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June 12, 2009

The Shift of Ages Series #4: Reinventing Ourselves And Our World

Hello everysoul!

You could say that I suffer from a bad case of compilation hyperinflation - STATS for this bookish one: Over 53,000 words and 290 links; nearly 150 pages... Against the deafening silence of most mainstream media about the truly critical issues of our time - a list so long I won't even try to enumerate any of them! - you have the deluge of information web-streaming nonstop to those who care enough to pay attention to what's really going on, as I'm trying to do, and who take time to inform themselves and form their own opinion about where things are going. And right now, as clearly shown last June 5 in the Home documentary to name just one source of compelling evidence, we are rushing headlong into a wall. For those of you who have paid attention to what I've been networking for years, there is nothing new there. What is new however is that it is becoming ever clearer that there is much we can do about it, individually and collectively, with some enlightened leadership to goad us all in a better direction.

And there are steps being taken in the right direction indeed, but it is also clear that it is all far from enough to actually change the anticipated consequences of our gluttonous lifestyle upon the fragile and fast unravelling web of Life sustaining us all. We need to do better than that and fast! We need to reinvent ourselves - literally! - and shed all that prevents us from being all that we can be. The matrix of capitalism, consumerism and all the false needs programmed into our minds through decades of governmental and corporate propaganda tying us down like a vast spider web of lies and fear must now be seen for what it all is: a mighty BIG ILLUSION!

Love, the unfathomable beauty, power and grace that radiates from the heart of our soul-being as One with All is the only force strong enough to dispel our delusionary sense of disconnection from the Web of Light, Life and Love that animates our physical self since our very first breath. Through changing our vision about ourselves from one of a mere bag of flesh whose presence flickers for a mere instant in the vast expanse of eternity to a living essence of Love embodied in the physical realm to experience, again and again, the challenge of growing out of forgetfulness into full remembrance of our sublimely perfect divine nature, we can and are actually changing the world right now.

The blizzard of words and mind-chatter that follows is only the tip of the prodding Force that patiently helps us walk back to Source on the Golden Path of Light we are tracing and blazing ahead all together, as we are moving out of darkness. We are speaking to our Selves through countless channels to gently wake us up from the long, dull slumber of soul amnesia, until we can finally see the Light flashing back into our souls, like an army of blind and deaf automatons that suddenly start seeing and hearing all the magnificence and intrinsically perfect world a Part of us has created for Itself a long, long time ago...

Do you follow me?...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

P.S. The new Meditation Focus #200: Activating the Universal Godnet in All as One will be issued within the next 24 hours...

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STATS for this compilation: Over 53,000 words and 290 links provided.

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"During Sunday’s Festival of Humanity, the love of Christ and the wisdom of the Buddha are showered down upon the Earth. At this time, spiritual disciples of all paths and lineages and religions around the world receive inspiration and instructions concerning their roles and duties for the upcoming year. The Hierarchy of Spiritual Guides and Teachers overseeing humanity’s spiritual evolution join with the Cosmic Christ and provide a roadmap of the coming seasonal cycle to all disciples, planting the seeds for all the spiritual activities that disciples are being urged to undertake during the next year. Most importantly, the Hierarchy and the Cosmic Christ engulf the entire planet with a powerful high-frequency energetic charge known as The Will to Good, which is distributed through powerspots around the world to all willing recipients. This energy acts as a powerful stimulant, strengthening the will forces in struggling humanity, and acts as a beneficent power surge, impelling disciples on all paths to internalize the energy of Goodwill, to act with Goodwill toward all, and to strive to establish right human relations in all their activities. The energy released on the Full Moon Festival of Humanity circulates throughout the etheric body of planet Earth for three full nights and days. During that time disciples, seekers, Lightworkers, meditators, and all people of Goodwill are challenged by the spiritual hierarchy to become willing channels for the outpouring of high-frequency energy being channeled to Earth during this beautiful Spring Festival. Look for opportunities to share love, wisdom and strength of will with others for the best and highest good of all concerned. Then simply act to do whatever your heart tells you is right."

- Taken from The Spring Festival of Goodwill -- Full Moon in Sagittarius

"We're not alone. Our destiny, in my opinion, and we might as well get started with it, is to become a part of the planetary community. We should be ready to reach out beyond our planet and beyond our solar system to find out what is really going on out there. The universe that we live in is much more wondrous, exciting, complex and far-reaching than we were ever able to know up to this point in time."

- Edgar Mitchell - Taken from Aliens exist and UFOs are covered-up by US government, says ex-astronaut

"The most important issue facing humanity this year is the environment, and especially global warming.
We must individually and collectively open our eyes to the earth-changes transforming our planet as a result of our own activities, and we must begin to totally understand the consequences for our children, and we must act now to completely change humanity’s way of life, which is so self-destructive, and which is also destroying so many species of living beings that scientists are referring to “mass die-offs” in this century comparable to global catastrophes such as the obliteration of the dinosaurs. It is up to us as a human family to protect our children’s environment, to provide them with safe and secure living spaces. In a time of rampant global warming and thinning of the ozone layer, will sunbonnets be enough to protect our children? What are we doing to protect the environment our children will inhabit? (...) The mainstream of American culture belongs to rational materialists, irrational fundamentalists, ultra-coiffed talking heads, ultra-patriotic militarists, and myopic corporate chieftains who do not see beyond their own self-interest, and who find it in their best self-interest to keep the deadly gears of the current unsustainable global economic and political system greased and running – right off the rails of planetary sustainability for human civilization. As in the time of Jesus, those who seek to overthrow the gross inequities and barbaric dominator politics of the current Imperium are in the minority. But today there are multitudes around the world who sincerely desire to establish a new society based upon fulfilling human need and not upon maximizing human greed. And in the etheric and astral realms, these multitudes are beginning to shine with a bright light that will change the world! Those of us who hold hope for higher consciousness and work to find new ways of living lightly and equitably in and on the world must seek out one another, in our own neighborhoods, for where we gather, the light gathers, and the gathering of the light shall overcome all darkness."

- Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry -- Taken from their June Full Moon Newsletter

"Censorship has been rampant ever since Amabo came into office. E-mails from numerous websites are being intercepted, so that I never see them in my inbox! Articles, which I find of interest and try to send to myself (and others), have been, and are, called "spam" by the Verizon dictatorial censors... It has come to my attention that AOL is also in this dictatorship/censorship game. FYI: never, and literally NEVER, during all the eight years during which G.W. Bush was occupying the White House, have I seen this blatant form of censorship. Anything and everything about Bush Jr, pro or contra, went through (including insults, et cetera, et cetera). Things against the O'Boy are being censored, taken off lists, called "spam", and so on, and so on. Welcome to Moscow... And no: I do NOT believe in doom and gloom, but what is currently going on is pure and evil government control (with the telephone-companies and list-servers as obedient little slaves)."

- H. Reid (an ERN subscriber commenting on the censorship problem experienced with my last compilation)

"Something like a strange scent of unreality floats over this month of June. While the whole world confronts a deep recession after receiving a colossal financial shock, everything is happening as though that page were already turned. The financial markets are getting carried away by the green shoots they take for a sign of spring. In the United States, the banks don't want to have anything more to do with the government. They are falling over one another to reimburse public assistance and so liberate themselves from an awkward guardianship. The dozens of official bodies charged with financial regulation will undoubtedly continue to toil, each in its own corner, thus preventing any systemic vision of the markets. (...) Even though it would be more pleasant to proclaim the crisis over, there is no denying that it is only beginning. Debt is making holes everywhere, in the accounts of companies, individuals and governments. We are acting like a sick person who leaves the hospital just after escaping a heart attack, having changed neither his diet nor his lifestyle, without even having the necessary tests done to determine whether he is still at risk in the short term. We have not learned any lessons from the crisis... at the risk of very soon undergoing a still greater shock."

- Jean-Marc Vittori -- Taken from Wasted Crisis?


1. The Century of The Rights of Mother Earth
2. Peru: Save the Amazon
3. The End of Days - Another Beginning?
4. Palden's Travels and Observations
5. The Rape of Gaza
6. Israelis fear unravelling of US alliance
7. Obama Calls for Fresh Start With Muslims
8. Panic selling of U.S. Dollar
9. Why This Crisis May Be Our Best Chance to Build a New Economy
10. Rather: Former detainee says torture still going on at Gitmo
11. Fear Rules
12. Taiwan Surpasses U.S. on Key Achievements: Health Care, High Speed Rail and Fiscal Responsibility
13. Observers from Another Dimension
14. What Can We Learn From The Lawsuit Against Rhonda Byrne and The Secret?
15. Vandana Shiva on Gandhi for Today’s World
16. Shoppers, Unite! Carrotmobs Are Cooler than Boycotts
17. The Breathtaking Effects Of Cutting Back On Meat
18. Livestock a major threat to environment


KGO Radio, San Francisco, Interviews Richard Gage of - as reported by Fred Burks
KGO radio is the top talk talk radio show in the SF Bay Area. This 7-minute interview played this morning. It's coming out! Please spread the word.

41 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency Veterans Challenge the Official Account of 9/11 (19 MAY 2009) MUST READ AND MUST NETWORK WITH THE ONE ABOVE (Richard Gage's explosive interview)
Following in the footsteps of well over 1,000 scientists and other professional groups who have already gone on record questioning the official theory, more than 40 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency veterans have come forward to challenge the Government’s rendition of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Their behind-the-scenes knowledge and experience of sensitive and classified issues places them in a uniquely authoritative position. In this sense, their critical stance is all the more damning for the government. Conspicuously absent from the landscape are the mainstream media professionals, as they continue to provide cover for the government’s totally bankrupt theory and fail to report on landmark developments such as this. -- Official Account of 9/11:“Terribly Flawed,” “Laced with Contradictions,” “a Joke,” “a Cover-up” -- More than 40 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency veterans have severely criticized the official account of 9/11 and most have called for a new investigation. It is outrageous that most Americans are entirely unaware of their publicly stated concerns — a direct result of the refusal of national print and broadcast news organizations to cover this extremely important issue. There is no denying the credibility of these individuals or their loyalty to their country as demonstrated by their years of service collecting and analyzing information and planning and carrying out operations critical to the national security of the United States. These 41 individuals formerly served in the U.S. State Department, the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the branches of the U.S. Military. They are listed below by their branch of service. [To read their individual statements and full complementary information, see "Counterterrorism Veterans"]. CLIP - To read this impressive list go at -- Statements questioning the official account of 9/11 and calls for a new investigation by over 1,000 credible individuals can be found at the author's website:

September 11 Commission Report Revised December 2008
59 pages of MUST READ stuff

Peru tribes vow to continue protest (JUNE 12, 2009) FIGHTING TO PROTECT PACHA MAMA!
Peruvian tribes have vowed to continue their protests against land laws six days after at least 60 people were killed in clashes between protesters and police. Thousands of people joined demonstrations across Peru on Thursday in support of the indigenous people battling against laws making it easier for foreign companies to explore for oil. On Wednesday, the Peruvian congress suspended one of the most controversial land laws, which would have eased restrictions on mining, oil drilling, logging and farming in the Peruvian Amazon. Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo, reporting from Peru, said many protesters were demanding the cancellation of the laws rather than their suspension and would keep fighting until that happened. In Lima, the capital, riot police fired tear gas at several hundred student protesters, some of whom threw rocks and petrol bombs.In Peru's second largest city, Arequipa, demonstrators burnt a blood-smeared effigy of Alan Garcia, the Peruvian president, who backed the laws as part of the free trade deal with the US. CLIP

The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) condemns the violent attacks on peaceful indigenous blockades in the Peruvian Amazon that has left up to 100 civilians* and 22 police* dead and hundreds injured. IEN recognizes the communiqué of the Indigenous regional organization, the Coordinating Body of Andean Indigenous Organizations (CAOI) calling upon indigenous organizations, social movements and human rights organizations around the world to take concrete action: letters to the Peruvian government, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Inter-American Commission Human Rights, International Labor Organization (ILO Convention 169) calling to immediately send missions to Peru, in order to stop the violence and respect indigenous rights. CAOI and other reports from Peru are continuing to report the APRA government of Alan García Pérez acting out its repression in the Peruvian Amazon against the Indigenous peoples and its citizens. The human rights crisis illustrates the consequences of a systematic failure in the basic governance processes related to self-determination, land and forest tenure and failures of implementation of policies of consultation and provisions of free, prior and informed consent. The mobilization of Indigenous peoples to defend their rights resulted in violence last Friday was a reaction to a series of laws promulgated by President Alan Garcia’s government over the past year. The laws contain provisions that Indigenous organizations believe threaten their fundamental rights to access and decision-making over their forests, resources and territories. These laws were written and passed into law without any formal or informal consultation with Indigenous peoples, in violation of Peru’s obligations under ILO 169 and despite Peru’s endorsement of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly in 2007. This is the second time in less than a year that Peru’s Indigenous peoples in the Amazon have resorted to organizing massive and prolonged blockades of roads, rivers and extractive industry infrastructure, as their increasingly frequent calls for consultation and dialogue have gone unheard. This illustrates how ignoring peoples’ rights and meaningful participation in processes that affect their lands and livelihoods can lead to serious social conflict. Included within this IEN Special Newsletter are Action Steps you could take. Activate your communities, Native Nations, organizations and networks and ask them to send letters to the Peruvian Government demanding an immediate cease to the violent repression and a suspension of the state of emergency. CLIP - As recommended by the World Rainforest Movement ( - More on this in Peru: Save the Amazon - item #2 below. More on the situation in Peru through this LINK

Petition for Europeans about the Food Supplements Directive
We the undersigned urge the European Commission and the Governments of the Member States of the European Union to implement the provisions of the Food Supplements Directive (2002/46/EC) in such a way as to ensure that consumers have access to as wide a range as possible of safe, popular and effective higher potency vitamin and mineral supplements; with provision for individual Member States to permit onto their own national market products at higher potencies than the limits set by the Union if they consider it appropriate to local circumstances." Details in French through this LINK

Naked Yoga - You will want to be a vegetarian after reading the enlightening captions on these beautiful pics
Naked Yoga is an initiative that raises money for existing organizations that are doing work in South Africa to fight the cruelty that is so prevalent in animal farming methods worldwide. "Ahimsa" is a sanskrit word meaning non-violence and it is the first and most important observance in Yoga philosophy. The crises we see in our climate, in our water supply, our food supply and energy reserves are directly related to the raising of animals for food. Please visit the following links — Animal Voice - PETA - AACL — to learn more about the violence and cruelty happening on animal farms everywhere. The Animal Voice are already making headway with supermarkets locally by putting pressure on them for the correct treatment of animals.

Animals can tell right from wrong (May 23, 2009)
Animals possess a sense of morality that allows them to tell the difference between right and wrong, according to a controversial new book. Scientists studying animal behaviour believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans. Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions and have a sense of morality. But Prof Marc Bekoff, an ecologist at University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that morals are "hard-wired" into the brains of all mammals and provide the "social glue" that allow often aggressive and competitive animals to live together in groups. He has compiled evidence from around the world that shows how different species of animals appear to have an innate sense of fairness, display empathy and help other animals that are in distress. His conclusions will provide ammunition for animal welfare groups pushing to have animals treated more humanely. Prof Bekoff, who presents his case in a new book Wild Justice, said: "The belief that humans have morality and animals don't is a long-standing assumption, but there is a growing amount of evidence that is showing us that this simply cannot be the case." Prof Bekoff believes morals developed in animals to help regulate behaviour in social groups of animals such as wolves and primates. He claims that these rules help to control fighting within the group and encourage co-operative behaviour. (...) Recent neurology work has also revealed that distantly related mammals such as whales and dolphins have the same structures in their brains that are thought to be responsible for empathy in humans.Other findings have also suggested that some animals may even be capable of showing empathy with the suffering of other species. Prof Bekoff, who co-wrote the book with moral philosopher Jessica Pierce, also from the University of Colorado, added: "There are cases of dolphins helping humans to escape from sharks and elephants that have helped antelope escape from enclosures. CLIP

UFOs spotted in Cambridgeshire (03 Jun 2009)
A number of people claim to have seen UFOs in Cambridgeshire after dazzling orange lights flashed across the night sky. UFO: These is the incredible picture of more than 20 UFOs buzzing over awestruck Britain. (...) "It was like an armada. There was no sound. They were travelling 15 at a time and every six minutes more seemed to be coming over the horizon. CLIP

Extraterrestrial bases and contact revealed in Italy (May 29, 2009)
A new book details the history of a mysterious group of human looking extraterrestrials that established underground bases in Italy and met with local residents between 1956 and 1978. The author of Mass Contacts, Stefano Breccia, is a well regarded Italian UFOLogist with an electrical engineering background who has taught at several Italian and foreign universities. He investigated the Amicizia (Friendship) case over a period of several decades during which he got to meet and question many of the primary witnesses. In the book, Breccia includes the testimony of Bruno Sammaciccia, a highly qualified Italian scholar with degrees in psychology and psychiatry, and author of 160 books. Sammaciccia's testimony contains his claims of direct physical contact with extraterrestrials over several decades. Leading Italian UFOlogist, Dr Roberto Pinotti wrote the Preface to the book and acknowledged his own decades long knowledge of the Friendship case, and the extensive evidence supporting it. Some of the many photos taken of UFOs and extraterrestrials in the Friendship case rank among the best quality ever taken. In terms of its overall impact, number of participants involved, and documentary evidence compiled, Mass Contacts is the most astonishing case of human extraterrestrial contact in modern history. (...) The story of Mass Contacts began in 1956 when Bruno Sammaciccia and two friends met with two mysterious individuals who said they were extraterrestrials. One was over 8 foot tall while the other was just over 3 foot. Sammaciccia and his friends, initially skeptical, were eventually taken into a large underground base where they saw more of the alleged extraterrestrials. They also saw their children being educated, some of the advanced technologies they used, and their space ships. Finally convinced that they were really having physical contact with extraterrestrials, Sammaciccia and his friends began to help the extraterrestrials. They began with material support by arranging for truckloads of fruit, food and other material to be transported and unloaded at an extraterrestrial base. Eventually, two truckloads of supplies were being delivered every month to bases in different regions of Italy where Sammaciccia and his assistants lived. Sammaciccia describes the various people involved in the case and who had direct meetings with the extraterrestrials. The individuals involved grew over time as Sammaciccia assisted the extraterrestrials in helping prepare humanity for the reality of human looking extraterrestrials from other planets. Breccia said that he personally met and interviewed almost 80 people who worked with or met the extraterrestrials. Most were in Italy, but others were from other countries that also had been exposed to the same group of extraterrestrials. Many of the extraterrestrials could easily blend into human society and even take normal jobs when necessary. The Friendship case helps confirm the accounts of a number of American contactees and whistleblowers that human looking extraterrestrials have blended into human society and have walked among us. Salla's video of a radio interview HERE CLIP - You can review a sample of the book HERE

France poised to disclose presence of Extra Terrestrials on Earth (7 June 2009)
The words 'Nous ne sommes pas seuls' or 'We are not alone' will be somberly pronounced this week by a senior Government official of the nation that brought the world 'Liberté, égalité, fraternité'. France is set to concede that it is aware of an alien presence on earth by no later than Friday. Paris has chosen follow the lead of maverick UFO nation Brazil and resist US pressure to continue delaying disclosure until America feels it is ready for the event. It is believed that a telephone hot-line has been set up in Paris to deal with queries from panicky citizens. A special division of France's police department is also to be established: to handle UFO reports. The French have gone to so much effort to protect their culture from encroaching 'Anglo-Saxon' influences and now they are preparing to protect their culture from what might be even more powerful extraterrestrial forces. It is believed Holland and Germany are set to soon follow France's lead.

Uruguay: Air Force Declassifies UFO Files (June 6, 2009)
The UFO phenomenon has manifested itself many times in Uruguay. Thirty years after research began, 40 cases remain unexplained. The files were declassified and EL PAIS was allowed access to them (...) Unsolved cases. The files consist of reports that accrue at a rate of 100 cases per year. The commission has received approximately 2100 solid reports and has researched and dismissed many for various reasons. But there are still 40 cases lacking an explanation. These files have been kept open, and range from sightings and landings of alleged craft to so-called abductions, that is to say, report on the kidnapping of persons by extraterrestrial entities. CLIP

First a jellyfish, now a dragonfly... Giant crop circles just get weirder (4th June 2009)
A dragonfly the size of a dragon has landed in a farmer's field - in the second astonishing animal-style crop circle to appear this week. The intricate 150ft insect pattern appeared overnight in a barley field near Yatesbury, Wiltshire, just days after a jellyfish design was mysteriously cut into crops in Oxfordshire. When the 600ft Portuguese man-of-war turned up near Kingstone Coombes, Oxfordshire, crop circle author Karen Alexander said: 'This is the first jellyfish crop circle in the world. It is absolutely huge - roughly three times the size of most crop patterns.' CLIP = Many UK newspapers are finally paying attention to this amazing phenomenon. Check HERE for examples. Even The Guardian has a long article!

New crop formations (celestial glyphs) (Amazing bug!) (FISHY!)

Large Crop Circle Database

Crop Circle: Prank, Alien Contact, or X-Files Alternate Reality Game? (June 20, 2008)
A complex crop circle, which appeared in an English barley field last month, is a cryptic representation of the first ten digits of Pi, says Astrophysicist Mike Reed. The remaining question: Was it made by pranksters, aliens, or a guerrilla marketing team?As the theatrical premiere of a new X-Files movie draws near, I want to believe that this mysterious occurrence is the opening act of an elaborate alternate reality game. One thing is for sure, whomever dreamed up the 150-foot geometric spectacle is familiar with fractals — objects that contain small patterns within a larger but similar pattern.Pictures obtained by the Daily Mail show ten notches within the spiral. The distance between each of those marks corresponds to a digit of Pi.In other words, the circle is divided up into ten invisible segments, like a pizza. To represent the 4 in 3.141592654, the third notch is four segments further along in the spiral than the preceding mark.

Astronauts Spot Mysterious Ice Circles in World’s Deepest Lake (May 26, 2009)

Palden Jenkin's Middle East travel blog
You are invited to follow his blog for the next few months - or at least, take an occasional look! - as he is off to Jordan, Israel and Palestine. See his first bold entry below in Palden's Travels and Observations

Asperatus: gathering storm to force new cloud name (7 pictures) THIS IS BEYOND WEIRD!
No new cloud type has been officially classified since 1951 but Gavin Pretor-Pinney who runs the Cloud Appreciation Society believes that there is a new cloud that deserves international recognition. He calls it asperatus, which means rough in Latin, and he is working with the Royal Meteorological Society to have it officially classified by the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva. Check this google search linking chemtrails with this new phenomenon. THIS ONE is pretty weird too! Check also the Noctilucent clouds and...

Gravity Wave
Lapse of gravity wave action from the Tama, Iowa KCCI-TV webcam on 6 May 2007 Here is another Gravity Wave. The explanation is HERE

Prince Knows The Truth About Chemtrails (28 May 2009)
Prince mentions Dick Gregory so I searched who he is and found this hilarious video about him: Dick Gregory at State of Black Union 08 Pt.1 Check his website HERE

Bizarre Weather Phenomenon, Face In The Sky+Cross

30 mins before the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China
Bizarre colorful (luminous/glowing) cloud phenomenon in the sky was observed about 30 mins before the May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake took place. This was recorded in Tianshui, Gansu province ~450km northeast of epicenter, by someone using a cell phone - Source
See similar cloud formation captured 20 minutes later in a different city, ~200km east of this location:
A map of the locations with sightings of very similar phenomenon.
More photos taken, reported 1 hr before the quake

Curious cloud formations linked to quakes (11 April 2008)
CAN unusual clouds signal the possibility of an impending earthquake? That's the question being asked following the discovery of distinctive cloud formations above an active fault in Iran before each of two large earthquakes occurred.

Chameleon - stunning color changes

Never under estimate a mother!

Protect Grizzly Bears
Urge Forest Service officials to reject a dangerous mining proposal in the heart of grizzly bear habitat in Montana's Kootenai National Forest.

Stand with Chinese Activists Against Cruel Dog Culls
June 2009—A shocking dog massacre is happening in Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province, China. More than 20,000 dogs—many of whom were registered and vaccinated household pets—have reportedly died a brutal death due to government orders. After achieving success in stopping government-mandated culls in several major cities, Chinese animal protection groups are mobilizing to stop this inhumane practice across the country. International support for Chinese grassroots efforts is vital to speeding up policy change and making dog culling history. CLIP

The Ocean Project - those who organize the World Ocean Day every June 8 in the U. S.

World Ocean Day: "One Ocean, One Climate, One Future"
Whether you live near the ocean, or thousands of miles away from any coastline, there is no disputing the fact that the world's oceans are a life-giving force whose health affects us all. The world’s five oceans are essential to the survival of all life on our planet: they are a mainstay of our biosphere and our climate’s powerhouse, not to mention that they help produce the air we breathe and provide an essential source of food for most of the world. The United Nations has designated today, June 8, as World Oceans Day; an opportunity to raise global awareness of the importance of our oceans, and a way to underscore the challenges faced by the global community in its protection of our oceans. CLIP

Jury: CIA Involved in JFK Assassination
Not a single major newspaper nor any national news broadcast has ever reported that on Feb. 6, 1985, a jury in Miami concluded that the CIA was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This is remarkable, if only because the verdict came in a court case featuring two international celebrities: Water gate burglar E. Howard Hunt -- perhaps the most infamous CIA operative in history -- and his courtroom nemesis -- attorney Mark Lane. Lane's ground-break ing best-seller, Rush to Judgment, had convinced millions of readers there had been a conspiracy in the JFK assassination, the Warren Commission's claims notwithstanding. Scattered news reports did mention Hunt had lost a libel case against The SPOTLIGHT. However, no media reported what the jury forewoman had told the press: Mr. Lane was asking us to do something very difficult. He was asking us to believe John Kennedy had been killed by our own government. Yet when we examined the evidence closely, we were compelled to conclude that the CIA had indeed killed President Kennedy. CLIP

Wikileaks is a website that publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive governmental, corporate, or religious documents, while attempting to preserve the anonymity and untraceability of its contributors. Within one year of its December 2006 launch, its database had grown to more than 1.2 million documents. Check

Wikileaks Needs Our Help!
Wikileaks is the world’s #1 resource for publishing secret documents that are in the interest of public good. This site is a colossal pain in the ass for corporate criminals, corrupt governments, tax cheats and anyone out to abuse the general public. The site allows anyone in the world to submit secret documents anonymously so that the whole world can know what the criminals don’t want you to know. Whistleblowers and people of conscience who come across powerful secret information are able to make it public through Wikileaks. It is the only site of its kind.You may have read about stories in the news that Wikileaks helped to break since they began operations in 2007. This site does what no other site in the world is doing or has done before: They give the truth a place to come out. A brief sample of stories that have come out of Wikileaks include CLIP

Herdict Web
Have you ever come across a web site that you could not access and wondered,"Am I the only one?" Herdict Web aggregates reports of inaccessible sites, allowing users to compare data to see if inaccessibility is a shared problem. By crowdsourcing data from around the world, we can document accessibility for any web site, anywhere. Here is a video on this. Test any site's accessibility there!

John Pilger - Freedom Next Time - An amazing important speech (June 23, 2007)
Australian journalist, author, film maker John Pilger speaks about global media consolidation, war by journalism, US military's quest for domination/hegemony in the post 9/11 era, false history in the guise of 'objective' journalism. Filmed in Chicago at Socialism 2007: Socialism for the 21st Century by Paul Hubbard. June 16, 2007 Broadcast on Democracy Now - The War and Peace Report - August 7, 2007

Susan Boyle Says She Hates "Britain's Got Talent". So do I!" Great Commentary on (Susan Boyle) All of Us
(...) Watching Boyle go through this is painful for me. It's a reminder of how much evil exists around us and that we can never stop confronting it. In the end, the Beatles song was right on: All We Need Is Love. I love to see people succeed. I love to see people reach their dreams. Celebrities, to me, are to be celebrated just for being in the spotlight they've so wanted to have for so long. Great! Seeing people smile - the grin of a child or of a middle-aged woman who never thought her talent would see the light of day - not cry, should be everyone's objective. That it's not is the measure of our ability to do bad, not good. If this is you, wherever you are, stop and change. Please. CLIP

Texas Cop Tasers 72-year-old Great Grandmother - with video (June 9, 2009)
Fox News has obtained police dashboard video of the tasering of a 72 year old great grandmother in Travis County, TX. The police claim that after Kathryn Winkfein was stopped for driving 15 miles over the speed limit in a construction zone, she disobeyed an order to sign the speeding ticker, used profane language, and became “violent.” They say the officer who taserer her and took her to be booked for resisting arrest was completely justified. However, Winkfein says that’s a lie, and the video appears to back her up. CLIP

Police brutality rally in New Jersey - with video (June 06, 2009) Tip of the Iceberg?
PASSAIC, New Jersey (WABC) -- There was a rally against police brutality in New Jersey. It follows Friday's release of a surveillance videotape showing a police officer beating a man outside a bar in Passaic. The man is Ronnie Holloway and he was badly beaten back on May 29. Holloway and another woman, claiming the same officer beat her, were at Saturday's rally. The protestors say the case of Ronnie Holloway is just too much to ignore. CLIP

New Uses For Electro-Shock Torture (June 4, 2009) WHERE WILL IT STOP?!!
A police officer assigned to prowl the halls of Pennsylvania’s Penn Hills High School came across a student using his cell phone, a violation of school rules except in an emergency. The officer was ignored when he told the student to turn off the phone. So he ordered the student to the principal’s office. According to Police Chief Howard Burton, “The student resisted, pushed the officer. The officer, defending himself, took out his stun gun and did a drive stun.” A “drive stun” consists of placing the Taser directly to the subject’s body, temporarily immobilizing him. The student fell to the floor, where, after he continued “resisting” — one has to admire his tenacity — he was handcuffed. All of this was less disruptive than the student’s cell phone use, one supposes.After the student complained of dizziness and a headache, he was taken to a hospital, where at least he was spared a few hours in the government-run conformity gulag. In addition to their use as Pavlovian instruments of pain compliance in government schools, Tasers now may be employed to extract DNA samples from uncooperative citizens, according to a Niagara County Judge. CLIP

Peter Molyneaux gives us a look at Milo, which uses Project Natal for amazing interaction with an on-screen character. Check also

Street Art: Joshua Allen Harris' Inflatable Bag Monsters - Amazing Fun Street Art

Great Scenes of the Past - And what a time it was...

Online documentary: HOME (8 June 2009)
Shot entirely from the air and filmed magnificently, the 1 1/2 hour, 10-million-euro movie, HOME, is available free to all, thanks to its generous sponsors. It took almost three years to complete the mega movie, shot over 217 days in 54 countries, providing 488 hours of footage. HOME is a documentary by Frances Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the French photographer known for the ‘Earth From The Air’ books and ‘Seen From The Air’ on TV. The commentary is narrated by Glenn Close in English and Salma Hayek in Spanish, and it's message is, that “It’s too late to be a pessimist”, we have to act positively, now. Showing the splendour of nature, the squalor of over population, the depletion of resources, and the glimmer of potential solutions, it challenges us to become more aware of the problems, and then choose to be a part of the solution.

Why Kids need Pets

Eckhart Tolle - Interview on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos

Citoyens pour la nature - plus de 77,000 membres y ont adhéré en moins de 3 ans!!!
CITOYENS POUR LA NATURE a pour mission d'informer et de mobiliser les citoyens afin de résoudre, collectivement, l’enjeu des aires protégées sur le territoire québécois. C'est un nouveau mouvement pour protéger la biodiversité de nos grands espaces et les richesses du patrimoine naturel québécois qui s’offre à nous! Abonnez-vous à leur bulletin électronique mensuel !


WHO getting close to declaring H1N1 pandemic (June 9, 2009)
GENEVA, June 9 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday it was getting close to declaring a full-blown pandemic caused by the H1N1 virus, which has infected more than 26,500 people in 73 countries. Keiji Fukuda, acting WHO assistant director-general, voiced concern at the sustained spread of the new strain in countries including Australia following major outbreaks in North America. Confirmed community spread in a second region would trigger moving to phase 6 from phase 5 on its 6-level pandemic alert scale. Fukuda, asked whether there was any doubt that a pandemic was under way, told a weekly teleconference: "We are really getting very close to that."

Swine-flu shots for Canadians ready 'in fall' (June 11, 2009)
Flu vaccine manufacturers are ramping up to produce a vaccine by the fall after the World Health Organization's declaration Thursday that a virulent new influenza strain ignited the first pandemic in 41 years.Canadians will be able to get an additional vaccine shot in the arm as early as October, said the country's chief medical officer of health. CLIP

Influenza Q & A (June 11, 2009)
-The WHO declared that there is a pandemic. That implies things are much worse. What does the move to phase 6 mean to me as an individual? Is the risk greater today than yesterday? For a Canadian, the risk posed by pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (also known as swine flu) is exactly the same today as yesterday – and that risk is pretty minimal. The pandemic alert phases refer strictly to geographic spread of the flu. Influenza started spreading slowly in North America in March. Now it is making its way around the world. Australia is currently seeing the rapid spread of flu – and related panic – that we saw in Canada a month ago. Practically, the move to phase 6 means nothing to Canadians. We have been in pandemic mode for a number of weeks. As David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, has said repeatedly: The real worry for Canada is what will happen in the fall, when flu season returns to the northern hemisphere. The fear is that A/H1N1 could return with a vengeance then.
- How long will phase 6 last? In other words, when will the pandemic be over? History tells us that pandemics strike like a tsunami – an initial wave hits but the real danger often comes with subsequent waves. With the 1918 Spanish flu, for example, the first wave of disease was relatively mild in the spring, there was a little blip in the summer and then massive wave of sickness and death in the fall and winter. Flu viruses typically travel from east to west around the world, and they begin in the southern hemisphere. A/H1N1 is different in that it was first spotted in North America, and largely confined to travellers at the outset. But some epidemiologists believe the spread of the disease is only now beginning in earnest with the really rapid community spread we are seeing in Australia.
- I have just booked a trip to southeast Asia in the fall and do not want to spend 7-10 days in quarantine in each country I visit. How will phase 6 affect tourist travel? The WHO has said repeatedly that countries should not close borders, impose travel restrictions, or quarantine travellers. (These measures are used to contain the spread of disease but, with a full-blown pandemic, the ability to contain has long passed.) Canada currently has travel “warnings” related to A/H1N1 in the U.S. and Mexico. It does not have any travel “restrictions.” That being said, public policies are not always guided by sound science and logic. If Canada were perceived to be a hot spot for influenza, many countries would not hesitate to ban travellers or quarantine people with a Canadian passport and some countries in Asia are pretty draconian in this regard. Finally, influenza is one of the most unpredictable viruses; it is impossible to predict what the situation will be in the fall.
-There are 6.5 billion people on the planet. How can there be a “global pandemic” of influenza if there are only 141 deaths and 27,737 cases (the latest WHO numbers)? Again, a pandemic means there is community spread of a novel pathogen in more than one region of the world. It has nothing to do with sheer numbers or severity of symptoms. Early in a pandemic, the numbers are important to judge how the virus is spreading but the numbers are increasingly irrelevant. The reality is only the sickest people get tested and counted and, with A/H1N1, the evidence suggests that most cases are mild. By some estimates, at least 1,000 people have been infected for every laboratory-confirmed case. But there are studies under way in the U.S. and Canada to test for antibodies that will provide a more precise number and give us an indication of how many people will have natural immunity if swine flu returns in the fall. CLIP

Swine Flu Is No Typical Pandemic as WHO Tries to Reassure World (June 2, 2009)
The World Health Organization is caught between a virus and a hard place. The agency, having spent the past five years alerting the world to the dangers of a pandemic, is now looking for a way to declare one without causing panic. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and colleagues spent seven hours yesterday consulting experts on how to explain that swine flu is global, but not severe, said three people familiar with the agency's plans. Chan has to navigate a delicate path between raising alarm about a virus that in most cases causes little more than a fever and a cough, and underestimating a bug that could kill millions. Moving to the top of WHO's six-step pandemic scale may spur some countries to restrict travel, ban public events and adopt other measures that aren't needed for mild flu, worsening the deepest economic slump since the Great Depression. "The formalization of an influenza pandemic does have cascading consequences," said Michael Leavitt, former U.S. health and human services secretary. "The decision ought not to be taken lightly" Leavitt said in an interview. CLIP

Sarkozy’s Secret Plan for Mandatory Swine Flu Vaccination (June 3, 2009) !!!!!
The French Government is developing secret plans to impose mandatory vaccination of the entire French population, allegedly against possible Swine Flu disease according to reports leaked in a French newspaper. The plan is without precedent and even defies recommended public health advice. Pharmaceutical giants benefit from the move, as the Swine Flu increases the trend towards the militarization of public health and use of needless population panic to advance the agenda. According to a report in the May 30 edition of the French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, the Sarkozy government has authorized spending of an estimated ¤1 billion to buy vaccines allegedly to combat or protect against H1N1 Swine Flu virus. The only problem is that to date neither the WHO nor the US Government’s Center for Diseases Control (CDC) have succeeded to isolate, photograph with an electron microscope and chemically classify the H1N1 Influenza A virus. There is no scientifically published evidence that French virologists have done so either. To mandate drugs for a putative disease that has not even been characterized is dubious to say the least. Even more bizarre is the admission by the US Government’s Food & Drug Administration, an agency responsible for health and safety of its citizens, that the ‘test’ is approved for premature release to test for H1N1 is not even a proven test. More to the point, there is no forensic evidence in any of the deaths reported to date that has been presented that proves scientifically that any single death being attributed to H1N1 Swine Flu virus was indeed caused by such a virus. European epidemiologists believe the deaths reported to date are ‘coincidental’ or what are called opportunistic infections. What we know conclusively is that the people who died often had prior respiratory complications of an undisclosed nature. People die every day with respiratory diseases. In the USA alone some 36,000 flu-related deaths are recorded yearly with no undue panic or alarm. Most are elderly or patients with lung diseases. To date in all France, 24 people have been identified by health authorities as even having ‘symptoms’ of H1N1. It is worth noting that the WHO and CDC list the symptoms of H1N1: temperature, coughing, headache, runny nose. Hmmmmm. Do you know anyone with such Swine Flu symptoms? Also worth noting is that in the counting of the more than 15,000 ‘confirmed’ H1N1 Swine Flu cases worldwide the vast majority made miraculous recovery within three to seven days, just as in the case of a bad cold. The goal: Militarization of Public Health -- Increasingly it is becoming clear that the successive waves of mass panic created in recent years by CDC, WHO and leading government agencies has an ulterior motive. CLIP

AND HERE ARE 3 LONG MUST READ EXCERPTS FROM A CRITICALLY IMPORTANT ARTICLE - MAKE SURE TO UNDERSTAND THE TERRIBLE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SQUALENE (in the 3rd excerpt) THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE SWINE FLU VACCINE THEY INTEND TO FORCE UPON EVERYONE NEXT FALL... HERE IS THE GIST OF IT: "Squalene is not just a molecule found in a knee or elbow - it is found throughout the nervous system and the brain." When injected in the body, the immune system attacks it as an enemy to be eliminated. Eating and digesting squalene isn't a problem. But injecting it "galvanize(s) the immune system into attacking it, which can produce self-destructive cross reactions against the same molecule in the places where it occurs naturally in the body - and where it is critical to the health of the nervous system. [thus triggering "chronic, unpredictable and debilitating disease.]" (...) "Squalene's natural presence in the body made it one of the most dangerous molecules ever injected into man" and using it in vaccines is outlandish and criminal."

Readying Americans for Dangerous, Mandatory Vaccinations (June 12, 2009) by Stephen Lendman

At least three US federal laws should concern all Americans and suggest what may be coming - mandatory vaccinations for hyped, non-existant threats, like H1N1 (Swine Flu). Vaccines and drugs like Tamiflu endanger human health but are hugely profitable to drug company manufacturers.

The Project BioShield Act of 2004 (S. 15) became law on July 21, 2004 "to provide protections and countermeasures against chemical, radiological, or nuclear agents that may be used in a terrorist attack against the United States by giving the National Institutes of Health contracting flexibility, infrastructure improvements, and expediting the scientific peer review process, and streamlining the Food and Drug Administration approval process of countermeasures."

In other words, the FDA may now recklessly approve inadequately tested, potentially dangerous vaccines and other drugs if ever the Secretaries of Health and Human Services (HHS) or Defense (DOD) declare a national emergency, whether or not one exists and regardless of whether treatments available are safe and effective. Around $6 billion or more will be spent to develop, produce, and stockpile vaccines and other drugs to counteract claimed bioterror agents.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act slipped under the radar when George Bush signed it into law as part of the 2006 Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2863). It lets the HHS Secretary declare any disease an epidemic or national emergency requiring mandatory vaccinations. Nothing in the Act lists criteria that warrant a threat. Also potential penalties aren't specified for those who balk, but very likely they'd include quarantine and possible fines.

The HHS web site also says the Secretary may "issue a declaration....that provides immunity from tort liability (except for willful misconduct) for claims of loss caused, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from administration or use of (vaccine or other pharmaceutical) countermeasures to diseases, threats and conditions determined by the Secretary to constitute a present, or credible risk of a future public health emergency...."

The industry-run US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notoriously rushes inadequately tested drugs to market, putting their efficacy and safety into question, and turning those who use them into lab rats. It includes everyone if a mass vaccination is ordered on the mere claim of a public emergency - no proof required.

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (S. 3678) is the other worrisome law, effective December 19, 2006. It amended "the Public Health Service Act with respect to public health security and all-hazards preparedness and response, and for other purposes." Even its supporters worry about issues of privacy, liability, and putting profits over public health. Critics express greater concerns about dangerous remedies for exaggerated or non-existant threats as well as mass hysteria created for political purposes.


The Real Threat of Dangerous, Mandatory Vaccinations

In the wake of the hyped Swine Flu scare, media reports suggest mass vaccinations are coming. The May 6 Kimberly Kindy - Ceci Connolly Washington Post one, for example, headlined "US May Add Shots for Swine Flu to Fall Regimen" without saying they'll be mandatory but reading between the lines suggests the possibility this year or later.

The writers report that "The Obama administration is considering an unprecedented fall vaccination campaign" to include regular and Swine Flu shots, the latter because it's "spreading across the globe."
HHS' Dr. Robin Robinson said "We are moving forward with making a vaccine," and if the government proceeds with a national program, enough supply will be produced to provide two doses for all Americans with spokespersons like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, claiming adverse reactions aren't to be expected and adding another shot for Swine Flu "should not present a problem."
The New York Times also hypes the scare with reports of city schools closed after unconfirmed Swine Flu cases, a few adult deaths blamed on H1N1 bringing the claimed total in the city to seven, and the World Health Organization (WHO) saying on June 3 that it's moving closer to declaring a worldwide (Level 6) Swine Flu pandemic - even though none exists.

With all the hype, misinformation, and willful lies WHO's Dr. Keiji Fukuda, in charge of flu, said only 117 deaths globally have been "blamed" on Swine Flu and any warning may include the caveat that the virus isn't very lethal. A more accurate statement would explain that no forensic evidence links any deaths to H1N1, and influenza annually kills about 30,000 people in America alone - something the major media never report or that scattered accounts of any type flu deaths worldwide are no cause for alarm or reason for scary headlines.

It's also unconscionable for the WHO, US and other nations' officials to spread lies, deception, and hysteria so major pharmaceutical companies can foist dangerous vaccines and other drugs on unsuspecting people, harming their health and making them vulnerable to later diseases and possible early deaths.


If mass vaccinations are ordered, millions of Americans may ask: Why do you keep using unsafe vaccines and other drugs when clear evidence shows their dangers? Why do you jeopardize all Americans by unleashing a future plague of serious illnesses, diseases, and disabilities? Why have you willfully and maliciously ruined my health?

Immunologist Dr. Pamela Asa first recognized autoimmune diseases showing up in GIs that mirrored those in lab animals injected with oil formulated squalene adjuvants. By 1997, hundreds of millions of dollars had been spent testing vaccines containing them, in animal studies since 1988 and human clinical trials since 1991 - by leading research institutes like NIH, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

According to Matsumoto, today, "Squalene adjuvants are a key ingredient in a whole new generation of vaccines intended for mass immunization around the globe" even though researchers at Tulane Medical School and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research proved "that the immune system responds specifically to the squalene molecule."

The immune system "see(s) and recognizes it as an oil molecule native to the body. Squalene is not just a molecule found in a knee or elbow - it is found throughout the nervous system and the brain." When injected in the body, the immune system attacks it as an enemy to be eliminated. Eating and digesting squalene isn't a problem. But injecting it "galvanize(s) the immune system into attacking it, which can produce self-destructive cross reactions against the same molecule in the places where it occurs naturally in the body - and where it is critical to the health of the nervous system."

Once self-destruction begins, it doesn't stop as the body keeps making the molecule that the immune system is trained to attack and destroy.

Immunologist Dr. Bonnie Dunbar also did extensive research on hepatitis B-inflicted illnesses and found similar autoimmune processes involved in molecular mimicry in people with devastating neuroimmune syndromes after getting vaccine injections.

Matsumoto says "Squalene is a kind of trigger for (a) real biological weapon," what Soviet researchers called "a biological time bomb!!" and Matsumoto says is "the immune system." When its "full repertoire of cells and antibodies (attack) tissues they are supposed to protect, the results can be catastrophic." He and Dr. Pam Asa conclude that "Oil adjuvants are the most insidious chemical weapon ever devised," including ones with squalene - something the Soviets knew could be used as a weapon in the 1980s.

Matsumoto says that "the real problem with using squalene (isn't) that it mimics a molecule found in the body; it is the same molecule. So what American scientists conceived as a vaccine booster (or what's now being developed in labs) was another 'nano-bomb,' instigating chronic, unpredictable and debilitating disease. When the NIH....argued that squalene would be safe because it is native to the body, just the opposite was true," and, of course, still is. "Squalene's natural presence in the body made it one of the most dangerous molecules ever injected into man" and using it in vaccines is outlandish and criminal.

So why does Washington sanction its use? According to Matsumoto: "scientists in the United States are now literally invested in squalene. Army scientists who developed the second generation anthrax vaccine have reputations to protect and licensing fees to reap (as well as) worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the new recombinant vaccine for anthrax" and ones for other health threats.

Disturbingly, "Many of the cutting-edge vaccines currently in development by the NIH and its corporate partners contain squalene in one formulation or another. There is squalene in the prototype recombinant vaccines for HIV, malaria, herpes, influenza (including the swine strain), cytomegalovirus and human papillomavirus." Some of these "are intended for mass immunization(s) around the globe" and that possibility should terrify everyone enough to refuse any mandate or doctor's prescription to take them.
Another problem is that "Autoimmunity (takes) years to diagnose" because early symptoms (headaches, joint pain, etc.) are so vague they can easily be from other causes.

From inception, vaccines have always been dangerous enough for some experts to call them biological weapons undermining health, manipulating and crippling the immune system, and creating the possibility of future debilitating diseases. So Big Pharma's solution is new, more potent genetically engineered vaccines and drugs that may end up harming or killing many who take them, especially people with weakened immune systems.

Matsumoto and others sounded the alarm to alert everyone to avoid these poisons masquerading as protective drugs. In fact, they benefit only the bottom lines of companies that manufacture them and scientists reaping generous royalties.


Unemployment Climbs to 9.4 Percent, Rate of Job Loss Continues to Slow Moderately (June 5, 2009),-rate-of-job-loss-continues-to-slow-moderately/
Though employment losses have slowed in May, many have already lost large numbers of jobs over this recession and therefore have fewer jobs left to lose. The economy lost another 345,000 jobs in May. For the first time in a year, there were upward revisions to the past months’ data, with March and April’s combined employment revised upward by 72,000 jobs. The establishment survey reports 1.5 million jobs lost over the last three months. With this report, employment is now down 6.0 million jobs from its peak in December 2007— the 4.3 percent decline reflecting the largest relative loss of jobs in over 50 years. With fewer jobs left to lose, job loss is now occurring only at the fast pace of September and October of 2008. The household survey showed a sharp rise in the unemployment rate to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent in April—the highest rate in nearly 26 years. CLIP

Russia, China should dump dollar in trade - Medvedev (June 5, 2009)
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and China should consider switching to domestic currencies in bilateral trade without going to the dollar, Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Kommersant daily published on Friday.China has already entered similar agreements with Brazil and Belarus. The deal involves a currency swap agreement between the two countries. Trade turnover between Russia and China reached about $50 billion in 2008 and is set to increase. CLIP

Terrorist Pianos of Doom! (May 29, 2009)
Toward the end of last month, a noteworthy incident occurred in the classical music life of Los Angeles: Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman, who is widely admired for his virtuosic performances and who famously tours with his own custom-altered Steinway, created a furor at Disney Hall on Sunday night when he stopped his recital to announce that this would be his last American appearance -- in protest of the nation's military policies overseas. In a low voice that could not be heard throughout the auditorium, Zimerman, universally considered among the world's finest pianists, made reference to Guantanamo Bay and U.S. military policies toward Poland. "Get your hands off my country," he said. Then he turned to the piano and played Szymanowski's "Variations on a Polish Folk Theme" with such passion and intensity that the stunned audience gave him multiple ovations. (...) For those people who proclaim that artists such as Zimerman or Leon Fleisher should confine themselves to their chosen field and otherwise keep their mouths shut: this view is absolutely wrong. I've discussed the contrary example of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and her involvement with the Nazi regime, a history which she subsequently minimized and rationalized in notably dishonest ways. In part, I wrote: My ultimate objection to this particular avoidance of responsibility and this refusal to acknowledge the significance of our individual acts is much broader and all-encompassing. Our devotion to art, indeed our devotion to any field of work, does not relieve us of our wider obligations as human beings living in a particular society at a particular time. As discussed above, the actions of a culture or a specific country are the sum of the actions of countless individuals; if enough of them made different decisions and acted in different ways, the society itself would alter. It would act differently. The horrors of the Nazi regime were not inevitable and preordained, just as the horrors of our world today are not unavoidable. We permit them to continue because not enough of us act to stop them in ways that matter. CLIP

House Considering Censoring Internet (May 28, 2009) WHAT!!!
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO “STICKS AND STONES can break your bones, but words will never hurt you”?The Internet has given average Americans unparalleled access to information that the elites historically have kept under wraps by controlling access to it. Now, Congress is trying to rein in that access by making it so that the government can go after someone for hurting another person’s feelings on the World Wide Web. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) has introduced the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act (HR 1966) that could make it a felony to use your “blog” or web page on sites like MySpace and Facebook “to cause substantial emotional distress” through “severe, repeated, and hostile” speech. MySpace and Facebook are web sites that allow an individual to post information on the Internet, including photos, video and text, and then share it with anyone around the world.The bill has 17 co-sponsors and is currently stuck in the House Committee on the Judiciary. While no one likes a bully, the problem with making a federal case out of “cyberbullying” is that it could apply to independent journalists, organizations and individuals that the government or special interest groups do not like.“It would have the effect of stifling free speech online under the threat of bringing federal criminal charges against anyone for any reason. Traditionally, the Constitution said there was no remedy for hurt feelings. Miss Sanchez’s dangerous new legislation would change that, making it possible for the Justice Department to prosecute anyone for no other reason than he wrote bad things about someone else.

Governments Censoring Internet (2009-03-06)
Is your government planning on censoring your access to the internet like China has done? Remember the fiasco over the Olympics when the journalists and visitors from around the world had problems getting information out initially about the beginnings of the Olympic Games? Do you want that for you? It appears so in Australia. Our Canadian government is talking of doing the same thing. Check out this link on what is happening in Australia. It appears that the European Union is moving in this direction as is the USA, all in the name of protecting us from terrorists. Hmm, seems like the terrorist would then win over all of us. It’s bad enough that we have to go through hell now at airports and crossing borders. Enough of us bowing to the terrorists and having to change our freedoms! That’s fear ruling folks and that is extremely low energy. Our governments have the technology to shut down the terrorists’ favorite sites. That’s where the focus should be and not on restricting YOUR freedom. CLIP

Legislation Intro'ed to Stop Minn. From Censoring Internet ()
A state representative wants to prevent state law enforcement from following through on its threat to keep Minnesotans from gambling online. Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, introduced legislation today that would bar the Department of Public Safety from forcing Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to 200 online poker and gaming sites.

Fourteen peace activists were arrested on April 10 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, during a 10-day vigil protesting unmanned aircraft strikes along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The activists, who were participants in an interfaith Sacred Peace Walk organized by the Nevada Desert Experience, sought to engage in dialogue with Air Force personnel operating Predator and Reaper drones from the base.In addition to causing numerous civilian casualties, the strikes have contributed to a deepening humanitarian crisis in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. According to UNICEF, over 860,000 displaced persons from those areas, including 325,000 children, are in dire need of water, nutrition, sanitation, education, and health care. Despite warnings by Pakistani intelligence officials that ongoing strikes will further destabilize the country, the Obama administration has declared its intention to intensify drone attacks. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced he will seek $2 billion in additional funding for unmanned aircraft for the 2010 budget, including 50 more drones. This will represent a 62 percent increase in the military’s capability to carry out drone operations.The activists view their June 9 arraignment in Las Vegas as an opportunity to build support for their “Ground the Drones…Lest We Reap the Whirlwind” campaign. In addition to holding a monthly vigil at Creech, the Nevada Desert Experience plans to draw further attention to the issue during its August Desert Witness, which commemorates the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Aid warning amid Pakistan unrest (11 June 2009)
Major aid agencies have warned that a funding crisis is threatening attempts to help people who have fled the fighting in Pakistan's Swat valley.The nine charities said they needed $42m to provide emergency supplies for 2.5 million displaced people.They have fled fighting between the army and the Taliban which has spread to other parts of the north-west. (...) Since April, when the Pakistani military launched its campaign to take back control of the Swat valley region from the Taliban, aid agencies have been struggling to cope with the sheer number of people who have had to flee their homes.Oxfam's Humanitarian Director, Jane Cocking, has described this as the worst funding crisis the agency has faced for a major humanitarian emergency in over a decade. Aid workers fear that the onset of monsoon rains in July could stretch resources even further - increasing the risk of diarrhoea and malaria for displaced people. Things could actually be a lot worse than the already dire warnings. The head of another charity, Carolyn Miller of Merlin, said they would be facing a "humanitarian meltdown" were it not for the generosity of Pakistani families and communities of modest means who are looking after the vast majority of these people. The world's richest nations, she said, needed to dig much deeper in their pockets to help.

Cheney admits: No link between Saddam, 9/11 (2 June 2009)
Former US Vice President says there was no Saddam Hussein involvement in 9/11 terrorist attacks but that the Iraqi dictator provided terrorists with a safe haven. Dick Cheney, appearing at the National Press Club on Monday, said that the US intelligence trying to link Saddam with al-Qaeda on September 11 attacks proved to be baseless. CLIP

UN investigator 'shocked' by scale of destruction in Gaza (06/06/2009)
The head of a United Nations team investigating possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the Gaza war said Thursday he had been shocked by the scale of the destruction in the Palestinian areas. South African Judge Richard Goldstone spoke at the end of a four-day fact-finding trip to Gaza, during which his 15-member team interviewed dozens of witnesses and visited sites damaged in Israel's three-week offensive against Hamas that ended Jan. 18. His team hoped to visit Israel and the West Bank as well, but Israel has refused to cooperate, citing alleged anti-Israel bias by the U.N. Human Rights Council, the probe's sponsor. (...) Goldstone refused to comment on the ongoing investigation's content. But human rights groups have said Israel used disproportionate force and failed to protect civilians. They say Hamas fought from civilian areas and is suspected of having used human shields - all of which can be violations of international law. Goldstone, who previously investigated war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, said the public hearings in Gaza and Geneva later this month would allow the voices and the faces of victims to be seen and heard by the whole international community. He said both Palestinians and Israelis would be invited to speak in Geneva.

Israel set for blizzard of war crimes charges
Tel Aviv has 936 lawsuits against them for Gaza assault - CAIRO Israel was set to face an avalanche of war crimes lawsuits from Palestinian lawyers who accused Tel Aviv of dozens of crimes five months after its three week assault on the Gaza Strip, the German daily Der Spiegel reported Saturday.A group of Palestinian lawyers filed 936 lawsuits against Israel's Defense Forces (IDF) and the cases will soon be heard in Spain's National Court under universal jurisdiction, Iyad al-Alami, head of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), said. PCHR's attorneys are collecting evidence of human rights violations and war crimes committed against unarmed civilians. Accusations ranged from shooting children and women at close range to the illegal use of white phosphorus bombs on civilians as well as attacks on ambulances and razing civilians' houses. Structural damage in Gaza was estimated at $ 1.6 billion. Other than PCHR, there are dozens of attorneys from Britain, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Spain working on lawsuits against Israel and which will be filed under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which studies cases of war crimes, genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. CLIP

What Palestine Looked Like Before Israel came in 1948 - MUST see and read the captions too!

From the USA to Gaza: "We Have To Break That Siege" By George Galloway - 4 Videos - HE IS AMAZING!!!!!!
Galloway calls for 500 U.S. trucks for Convoy to Gaza (May 26, 2009)
George Galloway's stirring call for a U.S. convoy to defy the siege of the Gaza Strip. His speech in Brooklyn, NY, on May 26, 2009. George Galloway is a member of the UK Parliament. He successfully brought in over 100 trucks full of supplies to Gaza in March. -- Two of the comments posted there: "I would like to thank Press TV for their support given to Gaza during the conflict and their continued support for Palestine. Also I would like to suggest to all Film-Makers and Producers watching the show to make a film or documentary series about the full picture and extent of the suffering of 7 million Palestinians across the Middle East. The public is now much more aware of the plight of Gaza and the West Bank but the story of all those evicted from Palestine in 1948 has still to be told. Please consider it as a call of duty to the conscience of the world's media to uncover the plight of the people of Palestine who live in exile in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt as well as other countries across the Middle East. If this film is made then DVD copies should be sent to all the leaders of the World ie Washington, Downing St. etc etc. Keep up the fight George. Regards, Tony Passarelli, UK." - "George Galloway rocks! What I will never understand is why he remains the only politician willing to stand up to the Israeli war criminals. The rest of the cowardly leaders should be ashamed for their inaction. They aren't good enough to lick Mr. Galloway's boots. Jamie"

Medical Aid for Palestinians - If you want to HELP there is a Donate button there!
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) works for the health of Palestinians (especially in conditions of occupation, displacement or exile) based on principles of self-determination and social justice. Check also GAZA EMERGENCY APPEAL - UPDATE

Livni: Bibi endangers US supports for Israel
Israel's opposition leader Tzipi Livni has warned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reluctance to accept the two-state solution might withdraw the US support for Israel. "The government today is not prepared to advance the process and set future borders, and the feeling in the world is that all Israel is trying to do is gain time," Livni told Army radio on Sunday. Livni's comments came as US President Barack Obama has been pushing hard for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama had also called on Israel to fulfill its commitments under the Roadmap peace plan and evacuate the settlements built in the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem (al-Quds). Israel, however, rejected calls for settlement freeze as well as the two-state solution so far. Regarding the settlement freeze Livni said "There were no formal agreements on the matter, but an attempt to delineate borders and discuss the question of whether the settlement blocs would remain within Israel's bounds."

Saudis tell Obama: Impose Mideast solution if needed (07/06/2009)
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to impose a solution on the festering Arab-Israeli conflict if necessary, a Saudi newspaper said on Sunday. Saudi Arabia and other Arab states want Obama to get tough with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his refusal to endorse Palestinian statehood and for defying U.S. calls to halt the expansion of settlements. King Abdullah told Obama during his visit to Riyadh last week that Arab patience was wearing thin and that a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict would be the "magic key" to all issues in the region, al-Hayat said, quoting what it called informed sources. "We want from you a serious participation to solve the Palestinian issue and impose the solution if necessary," the Saudi monarch told Obama, according to the paper, which is owned by a nephew of the monarch. It did not elaborate. Saudi Arabia was the driving force behind an Arab peace initiative first put forward by Arab states in 2002 offering Israel recognition in return for withdrawal from Arab land captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and a Palestinian state. Israel has reacted coolly to the offer, renewed in 2007, saying a return of Palestinian refugees to areas now inside Israel would destroy the Jewish character of the state. CLIP

Breaking Bibi By Patrick J. Buchanan (June 05, 2009)
(...) A collision that could shatter the coalitions of both Bibi and Barack now appears inevitable and imminent. Either the president or prime minister is going to have to back down. Netanyahu was elected on solemn pledges never to negotiate with Hamas, permit a Palestinian state (“a second Hamastan”) or let Jerusalem be divided. He is committed to the “natural growth” of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Obama has said publicly that there is to be no growth of any kind on the West Bank and all illegal outposts must come down. There are reports that while Defense Minister Barak was in the office of National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones, Obama popped in for 15 minutes to tell Israel’s most decorated soldier he wants to see an Israeli plan for peace and a Palestinian state by July. That state would necessarily have a Jerusalem enclave as its capital, as no Palestinian or Arab leader could agree to a peace that did not include part of Jerusalem, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock without putting himself in mortal peril. Behind this clash lies a shift of perspective in Washington. Obama is directly challenging the thesis of Israel and its lobby, AIPAC, that U.S. and Israeli interests are one and the same, that we are partners. Barack is saying that settlements are an impediment and an independent Palestinian state indispensable to peace. And even if Israel believes its interests are being subordinated and security imperiled, the United States disagrees—and the United States will prevail. In Israel, the betting is that Barack will break Bibi because Israel cannot defy its last great friend, the lone superpower, upon whom it depends for security, weaponry and diplomatic shelter from U.N. Security Council sanctions. As Rick Wagoner of GM can tell Bibi, you take the king’s shilling, you play the king’s tune. Indeed, Obama can make a case that he better represents the Jewish community in the United States than the Israel lobby, as he won 78 percent of the Jewish vote. CLIP

At least 56 dead as Somali Islamists battle for town (05/06/2009)
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Rival Islamist groups battled for a central Somali town on Friday, killing at least 56 fighters, while the number of new refugees from a month of fighting in the capital Mogadishu neared 100,000.Somalia's two-and-a-half year insurgency -- the latest cycle of violence in 19 years of conflict in the Horn of Africa nation -- has killed 18,000 civilians and thousands more fighters.It has also drawn foreign jihadists into Somalia, enabled piracy to flourish offshore, and unsettled the whole region, with East African neighbours on high security alert. (...) U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said 96,000 residents had been forced out of their homes in Mogadishu since a flare-up in rebel-government fighting in early May. That has added to the more than 1 million internal refugees in Somalia. Aid agencies say Somalia now has one of the world's worst, and most neglected, humanitarian crises. Three million Somalis need urgent food aid. In its update on the flows from Mogadishu, UNHCR said about 35,000 of those displaced in the last month were still in the city, seeking shelter, because they had no means to escape. Another 26,000 had reached makeshift camps in the Afgoye area, about 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Mogadishu. CLIP

How The Media Keep Us Angry, Ignorant And Afraid -- How much do you know about the increased political tensions on the Korean peninsula? The answer, even for diligent readers of the mainstream press, is likely to be 'not much'. In place of serious, penetrating analysis the public has been sold a cartoon version of events based on a well-worn propaganda template. It is a tale spun by journalists who appear to know little of the real issues and who have internalised the key rules of 'balanced' reporting: do not point the finger of blame at your own government (or its allies), and do not question your government's demonisation of official enemies (learn nothing from the past).The message being delivered is that North Korea is of the James Bond school of cackling, malevolent villains. This is signalled through unsubtle trigger words whose true meaning is hidden but understood. (...) A BBC Q&A, ostensibly intended to clarify these issues, asked:"What is behind the North's actions?"North Korea appears to have moved from a posture of negotiation to confrontation - directly challenging the US and South Korean administrations' policies." In fact the South moved from a posture of negotiation to confrontation. John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, and is author of several books on Korean politics, including North Korea, South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis (Seven Stories, 2003). Feffer told us:"There is an inherent asymmetry on the Korean peninsula. North Korea is smaller and poorer, with a less powerful military. The two political systems are very different. And the cultures have diverged substantially as well. To give you one indicator: North Korea spends about half a billion a year on its military while South Korea spends over $20 billion a year. That's a 40 to 1 ratio." (Email to Media Lens, May 27, 2009) (...) We asked Feffer for his view of media performance: "The media errs mostly in its shorthand. North Korea is not a communist country in any substantial sense any longer. It's not unpredictable: in fact, it has been very clear about what it has planned to do (launch a rocket, conduct a second nuclear test). What is unpredictable, perhaps, is that such a small country should stand up to the international community -- not only to the United States but to its putative ally China as well. In general, I think the media eventually covered the Bush policy correctly. It took them a couple years, though. What the media hasn't understood, of course, is how little North Korea has actually gotten out of the Six Party Talks. The negotiations have been portrayed by conservatives as appeasement. But in fact, Pyongyang got very little for dismantling 70-80 percent of its nuclear complex." Who would guess from media reporting that North Korea dismantled 70-80 per cent of it nuclear complex and received very little in return? It comes as no surprise to us. CLIP

The great, international, demonic, truly frightening Iranian threat (June 7, 2009)
The United States is "facing a nuclear threat in Iran" — article in Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, May 26 "the growing missile threat from North Korea and Iran" — article in the Washington Post and other major newspapers, May 26 "Iran's threat transcends religion. Regardless of sectarian bent, Muslim communities need to oppose the attempts by Iran ... to extend Shia extremism and influence throughout the world." — op-ed article in Boston Globe, May 27 "A Festering Evil. Doing nothing is not an option in handling the threat from Iran" — headline in Investor's Business Daily, May 27, 2009 This is a very small sample from American newspapers covering but two days. "Fifty-one percent of Israelis support an immediate Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites" — BBC, May 24 After taking office, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We will not allow Holocaust-deniers [Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] to carry out another holocaust." — Haaretz(Israel), May 14, 2009 Like clinical paranoia, "the threat from Iran" is impervious to correction by rational argument. (...) These myths include the following, all of which I've dealt with before in this report but inasmuch as they are repeated on a regular basis in the media and by administration representatives, I think that readers need to be reminded of the counter arguments. Iran has no right to nuclear weapons: Yet, there is no international law that says that the US, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not. Iran has every reason to feel threatened. In any event, the US intelligence community's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of December 2007, "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities", makes a point of saying in bold type and italics: “This NIE does not assume that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons.” The report goes on to state: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program ." Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier: I have yet to read of Ahmadinejad saying simply, clearly, unambiguously, and unequivocally that he thinks that what we know as the Holocaust never happened. He has instead commented about the peculiarity and injustice of a Holocaust which took place in Europe resulting in a state for the Jews in the Middle East instead of in Europe. Why are the Palestinians paying a price for a German crime? he asks. And he has questioned the figure of six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany, as have many other people of all political stripes. Ahmadinejad has called for violence against Israel: His 2005 remark re "wiping Israel off the map", besides being a very questionable translation, has been seriously misinterpreted, as evidenced by the fact that the following year he declared: “The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.”3 Obviously, he was not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place peacefully. Iran has no right to provide arms to Hamas and Hezbollah: However, the United States, we are assured, has every right to do the same for Israel and Egypt. The fact that Obama says he's willing to "talk" to some of the "enemies" like Iran more than the Bush administration did sounds good: But one doesn't have to be too cynical to believe that it will not amount to more than a public relations gimmick. It's only change of policy that counts. Why doesn't Obama just state that he would not attack Iran unless Iran first attacked the US or Israel or anyone else? Besides, the Bush administration met with Iran on several occasions. The following should also be kept in mind: The Washington Post, March 5, 2009, reported: "A senior Israeli official in Washington" has asserted that "Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation." This was the very last sentence in the article and, according to an extensive Nexis search, did not appear in any other English-language media in the world. CLIP

Iran election pits young moderates against hardline clerics (June 11, 2009)
Iranian Election; Bitter campaign sees nightly demonstrations -- As a watershed election winds up in Iran, the country's two main political factions square off nightly in raucous street demonstrations that run till dawn.Thousands of people gather in the main squares of Tehran and other cities to cheer their candidates and taunt their opponents. They roam around on foot and in cars, chanting slogans, honking horns and occasionally engaging in fist fights.Supporters of Iran's Holocaust-denying, nuclear-proud President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrap themselves in the Iranian flag and chant "God is great."Followers of Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister, painter and architect, who has suddenly revived Iran's reformist movement, wear green clothes, wave green flags and drape urban landscapes in green banners.Iranian politics have not been this passionate or peevish in a decade, since former president Mohammad Khatami was swept to power on a wave of reformist optimism in 1997.Now, as then, Iran's political turmoil pits young moderates, calling for more personal freedoms and a more accommodating foreign policy, against a ruling coterie of hardline, anti-western, Muslim clerics, who control the judiciary, military, police, state broadcasting system, mosques and religious charities that dominate the economy. CLIP

Once apathetic, young Iranians now say they'll vote (June 10, 2009)
Tens of thousands have rallied in favor of Ahmadinejad challenger Mousavi ahead of June 12 election.

How Social Movements Can Change Iran (June 11, 2009)
According to many in Iran, the country’s June 12 presidential elections constitute a great “opportunity.” It’s important to note, however, that the so-called opportunity brought about by the election does not necessarily reflect a heightened degree of openness – or of control – of the political atmosphere; rather it is about the special political state in which Iranian society now finds itself for a short period of time. In fact, even if we consider the “elections” as “selections,” even if we witness intensified security clamp downs in such periods, even if we see that our opponent has a full home court advantage, we still cannot ignore the situation and circumstances in which, due to the elections, the society now exists.Already, diverse groups of equal-rights activists in Iran have taken appropriate advantage of this opportunity and formed a large alliance called the “coalition of women’s movements to advocate electoral demands.” This should be only the beginning. CLIP -- MUCH more on the Iranian election through this LINK

US objects to UN report on military killings (June 3, 2009)
GENEVA – The Obama administration charged Wednesday that a U.N. investigator violated his mandate by accusing the U.S. of failing to properly investigate allegations of unlawful killings by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.Philip Alston, the U.N. Human Rights Council's investigator on extrajudicial executions, claimed that while some killings are investigated and lead to prosecutions, others aren't or result in lenient sentences. Alston, a New York University law professor, is the U.N. Human Rights Council's so-called special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions. The post, which is unpaid except for expenses, gives him broad scope to investigate alleged abuses. Alston has probed the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Other U.N. investigators have examined the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects around the world. CLIP

Our man at Bilderberg: Let's salt the slug in 2010 (May 19, 2009)
Ten years ago, when Jon Ronson dared to report on Bilderberg, he found himself "chased by mysterious men in dark glasses through Portugal". He was scared for his safety. "When I phoned the British embassy and asked them to explain to the powerful secret society that had set their goons on me that I was essentially a humorous journalist out of my depth, I wasn't being funny. I was being genuinely desperate," he wrote. I know exactly how he feels. Only out of sheer desperation did I try to arrest one of the goons following me and then follow my flimsy leads up the Greek police ladder, finally catching one of the goons wet-handed in the lavatory of the department of government security. And only then did I know the extent of Bilderberg's paranoia: they had set the state police on me. So who is the paranoid one? Me, hiding in stairwells, watching the pavement behind me in shop windows, staying in the open for safety? Or Bilderberg, with its two F-16s, circling helicopters, machine guns, navy commandos and policy of repeatedly detaining and harassing a handful of journalists? Who's the nutter? Me or Baron Mandelson? Me or Paul Volker, the head of Obama's economic advisory board? Me or the president of Coca-Cola? Publicity is pure salt to the giant slug of Bilderberg. If the mainstream press refuses to give proper coverage to this massive annual event, then interested citizens will have to: a people's media. Find the biggest lens you can and join us for Bilderberg 2010. No idea where it's going to be, but there's usually a few days' notice. Email me at and we'll start prepping. Meanwhile, petition newspapers to send a correspondent. Note: For the entire revealing series by Guardian reporter Charlie Skelton, who was sent to report on the ultra-secretive Bilderberg meeting, click here. And for more on the machinations of the Bilderberg Group and other secret societies which wield powerful, unseen influence on global politics, click here and here.

Officials investigate Argentina bomb threat as pilot claims Air France Flight 447 was blown out of the sky by terrorists (4th June 2009)
Air France received a bomb threat four days before Flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil, it emerged yesterday.The telephone warning targeted a flight from Buenos Aires that was also travelling to Paris.Although that plane arrived safely on May 27, the news fuelled speculation that there may be a more sinister explanation for why the Airbus from Rio de Janeiro vanished from radar screens with 228 people on board, including five Britons. Aviation experts said the vast area over which debris has been found suggested there was an in-flight explosion, but that did not mean a bomb had to be the cause. The explosion and resulting break-up could have resulted from a massive depressurisation inside the plane for another reason. If this happened at high altitude, the passengers would have fallen instantly unconscious and may have been oblivious to their fate. Details of the messages sent by the plane just before it disappeared were published in a Brazilian newspaper yesterday. The report, citing an Air France source, said the pilot sent a signal at 11pm local time saying he was flying through an area of 'CBs' - black, electrically charged thunder clouds. Satellite data has already shown that storms were sending 100mph winds straight into the Airbus's path at that time. Ten minutes later, the plane sent a burst of automatic messages, indicating the autopilot had disengaged, the flight-control computer system had been switched to alternative-power and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. Three minutes later, automatic messages warned that two other fundamental systems that monitor air speed, altitude and direction had failed. Then came a cascade of electrical failures in systems that control the main flight computer and wing spoilers. The last message came at 11.14pm, indicating loss of air pressure and electrical failure. The newspaper said this could mean sudden depressurisation, or that the plane was already falling into the ocean. Investigators are baffled how a modern plane operated by three experienced pilots could have suddenly plunged out of the sky on a routine transatlantic flight. One theory is that the jet was downed by a mid-air collision, possibly involving a military spy jet or an aircraft piloted by drug-runners. Another is that the jet was hit by lightning, causing a massive electrical short circuit. But an unidentified senior long-haul Air France pilot told a French newspaper: 'I have flown these jets for Air France for more than ten years and the chances of an electrical fault seem unfeasible to me.' There are five electricity supplies on the plane and they would all have to fail.' He said a bomb was the only logical reason for why the captain failed to send out a mayday call. CLIP

Thyssen-Krupp Steel Executives were likely targets of the Air France flight AF447

Key figures in global battle against illegal arms trade lost in Air France crash
Argentine campaigner Pablo Dreyfus and Swiss colleague Ronald Dreyer battled South American arms and drug trafficking From Andrew McLeod - AMID THE media frenzy and speculation over the disappearance of Air France's ill-fated Flight 447, the loss of two of the world's most prominent figures in the war on the illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking has been virtually overlooked. Pablo Dreyfus, a 39-year-old Argentine who was travelling with his wife Ana Carolina Rodrigues aboard the doomed flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, had worked tirelessly with the Brazilian authorities to stem the flow of arms and ammunition that for years has fuelled the bloody turf wars waged by drug gangs in Rio's sprawling favelas. Also travelling with Dreyfus on the doomed flight was his friend and colleague Ronald Dreyer, a Swiss diplomat and co-ordinator of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence who had worked with UN missions in El Salvador, Mozambique, Azerbaijan, Kosovo and Angola. Both men were consultants at the Small Arms Survey, an independent think tank based at Geneva's Graduate Institute of International Studies. The Survey said on its website that Dryer had helped mobilise the support of more than 100 countries to the cause of disarmament and development. (...) Though his focus was on Latin America, Dreyfus also advised the government of Mozambique and at the time of his death was preparing to do the same for the government of Angola, where stockpiles of weapons left over from the civil war continue to pose a security problem.Dreyfus and Dreyer were on their way to Geneva to present the latest edition of the Small Arms Survey handbook, of which Dreyfus was a joint editor. It was to have been their latest step in their relentless fight against evil.

Mystery deepens over missing Air France jet (June 4, 2009)
FERNANDO DE NORONHA, Brazil (AFP) – Conflicting clues to the cause of the loss of an Air France jet and the 228 people on board emerged on Thursday, deepening the mystery as the hunt for evidence intensified. A Spanish pilot flying in the same area as the Rio-Paris flight when it plunged into the Atlantic spoke of an "intense flash", while a Brazilian minister appeared to rule out a mid-air explosion.Meanwhile, a report in France suggested the pilots may have been flying at the "wrong speed" to deal with the fierce thunderstorm that they flew into in the early hours of Monday before the airliner's systems suddenly failed. CLIP

How the Vatican sold its soul
A new book by the journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi lays bare a history of political bribes being paid through the Vatican's central bank. (...) Dardozzi's archive offers an unprecedented glimpse of the inner workings of one of the world's most secretive and unaccountable financial institutions. The idea that a noble end - winning the cold war or funding one's favourite charity - justifies almost any means, still seems to endure at the pope's bank in the Nicholas V Tower.

Amazon Rainforests Pay the Price as Demand for Beef Soars (31 May 2009)
Inquiry highlights concerns over ranching in heartland of Brazil. (...) The cattle business is expanding rapidly in the Amazon, and now poses the biggest threat to the 80% of the original forest that still stands. Where loggers have made inroads to the edge of the forest in the states of Para and Mato Grosso, farmers have followed. A report today from Greenpeace details a three-year investigation into these cattle farms and the global trade in their products, many of which end up on sale in Britain and Europe. Meat from the cattle is canned, packaged and processed into convenience foods. Hides become leather for shoes and trainers. Fat stripped from the carcasses is rendered and used to make toothpaste, face creams and soap. Gelatin squeezed from bones, intestines and ligaments thickens yoghurt and makes chewy sweets. Greenpeace says it has lifted the lid on this trade to expose the "laundering" of cattle raised on illegally deforested land. The environment campaign group wants Brazilian companies that buy cattle to boycott farms that have chopped down forest after an agreed date. To get the industry onside, it is seeking pressure from multinational brands that source their products in Brazil, and, ultimately, from their customers. Three years ago, a similar exposure of the trade in illegally grown Brazilian soya brought a rapid response from the industry, and a moratorium on soya from newly deforested farms that still holds. CLIP

Every Step Counts to Save the Amazon (1 min)
For the past three years, Greenpeace has been investigating the cattle industry in Brazil. Not only is the cattle industry the chief source of CO2 emissions in Brazil and also responsible for 80% of deforestation in the Amazon, it is also the largest single driver of deforestation anywhere in the world.Our investigation exposed the Brazilian government's complicity in bankrolling the companies responsible for deforestation in the Amazon, as well as several top name shoe brands such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok, and Timberland whose demand for leather may be supporting cattle ranchers that are illegally slaughtering the Amazon. Write to these shoemakers now and tell them to protect the Amazon and the climate.

Uproar as Massachusetts Poised to Destroy Forests for "Renewable" Electricity (June 2, 2009)
Burning forests to produce electricity threatens to destroy and further diminish many of America and the world's forests. Protection and regeneration of forests, soils, freshwater, climate and biodiversity are urgent global imperatives, and creating massive new demands for any natural plant material is misguided and will further degrade ecosystems. Achieving global ecological sustainability requires that renewable energy be defined as "no biomass/no burning". A campaign is growing in Massachusetts, and across the United States and world, against burning wood and other biomass in giant incinerators to produce electricity. This northeast U.S. state claims to be a leader in renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions yet is fast-tracking three large biomass plants to generate 135 megawatts of power in Western Massachusetts, with other plants under discussion. There is no scientific evidence that incinerating wood or trash is clean and green. Biomass burning is exempt from greenhouse gas accounting regulations, yet the plants generate 50% more CO2 per megawatt than burning coal. Shockingly, MA's plants are being billed as an antidote to global warming as part of the state's "renewable portfolio standards" under its "Global Warming Solutions Act". In fact, the proposed biomass would establish incinerators that would immediately increase carbon emissions, making global warming much worse, and also set the stage to eventually deforest much of the region. Anything that furthers the cutting of dwindling ecosystems, and pollution associated with burning, in the production of electricity should not be considered clean, green or renewable. Protecting and regenerating forests, ecosystems and soils is the most important step we must take if we are to stabilize the global climate. As policy makers seek to expand mandates for renewable energy, it is essential that the focus remain upon true renewables such as wind, solar and ocean derived technologies; and excludes burning or refining plant biomass, garbage or landfill gases. Support the growing U.S. coalition in demanding "no biomass/no burning" in definitions of renewable energy. TAKE ACTION HERE NOW

It's Official -- The Era of Cheap Oil Is Over -- Energy Department Changes Tune on Peak Oil (June 11, 2009)
(...) Very simply, it indicates that the usually optimistic analysts at the Department of Energy now believe global fuel supplies will simply not be able to keep pace with rising world energy demands. For years now, assorted petroleum geologists and other energy types have been warning that world oil output is approaching a maximum sustainable daily level -- a peak -- and will subsequently go into decline, possibly producing global economic chaos. Whatever the timing of the arrival of peak oil's actual peak, there is growing agreement that we have, at last, made it into peak-oil territory, if not yet to the moment of irreversible decline. CLIP

Global Consensus Emerging Regarding Need to End Industrial Primary Forest Logging as Keystone Climate Change Response (June 9, 2009)
(...) A grouping of key global forest protection organizations has issued a remarkably strong statement regarding the need to end deforestation AND forest diminishment in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate conference (see their statement and news coverage below). In a first of its kind proclamation, that may mark a crucial turning point in the global movement to achieve ecological sustainability, groups from around the world call not only for an immediate halt to deforestation, but also for an end to first time industrial logging of the world's remaining primary forests (and many other ecologically sufficient forest policies). Many supporters of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of primary forest logging as environmentally beneficial, including Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, acknowledge that even 'Reduced Impact Logging' in primary forests releases massive amounts of carbon [Between 10 and 80 tonnes of carbon per hectare]. Whether these groups will renounce FSC or not remains problematic.This comes after the launch last week of a vitally important report from Global Witness entitled "Vested Interests – industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests" which finds industrial logging under the guise of “Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)” is a major source of carbon emissions, a primary driver of deforestation, and threatens to derail the UN process to address climate change. Given the significance of forest degradation associated with primary forest logging in both greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, the "degradation" component of the proposed part of the global climate treaty dealing with forests (called REDD for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) must explicitly address forest decline. Failure to do so will reduce the effectiveness of the proposed carbon finance mechanism to both mitigate climate change and forest loss and diminishment. More of the Earth's terrestrial ecosystems have already been lost and diminished than required to maintain an operable climate, all species and a fully operable biosphere. Simply, Earth needs more old forests and other natural habitats -- both strictly protected primary forests and restored old growth forests. Insofar as the carbon market can pay for this protection and restoration, while supporting community based ecoforestry uses of standing forests, they are worthy of support. If carbon monies pay for non-existent "sustainable forest management" and other industrial development of primary forests, replacing them with plantations and much diminished secondary forests (both in terms of biodiversity and carbon), it will facilitate the biosphere's continued decline and eventual collapse. Old forest destruction must end, and methods developed to benefit locally from standing forests, to sustain both the Earth's climate, biosphere, species and all peoples. CLIP

Climate change worsens disaster risks for poor-UN (June 11, 2009)
BONN, Germany, June 11 (Reuters) - Climate change will aggravate natural disasters and people in developing nations such as Dominica, Vanuatu, Myanmar and Guatemala are most at risk, a U.N.-backed study showed on Thursday.It urged governments to invest hundreds of billions of dollars to curb mounting impacts of hazards such as cyclones, floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis."Risk is ... felt most acutely by people living in poor rural areas and slums," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the report, issued on the sidelines of June 1-12 U.N. climate talks in Bonn working on a new treaty to combat global warming."Climate change will magnify the uneven distribution of risk, skewing disaster impacts even further towards poor communities in developing countries," the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction said.Andrew Maskrey, lead author of the report, said that developing countries with big populations -- led by China, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia -- suffered the most fatalities from natural disasters. CLIP

Earth Gets Billion-Year Life Extension (June 1, 2009)
The Earth could be habitable for another 2.3 billion years, extending previous estimates of life’s horizon by more than 1 billion years. King Fai Li and his colleagues at Caltech hypothesize that Earth’s atmospheric pressure has always varied, and that it could fall in the distant future, keeping Earth from frying for far longer than previous research had shown.If the new idea proves correct and can be extended to other planets with biospheres, it could increase the chances that earthly civilization finds extraterrestrial life by doubling the percentage of time that planets could be inhabited. “[T]he Earth will be identifiable as an inhabited planet for nearly half the total lifetime of the Sun, an important point to consider in the search for life on extrasolar planets,” the authors write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Over the next hundreds of millions of years, the sun will continue to get brighter until eventually, Earth becomes too hot to inhabit. Previous calculations had pegged that time at about a billion years from now, but the new paper argues that earlier models had neglected the role of atmospheric pressure in regulating the temperature of the planet on astronomical time scales. CLIP

NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming (June 4, 2009)
Past studies have shown that sunspot numbers correspond to warming or cooling trends. The twentieth century has featured heightened activity, indicating a warming trend.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Solar activity has shown a major spike in the twentieth century, corresponding to global warming. This cyclic variation was acknowledged by a recent NASA study, which reviewed a great deal of past climate data. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Report indicates solar cycle has been impacting Earth since the Industrial RevolutionSome researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes. They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation. Skeptics, though, argue that there's little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes. Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest. A study from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution. CLIP

Life, Liberty, Water by Maude Barlow (Summer 2008)
As climate change and worldwide shortages loom, will people fight over water or join together to protect it? A global water justice movement is demanding a change in international law to ensure the universal right to clean water for all.It’s a colossal failure of political foresight that water has not emerged as an important issue in the U.S. Presidential campaign. The links between oil, war, and U.S. foreign policy are well known. But water—whether we treat it as a public good or as a commodity that can be bought and sold—will in large part determine whether our future is peaceful or perilous. Americans use water even more wastefully than oil. The U.S relies on non-renewable groundwater for 50 percent of its daily use, and 36 states now face serious water shortages, some verging on crisis.Meanwhile, dwindling freshwater supplies around the world, inequitable access to water, and corporate control of water, together with impending climate change from fossil fuel emissions, have created a life-or-death situation across the planet. Both Democrats and Republicans have emphasized loosening U.S. dependence on nonrenewable energy resources in their platforms, but neither party gives significant air time to the threats posed by water shortages.This is not to say that no one is paying attention. In fact, water has become a key strategic security and foreign policy priority for the United States government. (...) At the grassroots, a global water justice movement is demanding a change in international law to settle once and for all the question of who controls water, and whether responses to the water crisis will ensure water for the public or profits for corporations. Ricardo Petrella has led a movement in Italy to recognize access to water as a basic human right, which has support among politicians at every level. The Coalition in Defense of Public Water in Ecuador is demanding that the government amend the constitution to recognize the right to water. The Coalition Against Water Privatization in South Africa is challenging the practice of water metering before the Johannesburg High Court on the basis that it violates the human rights of Soweto’s citizens. Dozens of groups in Mexico have joined COMDA, the Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water, a national campaign for a constitutional guarantee of water for the public.The U.S. and Canada are the only two countries actively blocking international attempts to recognize water as a human right. But movements in both countries are working to change that. A large network of human rights, faith-based, labor, and environmental groups in Canada has formed Canadian Friends of the Right to Water to get the Canadian government to support a U.N. right-to-water covenant. And a network in the United States led by Food and Water Watch is calling for a national water trust to ensure safekeeping of the nation’s water assets and a change of government policy on the right to water. Such campaigns may have a fight ahead of them, but the vision is within reach: a United Nations covenant that recognizes the right of the Earth and other species to clean water, pledges to protect and conserve the world’s water supplies, and forms an agreement between those countries who have water and those who don’t to work toward local—not corporate—control of water. We must acknowledge water as a fundamental human right for all.

Public asked to help monitor life on earth (June 1, 2009)
OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists asked people around the world on Monday to help compile an Internet-based observatory of life on earth as a guide to everything from the impact of climate change on wildlife to pests that can damage crops."I would hope that ... we might even have millions of people providing data" in the long term, James Edwards, head of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, told Reuters of the 10-year project.He said scientific organisations were already working to link up thousands of computer databases of animals and plants into a one-stop "virtual observatory" that could be similar to global systems for monitoring the weather or earthquakes. People in many countries already log observations on the Internet, ranging from sightings of rare birds in Canada to the dates on which flowers bloom in spring in Australia. The new system, when up and running, would link up the disparate sites. About 400 biology and technology experts from 50 countries will meet in London from June 1-3 at an "e-Biosphere" conference organised by the EOL to discuss the plans. The EOL is separately trying to describe the world's species online. CLIP

We Need a Green New Deal (May 7, 2009)
In the Arctic, sea ice is melting. In the United States, houses are foreclosing. And in Washington, the Senate is becoming a real-life Bermuda Triangle for progressive agendas.Proposals for major limits on carbon emissions aren't getting far in the Senate, where the corporate war on the environment has an abundance of powerful allies. (...) There are pluses and minuses on Capitol Hill these days. But on big-picture items, it's clear that environmentalists and labor-rights activists are mostly up against the corporate wall -- and the wall is not yielding.We need a Green New Deal.It won't happen without a lot more effective grassroots coalitions -- strong and sustained enough to change power relations for the long haul. But acculturation in the USA often encourages us to think along the lines of solo acts.(...) "How can we create a sustainable green future that includes economic equity and social justice?""How can agendas for economic rights and environmental protection become more integrated and more successful?" Seventy-five years after the start of the New Deal, and nearly 40 years after the first Earth Day, the need for basic change on behalf of social justice and ecology is clear. But ideas are the easy part. In an era of massive environmental damage and vast economic inequality, we've got to organize.

Brighter days seen for solar, next-gen biofuels (June 8, 2009)
NEW YORK -- Big changes are afoot in the fledgling alternative-energy industry. As the sector recovers from the 2008 financial market meltdown, insiders look for next-generation biofuels and solar technologies to start joining mainstream energy markets, while wind power continues to lean heavily on government support. "Grid parity" for photovoltaic technology is imminent, solar executives say, as prices slide and the industry devises marketing strategies to entice both large electric utilities and small-scale customers while slowly freeing itself of government subsidies. Biofuel executives, meanwhile, speak of an inevitable turn from corn-based ethanol into more efficient cellulosic feedstocks like sugarcane, switchgrass, and wood waste -- all spurred by an infusion of capital from big oil companies and large timber and farming concerns. Wind power developers, meanwhile, say their future depends on tax credits and other government efforts to encourage investment. Even as solar and biofuel players say they aim to cut production costs to be competitive at current energy prices, wind operators say their customers must accept higher utility bills to support the industry. CLIP

Fighting Fire with Climate Activism
When wildfires struck southeastern Australia in February, firefighters risked their lives to extinguish the flames. But when the fires became deadly, killing more than 200 people, Peter Marshall, secretary of the United Firefighters Union of Australia, decided to fight fire with political activism.Warming temperatures, caused by climate change, are making catastrophic fires in Australia more likely, and scientists say the danger will worsen if something isn’t done. “Firefighters know that it is better to prevent an emergency,” Marshall wrote in an open letter in a major Australian newspaper, The Age, “and we urge state and federal governments to … keep firefighters and the community safe by halving the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.”Marshall has since called for public action on climate. “If the government doesn’t take notice of our letter, the public should make sure they take notice, because ultimately they’re the ones whose lives are being placed at risk.”

New Technique Promises Billion-Year Data Storage (June 1, 2009)
A diamond is forever. And in a few years, you could say the same about everything you say on Twitter. Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have found a way to develop a carbon nanotube-based technique for storing data that could potentially last more than a billion years.The goal, say the researchers, is to improve on what they see as the general trend for memory storage. As memory density increases, the lifespan of the storage has been decreasing, they say. For instance, stone carvings are still largely readable after 3,800 years, while information written with individual atoms by scanning tunneling microscopes last just a few seconds at room temperature. Conventional digital memory technologies in use — such as hard disk drives and flash memory — have an estimated lifetime of only 10 to 30 years. If successful, a billion-year memory storage device could change that, enabling humans to store any data — from the digital version of an ancient manuscript to your latest tweet — from now until long after the Earth has been overrun by superintelligent, fusion-powered cyborg ants. Here’s how it works. (...) The technique has significant potential for archival storage, say the researchers, because the nanoparticle-based bits show significant persistence. It’s also possible to store a lot of data in a small space: With information density predicted to be as high as 1012 bits per square inch, you could store data from nearly 25 DVDs in the space of a postage stamp. CLIP

US lab debuts super laser (May 30, 2009)
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – A US weapons lab on Friday pulled back the curtain on a super laser with the power to burn as hot as a star.The National Ignition Facility's main purpose is to serve as a tool for gauging the reliability and safety of the US nuclear weapons arsenal but scientists say it could deliver breakthroughs in safe fusion power."We have invented the world's largest laser system," actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said during a dedication ceremony attended by thousands including state and national officials."We can create the stars right here on earth. And I can see already my friends in Hollywood being very upset that their stuff that they show on the big screen is obsolete. We have the real stuff right here."NIF is touted as the world's highest-energy laser system. It is located inside the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory about an hour's drive from San Francisco.Equipment connected to a house-sized sphere can focus 192 laser beams on a small point, generating temperatures and pressures that exist at cores of stars or giant planets. CLIP

Creating Choices for Women
At 14, Agnes Pareyio was forced to participate in “Emuratare,” a 5,000-year-old rite of passage for Maasai girls involving female genital mutilation (FGM). Forty years later, she is an outspoken leader in Kenya on women’s rights, where she works to create alternatives to FGM. Pareyio began by walking from village to village to educate families on the dangers of FGM and urge them to spare their daughters. Today she runs two safe houses for girls trying to escape “the cut” and flee forced marriage. Both houses offer young women education, counseling, and a two-week alternative rite of passage designed to encourage them to make their own decisions. An estimated 2 million girls worldwide experience FGM (every year). Pareyio’s work to end this practice has won recognition from the United Nations and support from Eve Ensler’s organization, V-Day.

Omega-News Collection 6. June 2009

EMF-Omega-News 6. June 2009



The Century of The Rights of Mother Earth

by Leonardo Boff -- May 12, 2009

Perhaps the most impressive statement in the speech of the President of Bolivia Evo Morales Ayma to the General Assembly of the U.N. on April 22nd, when that date was proclaimed the International Day of Mother Earth, was: "If the 20th Century is recognized as the century of human rights; individual, social, economic, political and cultural, the 21st Century will be known as the Century of the Rights of Mother Earth, of the animals, plants, all living creatures and all beings, whose rights must also be respected and protected."

We now stand before a new paradigm, centered in the Earth and in life. We are no longer mired in anthropocentrism, which failed to recognize the intrinsic value of each being, independent of the use we made of it. A clear awareness is growing, that everything that exists deserves to exist, and that everything that lives deserves to live.

We must therefore broaden our concept of democracy, as a biocracy, or sociocosmic democracy, because every element of nature, each at its own level, forms a part of human sociability. Would our cities still be human without the plants, the animals, the birds, the rivers, and pure air?

We now know through the new cosmology that all beings possess more than mass and energy. They are also carriers of information, with a history. They become complex and create orders that comport a certain level of subjectivity. It is this scientific basis that justifies the widening of the juridical personhood of all beings, especially of the living.

Michel Serres, the French philosopher of science, fittingly affirmed: "The Declaration of the Rights of Man had the merit of saying ‘all men have rights' but its defect was in thinking that ‘only men have rights'." Only through much struggle are the rights of the indigenous, of the Afro-descendants, and of women gaining full recognition. Similarly, it will require a great deal of effort for the rights of nature, of the eco-systems and of Mother Earth, to gain recognition.

Just as we developed the concept of citizenship, the government of Jorge Viana in the State of Acre, Brazil, coined a word, florestania, for the way of life in which the rights of the forest are affirmed and guaranteed.

President Morales requested that the U.N. issue a Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, whose principal topics would be: the right to life of all living beings; the right of the Planet to the regeneration of its biocapacity; the right to a pure life, because Mother Earth has the right to live free of contamination and pollution; and the right to harmony and equilibrium with and among all things. And we would add, the right to connect with the Whole of which we are part.

This vision shows us how far we have come from the capitalist conception, of which we have been hostages for centuries, and according to which the Earth is seen as a mere instrument of production, without purpose, a reservoir of resources to be exploited at our pleasure. We lacked the perception that the Earth is truly our Mother. And the Mother must be respected, venerated and loved.

This is what the President of the General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, stated at the closing of the session: "It is very right that we, brothers and sisters, take good care of Mother Earth because, when all is said and done, she nourishes and sustains us." For that reason, he appealed to everyone to pay close attention to the original peoples. In contrast to the violent robbery of the agro-industries operating all over the Earth, and in spite of all the pressures on them, they keep alive the connection with nature and with Mother Earth, and produce in consonance with her rhythms and with the possible capacity of endurance of each ecosystem.

The decision to welcome the celebration of the International Day of Mother Earth is more than a symbol. It is a total change in our relationship with the Earth, fleeing from the dominant pattern that can lead us, if we do not make profound transformations, towards self-destruction.


Related articles:

'Why don't we stop hurting the planet?' (22 May 2009)
Telling our children about climate change could leave them angry, worried or even traumatised. So when and how should we do it, asks Leo Hickman (...) I was forever troubled by a central question: what is the right age to tell a child about climate change? And, furthermore, how do you go about discussing a subject that will be an increasingly impactful and predominantly negative presence in their lives? Should we be shielding children from the bad news for as long as possible? Or do they deserve to know the truth as early as possible? After all, their generation will have to pick up the tab, as well as live with much of the fallout. If there had been enough room on the insides of my eyelids to write it, I would probably have squeezed in another pertinent quote: "War is never so ugly as when you explain it to children."Climate change has joined a long and growing list of difficult subjects - a death in the family, terrorist attacks, poverty, drugs, bullying, natural disasters, racism - that can leave parents and teachers flailing in search of ways to explain them without leaving a child traumatised, perplexed or angry. CLIP

UN Chief Urges Action on Growing Climate-Change Risk (17 May 2009)
Manama - UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for decisive action to reduce the growing impact of climate change as he launched on Sunday a global assessment of ways to minimize the risks from natural disasters. "Gulf countries have so far been less exposed to disasters but rising sea levels threaten Bahrain, Egypt and Djibouti. Many other Arab countries are stricken by earthquakes and drought," he said at the study's launch in Bahrain. "As a result of global climate change, weather-related hazards are on the rise and we must act decisively," the UN secretary general said, urging national governments to do more to reduce the risks, which disproportionately affect the poor. Last year alone, 236,000 people lost their lives in over 300 disasters. More than 200 million were directly affected and estimated damage totalled over 180 billion dollars, Ban said. "Asia was hit especially hard. Nine of the top 10 countries with the highest number of disaster-related deaths were in Asia. "We know that poor people and developing nations suffer the most from disasters. This new report catalogues just how concentrated this risk can be, and how similar exposure to hazard can kill many or a few. "For example, 75 percent of those who die from floods live in just three countries - Bangladesh, China and India. "Today, I call on heads of governments and political leaders around the world to invest more in disaster risk reduction." CLIP

Carbon dioxide poses double risk to oceans and coasts (12.05.2009),Carbon+dioxide+poses+double+risk+to+oceans+and+coasts,80,a12826.html
Latest research findings show that failure to check mankind’s emissions of carbon dioxide will have severe consequences for the world’s oceans.The marine environment is doubly affected: continuing warming and ongoing acidification both pose threats. In combination with over-fishing, these two threats are further jeopardizing already weakened fish stocks. Sea-level rise is exposing coastal regions to mounting flood and hurricane risks. To keep the adverse effects on human society and ecosystems within manageable limits, it will be essential to adopt new coastal protection approaches, designate marine protected areas and agree on ways to deal with refugees from endangered coastal areas. All such measures, however, can only succeed if global warming and ocean acidification are combated vigorously. Ambitious climate protection is therefore a key precondition to successful marine conservation and coastal protection. CLIP

Climate change turning seas acid: scientists (May 31, 2009)
BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Climate change is turning the oceans more acid in a trend that could endanger everything from clams to coral and be irreversible for thousands of years, national science academies said on Monday.Seventy academies from around the world urged governments meeting in Bonn for climate talks from June 1-12 to take more account of risks to the oceans in a new U.N. treaty for fighting global warming due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December."To avoid substantial damage to ocean ecosystems, deep and rapid reductions of carbon dioxide emissions of at least 50 percent (below 1990 levels) by 2050, and much more thereafter, are needed," the academies said in a joint statement.The academies said rising amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emitted mainly by human use of fossil fuels, were being absorbed by the oceans and making it harder for creatures to build protective body parts.The shift disrupts ocean chemistry and attacks the "building blocks needed by many marine organisms, such as corals and shellfish, to produce their skeletons, shells and other hard structures," it said.On some projections, levels of acidification in 80 percent of Arctic seas would be corrosive to clams that are vital to the food web by 2060, it said.And "coral reefs may be dissolving globally," it said, if atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were to rise to 550 parts per million (ppm) from a current 387 ppm. Corals are home to many species of fish."These changes in ocean chemistry are irreversible for many thousands of years, and the biological consequences could last much longer," it said. CLIP

Cleaner Air From Reduced Emissions Could Save Millions of Lives, Says Report (May 12, 2009)
Researchers predict that 100 million early deaths could be prevented by cutting global emissions by 50% by 2050.

Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths a Year, Says Kofi Annan thinktank (May 29, 2009)
Climate change is greatest humanitarian challenge facing the world as heatwaves, floods and forest fires become more severe.

Nobel Laureates call for a global deal on climate change,Nobel+Laureates+call+for+a+global+deal+on+climate+change+,72,a12940.html
The participants of the St James’s Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium agreed on a Memorandum, which urges “governments at all levels, as well as the scientific community, to join with business and civil society to seize hold of this historic opportunity to transform our carbon-intensive economies into sustainable and equitable systems."For three days more than twenty Nobel Laureates have debated the dimensions of climate change and the current global sustainability crisis with some of the world’s leading climate scientists, politicians and business leaders. The participants also discussed strategies to meet these challenges. With the symposium’s patron, The Prince of Wales, present, the St James’s Palace Memorandum was signed in London today. The US secretary of energy and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu was one of the keynote speakers at the symposium. “After the cold war, mutually insured disarmament was the logic of good global governance. Facing the global climate challenge, mutually insured emissions reductions should become the logic”, says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), who initiated the Global Sustainability Symposia series. As stated in the Memorandum, in a spirit of trust, “every country must act on the firm assumption that all others will also act”. The participants of the symposium call for a global deal on climate change “that matches the scale and urgency of the human, ecological and economic crises facing the world today”. Climate impacts such as droughts, sea level rise and flooding could lead to mass migration and conflict. CLIP


From: Luis Morago - (
Date: June 10, 2009
Subject: Peru: Save the Amazon

Dear friends,

Peru's government is clashing violently with indigenous groups protesting the rapid devastation of the Amazon rainforest by mining, oil and logging companies. The forest is a global treasure - let's stand with the protesters and sign the petition to President Garcia to stop the violence and save the Amazon:

The Peruvian government has pushed through legislation that could allow extractive and large-scale farming companies to rapidly destroy their Amazon rainforest.

Indigenous peoples have peacefully protested for two months demanding their lawful say in decrees that will contribute to the devastation of the Amazon's ecology and peoples, and be disastrous for the global climate. But last weekend President Garcia responded: sending in special forces to suppress protests in violent clashes, and labelling the protesters as terrorists.

These indigenous groups are on the frontline of the struggle to protect our earth -- Let's stand with them and call on President Alan Garcia (who is widely known to be sensitive to his international reputation) to immediately stop the violence and open up dialogue. Click below to sign the urgent global petition and a prominent and well-respected Latin-American politician will deliver it to the government on our behalf.

More than 70 per cent of the Peruvian Amazon is now up for grabs. Giant oil and gas companies, like the Anglo-French Perenco and the North Americans ConocoPhillips and Talisman Energy, have already pledged multi-billionaire investments in the region. These extractive industries have a very poor record of bringing benefits to local people and preserving the environment in developing countries - which is why indigenous groups are asking for internationally-recognized rights to consultation on the new laws.

For decades the world and indigenous peoples have watched as extractive industries devastated the rainforest that is home to some and a vital treasure to us all (some climate scientists call the Amazon the "lungs of the planet" - breathing in the carbon emissions that cause global warming and producing oxygen).

The protests in Peru are the biggest yet and the most desperate, we can't afford to let them fail. Sign the petition, and encourage your friends and family to join us, so we can help bring justice to the indigenous peoples of Peru and prevent further acts of violence from all parties.

In solidarity,

Luis, Paula, Alice, Ricken, Graziela, Ben, Brett, Iain, Pascal, Raj, Taren and the entire Avaaz team.


Civilians and police killed: Human rights lawyers accuse the government of a cover-up, BBC, 10 June:

Civil Society Condemns Massacre of Indigenous People in Peru, 8 June:

On Peru's rift over economic policy and the controversial free trade agreement with the US , Reuters, 9 June:

Research Article: Oil and Gas Projects in the Western Amazon: Threats to Wilderness, Biodiversity, and Indigenous Peoples, M. Finer et al:

Oil companies ‘should withdraw’ as Peru ‘faces its Tiananmen’, Survival International, 8 June:<BR>
Peru's Amazon oil deals denounced, BBC News, 3 February:

US-Peru FTA Sparks Indigenous Massacre
During the last week, deep in the Peruvian Amazon, confrontations between nonviolent indigenous protesters and police have left up to 100 people dead. The vast majority of the casualties are civilians, who have been conducting peaceful demonstrations in defense of the Amazon rain forest.


The End of Days - Another Beginning?

From whichever perspective one views the project called 'Human Life on Earth' - and despite the frequent assurances of our guides and instructors that "It is all a dream: no real harm is being done," one is forced to the conclusion that the experiment has been a very painful one. In terms of human sacrifice alone - in countless wars, famines and repeated attempts at genocide - the cost has been astronomical.

Yes, good things have happened too - human ingenuity and invention being what they are - but the ugly truth underlying our progress on Earth thus far is inescapable: most human civilisations and regimes have required the ruthless use of repression, force, mind control and slavery of one kind or another to establish and sustain them.

The grip of 'the powers-that-be' is now so powerful that it shapes most of our lives: A heavily sedated and conditioned populace do as their political, military or 'religious' leaders tell them to do - and woe betide anyone who challenges the status quo or dares to try to change things. The roll of honour of those who paid the ultimate price for attempting to improve human life is too familiar to warrant inclusion here.

Assassination is not the only way to silence opponents: censorship is just as effective. During the 1930s and 1940s, Hollywood was widely known as 'the dream factory'. But in the 1950s, all that changed, and the major studios of what was once affectionately known as 'Tinseltown' have since become a collective nightmare factory, churning out an unending spate of horror - zombies, ghouls, vampires, the 'living dead', slasher movies, serial killers, robots, aliens and interplanetary mayhem. For every Field of Dreams [that
it managed to slip past the praetorian guard amounts almost to a miracle] there are at least two or three thousand productions that gleefully invoke the lower astral hells. The 'City of the Angels' has now become the domain of demons.

Education? Don't get me started. . . And they wonder why the kids they have betrayed now roam the ghettoes and sink estates, mugging and even murdering those unfortunate enough to cross their path.

Theft? Theft is the very foundation stone of the 'civilisation' that is now collapsing around us [and not a Millennium too soon, if you ask me]. It has been practised by several major religions, most Empires, 'royal' houses, governments and business corporations - without scruple or mercy, and with no thought of the appalling damage they have done, in order to stay in power. Yet these creatures must surely know that they owe their present status to the wealth - both material and spiritual - that they have stolen
from the rest of mankind.

Doubtless, whoever launched the experiment called 'Human life in a physical Universe' did so with the best of intentions. But the situation on Earth has now reached the stage that one can only hope and pray that they are about to call a halt to the experiment - and to set in motion another, far more loving, life-enhancing and luminous era.

Michael Dean (
London, 10 June 2009



Palden's Travels and Observations

About Palden's odyssey in Britain and the Middle East, seeking a new life

By Palden Jenkins (

June 2, 2009

Thank you all so much for your encouragement and support for my impending trip to Palestine! Particularly to you who have contributed money and practical openings. But also to you who have offered your prayers, thoughts, questions and good wishes. I really appreciate your involvement. I depart next week.

It's strange, because doing something like this can make one feel alone. We live in comfortable countries where things are reasonably logical, liberal and predictable, and it's difficult sometimes outlining what life is like in Palestine. And who am I to talk? I'm a free westerner who may go there and come back - I have a passport and rights to live in my own country, and I can walk the cliffs of Cornwall and travel around my country without restriction. But Palestinians cannot. Bethlehem people live just 30 miles from the Mediterranean, and most have never seen it.

I should put in a word for Israelis too: their lives are not easy. They're bugged by similar developed-world pressures and ills as we, and they all do military service, and they all know someone who has lost loved ones in a bomb blast or other mishap. They've walled themselves in and become pariahs. They're descended from people who have been persecuted for centuries, and it's difficult for them to avoid believing that the world is against them. The tragedy goes on for them too.

This is a game of conflict in which people on both sides are victims of a pernicious virus, a virus of polarisation and enmity toward The Others - a virus whipped up and maintained by a minority of believers, which infects everyone and the whole world. We Brits might believe we support peace, yet we have one of the world's larger military industries (providing jobs, of course - nothing more than that, eh?), and our government and corporate entities permit and promote conflict as a way of pumping our economy and keeping our ruling elites in power.

Yes, we have democracy, but look what it does - it kills! We don't do the nasty stuff - we do it through proxies. Helicopter parts made in Yeovil are sold to India, assembled there, sold on to Israel and used against the people of Gaza - shameful! Shame on us! The outcomes from this will last for centuries.

Your support and contributions to my own little efforts run counter to this terrible complicity - and good on you for that. I'm not interested in protesting against war and oppression: been there, done that, and there's more. What motivates me is a wish to get on with building what replaces all this. It's a deep psycho-spiritual mass-healing which is needed, a healing which comes to see 'the enemy' as people like us, which sees the earth as a home we shouldn't wreck and pollute, which sees our planetary civilisation to be as endangered as the tigers, the orchids and the clean aquifers of our world.

That's why I'm off to Palestine. Ironically, I love Bethlehem, yet I'm not a Christian - though I feel and acknowledge the mother-and-child energy and archetype that pervades the place. Surrounded by concrete walls and checkpoints, this place is still a birthplace, a birthplace of the new sensitivity which must pervade our world if we are to survive. These people aren't just Muslims, Christians, Jews and those forgotten people, seculars: they're people, with kids, parents and kin, with lives to live. They plant flowers in pots in their backyard. They do their shopping, and they wonder where to take the kids on a day off.

I'm off to Palestine because it strikes me as a birthplace of something new. The Palestinians have been bypassed by the development frenzy of recent decades. They've been driven up against the wall, forced to look squarely at the reason for being alive, wondering if there is one. They've felt pain, seen ridiculous, unfair things. And this makes them open for change in a way that comfortable Brits and people of the 'developed' world are not. They have developed in other ways - socially wealthy and materially poor. They hold solutions and, as the wider world slides into crisis in coming years, they have a lot to teach us about survival, cooperation, true human values. Palestinians will become consultants to the world within one decade - advisers in ways of dealing with crazy situations against ridiculous odds.

But right now, they're in a mess. Pressurised so long, they're fighting each other and giving each other a hard time. Ibrahim Issa, coordinator at the Hope Flowers School, where I'll be working, is in trouble from people who suspect him and his motives. He doesn't play the game of hate and demonisation of 'the enemy'. He teaches the kids how to dredge some happiness and meaning from life, from their own traumas and hardships. Like the girl who awoke at night to find Israeli soldiers in her bedroom pointing guns at her, whose hair turned white at the age of six, from shock. He helps them heal their hurts and understand their adversaries. Ibrahim is now in trouble for doing this.

So I'm stepping into something here. I'm not afraid of what might happen to me - I'm old enough now to have had a full life, and if I pop my clogs, then so be it. To be honest, two things make me afraid: 1. starting something that I cannot continue (because of lack of resources and a growing tiredness of begging for support) and 2. keeping my life in Britain going (in conventional terms, I haven't been very successful in recent years, as an editor, webmaster, taxpayer and upstanding citizen of our fat country). But these fears are peanuts: feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear should never stop us from doing what we believe in.

My parents and children are still alive. I have a safe place to stay. I have food in my belly. What more could I want? Well, I want similar for other people too: I don't enjoy being privileged. I don't enjoy being waved through a roadblock because I'm an 'international', a beneficiary of an apartheid system, while old Palestinian ladies stand there in the hot sun, waiting on an arbitrary decision from an IDF officer, waiting for the chance to walk through no-man's-land to go home for tea, or not, as the case may be. I don't enjoy being party to a system that causes young Israelis to have to commute between college and sentry-posts on a daily basis, to do their duty to their country - to get bored and bring harm to their fellow humans.

The alternative, of course, is to stay at home, here in Cornwall, to go for walks on the ocean cliffs with my ladyfriend, talking about cosmic things and enjoying the space, the cries of gulls and the fresh Atlantic winds. But this is no solution - it leaves the problem to others. It's a turning-away. It promotes what is perhaps the greatest evil of our time: indifference. The feeling that I cannot do anything to help - so I might as well get on with paying the bills and propping up a system I accept but I don't really approve of.

I feel as if I'm making this trip for you. That's not a pompous thing to say - it's a statement of our interrelatedness. Some of you are sending me cheques, and others are sending me positive support, because this matters to you too - and many of you are doing good things in other spheres. We each need to focus on what we're good at, what irks us, and what we can make a difference with. I've made this choice to focus on the Middle East because it's my path, my belief. Yet I really appreciate your support, from my heart's very root.

My gift back to you is to write this blog, to let you in on the experience, to give you a few insights into the human condition and one aspect of the world's Great Mess, to share a little understanding of a situation which brings shame to all of us, even if we're not aware of it. Please follow this blog and share the journey, and I shall do my best to outline the many aspects of this strange reality I'm about to enter.

Because it's not a simple thing. It's not goodguys and badguys, 'right' and 'wrong'. Within human horror and depravity come the richest expressions of human dignity and principle. Within the hard-heartedness grow the finest expressions of sensitivity and humanity. The Holy Land is still holy, yet bizarrely so: it is God manifesting in the most deeply educational of ways, seeking to help us hone our souls through experiencing the extremity of human experience. It's full-on stuff. If it helps you on your path, part of my task is done, and thanks for giving me the opportunity.

If it helps some Palestinians on their paths, then this is even better. But I have no great expectations. All I can do is be there and add my bit. I hope and pray that what I bring will be of benefit to those whose lives I come into contact with. They will certainly teach and benefit me - perhaps more so than I for them. And if, as I presume, I come out of this alive, it will be because of them, the most generous and caring of people, from whom we Brits, Euros and Yanks have so much to learn.

Bless you all for coming with me. If you become a 'follower' of this blog, a copy will be sent you by e-mail every time I post an entry. If you don't want to, that's fine too: but do get on with what you, yourself, know you must do. Because that's what we're here for.

Your friend and brother



Related article:

Summer University Tamera - Creating Models for a Future without War (Apr 30, 2009)
Summer University Tamera takes part in Portugal from July 29th to August 7th 2009. They say that "Survival is no longer a private matter, it has become a global issue," and ask "Do we know our true power? Do we know what a small group of people following a clear vision of the future can change?" The university is for all those who want to end war and need a vision for peace. After three years of peace research of the Monte Cerro Peace Experiment, Tamera Peace Research Centre invites young people to a summer of vision building. They have formed the vision of a Global Grace Village that will focus on what a society built on trust would look like. The hope is that when this first planetary peace model is fully realized, it will make a decisive contribution to a future without war. The next step will be to set up a Peace Research Village in the Middle East. A group of Israelis, Palestinians, and Internationals will present themselves and their project at the Summer University. After this they will head off to the Middle East with the aim of determining whether the first Peace Research Village can be built there. The Summer University will be playing host to representatives from the Peace Village of San José de Apartadó, Colombia, as well as many other guests, visionaries, scientists and youth activists. "With global crises overlapping, it is becoming evident that we are close to facing a paradigm shift," they say and urge people to get together and learn. Also at Tamera there is the Youth Future Village Event that runs from July 18th to August 31st. This is a gathering of young leaders from many countries in a 6-week intensive workshop. The main focus will be on ecological and social sustainability, community, education in peace professions, and on political knowledge and actions that can make our dreams of a future without war a reality. For more information visit the website:



The Rape of Gaza

By ROANE CAREY -- 06/02/2009

How would you feel if you found out that an American school, paid for with your tax dollars, was bombed and completely destroyed by a US ally? This happened in Gaza just a few months ago, during Israel's now-infamous Operation Cast Lead.

I've been touring Gaza for the past three days as part of a Code Pink delegation, and the concrete rubble and twisted rebar of the American International School in Gaza is just one of the many horrifying images we've seen on this trip. The school, which taught American progressive values to Palestinian kids in grades K-12, was bombed by US-supplied Israeli F-16s in early January. The Israelis claimed, without supplying evidence, that Hamas fighters had fired rockets from the school. Now several hundred kids have not only lost the school they dearly loved; they have been given a very different lesson in American values, one no doubt unintended by the school's founders and teachers.

The people of Gaza suffered immensely from the Israeli assault, which not only killed some 1,400 and injured 5,000 but destroyed or heavily damaged mosques, schools, hospitals, universities, and industrial and other business establishments, in addition to thousands of private homes. Dr. Marwan Sultan, who practices at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, told me his hospital was so damaged they had to send all patients to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City--which was itself damaged. The bombing of one school in Beit Lahiya killed about forty kids and injured a hundred, Sultan told me. He saw scenes of death and mutilation that still give him nightmares. Thousands are living in tent cities all over the Strip, and the entire population of Gaza is being strangled to this day by a blockade that is choking off any possibility of reconstruction or recovery.

Make no mistake about it: the blockade, directly enforced by Israel and Egypt but conspired in by their superpower patron in Washington, is a continuing act of war against an entire civilian population of 1.5 million, a form of collective punishment and a crime against humanity. John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which officially invited Code Pink to come to Gaza, told our delegation that billions in aid had been promised in the wake of Israel's massacre, but so far nothing had arrived. Our delegation, he said, is the first concrete action of solidarity with an oppressed, long-suffering population. Four months after a devastating conflict, he added, the siege continues. "The first thing we need to see is the opening up of crossing points and an end to collective punishment because of the political failures and security problems created by a few." It's a matter of life and death, he said, "and we're running out of time…. The people of Gaza are asking for help, justice and the rule of law."

Code Pink--whose organizers, I might add, have done a fabulous job in arranging this tour--is urging Obama to break the siege himself by visiting Gaza on his Middle East tour. That's not likely to happen, of course, but the least he could do is demand an end to the blockade. He's more likely to do so if Americans put on the pressure. Readers: it's your turn.




Bound, blindfolded and beaten – by Israeli troops

By Ben Lynfield in Hares, West Bank - June 9, 2009

Children among Palestinian detainees abused during West Bank operation, according to soldiers' confessions

Two Israeli officers have testified that troops in the West Bank beat, bound and blindfolded Palestinian civilians as young as 14. The damaging disclosures by two sergeants of the Kfir Brigade include descriptions of abuses they say they witnessed during a search-and-detain operation involving hundreds of troops in Hares village on 26 March. The testimonies have been seen by The Independent and are expected to add fuel to the controversy over recent remarks by Colonel Itai Virob, commander of Kfir Brigade, in which he said violence against detained Palestinians was justified in order to accomplish missions.

Both the soldiers, from the Harub battalion, highlighted the tight tying of the plastic hand restraints placed on detainees. "There are people who think you need to tighten the restraints all the way, until no drop of blood will pass from here to there," one soldier said. "It doesn't take much time until the hands turn blue. There were a lot of people that you know weren't feeling anything."

He said about 150 Palestinians, some as young as 14, were bound, blindfolded and detained at the village school during the operation, which lasted from 3am to 3pm. He was told it was aimed at preventing village youths throwing stones against nearby settler roads. It was clear many of the people detained had done nothing wrong, but they were held to gather intelligence, he said.

The worst beatings were in the bathrooms, he said. "The soldiers who took [detainees] to the toilet just exploded [over] them with beatings; cursed them with no reason. When they took one Arab to the toilet so that he could urinate, one of them gave him a slap that brought him to the ground. He had been handcuffed from behind with a nylon restraint and blindfolded. He wasn't insolent, he didn't do anything to get on anyone's nerves ... [it was] just because he's an Arab. He was something like 15 years old." The soldier said he saw a lot of soldiers "just knee [Palestinians] because it's boring, because you stand there 10 hours, you're not doing anything, so they beat people up."

A second soldier described a "fanatical atmosphere" during the search operations. "We would go into a house and turn the whole thing upside down," he recalled, but no weapons were found. "They confiscated kitchen knives."

The first soldier said involvement was widespread."There were a lot of reservists that participated, and they totally had a celebration on the Palestinians: curses, humiliation, pulling hair and ears, kicks, slaps. These things were the norm." He said the incidents in the toilet were the "extreme" and added that the beatings did not draw blood. They were "dry beatings, but it's still a beating".

The second soldier said some troops stole from houses they searched, even though the people were so poor it was hard for them to find anything to take.

Last month, Colonel Virob testified in a military court that hitting detained Palestinians could be justified. "Standing them against walls, pushing them, a blow that doesn't cause injury. Certainly, these are things that are commonly used in an attempt to accomplish the mission," he said. Despite a reprimand of Colonel Virob by the head of central command, General Shamni, and a disavowal by army chief of staff Lt General Gabi Ashkenazi, the remarks are seen by Breaking the Silence, an organisation that collects testimonies of soldiers, as proof that the alleged abuses in Hares cannot be dismissed as an isolated occurrence or low-level improvisations.

In Hares, Ihab Shamlawi, a university student, recalled watching as a high school pupil asked soldiers permission to go to the bathroom. "They put him on the floor, they kicked his legs and beat him," he said. Ten or 15 other soldiers were watching, Mr Shamlawi recalled. "They all laughed," he said.

The army spokesman's office yesterday said an investigation had been opened and added that, following Colonel Virob's previous remarks, General Shamni had distributed pamphlets to troops underscoring that "when someone is detained, stopped or held ... Israel Defence Force soldiers ... are absolutely and clearly forbidden to use any force or violence against them".




Israelis fear unravelling of US alliance

By Tobias Buck in Jerusalem

June 2 2009

The latest tensions between Washington and the new right-wing Israeli government are sparking concern bordering on alarm among Israeli officials and analysts, amid suspicions that the formerly-rock-solid alliance is unravelling.

Disagreement between Barack Obama, the US president, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has been particularly pronounced on the issue of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The US leader has urged Israel repeatedly to stop expanding its settlements on occupied land, arguing that they present a big obstacle to peace in the region.

But, speaking earlier this week, Mr Netanyahu again rejected the US demand for a total settlement freeze. He told a parliamentary committee: "We will agree not to take any new territory, but we will not agree to freeze life in the settlements."

The US and Israeli leaders are also at loggerheads over Mr Netanyahu's continuing refusal to endorse the two-state solution as the way to end the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr Obama — along with the international community — views the creation of a Palestinian state as the only way to achieve a lasting peace in the region.

Mr Netanyahu's apparent defiance has led to speculation among Israeli commentators that the US will step back from its traditional commitment to support the Jewish state both diplomatically and materially.

Their concerns gained fresh nourishment after the New York Times quoted an unnamed US official on Monday saying the Obama administration was considering retaliatory steps such as not vetoing UN Security Council resolution that criticise Israeli policy.

Ben Caspit, a commentator for Israel's Maariv newspaper, wrote on Tuesday: "America has the capacity to shut down Israel for renovations with an administrative decision or two. A series of resolutions in the UN Security Council are liable to turn us into a new South Africa. A delay in a shipment of replacement parts for Apache helicopters can ground the Air Force. Replenishing the IDF's [Israel Defence Forces‚] ammunition stocks in the event of another conflagration in Gaza or Lebanon is a matter of American good will."

US officials, including Mr Obama, insist that Washington remains as committed as ever to Israel's security. However, in an interview with US National Public Radio on Monday night, the US president said it was time for America to be more "honest" with Israel.

Roni Bart, and analyst with Israel's Institute for National Security Studies and an expert on US-Israeli relations, argues that Washington is not about to break decisively with Israel. But he insists that — unlike its predecessor — the current American administration views the Jewish state as "just another country" and not worthy of special treatment.

At the same time, Mr Netanyahu is under intense pressure from his own coalition allies not to give in to US pressure. Yuli Edelstein, the government's information minister and a settler himself, warned that the prime minister would not be able to muster the support of his own government should he agree to a complete settlement freeze.

Political pressure aside, Mr Netanyahu is also in danger of stoking further clashes between radical settlers and state security forces in the streets. Enraged by the government's decision to start dismantling small settlement outposts in the West Bank, radical settlers have staged a series of violent demonstrations in the past days — attacking both Palestinian civilians and Israeli security forces.

In the meantime, there are signs that the mounting international and domestic tensions are beginning to take their toll on the prime minister, barely three months into his tenure. According to Israeli media reports, Mr Netanyahu accidentally voted against a draft transportation law proposed by his own government on Monday. He was the only member of the coalition to vote against the bill.


Related articles:

Israel to U.S.: 'Stop favoring Palestinians'
Tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are growing after the U.S. administration's demand that Israel completely freeze construction in all West Bank settlements. Israeli political officials expressed disappointment after Tuesday's round of meetings in London with George Mitchell, U.S. President Barack Obama's envoy to the Middle East. "We're disappointed," said one senior official. "All of the understandings reached during the [George W.] Bush administration are worth nothing." Another official said the U.S. administration is refusing every Israeli attempt to reach new agreements on settlement construction. "The United States is taking a line of granting concessions to the Palestinians that is not fair toward Israel," he said. The Israeli officials attributed the unyielding U.S. stance to the speech Obama will make in Cairo this Thursday, in which he is expected to deliver a message of reconciliation to the Arab and Muslim worlds. CLIP

Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement (01/02/2009 )
Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration. One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite. The defense establishment, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, steadfastly refused to publicize the figures, arguing, for one thing, that publication could endanger state security or harm Israel's foreign relations. Someone who is liable to be particularly interested in the data collected by Spiegel is George Mitchell, President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, who came to Israel this week for his first visit since his appointment. It was Mitchell who authored the 2001 report that led to the formulation of the road map, which established a parallel between halting terror and halting construction in the settlements. The official database, the most comprehensive one of its kind ever compiled in Israel about the territories, was recently obtained by Haaretz. Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements - about 75 percent - construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents. Click here to view the secret Defense Ministry database on illegal construction in the territories. It should be noted that the information is given in Hebrew. CLIP



Obama Calls for Fresh Start With Muslims

Drawing on Islam, Speech in Cairo Electrifies Many In Arab Mideast

By Scott Wilson

CAIRO, June 4 -- President Obama delivered a direct appeal to the Islamic world Thursday for a "new beginning" with the United States, acknowledging historical mistakes made over centuries in the name of culture and religion that he said are now overshadowed by shared interests.

The 55-minute address electrified many Muslims in the Arab Middle East. The president celebrated the cultural, scientific and intellectual achievements of Islam to the delight of the audience inside the domed hall at Cairo University where he spoke -- and beyond.

Using spare language and a measured explanatory tone, the country's first African American president, whose Kenyan family has deep Islamic roots, drew on history, biography, moral principles and mutual interests to dispel cultural stereotypes that divide Christians from Muslims, Arabs from Jews, and the United States from many in the Islamic faith. Seemingly small but symbolically important gestures by Obama drew warm applause, including his use of the phrase "May peace be upon him" after a reference to the prophet Muhammad. Speaking in Arabic, he offered the traditional greeting of "May peace be upon you" on behalf of the American people, again to applause.

As he urged leaders in the Muslim world to "place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party," a man shouted, "Barack Obama, we love you!" The president responded simply, "Thank you," and moved quickly back into his remarks. At the end of the speech he received a standing ovation, and some in the crowd chanted, "O-bam-a, O-bam-a."

"Egypt also has suffered from terrorism," said Ahmed el-Shoura, a 21-year-old political science student at Cairo University who attended the speech. "The question is, how do you deal with it -- through the military or something else? Obama showed today that he understands this difference and how to manage it."

Obama quoted John Adams, the Koran, the Bible and the Talmud to argue that "as long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity."

"This cycle of suspicion and discord must end," Obama said. "I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition."

The highly anticipated speech drew about 3,000 invited guests, including 500 journalists, to Cairo University and an audience of tens of millions more looking in over national television networks, social-networking Web sites, and instant-messaging services set up by the administration in a variety of languages. Obama pledged during his presidential campaign to reach out directly to America's rivals if elected, and the speech Thursday marked his most high-profile attempt to change the direction of U.S. relations with Islamic nations, ties that traced a steady downward arc through the Bush administration.

The president was at times intimate and at times scolding, criticizing Islamic countries and his own for allowing differences to be exploited to violent ends "by a small but potent minority of Muslims." In a flat, angry phrase, he told the audience that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were "not opinions to be debated" but "facts to be dealt with."

As he spoke, the Arab satellite network al-Jazeera aired a new message from Osama bin Laden, urging Muslims to "brace yourselves for a long war against the world's infidels and their agents."

Drawing at times on his father's Islamic heritage and his childhood in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, Obama made his own biography the starting point for a new U.S. relationship with Islam. He nostalgically recalled hearing the call to prayer "at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk" as a boy in Indonesia, biographical details he rarely mentioned during the campaign, when his Muslim family tree was seen as suspect by some voters. He declared his Christian faith Thursday near the start of his remarks.

At the same time, Obama spoke to Muslims about their most heartfelt sources of anger in words and phrases they would use, such as the term "occupation" to describe Israel's presence in the Palestinian territories. He used similar language in his remarks on the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the legacy of harsh American interrogation methods and the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He criticized Iran, Israel, the Palestinians and the United States, but he stopped short of apologizing for past U.S. policies as American conservatives warned he would.

Much of his mission was to convince Muslims that the United States is "not, and never will be, at war with Islam," reiterating a statement he made in Turkey two months ago. He described the rich role Muslims have played in American life since the country's founding. He noted that Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of the Koran in his personal library, and he told the audience of professors, political and religious leaders, students, and others that "there is a mosque in every state of our union."

"Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire," he said. "The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, reviled by the political opposition here for his iron grasp on the media and the security forces he often deploys against them, welcomed Obama with a lavish ceremony at the Qubba Palace, where the two discussed Middle East peace efforts and Iran's nuclear program. They later walked around the 13th-century Sultan Hassan Mosque and toured the pyramids.

In his speech, one of the longest he has given and the centerpiece of his five-day trip through the Middle East and Europe, Obama used stronger and more specific language than he has previously on some of the most contested issues in the Muslim world.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama said: "America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable." Citing the slaughter of 6 million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust, Obama said that "threatening Israel with destruction, or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews, is deeply wrong," a tacit reference to Iran's government. The audience did not applaud.

At the same time, Obama said, "it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland."

"They endure the daily humiliations -- large and small -- that come with occupation," he said, using a term he did not use after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last month. "So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable."

Obama criticized Israel's policy of building in lands occupied in the 1967 Middle East War, saying "the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." He said that "it is time for these settlements to stop," while calling on the Palestinians to "abandon violence."

"For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation" he said. "But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America 's founding."

Obama acknowledged the "controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years," but he stated clearly for an audience that included some who oppose Mubarak's autocratic administration that "governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure."

"No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other," Obama said. But he added that "I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things," citing freedom of speech, self-government and the rule of law, among other principles.

"He was very focused and mentioned many critical elements to us," said Saneya Mohammed Rizk, 58, a Cairo University professor of community health nursing, her hair wrapped tightly in a scarf.

In addressing women's rights in his speech, Obama said to applause: "I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality."

"I believe he will be able to accomplish this goal," Rizk said of Obama's ambition to begin again with the Islamic world. "He has the intent to cooperate with us, and that is good."


Related articles and appeal:

Obama's Speech in Cairo: Video - Really great - enlightening, straightforward, even soaring - speech and ideals outlined, with the caveat that he perpetuates the 9/11-al Qaeda's whole charade.
Also available HERE with transcript: "I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations - to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity. Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all. (...) But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. (...) There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country - you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world. All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort - a sustained effort - to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings. It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today. We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another." The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you."

Some of the comments posted at Huffington Post:

"My heart soars for the 'heartsong' our President had the courage and the compassion he so beautifully expressed. After so many years of self serving Presidents from Reagan the stupidest bully of the last 8 years that almost brought this Country down. The principals of self examination, contempt prior to investigation and to be true to thy self brought me to tears. To learn to accept differences of other Countries and other peoples is behavior of a secure, God fearing human being and truly a spiritual path that will heal our World. I am so proud of this man. He listens. He demonstrates he can be trusted. I will stay informed and I write to him often my opinion. Why? Because one person matters....when we join together, not because we are alike but because we have a common goal: World peace, acceptance of all peoples and to practice principals over personalities. I am so very proud and it is the first time since I was 16 and protested the Vietnam War. Peoples of America? Let's follow this great man's suggestions; embrace differences, learn about those who are different, learn to walk in acceptance instead of fear. Our Creator represents all peoples. All races."

"When's the last time you remember citizens of a Muslim country giving an American president a standing ovation and cheering USA! USA! USA! following a speech? Blessed are the peacemakers, God bless you President Obama!This can be a historic moment for all three great religions to come together in hopes of peace.God Bless the United States of America for having the courage in electing Barack Obama!"

"For the first time in a very long time, more than the shameful 8 years of Bush; Clintons too, have I felt pride, encouraged and safe with our President Obama. We were truly blessed to have collectively as a Nation elected this man. Throughout his message, you could feel the compassion, the all including of all peoples, the admonishment to stop holding others w/o inward reflection. I wept ......... I truly wept for this moment I feel hope. I felt the Creator of mankind in my spirit move....God bless this planet, it's people and I pray we truly start practicing accepting differences in others, learning about those differences and respecting peoples of all races, religions and countries. God bless us all. I forgive you President Bush. You are just ignorant and stupid but I forgive you for the destruction you have brought upon this world."

"Wow! One of the best speeches I've ever heard from a president. The beauty of Obama is that he doesn't tell us we should be good people, he reminds us that we already are inherently good. With a little bit of effort, we can make the world what we want it to be.I appreciate the fact that he honestly lays blame for our ills where it should be. On all of us. Because it will take all of us to fix it."

Obama begins a new beginning (JUNE 05, 2009)
(...) Obama sustained the rapt attention of his audience - most relying on simultaneous translation and the earnestness of his body language, his lean, appealing physical presence - for nearly as long. Obama's speech was watched live by millions around the world [AFP] One minute into his speech he won nearly every heart and mind in the great hall, announcing his pride to be carrying "the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace Muslim communities use in my country: asalaamu aleikum.The audience rose to its feet and I was not the only one in that vast hall with tears in my eyes. I never imagined, as an American and a Muslim, that I would ever hear an American president invoke the blessing of Islam or to go on to quote from the Quran, as he would do several times with great relevance. Or to refer to Muhammad as "the Prophet upon whom be peace". But this extraordinary event was more than superb pacing and performance, more than the soaring, almost classic oratory Obama is famous for and that translates so well into modern literary Arabic. It was more than soothing and conciliatory words for a predominantly Arab audience here in the Festival Hall, or the millions who watched and listened at home and the office, at universities and cafes courtesy of a dozen live Arab satellite feeds.A vast Arab audience nursing the grievances of decades sharpened by the blows of the past eight years that preceded Obama's presidency – the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process, the brutality of the siege and war on Gaza that cry out for justice and conciliation. Obama vowed that he was in Cairo "to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world", a new beginning based on respect – a word that figured significantly in this speech - as well as "mutual interests and shared values". CLIP

Israel welcomes Obama speech (JUNE 05, 2009)
The Israeli government has welcomed Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world, saying it hoped the speech would bring a "new period of reconciliation" in the Middle East.The government statement made no mention of the issue of settlements, after the US president used his speech in Cairo to reiterate his call for an end to Israeli construction on Palestinian land. "We share President Obama's hope that the American effort heralds the opening of a new era that will bring an end to the conflict and to general Arab recognition of Israel as the nation of the Jewish people that lives in security and peace in the Middle East," the statement said. "Israel is committed to peace and will do all it can to expand the circle of peace while considering its national interests, first and foremost being security," it said on Thursday after Obama's address. CLIP

Barack admits US role in 1953 Iran coup (4 June 2009)
US president Barack ObamaUS President Barack Obama has admitted US involvement in the 1953 coup in Iran which overthrew the democratically elected government of premier Mohammad Mossadegh. "In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government," Obama said during his keynote speech to the Muslim world from Cairo University in the Egyptian capital. It is the first time a sitting US president has publicly admitted American involvement in the coup. The CIA, with British backing, masterminded the coup after Mossadegh nationalized the oil industry, run until then by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The oil company had been for many decades the largest single financial asset of the British government. For many Iranians, the coup demonstrated duplicity by the United States, which presented itself as a defender of freedom but did not hesitate to use underhand methods to get rid of a democratically elected government to suit its own economic and strategic interests (something the British were to note bitterly after Anglo-Iran's operations were taken over by by an American consortium in the immediate post-coup years). The 1953 Tehran skullduggery was the first time the CIA was directly involved in this type of action and its success fed into a long string of such involvements around the world, the democratically-elected government of president Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala being the next victim in 1954. CLIP

More in over 11,000 newsmedia articles on this historic speech

Obama: "Stop the Settlements"
President Obama's speech in Egypt was a stunning step toward achieving Middle East peace. His first new move: to press Israel's right-wing government to stop their self-destructive policy of building settlements on Palestinian land. But Obama needs help from around the world to face down the powerful opposition already mobilising against him. Let's raise a massive global chorus immediately to support Obama’s statement that the settlements in occupied territory must stop, by joining our voices to a petition based on his very own words. We’ll advertise the number of signatures in key papers in Israel and Washington DC – support Obama’s message now, sign the petition below and spread the word today: Petition to the Government of Israel and theUnited States Congress: In the words of President Obama, just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlements in the West Bank. They violate previous agreements and undermine efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. Add your name for peace now!



Panic selling of U.S. Dollar

by Hal Turner -- June 1st 2009

Panic selling of the U.S. Dollar has begun in overseas markets and massive interest spikes are now hitting U.S. Treasury long-term bonds.

On Friday, the Federal Reserve has leaked information to several media outlets saying they are "puzzled" by a sudden, sharp spike in long term Treasury interest rates.

The Federal Reserve leaked to CNBC's Steve Liesman on Friday - - that they weren't targeting long rates. Why such a leak? Because the Fed did not want to appear impotent in controlling the long rate. So they put out the word through Liesman that they weren't targeting the long rate.

Can you imagine what would happen to the markets if it sensed long rates were beyond the control of the Fed? That is exactly what is happening right now. The Fed has, in fact, lost control of the long rates because no one around the world trusts the US Government will actually pay back what they are presently borrowing.

Look at the facts:

The U.S. Treasury must sell a record net $2 trillion in new debt in 2009 to fund a $1.8 trillion projected fiscal deficit, resulting from falling tax revenues, an economic stimulus package and sundry bank bailouts.

Investors worry this could erode the United States' cherished triple-A sovereign credit rating when Standard and Poors's on May 21 revised its outlook for Britain's triple-A status to negative from stable, blaming higher government debt.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that gross U.S. debt will reach 97.5 percent of the country's GDP in 2010, which is mathematically, "unserviceable." It simply cannot be paid back. There's no magic to this; it's straight math.

Investors are worried about the deterioration in the U.S. fiscal outlook, or the potential for a collapse in the U.S. dollar as the Fed floods the world with newly minted currency as part of its quantitative easing program. As such, they are bailing out of long term Treasuries.

In order to fund those long term Treasuries, the US Government must offer investors much high interest rates. In fact, investors are demanding record high interest rates.

It's the Chinese, and other Treasury bond buyers who follow the markets, who have pulled away, to varying degrees from buying Treasury long securities. No one wants to be the last one holding bonds, where the new debt about to be issued is in the trillions.

China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury debt, has decided to refocus its portfolio by leaning more heavily on shorter-term maturities.

The Fed does not want to spook the world into thinking that it can't push long term rates down, so it says it is not trying. But as rates continue to climb, a panic out of Treasury securities is developing and will strike with an absolute vengeance this week.

The end of the current financial system, as we know it, is imminent. If you would have asked me even two weeks ago if collapse was imminent, I would have said it was highly unlikely, now I am saying it is not only possible, it is taking place.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke may be able to patch things up short-term, if he is lucky, but long term the U.S. financial structure is in serious trouble. There is just too much Treasury debt that needs to be raised. An international panic out of Treasury securities is taking place right now. Overseas markets are proving this.

The Fed will be have to be the major buyer as people worldwide dump Treasuries and the Dollar. This will ultimately mean record inflation. Inflation the likes of Zimbabwe which saw 231 Million percent annual inflation last July.

And keep this in mind, we have never seen a collapse of a currency like the dollar. Even the Wiemar inflation can not serve as an example. Since the dollar is the reserve currency of most of the world, a panic out of the dollar means more dollars will return to the U.S, shores than any country has ever experienced.

Other countries have had collapsed currencies, but never in the history of world of finance has so much currency been held outside a country of issue that could come flying back, almost on a moments notice.

Panic out of the dollar has begun. Even if Bernanke stops printing money (unlikely), all the dollars flying back into the U.S. will cause a huge price inflation all on its own.

Those holding long-term Treasury notes will find them worthless, probably by the end of this summer. . . . . if the system lasts that long which is no longer guaranteed.

It appears those who do not get out now will lose everything.


Related articles:

Get Ready for Inflation and Higher Interest Rates (JUNE 11, 2009) In the Wall Street Journal
The unprecedented expansion of the money supply could make the '70s look benign. -- Rahm Emanuel was only giving voice to widespread political wisdom when he said that a crisis should never be "wasted." Crises enable vastly accelerated political agendas and initiatives scarcely conceivable under calmer circumstances. So it goes now.Here we stand more than a year into a grave economic crisis with a projected budget deficit of 13% of GDP. That's more than twice the size of the next largest deficit since World War II. And this projected deficit is the culmination of a year when the federal government, at taxpayers' expense, acquired enormous stakes in the banking, auto, mortgage, health-care and insurance industries.With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs -- such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid -- are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.But as bad as the fiscal picture is, panic-driven monetary policies portend to have even more dire consequences. We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s. CLIP

U.S. Gold, Going or Completely Gone?
(...) I took special note of how 2,920 metric tonnes of Gold Compounds had been exported from the U.S. in 2008. This number seemed BIGGER than BIG - because the U.S is only alleged to have stockpiles of sovereign gold of 8,100 metric tonnes while annual U.S. mine production of gold is roughly 228 metric tonnes. This figure of 2,920 metric tonnes is equal to 36 % of all alleged sovereign U.S. gold stocks or more than 14 times annual U.S. gold mine production. So, I was left wondering, "just what is/are 'gold compounds'? I contacted the USGS and queried a qualified individual [who had working knowledge of this data stream] about the definition of "Gold Compounds". I was told that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau - who supplies not only the definition but the actual reported numbers, gold compounds were typified by industrial type products containing low percentages/amounts of actual gold content - like gold paint. I then reasoned with the USGS person, if such were the case, why would U.S. exports have increased in 2008 to nearly 3,000 metric tonnes [when the Global Economy was slowing and the U.S. Dollar was strong] from 2007, when U.S. exports totaled approximately 2,000 metric tonnes [when the U.S. Dollar was weaker and the Global Economy was booming]? I noted that this was counter-intuitive and made no fundamental economic sense. (...) Ladies and gentlemen, the foregoing data and discussion with the USGS individual is proof that the United States of America [or criminal elements within its Treasury and/or The Federal Reserve] "HAS" surreptitiously exported physical gold - and continues to do so. It is confirmed. The exports are likely coin melt [or gold compound, if you prefer] from the great gold confiscation back in 1933; or alternatively, this terminology is being used to disguise physical repatriation of foreign gold bullion formerly on deposit with the N.Y. Federal Reserve. Such repatriations are recorded as "exports" in U.S. Trade data. Public acknowledgement of same would scream like a siren call that the global financial community has totally lost faith in American financial stewardship - hence the need to do so on the sly. This is being done in a vain/desperate/losing battle to satiate off the charts global demand for physical gold bullion arising from the profligacy of the American Empire's two previous Administrations and to prop up the failing U.S. Dollar. Over the course of 2007 / 2008 - more than 5,000 metric tonnes of Gold Compounds have been exported from the United States of America representing more than 62% of reported sovereign U.S. gold reserves or about 24 times annual U.S. mine production. 5000 metric tonnes = 160 753 733 troy ounces [$128 billion+ at today's prices] The fact that industry funded trade groups like the World Gold Council and other professional gold consultancies, who shall remain nameless, have not reported these facts negates their credibility and illuminates them as dupes or willing shills. These fraudulent or ignorant organizations deserve to be shuttered and disbanded. (...) No credible audit of the Sovereign U.S. Gold Reserve will EVER be allowed because the gold is simply not there. Hope you have some.

Canadian Mint Has “Lost” Millions Worth of Gold (June 09, 2009)
Canada's money-makers can't find tens of millions in precious metals that are shown on the books

Why Gold Will Rise to at Least $6,000 per Ounce (May 26 2009)
In November 2003, a month before the 90th anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve, I spoke to a group of money managers and bond traders in south Florida about the Federal Reserve's nine decade legacy. At that time the price of gold was approximately $380 per ounce. I informed the attendees that gold was the most undervalued asset on the planet. Nearly six years later, gold has nearly tripled in price and may have been the best performing asset class in the world since then, and one of the best investments in this decade. (...) Clearly, no matter what definition of money is used to restore a gold backed dollar, the price of gold will have to be adjusted upward by a factor of at least six or more from today to reflect the enormous deprecation of the dollar since the FED was created nearly a hundred years ago. The revaluation of the dollar will not happen because Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve and Timothy Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary embrace hard money principles and realize 100% reserves are necessary for the banking system to function as a reliable financial intermediary. The restoration of a gold backed dollar will occur when dollar holders lose confidence in the purchasing power of the greenback. The sooner the next great money and banking reforms are implemented, the less chance there will be for a global monetary debacle, given the trillions of dollars the FED and other central banks have created in the past six months. In the meantime, load up on the yellow metal. It is your best insurance policy against Obama, Congress, Bernanke, and Geithner.

Signs of a new financial storm for September coming from Dubai and Saudi Arabia (06/01/2009)
Dubai calls on the Rothschild bank for help, perhaps out of desperation. In Saudi Arabia a Saad Group company defaults. US, European and Asian banks are struggling. The end of Ramadan in September might mark the start of an economic depression worse than that of the 1930s. CLIP

10 Sleazy Ways That Goldman Sachs Distracted Us While Pocketing Billions from the Treasury
How Goldman deftly diverted attention away from the tens of billions it has taken from the public. - The best illusionists deflect audience focus away from the heart of the trick until the final moment of revelation. The way Goldman Sachs has worked its multi-prong bailout is like that. During last week's chatter about submitting their TARP payback application, the firm deftly diverted attention away from all the real money they took from the public. CLIP

What a "Jobless Recovery" Really Means: A Massive Redistribution of Wealth from the Little Guy to the Big Boys (June 9, 2009)
Everyone from the Fed bank of San Francisco to Kiplinger's is saying that we may have a "jobless recovery". The meaning of the phrase jobless recovery itself is simple: A jobless recovery or jobless growth is a phrase used by economists to describe the recovery from a recession which does not produce strong growth in employment. The phrase originated in the early 1990s in the United States, to describe the economic recovery at the end of President George H.W. Bush's term; it came back into use during the early 2000s.But what is the deeper meaning of a jobless recovery now? The government has spent more than $12 trillion dollars responding to the financial crisis. But the overwhelming majority of that money has gone to big banks and big corporations. Obama's stimulus plan calls for $787 billion dollars in spending. That amounts to less than 7% of the government's crisis spending.The fact that much of the stimulus bill is really pork reduces that number still further. And while Obama might throw more stimulus money into the system, independent experts say that total government spending could rise to $20 trillion dollars, so the percentage might substantially decline. What these figures show is that the government has given well over 90% of the taxpayers' money to the richest companies and well under 10% for job-creation programs. Therefore, the "jobless recovery" is really a massive redistribution of wealth from the little guy to the big boys (see this and this).

U.S. Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level, Faber Says (May 27, 2009)
The U.S. economy will enter “hyperinflation” approaching the levels in Zimbabwe because the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to raise interest rates, investor Marc Faber said.Prices may increase at rates “close to” Zimbabwe’s gains, Faber said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong. Zimbabwe’s inflation rate reached 231 million percent in July, the last annual rate published by the statistics office.“I am 100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation,” Faber said. “The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they will be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.” CLIP

The Weimar Hyperinflation? Could it Happen Again? (May 19, 2009)
“It was horrible. Horrible! Like lightning it struck. No one was prepared. The shelves in the grocery stores were empty. You could buy nothing with your paper money.” – Harvard University law professor Friedrich Kessler on the Weimar Republic hyperinflation (1993 interview)Some worried commentators are predicting a massive hyperinflation of the sort suffered by Weimar Germany in 1923, when a wheelbarrow full of paper money could barely buy a loaf of bread. An April 29 editorial in the San Francisco Examiner warned: “With an unprecedented deficit that’s approaching $2 trillion, [the President’s 2010] budget proposal is a surefire prescription for hyperinflation. So every senator and representative who votes for this monster $3.6 trillion budget will be endorsing a spending spree that could very well turn America into the next Weimar Republic.” CLIP

Fed Records Subpoenaed (JUNE 10, 2009)
U.S. House lawmakers on Tuesday filed a subpoena to compel the Federal Reserve to turn over internal notes and emails detailing the central bank's role in encouraging Bank of America Corp. to complete its acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. CLIP

The depression quietly deepens (6 June 2009)
The global slowdown has been deeper than that seen during the Great Depression, according to Barry Eichengreen (...) The fall in industrial output has been roughly equal to the 1929-1930 stage for Germany and the Anglo-Saxons, but worse for Japan, France, Italy, and Eastern Europe. The collapse in world trade has been swifter: the global equity crash has been twice as bad. "It's a depression alright. The good news is that the policy response is very different. The question now is whether that response will work," they said.The elastic was bound to snap back, just as it did in the bear rally of early 1931. Whether the underlying economy has begun to heal is another matter. World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin said capacity utilization is running at an historic low of 50pc-60pc. Companies will have to fire a lot of workers. This is where the danger lies, and why he fears that deflation is creeping up on us. Trade data from Asia are flashing warning signals again. Korea's exports were down 28.3pc in May, reversing the April rebound. Malaysia has slipped to -26pc, and India has touched a new low of -33pc.US freight data is getting worse, not better. The Association of American Railroads said traffic was down 22pc in the third week of May from a year earlier. Canadian freight was down 34pc. (...) The ECB says the eurozone economy will contract until mid-2010, at best. Germany's trade association (Wirtschaftsverbände) warned Mrs Merkel last week that the credit drought threatens to become "life-threatening by the summer at the latest".The list of countries in deflation is growing every month: Ireland (-3.5), Thailand (-3.3), China (-1.5), Switzerland (-1), Spain (-0.8), the US (-0.7), Singapore (-0.7), Taiwan (-0.5), Belgium (-0.4), Japan (-0.1), Sweden (-0.1), Germany (0).Yet markets seem to think otherwise, and this has its own awful consequences. Inflation fears have driven 10-year US Treasury yields to 3.86pc, a full point above levels in March when the Fed intervened to force rates down. US mortgage rates have jumped to 5.29pc. Gilts have reached 3.92pc, and French 10-year bonds are at 4.05pc.This bond revolt is enough to bring any global recovery to a shuddering halt. The irony is that those fretting loudest about inflation may themselves tip us into outright deflation, with all the perils of a debt compound trap. It is Angela Merkel who plays with fire.

Bankruptcy filings rise to 6,000 a day as job losses take toll (June 7, 2009)
Consumer and commercial bankruptcy filings are on pace to reach a stunning 1.5 million this year, according to a report from Automated Access to Court Electronic Records. While well below the record 2 million filings in 2005, the number of filings is up sharply from last year's 1.1 million, says Robert Lawless, professor of law at the University of Illinois.Bankruptcy filings took a dramatic nose dive after a 2005 bankruptcy reform measure was signed into law to curb bankruptcy abuse and make it harder to erase debts. But filings are surging back in part because of rising job losses. The unemployment rate could hit 10% this year. And tighter credit, dwindling 401(k) accounts, smaller paychecks and less savings have left unemployed workers and those who are working but struggling with fewer financial resources to keep creditors at bay. CLIP

Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts: study (June 4, 2009)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track.More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine. "Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said in a statement."For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection," he added.The United States is embarking on an overhaul of its healthcare system, now a patchwork of public programs such as Medicare for the elderly and disabled and employer-sponsored health insurance that leaves 15 percent of the population with no coverage.The researchers and some consumer advocates said the study showed the proposals under the most serious consideration are unlikely to help many Americans. They are pressing for a so-called single payer plan, in which one agency, usually the government, coordinates health coverage. CLIP

$350 billion up in smoke - We don't know where it went (52 sec video)
The financial news media focuses on the "green shoots."Well, when you pump a few trillion into the economy, you should get something.But one thing we're not getting is accountability. Already, over 1/3 of a trillion of the bailout money is being declared "missing in action." And the official responsible considers it a joke.




Why This Crisis May Be Our Best Chance to Build a New Economy

by David Korten

Wall Street is bankrupt. Instead of trying to save it, we can build a new economy that puts money and business in the service of people and the planet—not the other way around.

Whether it was divine providence or just good luck, we should give thanks that financial collapse hit us before the worst of global warming and peak oil. As challenging as the economic meltdown may be, it buys time to build a new economy that serves life rather than money. It lays bare the fact that the existing financial system has brought our way of life and the natural systems on which we depend to the brink of collapse. This wake-up call is inspiring unprecedented numbers of people to take action to bring forth the culture and institutions of a new economy that can serve us and sustain our living planet for generations into the future.

The world of financial stability, environmental sustainability, economic justice, and peace that most psychologically healthy people want is possible if we replace a defective operating system that values only money, seeks to monetize every relationship, and pits each person in a competition with every other for dominance.

From Economic Power to Basket Case

Not long ago, the news was filled with stories of how Wall Street’s money masters had discovered the secrets of creating limitless wealth through exotic financial maneuvers that eliminated both risk and the burden of producing anything of real value. In an audacious social engineering experiment, corporate interests drove a public policy shift that made finance the leading sector of the U.S. economy and the concentration of private wealth the leading economic priority.

Corporate interests drove a policy agenda that rolled back taxes on high incomes, gave tax preference to income from financial speculation over income from productive work, cut back social safety nets, drove down wages, privatized public assets, outsourced jobs and manufacturing capacity, and allowed public infrastructure to deteriorate. They envisioned a world in which the United States would dominate the global economy by specializing in the creation of money and the marketing and consumption of goods produced by others.

As a result, manufacturing fell from 27 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 1950 to 12 percent in 2005, while financial services grew from 11 percent to 20 percent. From 1980 to 2005, the highest-earning 1 percent of the U.S. population increased its share of taxable income from 9 percent to 19 percent, with most of the gain going to the top one-tenth of 1 percent. The country became a net importer, with a persistent annual trade deficit of more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars financed by rising foreign debt. Wall Street insiders congratulated themselves on their financial genius even as they turned the United States into a national economic basket case and set the stage for global financial collapse.

All the reports of financial genius masked the fact that a phantom-wealth economy is unsustainable. Illusory assets based on financial bubbles, abuse of the power of banks to create credit (money) from nothing, corporate asset stripping, baseless credit ratings, and creative accounting led to financial, social, and environmental breakdown. The system suppressed the wages of the majority while continuously cajoling them to buy more than they could afford using debt that they had no means to repay.

A Defective Operating System

The operating system of our phantom-wealth economy was written by and for Wall Street interests for the sole purpose of making more money for people who have money. It makes cheap money readily available to speculators engaged in inflating financial bubbles and financing other predatory money scams. It makes money limited and expensive to those engaged in producing real wealth—life, and the things that sustain life—and pushes the productive members of society into indebtedness to those who produce nothing at all.

Money, the ultimate object of worship among modern humans, is the most mysterious of human artifacts: a magic number with no meaning or existence outside the human mind. Yet it has become the ultimate arbiter of life—deciding who will live in grand opulence in the midst of scarcity and who will die of hunger in the midst of plenty.

The monetization of relationships—replacing mutual caring with money as the primary medium of exchange—accelerated after World War II when growth in Gross National Product, essentially growth in monetized relationships, became the standard for evaluating economic performance. The work of the mother who cares for her child solely out of love counts for nothing. By contrast, the mother who leaves her child unattended to accept pay for tending the child of her neighbor suddenly becomes “economically productive.” The result is a public policy bias in favor of monetizing relationships to create phantom wealth—money—at the expense of real wealth.

In the world we want, the organization of economic life mimics healthy ecosystems that are locally rooted, highly adaptive, and self-reliant in food and energy. Information and technology are shared freely, and trade between neighbors is fair and balanced.

In a modern economy, nearly every relationship essential to life depends on money. This gives ultimate power to those who control the creation and allocation of money. Five features of the existing money system virtually assure abuse.

1. Money issuance and allocation are controlled by private banks managed for the exclusive benefit of their top managers and largest shareholders.

2. Money issued by private banks as debt must be repaid with interest. This requires perpetual economic growth to create sufficient demand for new loans to create the money required to pay the interest due on previous loans. The fact that nearly every dollar in circulation is generating interest for bankers and their investors virtually assures an ever-increasing concentration of wealth.

3. The power to determine how much money will circulate and where it will flow is concentrated and centralized in a tightly interlinked system of private-benefit corporations that operate in secret, beyond public scrutiny, with the connivance of the Federal Reserve.

4. The Federal Reserve presents itself as a public institution responsible for exercising oversight, but it is accountable only to itself, operates primarily for the benefit of the largest Wall Street banks, and consistently favors the interests of those who live by returns to money over those who live by returns to their labor.

5. The lack of proper regulatory oversight allows players at each level of the system to make highly risky decisions, collect generous fees based on phantom profits, and pass the risk to others.

A Values-Based Operating System

To get ourselves out of our current mess and create the world we want, we must reboot the economy with a new, values-based operating system designed to support social and environmental balance and the creation of real, living wealth. We have seen what happens when government and big business operate in secret. The new system must be open to public scrutiny and democratic control. Globalization and the harshest form of capitalism have eroded the bonds of community and created vast gaps in wealth between the richest and the poorest. The new system must be locally rooted in strong communities and distribute wealth equitably.

Our environment and our infrastructure have paid a terrible price for the belief that private interests must always win over public ones. A viable system must balance public and private interests. Unregulated speculation is at the root of the current crisis. Society is better served by a system that favors productive work and investment, limits speculation, and suppresses inflation in all forms—including financial bubbles.

The following are five essential areas of action.

1. Government-Issued Money. There is urgent need for government action to create living wage jobs, rebuild public infrastructure, and restore domestic productive capacity. It is folly, however, for government to finance those projects by borrowing money created by the same private banks that created the financial mess.

The government can and should instead issue debt-free money to finance the stimulus and meet other public needs. Properly administered, this money will flow to community-based enterprises and help revitalize Main Street market economies engaged in the production of real wealth.

2. Community Banking. Under the bailout, the government is buying ownership shares in failed Wall Street banks with the expectation of eventually reselling them to private interests. So far, the money has disappeared or gone to acquisitions, management bonuses, office remodeling, and fancy vacations with no noticeable effect on the freeing up of credit.

A better plan, as many economists are recommending, is to force bankrupt banks into government receivership. As part of the sale and distribution of assets to meet creditor claims, these banks should be broken up and their local branches sold to local investors. These new, individual community banks and mutual savings and loan associations should be chartered to serve Main Street needs, lending to local manufacturers, merchants, farmers, and homeowners within a strong regulatory framework.

3. Real-Wealth Investment. Gambling should be confined to licensed casinos. Contrary to the claims of Wall Street, financial speculation does not create real wealth, serves no public interest, and should be strongly discouraged. Tax the purchase or sale of financial instruments and impose a tax surcharge on short-term capital gains. Make it illegal to sell, insure, or borrow against an asset you do not own, or to issue a financial security not backed by a real asset. This would effectively shut down much of Wall Street, which would be a positive result.

The money that has been used for speculation must be redirected to productive investment that creates real wealth and meets our essential needs responsibly, equitably, and sustainably using green technologies and closed-loop production cycles. We can begin by eliminating subsidies for carbon fuels and putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. We can revise trade agreements to affirm the responsibility of every nation to contribute to global economic security and stability by organizing for sustainable self-reliance in food and energy and managing its economy to keep imports and exports in balance. If we Americans learn to live within our means, we will free up resources others need to feed, clothe, and house themselves and their families. The notion that reducing our consumption would harm others is an example of the distorted logic of a phantom-wealth economy.

4. Middle Class Fiscal Policy. The ruling financial elites have used their control of fiscal policy to conduct a class war that has decimated the once celebrated American middle class and led to economic disaster. Markets work best when economic power is equitably distributed and individuals contribute to the economy as both workers and owners. Massive inequality in income and ownership assures the failure of both markets and democracy.

To restore the social fabric and allocate real resources in ways that serve the needs of all, we must restore the middle class through equity-oriented fiscal policies. There is also a strong moral argument that those who profited from creating our present economic mess should bear the major share of the cost of cleaning it up. It is time to reinstitute the policies that created the American middle class after World War II. Restore progressive income tax with a top rate of 90 percent and favor universal participation in responsible ownership and a family wage. Because no one has a natural birth entitlement to any greater share of the real wealth of society than anyone else, use the estate tax to restore social balance at the end of each lifetime in a modern equivalent of the Biblical Jubilee, which called for periodically forgiving debts and restoring land to its original owners.

Human-scale, locally owned businesses are essential to creating the new economy. Author David Korten goes for the spring snow peas as he shops for dinner at his local family-owned grocery store in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine

5. Responsible Enterprise. Enterprises in a market economy need a fair return to survive. This imposes a necessary discipline. Service to the community, however, rather than profit, is the primary justification for the firm’s existence. As Wall Street has so graphically demonstrated, profit is not a reliable measure of social contribution.

Enterprises are most likely to serve their communities when they are human-scale and owned by responsible local investors with an active interest in their operation beyond mere profit. Concentrations of corporate power reduce public accountability, and no corporation should be too big to fail. The new economy will use antitrust to break large corporations into their component parts and sell them to responsible local owners. There are many ways to aggregate economic resources that do not create concentrations of monopoly power or encourage absentee ownership. These include the many forms of worker, cooperative, and community ownership and cooperative alliances among locally rooted firms.

Current proposals for dealing with the economic collapse fall far short of dealing with the deep conflict of values and interests at the core of the current economic crisis. We face an urgent need to expand and deepen the debate to advance options that go far beyond anything currently on the table.

The World We Want

The world of our shared human dream is one where people live happy, productive lives in balance with one another and Earth. It is democratic and middle class without extremes of wealth or poverty. It is characterized by strong, stable families and communities in which relationships are defined primarily by mutual trust and caring. Every able adult is both a worker and an owner. Most families own their own home and have an ownership stake in their local economy. Everyone has productive work and is respected for his or her contribution to the well-being of the community.

In the world we want, the organization of economic life mimics healthy ecosystems that are locally rooted, highly adaptive, and self-reliant in food and energy. Information and technology are shared freely, and trade between neighbors is fair and balanced. Each community, region and nation strives to live within its own means in balance with its own environmental resources. Conflicts are resolved peacefully and no group seeks to expropriate the resources of its neighbors. Competition is for excellence, not domination.

The financial collapse has revealed the extreme corruption of the Wall Street financial system and created an extraordinary opening for change. We cannot, however, expect the leadership to come from within the political system. There is good reason why both the Bush and Obama administrations, different as they are, have responded to the Wall Street crash with bailouts for the guilty rather than face up to the need for a radical restructuring of the financial system. No president can stand up against Wall Street absent massive popular demand.

To move forward, we the people must build a powerful popular political movement demanding a new economy designed to serve our children, families, communities, and nature. It begins with a conversation to demystify money and expose the lie that there is no alternative to the present economic system. It continues with action to rebuild our local economies based on sound market principles backed by national political action to transform the money system and broaden participation in ownership. This is our moment of opportunity.

David Korten wrote this article as part of The New Economy, the Summer 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. David is co-founder and board chair of YES! His most recent book is Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth.

Interested? David Korten reads from Agenda for a New Economy (11 min - A MUST listen! He describes a very positive future where his best hopes have been fulfilled and it is really exciting!!! You will just love this!)



Rather: Former detainee says torture still going on at Gitmo


Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor who now hosts a news magazine on cable channel HDNet, has done a documentary on a former Guantanamo prisoner who says he was tortured for years before being released two weeks ago.

Lakhdar Boumediene has charged that he was interrogated for sixteen straight nights in 2003 and that he was force-fed through a nasal tube for over two years after he went on a hunger strike. He also described to Rather’s interviewer how he was made to run with shackles on his legs until they were bloody in order to soften him up.

According to the New York Observer, Rather describes the interview as “packed with details about Mr. Boumediene’s alleged torture — from intravenous needles being jammed into his arms to stories of soldiers snapping photos of the inmate’s painful transport to the detention center.”

However, Boumediene’s most controversial claim is that torture is still going on despite the change in administrations. “Nothing change in Guantanamo,” he told the interviewer. “They torture me in the Obama time more than Bush.”

“How credible do you find his allegations?” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked Rather on Tuesday.

“When you’re in his presence, when you see the interview, he seems believable,” Rather replied. He added, however, that the admiral who’s been in charge of Guantanamo for the last year “says, ‘Listen, this is untrue. These things are not still going on.’”

Rather also pointed out that when Boumediene says he was tortured recently, he is not referring to interrogation but to the force-feeding, which he believes was deliberately made “as painful and uncomfortable as possible.” Boumediene also believes that once the guards knew he had been ordered released for lack of evidence, some of them were looking for an opportunity to “take their last shots.”

Rather insisted, however, that we have to take Boumediene’s central point seriously, that “the US government has lied about the depths of the torture, how much it happened, and the fact — from his viewpoint — that some of it’s still going on.”

Maddow also asked Rather whether he thinks the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan is effectively taking Guantanamo’s place.

Rather acknowledged that “there is a school of thought” which believes that to be the case. “We don’t know much about what goes on there,” he explained, pointing out that prisoners have been brought to Bagram from other countries and that “some of the contentions that were made about Guantanamo are starting to be made about Bagram. … The critical thing is, there is no transparency.”

Maddow concluded by asking Rather what he believes is motivating former Vice President Dick Cheney in his high-profile defense of torture. In response, Rather cited Cheney’s concern for the Bush administration’s legacy, his playing to the Republican base, and that “he really believes what he is saying.”

“The fourth thing,” Rather added, “and I could be wrong about this, I think he really detests President Obama, his policies, and everything he stands for.”

Rather noted that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said “nothing … and for that matter, neither has President Bush, which indicates that they clearly think that the tactics that Vice President Cheney is using are not the right ones.” Rather admitted, however, that “whether one likes it or not, I think he’s had some effect.”

This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast June 2, 2009. To watch this video go at the bottom of this webpage



Forwarded by Mark Graffis (


Fear Rules

By Paul Craig Roberts -- June 10, 2009

The power of irrational fear in the US is extraordinary. It ranks up there with the Israel Lobby, the military/security complex, and the financial gangsters. Indeed, fear might be the most powerful force in America.

Americans are at ease with their country’s aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, which has resulted in a million dead Muslim civilians and several million refugees, because the US government has filled Americans with fear of terrorists. “We have to kill them over there before they come over here.”

Fearful of American citizens, the US government is building concentration camps apparently all over the country. According to news reports, a $385 million US government contract was given by the Bush/Cheney Regime to Cheney’s company, Halliburton, to build “detention centers” in the US. The corporate media never explained for whom the detention centers are intended.

Most Americans dismiss such reports. “It can’t happen here.” However, In northeastern Florida not far from Tallahassee, I have seen what might be one of these camps. There is a building inside a huge open area fenced with razor wire. There is no one there and no signs. The facility appears new and unused and does not look like an abandoned prisoner work camp.

What is it for?

Who spent all that money for what?

There are Americans who are so terrified of their lives being taken by terrorists that they are hoping the US government will use nuclear weapons to destroy “the Muslim enemy.” The justifications concocted for the use of nuclear bombs against Japanese civilian populations have had their effect. There are millions of Americans who wish “their” government would kill everyone that “their” government has demonized.

When I tell these people that they will die of old age without ever seeing a terrorist, they think I am insane. Don’t I know that terrorists are everywhere in America? That’s why we have airport security and homeland security. That’s why the government is justified in breaking the law to spy on citizens without warrants. That’s why the government is justified to torture people in violation of US law and the Geneva Conventions. If we don’t torture them, American cities will go up in mushroom clouds. Dick Cheney tells us this every week.

Terrorists are everywhere. “They hate us for our freedom and democracy.” When I tell
America’s alarmed citizens that the US has as many stolen elections as any country and that our civil liberties have been eroded by “the war on terror” they lump me into the terrorist category. They automatically conflate factual truth with anti-Americanism.

The same mentality prevails with regard to domestic crime. Most Americans, including, unfortunately, juries, assume that if the police make a case against a person and a prosecutor prosecutes it, the defendant is guilty. Most Americans are incapable of believing that police or a prosecutor would frame an innocent person for career or bureaucratic reasons or out of pure meanness.

Yet, it happens all the time. Indeed, it is routine.

Frame-ups are so routine that 96% of the criminally accused will not risk a “jury of their peers,” preferring to negotiate a plea bargain agreement with the prosecutor. The jury of their peers are a brainwashed lot, fearful of crime, which they have never experienced but hear about all the time. Criminals are everywhere, doing their evil deeds.

The US has a much higher percentage of its population in prison than “authoritarian” countries, such as China, a one-party state. An intelligent population might wonder how a “freedom and democracy” country could have incarceration rates far higher than a dictatorship, but Americans fail this test. The more people that are put in prison, the safer Americans feel.

Lawrence Stratton and I describe frame-up techniques in The Tyranny of Good Intentions. Police and prosecutors even frame the guilty, as it is easier than convicting them on the evidence.

One case that has been before us for years, but is resolutely neglected by the corporate media, whose function is to scare the people, is that of Troy Davis.

Troy Davis was convicted of killing a police officer. The only evidence connecting him to the crime is the testimony of “witnesses,” the vast majority of whom have withdrawn their testimony. The witnesses say they testified falsely against Troy Davis because of police intimidation and coercion.

One would think that this would lead to a new hearing and trial. But not in America. The Republican judicial nazis have created the concept of “finality.” Even if the evidence shows that a wrongfully convicted person is innocent, finality requires that we execute him. If the convicted person is executed, we can assume he was guilty, because America has a pure justice system and never punishes the innocent. Everyone in prison and everyone executed is guilty. Otherwise, they they wouldn’t be in prison or executed.

It is all very simple if you are an American. America is pure, but other countries, except for our allies, are barbaric.

The same goes for our wars. Everyone we kill, whether they are passengers on Serbian commuter trains or attending weddings, funerals, or children playing soccer in Iraq, is a terrorist, or we would not have killed them. So was the little girl who was raped by our terrorist-fighting troops and then murdered, brutally, along with her family.

America only kills terrorists. If we kill you, you are a terrorist.

Americans are the salt of the earth. They never do any wrong. Only those other people do. Not the Israelis, of course.

And police, prosecutors, and juries never make mistakes. Everyone accused is guilty.

Fear has made every American a suspect, eroded our rights, and compromised our humanity.




Taiwan Surpasses U.S. on Key Achievements: Health Care, High Speed Rail and Fiscal Responsibility

by Mike Adams -- April 26, 2009

After living in Ecuador for some time, I recently traveled to Taiwan, where Truth Publishing is headquartered. Returning to the United States after spending time in Taiwan has allowed me the perspective to make some observations about the differences between the USA and Taiwan.

The bottom line on these observations? The USA is falling behind the world in many important areas, and unless we reprioritize our spending, with each passing year we are looking less and less like a world leader and more and more like an agricultural exporter "developing" nation.

For example, Taiwan now boasts a stunningly-efficient high-speed rail transportation system that zips passengers from one city to another in mere minutes. Last week, as I was zooming along the Taiwan countryside at 300 kilometers per hour, experiencing the remarkable comfort and ease of travel (no silly security checks, no long lines, just automated ticketing machines and on-time departures), I asked myself the obvious question: "Where is America's high-speed rail?"

The answer, of course, is that it's still on the drawing board. America virtually abandoned rail travel in the 1960's, allowing a once-great network of rail lines to become largely defunct. So today, America lacks the kind of efficient transportation infrastructure that Europeans, Japanese and even Taiwanese citizens enjoy every day. And this means Americans burn more oil and waste more time driving from one place to another.

The lack of high-speed rail harms America's efficiencies and international competitiveness because it raises the prices of virtually everything that has a transportation component (food, oil, concrete, raw materials, people, mail, etc.). Trucking all these goods around costs roughly ten times what it costs to move them via rail. It does sell more oil, though, which is probably one of the reasons why rail was abandoned in America in the first place (to appease the powerful oil companies).

Smoking bans and national health care

Taiwan has also passed and enforced a nationwide ban on smoking indoors. No smoking is allowed in restaurants, hotels, train stations, airports or anywhere other than private homes. The fine for violating this smoking ban? About 1/3rd of an average citizen's monthly wage.

This progressive, health-oriented initiative could never happen in America due to the highly influential (and destructive) tobacco lobby. In states like North Carolina, where tobacco is still big industry, anti-smoking laws get virtually no traction. The result is that North Carolina feels like a third world country, whereas Taiwan feels like a progressive world leader. Seriously, the last time I visited North Carolina (in 2008), I thought I had been teleported to a third-world nation full of race cars (NASCAR), tobacco and religious evangelists.

Speaking of health-related issues, Taiwan also has an extremely efficient, affordable health care system that covers everyone for just a few dollars a month. Using high-tech hospital equipment and U.S.-trained doctors, the Taiwan health care system still manages to cover virtually all medical needs (pregnancy, dental and vision included) for about $30 / month through your employer -- which includes coverage of your entire family, including children. Your employer pays about $25 / month in addition to what you pay, so it's roughly $50 / month for full coverage of you and your entire family. Not bad, huh? Why can't America do this?

For those citizens who don't have employment, they can purchase full coverage for about $20 / month. Yep, that's twenty bucks a month for full health care, even if you don't have a job.

This isn't for shoddy, low-tech health services, by the way. This is for state-of-the-art specialist coverage, including cardiology, reproductive health, internal medicine, urgent care, pediatrics, cancer treatments, surgery and just about every area of medicine you can think of. That an Asian nation can provide these high-tech services at such an affordable cost is astonishing to most Americans who are used to paying the highest prices in the world for not-so-great health care services.

Providing affordable, state-of-the-art (westernized) health care is something that seemingly can never be accomplished in the U.S. due to all the powerful, profitable corporations making money off disease. The health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and health service providers are all making too much money off sickness and disease to give up those profits for the common good. In America, health care is a for-profit industry, not a benefit to its citizens. And legislators in Washington repeatedly favor the profits of corporations over the health care needs of Americans. (This stance, as I've explained before, will spell the doom of America. You cannot have a strong nation if your people are all diseased and medicated...)

Banning plastic bags and cleaning up the cities

On the issue of pollution and the environment, Taiwan has made huge strides in the last ten years, demonstrating progressive, mindful solutions that help protect the environment. For example, a few years ago they banned the giving away of plastic bags by all retailers (especially grocery stores). Customers can still buy plastic bags for a few cents each, but they can no longer be given away.

The result? Overnight, the country's plastic bag pollution problem virtually disappeared. Suddenly, customers were bringing their own cloth bags or packing up groceries in recyclable cardboard boxes. Suddenly the streets were cleaner and landfill use was drastically reduced. In the United States, only progressive cities like San Francisco have managed to pull off something like this, but Taiwan did it nation-wide.

Speaking of pollution, Taiwan's parks and cities are super clean. You'll rarely see trash just thrown around, and cleaning crews are regularly sweeping up the city parks and roadways.

Getting back to the infrastructure, Taiwan's system of roads and bridges is hugely impressive. With ongoing government investment, the roadways, railways, bridges keep getting better every year. Today, Taiwan's transportation infrastructure rivals that of any first-world nation, leaving the U.S. and its crumbling roadways in the dust. Remember: The United States is sitting on an aging transportation infrastructure where bridges literally fall apart when people are driving over them. Road maintenance is disastrous in places like L.A., Chicago and New York, and the nation's railways, as previously discussed, have been virtually abandoned.

In terms of transportation, the U.S. truly feels more and more like a third-world country with each passing year. It's not as bad as Peru or Ecuador -- yet! -- but it's getting there. After visiting Taiwan, returning to the United States feels a lot like visiting some developing nation where the travel infrastructure isn't really done being built yet. Plus, the increasing number of "immigration checkpoints" in the highways makes you feel like you're visiting Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union. Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

All this and zero debt, too?

What's most remarkable about all this is that Taiwan has no national debt whatsoever. In fact, Taiwan is sitting on some of the largest financial reserves of any nation in the world. It's been socking away savings even while managing to build impressive transportation infrastructure and health care solutions for its citizens.

How can this be? How can Taiwan accomplish so much and still have no national debt like the U.S.? And why is the U.S. so hopelessly mired in debt, even as its national infrastructure is in many ways falling apart?

The answers, I believe, are cultural. There are some rather noticeable differences between Taiwan (Chinese) culture and American culture. Notably:

- Taiwanese are thrifty - They tend to save money. Lots of it. Sure, they like to buy stuff from time to time, but they always SAVE money before spending it. Americans, on the other hand, tend to spend more than they have, resulting in negative savings rates.

- Taiwanese are industrious - They tend to work diligently, with discipline, and they're not afraid of long hours. As a result, this island nation that lacks virtually all natural resources has become a manufacturing leader in the world, amassing huge revenues and savings by buying raw materials from other countries and transforming them into value-added products through advanced manufacturing processes. Americans, in comparison, tend to whine at the prospect of working more than 8 hours a day, and they tend to spend time at work surfing the 'net (if they can get away with it) rather than actually getting any work done. By any honest assessment, the American workforce isn't hard working. On the entrepreneurial side, of course, there are many exceptions to this (business owners tend to work very hard for themselves), but as far as the general labor force goes, only the immigrants seem willing to actually work hard. As I've discovered from living in Arizona (and virtually everybody in California already knows), if you have a job that requires a lot of work, hire a Mexican!

- They have better national spending priorities: While America's spending priorities have focused on imperialism and military conquest, Taiwan's spending priorities have been more in the realm of national infrastructure, education and national savings. Even so, Taiwan has been able to spend billions on national defense to help protect it from mainland China, which continues to insist that Taiwan is its "territory."

It's not Paradise, though

Despite all these remarkable accomplishments, Taiwan isn't quite a paradise yet. It suffers from several problems that need additional work:

- Noise pollution - This seems common among both Asian and South American nations. Noise remains a big issue, as there is really no legal recognition of the right to "peace and quiet."

- Population density - Taiwan has a very high population density, translating into extreme crowding of its cities (well, not as bad as Tokyo, but still crowded). A few days in a typical Taiwan city makes foreigners like me feel downright claustrophobic.

- Abusive academics - Taiwan's emphasis on academics is so strong that many children spend literally 16 hours a day in public school and private "cram schools." They grow up into adults with amazing academic skills, but utterly lacking social skills or the kind of adventurous experiences that are supposed to define childhood. (No sleepovers, no Little League baseball, no parties or field trips... just study, study, study.)

- Air quality - Due to the widespread use of gasoline-powered motor scooters, Taiwan's cities have miserable air quality (not as bad as Mexico City, but still bad). Notably, China recently solved this problem virtually overnight in several areas by simply banning gasoline motor scooters and requiring citizens to ride e-bikes! The future of Taiwan will likely see a similar shift to electric motor scooters or e-bikes, too. The days of gasoline-powered scooters are numbered, and that's a good thing for Taiwan's air quality.

- Dependence on exports - Taiwan's economy depends largely on exports: About 40% to Europe, 40% to the USA and 20% elsewhere (Middle East, Australia, etc.). With the world economy in a depression, Taiwan's exports have suffered tremendously, and the nation is right now in a serious economic slump that's causing high rates of unemployment. Notably, instead of just firing people, most employers are opting for "mandatory non-paid vacation days" where workers keep their jobs but are asked to work fewer days each month.

All this adds up to a remarkable story of a hugely successful island nation that has managed to accomplish many things that still elude the world's largest military superpower (the USA). While the U.S. may be great at building (and dropping) bombs, Taiwan has affordable national healthcare for all its citizens. While the U.S. may have a military presence in 133 countries (or so), Taiwan has high-speed rail that saves its citizens countless hours in travel between cities. While the U.S. may boast the world's largest collection of fast food chains anywhere in the world, Taiwan is good at actually making things like computers, furniture and electronics.

In many ways, in fact, Taiwan is what the U.S. used to be -- nimble, productive and smart. Twenty years ago, when I first lived in Taiwan, I never could have imagined writing this article: The U.S. was superior in almost every way, and Taiwan was a dingy, small-scale developing nation. One generation later, however, Taiwan has surpassed the U.S. in numerous ways, proving that a nation that finds the courage to make smart, progressive decisions can accomplish amazing things, even if it hasn't been gifted with abundant natural resources.

There's a lot to love about America, of course, and America will always be my home. But there's little question that the days of the American Empire are waning. America's position as the leader of the world is history. The one thing that America is really, really good at -- killing enemy combatants -- isn't much to brag about. America doesn't manufacture much of anything, it's way behind the rest of the world on transportation and education, and it can't even offer its citizens basic health care services. It's a high-tax, low-service, police state country with $12 trillion in suffocating debt.

How much debt is that, exactly? Consider this: The world population is approaching seven billion people. $12 trillion in debt is nearly $2,000 for every person living in the world today. That's how much the U.S. owes -- nearly $2,000 for every man, woman and child living in every nation in the world, including China and India, by the way.

With that much debt, America has secured its position in the history of the world: It is a bankrupt empire whose days are numbered. Its People have become complacent and lazy, its manufacturing base has been gutted, its economy has become stagnant and its finances are beyond recovery.

Perhaps out of the ashes of America, a smart, nimble nation can arise and follow in Taiwan's footsteps to make smarter decisions about spending priorities. The formula isn't that difficult to figure out: Spend less than what you earn, invest in your People and your infrastructure rather than fighting wars. Promote entrepreneurism, thriftiness and hard work. In a few generations, you too can create a hugely successful nation that takes its place among the leaders of the world.


Related articles:

Obscene Drug Mark Ups
(...) Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of "Life Extension," a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United State contain active ingredients made in other countries. In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America. The chart below speaks for itself.

Celebrex 100 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27 Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60 Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin 10 mg Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17 Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71 Percent markup: 30,306%

Norvasec 10 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29 Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14 Percent markup: 134,493%

Prevacid 30 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77 Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01 Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97 Cost of general active ingredients $0.52 Percent markup: 69,417%

Prozac 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $247.47 Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11 Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin 50 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47 Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13 Percent markup: 80,362%

Vasotec 10 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $10237 Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20 Percent markup: 51,185% 

Xanax 1 mg Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79 Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024 Percent markup: 569,958%

Zoloft 50 mg Consumer price: $206.87 Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75 Percent markup: 11 ,821% 

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone I knew should know about this. (...) Well we all know the drug companies make obscene profits but little did I know just how obscene they really are when it comes to ripping off an ever increasing number of sick people in the world.Isn't it about time we all started to protest about the power that vested interests have over our lives. Start by becoming an organic consumer and get all chemicals and drugs if possible, out of your life. Only then will you start to appreciate what natural good health is all about.

Big, government-funded studies show most work no better than placebos (June 10, 2009)
IT'S OFFICIAL: Alternative Medicine Doesn't Work! Hmmm.... Hard to believe...
BETHESDA, Md. - Ten years ago the government set out to test herbal and other alternative health remedies to find the ones that work. After spending $2.5 billion, the disappointing answer seems to be that almost none of them do. Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea. As for therapies, acupuncture has been shown to help certain conditions, and yoga, massage, meditation and other relaxation methods may relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety and fatigue. However, the government also is funding studies of purported energy fields, distance healing and other approaches that have little if any biological plausibility or scientific evidence. (...) Congress created it after several powerful members claimed health benefits from their own use of alternative medicine and persuaded others that this enormously popular field needed more study. The new center was given $50 million in 1999 (its budget was $122 million last year) and ordered to research unconventional therapies and nostrums that Americans were using to see which ones had merit. That is opposite how other National Institutes of Health agencies work, where scientific evidence or at least plausibility is required to justify studies, and treatments go into wide use after there is evidence they work - not before. "There's very little basic science behind these things. Most of it begins with a tradition, or personal testimony and people's beliefs, even as a fad. And then pressure comes: 'It's being popular, it's being used, it should be studied.' It turns things upside down," said Dr. Edward Campion, a senior editor who reviews alternative medicine research submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine. CLIP

FDA approves cancer drug for dogs, too (June 10, 2009) Another Source of Revenue for Big Pharma!
Until now, cancer treatments prescribed by veterinarians were human-friendly formulas that hadn't yet been tested for canine companions. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently approved the first cancer drug for dogs. The new dog-only drug, Palladia (toceranib phosphate), will be made by international pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and is slated to hit shelves some time next year. It's been approved to treat canine cutaneous cancer˜which accounts for about 20 percent of doggie skin tumors and, if left alone, can spread to other parts of the body. (...) So what will Fido's treatment cost? The drug company has yet to announce a price for the pills, which will need to be taken every other day. Americans spend more than $12.2 billion annually on veterinary care, according to the trade group American Pet Products Association. The big bill, along with shrinking budgets, might explain the growing market for pet insurance. Even a pet policy probably won't cover the full cost of treatment, according to the canine cancer awareness group, Georgia's Legacy. The nonprofit's Web site notes that, "you should be prepared to spend several thousand dollars in the course of your dog's treatment, especially if you go through chemotherapy."


Forwarded by Lise Jacques (


Observers from Another Dimension

Three campers encounter a mysterious orb with two occupants

By Stephen Wagner

It has been theorized that aliens – and perhaps ghosts and shadow people as well – are actually beings from a dimension of time and space beyond our own. For their own mysterious reasons, they sometimes pay a visit to our plane of existence. They may appear as fleeting shadows, vaporous apparitions, or as creatures piloting strange aircraft. Why do they come here? Are they studying us, or are they merely observers on a recreational sightseeing tour of planet Earth? Did David Crow and two colleagues encounter these interdimensional tourists one spring night in the mountains of New York State? This is David’s story….

I AM A 61-year-old retired sheriff’s deputy. This event happened to me and two other officers one night while we were off duty on a fishing trip. We were in upstate New York, up in the Adirondack Mountains. It was April 18th, 2004.

We had just come in from the fishing boat and were tying in to the dock. While I was tying down my corner, I thought I saw a blue light flash across the lake. I looked up, and just as I did, I noticed that my two buddies looked up as well. The color of the flash reminded me of those “blacks lights” that are popular with kids, and it appeared to be about the size of a softball tossed into the air.

We watched this light for a good five or six seconds. It started to slow down considerably when it got to the opposite side of the lake. It then started descending toward the ground slowly near a farm silo just on the other side. The farm hadn’t been used in at least ten years. We watched this thing move down and down, until we could not see it in the sky anymore, but we could still see the colored glow shining into the air.


Being police officers, we decided to investigate this phenomenon. Each of us quickly untied our ropes and jumped back into the boat. We made it across the lake in about five minutes, tops.

As we docked the boat on a friend’s dock, who was away at the time, we looked in the direction of where the light was – approximately 300 yards away. It was now pulsating and no longer a steady glow. It was just behind the old silo and so we walked in that direction quite cautiously, yet very excited and quick.

When we reached the silo, suddenly the glow became solid again and stopped pulsing. The three of us, walking side by side, each with a pocket knife in hand, made it around to the other side where the light was coming from.

What we saw then was something I have never seen, or even could have fathomed….


It was a glowing circle or sphere about the size of a Volkswagen beetle, still the “black light” color. This sphere was transparent, and inside of it we saw what looked exactly like two humans – a male and a female – sitting facing one another. Yet there were no visible seats beneath them.

The female had blonde hair and was clothed in gray and black. The male had medium-length blond hair with similar clothes. The three of us all watched for a few seconds before we looked at each other, and almost simultaneously said, "Are we really seeing this?"

Each of us started whispering to each other what we were seeing, and all our descriptions were the exactly the same. As we were standing only about 25 to 30 feet away from this object, we clearly saw that the male and female had their hands pressed against each other’s and their eyes were closed. The sphere surrounding them had an almost fluid look to it, yet seemed solid at the same time. Does that make sense? Well, it didn’t make much to us.


I had my cigarettes in my shirt pocket, so I pulled them out nervously. As I went to light a cigarette and just got my lighter flicked and cig lit, the female turned and looked directly at us. My buddy Tom elbowed me and said, "Great. Now we have been seen."

I did not feel any fear whatsoever, and later found out neither of them were fearful either. I know this is all very hard to believe. Just imagine us trying to believe it while seeing it up close!

After the female looked at us, she smiled very pleasantly and took one hand away from her mate’s. He then looked directly at us and smiled – a very humbling smile. We all looked at each other again, like, "Seriously?" Her hand movement looked as if it was a slight wave, and the male proceeded to follow.

My two friends did not move, but just kept staring. I, however, raised my hand for some odd reason as to wave back. As I did, the two beings looked at each other and smiled. The female then reached her hand outside of the sphere and picked up what looked like some grass. They then closed their eyes again, put their hands back up to one another’s, and the sphere began ascending slowly at about the speed of a helicopter ascending! The only noise emitted was a very faint hum, almost like a powerful household ion air cleaner, if that makes sense.

The sphere rose to about 50 or 60 feet, and we could see that both the male and female were looking down at us; we could see their heads turn and look down in our direction. Shortly after, I’d say five to ten seconds, the sphere took off quite rapidly. It got smaller and smaller, ascending maybe 20 feet every couple of seconds. It took off directly toward the constellation of Orion, which was visible in the clean night sky, until we could not see the sphere anymore. It seemed to have faded right into the third star in Orion’s belt.

And then – poof! – we were back in the dark by the silo. We had no flashlights and were almost blind from having all that light and then sudden darkness. We held onto each other to keep from stumbling as we headed back to the boat. That night we sat outside of the camper and recounted and wrote down everything each of us saw. We later compared our notes, and all of them were the same.

To this day, all three of us remember it and don’t tell this story to many people. Our families know, and they do believe us, or so they say. A few others here and there know. But this was just as real as anything else I had ever experienced.

I wonder… has anyone else had something like this happen?


Forwarded by Barry Snyder (

What Can We Learn From The Lawsuit Against Rhonda Byrne and The Secret?

By Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks

May 7, 2009

There's a scandal boiling over into the national media regarding lawsuits against Rhonda Byrne, the woman who brought The Secret movie and book to the world. It's not yet known whether they will be settled before they go to trial, but whatever path the story takes, it has powerful lessons for all of us who are interested in spirituality, metaphysics and manifestation.

Here's the quick sketch: Drew Heriot, director of The Secret movie (and according to him, co-creator of the project), is suing Rhonda Byrne and her company for $340 million dollars. He claims that Rhonda cheated him out of millions of dollars of profits that are rightfully his. You can get all the details here.

The Bigger Question

Here's the bigger question, stated bluntly: How did Rhonda Byrne, proponent and chief promulgator of the Law of Attraction, end up attracting such a large number lawsuits and disgruntled former team members? Is it just a case of greed gone wild? Or is it a brilliant confirmation of how the Law of Attraction actually works?

On the surface, it looks like a movie business squabble, but there's a lot more to it. If it were just one movie-type trying to squeeze money out of another, it would be easy to understand. We generally don't expect much in the way of integrity from people in the movie business. A Hollywood wag once said something along the lines of "You can take all the integrity in Hollywood, put it in a gnat's eye, and still have room left over for an agent's heart."

However, most of us have higher standards for those who speak on behalf of God or purport to teach us the laws of the universe. What grips our attention about The Secret lawsuits is the same thing that compels many of us to read stories about preachers who get busted for sexual shenanigans or priests who molest children. Such events remind us of the dangers of hypocrisy and the ever-present possibility of having life turn ironical on us. When a massively successful movie about the Law of Attraction ends up attracting equally massive lawsuits, it blows the lid off the irony-meter, bringing to mind Lily Tomlin's observation that "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

New Age scandals usually involve sex, not money, and nearly always involve gurus who get busted for fondling more than their beads. For example, Kathlyn and I were once engaged as consultants by a well-known yoga ashram on the East Coast. They brought us in to help their organization regain its footing after the guru got caught doing a highly unorthodox form of the Downward Facing Dog with several devotees. Such transgressions of power always leave a wake of pain behind, but they're so common in spiritual circles that they hardly register more than a flicker of interest these days. "The Secret" scandal is different, and not only because it's about a huge amount of money. At a deeper level it is about the interface of integrity and the power of manifestation, a subject that has truly life-changing consequences.

Hazards Of The Law Of Attraction

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I had my own issues with Rhonda and The Secret, due to integrity flaws I saw in the project. Kathlyn and I were filmed for The Secret, spending several hours being interviewed by Rhonda and her crew in a suite at the Beverly Hills hotel. One of our close friends, Jack Canfield, had been interviewed and recommended that we meet her. The interview went fine, but it was clear that Rhonda wanted to focus the interview only on the positive side of the Law of Attraction. There were two key points we wanted to make sure got into the movie, but when we tried to bring them up Rhonda steered us away from them.

Here are the key points about the Law of Attraction that didn't make it into the movie:

Key point #1 is that unless you combine the Law of Attraction with impeccable integrity, you can attract a peck of troubles along with anything positive that comes your way. The Law of Attraction is very powerful, and if you don't speak honestly and keep your promises while you're practicing it, you can actually cause yourself harm through the use of its techniques. That's why Kathlyn and I, in teaching seminars on the Law of Attraction for thirty years, teach a system that combines techniques of manifestation with a dedication to the practice of integrity.

Key point #2: Using the Law of Attraction is a quick way to trigger your Upper Limit Problem, an issue I describe in detail in my new book, The Big Leap. The Upper Limit Problem is the tendency to sabotage yourself when you experience a rapid upsurge in success. If you haven't built a solid foundation of integrity under you, a rapid upturn in your fortunes can bring forth old self-esteem issues that cause you to bring yourself back down to your more familiar lower level of success. The current lawsuit is a classic example of an Upper Limit Problem. Unfortunately, as I point out in The Big Leap, we humans often don't realize we're in the midst of our own Upper Limit Problem because we're too busy blaming the problem on someone else. Then, when lawyers and dollar signs enter the picture, blame usually escalates into expensive pandemonium.

After the interviews, we didn't hear anything from Rhonda for a while. I began to grow more and more concerned that The Secret was not going to give "air-time" to concepts such as integrity, honesty and the keeping of agreements. Then, we heard that Esther and Jerry Hicks, two people of high integrity whom I admire very much, decided to pull out of the project. At that point Kathlyn and I lost interest in the project and began a two-year process of trying to get our footage back. The good news is that a few months ago we succeeded in getting the footage back and have plans to make it available to everyone who wants to get a more thorough understanding of the Law of Attraction. If you would like to see the footage when it's available, let us know at

In the meantime, let's all use the legal dramas around The Secret as a good lesson on using the Law of Attraction in the context of a focus on impeccable integrity.



"Vandana Shiva is a physicist, environmental activist, eco feminist and author of several books. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, is author of over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Shiva participated in the nonviolent Chipko movement during the 1970s. The movement, whose main participants were women, adopted the tactic of hugging trees to prevent their felling. She is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization, (along with Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith, Ralph Nader, Jeremy Rifkin, et al.), and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her interview in the book Vedic Ecology (by Ranchor Prime) that draws upon India's Vedic heritage."

- Taken from this Wikipedia entry about her. Much more about her through this LINK


Vandana Shiva on Gandhi for Today’s World

by David Barsamian and Vandana Shiva

Some say terrorism makes Gandhi irrelevant. Vandana Shiva, farmer, seed saver, and global justice activist, says we need him more than ever.

Gandhi’s three pillars of freedom are now the key to our survival

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She spoke in New Delhi with David Barsamian, founder of Alternative Radio, during his December 2008 trip to India and Pakistan. Here are her thoughts on why Gandhi’s philosophy is still relevant—even in a world where terrorism is on the rise.

Vandana Shiva addresses protesters at the mass civil disobedience at the coal-fired Capitol Power Plant in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2009. Photo by Franziska Seel

David: In the wake of the attacks on Mumbai in late November 2008, there was a piece in the Sunday Express, “The Irony Gandhiism Presents in Today’s Terror-Infested India.” The writer said, “It’s time the government became doubly stern about its steps to combat terrorism. India may be the land of Mahatma Gandhi, but today’s situation warrants crude and cunning ways to counter extremism. That alone can ensure peace, harmony, and joy in the country.”

Vandana: Unfortunately, “crude” means of dealing with violence and terror just breed more violence and terror. As we saw after 9/11, the war on terror has created more terrorists. I think anyone who says that Gandhi is irrelevant in today’s world doesn’t understand either terrorism, its roots, or Gandhi. Suicide bombers don’t get created out of the blue; they are created as a result of decisions, systems, and processes.

It’s very much like weeds in a field. One way to control weeds is by spraying Round-Up, but then you get Round-Up-resistant weeds, which are even stronger than the original weeds. That’s what is happening with terrorism.

Or you can do mixed cultivation, where the partnership among the plants controls the weeds by managing the sun in the right way, the moisture in the right way. Organic weed control is totally successful without using violence. The same happens in terrorism. We need to build the levels and kinds of relationships that allow communities to feel as one.

If you want to go beyond the symptoms, and you want to get to the roots, then you have to understand the patterns. The patterns are telling us that every kind of diversity is a potential source of conflict. How come?

If we’re going to live in a world beyond the financial crisis, we’d better start making things for ourselves, growing our food, making our homes, creating our education and health systems.

First, globalization has robbed people of their resources. Land has been enclosed, land has been taken over. You suddenly see conflicts between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, again linked to the way resource changes are taking place. In Kenya, ethnic conflicts took place after the elections. Before that, land use had changed to grow flowers and fruits and vegetables for export to the European markets.

The second issue is shrinking livelihoods, because that’s what globalization does when combined with electoral privilege. There are few sources of livelihoods, and these will be allocated based on which party gets into power and is able to offer privileges to their particular caste, religion, or ethnicity. That’s where violence is growing—that’s where terror is growing. We have to start sharing the resources of this Earth in more equitable ways, using it in more sustainable ways, and, most importantly, maximizing livelihoods in the economy rather than maximizing profits and GNP.

David: Explain about the Gujjars in Rajasthan.

Vandana: The Gujjars are a pastoral tribe in Rajasthan. Over the last few years, as part of globalization, the pastures have been enclosed. This land makes up about 70 percent of Rajasthan, which is a desert state where only about 30 percent is used for agriculture. The Rajasthan government passed a law making the pastures available to grow jatropha, a biofuel crop used for cars. As a result, the pastoral economy has absolutely gone. The Gujjars have lost their livelihood base. They came out in a very, very strong way, and they blocked the rails and roads of India for about two months. Parts of the country could not function, and the government was brought to its knees. All they were seeking was a few jobs, because they’ve lost their livelihoods in grazing.

Many of India’s districts are in revolt. Some of them are very organized. One-third of India is now under Naxalite [Maoist] control. These are largely the tribal districts and the districts where the largest amount of mining and industry is taking away forests and land from the tribals. Under the 73rd and 74th amendments of our Constitution, the tribals have a right to decide what happens with their land and resources. In the 1990s, the communities would decide not to allow these factories and mines, but their decision was not obeyed. Under the Constitution their decision was higher than the decision of the prime minister of this country. So the Constitution was violated to impose on the communities the factories, plants, and mines. When the people realized democracy was not working, they took to the gun.

My hope is that the revolt will be based on Gandhian principles and will demonstrate how we can continue to be a society based on nonviolence.

David: In your publication “The Seed and the Spinning Wheel” you say, “Gandhi lives as a perennial source of inspiration and political innovation to defend our freedoms.” Talk about Gandhi and his influence on you.

Vandana: The Gandhian influence, of course, has been an influence for every Indian. My parents were very active in the freedom movement, so Gandhi was a background influence, but not an influence guiding everyday action. That really was propelled by my waking up to the fact that a new world trading system was being shaped.

As I sat through a conference on biotechnology in Geneva in 1987 listening to the corporate agenda, it became clear to me that it was an agenda of total control. The farmers would depend on these companies for their seed supply. They would have to pay royalties to corporations like Monsanto for every seed they plant, in every season. Human beings would have no choice but to eat the food they brought us, with no way to choose an alternative. We have to do something that prevents this totalitarian future from becoming inevitable.

We just have to start sharing the resources of this Earth in more equitable ways, using it in more sustainable ways, and, most importantly, maximizing livelihoods in the economy rather than maximizing profits and GNP.

I thought of Gandhi pulling out the spinning wheel at a time that spinning wheels weren’t being used anymore because the British textile industry had absolutely wiped out Indian spinning and weaving. And I thought, what is today’s spinning wheel? Today’s industry is biotechnology: it’s controlling all life on Earth. Seed, therefore, quite clearly, has to be today’s spinning wheel. So I started to save seed—in a way, spinning our freedom for today.

But there are other elements of Gandhi’s work/life concepts that have very much shaped the struggles that have defended the freedom of farmers and freedom of food in India. The idea of swaraj, for instance. Swa means self, raj means to rule. Gandhi meant that every Indian is a free citizen, self-organizing, self-governing with a full sense of responsibility that comes from being part of a community, part of a country, part of the planet.

That concept of self-organizing is what we have used to build huge movements. Our movement for seed sovereignty is based on the concept of bija swaraj. Bija is seed, swaraj is self-governance. We’ve had actions where we’ve told the government, we’ve told the WTO, we’ve told the corporations that pirate our seeds that they don’t decide what happens to our biodiversity. We decide, because we are self-governing communities.

We’ve done that with water. New Delhi’s water was being privatized through the World Bank to Suez, the world’s biggest water multinational. We used the concept of jal swaraj, water freedom, to mobilize a movement for water democracy, and we succeeded in stopping this privatization.

But I think the highest concept that Gandhi has left us is satyagraha, the fight for truth, which is translated into civil disobedience. In his writings he says very clearly, “As long as the assumption is there that unjust law must be obeyed, so long will slavery exist.” It is the highest moral duty for justice to have the courage to say no to unjust law. That’s what Martin Luther King did. That’s what Gandhi did.

So how did we get to a place where a total financial scam around housing has brought the entire world economy down? Something is seriously wrong, and the only way we can get out of it is swadeshi, swaraj, and satyagraha. These are the three pillars of survival and these are the three pillars of freedom.

David: What does swadeshi mean?

Vandana: Swadeshi means self-making. In the name of progress, in the name of development, we have been made to walk down the road of depending. Today all of America depends on something made in a factory somewhere in China. That kind of economy prevents everyone from making what they could make. And you lose quality, because self-making builds in caring. Self-making goes with wanting to put out the ultimate quality. Just as much as when you cook your own food, you will make sure you cook a good dish. Sacrifice quality, and cheap becomes the label for humanity’s existence.

If we’re going to live in a world beyond the financial crisis, we’d better start doing things for ourselves, making things for ourselves, growing our food, making our homes, creating our education and health systems. Putting pressure on the state is fine, but ultimately I believe we need to go beyond the centralized state and centralized corporate control. We need to go into decentralized communities that reclaim the capacity to make. And that is swadeshi.

David: A couple of other terms that are associated with Gandhi are ahimsa and sarvodaya. What are they?

Vandana: Ahimsa is probably the most powerful word in Gandhi’s philosophy and in the core of Indian civilization. Ahimsa means nonviolence in the deepest form: doing no harm to any species, doing no harm to anyone, and doing no harm in thought and action. Gandhi said what you must challenge is the violent act, not the person. Always have love for the other person, and through that, practice compassionate nonviolence.

Sarvodaya means lifting up everyone. Gandhi had many, many clashes with other leaders of the Congress Party who wanted an India that would look like the West. But Gandhi knew that an India that looks like the West is for a tiny percentage of India. An India that’s for all, that is for the rising of all, must be based on the indigenous traditions, the indigenous possibilities, and must be ecological by its very nature, because wasteful development would rob a large part of India.

David: Gandhi appears on rupee notes, something that might have embarrassed him. There is hardly a town or city in this country that doesn’t have a statue of the Mahatma. But in terms of his relevance, when you travel around and talk to people, is the Gandhian philosophy still living or is it more of a memory?

Vandana: Gandhi is very alive in this country. The superficial display of consumerism might make it look like something else has replaced the Gandhian ideal of equality, justice, and dignity in work. If you’re at the Hyderabad Airport, you would never imagine Gandhi is relevant today, because they think they’re Americans now, and they serve you a coffee for 250 rupees.

I was in Gulbarga with farmers talking about the way out of the agrarian crisis. And, of course, I was sharing with this group of 1,500 farmers how the farmer suicides that are an epidemic in this country are unnecessary.

The wonderful thing was that the organization that was hosting it is based on an ancient, 800-year-old tradition called the Basava tradition. Basava was a royal who gave up the palace and based his entire philosophy on two core concepts: the dignity of labor and sharing your wealth.

Again and again on that platform, Gandhi’s teachings and Basava’s teachings were matched together as one teaching—a teaching for a socialism that will always be relevant, as long as human society exists.

David: You hosted a conference at the India International Center in early December. I was interested in a couple of things you said about India having a “violent economy.” Then you added, “farmer suicides are like terror attacks.”

Vandana: I think what we are witnessing in India is really warfare against the poor. It’s warfare against the poor because people are literally dying. More than 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last decade of neoliberal agriculture policies—policies that tell you that agriculture is not about feeding people, agriculture is not about the livelihood of two-thirds of India’s population; agriculture is about producing cheap commodities for exports. And simultaneously, a total contradiction, that agriculture is about a consumer market for inputs. It’s an impossible equation, that you keep spending 10 times more for your seeds and your chemicals, and you keep getting less and less and less for what you produce. It does mean farmers will be wiped out. They get into debt and they’re committing suicide.

David: The cover of the latest issue of Bija says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Did Gandhi say that?

Vandana: Yes, I think it’s so powerful. I believe that so many of us wait for that perfect moment for a system change, at a system level. Yes, systems are wrong, but systems change doesn’t happen at a system level; it happens by enough people making change that they want to see. And that’s why, when I started Navdanya [an organization working to rejuvenate indigenous knowledge and culture], I didn’t wait for government policies to change. And at every point that government is obstinate and pro-Monsanto, we just keep doing what we feel is the right thing.

I have just come back from Kerala, where I’ve been advising the government there. They have a very progressive chief minister, V. S. Achuthanandan. He believes in people’s rights and a communitarian society. I had proposed an idea last year that Kerala is so rich in food traditions, in health traditions, that we should do a festival of food. And they did. And we did seminars. And he and I were there to open the festival called Onam. It happened in one place. Now three other states want to do it. That’s how we make change.


David Barsamian’s interview with Vandana Shiva is part of The New Economy, the Summer 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, scholar, political activist, and feminist, and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. She is also director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. Author of many books, her latest are Earth Democracy and Soil Not Oil.

Since 1986, David Barsamian’s Alternative Radio has provided information, analysis, and views that are ignored or distorted in other media. This article comes from a longer interview, available at


Read an excerpt from Vandana Shiva’s latest book, Soil Not Oil.


Related article:

Excerpt: Soil Not Oil
(...) Industrial agriculture is dependent on chemical fertilizers. Chemically fertilized soils are low in organic matter. Organic matter helps conserve the soil and soil moisture, providing insurance against drought. Soils lacking organic matter are more vulnerable to drought and to climate change. Industrial agriculture is also more dependent on intensive irrigation. Since climate change is leading to the melting of glaciers that feed rivers, and in many regions of the world to the decline in precipitation and increased intensity of drought, the vulnerability of industrial agriculture will only increase. Finally, since the globalized food system is based on long-distance supply chains, it is vulnerable to breakdown in the context of extreme events of flooding, cyclones, and hurricanes. While aggravating climate change, fossil fuel-dependent industrialized, globalized agriculture is least able to adapt to the change.We need an alternative. Biodiverse, organic farms and localized food systems offer us security in times of climate insecurity, while producing more food, producing better food, and creating more livelihoods. The industrialized, globalized food system is based on oil; biodiverse, organic, and local food systems are based on living soil. The industrialized system is based on creating waste and pollution; a living agriculture is based on no waste. The industrialized system is based on monocultures; sustainable systems are based on diversity. Every step in building a living agriculture sustained by a living soil is a step toward both mitigating and adapting to climate change. Over the past 20 years, I have built Navdanya, India's biodiversity and organic-farming movement. We are increasingly realizing there is a convergence between the objectives of conserving biodiversity, reducing climate-change impact, and alleviating poverty. Biodiverse, local, organic systems reduce water use and risks of crop failure due to climate change. Increasing the biodiversity of farming systems can reduce vulnerability to drought. Millet, which is far more nutritious than rice and wheat, uses only 200 to 300 millimeters of water, compared with the 2,500 millimeters needed for Green Revolution rice farming. India could grow four times the amount food it does now if it were to cultivate millet more widely. However, global trade is pushing agriculture toward GM monocultures of corn, soy, canola, and cotton, worsening the climate crisis. CLIP


Number of cigarettes consumed in the United States in 1997: 480.5 billion
Number of cigarettes consumed in the United States in 2007: 360.5 billion
Percentage of worldwide litter made up by cigarette butts: 28
Hours it takes two cigarette butts to kill 100% of the microorganisms in one liter of fresh water: 48

- Taken from The Page That Counts in the Summer issue of Yes Magazine - Get your free trial issue! More on this problem through Cigarette Butts as Litter - Toxic as Well as Ugly?




Shoppers, Unite! Carrotmobs Are Cooler than Boycotts

By JEREMY CAPLAN -- May. 15, 2009

Forget sticks, and stick with carrots instead. So says Brent Schulkin, founder of a fledgling movement of activist consumers employing a kind of reverse boycott that he calls a Carrotmob. The concept is simple: instead of steering clear of environmentally backward stores, why not reward businesses with mass purchases if they promise to use some of the money to get greener?

"Traditional activism revolves around conflict," says Schulkin, 28, a San Francisco–based activist turned entrepreneur. "Boycotting, protesting, lawsuits — it's about going into attack mode," says the former Googler and onetime game developer. "What's unique about a Carrotmob is that there are no enemies." The focus is on positive cooperation, using the power of the casual consumer to help save the planet.

The movement was born on March 29, 2008, when hundreds of green-minded patrons poured into a San Francisco convenience store after Schulkin solicited bids from 23 stores in the area to find the business that would promise to spend the highest percentage of Carrotmob profits on more energy-efficient lighting. The crowd spent more than $9,200 at the K&D Market, which then fulfilled its pledge to plow 22% of the day's revenue into greener lighting — with the haul from the Carrotmob providing enough cash to make all the improvements recommended by an energy auditor (and Carrotmob supporter).

Since then, Carrotmobs have branched out to 10 other U.S. cities — with offshoots in Finland and France — and this summer will be expanding into Philadelphia, where hundreds of consumer activists are gathering today to discuss ethos and strategy. Organizer Tony Montagnaro, 19, a sophomore at Rutgers, has been lugging 50-lb. bags of carrots across Philadelphia's college campuses, handing out thousands of carrots labeled with his blog address to spread the word about Carrotmobbing. The New Jersey student and part-time pizza chef says his carrot-toting antics are inspired by Schulkin's manifesto/music-video mash-up. But the biggest surprise to Montagnaro — who says he plans to start aiming Carrotmobs at small stores in the center of Philadelphia — is how quickly older people grasp the concept. "Someone 65 or 70 often gets this right away," he says. "People my age can be slower."

The reverse boycott is perfect for the growing cadre of slactivists — slackers who care just enough about causes to sign online petitions and join Facebook protest pages but lack the time, money or drive to do much else.

Carrotmobs also carry extra appeal during tough economic times. Participants don't have to donate anything. They just shop for products they were planning to buy anyway, adjusting the time and place of purchase. By doing so, they help green a local business.

So what's next for Carrotmobbers? In addition to Montagnaro's plans for Philadelphia, activists in Hoboken, N.J., Kansas City, Mo., and elsewhere are gathering forces through Facebook, Twitter and the main hub.

Meanwhile, Schulkin is focusing on a for-profit Carrotmob spinoff called Virgance, which starts up and acquires small organizations that offer collaborative market solutions to social and environmental challenges. One of the first fruits of the effort is 1BOG, a community-based program that organizes residents locally to negotiate group discounts from companies that install solar-energy panels. Says Schulkin: "What's good for activism is also good for business." Carrots are looking greener every day.



Forwarded by Ed Pearson (


The Breathtaking Effects Of Cutting Back On Meat

Kathy Freston -- April 1, 2009

I've written extensively on the consequences of eating meat - on our health, our sense of "right living", and on the environment. It is one of those daily practices that has such a broad and deep effect that I think it merits looking at over and over again, from all the different perspectives. Sometimes, solutions to the world's biggest problems are right in front of us. The following statistics are eye-opening, to say the least.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

- 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;

- 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;

- 70 million gallons of gas--enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;

- 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;

- 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

- Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;

- 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;

- 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;

- Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

My favorite statistic is this: According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. See how easy it is to make an impact?

Other points:

Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes in his new book, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day--that's twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn't even include the 225 million tons of soy that are produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, "The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we--the relatively affluent--have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly."

A recent United Nations report titled Livestock's Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's transportation systems--that's all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level--local and global.

Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against global warming than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid.

In its report, the U.N. found that the meat industry causes local and global environmental problems even beyond global warming. It said that the meat industry should be a main focus in every discussion of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortages and pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Unattributed statistics were calculated from scientific reports by Noam Mohr, a physicist with the New York University Polytechnic Institute.




Livestock a major threat to environment

Remedies urgently needed

29 November 2006, Rome - Which causes more greenhouse gas emissions, rearing cattle or driving cars?


According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

Says Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of the report: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.

Long shadow

The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40 percent to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.

But such rapid growth exacts a steep environmental price, according to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow –Environmental Issues and Options. “The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level,” it warns.

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

And it accounts for respectively 37 percent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

Land and water

At the same time herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 percent of pastures considered as degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution, euthropication and the degeneration of coral reefs. The major polluting agents are animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops. Widespread overgrazing disturbs water cycles, reducing replenishment of above and below ground water resources. Significant amounts of water are withdrawn for the production of feed.

Livestock are estimated to be the main inland source of phosphorous and nitrogen contamination of the South China Sea, contributing to biodiversity loss in marine ecosystems.

Meat and dairy animals now account for about 20 percent of all terrestrial animal biomass. Livestock’s presence in vast tracts of land and its demand for feed crops also contribute to biodiversity loss; 15 out of 24 important ecosystem services are assessed as in decline, with livestock identified as a culprit.


The report, which was produced with the support of the multi-institutional Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative, proposes explicitly to consider these environmental costs and suggests a number of ways of remedying the situation, including:

Land degradation – controlling access and removing obstacles to mobility on common pastures. Use of soil conservation methods and silvopastoralism, together with controlled livestock exclusion from sensitive areas; payment schemes for environmental services in livestock-based land use to help reduce and reverse land degradation.

Atmosphere and climate – increasing the efficiency of livestock production and feed crop agriculture. Improving animals’ diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, and setting up biogas plant initiatives to recycle manure.

Water – improving the efficiency of irrigation systems. Introducing full-cost pricing for water together with taxes to discourage large-scale livestock concentration close to cities.

These and related questions are the focus of discussions between FAO and its partners meeting to chart the way forward for livestock production at global consultations in Bangkok this week. These discussions also include the substantial public health risks related to the rapid livestock sector growth as, increasingly, animal diseases also affect humans; rapid livestock sector growth can also lead to the exclusion of smallholders from growing markets.


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