chiefs of staff in September 1982. "In 1941, too, there were many among us who warned against war and many who did not believe a war was coming," Ogarkov said, referring to the German invasion of his country. "Thus, the situation is not only very serious but also very dangerous."

A few months later, Reagan made one of the most provocative moves of the Cold War. He announced that the US was going to develop a shield of lasers and nuclear weapons in space to defend against Soviet warheads. He called it missile defense; critics mocked it as "Star Wars."

To Moscow it was the Death Star-and it confirmed that the US was planning an attack. It would be impossible for the system to stop thousands of incoming Soviet missiles at once, so missile defense made sense only as a way of mopping up after an initial US strike. The US would first fire its thousands of weapons at Soviet cities and missile silos. Some Soviet weapons would survive for a retaliatory launch, but Reagan's shield could block many of those. Thus, Star Wars would nullify the long-standing doctrine of mutually assured destruction, the principle that neither side would ever start a nuclear war since neither could survive a counterattack.

As we know now, Reagan was not planning a first strike. According to his private diaries and personal letters, he genuinely believed he was bringing about lasting peace. (He once told Gorbachev he might be a reincarnation of the human who invented the first shield.) The system, Reagan insisted, was purely defensive. But as the Soviets knew, if the Americans were mobilizing for attack, that's exactly what you'd expect them to say. And according to Cold War logic, if you think the other side is about to launch, you should do one of two things: Either launch first or convince the enemy that you can strike back even if you're dead.

Perimeter ensures the ability to strike back, but it's no hair-trigger device. It was designed to lie semi-dormant until switched on by a high official in a crisis. Then it would begin monitoring a network of seismic, radiation, and air pressure sensors for signs of nuclear explosions. Before launching any retaliatory strike, the system had to check off four if/then propositions: If it was turned on, then it would try to determine that a nuclear weapon had hit Soviet soil. If it seemed that one had, the system would check to see if any communication links to the war room of the Soviet General Staff remained. If they did, and if some amount of time-likely ranging from 15 minutes to an hour-passed without further indications of attack, the machine would assume officials were still living who could order the counterattack and shut down. But if the line to the General Staff went dead, then Perimeter would infer that apocalypse had arrived. It would immediately transfer launch authority to whoever was manning the system at that moment deep inside a protected bunker-bypassing layers and layers of normal command authority. At that point, the ability to destroy the world would fall to whoever was on duty: maybe a high minister sent in during the crisis, maybe a 25-year-old junior officer fresh out of military academy. And if that person decided to press the button ... If/then. If/then. If/then. If/then.

Once initiated, the counterattack would be controlled by so-called command missiles. Hidden in hardened silos designed to withstand the massive blast and electromagnetic pulses of a nuclear explosion, these missiles would launch first and then radio down coded orders to whatever Soviet weapons had survived the first strike. At that point, the machines will have taken over the war. Soaring over the smoldering, radioactive ruins of the motherland, and with all ground communications destroyed, the command missiles would lead the destruction of the US.

The US did build versions of these technologies, deploying command missiles in what was called the Emergency Rocket Communications System. It also developed seismic and radiation sensors to monitor for nuclear tests or explosions the world over. But the US never combined it all into a system of zombie retaliation. It feared accidents and the one mistake that could end it all.

Instead, airborne American crews with the capacity and authority to launch retaliatory strikes were kept aloft throughout the Cold War. Their mission was similar to Perimeter's, but the system relied more on people and less on machines.

And in keeping with the principles of Cold War game theory, the US told the Soviets all about it.

The first mention of a doomsday machine, according to P. D. Smith, author of Doomsday Men, was on an NBC radio broadcast in February 1950, when the atomic scientist Leo Szilard described a hypothetical system of hydrogen bombs that could cover the world in radioactive dust and end all human life. "Who would want to kill everybody on earth?" he asked rhetorically. Someone who wanted to deter an attacker. If Moscow were on the brink of military defeat, for example, it could halt an invasion by declaring, "We will detonate our H-bombs."

A decade and a half later, Stanley Kubrick's satirical masterpiece Dr. Strangelove permanently embedded the idea in the public imagination. In the movie, a rogue US general sends his bomber wing to preemptively strike the USSR. The Soviet ambassador then reveals that his country has just deployed a device that will automatically respond to any nuclear attack by cloaking the planet in deadly "cobalt-thorium-G."

"The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret!" cries Dr. Strangelove. "Why didn't you tell the world?" After all, such a device works as a deterrent only if the enemy is aware of its existence. In the movie, the Soviet ambassador can only lamely respond, "It was to be announced at the party congress on Monday."

In real life, however, many Mondays and many party congresses passed after Perimeter was created. So why didn't the Soviets tell the world, or at least the White House, about it? No evidence exists that top Reagan administration officials knew anything about a Soviet doomsday plan. George Shultz, secretary of state for most of Reagan's presidency, told me that he had never heard of it.

In fact, the Soviet military didn't even inform its own civilian arms negotiators. "I was never told about Perimeter," says Yuli Kvitsinsky, lead Soviet negotiator at the time the device was created. And the brass still won't talk about it today. In addition to Yarynich, a few other people confirmed the existence of the system to me-notably former Soviet space official Alexander Zheleznyakov and defense adviser Vitali Tsygichko-but most questions about it are still met with scowls and sharp nyets. At an interview in Moscow this February with Vladimir Dvorkin, another former official in the Strategic Rocket Forces, I was ushered out of the room almost as soon as I brought up the topic.

So why was the US not informed about Perimeter? Kremlinologists have long noted the Soviet military's extreme penchant for secrecy, but surely that couldn't fully explain what appears to be a self-defeating strategic error of extraordinary magnitude.

The silence can be attributed partly to fears that the US would figure out how to disable the system. But the principal reason is more complicated and surprising. According to both Yarynich and Zheleznyakov, Perimeter was never meant as a traditional doomsday machine. The Soviets had taken game theory one step further than Kubrick, Szilard, and everyone else: They built a system to deter themselves.

By guaranteeing that Moscow could hit back, Perimeter was actually designed to keep an overeager Soviet military or civilian leader from launching prematurely during a crisis. The point, Zheleznyakov says, was "to cool down all these hotheads and extremists. No matter what was going to happen, there still would be revenge. Those who attack us will be punished."

And Perimeter bought the Soviets time. After the US installed deadly accurate Pershing II missiles on German bases in December 1983, Kremlin military planners assumed they would have only 10 to 15 minutes from the moment radar picked up an attack until impact. Given the paranoia of the era, it is not unimaginable that a malfunctioning radar, a flock of geese that looked like an incoming warhead, or a misinterpreted American war exercise could have triggered a catastrophe. Indeed, all these events actually occurred at some point. If they had happened at the same time, Armageddon might have ensued.

Perimeter solved that problem. If Soviet radar picked up an ominous but ambiguous signal, the leaders could turn on Perimeter and wait. If it turned out to be geese, they could relax and Perimeter would stand down. Confirming actual detonations on Soviet soil is far easier than confirming distant launches. "That is why we have the system," Yarynich says. "To avoid a tragic mistake. "

The mistake that both Yarynich and his counterpart in the United States, Bruce Blair, want to avoid now is silence. It's long past time for the world to come to grips with Perimeter, they argue. The system may no longer be a central element of Russian strategy-US-based Russian arms expert Pavel Podvig calls it now "just another cog in the machine"-but Dead Hand is still armed.

To Blair, who today runs a think tank in Washington called the World Security Institute, such dismissals are unacceptable. Though neither he nor anyone in the US has up-to-the-minute information on Perimeter, he sees the Russians' refusal to retire it as yet another example of the insufficient reduction of forces on both sides. There is no reason, he says, to have thousands of armed missiles on something close to hair-trigger alert. Despite how far the world has come, there's still plenty of opportunity for colossal mistakes. When I talked to him recently, he spoke both in sorrow and in anger: "The Cold War is over. But we act the same way that we used to."

Yarynich, likewise, is committed to the principle that knowledge about nuclear command and control means safety. But he also believes that Perimeter can still serve a useful purpose. Yes, it was designed as a self-deterrent, and it filled that role well during the hottest days of the Cold War. But, he wonders, couldn't it now also play the traditional role of a doomsday device? Couldn't it deter future enemies if publicized?

The waters of international conflict never stay calm for long. A recent case in point was the heated exchange between the Bush administration and Russian president Vladimir Putin over Georgia. "It's nonsense not to talk about Perimeter," Yarynich says. If the existence of the device isn't made public, he adds, "we have more risk in future crises. And crisis is inevitable."

As Yarynich describes Perimeter with pride, I challenge him with the classic critique of such systems: What if they fail? What if something goes wrong? What if a computer virus, earthquake, reactor meltdown, and power outage conspire to convince the system that war has begun?

Yarynich sips his beer and dismisses my concerns. Even given an unthinkable series of accidents, he reminds me, there would still be at least one human hand to prevent Perimeter from ending the world. Prior to 1985, he says, the Soviets designed several automatic systems that could launch counterattacks without any human involvement whatsoever. But all these devices were rejected by the high command. Perimeter, he points out, was never a truly autonomous doomsday device. "If there are explosions and all communications are broken," he says, "then the people in this facility can-I would like to underline can-launch."

Yes, I agree, a human could decide in the end not to press the button. But that person is a soldier, isolated in an underground bunker, surrounded by evidence that the enemy has just destroyed his homeland and everyone he knows. Sensors have gone off; timers are ticking. There's a checklist, and soldiers are trained to follow checklists.

Wouldn't any officer just launch? I ask Yarynich what he would do if he were alone in the bunker. He shakes his head. "I cannot say if I would push the button."

It might not actually be a button, he then explains. It could now be some kind of a key or other secure form of switch. He's not absolutely sure. After all, he says, Dead Hand is continuously being upgraded.

Senior editor Nicholas Thompson (nicholas_thompson@wired.com) is the author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War.

Listen: Author Nicholas Thompson Discusses Dead Hand on NPR's All Things Considered - With transcript

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Dead Hand (nuclear war)


Related article:

U.S. Vulnerable to Nuke Attacks, Report Says (July 22, 2010)
The threat of an all-out nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States may be less than it was during the Cold War, but defense experts say decades-long efforts to avoid a possible Armageddon have had a downside: The United States is now woefully unprepared for any kind of nuclear attack. That's the conclusion of an influential Pentagon defense advisory panel, which recently completed a comprehensive review of the nation's ability to respond to and survive a nuclear attack. The panel found that the expertise needed to survive a nuclear attack has atrophied since the end of the Cold War. "The task force believes that this state of affairs ... is dangerous and needs to be reversed," states the report issued jointly by the Defense Science Board and the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee Task Force. The reports authors say the conclusions of the study should serve as a "wake-up call" to the Pentagon, and they urge the Defense Department's leadership to take steps to enhance nuclear survivability. CLIP


Note from Jean: To me it seems no words in the English language can possibly express the sheer horror and murderous ignominy that was perpetrated by the US army in Fallujah under the fiendish Bush/Cheney crime syndicate. But there is one thing that stands out even more ominously than this ultimate war crime of blind vengeance that will continue to kill and torture for generations to come, and it is the deafening silence of all mainstream media, the propaganda arm of the corporate evil empire that now dominates this planet, and of all politicians and most everyone else in general in front of this act of pure evil. Adolf Hitler and his despotic minions have found in the Pentagon and the military corporate complex that supports it their perfect successors - only they are more devious and infinitely more powerfully armed. The deadly legacy of Fallujah and all other depleted uranium related crimes around the world are the monster elephants in the living room that no one, except some brave soul, dare talk about and call for what it is: the epitome of evil in shining military uniform disguise... It is also another reminder that nuclear war has been waged a number of times on this planet and continues to be every time some dumb military brainwashed killer unleash the firepower of another depleted uranium based weapon of mass destruction. If you want to know who the real terrorists are, look no further than the Pentagon-shaped building in DC... if you have any conscience and humanity left in you, please take action, speak out, stand up and be counted among those who say never again, for real this time! (Check also Who Are the Real Terrorists? Major Media Articles Raise Intriguing Questions)

From: http://wsws.org/articles/2010/jul2010/fall-j23.shtml

The consequences of a US war crime - Cancer rate in Fallujah worse than Hiroshima

By Tom Eley -- 23 July 2010

The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.

According to the authors of a new study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.

The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.

The assault on Fallujah, a city located 43 miles west of Baghdad, was one of the most horrific war crimes of our time. After the population resisted the US-led occupation of Iraq—a war of neo-colonial plunder launched on the basis of lies—Washington determined to make an example of the largely Sunni city. This is called “exemplary” or “collective” punishment and is, according to the laws of war, illegal.

The new public health study of the city now all but proves what has long been suspected: that a high proportion of the weaponry used in the assault contained depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in shells to increase their effectiveness.

In a study of 711 houses and 4,843 individuals carried out in January and February 2010, authors Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, Entesar Ariabi and a team of researchers found that the cancer rate had increased fourfold since before the US attack five years ago, and that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.

In Fallujah the rate of leukemia is 38 times higher, the childhood cancer rate is 12 times higher, and breast cancer is 10 times more common than in populations in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait. Heightened levels of adult lymphoma and brain tumors were also reported. At 80 deaths out of every 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in Fallujah is more than five times higher than in Egypt and Jordan, and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

Strikingly, after 2005 the proportion of girls born in Fallujah has increased sharply. In normal populations, 1050 boys are born for every 1000 girls. But among those born in Fallujah in the four years after the US assault, the ratio was reduced to 860 boys for every 1000 female births. This alteration is similar to gender ratios found in Hiroshima after the US atomic attack of 1945.

The most likely reason for the change in the sex ratio, according to the researchers, is the impact of a major mutagenic event—likely the use of depleted uranium in US weapons. While boys have one X-chromosome, girls have a redundant X-chromosome and can therefore absorb the loss of one chromosome through genetic damage.

“This is an extraordinary and alarming result,” said Busby, a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Ulster and director of scientific research for Green Audit, an independent environmental research group. “To produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened. We need urgently to find out what the agent was. Although many suspect uranium, we cannot be certain without further research and independent analysis of samples from the area.”

Busby told an Italian television news station, RAI 24, that the “extraordinary” increase in radiation-related maladies in Fallujah is higher than that found in the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the US atomic strikes of 1945. “My guess is that this was caused by depleted uranium,” he said. “They must be connected.”

The US military uses depleted uranium, also known as spent nuclear fuel, in armor-piercing shells and bullets because it is twice as dense as lead. Once these shells hit their target, however, as much as 40 percent of the uranium is released in the form of tiny particles in the area of the explosion. It can remain there for years, easily entering the human bloodstream, where it lodges itself in lymph glands and attacks the DNA produced in the sperm and eggs of affected adults, causing, in turn, serious birth defects in the next generation.

The research is the first systematic scientific substantiation of a body of evidence showing a sharp increase in infant mortality, birth defects, and cancer in Fallujah.

In October of 2009, several Iraqi and British doctors wrote a letter to the United Nations demanding an inquiry into the proliferation of radiation-related sickness in the city:

“Young women in Fallujah in Iraq are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias.…

“In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed.…

“Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects, but premature births have also considerably increased after 2003. But what is more alarming is that doctors in Fallujah have said, ‘a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage.’” (See: “Sharp rise in birth defects in Iraqi city destroyed by US military”)

The Pentagon responded to this report by asserting that there were no studies to prove any proliferation of deformities or other maladies associated with US military actions. “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues,” a Defense Department spokesman told the BBC in March. There have been no studies, however, in large part because Washington and its puppet Baghdad regime have blocked them.

According to the authors of “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” the Iraqi authorities attempted to scuttle their survey. “[S]hortly after the questionnaire survey was completed, Iraqi TV reportedly broadcast that a questionnaire survey was being carried out by terrorists and that anyone who was answering or administering the questionnaire could be arrested,” the study reports.

The history of the atrocity committed by American imperialism against the people of Fallujah began on April 28, 2003, when US Army soldiers fired indiscriminately into a crowd of about 200 residents protesting the conversion of a local school into a US military base. Seventeen were killed in the unprovoked attack, and two days later American soldiers fired on a protest against the murders, killing two more.

This intensified popular anger, and Fallujah became a center of the Sunni resistance against the occupation—and US reprisals. On March 31, 2004, an angry crowd stopped a convoy of the private security firm Blackwater USA, responsible for its own share of war crimes. Four Blackwater mercenaries were dragged from their vehicles, beaten, burned, and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River.

The US military then promised it would pacify the city, with one unnamed officer saying it would be turned into “a killing field,” but Operation Vigilant Resolve, involving thousands of Marines, ended in the abandonment of the siege by the US military in May, 2004. The victory of Fallujah’s residents against overwhelming military superiority was celebrated throughout Iraq and watched all over the world.

The Pentagon delivered its response in November 2004. The city was surrounded, and all those left inside were declared to be enemy combatants and fair game for the most heavily equipped killing machine in world history. The Associated Press reported that men attempting to flee the city with their families were turned back into the slaughterhouse.

In the attack, the US made heavy use of the chemical agent white phosphorus. Ostensibly used only for illuminating battlefields, white phosphorus causes terrible and often fatal wounds, burning its way through building material and clothing before eating away skin and then bone. The chemical was also used to suck the oxygen out of buildings where civilians were hiding.

Washington’s desire for revenge against the population is indicated by the fact that the US military reported about the same number of “gunmen” killed (1,400) as those taken alive as prisoners (1,300-1,500). In one instance, NBC News captured video footage of a US soldier executing a wounded and helpless Iraqi man. A Navy investigation later found the Marine had been acting in self-defense.

Fifty-one US soldiers died in 10 days of combat. The true number of city residents who were killed is not known. The city’s population before the attack was estimated to be between 425,000 and 600,000. The current population is believed to be between 250,000 and 300,000. Tens of thousands, mostly women and children, fled in advance of the attack. Half of the city’s buildings were destroyed, most of these reduced to rubble.

Like much of Iraq, Fallujah remains in ruins. According to a recent report from IRIN, a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Fallujah still has no functioning sewage system six years after the attack. “Waste pours onto the streets and seeps into drinking water supplies,” the report notes. “Abdul-Sattar Kadhum al-Nawaf, director of Fallujah general hospital, said the sewage problem had taken its toll on residents’ health. They were increasingly affected by diarrhea, tuberculosis, typhoid and other communicable diseases.”

The savagery of the US assault shocked the world, and added the name Fallujah to an infamous list that includes My Lai, Sabra-Shatila, Guérnica, Nanking, Lidice, and Wounded Knee.

But unlike those other massacres, the crime against Fallujah did not end when the bullets were no longer fired or the bombs stopped falling.

The US military’s decision to heavily deploy depleted uranium, all but proven by “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” was a wanton act of brutality, poisoning an entire generation of children not yet born in 2004.

The Fallujah study is timely, with the US now preparing a major escalation of the violence in Afghanistan. The former head of US Afghanistan operations, General Stanley McChrystal, was replaced last month after a media campaign, assisted by a Rolling Stone magazine feature, accused him, among other things, of tying the hands of US soldiers in their response to Afghan insurgents.

McChrystal was replaced by General David Petraeus, formerly head of the US Central Command. Petraeus has outlined new rules of engagement designed to allow for the use of disproportionate force against suspected militants.

Petraeus, in turn, was replaced at Central Command by General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who played a key planning role in the US assault on Fallujah in 2004. Mattis revels in killing, telling a public gathering in 2005 “it’s fun to shoot some people.... You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.”

The author also recommends:

Fallujah and the laws of war [24 November 2004]

Horrific scenes from the ashes of Fallujah [18 November 2004]


Related articles:

Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah 'worse than Hiroshima' (24 July 2010)
The shocking rates of infant mortality and cancer in Iraqi city raise new questions about battle -- Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study. CLIP

Document Reveals Military Was Concerned About Gulf War Vets' Exposure to Depleted Uranium (28 July 2010)
For years, the government has denied that depleted uranium (DU), a radioactive toxic waste left over from nuclear fission and added to munitions used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, poisoned Iraqi civilians and veterans. But a little-known 1993 Defense Department document written by then-Brigadier Gen. Eric Shinseki, now the secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), shows that the Pentagon was concerned about DU contamination and the agency had ordered medical testing on all personnel that were exposed to the toxic substance.
(...) Sullivan, himself a Gulf War veteran, told the subcommittee that the VA has refused to listen to scientists and veterans who are concerned about DU, leaving thousands of veterans suffering from chronic illnesses related to the conflict unsure if they will ever receive a solid diagnosis to justify the benefits and treatment they need. Of the 697,000 men and woman who served in Gulf War operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield between 1990 and 1991, about 250,000 suffer from symptoms collectively known as "Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses." The symptoms include fatigue, weakness, gastrointestinal problems, cognitive dysfunction, sleep disturbances, persistent headaches, skin rashes, respiratory conditions and mood changes, according to the VA.
(...) Popular medical science holds that kidney damage is the primary health problem associated with exposure to high amounts of DU. The heavy metal is 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium, and is also linked to lung cancer in some cases and leukemia in even fewer cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).Some critics have claimed that the WHO and governments have suppressed links between DU and cancer.The debate over the use of DU in conventional warfare will rage on as the Fallujah fallout continues, but according to Sullivan, there is only one way for thousands of Gulf War veterans at home to know the truth and receive the relief they deserve. CLIP


From: http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/07/201071913463759520.html

Israeli right embracing one-state?

By Ali Abunimah - JULY 20, 2010

Proposals to grant Israeli citizenship to Palestinians in the West Bank are being pushed by some prominent activists among the West Bank settler movement [GALLO/GETTY]

There has been a strong revival in recent years of support among Palestinians for a one-state solution guaranteeing equal rights to Palestinians and Israeli Jews throughout historic Palestine.

One might expect that any support for a single state among Israeli Jews would come from the far left, and in fact this is where the most prominent Israeli Jewish champions of the idea are found, although in small numbers.

Recently, proposals to grant Israeli citizenship to Palestinians in the West Bank, including the right to vote for the knesset, have emerged from a surprising direction: Right-wing stalwarts such as knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, and former defence minister Moshe Arens, both from the Likud party of Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister.

Even more surprisingly, the idea has been pushed by prominent activists among Israel's West Bank settler movement, who were the subject of a must-read profile by Noam Sheizaf in Haaretz.

Unlikely advocates

Their visions still fall far short of what any Palestinian advocate of a single state would consider to be just: The Israeli proposals insist on maintaining the state's character - at least symbolically - as a "Jewish state," exclude the Gaza Strip, and do not address the rights of Palestinian refugees.

And, settlers on land often violently expropriated from Palestinians would hardly seem like obvious advocates for Palestinian human and political rights.

Although the details vary, and in some cases are anathema to Palestinians, what is more revealing is that this debate is occurring openly and in the least likely circles.

The Likudnik and settler advocates of a one-state solution with citizenship for Palestinians realise that Israel has lost the argument that Jewish sovereignty can be maintained forever at any price. A status quo where millions of Palestinians live without rights, subject to control by escalating Israeli violence is untenable even for them.

At the same time repartition of historic Palestine - what they call Eretz Yisrael - into two states is unacceptable, and has proven unattainable - not least because of the settler movement itself.

Some on the Israeli right now recognise what Israeli geographer Meron Benvenisti has said for years: Historic Palestine is already a "de facto binational state," unpartionable except at a cost neither Israelis nor Palestinians are willing to pay.

'Horse and rider'

The Israeli rights' vision of a one-state solution falls far short of Palestinian aspirations [EPA]

The relationship between Palestinians and Israelis is not that of equals however, but that "between horse and rider" as one settler vividly put it in Haaretz.

From the settlers' perspective, repartition would mean an uprooting of at least tens of thousands of the 500,000 settlers now in the West Bank, and it would not even solve the national question.

Would the settlers remaining behind in the West Bank (the vast majority under all current two-state proposals) be under Palestinian sovereignty or would Israel continue to exercise control over a network of settlements criss-crossing the putative Palestinian state?

How could a truly independent Palestinian state exist under such circumstances?

The graver danger is that the West Bank would turn into a dozen Gaza Strips with large Israeli civilian populations wedged between miserable, overcrowded walled Palestinian ghettos.

The patchwork Palestinian state would be free only to administer its own poverty, visited by regular bouts of bloodshed.

Even a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank - something that is not remotely on the peace process agenda - would leave Israel with 1.5 million Palestinian citizens inside its borders. This population already faces escalating discrimination, incitement and loyalty tests.

In an angry, ultra-nationalist Israel shrunken by the upheaval of abandoning West Bank settlements, these non-Jewish citizens could suffer much worse, including outright ethnic cleansing.

With no progress toward a two-state solution despite decades of efforts, the only Zionist alternative on offer has been outright expulsion of the Palestinians - a programme long-championed by Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party, which has seen its support increase steadily.

Israel is at the point where it has to look in the mirror and even some cold, hard Likudniks like Arens apparently do not like what they see. Yisrael Beitenu's platform is "nonsensical," Arens told Haaretz and simply not "doable".

If Israel feels it is a pariah now, what would happen after another mass expulsion of Palestinians?

Lessons from South Africa

Given these realities, "The worst solution ... is apparently the right one: a binational state, full annexation, full citizenship" in the words of settler activist and former Netanyahu aide Uri Elitzur.

This awakening can be likened to what happened among South African whites in the 1980s. By that time it had become clear that the white minority government's effort to "solve" the problem of black disenfranchisement by creating nominally independent homelands - bantustans - had failed.

Pressure was mounting from internal resistance and the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions. By the mid-1980s, whites overwhelmingly understood that the apartheid status quo was untenable and they began to consider "reform" proposals that fell very far short of the African National Congress' demands for a universal franchise - one-person, one-vote in a non-racial South Africa.

The reforms began with the 1984 introduction of a tricameral parliament with separate chambers for whites, coloureds and Indians (none for blacks), with whites retaining overall control.

Until almost the end of the apartheid system, polls showed the vast majority of whites rejected a universal franchise, but were prepared to concede some form of power-sharing with the black majority as long as whites retained a veto over key decisions.

The important point, as I have argued previously,is that one could not predict the final outcome of the negotiations that eventually brought about a fully democratic South Africa in 1994, based on what the white public and elites said they were prepared to accept.

Once Israeli Jews concede that Palestinians must have equal rights, they will not be able to unilaterally impose any system that maintains undue privilege.

A joint state should accommodate Israeli Jews' legitimate collective interests, but it would have to do so equally for everyone else.

Moral currency devalued

This shift in position may see the Israeli right and left face off in unexpected ways [EPA]

The very appearance of the right-wing one-state solution suggests Israel is feeling the pressure and experiencing a relative loss of power. If its proponents thought Israel could "win" in the long-term there would be no need to find ways to accommodate Palestinian rights.

But Israeli Jews see their moral currency and legitimacy drastically devalued worldwide, while demographically Palestinians are on the verge of becoming a majority once again in historic Palestine.

Of course Israeli Jews still retain an enormous power advantage over Palestinians which, while eroding, is likely to last for some time.

Israel's main advantage is a near monopoly on the means of violence, guaranteed by the US.

But legitimacy and stability cannot be gained by reliance on brute force - this is the lesson that is starting to sink in among some Israelis as the country is increasingly isolated after its attacks on Gaza and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Legitimacy can only come from a just and equitable political settlement.

Perhaps the right-wing proponents of a single state recognise that the best time to negotiate a transition which provides safeguards for Israeli Jews' legitimate collective interests is while they are still relatively strong.

Transforming relationships

That proposals for a single state are coming from the Israeli right should not be so surprising in light of experiences in comparable situations.

In South Africa, it was not the traditional white liberal critics of apartheid who oversaw the system's dismantling, but the National Party which had built apartheid in the first place. In Northern Ireland, it was not "moderate" unionists and nationalists like David Trimble and John Hume who finally made power-sharing under the 1998 Belfast Agreement function, but the long-time rejectionists of Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party, and the nationalist Sinn Fein, whose leaders had close ties the IRA.

The experiences in South Africa and Northern Ireland show that transforming the relationship between settler and native, master and slave, or "horse and rider," to one between equal citizens is a very difficult, uncertain and lengthy process.

There are many setbacks and detours along the way and success is not guaranteed. It requires much more than a new constitution; economic redistribution, restitution and restorative justice are essential and meet significant resistance.

But such a transformation is not, as many of the critics of a one-state solution in Palestine/Israel insist, "impossible." Indeed, hope now resides in the space between what is "very difficult" and what is considered "impossible".

The proposals from the Israeli right-wing, however inadequate and indeed offensive they seem in many respects, add a little bit to that hope. They suggest that even those whom Palestinians understandably consider their most implacable foes can stare into the abyss and decide there has to be a radically different way forward.

We should watch how this debate develops and engage and encourage it carefully. In the end it is not what the solution is called that matters, but whether it fulfills the fundamental and inalienable rights of all Palestinians.

Ali Abunimah is author of One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.


Related article:

Israel dumps waste on Palestinians (JULY 17, 2010) Video
Israeli settlements have been dumping untreated waste directly into a sewage canal that runs through the occupied West Bank, affecting Palestinian villages along its banks.The hazard posed is compounded by the dumping of toxic chemical waste on agricultural land, with villagers reporting a rash of skin diseases and respiratory problems. The Israeli government has banned plans by the Palestinian Authority to build pipes and pumps to treat and divert wastewater away from the affected villages.


From: http://economist.com/node/16640389

Crime and punishment in America

Rough justice: America locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal

July 22nd 2010

IN 2000 four Americans were charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes, in violation of a Honduran regulation that Honduras no longer enforces. They had fallen foul of the Lacey Act, which bars Americans from breaking foreign rules when hunting or fishing. The original intent was to prevent Americans from, say, poaching elephants in Kenya. But it has been interpreted to mean that they must abide by every footling wildlife regulation on Earth. The lobstermen had no idea they were breaking the law. Yet three of them got eight years apiece. Two are still in jail.

America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens (see our briefing). One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America’s level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan.

Tougher than thou

Some parts of America have long taken a tough, frontier attitude to justice. That tendency sharpened around four decades ago as rising crime became an emotive political issue and voters took to backing politicians who promised to stamp on it. This created a ratchet effect: lawmakers who wish to sound tough must propose laws tougher than the ones that the last chap who wanted to sound tough proposed. When the crime rate falls, tough sentences are hailed as the cause, even when demography or other factors may matter more; when the rate rises tough sentences are demanded to solve the problem. As a result, America’s incarceration rate has quadrupled since 1970.

Similar things have happened elsewhere. The incarceration rate in Britain has more than doubled, and that in Japan increased by half, over the period. But the trend has been sharper in America than in most of the rich world, and the disparity has grown. It is explained neither by a difference in criminality (the English are slightly more criminal than Americans, though less murderous), nor by the success of the policy: America’s violent-crime rate is higher than it was 40 years ago.

Conservatives and liberals will always feud about the right level of punishment. Most Americans think that dangerous criminals, which statistically usually means young men, should go to prison for long periods of time, especially for violent offences. Even by that standard, the extreme toughness of American laws, especially the ever broader classes of “criminals” affected by them, seems increasingly counterproductive.

Many states have mandatory minimum sentences, which remove judges’ discretion to show mercy, even when the circumstances of a case cry out for it. “Three strikes” laws, which were at first used to put away persistently violent criminals for life, have in several states been applied to lesser offenders. The war on drugs has led to harsh sentences not just for dealing illegal drugs, but also for selling prescription drugs illegally. Peddling a handful can lead to a 15-year sentence.

Muddle plays a large role. America imprisons people for technical violations of immigration laws, environmental standards and arcane business rules. So many federal rules carry criminal penalties that experts struggle to count them. Many are incomprehensible. Few are ever repealed, though the Supreme Court recently pared back a law against depriving the public of “the intangible right of honest services”, which prosecutors loved because they could use it against almost anyone. Still, they have plenty of other weapons. By counting each e-mail sent by a white-collar wrongdoer as a separate case of wire fraud, prosecutors can threaten him with a gargantuan sentence unless he confesses, or informs on his boss. The potential for injustice is obvious.

As a result American prisons are now packed not only with thugs and rapists but also with petty thieves, small-time drug dealers and criminals who, though scary when they were young and strong, are now too grey and arthritic to pose a threat. Some 200,000 inmates are over 50—roughly as many as there were prisoners of all ages in 1970. Prison is an excellent way to keep dangerous criminals off the streets, but the more people you lock up, the less dangerous each extra prisoner is likely to be. And since prison is expensive—$50,000 per inmate per year in California—the cost of imprisoning criminals often far exceeds the benefits, in terms of crimes averted.

Less punishment, less crime

It does not have to be this way. In the Netherlands, where the use of non-custodial sentences has grown, the prison population and the crime rate have both been falling (see article). Britain’s new government is proposing to replace jail for lesser offenders with community work. Some parts of America are bucking the national trend. New York cut its incarceration rate by 15% between 1997 and 2007, while reducing violent crime by 40%. This is welcome, but deeper reforms are required.

America needs fewer and clearer laws, so that citizens do not need a law degree to stay out of jail. Acts that can be regulated should not be criminalised. Prosecutors’ powers should be clipped: most white-collar suspects are not Al Capone, and should not be treated as if they were. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws should be repealed, or replaced with guidelines. The most dangerous criminals must be locked up, but states could try harder to reintegrate the softer cases into society, by encouraging them to study or work and by ending the pointlessly vindictive gesture of not letting them vote.

It seems odd that a country that rejoices in limiting the power of the state should give so many draconian powers to its government, yet for the past 40 years American lawmakers have generally regarded selling to voters the idea of locking up fewer people as political suicide. An era of budgetary constraint, however, is as good a time as any to try. Sooner or later American voters will realise that their incarceration policies are unjust and inefficient; politicians who point that out to them now may, in the end, get some credit.


Recommended on July 31 by Michael Dean (mikhailovich@me.com) who wrote: "The following article, which appeared in a free London newspaper this week, is very harrowing."

The War On Women: The shocking truth about violence against women and female gendercide

Kate Graham

Feminism might have become a less high-profile movement over the past decade, but across the UK and the Western world its message has always been widely accepted: stop discrimination against women.

And from the outside looking in, we’re slowly getting there. We have the vote, a female Prime Minister in Australia, and a female President in Finland. On 2nd July, after years of campaigning, the United Nations voted to launch UN Women - a body with the sole purpose of meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.

But scratch the surface, and the picture is not quite so rosy. In the UK women are still paid less for doing exactly the same jobs as our male counterparts, and there are only 126 female MPs, out of a total of 646 members of British Parliament.

The number of women holding top positions in FTSE 100 companies is on the decline. Meanwhile, the gross sexualisation of women by the media is increasing. Moreover, a ground-breaking new book, Half The Sky, by Sheryl WuDunn and her husband Nicholas Kristof, exposes the fact that female discrimination has a deeper, darker grasp on our 21st century world than we would like to imagine. The stories they uncovered aren’t pretty, but they are absolutely crucial to hear.

Around the world, more females have been killed in the past 50 years simply because they are women, than all the men killed in all the wars of the 20th century. Girls are being starved by their parents so their brothers can eat. Girls have the vaginas cut apart without anaesthetic, so they can be ‘clean’. “This is gendercide,” says WuDunn. “Women are being literally discriminated to death.”

The shocking exposé of Half The Sky is a call to arms. It has received support from Angelina Jolie, who called it “an inspiration for those fighting for justice.” Read on for the facts about what it really means to be a woman in the 21st century.


3 million women and girls are slaves in the sex trade

Slavery is something we assume is consigned to the history books. But sadly this isn’t so. In fact more women are forced into brothels each year in the 21st century than African slaves were shipped into slave plantations in the entire 18th century.

Worryingly, sex slavery of girls and women is seen by many as inevitable in cultures where might not marry until their late twenties but cannot have girlfriends for religious or cultural reasons. Among the disturbing attitudes WuDunn came across was, “Where else can men fulfill their urges than in brothels filled with illiterate rural girls?”

“These girls are kidnapped, brought to a brothel, forced to work and not fed enough, because they don’t want them to get fat. A slave in the 18th century was worth $40,000 in today’s money. Now you can buy a trafficked girl for a few hundred dollars.”

Half The Sky found that this is common opinion in some areas of Nepal, where author WuDunn met eight-year-old brothel worker Meena Hasina. Meena was threatened with swords and forced to have sex with ten or more customers a day. None of the men used a condom.

And this is also happening on our own doorstep. Right now, in city centres and quiet suburbs across the UK, an estimated 18,000 women [including some as young as 14] are sex slaves. The Poppy Project, an outreach programme which provides accommodation for trafficked women, found that these girls come from eastern Europe, southeast Asia and west Africa and are forced to work in brothels across Britain.


Women aged 14 to 44 are more likely to be killed by men than by cancer, malaria, car crashes and war combined.

Gender-targeted violence is an issue that affects women all round the world. Twenty-one per cent of Ghanaian women report that their sexual initiation was by rape. 17% of Nigerian women have endured rape by the age of 19, and in South Africa 21% are raped before they reach 15. During civil war in Liberia, 90% of girls over the age of three were sexually abused. And in Britain, one in ten women will experience rape.

While researching her book, WuDunn met Woineshet in a rural area of Ethiopia, where kidnapping and raping girls is a time-honoured tradition. There, if a man likes a girl but cannot afford the ‘bride price’, rape is a customary method: It effectively ruins the girl’s marriage prospects, so she has to marry him.

In some countries, rape is even a sanctioned custom. In 2002 Mukhtar Mai, a rural Pakistani woman from a remote part of the Punjab, was gang-raped by order of her tribal council for her younger brother’s alleged relationship with a woman from another clan. “They know that a woman humiliated in that way has no other recourse but suicide,” said Mukhtar. “They don’t need weapons - rape kills her.”


130 million women worldwide have had their genitals mutilated

Every ten seconds a girl somewhere is held down, her legs pulled apart, and a local woman with no training uses a knife to slice off some or all of her genitals. In most cases there is no anaesthetic.

The reason? To minimise a woman’s sexual pleasure and make her less promiscuous. In Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia the entire genital area is ‘cleaned up’, snipping away the clitoris and labia, leaving a raw wound. Sewn up, leaving a small opening for menstrual blood, her future husband then ‘reopens’ her to have intercourse.

Laws have been passed in 15 African countries, but little has changed. 99% of Guinea women have been cut, yet no case has ever come to trial.


100,000,000 women have been allowed to die

Gendercide is responsible for the loss of around 100 million females thus far, and is a worldwide problem. At a feeding station in Ethiopia, nearly everyone desperate for food was female. WuDunn spoke to Ummi, a thirteen-year-old girl and her mother to find out why. The mother told WuDunn it was because any food a family has will go to the males.

In China, where boys are prized, the invention of ultrasound has had a chilling effect: In the Fujian Province, one man excitedly told WuDunn: “We don’t have daughters any more!”

In two cities in Pakistan, 5,000 women have been set alight or seared with acid in the last nine years. In Britain, ‘honour’-based violence against Muslim women accounts for the murders of twelve women every year [sources believe this is only the tip of the iceberg] often prompted by the women adopting too much of British society’s ‘western culture’.



Each of us can help stop the abuse of women across the globe. “It doesn’t have to exist,” says WuDunn. “We can have a significant impact.” Here are four simple but effective steps you can take in the next ten minutes:

1. Sponsor a girl or woman through Plan International [planinternational.org] - Women For Women [womenforwomen.org] or World Vision [worldvision.org.uk]

2. Sign up for email updates on womensnews.org and worldpulse.com - Both advise on practical action you can take.

3. Join CARE action network at care.org which educates governments about poverty. It will assist you in speaking out and passing on information to policy makers.

4. Go to globalgiving.org or kiva.org - Both sites link you to people in need. GlobalGiving lets you choose a grassroots project; Kiva arranges micro-lending to local entrepreneurs.


Related website:

Half The Sky
Half the Sky lays out an agenda for the world's women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute. We know there are many worthy causes competing for attention in the world. We focus on this one because this kind of oppression feels transcendent – and so does the opportunity. Outsiders can truly make a difference. So let us be clear up front: We hope to recruit you to join an incipient movement to emancipate women and fight global poverty by unlocking women's power as economic catalysts. It is a process that transforms bubbly teenage girls from brothel slaves into successful businesswomen. You can help accelerate change if you'll just open your heart and join in.

From: http://www.halftheskymovement.org/accolades

An unblinking look at one of the seminal moral challenges of our time. This stirring book is at once a savage indictment of gender inequality in the developing world and an inspiring testament to these women’s courage, resilience, and their struggle for hope and recovery. An unexpectedly uplifting read.
— Khaled Hosseini, author, The Kite Runner

The stories that Kristof and WuDunn share are as powerful as they are heartbreaking. Their insight into gender issues and the role of women in development inspires hope, optimism, and most importantly, the will to change. Both a brutal awakening and an unmistakable call to action, this book should be read by all.
— Melinda Gates

Half the Sky is a passionate and persuasive plea to all of us to rise up and say ‘No more!’ to the 17th-century abuses to girls and women in the 21st-century world. This is a book that will pierce your heart and arouse your conscience. It is a powerful piece of journalism by two masters of the craft who are tireless in their pursuit of one of the most shameful conditions of our time.
— Tom Brokaw

If you have always wondered whether you can change the world, read this book. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have written a brilliant call to arms that describes one of the transcendent injustices in the world today–the brutal treatment of women. They take you to many countries, introduce you to extraordinary women, and tell you their moving tales. Throughout, the tone is practical not preachy and the book’s suggestions as to how you can make a difference are simple, sensible, and yet powerful. The authors vividly describe a terrible reality about the world we live in but they also provide light and hope that we can, in fact, change it.
— Fareed Zakaria, author, The Post-American World

It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of this book about one of the most serious problems of our time: the worldwide abuse and exploitation of women. In addition to describing the injustices, Kristof and WuDunn show how concerned individuals everywhere are working effectively to empower women and help them overcome adversity. Wonderfully written and vividly descriptive, Half the Sky can and should galvanize support for reform on all levels. Inspiring as it is shocking, this book demands to be read.
— Anne Rice

I think it’s impossible to stand by and do nothing after reading Half the Sky. It does what we need most, it bears witness to the sheer cruelty that mankind can do to mankind.
— George Clooney

I read Half the Sky in one sitting, staying up until 3 a.m. to do so. It is brilliant and inspirational, and I want to shout about it from the rooftops and mountains. It vividly illustrates how women have turned despair into prosperity and bravely nurtured hope to cultivate a bright future. The book ends with an especially compelling ‘What you can do’ to exhort us all to action.
— Greg Mortenson, author, Three Cups of Tea

Women facing poverty, oppression, and violence are usually viewed as victims. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky shows that unimaginable challenges are often met with breathtaking bravery. These stories show us the power and resilience of women who would have every reason to give up but never do. They will be an inspiration for anyone who reads this book, and a model for those fighting for justice around the world. You will not want to put this book down.
— Angelina Jolie

From: http://www.amazon.com/Half-Sky-Oppression-Opportunity-Worldwide/dp/0307267148

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com

Reviewed by Carolyn See

"Half the Sky" is either one of the most important books I have ever reviewed, or it is reportage about a will-o'-the-wisp movement destined to end up in the footnotes of history. Frankly, I'm too stunned by the density of information and the high quality of the prose here to know for sure which it is. You'll have to judge for yourselves. Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have been journalists for years. As a married couple, they covered the Tiananmen massacre and were appalled by the dramatic loss of human life. But as they continued their work in developing countries, they discovered that the most dreadful suffering happened in the daily lives of poor, mostly village women. Keep reading!

This book isn't a sermon, and neither is this review. These Pulitzer Prize-winning authors see the treatment of women in developing countries as the great story of this century, a moral issue, sure, but also as an economic one. What if by oppressing half their population, countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East have been shooting themselves in their collective foot? "Women hold up half the sky," the Chinese saying goes, and in fact -- the authors argue -- one of the reasons China has emerged as such an impressive power in the past decades may be because of the "Girl Effect," the millions of girls who have flocked to factories, sparking a revolution in that country. (Yes, those factories are no picnic, but they're better than the alternative: hobbling about on bound feet, as WuDunn's grandmother did.)

But in other countries, women may be gang-raped if they leave the house; they're beaten daily, sold into brothels or married off as little children. They're stoned to death in the Middle East for infringements on the family honor or burned to death in India over dowry spats. Acid is thrown in their faces; they endure genital cutting and ghastly fistulas or internal ruptures from botched births. The authors handle this grim material by telling us just a handful of horrible stories at a time, based on their own extensive interviews. Then they leaven these sad tales with profiles of women who have endured rape, beatings or medical afflictions but have managed to found a school or a hospital or a small business that lifted them and those around them out of poverty and despair. These stories are electrifying and have the effect of breaking down this enormous problem into segments the reader can focus on.

Suddenly, these horrendous problems begin to seem solvable. There's the story of the lowly Pakistani girl who was raped by men from a higher caste. They expected her to go home and kill herself, as was the custom in her village, but she applied for redress and caught the attention of then-President Pervez Musharraf, who sent her $8,300 in compensation. Instead of being eternally grateful and shutting up, she started a school, learning to read and write along with her students. The attention she brought to the issue of rape in Pakistan sent Musharraf into conniption fits, and she was hounded mercilessly by the government. But Musharraf is gone now, and the school still thrives. Kristof and WuDunn also tell of a girl in Ethiopia who suffered a fistula during her first pregnancy. She made her way to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, got sewn up so she was no longer a "modern-day leper," and then stayed around to make beds and assist the surgeon. Eventually, she learned to do fistula operations herself. She's still learning to read and write, but elite surgeons now learn medical techniques from her.

Big governments and big charities -- with the exception of CARE, which has recently focused its attention on girls and women -- are seen only faintly in these pages. The authors tend to focus instead on individual Westerners who had an "aha" moment, from distinguished public health physicians to high school girls who learned something about the situation and felt they had to help. The authors call them "social entrepreneurs" and admire them greatly. But they chide American feminists for being more interested in Title IX sports programs and inappropriate office touching than the plight of their sisters in the developing world. And they acknowledge that women are often implicated in institutionalized oppression, too.

Again, this book is not a sermon about victims. Its range is wide, and sometimes it's even funny. In a wonderful, mordantly amusing chapter about big groups trying to impose their views on cultures they don't understand, the authors describe fundamentalist Christians trying as hard as they can to prevent contraception, and secular elites trying as hard as they can to advance it. But, as Kristof and WuDunn remind us, if you're down-and-out in a Congolese jungle, the Christian missionaries will be the ones there to provide you with food and medication. "Half the Sky" is a call to arms, a call for help, a call for contributions, but also a call for volunteers. It asks us to open our eyes to this enormous humanitarian issue. It does so with exquisitely crafted prose and sensationally interesting material. It provides us with a list of individual hospitals, schools and small charities so that we can contribute to, or at least inform ourselves about, this largely unknown world.

I really do think this is one of the most important books I have ever reviewed. I may be wrong, but I don't think so.


Related article:

Combating Human Trafficking in the Western Hemisphere: The Need for Increased NGO Involvement (27 July 2010)
Human Trafficking is a global industry that transcends borders, regions, and cultures. Within the Western Hemisphere trafficking is an important issue that arguably helps to shape relations between Latin American and the United States. In June 2010, the State Department Report on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) included, for the first time, in its ten year existence, a ranking allocated to the United States as well as 177 other countries. The TIP report helps substantiate the claim that the United States and Latin American governments must strive to improve the lives of millions of innocent people who increasingly are victims of human trafficking. The restaveks, Haitian youth forced into domestic labor without compensation, exemplify the lack of protective measures against child trafficking who usually turn out to be the chief victims of trafficking. CLIP


From: http://environment.umn.edu/momentum/current/feature1.html

All Consuming

With population and per-capita consumption both on the rise, it’s hard to believe humans’ impact on Earth is sustainable. Is the problem too many people or too much consumption?


Two German Shepherds kept as pets in Europe or the U.S. use more resources in a year than the average person living in Bangladesh. The world’s richest 500 million people produce half of global carbon dioxide emissions, while the poorest 3 billion emit just 7 percent. Industrial tree cutting is now responsible for the majority of the 13 million hectares of forest lost to fire or the blade each year—surpassing the smaller-scale footprints of subsistence farmers who leave behind long, narrow swaths of cleared land, so-called fish bones.
In fact, urban population growth and agricultural exports drive deforestation more than overall population growth, according to new research from geographer Ruth DeFries of Columbia University and her colleagues. In other words, the increasing urbanization of the developing world—as well as an ongoing increase in consumption in the developed world for products that have an impact on forests, whether furniture, shoe leather or chicken fed on soy meal—is driving deforestation, rather than containing it as populations leave rural areas to concentrate in booming megalopolises.

So are the world’s environmental ills really a result of the burgeoning number of humans on the planet—growing by more than 150 people a minute and predicted by the United Nations to reach at least 9 billion people by 2050? Or are they more due to the fact that, while human population doubled in the past 50 years, we increased our use of resources fourfold?

Peak Humanity

First and foremost, human population growth peaked long ago, according to demographer Joel Cohen of Rockefeller University in New York and others. The peak growth rate—a little more than 2 percent per year—occurred somewhere between 1965 and 1970, when the world’s population was just 3.3 billion people, and has been dropping ever since, reaching a little over 1 percent today. In 1987, the number of people added to the planet each year topped out at 87 million, a number that is now down to roughly 78 million people per year. That means human population numbers will drop voluntarily for the first time ever in human history in the 21st century. A Baby Bust has replaced the Baby Boom.

Click to view a World in Transition map (see the population growth rate around the world in 2006)

The reason? Empowerment of women. A massive reduction in child mortality, combined with educated mothers pursuing their own advancement and in control of birth control, has helped to drop the average human brood from over five children per woman of childbearing age to just 2.6 per woman today. As journalist Fred Pearce writes in his new book, The Coming Population Crash: “The population bomb is being defused. By women. Because they want to.”

In fact, the combination of increasing health (especially a greater proportion of babies surviving to adulthood), empowered women and falling birth rates may be the most important revolution to come out of the tumultuous 20th century. Those of us born between 1930 and 2050 will be among the privileged few to have ever witnessed a doubling of global population. It took from the dawn of humanity to the 19th century to achieve 1 billion people on the planet—an achievement that now comes roughly every few decades. And the 21st century will likely belong to the old, as elders outnumber youth for the first (recorded) time in human history: Fewer than 10 percent of people alive today are under 4 years old, while those 60 and older now constitute more than 10 percent of the population. Birth rates in countries such as Germany have fallen so far that populations are already shrinking.

Yet this demographic transition does not hold everywhere. While family planning has proven effective in the past in countries ranging from Thailand to Iran, funding for such programs has dwindled in recent years. Partially as a result, developing countries in eastern Africa—Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe—have seen populations begin to swell again in recent years.

Capacity Unknown

The real question is, how many people can the planet sustain? As Cohen notes in his book How Many People Can the Earth Support?, microbiologist Anton van Leeuwenhoek calculated a carrying capacity of roughly 13.4 billion people back in 1679, based on the population density of his native Holland and its size relative to the rest of the globe. Modern guesses are hardly more scientific, ranging from as few as 1 billion (recently proposed by James Lovelock as our likely number by 2100 thanks to catastrophic climate change) to as many as 1 trillion.

“These estimates are political numbers, intended to persuade people, one way or another: either that too many humans are already on Earth or that there is no problem with continuing rapid population growth,” Cohen writes.

As early as 1948, scientists began to link explosive modern population growth and catastrophe. Ornithologist William Vogt’s Road to Survival warned of impending demographic doom—as have numerous conservationists and environmentalists in the subsequent decades, perhaps most famously biologist Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) or Donella and Dennis Meadows (The Limits to Growth). In Ehrlich’s case, observations of butterflies breeding so fast as to consume all available food—and then dwindling away—inspired him to predict the same fate for humans.

This is not a new idea, mind you. As early as 1600 B.C., when total population was less than 50 million, Babylonians worried that the world was too full of people, according to Cohen. The predicted human population of 2050—9 billion people—would have been inconceivable at that time.

Outpacing Pessimism

That’s because human ingenuity—whether through the waterworks of ancient Babylon or the more modern breeding of staple crops such as wheat for higher yields, known as the “Green Revolution”— has outpaced, so far, the pessimism of apocalyptic environmentalists.

Agronomist Norman Borlaug and colleagues created a strain of dwarf wheat that staved off famine for hundreds of millions in the 1960s and 1970s—increasing India’s harvest alone by nearly 170 percent in less than a decade. Yet “there can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort,” Borlaug said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. “[Man] is using his powers for increasing the rate and amount of food production. But he is not yet using adequately his potential for decreasing the rate of human reproduction. The result is that the rate of population increase exceeds the rate of increase in food production in some areas.”

That demographic contradiction is nowhere more true than in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where a population of 800 million must subsist on local yields of 1 metric ton per hectare—one-third of yields in the rest of the developing world and one-ninth those of the U.S., Europe, Australia and other parts of the developed world. 

Genetic modification might boost yields. Such technology is “critical for achieving the ecological intensification required to meet human food demand on a global scale,” says agronomist Kenneth Cassman of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. And genetic modification may prove critical to meet the challenge of crop stress due to climate change, dwindling topsoil and billions more mouths to feed. But it is currently illegal in most of Africa, according to political scientist Robert Paarlberg of Wellesley College, and faces serious public concern and regulatory challenges in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world.

Still, there is still plenty of room for improvement by more conventional means: the targeted application of fertilizer and the like. The Earth Institute’s Millennium Village of Sauri in Kenya has tripled yields even in the face of a crippling drought gripping the region, and Malawi doubled yields through fertilizer subsidies in just four years.

Nor is the growth of human population an unmitigated ill. After all, more people means more minds and hands devoted to solving the pressing problems of increasing yields, biodiversity loss and economic sustainability—as can be seen in many portions of Africa today. As economist Ester Boserup argued in the 1960s: Population growth may drive agricultural innovation, from the plow to Borlaug’s dwarf wheat, rather than the other way around.

Ten Thousand Ton Child

Yet apocalyptic biologists have a strong case as well. Fifty percent of all temperate grasslands and forests have disappeared, largely under the plow. More than 16,000 known species face extinction (785 have already been lost) and as many as 12,000 species unknown to science disappear each year, according to biologist E.O. Wilson of Harvard University. More than 90 percent of some commercial fish species, such as cod, pollock and haddock, are gone. Water tables around the globe plummet precipitously, thanks to human withdrawals for agriculture. And population growth to 9 billion people alone will add as much as 2 billion metric tons more of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse gas blanket smothering Earth.

“The inexorable increase in human numbers is exhausting conventional energy supplies, accelerating environmental pollution and global warming, and providing an increasing number of failed states where civil unrest prevails,” writes reproductive biologist Roger Short of the University of Melbourne in the introduction to a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B—a journal from the U.K.’s Royal Society whose motto is “Take nobody’s word for it.”

Short goes so far as to call for a halt to future population growth. After all, the most profound way a U.S. citizen can impact climate change is to have fewer children, since every American child born today will add almost 10,000 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere under current conditions—five times more than a Chinese child and 160 times more than a baby from Bangladesh. Having one fewer child would reduce a family’s greenhouse gas impact 20 times more than driving a Toyota Prius, using Energy Star appliances and other environmentally friendly lifestyle choices combined, according to researchers at Oregon State University.

Eating Away

But the real problem today—as it has been since at least the time of Thomas Malthus—may be food. Simply to maintain today’s number of chronically malnourished or outright starving people—1 billion—in 2050 with a larger population and present crop yields would require clearing 900 million additional hectares of land. At most, there are an additional 100 million hectares to add to the 4.3 billion already under cultivation worldwide, according to Pedro Sanchez, director of the Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment Program at the Earth Institute.

“Agriculture is the main driver of most ecological problems,” says Sachs. “We are literally eating away the other species on the planet.” After all, humans now directly employ some 40 percent of the total land area of Earth.

Nor can the solution be found in the ongoing increase in nature reserves, which currently cover some 15 million square kilometers of the planet. “There are desperately poor people surrounding many of these reserves,” Ehrlich says. “If I was there, I would shoot the hippo and eat it too.”

Concerns about population growth often boil down to concerns about too many of the wrong sort of people, as evidenced by recent efforts to tie environmental and anti-immigration efforts, such as an unsuccessful bid by nativist John Tanton to turn the Sierra Club against immigration. After all, governments from France to Australia pay their citizens to have babies in an effort to ward off the baby bust—and those efforts seem to be working. Women in developed countries are having more children again, according to demographer Mikko Myrskylä of the University of Pennsylvania. “Increases in development are likely to reverse fertility declines—even if we cannot expect fertility to rise again above replacement levels,” Myrskylä writes in Nature. “We expect countries at the most advanced development stages to face a relatively stable population size.”

That does not include immigration, of course, which some environmentalists decry as a threat to the sustainable future of the U.S. Yet the U.S. has only 80 people per square mile compared to 140 per square mile in Mexico, to take just one example. Immigration may actually reduce environmental pressures elsewhere—such as Haiti, where 760 people live for every square mile of countryside. And immigration remains the single most effective poverty alleviation program on the planet, according to economist Lant Pritchett of Harvard University. He argues that labor (i.e., people) should be as free to move internationally as capital (i.e., money).

It’s the Consumption, Stupid

Ultimately, the problem isn’t the number of people, necessarily. It’s what those people do. The average American (just one of 309 million) uses up some 194 pounds of stuff—food, water, plastics, metals and other things—per day, day in and day out. We consume a full 25 percent of the world’s energy despite representing just 5 percent of global population. And that consumerism is spreading, whether it be the adoption of cars as a lifestyle choice in China or gadget lust in the U.S.

“Consumerism is now spreading around the world,” says Erik Assadourian, a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute. “Is this going to keep spreading? Or are countries going to start recognizing that this is not a good path?”

What’s needed is the wholesale junking of the disposable life, Assadourian says, “a world where machismo is not connected to the size of a car but the fact that you don’t have one at all.” That may not be all our fault. “We are not stupid, we’re not ignorant, we don’t even necessarily have bad values with respect to the environment,” says political scientist Michael Maniates of Allegheny College. “We’re trying to do our best within cultural systems that elevate unsustainable choices.”

The world already grows enough food to feed 10 billion people—if we all ate a vegetarian diet, Cohen notes. Such lifestyle changes may prove unpalatable, transforming everything from how the dead get buried to gadgets that last a lifetime or more.

As simply put by the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005: “Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.” In other words, we just might let the world go to the dogs.

DAVID BIELLO is an award-winning journalist and associate editor at Scientific American. He has written on subjects ranging from astronomy to zoology and has been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999—long enough to be cynical but not long enough to be depressed.


Related article:

Meaty Issue - Can meat and other animal products be part of a sustainable food system?
n the lead-up to climate talks at Copenhagen last year, an activist in a black-and-white cow costume held up a cardboard speech bubble with a single word: “Burp.” To those who know that methane produced by livestock is a greenhouse gas four times as potent as carbon dioxide, the message was clear. Go vegetarian, meat is killing the planet.The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that livestock generate 18 percent of greenhouse gases by weight worldwide, exceeding even those spewed out from the transportation sector. In addition to methane-laced burps, livestock produce manure that makes both methane and nitrous oxide as it breaks down. Clearing for livestock range is also a serious force behind the release of carbon reserves from tropical forests. Beyond greenhouse gas emissions, cattle have long been considered an inefficient use of land and other resources, contributing to a loss of biodiversity.Then there are the doomsday predictions for the coming century as populations in developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa become increasingly carnivorous. An upcoming paper in the journal Global Environmental Change by ecologist Alexander Popp at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research combines socioeconomic data and population trends to estimate that agricultural greenhouse gas emissions will almost double by 2055 if people in developing countries continue to increase the proportion of meat in their diets. So far, however, agriculture has largely escaped regulation under the Kyoto Protocol and under the now-stalled U.S. climate bill. Despite all this, Popp and others stop short of advocating a diet of arugula for all. In the U.S. and Europe, people consume an average 78 kilograms of meat and 202 kilograms of milk per person each year. Fifty years from now, Africa and other developing countries will still have not even reached half of that percapita consumption, although total demand will be double that of developed countries. Therein lies the problem: How can we limit agricultural greenhouse gas emissions without slashing sustenance in parts of the world where soy and seafood are hardly a viable option? Certainly, Europe and the U.S. can stand to trim some of their animal-derived calories, but an equally important question is what changes need to be made to livestock production in the developing world. CLIP



From: http://www.ecoearth.info/blog/2010/07/earth_meanders_the_rights_of_e.asp

The Rights of Earth and All Gaia's Creatures to Ecological Self-Defense

By Dr. Glen Barry - July 29, 2010

Gaia – the Earth System – is alive and like any living entity has rights. Earth has a right to not be stripped of its vegetative skin, its flesh mined, body punctured by wells, ecosystems liquidated; and precious water, air and oceans tainted. Gaia has the right to peacefully exist and to be free of harm, violence or ecocide (to be murdered). Air, water, land and ocean ecosystems are Gaia's self-regulating internal ecosystem organs. All Gaia's creatures possess an equal claim upon a fair share of her bounty for continued existence. Yet Gaia has a right to prohibit at any time, using any means, any one species from over-running the biosphere and habitats shared by all.

Sadly the industrial, speculative and unsustainable capitalistic economy benefiting some humans is killing Earth. This growth machine in population, economy and inequitable consumption has established as the norm an immoral, short-sighted way of life based upon eating ecosystems and children (or at least their future) to wantonly consume and grow a bit more. If cumulative impacts of human ecosystem destruction upon Gaia continue; the Earth System dies, taking humanity, all life and creation with her. The current paradigm's emphasis upon growth at all costs is so pernicious that almost certainly only revolution, fundamental social change and personal transformation can eradicate it.

Earth's life – from seeds to plants, bees to trees, plant communities to ecosystems, and all life in between – is remarkable. We are witnessing the end product of 3.5 billion years of glorious evolution, now being cleared for toilet paper and fish sticks. Three hundred years ago humans began dismantling these priceless biological and ecological systems that provide their habitat for growth in population, economies and consumption. Somewhere around the time Europeans spilled forth to enslave and conquer the world, this idea was lost. These ideals of ecological colonialism – equating ecosystem destruction, biological diminishment, hierarchical subjugation and growth in virtually everything; with progress – have spread globally, creating a world of over six billion human super-predators. These beasts exist upon the flesh of Earth, and are raping her supine bounty for selfish self-aggrandizement.

Ecological Internet is not the first or only one to note limits to growth and collapsing ecosystems, however we are amongst the first to diagnose people's power Earth Revolution on Gaia's behalf as the only workable means to achieve ecologically sufficient solutions for global sustainability. Humanity has a long history of expanding rights necessary for a broader sense of well-being to humans, and has fought just revolutions and wars to broaden this sphere of rights. The very same Europeans whose worldview led them to slaughter natives and natural ecosystems developed the Rights of Man, later amended to include most women and races. In just the past few hundred years humans have made great strides in personal liberty, freedom and equality that rank amongst the greatest human achievements ever. Monarchy and systematic slavery have largely been banished from Earth, and this is true human progress in understanding the nature and rights of being.

Sadly human liberties remain incomplete, fragile and are not universalized. Billions continue to live under authoritarian regimes, women are not given equal rights in most places, billions more are unable to exercise personal liberties as gross economic depredation leads to a scramble to survive, and the dominant economic system of hierarchical capitalism continues to bind most to a life of slave wages. Shockingly, two billion live on under $2/day, just under a billion each lack fresh water and food. And a system of elite rule remains firmly entrenched. Yet the idea that all humans are created equal and enjoy liberties and freedom has become established and continues to be perfected. Now what of the rights of Earth that makes human rights possible?

The Rights of Earth and all creatures will surely be the next great expansion of revealed truth and natural law. The non-human world – the air, water, land, oceans and their plants and wildlife – provide the living context for all biological existence including, for now, humans. Together these ecosystems, organisms and their ecological processes and patterns combine to create Gaia – a living, self-regulating organism – whose right to exist is independent of human notions of value. That is birds, plants, trees, wildlife, wetlands and other ecosystems have intrinsic value; and a right to exist independent of human needs and wants. The disease that permeates the human condition is to continue viewing Gaia as mere resources for consumption, rather than being acknowledged as the ecosystems that make all life and the Rights of Man possible.

This state of enraged human ecocide must end immediately at all costs. Humans are entirely dependent upon Earth for every aspect of our existence. Continued ignorance, greed, fear, or just giving up because we are overwhelmed are not options. Each of us is now called to be the greatest of the great generations and save Earth from ourselves, by granting and enforcing her rights. Earth has the right to continue evolving. It has the right to be free from human geoengineering technology that further destroys creation. Earth has the right to not have its skin – natural terrestrial ecosystems – peeled from its body. Water – the Earth's blood – has the right to flow freely creating the conditions for life. Earth has a right to bounteous oceans, to be toxic free, to not drown in carbon and nitrogen. 

Earth has a right to exist independent of any other human concern – including growing the economy and population, providing outrageous consumption for some and little for others, or any obligation to lift the over-populated poor from material poverty by destroying the future. The biosphere has a right, indeed an obligation, to continue functioning regardless of whether this inconveniences the wants of any one species or some of its members. Without Gaia there is no being; no singing, politics, love or making love, dance, sport, economics, living, or anything. Earth's rights are paramount over every other consideration. As the foundation of known being, Earth is the ultimate truth. Gaia is God.

Earth and her humanity and all creatures are poised upon a precipice of total and complete ecological and social collapse. Earth has the right to mercilessly slaughter any creatures that threaten the integrity of the whole and other parts. Insofar as knowledgeable humans can positively help, Earth's ecocide must be resisted at all costs using all means, or being ends and there is nothing. Should the human animal – the current rulers of Earth (for now anyway) fail to expand the notion of the Rights of Earth, and stop its pervasive dismembering of Gaia, it will be to their own detriment and eventual demise. As one species amongst many, continued human being and shared survival depends upon taking a hard turn back to Earth, natural ecosystems and Gaia's defense.

Gaia and all creatures including humans have a right to ecological self-defense. Gaia – and those with global ecological vision acting on her behave – have the right to eradicate the disease consuming being. Earth has the right to inspire revolution on its behalf. The past movements and revolutions to end monarchy and slavery are examples but not blueprints. Earth and those human defenders whom have evolved to fully appreciate their connection with Gaia have a right to take any and all reasoned, thoughtful actions deemed strategic to protect and restore Gaia – ranging from protest, boycotts, civil disobedience, swarming, sabotage, non-cooperation, insurgency, guerrilla warfare to global peoples‚ power Earth Revolution.

The meaning of the rest of enlightened human being is protecting and restoring ecosystems making up our habitat – air, water, land, soils, fish, oceans, toxics - and to make a just, equitable and sustainable world for all Gaia's creatures. You are encouraged to hurry back to land and dedicate your being, your very life, to Gaia. Provision of Earth's right to exist means getting back to the land to protect terrestrial, water, ocean and atmospheric ecosystems. Organic gardening, permaculture, population limits, ending coal and old forest logging and much more are keys to Earth and humanity's survival.

All our shared futures, all life's survival, are being determined now. If Gaia undergoes much more ecosystem loss and diminishment, and her human inhabitants fail to turn the corner to embrace ecological protection and restoration, it almost certainly will be too late. Earth and her defenders have all rights to use escalating revolutionary tactics, to do whatever is necessary to avert an end to being. Indeed all global citizens that understand what is at stake for the planet and all of Gaia's shared survival have a sacred obligation to slay the growth machine, banish speculative and industrial capitalism, and return to a rewilded, relocalized and a just, free, equitable and ecologically sustainable Earth.

Simply, the environmental movement lifts its game and embraces radical tactics or it's over. What is continued being worth to you? What sacrifices are you willing to make? Are you willing to organize, sacrifice, protest, prepare, sabotage and revolt? Would you die fighting for Earth's continued being? A people's power Earth Revolution must be built. Long-standing campaigns, protests and petitions will continue and expand. Some may engage in leaderless resistance Earth revolution, forming autonomous cells with friends, to clandestinely sabotage the growth machine. Continued intransigence by the elite, and a full-scale Earth insurgency may be necessary, and there should be preparations now.

We are at a point in history where any future revolutions would rightly find indiscriminate killing intolerable. There is no need for terrorism, and this is not what is being discussed. Yet there are so very many soft property targets for sabotage within the growth machine. To say "violence is never the answer" as Earth is dying by known perpetrators relegates biosphere and society to apocalyptic ecological collapse which will assuredly not be non-violent. It is well past time for the global ecological sustainability movement to carefully consider all options and begin escalating its tactics. Or we can just roll over with Gaia and die.


Discuss essay at http://www.ecoearth.info/blog/ and http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet


From: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/bees/colony-collapse-disorder-food-0723

Hope You Like Beets, Because The Bee Crisis Could Soon Be Hitting the U.S. Food Supply

by Kim Flottum - July 23, 2010

The effects of colony collapse disorder have been masked by imported bees, but a perfect storm is brewing, and it will leave no grocery store unscathed

Recently we've explored several seemingly unrelated subjects.

* For the last several years, 30% or more of the commercial honey bee colonies in the U.S. have perished each winter due to starvation, disease and pesticides.

* During the summer, that many and more perish for the same reasons, but they are partially replaced by beekeepers by dividing their remaining colonies... but colonies are vanishing so fast that beekeepers can't keep up.

* We have to import thousands of Australian honey bee colonies each spring because the the U.S. can't produce enough bees to replace those we lose each winter, but even with imports, we still aren't staying even.

* The USDA thinks there might be problems with Australian bees and, finally, it is investigating. But USDA keeps changing the importation rules, so it seems that no matter what, Australian bees can keep coming.

* Somebody in Congress is finally upset about contaminated, cheap, illegal Chinese honey being smuggled, sneaked into this country, putting U.S. beekeepers out of business, and feeding you something you weren't expecting in your Honey Nut Cheerios.

* Farm land in the U.S. continues to disappear at just over 3% every 10 years. That's about 45,000 square miles (more than the state of Ohio) every 10 years, or 2.9 million acres every year, or, more to the point, 7,863 acres every single day, which was enough to feed almost 800 colonies of honey bees.

* In that same decade, the U.S. has lost 200,000 colonies that have not been replaced even with Australian bees or splits from our own bees. That's 20,000 a year that vanish. More importantly, that's 55 honey bee colonies that vanish, every single day.

* In the same time frame, 37 million new people have come to share what's left of the land. That's 10,000 new people, every single day.

* It takes about 10 acres of land, with each acre in bloom for about a month, to feed a single honey bee colony.

* After several years of poor weather, 2009 was the worst honey crop in the U.S., ever.

When you tie all these somewhat connected pieces together you come up with an unsettling picture.

There are not enough honey bee colonies in this country to pollinate the food we need pollinated because of the continuing overwhelming losses during both spring and summer. To meet the increasing demand we import colonies from Australia. Without them, fruit, nut and vegetable growers in parts of the country will have to change what they grow because they couldn't grow what they are growing now.

The colonies we have do not have enough good forage available to thrive, and what land they have is disappearing at a rapid rate. The millions of acres of corn and soybeans and wheat and oats and barley and grassland pasture do not a honey bee restaurant make. They need a continuous diversity of flowers available for a healthy, balanced diet, and, to produce a honey crop... even enough honey for themselves, let alone a surplus for beekeepers to harvest. And with the crackdown demanded by Congress on honey being brought into the U.S. illegally there's a good chance there won't be enough honey produced, and not enough available to import to meet the needs of U.S. consumers.

And honey consumption continues to climb every year -- not per capita consumption, but overall use. Every person in the U.S. consumes right about a pound of honey every year, year in and year out. That comes to about 310 million pounds needed next year, and in a good year we'll produce just 200 million pounds.

This country has never had a honey shortage because there have always been imports available to take up the slack. And we've never had a food shortage because we've always had imports to take up the slack. And we've never had a honey bee shortage because we've had imports as long as we've needed them. But if it all falls apart again this winter…imports of bees get banned, honey bee populations in this country crash again, imported honey gets the scrutiny it needs and much of it is no longer allowed and the illegal stuff is confiscated, and farmers change cropping plans because honey bees aren't available to pollinate…you know what happens?

You're local farm market starts to have bare stalls every weekend, and the cost of joining a CSA goes up next spring, and the cost of honey goes through the roof. Right now the U.S. average, that's average, price for a one-pound jar of honey is right about $5, but that's including the imported stuff. Take that off the market and the price goes to $8 a pound overnight., and $10 in another year.

What else happens? Without Australian bees the price for farmers to rent a colony of honey bees goes from $150 to $200 overnight. Maybe more. But here's what's more important. Almonds, which are expanding this year will require 20,000 more colonies or so, and they pay top dollar: $200 an acre, as I just mentioned. But your local apple grower, blueberry grower and regular small vegetable grower can't come close to that price. They can pay maybe $75 at most, but usually closer to $35 or $40. So far. That, too will change. A conservative estimate is prices will start at $50. But what's worse is that these growers, for the most part, don't need thousands of colonies, or even hundreds. Or even 50. They need 10, or a dozen. And, like everything else, bulk prices are cheaper. And undoubtedly the crops that he grows will reflect that change. More corn, less squash, more beans, fewer strawberries. More beets, fewer peppers. But beets are good for you, don't you know?

Colony Collapse Disorder has not gone away but so far we have been able to hide the problems it is causing. Slowly the cover is coming off and the real threat to our food supply is at hand. I hope you like soybeans, and corn and wheat, and rice. Find some recipes. Quick.


From: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/459/727300

Africa to tackle poverty, hunger and malnutrition

By Josette Sheeran - 29th July, 2010

MANY leaders who attended the African Union summit in Uganda are leading the way in bringing new energy and commitment to tackling hunger and malnutrition. And the African Union has declared its intent to build an Africa that ends hunger and empowers the continent to both feed itself, and ultimately to help feed the world.

WFP supports this vision and is deploying at Africa's request tools that empower women and men to overcome their own hunger. WFP also pledges to stand by Africans trapped in conflict and weather-related emergencies who are urgently hungry - especially the most vulnerable young children.

When designed right, social protection programmes such as school meals, food for education and food for work are foundations for not just beating hunger and malnutrition, but also drivers for agricultural development and faster economic growth.

Food-based social protection programmes can be one of the largest and most reliable purchasers from smallholder farmers.

They help create community infrastructure such as roads, irrigation, food processing and storage connecting farmers to markets. They help ensure that farmers and others benefit from the food supply chain so food reaches the people who need it most.
For instance, WFP buys $1b of food annually in the developing world. Uganda is WFP's number one purchase market where WFP operates. WFP is seeking to replicate that success throughout Africa.

Our purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative - which is being implemented in 16 African countries - builds the capacity of smallholder farmers to connect to markets and raise their incomes. P4P is transforming the lives of smallholder families in villages across Africa.

WFP envisions the day when its emergency operations in Africa will be largely supplied by African farmers. We are gearing programmes to empower people to be food self-sufficient and contribute to the food supply chain.

With the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Buffett Foundation and donor nations, P4P is building capacity with partners such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and guaranteeing markets for smallholder production at fair prices.

WFP is also looking to Africa to supply fortified food products, which will build employment opportunities and help end the scourge of malnutrition in the continent.

Last week, I visited the Millennium Village of Ruhiira in south western Uganda where WFP so far this year has purchased 250 metric tons of beans from 1,000 smallholders in a women's association to feed hungry children in drought-stricken Karamoja in the north east.

I pledged to them that WFP would double its purchases in Ruhiira next year because their actions are helping now to transform thousands of lives in the very remote area.

My trip to Africa has included visits to Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Union summit in Kampala and Rwanda.

In all these places, we hear the same voices of people wanting empowerment to build better lives and to end food insecurity. WFP, in support of the leaders of the African Union, is here to help them do just that.

The writer is the executive director of the UN World Food Programme


Related articles:

Niger children condemned to hunger (AUGUST 03, 2010 )
There is, in their silence and patience, a quiet dignity. In the yard of an old school near the town of Guidan Ider, 200 women wait with the children. The younger ones are tired and listless. The older ones have little energy, their faces betraying struggles and hardships already suffered by children way too young to know there is another way. In the current food crisis gripping the West African state of Niger, 900,000 children are at risk of malnutrition. The UN's World Food Programme is working with local charities, but even then they fear that tens of thousands will end up getting no help at all. CLIP

Drought adds to Niger misery (VIDEO -AUGUST 03, 2010)
The West African country of Niger has suffered a widespread drought that has lasted for years. According to UN figures, almost eight million people in the country, which is half of its population, are starving. Many residents say that the government is not doing enough to help deliver food aid. But Niger's government has said it is incapable of distributing enough food to its people and has made an urgent appeal to the international community for assistance in doing so. Al Jazeera Alan Fisher reports from the town of Zantoram in central Niger to find out how people there are coping with the food shortages.

Human catastrophe looming (July 30 2010)
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Devastation of Food Farming: Expansion of Biofuels in Sub-saharan Africa
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Experts warn rapid losses of Africa's native livestock threaten continent's food supply
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China Rice Output May Fall 10% on Flooding, Pests (China Rice Output May Fall 10% on Flooding, Pests)
Rice output in China, the world's largest grains producer, may drop by about 10 percent because of damage from torrential rains and pests, industry website cngrain.com said today, citing its own forecast.In some of the main producing areas the production decline may be as much as 20 percent, it said on its website. Harvest of the early indication rice crop may be delayed 7-15 days on adverse weather, it said. The website is owned by the China Grain Reserves Corp., which is known as Sinograin and stockpiles food commodities on behalf of the government.Persistent and widespread rain ravaged early rice crops in Jiangxi and Anhui provinces, with about 23 percent of the rice area in Jiangxi affected, it said. The early rice crop was in flowering stage when the rains hit, it added. China accounts for 35 percent of global production and 3.1 percent of global exports of rice, according to Bloomberg Data. CLIP

Halving Hunger Through "Business as Unusual" (July 30, 2010)
(...) Currently, 16 percent of the world is undernourished. In his recently published report, Halving Hunger: Meeting the First Millennium Development Goal through "Business as Unusual", Fan voiced his concern that efforts to meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of undernourished people by 2015 are "moving in the wrong direction." Taking projected population growth into account, the number of undernourished needs to fall by an average of 73 million per year in the next five years. Continuing to conduct "business as usual" will clearly not suffice in meeting this goal. CLIP

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Education is the Key Missing Link (JULY 30, 2010)
President Obama is releasing a plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 in advance of the largest gathering of world leaders in at least a decade at the United Nations. While the Administration's outline includes useful ideas on tracking development outcomes and increasing transparency and accountability, it also represents a missed opportunity to deliver on Obama's commitment to invest $2 billion in a Global Fund for Education to achieve universal primary education. For most of the MDGs, particularly those that are most off-track, success will be nearly impossible without the achievement of universal primary education, MDG 2. With 72 million children still not in primary school, achieving universal education would offer extraordinary leverage in the broader fight against global poverty. While there is some progress in poverty reduction for MDG 1: "Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger," there is much less progress on the commitment to halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015. Child malnutrition is a key dimension of world hunger and 137 million children under the age of 5 are still underweight globally. Educating women is an important tool for reducing child hunger, according to a cross-country analysis of 63 countries. The study found that educational gains in women's education accounted for 43 percent of all progress in reducing child malnutrition. MDG 3: "Eliminate gender disparity," commits to closing the gender gap in all education levels and increasing female representation in the wage employment and national parliaments. The latest data indicate that 28 countries still have fewer than 9 girls in school for every 10 boys. Nearly two-thirds of these countries are located in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are fewer than 8 girls for every 10 boys enrolled in secondary school. A focus on educating girls, especially in Africa, is not only essential to achieving universal education, but it is also vital to achieving the nutrition and health MDGs. The goal that is most off-track is MDG 4: "Reduce child mortality," the commitment to cutting child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2010. A recent study published in the Lancet finds that despite progress in the last 20 years in all regions, child mortality will still need to be reduced by another 3.7 million over the next five years in order to meet that goal. Half of all child deaths now occur in Sub-Saharan Africa with rates as high as 180 deaths per 100,000 children in Equatorial Guinea; compare that to just 2.5 deaths per 100,000 children in Singapore. (...) With just five years left before the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the world is running out of time. While many interventions will be needed, one of the best single levers we have to achieve these goals is to accelerate progress toward universal education. President Obama should join other world leaders at the upcoming MDG summit in announcing how together they will invest in multilateral mechanisms to deliver on their promise to give every child the chance to go to school. There is no other investment that will have as significant an impact when it comes to promoting health, gender equity, and nutrition in the fight against global poverty.


Date: 3 Aug 2010
From: Craig (tryhypnosis@yahoo.com)
Subject: The 100/0 Principle

An Excerpt from The 100/0 Principle

by Al Ritter

What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It's The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return.
Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 - Determine what you can do to make the relationship work...then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 - Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 - Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don't take the bait.

STEP 4 - Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don't respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the "Knower" and shift to being the "Learner." Avoid Knower statements/ thoughts like "that won't work," "I'm right, you are wrong," "I know it and you don't," "I'll teach you," "that's just the way it is," "I need to tell you what I know," etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like "Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation," "I could be wrong," "I wonder if there is anything of value here," "I wonder if..." etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here's the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. 

Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.


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