Under "New" Management Series #3: Putting Lipstick on a Pig?
If you can watch the May 21 episode of the Daily Show with John Stewart, you'll see a compelling comparison between excerpts from Barack Obama's speech in the grand rotunda of the National Archives this May 20 and previous speeches by George W Bush, illustrating the fact Obama is using the almost same rhetoric as Bush - which is nauseating to watch! - followed by Darth Cheney making his case for the nth time (which even more nauseating to watch!) that no other 9/11 attack occurred under his watch because they were tough with so-called "terrorists" (read "they tortured, killed and maimed as many innocent patsies as they could to terrorize the whole world into submission to their imperialistic agenda"). Duh! Of course! He was part of the Cabal which orchestrated this whole false flag attack in the first place!
Now new scientific evidence has come to the surface that conclusively demonstrates that the 2 towers and the Building 7 that mysteriously collapsed in 6.4 seconds several hours after the planes hit the other World Trade Center buildings were deliberately demolished using several tons of nano-thermite to melt the metallic structure of the towers, to weaken them, and them successively blow up each story as in any controlled demolition. Please take 10 minute to watch the following video of a mainstream news report on Danish TV last April 14 revealing the result of 18 months of scientific investigation by a team of 9 scientists into this monstrous act of deception and mass-murder...
...and check Nano-thermite Behind Collapse of WTC Buildings - "He says that they found such large quantities of nano-thermite in the dust from the WTC, that he believes that this product, which has the ability to melt metal, as well as break things apart, must have been brought into the WTC site in tonnes, on pallets."
To read their whole scientific paper, check Explosives Found in World Trade Center Dust. Here is a brief excerpt: "The implications of the discovery of unspent aluminothermic explosives and matching residues in World Trade Center dust are staggering. There is no conceivable reason for there to have been tons of high explosives in the Towers except to demolish them, and demolition is blatantly incompatible with the official 9/11 narrative that the skyscrapers collapsed as a result of the jetliner impacts and fires. The discovery of active thermitic materials adds to a vast body of evidence that the total destruction of the Towers were controlled demolitions, and to the subset of that evidence indicating the use of aluminothermic materials to implement those demolitions. That discovery also undermines the oft-heard claim that no explosives residues were found, a claim that was never compelling, given the apparent lack of evidence that any official agency looked for evidence of explosive residues of any kind. Worse, the public record shows that NIST not only failed to look for such evidence, it repeatedly evaded requests by scientists and researchers to examine numerous facts indicating explosives and incendiaries."
There cannot be more damning evidence than this that criminal activities at the highest levels of the US government and intelligence apparatus are fully responsible for the death of over 3000 people on September 11, 2001 and of the millions of people that were killed afterwards in Afghanistan and Iraq - not to mention the tens of millions of people who will die because of the hundreds of tons of pulverized depleted uranium released during military "operations" in those 2 countries, this DU dust now spreading around the world and contaminating the whole planet.
I also recommend you check Wake Up and Smell the Aluminothermic Nanocomposite Explosives detailing the extensive cover up that to this day perpetuates the whole 9/11 charade that even Barack Obama is using, albeit in a more subtle manner than the Bush/Cheney war criminals, to justify the continuation of the imperialistic policies of the Bush era.
The world public opinion backlash against him will be terrible if he continues in Bush's tracks and once people realize that, once again, another politician had turned his back on them to instead serve and protect the interest of a Dark Cabal of Bilderberg conspirators still attempting to impose their will upon all of humanity.
This Beast Shall Not Pass!
Some are already vigorously working the media to wake up people to what has been and is still going on... I recommend you watch...
... who is as outspoken as usual in the stand he makes.
Despite the legitimate desire of most people to turn the page on the dark era we just went through and hope for a better, greener and more peaceful world, there are still lots of unfinished businesses and hard facts that cannot be brushed aside, but which need to be dealt with in a peaceful, spiritually centered and yet forceful manner, and Barack Obama cannot be left alone to deal with the whole mess he has inherited or he could be swallowed by it and rendered powerless to effect any real, deep sustained change.
And that's just for a starter as there are many other issues - like the wholesale electromagnetic pollution of the environment most people live in, a growing crisis which is also tackled below - that concurrently required enlightened mitigating and healing action on our part to clear the air from the bad stuff that still haunts us while we keep our eyes firmly on the bright future we know we can and we will co-manifest.
Please network and give us all your thoughts and feedback on the issues raised in this compilation.
P.S. To understand what "Putting Lipstick on a Pig" means go HERE.
Also a GOOD NEWS for all Spanish speaking subscribers, Gabriel Garcia Rojas has offered to translate in Spanish the summary part of each new Meditation Focus. So I recommend to your attention Enfoque de Meditaciòn No.199Preparando la Tierra para Asenciòn archived at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/FocusArchives/Spanish/MeditacionFocal199.htm - please help to network this Spanish material to your Spanish contacts or ask Ricardo Ocampo firstname.lastname@example.org"> to be added to his extensive Spanish list as he is already networking this new Spanish version of the Meditation Focuses across Latin American and in Spain. If you wish to review the English version - Meditation Focus #199: Preparing the Ground for Ascension - valid for 3 more weeks it is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/FocusArchives/MeditationFocus199.htm
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"When we discuss our purpose in life, the ego always drifts toward the question of what we should be doing. What we are discussing has nothing to with any particular mode of doing. There is a different and deeper level of purpose. It has to do with how our talents are connected to the road Home. There is a way in which our gifts relate to the path back to God. Each of us has a gift. We all have access to Light. Even though our deepest longing is to go Home again, the most profound longing we can have in relationship to our
destiny on this earth is to find the particular way this Light was left within us." We long to exude something delicate and rich about ourselves which whispers of infinite Truth. To set a goal of dislodging the blocks that hold our talents back is the only worthwhile goal we can pursue. When we discover our gift then we can only share it. It cannot be given away too much. It can only be shared. It cannot be held on to. I am referring to something very delicate which has to do with the particular way our humanity and our Divinity meet. In this sense, it has nothing to do with career, which for all of us is linked to success and failure. The gift of which I speak is beyond such concepts. It has nothing to do with "making it" in the traditional sense. It has nothing to do with the way others look at us and say, "You have succeeded." It has to do with the simple ways in which we help ourselves and other people to feel better and to inspire them to move ahead. Steps can be taken to surrender to our talent. We can take little steps. We can take this journey a piece at a time. When we have fully surrendered to our talent, the details make no difference. It moves along because we have surrendered to the way in which Divinity has left something of Itself in our heart. Therefore, we can trust the gift completely. I recognize with unutterable certainty that there isn't a human being on this earth, who doesn't have access to a gift which is the reflection, in their own unique way, of the divine impulse as it seeks to enter into the human form. Part of the depth of this work is that it asks people to honor that gift in its multiplicity of forms, including the possibility that we have misrepresented our gift to ourselves and called it some weakness or shortcoming or drawback."
"I asked Mr Yamaguchi if he felt optimistic about the future. He hesitated, then said: I have hope for the future. Where did that hope come from? I believe in love, in human beings, he said, and he was weeping again. The reason that I hate the atomic bomb is because of what it does to the dignity of human beings. Look at the photographs of the aftermath of the atomic bombing, those dead bodies in the photographs. When you forget the dignity of individual human beings, that it is when you are heading towards the destruction of the earth. What did it mean, I asked, to have lived through two atomic bombs? I think that it is a miracle, he said. But, having been granted this miracle, it is my responsibility to pass on the truth to the people of the world. For the past 60 years, atomic bomb survivors have declared the horror of the atomic bomb, but I can see hardly any improvement in the situation. Towards the end of our long conversation, Mr Yamaguchi wept repeatedly. It was the week of the United Nations conference on non-proliferation Treaty. The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had travelled to New York to make an appeal for disarmament on behalf of the survivors of the atomic bomb. But the meeting had ended in failure, and Mr Yamaguchi was taking it hard."
- Taken from The Luckiest or Unluckiest Man in the World? Tsutomu Yamaguchi, double A-bomb victim (March 25, 2009) - Both an amazing and horrifying story which everyone should read! Did you know that current global fissile material stocks are enough for 160,000 atomic bombs?... As explained in Obama's word breaks ice in Geneva arms talks, "When mere kilograms (pounds) can make a bomb, as much as 2,500 metric tons of the stuff up to 2,000 tons of highly enriched uranium and 500 tons of plutonium sit in deployed or disused warheads and in more surprising places worldwide. (...) Some 14,000 plutonium weapon cores sit in storage outside Amarillo, Texas. Hundreds of tons of bomb-grade uranium are stashed elsewhere in the U.S. and Russia awaiting "blenddown" to less lethal grades." ... Astounding, isn't it?
"The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation. Permanent war extinguishes liberal, democratic movements. It turns culture into nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy. (...) In "Pentagon Capitalism" Seymour Melman described the defense industry as viral. Defense and military industries in permanent war, he wrote, trash economies. They are able to upend priorities. They redirect government expenditures toward their huge military projects and starve domestic investment in the name of national security. We produce sophisticated fighter jets, while Boeing is unable to finish its new commercial plane on schedule. Our automotive industry goes bankrupt. We sink money into research and development of weapons systems and neglect renewable energy technologies to fight global warming. Universities are flooded with defense-related cash and grants, and struggle to find money for environmental studies. This is the disease of permanent war. Massive military spending in this country, climbing to nearly $1 trillion a year and consuming half of all discretionary spending, has a profound social cost. Bridges and levees collapse. Schools decay. Domestic manufacturing declines. Trillions in debts threaten the viability of the currency and the economy. The poor, the mentally ill, the sick and the unemployed are abandoned. Human suffering, including our own, is the price for victory. Citizens in a state of permanent war are bombarded with the insidious militarized language of power, fear and strength that mask an increasingly brittle reality. The corporations behind the doctrine of permanent war-who have corrupted Leon Trotsky's doctrine of permanent revolution-must keep us afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear means that we will be willing to give up our rights and liberties for security. Fear keeps us penned in like domesticated animals."
1. The Truth About Arlen Specter
2. New 'prisoner abuse' photographs emerge despite US bid to block publication
3. Obama Thug Squad Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo
4. Obamas Animal Farm: Bigger, Bloodier Wars Equal Peace and Justice
5. Will They Hate Us for the Secret Photographs?
6. We tortured to justify war
7. Who Runs America? - The Impotent President
8. Candidate Obama versus President Obama
9. Obama courts Israel with pact against Tehran
10. Watching Obama Morph Into Dick Cheney
11. Why Do Afghans Have a Life Expectancy of Only 44 Years?
12. Criminalizing Criticism of Israel
13. Obama opens new front in climate change battle
14. Microwave And Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure: A Growing Environmental Health Crisis?
15. Connecticut Governor proclaims May 2009 as Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) Awareness Month
16. Electromagnetic fields: Second-hand exposure to wireless technologies
17. Malaysia's Government Censors Internet Criticism of Global Rainforest for Oil Palm Land Grab
18. Recalculating Happiness in a Himalayan Kingdom
19. Sexual Energy
20. The Prayer of the Body: Compassionate Self-Care and Reclaiming the Sacred Presence
Embed the LIVEH2O.tv player's HTML script immediately into every website you can to spread the LIVEH2O.tv NETWORK. Our goals is 1440 players installed globally within the next 4 weeks.
Reaching young people is VITAL to humanity's survival at this urgent time in history. We too need more help in doing this.
URGENTLY NOTICED: There is a great probability "the culprits" have loosed their laboratory created recombinants of swine, avian and Spanish flu. The concoction, spread clearly by Baxter Pharmaceuticals with the aid of WHO and CDC, have even told the world to expect the current "swine flu" pandemic to become more virulent by flu season. I have been tracking this intelligence for many years.
The miracle we need to evolve beyond this global genocide is upon us in Spiritual Renaissance. The "Plan" of LIVE H2O intimately engages this, and fulfills much prophesy, especially Revelation 13 and 14, as well as native/aboriginal prophesies provided by elders and holy persons worldwide.
Every person who is "conscious" knows this is happening, and making provisions for this forthcoming 42 month test and transition into the Age of Peace. The test shall begin when we join humanity's heart with LOVE on June 21, 2009 during the global prayer, chant, drumming, and harp player. Please, please, please . . . as world peace leaders, spread the word about this great LIVE H2O service. Do this QUICKLY! Reach out to every friend and activist on your mailing list.. . . Spread the word.
With much LOVE in appreciation for all you are doing,
Executive Producer, LIVE H2O
Water Woodstock for Peace, Health & Sustainability
Laguna Beach, CA If the whole world is a stage, then this summer LIVEH2O will offer a global performance. It is being called a high tech Woodstock. The Concert for the Living Water, advanced by activists worldwide, is designed to promote peace, health and plenty of clean water.
LIVE H2O is being hosted in more than a dozen countries simultaneously from Japan to Jerusalem, June 19-21, 2009. It is historys first grassroots organized environmental initiative engaging audiences interactively over the Internet in HD video to raise awareness about the Universal Solvent. LIVEH2O.org has created LIVEH2O.tv for people everywhere to participate online.
Southern California alone is advancing four venues to accommodate the rising tide of celebrites and Grammy Award winners volunteering to perform during the 72-hour broadcast. Ten broadcasting channels initially planned have been doubled this week to support the international demand for LIVEH2O.tv programming.
LIVE H2O is where science meets consciousness, explains Sheri Thomas, a Los Angeles marketing executive. The plan includes a vibrational experiment using music, water, and positive intention.
The science portion is advanced by world leading experts in physics, metaphysics, and musical mathematics. This team is led by internationally known public health authority, Dr. Leonard Horowitz, who conceived the event. The advisors encourage music to be performed in the frequency of 528 Hz, most closely related to LOVE. Equipment will be positioned adjacent important bodies of water.
The consciousness portion is the simultaneous accompaniment of music and voice by expressions of gratitude. A world harmonic sound wave is planned to circle the earth over LIVEH2O.tv on Sunday, June 21st. People on and offline will send and receive audio and video streams everywhere for 90 minutes. A sonic hug will be given by people who can't use computers, but have telephones. Their voices will join in teleconference rooms--virtual religious and spiritual sanctuaries--then rebroadcast to join audiences at every venue to create a signal that enters oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams worldwide. This way, everyone gets a chance to musically sprinkle LOVE and thanks to water.
Music industry standards have changed many times over history, including the shifting of musical instrument tunings away from 528 Hz--the C-note used by Gregorian monks. This ancient musical standard will be transferred into modern songs and sent out across the waters as a thoughtful expression of thanks for all that water provides.
This family friendly edutainment experience with musicians, bands, artists, childrens activities, vendors, and speakers promoting waters importance in peace, health, and sustainability will be broadcast for free beginning Friday, June 19th, over the Internet at www.liveh2o.tv - For more information go to http://www.liveh2o.org/
Note from Jean: Make sure to GO at http://www.liveh2o.org (make sure to read it all and explore some of the many videos in the cool panoramic video display) and listen to the main whole video there. Leonard is offering a really FANTASTIC and brightly inspired visionary understanding of what the universal Love frequency is. Then if you want to dig this amazing concept further, watch (again entirely) SYNTHESIZER RE-TUNING TO THE ANCIENT SOLFEGGIO at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZltcnTVlgRw and give a good look at http://web.mac.com/len15/LOVE528/HOME.html and if you are lucky and visit the love channel television at the right time, you'll see a livestream of some amazing musician playing live or you'll view one of Dr. Horowitz's many videos and conferences or some live interview. His vision for this 3-day live event in 9 main venues around the world - more will be added as shown at http://www.liveh2o.org/schedule/ - is to have as many people as possible praying/meditating close to large water bodies (or with in order to set the oceans resonating to the universal 528Hz Love frequency which in turn will have a tremendous positive influence upon all Life on Earth and all soul beings. Please help network this widely in all languages! Be there and be LOVE!
"528Hz is at the heart of everything. It is the difference between making love not war. It is the energy driving universal prosperity; the bioenergy of health and longevity. It is the harmonic vibration of self-esteem or self-love that lifts your heart and Divine voice in harmony with heaven. There is nothing missing or broken in this frequency of divinity. It is the essence of loving perfection. When you are in it, you are in tune with your creative spirit, and everything just flows in perfect rhythm and rhyme. 528 cycles-per-second, math science now proves, is central to the musical mathematical matrix of creation. This LOVE frequency harmonically resonates in your heart connecting your essence to heaven and earth. This frequency, more than any other, epitomizes the unified field of musical metaphysics in the matrix of the spiraling fractal universe."
I also recommend you watch...
DNA Medicine Wheel Sedona - with Medicine Wolf, a friend of Leonard and probably the inspiration behind the Live H2o event (3 min 18 sec) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6nq9YVxDds
Unlike anything in the world... a gift to our Universe and all life. But this little video is my small gift back to Spirit, in return for my wife's life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer... Mayo Clinic and her surgeons insisted her ONLY option was a 12 mastectomy. She listened to Spirit and Knew they were wrong.... they were. From her last mammogram, the MD's are puzzled. She asked them to at least do a biopsy... they now say there is no-thing to biopsy. How did it happen? Does such things as this have Truth deep within a Spiritual Knowing... I Know it to be true.So I pray that humanity will Awaken to a greater Knowing... to a greater Truth... and be that which we truly are.
WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION
Al Gore warns on latest climate trends - MUST WATCH!!! THE GLOBAL WARMING TRAIN WRECK IS ACCELERATING EXPONENTIALLY! You need to see this (7 min 44 sec) http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/lang/eng/al_gore_warns_on_latest_climate_trends.html
At TED2009, Al Gore presents updated slides from around the globe to make the case that worrying climate trends are even worse than scientists predicted, and to make clear his stance on "clean coal."
Adapting to climate change http://www.one.org/international/climate/
Negotiations are taking place on a new Kyoto treaty. The focus of those negotiations has been largely focused on limiting carbon emissions. We need to make sure the agreement also includes funding to help developing countries adapt to climate change. Fill out the form HERE to sign the petition to Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who is chairing the next round of negotiations in June. - "Dear Yvo de Boer, In the negotiations for the Copenhagen Climate Conference, please advocate for sufficient adaptation funding for countries currently suffering from the effects of climate change." - Its crucial polluters, including the US and the EU, reach an agreement with emerging countries, such as China, on carbon emissions. But even if they succeed, climatic changes will increase the occurrence of droughts that jeopardize the food security of millions, and coastal areas will be hit by more storms like Cyclone Nargiswhich left over 100,000 dead last year. Thats why its essential that along with emissions agreements, the countries that have contributed the most to climate change must now contribute to helping the world adapt.
Song For All Mothers - Most inspiring! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv0bLN-DBqc
Recommended by Jaiia Earthschild (firstname.lastname@example.org) who wrote: "Song for all Mothers" which David wrote is dedicated to Susan Haris, beloved mentor of Jaiia. Don Lax joined us on violin and Dr Leisure, AKA George Harker kindly filmed and uploaded the video to youtube in time for Mother's Day. As i have developed a severe sensitivity to EMF's (electromagnetic frequencies)I am currently unable to use a computer or connect to the web without severe and lasting pain, so i have not even seen this video. I just know that David's inspiration and purity of the love from which this song was born has to be a blessing for all our mothers and our Great Earth mother, Universal Mother - however your heart likes to view motherhood, this is one love song to share freely for Mother's Day. Even typing this is difficult for me, so please, if you need to contact Jaiia, call her cell - 808 269 1909 (where you can leave a message) or write a letter! (PO Box 1273, Kula, HI 96790 USA) I have reverted to 20th century slow time communications for now! Anyone who knows how to overcome this EMF thing, I would appreciate any assistance. It all started living in front of a cell phone tower for a year. I strongly advise all of you to NEVER EVER do that!!!! It is incredibly dangerous. Far more than anyone is admitting to anyone. Please feel inspired to share this mother's Day gift song with mothers everywhere!" NOTE from Jean: I've communicated with Jaiia - a long-time ERN subscriber - and sent her lots of relevant info to help her with this. I recommend to your attention Microwave And Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure: A Growing Environmental Health Crisis? below as well as the comprehensive Wikipedia entry on Electromagnetic hypersensitivity at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_sensitivity - Hopefully, if you have been like most cell-phone addicted people simply ignoring, head in the sand, this growing pervading risk most humans now face, you will now start taking this seriously enough to actually do something about it, that is, minimizing as MUCH as possible your exposure to these lethal electromagnetic radiations, and going after your national regulatory authorities with an alarmed and informed resolve to pry them out of the corrupting lobbying influence of the giant cell phone companies and wake them up to their absolute direct responsibility to seriously address this issue and do whatever it takes - AND FAST!!! not in ten years when tens of millions of people will be dead because of cell phone induced brain cancer and hundreds of millions will suffer from the same thing as Jaiia - to significantly turn down the level of electromagnetic radiations all human beings are now being exposed to.
Sri Lanka declares end to war with Tamil Tigers (19 May 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/18/tamil-tigers-killed-sri-lanka
Rebel leader shot dead while fleeing war zone Call for war crimes investigation into civilian deaths -- The Sri Lankan government today formally declared an end to the 25-year civil war after the army took control of the entire island and killed the leader of the Tamil Tigers.Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning delivered a victory address to parliament, declaring that his country had been "liberated" from terrorism.Recounting how the rebels, known formally as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (LTTE) once controlled a wide swathe of the north and much of the east, Rajapaksa said that for the first time in 30 years, the country was unified under its elected government."We have liberated the whole country from LTTE terrorism," he said, declaring Wednesday a national holiday to celebrate the armed forces.Addressing parliament in the Tamil language, Rajapaksa said the war was not waged against the Tamil people."Our intention was to save the Tamil people from the cruel grip of the LTTE. We all must now live as equals in this free country," he said."We must find a homegrown solution to this conflict. That solution should be acceptable to all the communities. We have to find a solution based on the philosophy of Buddhism." (...) In a statement, EU foreign ministers appealed to the Sri Lankan government to let UN aid groups into the country to help provide food and medical care to civilians caught in the fighting and to seek reconciliation with the country's minority Tamil population. Yesterday, Gordon Weiss, a UN spokesman, expressed concern about the fate of up to 80,000 people in the combat zone.A military spokesman said 250 rebels had been killed in the final battle, after 72,000 civilians fled the small war zone over the weekend. According to UN figures, an estimated 7,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed between 20 January, when a military offensive pushed the rebels into a tiny enclave in the north-east, and 7 May. CLIP
US Drone Strike in North Waziristan Kills 40 (May 16, 2009) http://news.antiwar.com/2009/05/16/us-drone-strike-in-north-waziristan-kills-27/
Missiles Attacked Village Religious School -- A US drone fired two missiles at a religious school (madrassa) in Pakistans North Waziristan Agency today, killing at least 40 and wounding an as yet undetermined number of others. Villagers are reportedly still recovering people from the debris of the destroyed school, and several of the wounded are in critical condition, so the final death toll may yet rise. Foreign militants were reportedly among the dead, but officials said it was unclear exactly who was killed in the strike. It is the first US attack since reports emerged last week of a formal drone partnership which gave the Pakistani military significant control over the targets of military drone strikes. Both militaries have since denied the arrangement, and it remains unclear if todays drone strike was conducted by the US military or the CIA.The US attacks on North and South Waziristan have been increasing in intensity and severity since President Obama took office, over the public complaints and private support of the Pakistani government. Pakistan is reportedly planning a massive military offensive against the Waziristan tribes in the next few weeks, which will reportedly involve huge numbers of troops. The Wazir tribesmen have been fleeing to cities in the neighboring North-West Frontier Province in recent days on news of the impending invasion.
200,000 Civilians Trapped in Northern Swat (May 21, 2009) http://news.antiwar.com/2009/05/21/200000-civilians-trapped-in-northern-swat/
Kalam Residents Tried Unsuccessfully to Oust Taliban -- Roughly 200,000 civilians remain trapped in the northern Swat Valley as the bulk of Pakistans military engages in a slow battle further south attempting to unseat the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and assorted other militant factions from control over the region.The situation in the north is increasingly dire, as TTP patrols block the roads into southern Swat. In the town of Kalam, the residents tried unsuccessfully to oust the Taliban from their town, but were eventually forced to accept a cease-fire against the militants. The town of Bahrain reports they are running out of food, and have had no provisions from the government.The only way to escape from the northernmost portions of Swat is through mountain passes, but earlier this week the Pakistani military attacked and killed several civilians trying to leave that way, making the voyage far too dangerous to be attempted.The Pakistani raid on the Swat Valley has displaced roughly 1.5 million civilians, many of whom are living in poorly supplied government run camps. Yet while the government struggles to cope with the civilians who have managed to escape its onslaught, they appear to be content to leave an enormous number of trapped civilians to fend for themselves, even as they plan for more such offensives. CLIP
Pakistan fighting displaces 1.45 million civilians: UN (18 May 2009) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Pakistan/Pakistan-fighting-displaces-145-million-civilians-UN/articleshow/4548485.cms
GENEVA: The UN refugee agency says fighting in Pakistan between the military and Taliban militants has displaced more than 1.45 million people since May 2. UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond says that is in addition to the more than 550,000 people who were displaced earlier by the military offensive in northwest Pakistan, meaning the total is now more than 2 million. He said more people are being uprooted faster in Pakistan than in any other world conflict since the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s. Redmond said Monday that it "has been long time since there has been a displacement this big. It could go back to Rwanda. It's an enormous number of people.'' MUCH more on this crisis through the PBS Frontline coverage on it, including Pakistan Under Siege
Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says (May 17, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/18/world/asia/18nuke.html
WASHINGTON Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistans nuclear program. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the assessment of the expanded arsenal in a one-word answer to a question on Thursday in the midst of lengthy Senate testimony. Sitting beside Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, he was asked whether he had seen evidence of an increase in the size of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.Yes, he said quickly, adding nothing, clearly cognizant of Pakistans sensitivity to any discussion about the countrys nuclear strategy or security.Inside the Obama administration, some officials say, Pakistans drive to spend heavily on new nuclear arms has been a source of growing concern, because the country is producing more nuclear material at a time when Washington is increasingly focused on trying to assure the security of an arsenal of 80 to 100 weapons so that they will never fall into the hands of Islamic insurgents.The administrations effort is complicated by the fact that Pakistan is producing an unknown amount of new bomb-grade uranium and, once a series of new reactors is completed, bomb-grade plutonium for a new generation of weapons. President Obama has called for passage of a treaty that would stop all nations from producing more fissile material the hardest part of making a nuclear weapon but so far has said nothing in public about Pakistans activities.Bruce Riedel, the Brookings Institution scholar who served as the co-author of Mr. Obamas review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, reflected the administrations concern in a recent interview, saying that Pakistan has more terrorists per square mile than anyplace else on earth, and it has a nuclear weapons program that is growing faster than anyplace else on earth. CLIP
US accused of using 'illegal' white phosphorus in chemical attack on Taliban that killed Afghan civilians (10th May 2009) http://www.dailymail.co.uk:80/news/worldnews/article-1180171/US-accused-using-illegal-white-phosphorus-chemical-attack-Taliban-killed-Afghan-civilians.html
The US faced damning claims tonight that it used white phosphorus bombs in a battle with Taliban fighters that resulted in the death of scores of innocent Afghan civilians. Doctors in Afghanistan have found horrific burns on victims of the slaughter a week ago they believe could have been caused by the chemical, which bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to and even penetrate flesh as it burns. Although phosphorus can be used legitimately in battle to light up the night sky, it is illegal to use it as a weapon. CLIP
U.S. Denies Incendiary Weapon Use in Afghanistan (May 15, 2009) http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05/us-incendiary-weapon-in-afghanistan-revealed/
More than a year ago, I came across a curious line item, buried in an an inventory report outlining all of the U.S. Armys equipment in Afghanistan. It was for a bazooka that fired controversial incendiary rockets. At the time, the Army denied using the weapon, which relies on a napalm-like substance that burns skin on contact, and the matter seemed to end there. But I couldnt help thinking about that line item again this week as a new furor has arisen over the use of incendiary weapons in Afghanistan, showing that there is likely to be renewed scrutiny into the weapons held by both sides in the Afghan conflict. When there were allegations that the U.S. used incendiaries against civilians in an air strike on the village of Garni, the Pentagon not only denied the claims but has just declassified documents showing that the Taliban have themselves used white phosphorus bombs. CLIP
The Case of the Missing H-Bomb: The Pentagon Has Lost the Mother of All Weapons (May 16, 2009)!!!!!!! http://www.alternet.org/environment/140060/the_case_of_the_missing_h-bomb:_the_pentagon_has_lost_the_mother_of_all_weapons/?page=entire
60 years have passed since a damaged jet dropped a hydrogen bomb near Savanah, Ga. -- and the Pentagon still can't find it. -- Things go missing. It's to be expected. Even at the Pentagon. Last October, the Pentagon's inspector general reported that the military's accountants had misplaced a destroyer, several tanks and armored personnel carriers, hundreds of machine guns, rounds of ammo, grenade launchers and some surface-to-air missiles. In all, nearly $8 billion in weapons were AWOL. Those anomalies are bad enough. But what's truly chilling is the fact that the Pentagon has lost track of the mother of all weapons, a hydrogen bomb. The thermonuclear weapon, designed to incinerate Moscow, has been sitting somewhere off the coast of Savannah, Georgia for the past 40 years. The Air Force has gone to greater lengths to conceal the mishap than to locate the bomb and secure it. (...)
The B-47 aircraft attempted three times unsuccessfully to land with the weapon. The weapon was then jettisoned visually over water off the mouth of the Savannah River. No detonation was observed." Soon search and rescue teams were sent to the site. Warsaw Sound was mysteriously cordoned off by Air Force troops. For six weeks, the Air Force looked for the bomb without success. Underwater divers scoured the depths, troops tromped through nearby salt marshes, and a blimp hovered over the area attempting to spot a hole or crater in the beach or swamp. Then just a month later, the search was abruptly halted. The Air Force sent its forces to Florence, South Carolina, where another H-bomb had been accidentally dropped by a B-47. The bomb's 200 pounds of TNT exploded on impact, sending radioactive debris across the landscape. The explosion caused extensive property damage and several injuries on the ground. Fortunately, the nuke itself didn't detonate. The search teams never returned to Tybee Island, and the affair of the missing H-bomb was discreetly covered up. The end of the search was noted in a partially declassified memo from the Pentagon to the AEC, in which the Air Force politely requested a new H-bomb to replace the one it had lost. "The search for this weapon was discontinued on 4-16-58 and the weapon is considered irretrievably lost. It is requested that one [phrase redacted] weapon be made available for release to the DOD as a replacement." There was a big problem, of course, and the Pentagon knew it. In the first three months of 1958 alone, the Air Force had four major accidents involving H-bombs. (Since 1945, the United States has lost 11 nuclear weapons.)
(...) Recently declassified documents show that the jettisoned bomb was an "Mk-15, Mod O" hydrogen bomb, weighing four tons and packing more than 100 times the explosive punch of the one that incinerated Hiroshima. This was the first thermonuclear weapon deployed by the Air Force and featured the relatively primitive design created by that evil genius Edward Teller. The only fail-safe for this weapon was the physical separation of the plutonium capsule (or pit) from the weapon.In addition to the primary nuclear capsule, the bomb also harbored a secondary nuclear explosive, or sparkplug, designed to make it go thermo. This is a hollow plug about an inch in diameter made of either plutonium or highly enriched uranium (the Pentagon has never said which) that is filled with fusion fuel, most likely lithium-6 deuteride. Lithium is highly reactive in water. The plutonium in the bomb was manufactured at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State and would be the oldest in the United States. That's bad news: Plutonium gets more dangerous as it ages. In addition, the bomb would contain other radioactive materials, such as uranium and beryllium.The bomb is also charged with 400 pounds of TNT, designed to cause the plutonium trigger to implode and thus start the nuclear explosion. As the years go by, those high explosives are becoming flaky, brittle and sensitive. The bomb is most likely now buried in 5 to 15 feet of sand and slowly leaking radioactivity into the rich crabbing grounds of the Warsaw Sound. If the Pentagon can't find the Tybee Island bomb, others might. That's the conclusion of Bert Soleau, a former CIA officer who now works with ASSURE, the salvage company. Soleau, a chemical engineer, said that it wouldn't be hard for terrorists to locate the weapon and recover the lithium, beryllium and enriched uranium, "the essential building blocks of nuclear weapons." What to do? Coastal residents want the weapon located and removed. "Plutonium is a nightmare and their own people know it," said Pam O'Brien, an anti-nuke organizer from Douglassville, Georgia. "It can get in everything--your eyes, your bones, your gonads. You never get over it. They need to get that thing out of there." (...)
The presence of the unstable lithium deuteride and the deteriorating high explosives make retrieval of the bomb a very dangerous proposition--so dangerous, in fact, that even some environmentalists and anti-nuke activists argue that it might present less of a risk to leave the bomb wherever it is.In short, there aren't any easy answers. The problem is exacerbated by the Pentagon's failure to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the situation and reluctance to fully disclose what it knows. "I believe the plutonium capsule is in the bomb, but that a nuclear detonation is improbable because the neutron generators used back then were polonium-beryllium, which has a very short half-life," said Don Moniak, a nuclear weapons expert with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League in Aiken, South Carolina. "Without neutrons, weapons grade plutonium won't blow. However, there could be a fission or criticality event if the plutonium was somehow put in an incorrect configuration. There could be a major inferno if the high explosives went off and the lithium deuteride reacted as expected. Or there could just be an explosion that scattered uranium and plutonium all over hell." AND THAT'S JUST THE TIP OF THE NUCLEAR ICEBERG AND GLOBAL RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION UNLEASHED BY THESE MAD MEN, SOMETHING WHICH CONTINUES TO THIS DAY WITH THE WIDESPREAD DISSEMINATION OF NANO-PULVERIZED DEPLETED URANIUM ON MANY U.S. BATTLEFIELDS WORLDWIDE...
Excuses You Might Believe In by Ted Rall (May 15, 2009) http://www.uexpress.com/tedrall/ - http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22625.htm
Democrats Are More Powerful Than Ever. How Will They Justify Doing Nothing? NEW YORK - The defection of Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter and the imminent certification of Al Franken as the winner of Minnesota's election recount has handed Democrats what they always said they lacked in order to pass a progressive agenda: a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate. Now they face the awful problem of coming up with new excuses for not doing anything. How will Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other fake liberals weasel out of making good on their promises for real action on healthcare, the economy and the war? It won't be easy. They control both houses of Congress and the White House. Obama is about to fill a new vacancy on the Supreme Court. The Times of London writes that "Mr. Obama, by some assessments, has more political leverage than any president since Franklin Roosevelt in 1937"--at the peak of the New Deal, just before he overreached by trying to pack the Supreme Court. (...) The trouble for our cute, charming prez is that he has no intention whatsoever of introducing a true national healthcare plan: one that covers everybody for free. He wants to expand the war in Afghanistan and drag out the one against Iraq. He will not punish Bush or his torturers, rescue homeowners in foreclosure, or nail scumbag banks to the wall. These changes would cost trillions of dollars to multinational insurance companies, defense contractors and other huge financial concerns who donate generously to candidates of both political parties and have a history of using their clout to manipulate elections in favor of their favorite candidates. A classic example is oil companies, who push down gas prices before elections in order to help Republicans. The most that Democratic voters can expect from Democratic politicians is incremental, symbolic change that doesn't cost their corporate sponsors any serious coin. The New York Times marked Obama's 100th day in office with an editorial that approvingly encapsulated his accomplishments to date: "He is trying to rebuild this country's shattered reputation with his pledge to shut down the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, his offer to talk with Iran and Syria, and, yes, that handshake with Venezuela's blow-hard president, Hugo Chávez...The government is promoting women's reproductive rights. It is restoring regulations to keep water clean and food safe. The White House has promised to tackle immigration reform this year."Trying. Promoting. Has promised.Guantánamo isn't being closed; it's being moved. Gitmo's detainees will be transferred to a new harsher gulag under construction in Afghanistan. Thawed relations with Iran and Syria would create new business opportunities for big oil. Defending the right to an abortion is popular and doesn't cost Bank of America a dime. Immigration reform is code for legalizing illegal immigrants, not closing the border. Safety regulations reassure consumers and pump up the economy. Closing the border would raise wages. Corporations won't allow that.
"I will ask the General Assembly ... to Strip Israel of its Membership" Transcript of statement by Ban Ki-Moon via Global Research May 15, 2009 http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message794980/pg1http://news.google.com/news?pz=1&ned=us&hl=en&q=ban+moon+israelhttp://turnerradionetwork.blogspot.com/2009/05/united-nations-to-oust-israel.html
The UN News Agency placed the Secretary General's remarks on its official web site on May 11 and shortly thereafter, a news site in Israel called "News from Jerusalem" published the story on its web site.Within hours however, the remarks of the Secretary General to the General Assembly were pulled off the UN site! In their place was a second address by the Secretary General, this one to the Security Council which was made the next day, May 12.In addition, the May 11 story about ousting Israel from the UN was pulled off the "News from Jerusalem" site! In its place is a retraction challenging the validity of the source; sort of the same language they use when challenging the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. According to sources inside the United Nations, upon hearing what the Secretary General said, high ranking officials in the United States House of Representatives and the US Senate flexed their political muscle, demanding a total blackout of the remarks under threat of losing all US funding for the UN!
China's yuan 'set to usurp US dollar' as world's reserve currency (14 May 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/5325805/Chinas-yuan-set-to-usurp-US-dollar-as-worlds-reserve-currency.html
The Chinese yuan is preparing to overtake the US dollar as the world's reserve currency, economist Nouriel Roubini has warned. Professor Roubini, of New York University's Stern business school, believes that while such a major change is some way off, the Chinese government is laying the ground for the yuan's ascendance.Known as "Dr Doom" for his negative stance, Prof Roubini argues that China is better placed than the US to provide a reserve currency for the 21st century because it has a large current account surplus, focused government and few of the economic worries the US faces.
Media Breakthrough! 9-11 Press for Truth to Be Shown on Mainstream Television (May 6 2009) http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20090506173532540
I am very happy to announce that for the first time in our movement's history, 9/11 Press for Truth will be shown on a mainstream media television station. KBDI Channel 12 in Denver Colorado has just confirmed that they will be showing this ground-breaking film during their upcoming pledge drive on June 3, 2009.
Is H1N1 scare just a false alarm? (MAY 15, 2009) http://www.montrealgazette.com/Health/H1N1+scare+just+false+alarm/1601656/story.html
In retrospect, the warning comes across as over-the-top, even alarmist:It really is all of humanity that is under threat, Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, said April 29 at an emergency meeting in Geneva. She was alluding to a newly discovered flu virus, H1N1, as she urged nations around the world to activate their pandemic-preparedness plans. Two-and-half weeks later, Mexico City has reopened for business, fewer and fewer air travellers are wearing face masks and swine flu stories are no longer splashed across the front pages of newspapers. More important, as of Friday, the WHO reported that the H1N1 strain has caused 60 deaths out of 7,520 confirmed cases. Thats a mortality rate of less than one per cent. In the United States which has tracked the spread of the virus much more accurately than Mexico only three people have died out of 4,298 cases. From those numbers, H1N1 appears to be no more lethal than the seasonal flu.Moreover, many people who have caught swine flu dont even break out in a fever.So did the WHO overreact in its warning? Did it in the words of Ontario public-health physician Richard Schabas sound the latest in a series of false alarms? CLIP More related news through http://news.google.com/news/more?ned=ca&ncl=dJnh-EtVWXq_TEMbJdpcFhy6zW2IM&topic=m
Tamiflu Developer: Swine Flu Could Have Come ">From Bio-Experiment Lab )May 14, 2009) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/SwineFlu/story?id=7584420
An Australian researcher claims the swine flu, which has killed at least 64 people so far, might not be a mutation that occurred naturally but a man-made product of genetic experiments accidently leaked from a laboratory -- a theory the World Health Organization is taking very seriously. Adrian Gibbs, a scientist on the team that was behind the development of Tamiflu, says in a report he is submitting today that swine flu might have been created using eggs to grow viruses and make new vaccines, and could have been accidently leaked to the general public. "It might be some sort of simple error that's not being recognized," Gibbs said on ABC's "Good Morning America." In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Gibbs admitted there are other ways to explain swine flu's origin. "One of the simplest explanations if that it's a laboratory escape, but there are lots of others," he said. Regardless of the validity of Gibb's claims, he and several experts say that just bringing the idea of laboratory security to the public's attention is important. "There are lives at risk," Gibbs said. "The sooner this idea gets out, the better."Note: What would cause one of the developers of Tamiflu to make such a statement? If you read between the lines, there is much more here than meets the eye. For lots more on this intriguing development, click here.
GlaxoSmithKline gets order for 60m swine flu vaccines from the UK (15 May 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/pharmaceuticalsandchemicals/5329385/GlaxoSmithKline-gets-order-for-60m-swine-flu-vaccines-from-the-UK.html
The company, which already manufactures one of the key anti-viral treatments for the virus, Relenza, has also received millions of orders from other European governments including France. GSK, led by chief executive Andrew Witty, said it expects to manufacture a vaccine for the H1N1 strain as soon as a virus seed is made available by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The first doses are expected to be available four to six months later, subject to regulatory approval. Alan Johnson, the UK Health Secretary, said: "This virus has the potential to become a pandemic and we can't predict how serious that would be. We have an opportunity to secure vaccine in advance of a pandemic wave." GSK already has in place the structure for the vaccine after developing a similar product for bird flu. The company, as one of the largest drug companies in the world, has significant manufacturing capacity and has been in talks with US authorities and the WHO about the support it can offer. The company indicated it is ready to link up with other companies and governmental agencies as part of the development process.Production of the seasonal flu virus will continue and GSK will also convert its intended donation to the WHO for developing countries from 50m H5N1 vaccines to the new H1N1 adjuvanted influenza vaccine once production begins. The UK Government has also ordered 30m vaccines from US drug company Baxter International.
Scientists Experiment with Vaccinations in GMO Corn (May 11, 2009) MAD SCIENTISTS ALERT!! http://www.infowars.com/scientists-experiment-with-vaccinations-in-gmo-corn/
AMES, IOWA Iowa State University researchers are putting flu vaccines into the genetic makeup of corn, which may someday allow pigs and humans to get a flu vaccination simply by eating corn or corn products.Were trying to figure out which genes from the swine influenza virus to incorporate into corn so those genes, when expressed, would produce protein, said Hank Harris, professor in animal science and one of the researchers on the project. When the pig consumes that corn, it would serve as a vaccine. (...) According to the researchers, the corn vaccine would also work in humans when they eat corn or even corn flakes, corn chips, tortillas or anything that contains corn, Mr. Harris said. CLIP - MANY telling comments posted there!
Vitamin supplements may cut benefits of exercise (11 May 2009) http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17108-vitamin-supplements-may-cut-benefits-of-exercise.html
Free radicals aren't always the bad guys. It even seems that popping antioxidants to mop them up might reduce some of the beneficial effects of exercise. Free radicals have long been thought to contribute to the ageing process, which is one reason why people take antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C or E. However, other studies have hinted that taking antioxidants may hasten death through an unknown mechanism. One possibility is that they interfere with the beneficial effects of exercise, as there are hints that free radicals might be used by the body to prevent cellular damage after exercise.
Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away (April 19, 2009) NOT EVERYTHING IS BAD NEWS! http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13253
ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap. The results of ice-core drilling and sea ice monitoring indicate there is no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica, although experts are concerned at ice losses on the continent's western coast. Antarctica has 90 per cent of the Earth's ice and 80 per cent of its fresh water, The Australian reports. Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets would be required to raise sea levels substantially, and ice is melting in parts of west Antarctica. The destabilisation of the Wilkins ice shelf generated international headlines this month. However, the picture is very different in east Antarctica, which includes the territory claimed by Australia. East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week's meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown "significant cooling in recent decades". Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica."Sea ice conditions have remained stable in Antarctica generally," Dr Allison said.The melting of sea ice - fast ice and pack ice - does not cause sea levels to rise because the ice is in the water. Sea levels may rise with losses from freshwater ice sheets on the polar caps. In Antarctica, these losses are in the form of icebergs calved from ice shelves formed by glacial movements on the mainland. Last week, federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said experts predicted sea level rises of up to 6m from Antarctic melting by 2100, but the worst case scenario foreshadowed by the SCAR report was a 1.25m rise. CLIP
Greenland ice tipping point 'further off than thought' (10 March 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/10/greenland-ice-sheet-climate-change
Previous studies have misjudged the so-called Greenland tipping point at which the ice sheet is certain to melt completely, expert claims -- The giant Greenland ice sheet may be more resistant to temperature rise than experts realised. The finding gives hope that the worst impacts of global warming, such as the devastating floods depicted in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, could yet be avoided. Jonathan Bamber, an ice sheet expert at the University of Bristol, told the conference that previous studies had misjudged the so-called Greenland tipping point, at which the ice sheet is certain to melt completely. "We're talking about the point at which it is 100% doomed. It seems quite an important number to get right." Such catastrophic melting would produce enough water to raise world sea levels by more than 6m."We found that the threshold is about double what was previously published," Bamber told the Copenhagen Climate Congress, a special three-day summit aimed at updating the latest climate science ahead of global political negotiations in December over a successor to the Kyoto treaty. It would take an average global temperature rise of 6C to push Greenland into irreversible melting, the new study found. CLIP
A climate solution that's out of this world (May 14, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/05/14/14greenwire-a-climate-solution-thats-out-of-this-world-19116.html
One of the newest energy lobbyists claims he has the answer to climate change: spaceships. The government has in its possession "extraterrestrial vehicles," lobbyist Stephen Bassett said. As in flying saucers. Imagine the power source, he said, behind a 30-foot wide saucer that weighs the same as a tractor-trailer yet hurtles through galaxies at 20,000 miles per hour. "What is the energy system operating that craft?" Bassett said. "They're not burning kerosene." Bassett ... is working for free as a lobbyist, representing the Hawaii-based Exopolitics Institute, an educational organization which describes itself as "dedicated to studying the key actors, institutions and political processes associated with extraterrestrial life." Bassett said he is less lobbyist and more political activist. "The UFO phenomenon is real," Bassett said. "The E.T. extraterrestrial presence is real." Bassett's been lobbying about seven months, targeting the science and technology, and defense and aviation angles. He added energy to his portfolio in a Senate filing last week. He has spoken to lawmakers in the past, Bassett said, but he's writing off lobbying Congress for now, calling the extraterrestrial issue "the third rail" of politics. Besides, he and other believers have a bigger name on their list. "Knowing that Congress could not act," Bassett said, "what we did was focus on the executive branch, the White House." Those who believe the truth is out there have been waiting for someone like President Obama to come clean about the government hiding information on extraterrestrials, Bassett said. Note: What's highly unusual about this article is that there is not a note of ridicule. This may be a first for a UFO article in the New York Times. For lots more eye-opening, reliable information on this topic, including a Times article in which a former CIA chief describes a UFO cover-up, click here and here.
To support the scenario that a lone assassin (Oswald) could fire the purported number of shots within an allotted time frame, the Warren Commission concluded that one of the bullets fired that fateful day hit both Kennedy and Connally. This conclusion came to be known as the "single bullet theory." However, given the location of Kennedy's and Connally's wounds, for the "single bullet theory" to be correct, the bullet would have had to change course several times, behaving in the manner shown in the diagram (below left). The chief architect of the "single bullet theory" was the Warren Commission's ambitious junior counsel, Arlen Specter, now U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. In the reenactment photo (below right) Specter, with his pointer in hand, attempts to make the "single bullet theory" appear more plausible by deceptively indicating a straight line trajectory for the bullet.
While Specter managed to sell his "single bullet theory" to the Warren Commission, he had trouble selling it to the American public. A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that 77 percent of Americans rejected the Warren Report's conclusions.
For a list of Arlen Specter's other deceptions regarding the JFK assassination click here: Fetzer (compiled by researcher, James Fetzer).
Testimony of an Eyewitness
In Dallas Texas on November 22, 1963, two women, Jean Hill and Mary Moorman, were standing on the south side of Elm Street in Dealy Plaza, as Kennedy's motorcade passed. They were two of the closest eyewitnesses to President Kennedy when he was struck with the fatal head shot. Jean Hill would later be questioned by Warren Commission attorney Arlen Specter. Hill recalled her encounter with Specter with journalist/author Jim Marrs:
"The FBI took me to Parkland Hospital. I had no idea what I was doing there. They escorted me through a labyrinth of corridors and up to one of the top floors of Parkland. I didn't know where we were. They took me into this little room where I met Arlen Specter. He talked to me for a few minutes, trying to act real friendly, then this woman, a stenographer, came in and sat behind me. He had told me that this interview would be confidential, then I looked around and this woman was taking notes. I reminded him that the discussion was to be private and he told the woman to put down her notebook, which she did. But when I looked around again she was writing. I got mad and told Specter, 'You lied to me. I want this over.' He asked me why I wouldn't come to Washington, and I said, 'Because I want to stay alive.' He asked why I would think that I was in danger and I replied, 'Well, if they can kill the President, they can certainly get me!' He replied that they already had the man that did it and I told him, 'No, you don't!'
He kept trying to get me to change my story, particularly regarding the number of shots. He said I had been told how many shots there were and I figured he was talking about what the Secret Service told me right after the assassination. His inflection and attitude was that I knew what I was supposed to be saying, why wouldn't I just say it. I asked him, 'Look, do you want the truth or just what you want me to say?' He said he wanted the truth, so I said, 'The truth is that I heard between four and six shots.' I told him, 'I'm not going to lie for you.' So he starts talking off the record. He told me about my life, my family, and even mentioned that my marriage was in trouble. I said, 'What's the point of interviewing me if you already know everything about me?' He got angrier and finally told me, 'Look, we can even make you look as crazy as Marguerite Oswald and everybody knows how crazy she is. We could have you put in a mental institution if you don't cooperate with us.' I knew he was trying to intimidate me....
He finally gave me his word that the interview would not be published unless I approved what was written. But they never gave me the chance to read it or approve it. When I finally read my testimony as published by the Warren Commission, I knew it was a fabrication from the first line. After that ordeal at Parkland Hospital, they wrote that my deposition was taken at the U.S. attorney's office in the Post Office Building."
ARLEN SPECTER QUESTIONS ANITA HILL
In her book, Speaking Truth to Power, Anita Hill relates her experience with Arlen Specter during the Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Thomas:
"Specter began by assuring me that he was simply trying 'to find out what happened.' Nevertheless, in short order, any hope that Senator Specter would transcend the political was dashed. He began his questioning with an unmistakably prosecutorial tone. He used a familiar cross-examination tactic--a tactic common in sexual harassment cases. He ridiculed my reaction to Thomas' behavior, suggesting that I was being oversensitive, even to the point of misrepresenting my testimony....
The tension between Senator Specter and me was measurable. The process seemed to break down completely. Senator Specter would repeat the same questions until he got the answer he wanted.... To the press and spectators, we must have sounded silly and ill tempered. More than one sigh erupted from the seats behind me as Specter returned to the questioning and I once more gave my explanation. Clearly, neither of us would budge from our position.
Something in the back of my head said, 'Just say what he wants you say and get on with it.' But I was much too stubborn to do that. And the more he pursued it, the more inclined I was to resist. Digging in was, perhaps, for me one way of hanging on to some amount of my dignity. By now I knew that his questions were both insincere and ill informed. Though I tried to answer him, I was equally determined that the senator not put words in my mouth.
With every question he asked, it became clearer that despite any declaration to the contrary, he viewed me as an adversary. Rather than seeking to elicit information, his questioning sought to elicit a conclusion that he had reached before the hearing began."
New 'prisoner abuse' photographs emerge despite US bid to block publication
Graphic photographs of alleged prisoner abuse, thought to be among up to 2,000 images Barack Obama is trying to prevent from being released, emerged yesterday.
By Alex Spillius in Washington - 14 May 2009
Images emerged from Australia yesterday where they were originally obtained by the channel SBS in 2006 in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal.
The shocking images of inmates in Iraq and Afghanistan were published just a day after the US president announced plans for a legal battle stop them ever being seen.
They risked provoking renewed hostility in the Middle East as Mr Obama attempts to build bridges with the Islamic world.
He is scheduled to make a major speech in Cairo on June 4 when he will launch his version of a plan to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
One picture showed a prisoner hung up upside down while another showed a naked man smeared in excrement standing in a corridor with a guard standing menacingly in front of him. Another prisoner is handcuffed to the window frame of his cell with underpants pulled over his head.
Others yet to be released reportedly show military guards threatening to sexually assault a detainee with a broomstick and hooded prisoners on transport planes with Playboy magazines opened to pictures of nude women on their laps.
The images emerged from Australia yesterday where they were originally obtained by the channel SBS in 2006 in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal. They were not distributed around the world at the time but are now believed to be among those the president is trying to block.
Mr Obama previously committed to allowing thousands of images to be published but changed his mind after senior generals warned that their publication could place US troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in greater danger.
The president's change of heart brought bitter criticism from the left wingers and the American Civil Liberties Union, which had brought a freedom of information case against the US government applying to see the pictures.
Pledging to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court, the ACLU accused him of betraying his principles of open government and "complicity in covering up" the "commission of torture by the Bush administration".
"It is true that these photos would be disturbing. The day we are no longer disturbed by such repugnant acts would be a sad one," said Anthony Romero, executive director.
"Only by looking squarely in the mirror, acknowledging the crimes of the past and achieving accountability can we move forward and ensure that these atrocities are not repeated."
The White House legal team was yesterday preparing for a June 9 deadline to present its case that it would be against the interests of national security to make the pictures public.
The controversy came as it was revealed that the administration is considering detaining terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay indefinitely and without trial on US soil.
Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator, said after meeting White House lawyers that terror suspects deemed too dangerous to release could be jailed permanently by a new national security court.
Other options include revising the Bush administration's military commissions for senior al-Qaeda suspects that have been criticised for relying too heavily on hearsay and uncontestable intelligence information.
When he took office on Jan 20 Mr Obama ordered that the prison at a US naval base on Cuba be closed within a year.
Related articles and video:
Abu Ghraib - The Sequel http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11944.htm
Back in 2004 when the first shocking pictures were originally leaked, the world recoiled in horror, but since then the Bush Administration has fought tooth and nail to prevent the American public from seeing any new images of the treatment of Iraqi detainees, but tonight Dateline reporter Olivia Rousset reveals new photos and videos. Despite the currently overheated international climate, we are showing them because they show the extent of the horror that occurred at Abu Ghraib. A serious warning though - some of the images you're about to see are pretty confronting and may offend some of you. CLIP
Documents Describe Torture Photos (19 May 2009) http://www.truthout.org/051909A?n
US Army soldiers in Afghanistan took dozens of pictures of their colleagues pointing assault rifles and pistols at the heads and backs of hooded and bound detainees and another photograph showed two male soldiers and one female soldier pointing a broom to one detainee "as if I was sticking the end of a broom stick into [his] rectum," according to the female soldier's account as told to an Army criminal investigator. Documents found on the ACLU web site describe many of the photographs that were set for release at the end of the month. The ACLU has been trying to gain access to the photographs for nearly six years. The ACLU obtained the files describing the pictures in 2005 as part of the organization's wide-ranging Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Bush administration, seeking documents related to the treatment of "war on terror" prisoners in US custody. Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff attorney, confirmed that the photographs described in documents posted on the group's web site were those that President Obama has decided to withhold, fearing the disclosure would stoke anti-American sentiment and endanger US troops. CLIP
Obama to Renew Military Tribunals - SEEMINGLY BAD DECISION!!! http://www.truthout.org/051509B?n
"The Obama administration will announce plans today to revive the Bush-era military commission system for prosecuting terrorism suspects, current and former officials said, reversing a campaign pledge to rely instead on federal courts and the traditional military justice system."
Rights groups attack Obama (May 16, 2009) http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25491544-5005961,00.html
HUMAN rights groups reacted with anger and disappointment overnight to President Barack Obama's revival of special military trials of terror suspects, saying the system was flawed beyond repair. (...) The military commissions system is flawed beyond repair, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. By resurrecting this failed Bush administration idea, President Obama is backtracking dangerously on his reform agenda.The American Civil Liberties Union called it a striking blow to due process and the rule of law.Tweaking the rules of these failed tribunals so that they provide more due process' is absurd, said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero. There is no such thing as due process light.' In this case, President Obama would do well to remember his own infamous words during his presidential campaign: you can't put lipstick on a pig, he said. CLIP
Anger at Obama Guantanamo ruling (15 May 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8052999.stm
Civil liberties groups have reacted angrily to US President Barack Obama's decision to revive military trials for some Guantanamo Bay detainees.Mr Obama has previously denounced the Bush-era judicial system, but in a statement said new safeguards would ensure suspects got a fairer hearing. New rules include rejecting statements obtained from harsh interrogations and limitations on using hearsay evidence.There are still 240 detainees at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (...) On the campaign trail last year, Mr Obama had branded the military commissions "an enormous failure".But in the statement issued on Friday, he said he had supported their use as one avenue to try detainees, and in 2006 had voted in favour of them.He said he had opposed the tribunals used by George W Bush's administration because they had failed to establish a legitimate legal framework and undermined swift and certain justice.The extra safeguards for detainees include a ban on evidence obtained by harsh interrogation; restrictions on hearsay evidence; giving detainees more leeway to choose their own lawyers and protecting detainees who refuse to testify, the statement said. Mr Obama said he was seeking more time so that the new procedures could be implemented. "These reforms will begin to restore the commissions as a legitimate forum for prosecution, while bringing them in line with the rule of law," he said."This is the best way to protect our country, while upholding our deeply held values."But Geneve Mantri, of Amnesty International, said Mr Obama's message was confusing."It was clear from his announcements soon after he reached the White House what he was going to do," he said."Now it is somewhat confusing what the administration's standard is or what their policies are."Zachary Katznelson of Reprieve, which represents a number of Guantanamo Bay detainees, told the BBC that the president was making a "fundamental mistake"."He is taking a gravely, truly flawed system, tinkering at the edges and hoping that the world is somehow going to see this as legitimate, as open, as fair - it's not going to happen," he said. CLIP
IF YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO READ THIS WHOLE SCATHING REPORT ABOUT THE DEMONIAC, NAZI-LIKE TORTURE STILL GOING ON IN THE INFAMOUS GUANTANAMO GULAG, YOU WILL REALIZE THAT MR. "SAVIOR" OBAMA IS TURNING HIS BACK ON THE HIGH HOPES HE HAS STIRRED AND IS PRESIDING OVER A CONTINUATION - IF NOT WORST! - OF THE DESPICABLE POLICIES OF THE BUSH/CHENEY DIABOLIC REGIME OF TERROR.
As the Obama administration continues to fight the release of some 2,000 photos that graphically document U.S. military abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, an ongoing Spanish investigation is adding harrowing details to the ever-emerging portrait of the torture inside and outside Guantánamo. Among them: "blows to [the] testicles;" "detention underground in total darkness for three weeks with deprivation of food and sleep;" being "inoculated through injection with a disease for dog cysts;" the smearing of feces on prisoners; and waterboarding. The torture, according to the Spanish investigation, all occurred "under the authority of American military personnel" and was sometimes conducted in the presence of medical professionals.
More significantly, however, the investigation could for the first time place an intense focus on a notorious, but seldom discussed, thug squad deployed by the U.S. Military to retaliate with excessive violence to the slightest resistance by prisoners at Guantánamo.
The force is officially known as the the Immediate Reaction Force or Emergency Reaction Force, but inside the walls of Guantánamo, it is known to the prisoners as the Extreme Repression Force. Despite President Barack Obamas publicized pledge to close the prison camp and end torture and analysis from human rights lawyers who call these forces actions illegal IRFs remain very much active at Guantánamo.
IRF: An Extrajudicial Terror Squad
The existence of these forces has been documented since the early days of Guantánamo, but it has rarely been mentioned in the U.S. media or in congressional inquiries into torture. On paper, IRF teams are made up of five military police officers who are on constant standby to respond to emergencies. "The IRF team is intended to be used primarily as a forced-extraction team, specializing in the extraction of a detainee who is combative, resistive, or if the possibility of a weapon is in the cell at the time of the extraction," according to a declassified copy of the Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta at Guantánamo. The document was signed on March 27, 2003, by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the man credited with eventually "Gitmoizing" Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons and who reportedly ordered subordinates to treat prisoners "like dogs." Gen. Miller ran Guantánamo from November 2002 until August 2003 before moving to Iraq in 2004.
When an IRF team is called in, its members are dressed in full riot gear, which some prisoners and their attorneys have compared to "Darth Vader" suits. Each officer is assigned a body part of the prisoner to restrain: head, right arm, left arm, left leg, right leg. According to the SOP memo, the teams are to give verbal warnings to prisoners before storming the cell: "Prior to the use of the IRF team, an interpreter will be used to tell the detainee of the discipline measures to be taken against him and ask whether he intends to resist. Regardless of his answer, his recent behavior and demeanor should be taken into account in determining the validity of his answer." The IRF team is authorized to spray the detainee in the face with mace twice before entering the cell.
According to Gen. Millers memo: "The physical security of U.S. forces and detainees in U.S. care is paramount. Use the minimum force necessary for mission accomplishment and force protection Use of the IRF team and levels of force are not to be used as a method of punishment."
But human rights lawyers, former prisoners and former IRF team members with extensive experience at Guantánamo paint a very different picture of the role these teams played. "They are the Black Shirts of Guantánamo," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented the most Guantánamo prisoners. "IRFs cant be separated from torture. They are a part of the brutalization of humans treated as less than human."
Clive Stafford Smith, who has represented 50 Guantánamo prisoners, including 31 still imprisoned there, has seen the IRF teams up close. "Theyre goons," he says. "Theyve played a huge role."
While much of the "torture debate" has emphasized the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" defined by the twisted legal framework of the Office of Legal Council memos, IRF teams in effect operate at Guantánamo as an extrajudicial terror squad that has regularly brutalized prisoners outside of the interrogation room, gang beating them, forcing their heads into toilets, breaking bones, gouging their eyes, squeezing their testicles, urinating on a prisoners head, banging their heads on concrete floors and hog-tying them sometimes leaving prisoners tied in excruciating positions for hours on end.
The IRF teams "were fully approved at the highest levels [of the Bush administration], including the Secretary of Defense and with outside consultation of the Justice Department," says lawyer Scott Horton, one of the leading experts on U.S. Military and Constitutional law. This force "was designed to disabuse the prisoners of any idea that they would be free from physical assault while in U.S. custody," he says. "They were trained to brutally punish prisoners in a brief period of time, and ridiculous pretexts were taken to justify" the beatings.
So notorious are these teams that a new lexicon was created and used by prisoners and guards alike to describe the beatings: "IRF-ing" prisoners or to be "IRF-ed."
Former Guantánamo Army Chaplain James Yee, who witnessed IRFings, described "the seemingly harmless behaviors that brought it on [like] not responding when a guard spoke." Yee said he believed that during daily cell sweeps, guards would intentionally do invasive searches of the Muslim prisoners "private areas" and Korans to "rile the detainees," saying it "seemed like harassment for the sake of harassment, and the prisoners fought it. Those who did were always IRFed."
"Ill put it like this," Stafford Smith says. "My clients are afraid of them."
"Up to 15 people attempted to commit suicide at Camp Delta due to the abuses of the IRF officials," according to the Spanish investigation. Combined with other documentation, including prisoner testimony and legal memos, the IRF teams appear to be one of the most significant forces in the abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo, worthy of an investigation by U.S. prosecutors in and of themselves.
The IRF-ing of Omar Deghayes
Perhaps the worst abuses in the Spanish case involve Omar Deghayes, whose torture began long before he reached Guantánamo, and intensified upon his arrival.
A Libyan citizen who had lived in Britain since 1986, in the late 1990s, Deghayes was a law student when he traveled to Afghanistan, "for the simple reason that he is a Muslim and he wanted to see what it was like," according to his lawyer, Stafford Smith. While there, he met and married an Afghan woman with whom he had a son.
After 9/11, Deghayes was detained in Lahore, Pakistan, for a month, where he allegedly was subjected to "systematic beatings" and "electric shocks done with a tool that looked like a small gun."
He was then transferred to Islamabad, Pakistan,where he claims he was interrogated by both U.S. and British personnel. There, the torture continued; in a March 2005 memo written by a lawyer who later visited Deghayes at Guantánamo, he described a particularly ghoulish incident:
"One day they took me to a room that had very large snakes in glass boxes. The room was all painted black-and-white, with dim lights. They threatened to leave me there and let the snakes out with me in the room. This really got to me, as there were such sick people that they must have had this room specially made."
Deghayes was eventually moved to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he was beaten and "kept nude, as part of the process of humiliation due to his religion." U.S. personnel placed Deghayes "inside a closed box with a lock and limited air." He also described seeing U.S. guards sodomize an African prisoner and alleged guards "forced petrol and benzene up the anuses of the prisoners."
"The camp looked like the Nazi camps that I saw in films," Deghayes said.
When Deghayes finally arrived at Guantánamo in September 2002, he found himself the target of the feared IRF teams.
"The IRF team sprayed Mr. Deghayes with mace; they threw him in the air and let him fall on his face " according to the Spanish investigation. Deghayes says he also endured a "sexual attack." In March 2004, after being "sprayed in the eyes with mace," Deghayes says authorities refused to provide him with medical attention, causing him to permanently lose sight in his right eye. Stafford Smith described the incident:
"They brought their pepper spray and held him down. They held both of his eyes open and sprayed it into his eyes and later took a towel soaked in pepper spray and rubbed it in his eyes.
"Omar could not see from either eye for two weeks, but he gradually got sight back in one eye.
"Hes totally blind in the right eye. I can report that his right eye is all white and milky he cant see out of it because he has been blinded by the U.S. in Guantánamo."
In fact, Stafford Smith says his blindness was caused by a combination of the pepper spray and the fact that an IRF team member pushed his finger into Deghayes eye.
The Spanish investigation into Deghayes torture draws much from the March 2005 memo, which described several acts of abuse of Deghayes at the hands of the IRF teams. (The memo refers to IRF by its alternative acronym ERF):
ERF-ing Omar The Feces Incident
On one of the ERF-ing incidents where Omar was abused, the officer in charge himself came into the cell with the feces of another prisoners [sic] and smeared it onto Omars face. While some prisoners had thrown feces at the abusive guards, Omar had always emphatically refused to sink to this level. The experience was one of the most disgusting in Omars life.
ERF-ing Omar The Toilet Incident
In April or May 2004, when the Guantánamo administration insisted on taking Omars English-language Quran, he objected. The ERF team came into Omars cell and put him in shackles. He was not resisting. They then put his head in the toilet, pressed his face into the water. They repeatedly flushed it.
ERF-ing Omar The Beating
In one ERF-ing incident, Omar was shackled by three American soldiers in their black Darth Vader Star Wars uniforms. The first was going to punch Omar, but before he could, the second kneed Omar in the nose, trying to break it. The third queried this, and the second said, "If his nose is broken, thats good. We want to break his ******* nose." The third soldier then took him to hospital.
ERF-ing Omar The Drowning
The ERF team came into the cell with a water hose under very high pressure. He was totally shackled, and they would hold his head fixed still. They would force water up his nose until he was suffocating and would scream for them to stop. This was done with medical staff present, and they would join in. Omar is particularly affected by the fact that there was one nurse who "had been very beautiful and kind" to him to [sic] took part in the process. This happened three times.
ERF-ing Omar Tango Block
Omar was out on the Tango block rec yard when 15 ERF soldiers came, with two other soldiers in the towers, armed with guns. They grabbed him (and others) and sprayed him.
They then pulled him up into the air and slammed his face down, on the left side, on the concrete. They had someone from the hospital there, and she just watched. She then came up to him and asked whether he was OK. He was taken off to isolation after that.
A medical examination cited in the Spanish investigation confirmed that Deghayes suffered from blindness of the right eye, fracture of the nasal bone and fracture of the right index finger, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and "profound" depression.
At the Pentagon, an official paper trail should exist that documents the IRF-ing of Deghayes. Whats more, according to Gen. Millers SOP memo, all of the actions of the IRF teams were to be videotaped as well.
After a prisoner was IRF-ed, "The medical personnel on site will conduct a medical evaluation of the detainee to check for any injuries sustained during the IRF," and, "all IRF Team members are required to submit sworn statements." These statements, reports and video were "to be kept as evidence."
As of early 2005, there were reportedly 500 hours of video; the ACLU attempted to force their release, but they never have been produced.
"Where are those tapes?" asks CCR President Michael Ratner. In some cases, the answer may well be that they never existed or no longer do. "When an IRFing took place a camera was supposed to be present to capture the IRFing," said Army Spec. Brandon Neely, who was on one of the first IRF teams at Guantánamo. "Every time I witnessed an IRFing a camera was present, but one of two things would happen: (1) the camera would never be turned on, or (2) the camera would be on, but pointed straight at the ground."
Neeley recently gave testimony to the University of California, Davis Guantánamo Testimonials Project. He also described one IRF-ing where the video of the incident was destroyed.
Regarding the videos, Stafford Smith says, "There are some things I cant talk about, but I will confirm there is photographic evidence. I am absolutely confident that if all of the photographs were revealed to the world, they would provide irrefutable physical evidence that the prisoners had been" abused by the IRFs.
As for the "sworn statements" by IRF team members, a review of hundreds of pages of declassified incident reports reveals an almost robotic uniformity in the handwritten accounts, overwhelmingly composed of succinct portrayals of operations that went off without a hitch. Almost all of them contain the phrases "minimum amount of force necessary" and the prisoner "received medical attention and evaluation" before being returned.
"All internal investigations of Gitmo so far have completely whitewashed the IRF process," says Horton. "They did so for obvious reasons."
"The IRF program was supported by advice secured from the Justice Department suggesting that insubordinate behavior could be cited to justify a departure from guidelines against physical force. It has a conspiratorial odor to it," says Horton. "In fact the use of IRFs was illegal, a violation of Common Article 3 [of the Geneva Convention] and a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which forbids the use of unnecessary force against prisoners."
While Spain will probably pursue the role the IRF teams played in the torture of its citizens or residents, its scope goes far beyond those specific incidents.
"I have seen detainees IRFed while they were praying, or for refusing medication."
Deghayes treatment at the hands of the feared IRF teams mirrors that of several other released Guantánamo prisoners.
David Hicks, an Australian citizen held at Guantánamo, said in a sworn affidavit, "I have witnessed the activities of the [IRF], which consists of a squad of soldiers that enter a detainees cell and brutalize him with the aid of an attack dog I have seen detainees suffer serious injuries as a result of being IRFed. I have seen detainees IRFed while they were praying, or for refusing medication."
Binyam Mohamed, released in February, has also described an IRF assault: "They nearly broke my back. The guy on top was twisting me one way, the guys on my legs the other. They marched me out of the cell to the fingerprint room, still cuffed. I clenched my fists behind me so they couldnt take [finger]prints, so they tried to take them by force. The guy at my head sticks his fingers up my nose and wrenches my head back, jerking it around by the nostrils. Then he put his fingers in my eyes. It felt as if he was trying to gouge them out. Another guy was punching my ribs, and another was squeezing my testicles. Finally, I couldnt take it any more. I let them take the prints."
A report prepared by British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, documents the alleged abuse of a Bahraini citizen, Jumah al Dousari by an IRF team. Before being taken to Guantánamo, al Dousari was widely known to be "mentally ill." On one occasion, the IRF Team was called into his cell after al Dousari allegedly insulted a female soldier. Another prisoner who witnessed the incident described what happened:
"There were usually five people on an ERF team. On this occasion there were eight of them. When Jumah saw them coming, he realized something was wrong and was lying on the floor with his head in his hands. If youre on the floor with your hands on your head, then you would hope that all they would do would be to come in and put the chains on you. That is what theyre supposed to do.
"The first man is meant to go in with a shield. On this occasion, the man with the shield threw the shield away, took his helmet off, when the door was unlocked ran in and did a knee drop onto Jumahs back just between his shoulder blades with his full weight. He must have been about 240 pounds in weight. His name was Smith. He was a sergeant E-5. Once he had done that, the others came in and were punching and kicking Jumah. While they were doing that the female officer then came in and was kicking his stomach. Jumah had had an operation and had metal rods in his stomach clamped together in the operation.
"The officer Smith was the MP sergeant who was punching him. He grabbed his head with one hand and with the other hand punched him repeatedly in the face. His nose was broken. He pushed his face, and he smashed it into the concrete floor. All of this should be on video. There was blood everywhere. When they took him out, they hosed the cell down and the water ran red with blood. We all saw it."
Force Feeding as a Form of Torture
The IRF teams were also used to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners at Guantánamo, including in August 2005. Deghayes was among the hunger strikers, writing in a letter, "I am slowly dying in this solitary prison cell, I have no rights, no hope. So why not take my destiny into my own hands, and die for a principle?"
While the U.S. government portrayed a situation where the hunger strikers were being given medical attention, lawyers for some of the men claim that the tubes used to force feed them were "the thickness of a finger" and "were viewed by the detainees as objects of torture."
According to attorney Julia Tarver, one of her clients, Yousef al-Shehri, had a tube inserted with "one [IRF member] holding his chin while the other held him back by his hair, and a medical staff member forcibly inserted the tube in his nose and down his throat" and into his stomach. "No anesthesia or sedative was provided to alleviate the obvious trauma of the procedure." Tarver said this method caused al-Shehri and others to vomit "substantial amounts of blood."
This was painful enough, but al-Shehri, described the removal of the tubes as "unbearable," causing him to pass out from the pain.
According to Tarver, "Nasal gastric (NG) tubes [were removed] by placing a foot on one end of the tube and yanking the detainees head back by his hair, causing the tube to be painfully ejected from the detainees nose. Then, in front of the Guantanamo physicians the guards took NG tubes from one detainee, and with no sanitization whatsoever, reinserted it into the nose of a different detainee. When these tubes were reinserted, the detainees could see the blood and stomach bile from the other detainees remaining on the tubes." Medical staff, according to Tarver, made no effort to intervene. This was one of many incidents where IRF teams facilitated such force-feeding.
Aside from hunger strikes, other forms of resistance were met with brutal reprisal. Tarek Dergoul, a prisoner interviewed by Human Rights Watch, described how IRF teams beat him because he "often refused to cooperate with cell searches during prayer time. One reason was that they would abuse the Quran. Another was that the guards deliberately felt up my private parts under the guise of searching me."
Dergoul said, "If I refused a cell search, MPs would call the Extreme Reaction Force, who came in riot gear with plastic shields and pepper spray. The Extreme Reaction Force entered the cell, ran in and pinned me down after spraying me with pepper spray and attacked me. The pepper spray caused me to vomit on several occasions. They poked their fingers in my eyes, banged my head on the floor and kicked and punched me and tied me up like a beast. They often forced my head into the toilet."
Jamal al-Harith claims he was beaten by a five-man IRF team for refusing an injection: "I was terrified of what they were going to do. I had seen victims of [IRF] being paraded in front of my cell. They were battered and bruised into submission. It was a horrible sight and a frequent sight. They were really gung-ho, hyped up and aggressive. One of them attacked me really hard and left me with a deep red mark from my backbone down to my knee. I thought I was bleeding, but it was just really bad bruising."
The IRF-ing of Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Baker
Ironically, perhaps the most well-publicized case of abuse by this force was not inflicted on a Guantanamo prisoner, but on an active-duty U.S. soldier and Gulf War veteran.
In January 2003, Sgt. Sean Baker was ordered to participate in an IRF training drill at Guantánamo where he would play the role of an uncooperative prisoner. Sgt. Baker says he was ordered by his superior to take off his military uniform and put on an orange jumpsuit like those worn by prisoners. He was told to yell out the code word "red" if the situation became unbearable, or he wanted his fellow soldiers to stop.
According to sworn statements, upon entering his cell, IRF members thought they were restraining an actual prisoner. As Sgt. Baker later described:
"They grabbed my arms, my legs, twisted me up and, unfortunately, one of the individuals got up on my back from behind and put pressure down on me while I was face down. Then he the same individual reached around and began to choke me and press my head down against the steel floor. After several seconds, 20 to 30 seconds, it seemed like an eternity because I couldnt breathe. When I couldnt breathe, I began to panic and I gave the code word I was supposed to give to stop the exercise, which was red. That individual slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me. Somehow I got enough air. I muttered out: Im a U.S. Soldier. Im a U.S. Soldier."
Sgt. Baker said his head was slammed once more, and after groaning "Im a U.S. Soldier" one more time, "I heard them say, Whoa, whoa, whoa, you know, like he was telling the other guy to stop."
According to CBS:
"Bloodied and disoriented, Baker somehow made it back to his unit, and his first thought was to get hold of the videotape. I said, Go get the tape, recalls Baker. Theyve got a tape. Go get the tape. My squad leader went to get the tape.
"Every extraction drill at Guantanamo was routinely videotaped, and the tape of this drill would show what happened. But Baker says his squad leader came back and said, There is no tape."
The New York Times later reported that the military "says it cant find a videotape that is believed to have been made of the incident." Baker was soon diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. He began suffering seizures, sometimes 10 to 12 per day.
"This was just one typical incident, and Baker was recognizable as an American," says Horton. "But it gives a good flavor of what the Gitmo detainees went through, which was generally worse."
IRF-ing Continues Under Obama
On Jan. 7, 2009, a prisoner named Yasin Ismael threw a shoe in frustration at the inside of a cage to which he had been confined. The guards accused Ismael of attacking them and called in an IRF team.
According to his attorneys, "The team shackled him, and he put up no resistance. They then beat him. They blocked his nose and mouth until he felt that he would suffocate and hit him repeatedly in the ribs and head. They then took him back to his cell. As he was being taken back, a guard urinated on his head. Mr. Ismael was badly injured, and his ear started to bleed, leaving a large stain on his pillow."
Less than two weeks later, on Jan. 22, newly inaugurated President Obama issued an executive order requiring the closure of Guantánamo within a year and also ordered a review of the status of the prisoners held there, requiring "humane standards of confinement" in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
But one month later, the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report titled "Conditions of Confinement at Guantánamo: Still In Violation of the Law," which found that abuses continued. In fact, one Guantanamo lawyer, Ahmed Ghappour, said that his clients were reporting "a ramping up in abuse" since Obama was elected, including "beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-force feeding detainees who are on hunger strike," according to Reuters.
"Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported incidents of abuse since the inauguration," Ghappour said.
While the dominant media coverage of the U.S. torture apparatus has portrayed these tactics as part of a "Bush era" system that Obama has now ended, when it comes to the IRF teams, that is simply not true. "[D]etainees live in constant fear of physical violence. Frequent attacks by IRF teams heighten this anxiety and reinforce that violence can be inflicted by the guards at any moment for any perceived infraction, or sometimes without provocation or explanation," according to CCR.
In early February 2009, at least 16 men were on hunger strike at Guantanamos Camp 6 and refused to leave their cells for "force feeding." IRF teams violently extracted them from their cells with the "men being dragged, beaten and stepped on, and their arms and fingers twisted painfully." Tubes were then forced down their noses, which one prisoner described as "torture, torture, torture."
In April, Mohammad al-Qurani, a 21-year-old Guantánamo prisoner from Chad managed to call Al-Jazeera and described a recent beating: "This treatment started about 20 days before Obama came into power, and since then Ive been subjected to it almost every day," he said. "Since Obama took charge, he has not shown us that anything will change."
"Describing a specific incident, which took place after [the] change in the U.S. administration, al-Qurani said he had refused to leave his cell because they were not granting me my rights, such as being able to walk around, interact with other inmates and have normal food.
"A group of six soldiers wearing protective gear and helmets entered his cell, accompanied by one soldier carrying a camera and one with tear gas, he said.
"They had a thick rubber or plastic baton they beat me with. They emptied out about two canisters of tear gas on me, he told Al-Jazeera.
"After I stopped talking, and tears were flowing from my eyes, I could hardly see or breathe.
"They then beat me again to the ground, one of them held my head and beat it against the ground. I started screaming to his senior see what hes doing, see what hes doing [but] his senior started laughing and said hes doing his job."
In another incident after Obamas inauguration, prisoner Khan Tumani began smearing excrement on the walls of his cell to protest his treatment. According to his lawyer, when he "did not clean up the excrement, a large IRF team of 10 guards was ordered to his cell and beat him severely. The guards sprayed so much tear gas or other noxious substance after the beating that it made at least one of the guards vomit. Mr. Khan Tumanis skin was still red and burning from the gas days later."
The CCR has called on the Obama administration to immediately end the use of the IRF teams at Guantánamo. Horton, meanwhile, says "detainees should be entitled to compensation for injuries they suffered."
As the abuse continues at Guantánamo, and powerful congressional leaders from both parties and the White House fiercely resist the appointment of an independent special prosecutor, the sad fact is that the best chance for justice for the victims of U.S. Torture may well be an ocean away in Madrid, Spain.
"The Obama administration should not need pressure from abroad to uphold our own laws and initiate a criminal investigation in the U.S.," says Vince Warren, CCRs executive director. "I hope the Spanish cases will impress on the president and Attorney General Eric Holder how seriously the rest of the world takes these crimes and show them the issue will not go away."
Revealed: U.S. Interrogators May Have Killed Dozens of Detainees (5-17-9) http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/139867/revealed:_u.s._interrogators_may_have_killed_dozens_of_detainees/
In all, 98 detainees have died while in U.S. hands, with 34 identified as homicides, at least eight of which were tortured to death. -- United States interrogators killed nearly four dozen detainees during or after their interrogations, according a report published by a human rights researcher based on a Human Rights First report and followup investigations.In all, 98 detainees have died while in US hands. Thirty-four homicides have been identified, with at least eight detainees - and as many as 12 - having been tortured to death, according to a 2006 Human Rights First report that underwrites the researcher's posting. The causes of 48 more deaths remain uncertain. The researcher, John Sifton, worked for five years for Human Rights Watch. In a posting Tuesday, he documents myriad cases of detainees who died at the hands of their US interrogators. Some of the instances he cites are graphic. Most of those taken captive were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They include at least one Afghani soldier, Jamal Naseer, who was mistakenly arrested in 2004. "Those arrested with Naseer later said that during interrogations, US personnel punched and kicked them, hung them upside down, and hit them with sticks or cables," Sifton writes. "Some said they were doused with cold water and forced to lie in the snow. Nasser collapsed about two weeks after the arrest, complaining of stomach pain, probably an internal hemorrhage." CLIP Among the many comments to this article, MANY stand out:
- "Even if the numbers in this report are exaggerated...isn't one enough?America is gone. Say what you want, but America is a rotting pile of corporate military fascism run by a puppet who doesn't have the real power or the real desire to care about these issues. He was a professor of constitutional law, for goodness sakes. Wake up and realize you need to take back your country, or get out while you can. Soon, it will all be over. We all need to hope that the USA doesn't pull the rest of the world underwater with her. Sheez, I get so tired of hearing not only were the 'conspiracy theorists' right, but it was worse than even they thought. Americans are all criminals by association at this point, unless you are actively speaking out, taking action, and working to destroy this power structure built on greed and callous disregard for human rights.Europe should have already turned it's collective back on this hole of a country."
- AND "Anyone who saw 'Frontline' last night got a dose of what really went on and still does. One rule was particularly interesting: If the person you're torturing dies, you're doing it wrong. Oh, and in some cases, it's perfectly alright to torture for personal 'sadistic pleasure'. All signed and approved by the top guys and we all know who they are. It's time Obama owned up to this unpleasant task. Men released from Guantanamo are telling their stories and can't possibly be making this up. We have good reason to fear being attacked by someone or other. They have good reason."
- AND "The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
- AND "These war-crimes epitomize one of the greatest of all evils. But, oh yeah, America has to "look forward", according to President Obama.Imagine if some regular person, not a politician or other employee for the US government, tortured even one person to death!? Do you think that that sadist could for one second just use the defense "We must look forward, not backwards"!?!? But, oh yeah, according to the media and both the Republicans and Democrats in power, anyone who wants even a little justice for the victims of these atrocities is thought of as only a member of the FAR left, the "loony left".We have fallen all the way to HELL, as a nation. Get used to it -- this is the new-normal, it seems."
- AND "As I have been arguing for months, this makes CIA and military personnel murderers, along with those who devised, ordered, justified and supervised these acts, guilty of murder. Obama's, Holder's and Panetta's characterization of these thugs as dedicated public servants who acted in good faith gives us a devastating look at the judgment, ethical values and legal philosophy of these three lawyers sworn to uphold the law and, under the Convention on Torture, affirmatively obligated to enforce it. If this isn't obstruction of justice, I don't know what is."
Human Rights Investigator, Attorney John Sifton: Torture Investigation Should Focus on Estimated 100 Prisoner Deaths (May 14, 2009) http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/14/human_rights_investigator_attorney_john_sifton
We get reaction to the Senate hearing on torture from private investigator and attorney John Sifton, executive director of One World Research, which carries out research for law firms and human rights groups. Sifton has conducted extensive investigations into the CIA interrogation and detention program. He says any investigation of Bush administration torture and rendition should include an estimated 100 homicides of prisoners in US custody.
Noam Chomsky, Unexceptional Americans (May 19, 2009) http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175073/noam_chomsky_unexceptional_americans
Murder, torture, abuse and photos of the same. We've seen some of them, of course. Now, evidently under pressure from his top generals, President Obama has decided to fight the release of other grim photos from the dark side of the Bush years of offshore injustice -- on the grounds that their publication might inflame opinion in the Middle East and our various war zones (as if fighting to suppress their publication won't). In this way, just as the president is in the process of making Bush's wars his own, so he seems to be making much of the nightmare legacy of those years of crime, torture, and cover-up his, too.The photos his Justice Department will fight to suppress (for how long or how successfully we don't yet know) are now officially "his"; next, assumedly, come those military commissions, suspended as Obama took office, which are evidently about to be reborn as Obama era tools of injustice. (This brings to mind, in grimmer form, the old saw about how military justice is to justice as military music is to music.) And with those commissions comes that wonderfully un-Constitutional idea of detaining chosen prisoners indefinitely either entirely without trial or with trials that will be mockeries. And with that, evidently, goes the idea of possibly setting up some sort of new "national security court" to try some detainees. (Keep in mind that the Obama administration is already hanging on tightly to Dick Cheney's "state secrets" privilege to block various lawsuits by those wronged in all sorts of ways in the Bush years.)In other words, if you can't go to court and get the punishments you want, the solution is simply to create courts jiggered in such a way (and surrounded by enough secrecy) that you'll get the decisions you desire. If that isn't a striking definition of American justice, I don't know what is. Obama's national security world is now coming into view -- and it's not a pretty picture, but then, as Noam Chomsky points out, in a tour de force piece below, it hasn't been a pretty picture for a long, long time. Tom
Why We Can't See the Trees or the Forest
The Torture Memos and Historical Amnesia
By Noam Chomsky
The torture memos released by the White House elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable. The surprise, less so.For one thing, even without inquiry, it was reasonable to suppose that Guantanamo was a torture chamber. Why else send prisoners where they would be beyond the reach of the law -- a place, incidentally, that Washington is using in violation of a treaty forced on Cuba at the point of a gun? Security reasons were, of course, alleged, but they remain hard to take seriously. The same expectations held for the Bush administration's "black sites," or secret prisons, and for extraordinary rendition, and they were fulfilled. More importantly, torture has been routinely practiced from the early days of the conquest of the national territory, and continued to be used as the imperial ventures of the "infant empire" -- as George Washington called the new republic -- extended to the Philippines, Haiti, and elsewhere. Keep in mind as well that torture was the least of the many crimes of aggression, terror, subversion, and economic strangulation that have darkened U.S. history, much as in the case of other great powers. CLIP
Obamas 48-Hour Makeover (May 15, 2009) http://news.antiwar.com/2009/05/15/obamas-48-hour-makeover/
President Departs From Last Vestiges of Change Mantra -- President Obamas tenuous claim to the antiwar community was already unraveling long before he formally took office. Shortly after the election his national security teams extremely hawkish makeup was drawing concern. Two days after his inauguration, he had backed off his campaign promise to have all US troops out of Iraq in 16 months. Still, his supporters could find some measure of solace in his halting of the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay and his promises of a more transparent administration. Or at least they used to be able to. In the past 48 hours the administration has backed off of the few scraps of significant policy revisions thrown to an electorate hungry for his campaigns mantra of change. First, he overruled the Pentagons decision that undisclosed photos of detainee abuse could be released. Perplexingly, he insisted that the photos did not contain anything particularly sensational, before cautioning that making them public would imperil the troops and inflame anti-American opinion. It was less than 48 hours later that the president confirmed that he was going to resume the military tribunals against detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He had previously ordered such tribunals halted when pledging to close the facility. Now instead of the rule of law, the administration is offering a modest selection of new rights detainees will enjoy, none of them particularly earth-shattering. Even the pledge to close the detention center has become something of a hollow victory, amid reports that the administration is floating to Congress the idea of holding many of the detainees on American soil indefinitely and without trial. This legal sleight of hand would be accomplished through the creation of National Security Courts, which would be empowered to try detainees without the legal rights enjoyed in US criminal courts. The new courts would also provide an aegis for holding the detainees without trial while still appearing to have some measure of legal oversight on their captivity.At the end of the day the only group really satisfied with President Obamas new policies are the hawkish wing of the Republican Party. And why shouldnt they? After all they supported them when President Bush introduced the notion of keeping people imprisoned without charging them with a crime, and was the architect of much of the secrecy-obsessed culture President Obama was so quick to dismiss on taking office, and is now so quick to embrace. For human rights groups, antiwar factions and even much of his own partys base, the disappointment is becoming palpable.
The Curious Case of the Establishment Liberal: Condemning Torture, Condoning Mass Murder (May 13, 2009) http://www.strike-the-root.com/91/davisc/davisc1.html
A peculiar notion has arisen of late, maintaining that things like torture, domestic spying and illegal wars are all attributable to the Right -- namely, the administration of President George W. Bush -- and are in fact historical anomalies, not at all in keeping with the traditions of these great United States . The idea that war crimes and civil liberties violations are strictly conservative affairs is particularly comforting to wide-eyed Democrats in awe of Americas First Black President , and it affords the heirs to the same liberal establishment which brought us Vietnam and Hiroshima another opportunity to grandstand about their commitment to human rights even as the noble humanitarian Barack Obama continues to extra-judicially murder foreigners with unmanned drones. Unfortunately for partisan Democrats and even more so the victims of U.S. exceptionalism American imperialism and its associated evils have long enjoyed bipartisan backing, though liberals tend to be somewhat more sheepish about their support for killing, torturing and maiming poor people overseas. The torture debate has provided the liberals of the establishment punditocracy but the latest opportunity to claim human rights violations are an aberration -- a regrettable mistake in the words of Obama -- the use of which was relegated to an eight year span wherein ignoble right-wingers broke with past tradition and authorized a whole host of evils that would make their predecessors in power turn in their graves. Though abhorrent, the message is that these crimes are a departure from the past, when prisoners of war and others in the U.S. government's possession were presumably set up at the Four Seasons and given a lollipop and a court-appointed attorney. While that take on history is at odds with reality the U.S. government's torture school for Latin American human rights abusers in training, the School of the Americas, for instance, was started under the watch of liberal icon Harry Truman it serves a useful purpose in allowing establishment liberals the opportunity to decry the crimes of their right-wing foes with a forceful moral indignation that would appear ridiculous if they acknowledged the long-running, bipartisan nature of the U.S. empire's many transgressions. CLIP
Court Says Detainee's Lawsuit Can't Proceed (May 19, 2009) POLITICIANS ARE ABOVE THE LAW... PERIOD! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/18/AR2009051800966_pf.html
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that former attorney general John D. Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III may not be sued by a Pakistani man who was seized in the United States after the 2001 terrorist attacks and who alleged harsh treatment because of his religion and ethnicity.The court ruled 5 to 4 that the top officials were not liable for the allegedly discriminatory actions of their subordinates unless they had ordered the measures. CLIP
Obamas Animal Farm: Bigger, Bloodier Wars Equal Peace and Justice
by Prof James Petras
Global Research, May 17, 2009
The Deltas are psychos You have to be a certified psychopath to join the Delta Force , a US Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the 1980s. Now President Obama has elevated the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the US and NATO military command in Afghanistan. McChrystals rise to leadership is marked by his central role in directing special operations teams engaged in extrajudicial assassinations, systematic torture, bombing of civilian communities and search and destroy missions. He is the very embodiment of the brutality and gore that accompanies military-driven empire building. Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal directed the Pentagons Joint Special Operations (JSO) Command which operates special teams in overseas assassinations.
The point of the Special Operations teams (SOT) is that they do not distinguish between civilian and military oppositions, between activists and their sympathizers and the armed resistance. The SOT specialize in establishing death squads and recruiting and training paramilitary forces to terrorize communities, neighborhoods and social movements opposing US client regimes. The SOTs counter-terrorism is terrorism in reverse, focusing on socio-political groups between US proxies and the armed resistance. McChrystals SOT targeted local and national insurgent leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through commando raids and air strikes. During the last 5 years of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld period the SOT were deeply implicated in the torture of political prisoners and suspects. McChrystal was a special favorite of Rumsfeld and Cheney because he was in charge of the direct action forces of the Special Missions Units. Direct Action operative are the death-squads and torturers and their only engagement with the local population is to terrorize, and not to propagandize. They engage in propaganda of the dead, assassinating local leaders to teach the locals to obey and submit to the occupation. Obamas appointment of McChrystal as head reflects a grave new military escalation of his Afghanistan war in the face of the advance of the resistance throughout the country.
The deteriorating position of the US is manifest in the tightening circle around all the roads leading in and out of Afghanistans capital, Kabul as well as the expansion of Taliban control and influence throughout the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Obamas inability to recruit new NATO reinforcements means that the White Houses only chance to advance its military driven empire is to escalate the number of US troops and to increase the kill ratio among any and all suspected civilians in territories controlled by the Afghan armed resistance.
The White House and the Pentagon claim that the appointment of McChrystal was due to the complexities of the situation on the ground and the need for a change in strategy. Complexity is a euphemism for the increased mass opposition to the US, complicating traditional carpet bombing and military sweep operations. The new strategy practiced by McChrystal involves large scale, long term special operations to devastate and kill the local social networks and community leaders, which provide the support system for the armed resistance.
Obamas decision to prevent the release of scores of photographs documenting the torture of prisoners by US troops and interrogators (especially under command of the Special Forces), is directly related to his appointment of McChrystal whose SOT forces were highly implicated in widespread torture in Iraq. Equally important, under McChrystals command the DELTA, SEAL and Special Operations Teams will have a bigger role in the new counter-insurgency strategy. Obamas claim that the publication of these photographs will adversely affect the troops has a particular meaning: The graphic exposure of McChrystals modus operendi for the past 5 years under President Bush will undermine his effectiveness in carrying out the same operations under Obama.
Obamas decision to re-start the secret military tribunals of foreign political prisoners, held at the Guantanamo prison camp, is not merely a replay of the Bush-Cheney policies, which Obama had condemned and vowed to eliminate during his presidential campaign, but part of his larger policy of militarization and coincides with his approval of the major secret police surveillance operations conducted against US citizens.
Putting McChrystal in charge of the expanded Afghanistan-Pakistan military operations means putting a notorious practitioner of military terrorism the torture and assassination of opponents to US policy at the center of US foreign policy. Obamas quantitative and qualitative expansion of the US war in South Asia means massive numbers of refugees fleeing the destruction of their farms, homes and villages; tens of thousands of civilian deaths, and eradication of entire communities. All of this will be committed by the Obama Administraton in the quest to empty the lake (displace entire populations) to catch the fish (armed insurgents and activists).\
Obamas restoration of all of the most notorious Bush Era policies and the appointment of Bushs most brutal commander is based on his total embrace of the ideology of military-driven empire building. Once one believes (as Obama does) that US power and expansion are based on military conquests and counter-insurgency, all other ideological, diplomatic, moral and economic considerations will be subordinated to militarism. By focusing all resources on successful military conquest, scant attention is paid to the costs borne by the people targeted for conquest or to the US treasury and domestic American economy. This has been clear from the start: In the midst of a major recession/depression with millions of Americans losing their employment and homes, President Obama increased the military budget by 4% - taking it beyond $800 billion dollars.
Obamas embrace of militarism is obvious from his decision to expand the Afghan war despite NATOs refusal to commit any more combat troops. It is obvious in his appointment of the most hard-line and notorious Special Forces General from the Bush-Cheney era to head the military command in subduing Afghanistan and the frontier areas of Pakistan.
It is just as George Orwell described in Animal Farm: The Democratic Pigs are now pursuing the same brutal, military policies of their predecessors, the Republican Porkers, only now it is in the name of the people and peace. Orwell might paraphrase the policy of President Barack Obama, as Bigger and bloodier wars equal peace and justice.
Recall that immediately after 9/11, U.S. officials put out the official version of what had motivated the terrorists. They hate America for its freedom and values, they cried. The anger and hatred that had motivated the attackers had nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy, U.S. officials claimed.
Yet, today we have President Obama, on the extreme urging of the Pentagon, reneging not only on his campaign promise of transparency but also on the commitment U.S. officials made to release the latest batch of torture photos that the Pentagon has kept hidden for some five years.
What are Obama and the Pentagon using as an excuse to keep these photographs secret? Theyre saying that foreigners will get angry if they see photographic evidence of bad things that U.S. officials have been doing to foreigners as part of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11.
Isnt that an implicit admission that foreigners do get angry over the bad things that the U.S. government does as part of its foreign policy? Wouldnt the same principle apply to the bad things that the U.S. government was doing to people in the Middle East as part of U.S. foreign policy before 9/11?
Well, lets review the bad things that the U.S. government was doing to people in the Middle East prior to 9/11.
1. The U.S. government supported Saddam Hussein, whom U.S. officials at a later date portrayed as the new Hitler. In fact, the reason the President Bush and Vice-President Cheney were certain that their invasion of Iraq would uncover WMDs is because they still had the receipts for the WMDs that the U.S. had delivered to Saddam during the 1980s so that he could use them to kill the Iranian people.
2. The U.S. government intervened in the Persian Gulf War, after having signaled to Saddam that it had no interest in the Iraq-Kuwait border dispute, killing countless Iraqis in the process. It was during that war that the Pentagon ordered the destruction of Iraqi water and sewage facilities after determining that doing so would help spread infection and disease among the Iraqi people.
3. The U.S. government and the UN (operating at the behest of the U.S. government) imposed a system of brutal sanctions for more than 10 years against Iraq, which prevented the country from repairing its water and sewage facilities, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.
4. Speaking on behalf of the U.S. government, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright announced to the world that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions had been worth it.
5. U.S. officials establish no-fly zones over Iraq, without the consent of Congress or the UN, which kill more Iraqis.
6. U.S. officials station U.S. troops, who are viewed as infidels by many Muslims, near Mecca and Medina, which are considered among the holiest lands in the Muslim religion.
7. U.S. officials continued unconditional financial and military aid to the Israeli government.
If people in the Middle East would get so angry at seeing some more photographs depicting sex abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. personnel that U.S. national security would be threatened, as Obama and the Pentagon are now claiming, doesnt it stand to reason that theyd get just as angry, if not more so, over the much worse things that the U.S. government was doing in the Middle East prior to 9/11? And doesnt that imply that the they hate us for our freedom and values line was bogus from the get-go?
Dick Cheney keeps saying "enhanced interrogation" was used to stop imminent attacks, but evidence is mounting that the real reason was to invent evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida.
By Joe Conason - May. 14, 2009
The single most pertinent question that Dick Cheney is never asked -- at least not by the admiring interviewers he has encountered so far -- is whether he, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush used torture to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq. As he tours television studios, radio stations and conservative think tanks, the former vice-president hopes to persuade America that only waterboarding kept us safe for seven years.
Yet evidence is mounting that under Cheneys direction, "enhanced interrogation" was not used exclusively to prevent imminent acts of terror or collect actionable intelligence -- the aims that he constantly emphasizes -- but to invent evidence that would link al-Qaida with Saddam Hussein and connect the late Iraqi dictator to the 9/11 attacks.
In one report after another, from journalists, former administration officials and Senate investigators, the same theme continues to emerge: Whenever a prisoner believed to possess any knowledge of al-Qaidas operations or Iraqi intelligence came into American custody, CIA interrogators felt intense pressure from the Bush White House to produce evidence of an Iraq-Qaida relationship (which contradicted everything that U.S. intelligence and other experts knew about the enmity between Saddams Baath Party and Osama bin Ladens jihadists). Indeed, the futile quest for proof of that connection is the common thread running through the gruesome stories of torture from the Guantánamo detainee camp to Egyptian prisons to the CIA's black sites in Thailand and elsewhere.
Perhaps the sharpest rebuke to Cheney's assertions has come from Lawrence Wilkerson, the retired Army colonel and former senior State Department aide to Colin Powell, who says bluntly that when the administration first authorized "harsh interrogation" during the spring of 2002, "its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qaida."
In an essay that first appeared on the Washington Note blog, Wilkerson says that even when the interrogators of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the Libyan al-Qaida operative, reported that he had become compliant -- in other words, cooperative after sufficient abuse -- the vice-presidents office ordered further torture of the Libyan by his hosts at an Egyptian prison because he had not yet implicated Saddam with al-Qaida. So his interrogators put al-Libi into a tiny coffin until he said what Cheney wanted to hear. Nobody in the U.S. intelligence community actually believed this nonsense. But now, al-Libi has reportedly and very conveniently "committed suicide" in a prison cell in Libya, where he was dispatched to the tender mercies of the Bush administration's newfound friends in the Qaddafi regime several years ago. So the deceased man won't be able to discuss what actually happened to him and why.
Wilkerson's essay was followed swiftly by an investigative report in the Daily Beast, authored by former NBC News producer Robert Windrem, who interviewed two former senior intelligence officers who told him a similar story about a different prisoner. In April 2003, U.S. forces captured an Iraqi official named Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi, who had served in Saddam's secret police, the Mukhabarat. Those unnamed officials said that upon learning of Dulaymi's capture, the vice-president's office proposed that CIA agents in Baghdad commence waterboarding him, in order to elicit information about a link between al-Qaida and Saddam. Evidently that suggestion was not enforced by Charles Duelfer, the head of the Iraq Study Group who controlled Dulaymi's interrogation.
The same kind of demands were directed toward interrogators in Guantánamo, according to the testimony of former Army psychiatrist Charles Burney, who testified that he and his colleagues interrogating prisoners at the detention camp felt "pressure" to produce proof of the mythical link.
"While we were there, a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," he told the Army inspector general. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link ... there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results." In other words, they were instructed to use abusive techniques, as recounted in the investigation of torture by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Looking back, we now know that coerced confessions -- and in particular the questionable assertions by al-Libi -- were highlighted by administration officials promoting the case for war with Iraq, in the landmark Cincinnati speech by President Bush in October 2002 and in Colin Powells crucial presentation to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003, the eve of the war.
Whether Bush, Cheney and their associates were seeking real or fabricated intelligence, they knowingly employed methods that were certain to produce the latter -- as American officials well knew because those same techniques, especially water torture, had been used to elicit false confessions from captured Americans as long ago as World War II and the Korean conflict.
Cheney now claims that he preserved the country from terrorism and saved thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives. We need a serious investigation, with witnesses including the former vice-president under oath, to determine what he and his associates actually did with the brutal powers they arrogated to themselves -- because instead their actions cost thousands upon thousands of American and Iraqi lives, all in the service of a political lie.
Related video and article:
Jesse Ventura Waterboarded as Navy SEAL: "It's Torture" (13 min) http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2009/05/12/lkl.jesse.long.cnn
"You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders." So says Navy SEAL, professional wrestling entertainer, star of "Predator" and former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura in an interview with Larry King. Ventura claims that waterboarding is torture, based on the waterboarding he endured during SEAL training. He has more to say on Bush/Cheney, calls for legalizing marijuana, and wants to be ambassador to Cuba.
Military attorney: Waterboarding is tip of the iceberg (May 20, 2009 ) http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/05/20/worse-than-waterboarding/
A military attorney who represented a now-freed Guantanamo detainee told CNN on Wednesday that waterboarding is only the tip of the icebergAir Force Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley was the lawyer for Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian national who was arrested by the Pakistani government in April 2002 on suspicion of being a member of al Qaeda. He was then shuffled through a series of CIA ghost prisons before being imprisoned at Guantanamo for five years. Last winter, President Obama ordered him released to the United Kingdom, where he had been a legal resident.Bradley told CNN that when she was first assigned to represent Mohamed, she did not question he was a hardened terrorist, because my government was saying these were the worst of the worst. However, she now says, Theres no reliable evidence that Mr. Mohamed was going to do anything to the United States.According to Bradley, when Mohamed was first held at a CIA prison in Morocco, They started this monthly treatment where they would come in with a scalpel or a razor type of instrument and they would slash his genitals, just with small cuts.Following that torture, Mohamed confessed that he had attended an al Qaeda training camp and discussed plans to make a dirty bomb. He also answered No to the question, While in U.S. military custody have you been treated in any way that you would consider abusive?Now Bradley believes, This has nothing to do about national security, it has to do with national embarrassment.In February, when Mohamed was still being held at Guantanamo, she wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian saying, It is worth bearing in mind that all charges against Binyam have been dropped and that Binyams chief prosecutor resigned, citing the unfairness of the system. I profoundly hope that he is not being kept in Guantánamo to avoid information surrounding his rendition and torture coming out. - View the video there
"Get Out of Iraq. Get Out Afghanistan" "Come Home America." By Dennis Kucinich http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22630.htm
WASHINGTON - May 14 - Speaking on a Supplemental Appropriations bill that would continue to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:"America went to war against Iraq based on a lie. We were told back in 2002 that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The previous administration even pursued torture to try to extract false confessions in order to justify the war. It is time to tell the truth. The truth is we should not have prosecuted a war against the Iraqi people. The truth is the Democratic Senate could have stopped the Iraq war in 2002. The truth is we Democrats were given control of Congress in 2006 to end the war. The truth is this bill continues a disastrous war, which has cost the lives of thousands of our soldiers. The truth is the occupation has fueled the insurgency. The truth is the Iraq war will cost the American and the Iraqi people trillions of dollars and as many as a million innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of this war."Don't tell the American people that you are ending the war by continuing to fund the war. Don't tell the American people that the war will end when their plans leave 50, 000 troops in Iraq. Don't tell the American people that the way out of Afghanistan is to escalate our presence."Get out of Iraq. Get out Afghanistan. Come home America." Check the many comments at http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22630.htm including "The House voted for the 97 billion supplemental funding bill, regardless of what Kucinich said, or the progressive caucus, with a majority of about 10-1 in favor. The lawmakers have mostly thrown their lot in with the warmongers and bankers. The funding for these pirates is payback for campaign contributions. The solution, short of a tax-strike, the use of alternative currency, or immigrating elsewhere, must be to contact these nitwits 'en masse', and if they don't change, throw the bums out!" and "The only growth industries left unscathed in a post-ponzi America are the arms industry and the resource intervention industry. War is big business by other means. Killing is the cost of capital doing business. Military intervention makes up for a poor diplomatic vocabulary. The previous administration all have better-paying jobs now, working for the war industry. These plants all have street addresses.. and "We can't change the fact that the government is controlled by an alliance of Wall Street, AIPAC and the military industrial complex. But, we need to keep listening to Dennis for one simple reason. He tells the truth. And keeping the truth alive is the best we can do right now."
Forwarded by Phyllis Montague (email@example.com)
What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?
A president who does a good job for the ruling interest groups is paid off with remunerative corporate directorships, outrageous speaking fees, and a lucrative book contract. If he is young when he assumes office, like Bill Clinton and Obama, it means a long life of luxurious leisure.
Fighting the special interests doesn't pay and doesn't succeed. On April 30 the primacy of special over public interests was demonstrated yet again. The Democrats bill to prevent 1.7 million mortgage foreclosures and, thus, preserve $300 billion in home equity by permitting homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages, was defeated in the Senate, despite the 60-vote majority of the Democrats. The banksters were able to defeat the bill 51 to 45.
These are the same financial gangsters whose unbridled greed and utter irresponsibility have wiped out half of Americans retirement savings, sent the economy into a deep hole, and threatened the US dollar's reserve currency role. It is difficult to imagine an interest group with a more damaged reputation. Yet, a majority of "the people's representatives" voted as the discredited banksters instructed.
Hundreds of billions of public dollars have gone to bail out the banksters, but when some Democrats tried to get the Senate to do a mite for homeowners, the US Senate stuck with the banks. The Senate's motto is: "Hundreds of billions for the banksters, not a dime for homeowners."
If Obama was naive about well-intentioned change before the vote, he no longer has this political handicap.
Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin acknowledged the voters defeat by the discredited banksters. The banks, Durbin said, "frankly own the place."
It is not difficult to understand why. Among those who defeated the homeowners bill are senators Jon Tester (Mont), Max Baucus (Mont), Blanche Lincoln (Ark), Ben Nelson (Neb), Many Landrieu (La), Tim Johnson (SD), and Arlan Specter (Pa). According to reports, the banksters have poured a half million dollars into Tester's campaign funds. Baucus has received $3.5 million; Lincoln $1.3 million; Nelson $1.4 million; Landrieu $2 million; Johnson $2.5 million; Specter $4.5 million.
The same Congress that can't find a dime for homeowners or health care appropriates hundreds of billions of dollars for the military/security complex. The week after the Senate foreclosed on American homeowners, the Obama "change" administration asked Congress for an additional $61 billion dollars for the neoconservatives war in Iraq and $65 billion more for the neoconservatives war in Afghanistan. Congress greeted this request with a rousing "Yes we can!"
The additional $126 billion comes on top of the $533.7 billion "defense" budget for this year. The $660 billionprobably a low-ball numberis ten times the military spending of China, the second most powerful country in the world.
How is it possible that "the world's only superpower" is threatened by the likes of Iraq and Afghanistan? How can the US be a superpower if it is threatened by countries that have no military capability other than a guerilla capability to resist invaders?
These "wars" are a hoax designed to enrich the US armaments industry and to infuse the "security forces" with police powers over American citizenry.
Not a dime to prevent millions of Americans from losing their homes, but hundreds of billions of dollars to murder Muslim women and children and to create millions of refugees, many of whom will either sign up with insurgents or end up as the next wave of immigrants into America.
This is the way the American government works. And it thinks it is a "city on the hill, a light unto the world."
Americans elected Obama because he said he would end the gratuitous criminal wars of the Bush brownshirts, wars that have destroyed America's reputation and financial solvency and serve no public interest. But once in office Obama found that he was ruled by the military/security complex. War is not being ended, merely transferred from the unpopular war in Iraq to the more popular war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Obama, in violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, continues to attack "targets" in Pakistan. In place of a war in Iraq, the military/security complex now has two wars going in much more difficult circumstances.
Viewing the promotion gravy train that results from decades of warfare, the US officer corps has responded to the "challenge to American security" from the Taliban. "We have to kill them over there before they come over here." No member of the US government or its numerous well-paid agents has ever explained how the Taliban, which is focused on Afghanistan, could ever get to America. Yet this hyped fear is sufficient for the public to support the continuing enrichment of the military/security complex, while American homes are foreclosed by the banksters who have destroyed the retirement prospects of the US population..
According to Pentagon budget documents, by next year the cost of the war against Afghanistan will exceed the cost of the war against Iraq. According to a Nobel prize-winning economist and a budget expert at Harvard University, the war against Iraq has cost the American taxpayers $3 trillion, that is, $3,000 billion in out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs, such as caring for veterans.
If the Pentagon is correct, then by next year the US government will have squandered $6 trillion dollars on two wars, the only purpose of which is to enrich the munitions manufacturers and the "security" bureaucracy.
The human and social costs are dramatic as well and not only for the Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani populations ravaged by American bombs. Dahr Jamail reports that US Army psychiatrists have concluded that by their third deployment, 30 percent of American troops are mental wrecks. Among the costs that reverberate across generations of Americans are elevated rates of suicide, unemployment, divorce, child and spousal abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and incarceration.
In the Afghan "desert of death" the Obama administration is constructing a giant military base. Why? What does the internal politics of Afghanistan have to do with the US?
What is this enormous waste of resources that America does not have accomplishing besides enriching the American munitions industry?
China and to some extent India are the rising powers in the world. Russia, the largest country on earth, is armed with a nuclear arsenal as terrifying as the American one. The US dollar's role as reserve currency, the most important source of American power, is undermined by the budget deficits that result from the munition corporations wars and the bankster bailouts.
Why is the US making itself impotent fighting wars that have nothing whatsoever to do with is security, wars that are, in fact, threatening its security?
The answer is that the military/security lobby, the financial gangsters, and AIPAC rule. The American people be damned.
As expected, the so-called Republican leadership, the right wing blogosphere, and the social conservative demagogic entertainers (Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Savage, Coulter, etc.) have been extremely critical of President Obama since his election. What is surprising though is the fact that the Progressive blogosphere has been equally vocal and critical of the President on some major issues where they feel that he has not kept his campaign promises. Is that criticism warranted?
From the beginning of our Republic candidates have made promises during election campaigns. It's the nature of our political system; a necessary evil. In order to get elected, you have to make promises. And also from the beginning of our Republic, candidates once successfully elected have broken some of those campaign promises for one reason or another. And that has been the case with Candidate Obama versus President Obama.
Is is wrong not to keep all campaign promises? Probably not. Campaign promises, by their nature, are often made without the benefit of optimal information and advice. The information available to a candidate is not the same as that available to the President of the United States. Once in office, the candidate-now-President receives a much more comprehensive and complete picture of issues and situations. A President has the benefit of an amazing amount of data, intelligence, and advice never available to the candidates.
What is important is how President Obama arrives at his decision to honor or back off of campaign promises. He intentionally created a "team of rivals" within his Cabinet to ensure vigorous debate on the issues. This President actually listens to opposing views and considers those opposing views when making a decision. President Obama has shown, in the four or so months since taking office, that he is willing to re-examine issues where he has previously taken a stand and to re-examine those issues based on the data and intelligence available to him as President of the United States. And that is a good thing.
Is it wrong for the Progressive blogosphere to challenge the President when he backs off of his campaign promises? Absolutely not. The blogosphere helps to keep our elected officials honest and accountable. And that too is a good thing.
But President Obama needs to do a much better job of explaining his position reversals, how he arrived at those reversals, and why he changed his mind since becoming President of the United States. The American people deserve this information from their President. They have a right to know how and why Candidate Obama's views have evolved into President Obama's decisions.
PRESIDENT Barack Obama hopes to tempt Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader, into making concessions to the Palestinians by holding out the prospect of a grand alliance of moderate Arab states against a nuclear Iran.
The meeting with Netanyahu in Washington tomorrow will be the biggest test of Obamas negotiating skills on an issue that has tested so many of his White House predecessors. When Netanyahu, a hardline conservative, met President Bill Clinton more than a decade ago, Clinton said furiously: He thinks he is the superpower.
Shimon Peres, Israels president, told Obama in Washington recently that Netanyahu had changed because of the potential for an alliance between moderate states such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Turkey against the growing power of Iran and its sway over militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
However, the Israeli prime minister has continued to oppose a two-state solution involving Israel and the Palestinians, which Obama believes is essential for peace.
Obama has chosen Cairo as the venue for an address to the Islamic world on June 4, partly to bolster the prestige of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, as a power broker.
Egypt has seen its role supplanted by Saudi Arabia but also, largely, by Iran, said David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. It is the logical country to take a pro-western leadership role.
Egypt recently announced the arrest of a 49-strong Hezbollah cell in Sinai, although the round-up took place in November. The group was said to be planning an attack on Israeli tourists at Red Sea resorts. The Egyptian authorities have also ratcheted up the rhetoric against Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader backed by Iran and Syria.
Leon Panetta, the CIA director, flew to Israel two weeks ago to warn Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the defence minister, not to surprise Obama with a strike on Irans nuclear facilities.
The two leaders are likely to avoid direct linkage between Iran and the search for a peace settlement at tomorrows meeting but this quid pro quo will underlie all their talks. Netanyahu is convinced that a nuclear-armed Iran presents a greater threat to Israel than a few tactical concessions to the Palestinians.
Joe Biden, the American vice-president, has called on Israel to freeze Jewish settlements, dismantle checkpoints and allow Palestinians freedom of movement to show it is serious about peace. Netanyahu may be willing to freeze the boundaries of settlements but he might try to wriggle out of a commitment to stop building them, say observers.
There is enormous pressure on Obama and Netanyahu to avoid a clash before the Cairo speech. Strange as it may seem, said a veteran Israeli diplomat, Obama is more dependent now on Netanyahu than vice versa, since one wrong move by Israel towards Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah and the Muslim world will turn against Obama.
Leon Panetta's mission to stop Israel bombing Iranian nuclear plant (May 15, 2009) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6289593.ece
Americas spy chief was sent on a secret mission to Israel to warn its leaders not to launch a surprise attack on Iran without notifying the US Administration.As Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, prepares to visit Washington, it emerged yesterday that Leon Panetta, the head of the CIA, went to Israel two weeks ago. He sought assurances from Mr Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister, that their hawkish new Government would not attack Iran without alerting Washington.Concerns have been rising that Mr Netanyahu could launch a strike on Tehrans atomic programme, in the same way that Israel hit Saddam Husseins Osirak reactor in 1981. Israel has been preparing for such an eventuality. It has carried out long-distance manoeuvres and is due to hold its largest civil defence drills this summer. The countrys leaders reportedly told Mr Panetta that they did not intend to surprise the US on Iran. CLIP
Iran test-fires missile capable of striking Israel (May 21, 2009) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1087100.html
Iran test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile yesterday which Western analysts believe is capable of hitting targets in Israel, as well as southern Europe and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The test, announced yesterday by Iran's media, was confirmed by the U.S. and other Western countries. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in the midst of an election campaign, commented on the test-firing of the missile during a speech in the northern town of Semnan. (...) Yesterday, Najjar said that the missile was "equipped with a new navigation system as well as precise and sophisticated sensors". Israeli security experts say that the test of a missile with a 2,000 kilometer range is indicative of impressive technological advances on the part of Iran. They note that the missile improves Iran's strategic capabilities and will shorten the response time for Israel's defenses. (...) Ayalon also underlined that Iran is trying to develop a ballistic missile with a range of 10,000 kilometers that could reach the coast of the United States. Paul Ingram, executive director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), stressed that it's difficult to determine if the Sejil 2 test launch is a worrisome development, but that it sounded a lot like campaign posturing by Ahmadinejad. "It does sound like campaign rhetoric," Ingram said. "It is no coincidence that we are in the middle of an election campaign. Ahmadinejad has staked his domestic reputation on a position that has been to heighten tensions between Iran and the West. This current phase is very difficult to have any sort of cold analysis of the facts, because that is exactly what Ahmadinejad doesn't want. As with so many of these launches, the reality on the ground is so much less sensational than Ahmadinejad likes to whip up in these cases." U.S. government officials are confirming that Iran launched a missile yesterday. One official said it appeared the test was a success - that is, that Tehran succeeded in launching a medium-range missile. The announcement comes less than a month before Iran's presidential election and just two days after President Barack Obama declared a readiness to seek deeper international sanctions against Tehran if it did not respond positively to U.S. attempts to open negotiations on its nuclear program. CLIP Check also US officials: Iran missile may be more advanced
'Hitler' up for re-election (May 14, 2009) http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KE14Ak02.html
In case you havent heard, the Iranian Hitler, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is up for reelection in June. And you would think that nothing could possibly be more important on the international front than defeating Hitler at the ballot box. Isnt he Hitler, after all? And not just any old Hitler the way, say, Muammar al-Gaddafi and Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein were seen as Hitlers in their day. No, Ahmadinejad is treated as the worst of all the Hitlers. Namely, a Hitler who has openly, sort of, said that he wants to wipe Israel off the map (or so the gross misquotation goes) as soon as his mad Muslim minions can develop a nuclear warhead and a missile to deliver it. That is why Israel is talking about launching a preemptive strike against this Hitlers nuclear strikes, is it not?So you would think that the White House and the American press would be moving heaven and earth to support a reformist candidate like former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi right now if it means denying Hitler four more years to advance his alleged plan. And there is an actual chance that Mousavi could beat him. For Ahmadinejad has been as conservatively stupid about the economy as any Bush-wannabe can. And Iranian voters are very unhappy about their falling standard of living (being American consumers at heart).So you would think But wait! Stop for a second. This all sounds too weird. If Hitler is Hitler, how can there be an election? How can the outcome be in doubt?That is precisely the point. That is why we are hearing nothing about the approaching election coming out of the White House. That is why there is not a word about it in the corrupt corporate press. If Ahmadinejad really were a Hitler, there would be no election. There would be no campaigning. There would be no last-minute efforts to win over Iranian voters. If the man were another Hitler, his political opponents would be shot on the spot. CLIP
Scott Horton Interviews Scott Ritter "Nuclear disarmament is not a pipe dream" May (14th, 2009) http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/05/14/scott-ritter-7/
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter discusses the newly assertive U.S. role in relations with Israel, how ending nationalism-inspiring threats against Iran will allow a moderate government to take hold, Israels inability to destroy Irans nuclear facilities without U.S. help, how missile defense provokes nuclear proliferation and why nuclear weapons can and should be abandoned in our lifetimes. MP3 here. (42:45)
Clock ticking as Russia, US kick off nuclear arms talks (17 May 2009) http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=§ion=international&xfile=data/international/2009/May/international_May1166.xml
MOSCOW - Russia and the United States open fresh nuclear disarmament negotiations this week under pressure to strike a deal by years end that experts say will have far-reaching consequences for world security.The talks mark the resumption, after a generation of drift, of a process begun in 1969 at the height of the Cold War and are a central element of US President Barack Obamas stated desire to reset frayed ties with Russia.The initial two-day negotiating session was due to start Tuesday. Heads of the US and Russian delegations held a technical meeting in Rome last month, but the Moscow talks marked the formal start of the process, officials said.Disagreements between the two countries on the size, nature and purpose of their nuclear arsenals and strategic weapons systems abound, but both have indicated recently that the political will to overcome them now exists.There are good chances for bringing our positions closer and for working out agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week after meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.Pressure on negotiators was heightened after the White House announced Obama will travel to Moscow on July 6 for a summit meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on reducing nuclear weapons arsenals and other security challenges. CLIP
Obama's word breaks ice in Geneva arms talks (May 17, 2009) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i4X9rRzxKfB3wSR1dJfFFn_qQCkwD987FLB80
GENEVA (AP) A single word from Barack Obama has put new life into the stale old disarmament talks in Geneva, where diplomats are hailing a "remarkable shift" by the Americans in favor of a treaty clamping down on production of the stuff of nuclear bombs.The U.S. president's word "verifiable" has set the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament on a possible course toward negotiating a treaty after years of deadlock, most recently because the Bush administration argued that a pact couldn't be verified by inspections and monitoring.In his speech April 5 in the Czech Republic, Obama detailed a packed agenda of goals in nuclear arms control, including slashing U.S. and Russian doomsday arsenals, adopting the treaty banning all nuclear tests, and negotiating a "new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons." CLIP
Obama says Iran war is not off the table (17 May 2009) UNCONSCIONABLE RHETORIC! http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=95022§ionid=351020101
(...) "I've been very clear that I don't take any options off the table with respect to Iran. I don't take options off the table when it comes to US security, period," said Obama. Iran would be a main topic of talks during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with President Obama in Washington this week. The new government of Barack Obama says it wants to engage diplomatically with Iran to resolve the country's nuclear issue but has simultaneously followed in the Bush administration's footsteps by pursuing double-edged policy of carrots and sticks with Iran. (...) Obama also justified later US government decisions if nuclear talks do not stop Iran's pursuit of the nuclear know-how which Tehran -- a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- refuses to relinquish as its inalienable rights according to NPT regulations."If it doesn't work, the fact that we have tried will strengthen our position in mobilizing the international community, and Iran will have isolated itself, as opposed to a perception that it seeks to advance that somehow it's being victimized by a US government that doesn't respect Iran's sovereignty," Obama said.In April, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told US lawmakers that Washington was 'willing' to engage diplomatically with Iran but at the same time threatened Tehran with 'very tough, crippling sanctions' if the desired results were not achieved. The US president also ruled out making decision for Tel Aviv to prevent the regime from launching a unilateral war against Tehran. "I don't think it's my place to determine for the Israelis what their security needs are," he said. "I can make an argument to Israel as an ally that the approach we are taking is one that has to be given a chance and offers the prospect of security, not just for the United States but also for Israel that is superior to some of the other alternatives." However, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon earlier on Saturday said that he could not imagine any attack against Iran without Washington's approval. Washington and Tel Aviv -- the sole possessors of nuclear warheads in the Middle East -- have stepped up accusations that Iran is amassing weapons-grade uranium.According to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency figures, however, Iran has produced some 1,010 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU) -- a level "less than 5 percent."Only enriched to high levels of above 90 percent, can uranium be used for production of nuclear weapons.
Ex-AIPACer Weissman comes out hard against military action in Iran (May 20th, 2009) http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=252
(...) Theres no assurance an attack on Irans nuclear facilities - even if all of them could be located - would be anything more than a temporary setback, Weissman told me. Instead, a military strike would unify Iranians behind an unpopular regime, ignite a wave of retaliation that would leave thousands dead from Teheran to Tel Aviv, block oil exports from the Persian Gulf and probably necessitate a ground war, he said. He also attacks the idea, propagated by Netanyahu among others, that Irans rulers are a messianic apocalyptic cult and therefore undeterrable: Weissman said Israels worries about Iran getting a nuclear weapon are understandable, but despite some of the rhetoric coming out of Teheran, the Iranian leaders are not fanatics and theyre not suicidal. They know that Israel could make Iran glow for many years. He endorses the Obama administrations argument that progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front is necessary for progress on the Iranian front, and attacks Netanyahus claim that the Iranian threat is sufficient to unite Israel with the so-called moderate Arab states: Trying to separate the issues, even refusing to endorse the two-state approach, is part of the sophistry of people like [Binyamin] Netanyahu who want to avoid confronting the peace process, he said. Irans ability to screw around in the Israel-Arab arena would be severely impaired by pressing ahead on the Palestinian and Syrian tracks instead of looking for excuses not to. Finally, he argues that the U.S. and Israel will have to end up accepting some kind of peaceful Iranian nuclear energy program - and they actually need it; its already too late to stop it entirely. CLIP
America has lost her soul, and so has her president.
A despairing country elected a president who promised change. Americans arrived from every state to witness in bitter cold Obamas swearing-in ceremony. The mall was packed in a way that it has never been for any other president.
The peoples good will toward Obama and the expectations they had for him were sufficient for Obama to end the gratuitous wars and enact major reforms. But Obama has deserted the people for the interests. He is relying on his non-threatening demeanor and rhetoric to convince the people that change is underway.
The change that we are witnessing is in Obama, not in policies. Obama is morphing into Dick Cheney.
Obama has not been in office four months and already a book could be written about his broken promises.
Obama said he would close the torture prison, Guantanamo, and abolish the kangaroo courts known as military tribunals. But now he says he is going to reform the tribunals and continue the process, but without confessions obtained with torture. Getting behind Obamas validation of the Bush/Cheney policy, House Democrats pulled the budget funding that was to be used for closing Guantanamo.
The policy of kidnapping people (usually on the basis of disinformation supplied by their enemies) and whisking them off to Third World prisons to be interrogated is to be continued. Again, Obama has substituted a "reform" for his promise to abolish an illegal policy. Rendition, Obama says, has also been reformed and will no longer involve torture. How would anyone know? Is Obama going to assign a U.S. government agent to watch over the treatment given to disappeared people by Third World thugs? Given the proclivity of American police to brutalize U.S. citizens, nothing can save the victims of rendition from torture.
Obama has defended the Bush/Cheney warrantless wiretapping program run by the National Security Agency and broadened the governments legal argument that "sovereign immunity" protects government officials from prosecution and civil suits when they violate U.S. law and constitutional protections of citizens. Obamas Justice Department has taken up the defense of Donald Rumsfeld against a case brought by detainees whose rights Rumsfeld violated.
In a signing statement this month, Obama abandoned his promise to protect whistleblowers who give information of executive branch illegality to Congress.
Obama is making even more expansive claims of executive power than Bush. As Bruce Fein puts it: "In principle, President Obama is maintaining that victims of constitutional wrongdoing by the U.S. government should be denied a remedy in order to prevent the American people and the world at large from learning of the lawlessness perpetrated in the name of national security and exacting political and legal accountability."
Obama, in other words, is committed to covering up the Bush regimes crimes and to ensuring that his own regime can continue to operate in the same illegal and unconstitutional ways.
Obama is fighting the release of the latest batch of horrific torture photos that have come to light. Obama claims that release of the photos would anger insurgents and cause them to kill our troops. That, of course, is nonsense. Those resisting occupation of their land by U.S. troops and NATO mercenaries are already dedicated to killing our troops, and they know that Americans torture whomever they capture. Obama is fighting the release of the photos because he knows the barbaric image that the photos present of the U.S. military will undermine the publics support for the wars that enrich the military/security complex, appease the Israel Lobby, and repay the campaign contributions that elect the U.S. government.
As for bringing the troops home from Iraq, this promise, too, has been reformed. To the consternation of his supporters, Obama is leaving 50,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The others are being sent to Afghanistan and to Pakistan, where on Obamas watch war has broken out big time with already one million refugees from the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.
Meanwhile, war with Iran remains a possibility, and at Washingtons insistence, NATO is conducting war games on former Soviet territory, thus laying the groundwork for future enrichment of the U.S. military/security complex. The steeply rising U.S. unemployment rate will provide the needed troops for Obamas expanding wars.
Obama can give a great speech without mangling the language. He can smile and make people believe his rhetoric. The world, or much of it, seems to be content with the soft words that now drape Dick Cheneys policies in pursuit of executive supremacy and U.S. hegemony.
Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous academic appointments. He has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House in March, 2008.
From Antiwar Law Professor to Warmonger in 100 Days (May 19, 2009) http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/47696,opinion,barack-obama-from-anti-war-law-professor-to-warmonger-in-100-days
How long does it take a mild-mannered, anti-war, black professor of constitutional law, trained as a community organiser on the South Side of Chicago, to become an enthusiastic sponsor of targeted assassinations, 'decapitation' strategies and remote-control bombing of mud houses at the far end of the globe?There's nothing surprising here. As far back as President Woodrow Wilson, in the early 20th century, American liberalism has been swift to flex its imperial muscle and whistle up the Marines. High-explosive has always been in the hormone shot.The nearest parallel to Obama in eager deference to the bloodthirsty counsels of his counter-insurgency advisors is John F. Kennedy. It is not surprising that bright young presidents relish quick-fix, 'outside the box' scenarios for victory.Obamas course is set and his presidency is already stained the familiar blood-red CLIP
Why Do Afghans Have a Life Expectancy of Only 44 Years?
18 May 2009 -- by Abdul Malik Mujahid
According to the CIA World Factbook, an Afghan's life expectancy is merely 44 years. That's 20 to 30 years fewer than neighboring Pakistan and all other surrounding countries. It is just one result of the ongoing devastation in that country.
The war in Afghanistan did not start in 2001 with the US invasion. It began 30 years ago in December 1979, when the former Soviet Union invaded the country. The human toll of the conflict is staggering: More than a million Afghans have been killed and 3 million maimed.
Five million (one third of the pre-war population) were forced to leave their country and became refugees. There are still 3.1 million Afghan refugees today, making up 27 percent of the global refugee population. Most of them live in Pakistan. Another two million Afghans were displaced within the country. In the 1980s, one out of two refugees in the world was an Afghan.
Most Afghans alive today have seen nothing but war.
Daily life in Afghanistan is miserable. Only six percent have electricity in a country which gets as cold as Chicago in winter. Even in Kabul, the country's capital, electricity comes for only a few hours a day. Traditional wood heating is difficult since not much wood is left in Afghanistan after 30 years of wars and forest devastation. Over 1,000 people died because of cold weather last year.
"About two million state school students do not have access to safe drinking water and about 75 percent of these schools in Afghanistan do not have safe sanitation facilities," according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
There is no law and order in most of Afghanistan. Government barely exists in Kabul. Former warlords are the leaders. That is demonstrated by the fact that "Afghanistan is the world's largest cultivator and supplier of opium (93 percent of the global opiates market), according to the [Afghanistan Opium Survey 2008] by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime." [A British daily paper] actually reported that "the four largest players in the heroin business are all senior members of the Afghan government."
The Taliban, which has lost its legitimacy due to its brutality, are sometimes remembered by Afghans as those who brought peace to Afghanistan.
Women continue to be the No. 1 victims of the country's 30 years of warfare. According to Malalai Joya, an elected member of the Afghan Parliament and outspoken critic of warlords and war criminals in the government, "the propaganda to the world about liberating Afghanistan and women and fighting against terrorists are lies." In her speech accepting a human rights award in London, she said:
Our nation is still living under the shadow of war, crimes and brutalities of the fundamentalists, and women are the primary and silent sacrifice of this situation. Justice doesn't exist in Afghanistan. Every sector of life in Afghanistan today is a tragedy, from women's rights to security, law and order and domination of a drug mafia.
Almost two generations of Afghan children have grown up seeing nothing but war, bombing, homelessness and hunger. They are an easy target for those who want to play Afghans against each other, through money, drugs and guns.
Afghanistan was almost self-sufficient in food before the Soviet invasion in 1979. The leftist government had instituted many economic and social reforms. But the Soviets went in for the bait set up by the US to take revenge for the Vietnam war, as bragged about by Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser. That was the beginning of the Afghan tragedy 30 years ago. Since then, the country has not seen a day of peace except for the brief brutal peace of the Taliban era.
America trained, financed and equipped Afghan refugees to become mujahideen to kill the Communist Soviets. Along the way, we created a cadre of fighters, including Osama bin Laden. Then, we supported and financed the Taliban, and now we are trying to kill them as well.
In seven years of US occupation of Afghanistan, the government of Hamid Karzai and American influence have remained limited to Kabul and a few other smaller areas. Now, it is not just the Americans, NATO and Pakistan that are playing their cards, but India, Russia and Iran also have increased embassy staff and active participation in carving a realm of power in Afghanistan.
If the British Empire in the 19th century could not succeed in occupying Afghanistan despite close to a century of war on and off, and the Soviets failed to do the same during the 20th century, we cannot win either. Isn't it about time that we Americans in the 21st century rethink the "good war" in Afghanistan? After seven years of going nowhere, it is surely time for a new strategy.
Consider this: If the Soviets, with 120,000 troops at any given time (500,000 total) could not do it, how can we with only 60,000? An increase of 20,000 to 30,000 American soldiers is unlikely to achieve military victory.
And the Soviet Union was just across the border from Afghanistan, not tens of thousands of miles away as America is.
In Iraq, which is half of the size of Afghanistan, the US had more than 150,000 troops plus 190,000 contractors, killing one million people and destroying the whole infrastructure of the country.
Afghanistan has 16 percent more people than Iraq, It has a far more challenging military environment because two-thirds of Afghanistan is mountainous terrain suitable for guerrilla warfare unlike the flat plains of Iraq.
Most Afghans have been raised accustomed to war and hardship during the last three decades, unlike the comparatively more urbanized Iraqis.
That is the reason the outgoing commander of NATO-ISAF, Gen. Dan McNeill, publicly requested anywhere between 100,000 and 400,000 more troops for the fight in Afghanistan.
President Obama has been right to pursue diplomacy with countries like Iran and for extending a hand to the Muslim world. However, he is dangerously wrong for pursuing the military path in Afghanistan. It is one that will only exacerbate terrorism, as well as further destroy a nation crippled by 30 years of war. It will lead to the deaths of more American soldiers. And I have no doubt that it will further lower the life expectancy of Afghans, those who continue to suffer the most.
On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobbys bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. This legislation requires the US Department of State to monitor anti-semitism world wide.
To monitor anti-semitism, it has to be defined. What is the definition? Basically, as defined by the Israel Lobby and Abe Foxman, it boils down to any criticism of Israel or Jews.
Rahm Israel Emanuel hasnt been mopping floors at the White House.
As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 passed, it will become a crime for any American to tell the truth about Israels treatment of Palestinians and theft of their lands.
It will be a crime for Christians to acknowledge the New Testaments account of Jews demanding the crucifixion of Jesus.
It will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of the Israel Lobby on the White House and Congress, such as the AIPAC-written resolutions praising Israel for its war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza that were endorsed by 100 per cent of the US Senate and 99 per cent of the House of Representatives, while the rest of the world condemned Israel for its barbarity.
It will be a crime to doubt the Holocaust.
It will become a crime to note the disproportionate representation of Jews in the media, finance, and foreign policy.
In other words, it means the end of free speech, free inquiry, and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Any facts or truths that cast aspersion upon Israel will simply be banned.
Given the hubris of the US government, which leads Washington to apply US law to every country and organization, what will happen to the International Red Cross, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the various human rights organizations that have demanded investigations of Israels military assault on Gazas civilian population? Will they all be arrested for the hate crime of excessive criticism of Israel?
This is a serious question.
A recent UN report, which is yet to be released in its entirety, blames Israel for the deaths and injuries that occurred within the United Nations premises in Gaza. The Israeli government has responded by charging that the UN report is tendentious, patently biased, which puts the UN report into the State Departments category of excessive criticism and strong anti-Israel sentiment.
Israel is getting away with its blatant use of the American government to silence its critics despite the fact that the Israeli press and Israeli soldiers have exposed the Israeli atrocities in Gaza and the premeditated murder of women and children urged upon the Israeli invaders by rabbis. These acts are clearly war crimes.
It was the Israeli press that published the pictures of the Israeli soldiers T-shirts that indicate that the willful murder of women and children is now the culture of the Israeli army. The T-shirts are horrific expressions of barbarity. For example, one shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a crosshairs over her stomach and the slogan, One shot, two kills. These T-shirts are an indication that Israels policy toward the Palestinians is one of extermination.
It has been true for years that the most potent criticism of Israels mistreatment of the Palestinians comes from the Israeli press and Israeli peace groups. For example, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Jeff Halper of ICAHD have shown a moral conscience that apparently does not exist in the Western democracies where Israels crimes are covered up and even praised.
Will the American hate crime bill be applied to Haaretz and Jeff Halper? Will American commentators who say nothing themselves but simply report what Haaretz and Halper have said be arrested for spreading hatred of Israel, an anti-semitic act?
Many Americans have been brainwashed by the propaganda that Palestinians are terrorists who threaten innocent Israel. These Americans will see the censorship as merely part of the necessary war on terror. They will accept the demonization of fellow citizens who report unpalatable facts about Israel and agree that such people should be punished for aiding and abetting terrorists.
A massive push is underway to criminalize criticism of Israel. American university professors have fallen victim to the well organized attempt to eliminate all criticism of Israel. Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at a Catholic university because of the power of the Israel Lobby. Now the Israel Lobby is after University of California (at Santa Barbara,) professor Wiliam Robinson. Robinsons crime: his course on global affairs included some reading assignments critical of Israels invasion of Gaza.
The Israel Lobby apparently succeeded in convincing the Obama Justice (sic) Department that it is anti-semitic to accuse two Jewish AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, of spying. The Israel Lobby succeeded in getting their trial delayed for four years, and now Attorney General Eric Holder has dropped charges. Yet, Larry Franklin, the DOD official accused of giving secret material to Rosen and Weissman, is serving 12 years and 7 months in prison.
The absurdity is extraordinary. The two Israeli agents are not guilty of receiving secrets, but the American official is guilty of giving secrets to them! If there is no spy in the story, how was Franklin convicted of giving secrets to a spy?
Criminalizing criticism of Israel destroys any hope of America having an independent foreign policy in the Middle East that serves American rather than Israeli interests. It eliminates any prospect of Americans escaping from their enculturation with Israeli propaganda.
To keep American minds captive, the Lobby is working to ban as anti-semitic any truth or disagreeable fact that pertains to Israel. It is permissible to criticize every other country in the world, but it is anti-semitic to criticize Israel, and anti-semitism will soon be a universal hate-crime in the Western world.
Most of Europe has already criminalized doubting the Holocaust. It is a crime even to confirm that it happened but to conclude that less than 6 million Jews were murdered.
Why is the Holocaust a subject that is off limits to examination? How could a case buttressed by hard facts possibly be endangered by kooks and anti-semitics? Surely the case doesnt need to be protected by thought control.
Imprisoning people for doubts is the antithesis of modernity.
I've also witnessed a rising concern emanating from Israel over the last 6 or so years.It's clear, the World at large is getting fed up with the antics of this outlaw nation riding roughshod over others under the guise of self defence, when it is they themselves, who are the agressors.IMHO, I see no evidance whatever, to substantiate the belief that criminalisng something ceases said activity, in fact I can say the exact opposite.What I believe we will see, is further advancement of Anti-semetism behaviour being fueled by the victims who have been criminalised as a consequence.Israel is fast losing friends all over the World, and behaviour such as is proposed in this article will only accelerate that.Old saying, "Can't stand the heat, get outa the kitchen".Maybe the citizens of Israel should take a good long hard look at themselves, and maybe they just might find the cause of their problems lies within.
Exactly correct. I confess what continues to puzzle me is how the right wing extreme of Israel continues to have limitless power in America (and that's spelled America -- NOT Israel). The Chinese have called us the United State of Israel. I am convinced this domination of American foreign policy by the AIPAC, etc., is one of the twin cancers of the Earth -- the other is 9/11 (unrelated?). Human civilization is doomed to the degree we let these infinitely righteous murderers in the name of God to continues to be the dog that wags America. Ron Emmanuel was the proof that Obama had sold his soul during the campaign -- probably cheap. THIS ISSUE IS AS IMPORTANT AS 9/11.
"Jews totally run Hollywood." Stein proudly admits. He then goes on to provide a long, long list of Hollywood/media chieftains-all Jews!-to prove his point. On his list: Fox News President Peter Chernin; Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey; Walt Disney CEO Robert Igor; Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton; Warner Brothers Chairman Barry Meyer; CBS CEO Leslie Moonves; MGM Chairman Harry Sloan; and NBC/Universal Studios CEO Jeff Zucker.ADL's Foxman Admits Jewish ControlStein says he then called Abe Foxman, Chairman of the Jewish ADL, to ask him, why don't more Jews just come out and boast at this great accomplishment? Foxman responded by admitting that yes, it's true that most of the top execs "happen to be Jewish." In fact, Foxman told Stein, "all eight major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish." ("Who happen to be"...Lol)
Israel Wants Prison For Those Recognizing the Palestinian HolocaustJewish Groups Remain Silent (May 20, 2009) http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/israel-wants-prison-for-those-recognizing-the-palestinian-holocaust-as-jewish-groups-remain-silent/
In the latest coughing fit laying bare the sickness of soul infecting and guiding the very existence of the Jewish state, one of Israel's largest political parties has introduced a bill in the Knesset outlawing freedom of speech when it comes to commemorating the other Holocaust about which no one seems to know anything, meaning what was done to the Palestinians 60+ years ago by the Jews in an event known as "al Nakbah". Introduced by MK Alex Miller of Israel Beiteinu ("Our Land Israel") the bill is set for deliberation this week in a Knesset dominated by radical, messianic, violence-prone members of both the aforementioned IB party and Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud. In the interest of covering up and then "wiping off the map" of history Israel's 6-decade legacy of racism, genocide and terrorism against the Palestinian people, the law is but one more manifestation of what is now the all-too-typical Judeo-centric paradigm so much a part of the way Jews see themselves in relation to the rest of the world's peoples ever since the days of Abraham and Moses. In effect, the law criminalizes any publicly-demonstrated mourning surrounding the event taking place 61 years ago when as many as 750,000 PalestiniansChristian and Muslim alikewere "persuaded" by Jewish thugs working for terrorist organizations such as Irgun and the Stern Gang to succumb to a pre-planned program of ethnic cleansing by relocating themselves to all the luxury, opulence and comfort of tented outdoor refugee camps scattered throughout Gaza, Jordan, the West Bank and Lebanon. CLIP
Netanyahu Adviser Moves Out of the Shadows (May 21, 2009) http://original.antiwar.com/cook/2009/05/20/netanyahu-adviser/
As might be expected of a former senior official with Israels spy agency Mossad, Uzi Arad the most trusted political adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, Israels prime minister has got used to being in the shadows as he exerts influence. But that is fast changing. Arad was prominent in preparing Netanyahus tough positions as he headed for Washington this week to meet Barack Obama, the U.S. president, who is seeking to advance a Middle East peace plan. Arad, recently appointed the head of Israels revamped National Security Council, will oversee an organization that Netanyahu regards as the linchpin of the new governments security and foreign policy.One military analyst, Amir Oren, has noted that, given Netanyahus unstable coalition, Arad "is likely to emerge as a strong adviser to a weak government."Arad has been outspoken both in rejecting Palestinian statehood and in promoting the military option against Iran, positions believed to be shared by the Israeli prime minister and that will be at the root of a possible confrontation in the coming months with the Obama administration. Arad is also one of only a handful of senior figures on Netanyahus Iran Task Force, charged with devising a strategy for dealing with Tehran and its supposed ambitions to attain nuclear weapons. (...) He had been barred from entering the U.S. by the Bush administration after implication in a spying scandal. A Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, jailed in 2006 for passing secrets about Iran to the Israel lobby group AIPAC, was reported to have met Arad frequently. (...) The Obama administration has since restored Arads visa and agreed to his political rehabilitation, not least so that he will be able regularly to meet his U.S. opposite number, Gen. James Jones.Arad spent more than 20 years in Mossad, much of it working in the intelligence section, before being appointed as Netanyahus foreign policy adviser in his first government in the late 1990s. (...) In an indication of his implacable opposition to a Palestinian state, Arad recently told an interviewer: "We want to relieve ourselves of the burden of Palestinian populations, not the territories."He has suggested that the Palestinians be required to become economically self-reliant, in the hope that their leaders will be forced to promote family planning methods to reduce the population. His motto is that the Palestinians need "one man, one job" before they need "one man, one vote."He has also promoted a complex territorial exchange involving Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt that would see many Palestinians relocated to the Sinai so that Israel could take control of chunks of the West Bank. But his greatest vehemence is reserved for Iran an antipathy apparently shared by the Israeli prime minister. In the past he has called for "maximum deterrence," including threats to strike "anything and everything of value" in Iran, including its "holiest sites."As Netanyahus plane touched down in Washington on Sunday, Arad briefed reporters that Tehran posed an "existential" threat to Israel and that "all options are indeed on the table."
President bids to wean US from gas-guzzling instincts with push for action to lower car emissions
By David Usborne, 20 May 2009
The United States served notice yesterday that it finally intends to take firm action to combat the planet's climate crisis, announcing unprecedented plans to regulate vehicle emissions from 2012 with exhaust standards that match those sought for years by California and a handful of other states.
Unveiling the new plan, surrounded by car executives from the US, Japan and Europe, President Barack Obama left no one in doubt that he means to make good on his campaign promises to drag his country out of years of lethargy and inaction on climate protection.
"The status quo is no longer acceptable," President Obama declared, standing in the White House rose garden. "We have done little to increase the fuel efficiency of America's cars and trucks for decades. This is unprecedented change."
The measures are the result of weeks of behind-closed-doors negotiation. If successfully enacted, they will reshape a car industry that is already trying to wean itself from its past gas-guzzling instincts and promise to make the American fleet 40 per cent cleaner and more fuel efficient than it is today.
Importantly, all sides have given their support to the package and will drop any related lawsuits. Although the standards impose new challenges on the car industry at a time of great economic strain, having certainty about what will be expected from it going forward was enough to buy its support.
With so many officials and industry executives around him, Mr Obama was clearly also firing across the bows of Congress, where his signature climate change bill that includes provisions for a controversial cap-and-trade system for industry emissions is likely to face formidable opposition. "This is staggering," said the governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger after hearing Mr Obama speak. "This president after 120 days in office has taken the action and pulled everyone together. We are ecstatic."
The proposed programme would cover the period 2012-2016 with the goal of achieving a standard of 35.5 miles per gallon across the fleet. Officials said that this will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil, equivalent to taking 58 million cars off the road in the US for an entire year. It would also instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate car exhaust emissions for the first time.
Among those applauding the plan are environmental groups. "Few actions could have a more profound impact in the fight against global warming," commented Bill Becker, leader of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. "After an initial phase-in, every new vehicle sold in every state in the country will be required to meet California's clean-car greenhouse gas standards."
Officials conceded that the tough regulations will add an average of $600 (£387) to the cost of a new car but contended that the savings in fuel purchases would cancel out the extra cost within three years. "The fact is, everyone wins," the President insisted.
For years, California fought with the Bush White House for the right to set its own standards for vehicle emissions. The proposals, which were supported by other states including New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, triggered lawsuits from the car industry in Detroit, and the Bush administration was consistent in opposing California's initiatives. As part of this new deal, the state has agreed in advance to defer to Washington henceforth on emissions standards.
Climate change is one of many priorities for the new President and will have to compete with healthcare reform for his attention. He knows that his green agenda may be in particular peril on Capitol Hill because opinion polls continue to show that tackling global warming and energy wastage is one of the lowest priorities for an American public that is far more concerned with a return to economic prosperity.
"Ending our dependence on fossil fuels represents perhaps the most difficult challenge we have ever faced," President Obama said. "Ending this dependence will take time, will take incredible effort, will take historic innovation. More than anything else it will take a willingness to look past our differences."
The President added that the oil which would be saved by the policy is equivalent to the US's imports for an entire year from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Venezuela and Nigeria combined.
Related comment (posted there) and articles:
Pathetic shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic would probably be the best description this so-called breakthrough 'goal of achieving a standard of 35.5 miles per gallon' Currently available [Japanese] cars achieve greater than 40mpg (the one I occasionally drive achieves less than 5 litres per kilometre in modern units). I suspect the Tata 624 will achieve close to 70mpg. Anyway, the problem will be solved well before 2016 because: a) the US won't have a motor industry; b) few Americans will be able to afford to drive cars, since the US is bankrupt and the economy is in free fall; c) the rapid fall off in worldwide internationally tradeable oil associated with Peak Oil will result in the US (and many other nations) being starved of oil imports. After that does of reality, I guess it's back to fantasy land for most folk.
Global warming could be twice as bad as forecast (May 19, 2009) http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE54I6PF20090519?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global warming's effects this century could be twice as extreme as estimated just six years ago, scientists reported on Tuesday.Earth's median surface temperature could rise 9.3 degrees F (5.2 degrees C) by 2100, the scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found, compared to a 2003 study that projected a median temperature increase of 4.3 degrees F (2.4 degrees C). The new study, published in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, said the difference in projection was due to improved economic modeling and newer economic data than in previous scenarios. Earlier climate warming may also have been masked by the global cooling effect of 20th-century volcanoes and by the emission of soot, which can add to warming, the scientists said in a statement.To reach their conclusions, the MIT team used computer simulations that took world economic activity as well as climate processes into account, they said in a statement. These projections indicate that "without rapid and massive action," this dramatic warming will take place this century, the statement said. The outcome looks much worse if nothing is done to combat climate change, compared to earlier projections. But there is less change if strong policies are put in place now to cut greenhouse gas emissions.Without action, said study co-author Ronald Prinn, "there is significantly more risk than we previously estimated. This increases the urgency for significant policy action." The study was released as U.S. President Barack Obama announced a plan to set national emissions standards for cars and trucks to cut climate-warming pollution and as a bill to institute a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gases was debated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Coal, Electric Industries Big Winners in Climate Bill Deal (5/15/09) http://washingtonindependent.com/43264/coal-electric-industries-big-winners-in-climate-bill-deal
Regional Interests Watering Down Bill Aimed at Curbing Global Climate Change Effects -- Even as House Democrats are celebrating their deal with conservative-leaning colleagues on climate change legislation, the real winners under the compromise have been the coal, electric and auto industries, who are largely the source of the nations carbon emissions to begin with.Details of the compromise are still emerging, but already the chief sponsors of the measure Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have been forced to lower carbon-reduction targets, cut renewable fuel standards and dole out billions of dollars in benefits to the nations largest polluting industries. Many environmentalists say the compromise comes at the too-high cost of undermining the bills very purpose, which is to slash emissions dramatically enough to prevent a warming planet from heating further. Some are asking Democrats either to bolster the environmental protections or to scrap the proposal altogether.Illustration by: Matt MahurinWe are not prepared to give away the farm just so that we can say that we helped to get legislation passed, Janet Keating, executive director of the West Virginia-based Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, said in a statement Friday. There are some costs that are too high to pay when it comes to the environment, clean air and clean water. We urge Congress to either fix the Waxman-Markey bill or dump it and start over.The saga highlights the thorny congressional climate change debate, where partisan politics takes a backseat to regional interests, and the influence of the energy lobby is king. Indeed, the concessions from Waxman and Markey to this point have been made to satisfy Democrats representing regions heavy with coal, oil and automaker interests. CLIP
Microwave And Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure: A Growing Environmental Health Crisis?
Can radiofrequency radiation (RFR) adversely affect vital processes in the human body? The answer is clearly yes. Can this occur at environmental levels of exposure? The answer is clearly yes. Which processes? What levels? This short paper is an introduction to what we know (and do not know) about RFR.
Bioeffects that are reported to result from RF exposure include changes in cell membrane function, major changes in calcium metabolism and cellular signal communication, cell proliferation, activation of proto-oncogenes, activation of HSP heat shock proteins as if heating has occurred when it has not and cell death. Resulting effects reported in the scientific literature include DNA breaks and chromosome aberrations, increased free radical production, cell stress and premature aging, changes in brain function including memory loss, learning impairment, headaches and fatigue, sleep disorders, neurodegenerative conditions, reduction in melatonin secretion and cancer. The virtual revolution in science taking place now is based on a growing recognition that non-thermal or low intensity RF exposure can be detected in living tissues and results in well-defined bioeffects.
The most rapidly growing environmental pollutant in today's environment is probably electromagnetic fields (EMF) including radiofrequency radiation. Public exposure to electromagnetic radiation (radiofrequency and microwave) is growing exponentially worldwide with the introduction and use of cordless phones, cellular phones, pagers and antennas in communities designed to transmit their RF signals. Cell phone exposures can be intense enough to cause DNA damage and/or failure to repair DNA damage in the brain. It's not necessarily the heating that causes damage. It appears to be exposure to non-thermal levels of RFR that interferes with normal body processes in the brain, skull, ear and nerves of the head, neck and face.
Casual use (a few hours per month) has not yet been linked to increased brain tumors, but heavy users like some business travelers, realtors and physicians have not yet been studied as a group so any reassurance given to cell phone users in recent media coverage of the Muscat study, for example, is false reassurance. The Muscat (JAMA 2001) study compared infrequent users (less than one hour per month) to frequent users (greater than 10 hours per month) effectively blurring any effect for users who may bill 1000 or 2000 or even 2500 minutes per month. However, even this study did report a doubling of risk for neuroepithelial tumors. And a tripling of eye cancer (uveal melanoma) was recently reported in cell phone users. The first cancer related to cordless phone use was reported in Sweden where such use was linked to development of an angiosarcoma. Some oncologists and brain cancer surgeons report they have excised brain tumors positioned along the antenna alignment and on the side of the head as the cell phone has been used in heavy cell phone users. Although the U.S. media has been relatively silent on reporting studies linking RFR to health effects, this is not true of western European countries, Australian, Israel, the former USSR and China.
Chronic long-term exposure to lower-level RFR from wireless antennas is also linked to some of these effects, particularly on the immune system, mental function, sleep interference and on DNA. These exposures are reported in the range of 0.1 to 10 or 20 micrwatts per centimeter squared exposure (a measure of power density in the air). An alternate measure is SAR or specific absorption rate which tells how much energy deposition occurs inside the body (how much RFR is absorbed by different tissues). SARs as low as 0.0024 watts/kilogram whole body exposure at cell phone frequencies are reported to cause serious interference with body processes (in this case DNA damage and/or DNA repair processes).
Long-term and cumulative exposure to such massively increased RF has no precedent in history. These exposures simply did not exist 150 years ago. Life on earth evolved with vanishingly small RF exposures, most of that from natural lightning. We have increased the background nonionizing radiation by 1012. There is no conclusive scientific evidence on the safety or risk of such exposures, but a growing body of scientific evidence reports such bioeffects and adverse health effects are possible, if not probable. The weight of the evidence that bioeffects occur with RFR exposure is beyond argument and some of the evidence suggests that serious health effects may result, particularly from cumulative or chronic exposure. Scientific study on cumulative effects is very incomplete, and some studies report that low-intensity chronic exposure may produce permanent adverse health consequences.
Public Policy and the Precautionary Principle
Public policies to address the issue of decision making in the face of this scientific uncertainty are evolving but are far behind the growth curve of wireless communications. The global infrastructure will be in place before we know what the health risks will be. The precautionary principle (erring on the side of conservatism) is frequently promoted by public health advocates given the massive public health risk that is possible if such exposure is carcinogenic or has other adverse bioeffects. Even if the risk to an individual is slight (which is at present suspected but not conclusively proven), the sheer number of people around the globe who may be at risk makes this policy choice of utmost importance. At present, no U.S. agency systematically monitors health effects from radiofrequency/microwave radiation. The wireless industry was recently required to provide mobile phone buyers with the SAR (specific absorption rate or a measure of energy absorbed into the brain from mobile phones). The industry has stated it will not post SARs on the box, but place it hidden inside to prevent comparison shopping. The FDA is allowing this as compliance with its recommendation to provide meaningful information to the public.
The United States has a de facto policy of "post-sales surveillance" with respect to mobile phones. This means mobile phones can be sold to the public and only after years of use might there be studies to characterize what health consequences, if any, have arisen as a result. In shorter terms, "we are the experiment" for health effects. "Post-sales surveillance" is inadequate to protect existing users. And given that the U.S. has no research funding for RF exposure, there will be no systematic look at what mobile phone use does to people.
Weight Of The Scientific Evidence For Nonthermal Radiofrequency/Microwave Radiation Health Effects
While the scientific community continues to study and understand the physical (and quantum mechanic) basis for electromagnetic effects on living systems, there is little to protect or inform the public about consequences of unlimited reliance on these new technologies. For all the potential good that such inventions bring to the U.S., including the immeasurable benefit of the telecommunications/Internet revolution, we must be vigilant about what consequences may come uninvited. The evidence for an association between RFR and bioeffects in living systems spans the entire range from effects on individual atoms (calcium) and molecules (DNA or the genetic code in each living cell) to humans and other mammalian species. In the past 50 years, experimentation across the electromagnetic spectrum of frequencies has found replicable bioeffects on everything from mice to humans. The cascade of biological, chemical and physical events that occur in living systems in response to RFR is better understood as the multi-disciplinary scientific community and its science matures. Disease is not the only endpoint of this research. The potential medicinal applications of RFR treatment may also offer unparalleled opportunities for healing and wellness as we gain understanding of how the body receives, processes and responds to the subtle information contained in radiofrequency/microwave energy.
Symptoms of Electrosensitivity/Electrostress
The environmental illness is sometimes termed electrostress or technostress, electrosensitivity or electric allergy. Patients may comment on minor, annoying symptoms or they may be severely debilitated. EMF/RFR exposures can interfere with sleep, work and normal life. What kinds of symptoms might a physician hear from a patient? The most common complaints are: headaches, dizziness and nausea; failing memory, confusion and spatial disorientation; pain and burning feeling in the eyes; parched, thirsty or dry feeling that is not quenched with drinking; ringing in the ears (tinnitus or similar chronic ear-noise); irregular heartbeat and palpitations (shaky stressed feeling); fatigue or exhaustion; insominia and sleep difficulties; skin rashes and sunburn-like redness and swelling of face and neck; burning or tingling of face and extremities and light sensitivity.
Symptoms quickly improve when away from EMF/RFR sources, particularly when the patient moves away from computers, interior fluorescent lighting, transformers, wireless antenna exposures, cell phones and cordless phones, appliances and out of proximity to freeways, electrical substations and power lines, airports, military bases and doppler or other radar installations. All these are potential sources of higher than normal EMF/RFR exposure. Symptoms return very quickly on returning to the original environment. Over time, it appears that sensitivity is increased to smaller and smaller EMF/RFR exposures.
Treatment is not well established, since there is little to no agreement about whether this is a true medical syndrome. Patients report that eliminating exposures to EMF/RFR is the primary way they deal with their symptoms. Occupational exposures that result in chronic symptoms generally cannot be treated without a change in work environment. Some researchers find that antioxidants can retard or eliminate RFR effects in cellular studies (probably by reducing free-radical damage or cellular stress known to occur with RFR exposure).
Some Practical Advice
What About Cordless Phones in Your Home (As Opposed to Mobile or Mobile Phones)?
Cordless phones that you use around the house have far lower levels of RFR, but they still produce RFR that a land line does not. In preference, use a land line, then a cordless, then a mobile phone for continual use, particularly for children.
What About Driving and Using a Cell Phone at the Same Time?
Cell phone use by a driver of a car increases the risk of accident by 4 X (a four hundred percent risk) which is equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol. This may be due both to the distraction and to physical effects of cell phone RFR on the brain, eye and body of the cell phone user.
Are Children at Any Greater Risk?
Probably, since children are growing and their cells are turning over faster than adults. Many of the studies linking power lines and cancer show that children are particularly sensitive to low EMF levels from chronic exposure and develop leukemias in response. The use of "kiddy mobile phones" with a button for mom and a button for dad are terrible ideas at this point.
If you are sitting or standing near a person using a mobile phone, be aware that you are within their radiation pattern for a few feet in all directions. If you are using a mobile phone in the car, your passenger and very possibly your kids in the back seat are within the radiation pattern of the mobile phone. Involuntary exposure to RFR may ultimately be viewed as unacceptable as to "second-hand smoke". In other countries like Japan, there are mobile phone jammers that can be used to kill mobile phone transmissions. They are popular in restaurants, theaters and on the subway. They cover a large room area.
What About the Cell Towers in Neighborhoods?
It is worrisome that the installation of antennas go up in neighborhood locations, near schools, churches and homes. These wireless antennas expose people to involuntary, chronic RFR. Low levels of RFR, which have been shown to be bioactive, are associated with changes in cell proliferation and DNA damage. Unfortunatly, local agencies are prevented from considering RFR health and safety issues in siting/zoning. The FCC is in charge of RFR; the current FCC standard is 1000 µW/cm2. But some scientific studies show adverse health effects reported in the 0.01 to 100 µW/cm2 range (far lower). Other countries limit public exposure to 0.1 µW/cm2 in recognition of bioeffects and potential adverse health effects of nonthermal RFR exposure (Salzburg).
What Are Scientists and Public Policy Researchers Saying About RFR?
The Vienna Resolution (October 1998) provided a consensus statement signed by 16 of the world's leading bioelectromagnetics researchers. It says there is scientific agreement that biological effects from low intensity RF exposures are established. It also says that existing scientific knowledge is inadequate to set reliable exposure standards. That means, no safe exposure can be established. It also urges that there be public participation in making decisions about setting limits and advises that technical information be made available for comparison of EMF exposure in communication devices so that users can make informed decisions for prudent avoidance of EMF.
The Salzburg Resolution (June 2000) was adopted at the International Conference on Cell Tower Siting and would prohibit any cell site from emanating more than 0.1 microwatt/centimeter squared. This would reduce public exposure below 0.1 µW/cm2 in all places. It is a limit that takes into account nonthermal RF bioeffects and reported health effects.
At What Point Do We Adopt Strategies that Are Protective of Public Health?
The basis for decision-making about a relationship between electromagnetic fields, radiofrequency and microwave radiation and adverse health effects at low intensity exposures rests on two key areas. The first is the "weight of the scientific evidence" pointing to a relationship betweeen RF/MW and illness. The scientific evidence needs to be reported to decision-makers in a format that is concise, understandable and accurate.
The second is definition of the basis on which the evidence is judged to be sufficient to take interim or permanent public health steps to reduce risk. Conclusive scientific evidence should not be implicitly or explicitly set as the goal required before any action can be taken to limit public exposure to RF/MW from wireless communications. Given the potential for a very large world-wide public health impact if even a small health risk is present, interim public health actions should be proportionately triggered to the weight of scientific evidence as it grows in support of adverse health effects at low-intensity exposure levels.
For further Information contact Sage Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit Sageassociates.net on the web. A technical manuscript on Radiofrequency Radiation Health Studies is available at a nominal charge for copy and shipping. Ask for Testimony to the UK and Scottish Parliaments by Sage Associates.
Cindy Sage is the owner of Sage Associates, an environmental consulting firm located in Montecito, California. She has been involved in EMF issues as a land use consultant and public policy researcher since 1982. Her firm specializes in land use planning where EMF computer modeling is performed to predict setbacks for magnetic fields.
WiFi goes gigabit... but it won't go through walls (May 13, 2009) WiFi on steroids! http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2009/05/wifi-goes-gigabit-but-wont-go-through-walls.ars
The Wireless Gigabit Alliance wants to bring gigabit data rates to the 60GHz band, and it wants to have the spec ready this year. But this won't replace WiFi; in fact, it won't even go through walls. - The "cable-free living room" exists in the same futuristic space that holds the "paperless office" and the "coherent tax code"and we'll believe in all of them just as soon as we see them. But a new consortium called the Wireless Gigabit Alliance says that it can help make the cable-free household a reality within the next few years by providing a wireless gigabit spec with enough bandwidth to transmit HD video. The plan is like WiFi on steroids, and, just as with steroids, wireless gigabit comes with some serious drawbacks. These (fortunately) do not affect the gonads or cause 'roid rage, but they do mean that you won't likely be using wireless gigabit to transmit through walls. This is an in-room tech only, and therefore not a full replacement for the various WiFi specifications. CLIP
CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR PROCLAIMS MAY 2009 AS ELECTROMAGNETIC SENSITIVITY (EMS) AWARENESS MONTH
Christiane Tourtet B.A.
May 13, 2009
Her Excellency M. Jodi Rell, Governor of the State of Connecticut, signed a proclamation declaring May 2009 as Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS)
Awareness Month in Connecticut. As stated in the proclamation , people in Connecticut and throughout the world have developed Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) as a result of global electromagnetic pollution.
Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) is a painful chronic illness of hypersensitivities reactions to electromagnetic radiations for which there is no known cure. The symptoms of EMS include dermal changes, acute numbness and tingling, dermatitis, flushing, arrhythmia, muscular weakness, tinnitus, malaise, gastric problems, nausea, visual disturbances, severe neurological, respiratory, speech problems and numerous other physiological symptoms.
It is also stated in the proclamation of Her Excellency M. Jodi Rell, that Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) is recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Access Board , and numerous commissions, and that the health of the general population is at risk from electromagnetic exposures, that can lead to this illness induced by electromagnetic radiations, and that this illness may be preventable through the reduction or avoidance of electromagnetic radiations in both indoor and outdoor environments and by conducting further scientific research, and that people with EMS need the support of the medical establishment, understanding of family, friends, co- workers and society as they struggle with their illness and have to adapt to new lifestyles.
For more information on Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) and to view the EMS proclamation signed by Her Excellency M. Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut, please visit the award-winning website: http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/?p=1084
IARC Director Forces Publication Of Interphone Brain Tumor Results - Much Remains To Be Done (May 11, 2009) http://www.microwavenews.com/Interphone.Wild.html
The stalemate over Interphone is coming to an end. A project of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on the possible links between mobile phones and tumors, Interphone has been bogged down for over three years while its members feuded over how to interpret their results. Now, Microwave News has learned, a paper on brain tumor risks is about to be submitted for publication. Christopher Wild, the director of IARC, forced a compromise to resolve what had become a major embarrassment for the agency. In fact, Wild has only achieved a partial resolution. After the brain tumor paper is finally published later this year, much more work on Interphone will still need to be done.A draft of the brain tumor (gliomas and meningiomas) results was completed back in 2005, but the principal investigators in the 13 countries participating in the Interphone project were unable to agree on how to frame the results. Some believed that the data point to higher risks, while others dismissed these findings as artifacts. A number of further drafts were circulated over the years, but in each case a consensus could not be reached. While the final group paper remained in limbo, teams from individual countries published their own results. Five European countries pooled their data and published them too. A number of these papers have indicated a tumor risk associated with long-term use of cell phones. CLIP
Electromagnetic fields: Second-hand exposure to wireless technologies
Andrew Michrowski, Ph.D.
The Planetary Association for Clean Energy, Inc
100 Bronson Avenue, Suite 1001 OTTAWA, Ontario K1R 6G8 (613) 236-6265; fax: 235-5876
What are the issues, the second-hand effects, and the standards for the wireless technologies?
Life on earth has evolved amidst a broad band of electromagnetic frequencies, which originate from throughout the universe. By 1980, environmental exposure to artificial, repetitive or random signals in the radiofrequency / microwave band has risen dramatically - by more than a trillion times, mostly for military technology.
Since 1980, mostly for newly-introduced commercial applications, the average second-hand exposure in Southern Canada has risen from about 0.005 microWatt/cm2 to the current background environmental range of 0.4 to 100.0 ºWatt/cm2. We note an 8 to 20,000-fold increase with peaks in downtown Toronto and some centres, including Brantford and Mississauga. About 100 square kilometres in Southern Ontario have environmental broadband radiofrequency and microwave power emission exposures during timeframes that can exceed the Health Canada Safety Code 6 exposure limit of approximately 0.6 to 1 milliWatt/cm2 (600 - 1,000microWatt/cm2). Such illegal irradiation coverage can be expected to rise exponentially to several hundred square kilometres in both Ontario and Quebec by the end of this decade, on a more persistent basis, as more and more wireless technologies are approved by governments and marketed. Note that individuals within such exposed zones may experience a continual body temperature rise, with time, (but actually feel colder, and may seek greater warmth).
By second-hand exposure, we are referring to cases whereby an individual does not own nor use any radiofrequency/microwave device (wireless communication device, microwave oven, wireless computer tool, surgically implanted or portable RFID spy chip, etc) and is exposed simply by being in an irradiated zone, often outdoors. Additionally, there are places (public buildings, institutions, restaurants, etc.) where multi-frequency power absorption is unsolicited - actually, legally-speaking, in trespass of body functions. This level of average second-hand exposure is doubling annually in sparsely populated regions and tripling within more affluent urban zones. We can expect at 3 to 5 fold increase in second-hand exposure by 2010.
What is behind the increases in second-hand and direct-use microwave exposure?
We can expect a further 3 to 5-fold Canadian general population increase in environmental exposure of microwave frequencies within a few years, with more wireless technologies, such as: smart water and electric power meters, intercarrier text messaging, mobile satellite radio, music downloaders, wireless e-mail, wireless video calling, social and corporate networking, mobile television, instant text, multimedia messaging, smartphones, 3G (as well as 4G available in Europe) products and services, GPS mapping. Still more leaps in exposure emerge as the plans of investors, the military and governments materialize: to have every dwelling, school, office and store in the world become a microwave transmitter/receiver for wireless computers and related linkages, and to have transceivers implanted and/or injected in our bodies, including for banking transactions. A significant factor driving cell phone sales worldwide is for telephone banking delivering monetary services to the "unbanked". Vodaphone started in Kenya Safaricom mobile money banking in Swahili, attracting 175,000 subscribers signing up at a rate of 2,500 a day, even if they may need fingertip RFID chip authentication for their micro-lending. Although the intention was to enable loan payments, individuals have been using the phones for person-to-person transfers - in a dial 'M' for money type of culture.
There are 19 million wireless customers in Canada (pop. 32,000,000). More than 5% of households now have only a cell phone. There is a convergence in usage rates with traditional phone services. At the end of 2006, Canada had 55.1 mobile subscribers and 55.3 traditional wire line access lines per 100 inhabitants (vs: 18.7 wireless subscribers and 64.4 traditional wire line accesses in 1999). 74% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 use a cellphone for an average of 400 minutes per month. 40% of Canadians between ages 12 and 24 consider cellphones to be their main means of communication. In the United Kingdom, 90% of the youth use cellphones, many sleeping with them on, under their pillows. 10% of the wireless transmissions are data, a segment that is rising 50% every 3 months.
Direct-use microwave exposure characteristics and lack of quality control
Microwave devices are notorious for lack of quality control during manufacturing, especially with their emission leakage characteristics. For example, at least 33% of microwave products manufactured, whether microwave ovens or wireless communications devices do not meet the Canada Safety 6 Code, which sets the basic limits that are not be exceeded and are given in terms of body currents either by induction, or contact with energized metallic objects, or in terms of the rate at which radiofrequency/microwave energy is absorbed in a body, averaged over a period of time across the body. Some jurisdictions worldwide have more stringent regulations than Canada, as indicated below. We can infer the rules are not being met worldwide, for lack of competence, compliance and failure to measure emissions at manufacture. Microwave devices tend to easily deteriorate with wear and tear, lack of maintenance and proper cleaning.
INTERNATIONAL Radiofrequency / Microwave EXPOSURE STANDARDS
Country Exposure level (microW/cm2)
New South Wales, Australia 0.001
Salzburg, Austria (pulsed transmissions) 0.1
Russia / Bulgaria / Hungary/ Switzerland 2 -10
China 7 -10
Italy / Toronto, Canada 10
Auckland, New Zealand 50
New Zealand / Japan / Germany/ US /Canada 200 -1,000
United Kingdom 1,000 -10,000
Toward second-hand exposure statistics
On the basis of environmental irradiation surveys, it can be deduced that, in Toronto - population of over 2,500,000, at least 25,000 individuals are being exposed by unwanted trespass of second-hand environmental microwave emissions - for several hours daily - that are more elevated than those permitted by Canada Safety Code 6, simply by working or living in high-density urban hot-spots and that this number can increase during periods of wet ground as a result of precipitation. This means that these individuals risk irreversible damage to their body functions merely because of the popularity and the commercialisation of the wireless technologies. While government agencies assume that such environmental emissions are merely a fog, actual mapping point out to a dense and active network of multiple frequencies permeating the built-up environment, often without any centralized organisation. The densest groupings of hotspots tend to be in the traditional commercial cores, the transportation nodes (interchanges, bridges, over and underpasses) to and from the city, near high-voltage power transmission lines and near buildings that house significant mainframe computers and automated functions (such as postal sorting facilities, fabricators, etc.).
It is estimated that at least 300,000 Canadian children are being exposed to, and, are absorbing, illegal levels of microwave power associated with cellphone usage alone. This number is expected to double by 2010, even though the actual total base population of children is expected to decrease. These children face severe (or life-threatening) wireless-related physical conditions. Add to this group about 300,000 in Ontario alone who suffer from some form of autism, considering that 30 years ago, there were only a few hundred cases. More than 1 child in 100 is autistic, compared with 1 in 10,000 only 30 years ago, before the pervasive environmental exposure of wireless technologies.
A study by Tamara Mariea and George Carlo indicates how microwave wireless frequency emissions render cells incapable of releasing heavy metals (including mercury and aluminum), such as those used as stabilizers in the massive vaccination programmes. Heavy metals in the body interfere with the distribution of dopamine, a hormone and a neurotransmitter which controls motor skills. In autistic children, such functions are inhibited. When autistic children are detoxified from heavy metals, and when they are no longer exposed to wireless emissions, they can recover. This situation has the potential for trans-generation toxic accumulation.
Significant Secondary infrastructure effects
There has been a significant increase in corrosion problems in the last few decades, parallel to the spread and implementation of wireless technologies. Whereas in the 1970s, only a small number of engineers consulted on corrosion problems, now a full quarter of all engineers in North America are experts in corrosion trying to resolve problems associated with building structures, water and oil and gas pipelines, fluid containers. How radiofrequencies affect corrosion can be verified by anyone who replaces a fluorescent compact bulb into a metallic fixture that once had an incandescent bulb. It takes only a few weeks to have the onset of paint coating corroding in lamp holders, followed by the steady eating away of metallic sheeting. Likewise, one can see which urban areas are exposed to elevated levels of microwave emissions: where sewer and telephone service covers rust - actually powder away rather than just coat themselves with oxidation, where fire hydrants crumble - even if installed within the previous 6 months - that is likely to be a zone subject to denser environmental microwave emissions. Normally, such fittings last problem-free for decades. This is an effect of enormous burden to tax and rate-payers.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has made an emergency plea to the federal government for $123 Billion within 5 years to avoid building collapses in Canadian cities due to corrosion, which only emphasizes how outrageously expensive for our civilization is this problem of accelerated corrosion from radiofrequencies and microwaves is. What is little known is that most corrosion is induced by weak voltages and amperages from net currents in our electric power delivery systems, which are imbalanced. What is even less known is that as the electric power system becomes more affected by the use of computers and wireless systems, radiofrequencies and microwaves penetrate the electric power system's ground, via neutral wires. The ground in many populated areas now carries charges that are highly electronic with radiofrequency and microwave characteristics. This new phenomenon accelerates corrosion of materials - whether pipelines, rebars in buildings and transportation infrastructure or even nuclear power plant reactor rods - by quantum leaps. Galvanic coupling between alloys and hydrogen and e particles is accelerated, leading to hydrogen-induced cracking in steels. Electromagnetically-induced Hydrogen diffusion has become so commonplace under such environmental conditions that a Russian scientist, P. S. Orlov proposed this year a method of locating underground corroded (hydrogen saturated/embrittled) steel gas-supply pipes simply by measuring hydrogen leakages. This conduction of charges has been observed with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and reported this year by scientists from Atomic Energy of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada. There is also greater spattering of deposits, crevice enhancements and oxidation reactions.
What we can expect as health effects due to these new exposures?
Experimental observations with low-level microwave exposure
Observation Effects of microwave emissions
Effects on DNA Single and double-strand breaks, electron flows within staked base pairs of double helix of DNA molecules, direct gene transcription, 40-90% increase in Fos mRNA from cellphone signals
Blood-brain barrier Toxins may reach brain tissues: serotonin, glucose, selective
permeability, allows glucose to pass
Psychoactive Drugs Neurotransmitter functions modified: Pentobarbital (alters narcosis), entylenetetrazol (more convulsions), Curare (less anaesthesia), Valium, Librium (potentiated). Endogenous opiods activated: increase in alcohol use, less of withdrawal symptoms in morphine-dependents
Eye damage Worsen effects.
Behavioural changes Major errors in judgment, vision altered; disruptive attitude (hyperactivity); memory problems, [non-lethal weapons for combat advantage]; synthase inhibition caused by increase in body nitric oxide production by digital (pulsed) signals
Cognitive functions Faster reaction time, auditory memory retrieval [mind control], difficulty in concentration, fuzzy thinking, dizziness (indication of serotonin activity increase)
Sleep May promote sleep, sleepiness, reduction of REM sleep (important to memory, learning)
Melatonin Melatonin secretion decreases
Fundamental life process ELF-encodes in wireless transmissions may imitate heartbeat, cellular communications, brainwaves, cell growth, human metabolism; sperm count lowered, irreversible infertility in mice after 5 generations from an antenna park, chicken embryo mortality increases by half
Dose dependency Observed in Korean War, US embassy personnel in Moscow, cumulative effects
Increase in lymphocytes, effects in EEGs, reduced insulin production, multiple allergies, Tinnitus, itches in the ear, ears feel heated
Some, natural, highly-coherent oscillations in living beings have same or similar characteristics as those produced by wireless technologies. For example, the 2Hz-encoded signal from cellphones reporting to base stations resembles the heartbeat (and can entrain heartbeat). Other extremely-low-frequency-encoded signals resemble, and interact with, brain waves, cell growth, cell communication, calcium ion balance and other fundamental life processes, even at levels as low as 0.005W/kg.
What can be done?
In many built environments, microwave power levels are too elevated for even minimum health risk conditions.
Many health practitioners are unaware either of the general exposure conditions, not those of their patients, thus not taking under consideration their bearing of the diagnosis, nor therapy at hand. Similarly, employers may not realize that the microwave environment faced by their employees might adversely affect their job performance, occupational health and safety and productivity.
Fortunately, appropriate design and careful oversight in installation can provide citizens with acceptable, safe and generally no-risk levels of electromagnetic fields. But the implementation of these measures, even if they entail relatively no cost to the public or private purses, requires a public demand for common sense safety.
Municipal governments who participate in the siting process by issuing permits are in the frontline for complaints and legal filings because they are, legally, accomplices. The City of Toronto has an active guideline that provides for a Canadian platform for precedence from a health and safety legal perspective, that other communities can emulate, and eventually help industry and federal regulatory agencies, including the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), review their current policies and practices.
An European Parliament expert analysis in 2000, which was comprised of World Health Organization, European Community and scientific peers recommended that the average annual exposure near microwave emitters should not exceed 0.10 ºWatt/cm2 (following the lead of the Italian Government notion of quality target) and that anyone exposed to higher fields should receive regular medical attention, including blood analysis, EEG and ECG tests. All zones with higher exposure rates should be posted with markings on pavement and with road signs.
Is it worthwhile to promote an industry that emerges while it hurts civilization and induces costs greater and more expensive than the benefits that it offers? Is the wireless industry prepared to pay for these costs?
Malaysia's Hollow Democracy: Government Censors Internet Criticism of Global Rainforest for Oil Palm Land Grab
Government documents regarding planned Amazon oil palm project by Malaysian government agency removed from Internet, and all email messages into country regarding the project are being delete
By Earth's Newsdesk - Dr. Glen Barry, email@example.com
Ecological Rather than respond substantively to criticism over the Malaysian government and industry's expansion of deadly oil palm plantations into Brazil and Liberia's rainforests , the Malaysian government is resorting to despotic censorship to stifle dissent. References to plans by Malaysias federal land agency to establish up to 100,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest are being systematically removed from the government's Internet servers. And all emails referring to Malaysia's global rainforest for oil palm land grab flowing through Streamyx, the monopoly Internet service provider in Malaysia, are not being delivered.
"It is clear that Malaysian citizens do not enjoy freedom of information, which is tragic, because their government is leading the destruction of Earth's rainforests with their tax money," asserts Dr. Barry, Ecological Internet's President. "For decades Malaysian timber companies have behaved like timber Mafia across the Asia-Pacific, bribing and waging violence to rip out millions of year old rainforest ecosystems for timber. This once off raping of the land is now being followed by planting of oil palm, in what can only be described as south-south neo-colonialism. We demand that the Malaysian government respond to our criticism, cancel the projects, and commit to freedom of expression regarding their rainforest policies."
Sime Darby, a Malaysian palm oil producer planning to invest $800 million for 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) of palm oil and rubber plantations in Liberia, described Malaysia expansionist foreign policy perfectly. "It is increasingly difficult to acquire arable plantation land in Asia and thus it is imperative that new frontiers be sought to meet increasing demand," said Ahmad Zubir Murshid, chief executive of Sime Darby. "Sime Darby will also have the first mover advantage over future entrants into Liberia in terms of securing choice land."
"This flood of land grabs by emerging nations, mostly of land under local customary land tenure, is eerily reminiscent of past and ongoing European and U.S. colonial practices," states Dr. Glen Barry, who is a practicing Political Ecologist and hold a Ph.D. in Land Resources. "We are witnessing the intensification of social turmoil caused by climate change, land and water scarcity, and over-population and inequitable consumption. Until these root causes of global ecosystem collapse are addressed, there is no chance of achieving equitable and just global ecological sustainability."
Globally, oil palm development continues to clear some thirty square miles of carbon and biodiversity rich habitat a day to provide cheap cooking oil and transport biodiesel. Oil palm agrofuel is heralded as a climate change mitigation measure, yet the initial rainforest clearance leads to much more carbon release than its production and use avoids. Establishment of toxic, monoculture oil palm plantations in the Brazilian Amazon and Liberia's West African rainforests would be a global ecological tragedy for biodiversity and climate, and a crime against local peoples and humanity.
Large scale biofuel and intensification of industrial agriculture production in general runs counter to urgently addressing climate change and threatens to cause more deforestation, hunger, human rights abuses, and degradation of soil and water. Globally there are not enough old forests to maintain climatic and hydrological cycles, meet local forest dwellers' needs, and to maintain ecosystems and the biosphere in total. Global ecological sustainability and local well-being depend critically upon ending all industrial development in the world's remaining old forests -- including plantations, logging, mining and dams. Ecological Internet's global Earth Action Network will continue to campaign aggressively against all those carrying out and apologizing for such senseless and deadly rainforest destruction.
Under a new Constitution, government programs must be judged by the happiness they produce, not by the economic benefits.
Seth Mydans/International Herald Tribune
By ETH MYDANS -- May 6, 2009
THIMPHU, Bhutan If the rest of the world cannot get it right in these unhappy times, this tiny Buddhist kingdom high in the Himalayan mountains says it is working on an answer.
Greed, insatiable human greed, said Prime Minister Jigme Thinley of Bhutan, describing what he sees as the cause of todays economic catastrophe in the world beyond the snow-topped mountains. What we need is change, he said in the whitewashed fortress where he works. We need to think gross national happiness.
The notion of gross national happiness was the inspiration of the former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the 1970s as an alternative to the gross national product. Now, the Bhutanese are refining the countrys guiding philosophy into what they see as a new political science, and it has ripened into government policy just when the world may need it, said Kinley Dorji, secretary of information and communications.
You see what a complete dedication to economic development ends up in, he said, referring to the global economic crisis. Industrialized societies have decided now that G.N.P. is a broken promise.
Under a new Constitution adopted last year, government programs from agriculture to transportation to foreign trade must be judged not by the economic benefits they may offer but by the happiness they produce.
The goal is not happiness itself, the prime minister explained, a concept that each person must define for himself. Rather, the government aims to create the conditions for what he called, in an updated version of the American Declaration of Independence, the pursuit of gross national happiness.
The Bhutanese have started with an experiment within an experiment, accepting the resignation of the popular king as an absolute monarch and holding the countrys first democratic election a year ago.
The change is part of attaining gross national happiness, Mr. Dorji said. They resonate well, democracy and G.N.H. Both place responsibility on the individual. Happiness is an individual pursuit and democracy is the empowerment of the individual.
It was a rare case of a monarchs unilaterally stepping back from power, and an even rarer case of his doing so against the wishes of his subjects. He gave the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who was crowned in November in the new role of constitutional monarch without executive power.
Bhutan is, perhaps, an easy place to nimbly rewrite economic rules a country with one airport and two commercial planes, where the east can only be reached from the west after four days travel on mountain roads.
No more than 700,000 people live in the kingdom, squeezed between the worlds two most populous nations, India and China, and its task now is to control and manage the inevitable changes to its way of life. It is a country where cigarettes are banned and television was introduced just 10 years ago, where traditional clothing and architecture are enforced by law and where the capital city has no stoplight and just one traffic officer on duty.
If the world is to take gross national happiness seriously, the Bhutanese concede, they must work out a scheme of definitions and standards that can be quantified and measured by the big players of the worlds economy.
Once Bhutan said, O.K., here we are with G.N.H., the developed world and the World Bank and the I.M.F. and so on asked, How do you measure it? Mr. Dorji said, characterizing the reactions of the worlds big economic players. So the Bhutanese produced an intricate model of well-being that features the four pillars, the nine domains and the 72 indicators of happiness.
Specifically, the government has determined that the four pillars of a happy society involve the economy, culture, the environment and good governance. It breaks these into nine domains: psychological well-being, ecology, health, education, culture, living standards, time use, community vitality and good governance, each with its own weighted and unweighted G.N.H. index.
All of this is to be analyzed using the 72 indicators. Under the domain of psychological well-being, for example, indicators include the frequencies of prayer and meditation and of feelings of selfishness, jealousy, calm, compassion, generosity and frustration as well as suicidal thoughts.
We are even breaking down the time of day: how much time a person spends with family, at work and so on, Mr. Dorji said.
Mathematical formulas have even been devised to reduce happiness to its tiniest component parts. The G.N.H. index for psychological well-being, for example, includes the following: One sum of squared distances from cutoffs for four psychological well-being indicators. Here, instead of average the sum of squared distances from cutoffs is calculated because the weights add up to 1 in each dimension.
This is followed by a set of equations:
Every two years, these indicators are to be reassessed through a nationwide questionnaire, said Karma Tshiteem, secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission, as he sat in his office at the end of a hard day of work that he said made him happy.
Gross national happiness has a broader application for Bhutan as it races to preserve its identity and culture from the encroachments of the outside world.
How does a small country like Bhutan handle globalization? Mr. Dorji asked. We will survive by being distinct, by being different.
Bhutan is pitting its four pillars, nine domains and 72 indicators against the 48 channels of Hollywood and Bollywood that have invaded since television was permitted a decade ago.
Before June 1999 if you asked any young person who is your hero, the inevitable response was, The king', Mr. Dorji said. Immediately after that it was David Beckham, and now its 50 Cent, the rap artist. Parents are helpless.
So if G.N.H. may hold the secret of happiness for people suffering from the collapse of financial institutions abroad, it offers something more urgent here in this pristine culture.
Bhutans story today is, in one word, survival, Mr. Dorji said. Gross national happiness is survival; how to counter a threat to survival.
Often when some "seekers" read that they have to raise their energy and that the energy referred to is the sexual energy they try to suppress their sexual desires. The reasoning is why throw the energy away if you need it for Self cultivation? This line of thought is understandable and even reasonable.
However things are often not so simple as we would like.
Suppressing desire is trying to stifle something; it is like strangling a baby. Your whole life is run on desire. It is Passion that makes the journey possible and Passion that allows you to leap across vast chasms. Without some element of passion you won't even get out of bed.
It is Passion that gives your life vitality. Christ said he would spit out the lukewarm. Being lukewarm is to be half hearted. I see that in my classes. The half hearted are the hardest students to teach. You have their attention by default until something takes it elsewhere. You need to WANT to grow. It is Passion that makes you .gird your loins., pay attention and tackle a task.
Nevertheless to practise internal alchemy means having something that gets transmuted. You are not working in the make belief world and having imaginings and mere mood making fantasies. What gets transmuted is the sexual energy and if there is none there is none to transmute.
So what to do?
Firstly accept that your journey is not going to be made in one great leap. Being determined is not the same as trying to rush. It is all a process of going a little deeper day by day. As the day by days pass then so do perspectives change and what was difficult once becomes easier now.
Secondly, understand that internal alchemy means turning the senses inwards so that you can feel inside. If you can't even feel outside then you are half dead (the lukewarm) and have little to turn inwards. So the senses need to be alive. Alive senses pay attention to the world outside and they pay attention to the world precisely because they enjoy it. If you don't feel pleasure in your own body then you probably won't feel the pleasure of the senses in your embrace of the world beyond your skin. They go together.
For a number of reasons, sexual abuse for one, people shut down their connection with their body. What ever has happened has been so traumatic it is better not to feel the body because in the body is great pain. You can do exactly the same thing if you feel obliged to condemn your sexual impulses.
In internal alchemy the body is your friend. The body holds secrets, which are revealed to the lovers of the body. Loving your body is a key to feeling inner energy. In many of my Chi Kung exercises I tell my class that energy follows the hands. As your hands pass up and down your body you can feel the energy moving. It is like your hands are stroking your body, caressing it. This attitude is a loving one and is important for discovering the secrets the body holds. The body won't reveal them through torture.
Loving your body is a way to increase health. Increasing health is to have energy moving vitally, to have energy moving vitally is to have something for your alchemical activities. If there is nothing in your cauldron but the withered leaves dropped from a garden that has never been watered and has died of neglect then there is nothing to transmute.
Suppressing the sexual is to gradually kill your garden. It is to turn what should be a paradise into a clear cut emptiness; to have a desert inside where there could have been a paradise, a tangle of luxuriant growth, twisting climbing vines, rich with flowers, fruit and the exotic colourful wild animals of passion and desire.
Internal alchemy involves turning the attention inwards. Sometimes it is on the outside alive and vital and sometimes on the inside. If most of the time you are trying to stop the attention on the outside by thwarting desire you will deaden yourself. Things have to be in balance and for that there is no strict formula. Live your life .naturally. and don't struggle. The journey is done day by day and step by step.
A problem is created when one sees how someone who has arrived or is near to arriving behaves and one thinks that by copying their behaviour one will be like them. In Tai Chi your learn that mere copying only takes you so far and then you have to learn to be authentically yourself in the move. In life one has to be authentically oneself; not a mere copy cat. A copy cat is someone who is only half heartedly themselves.
In fact trying to be other than yourself is a strain and it is to be a fake. You are trying to live on borrowed knowledge. To be yourself is to be natural, to be without strain, to be relaxed. You are not fighting an inner civil war but are at peace and unified.
It is not always easy in Society to be oneself. As more people are themselves society will change.
Everyone is threatened by difference and change, but it will come, and it will come day by day and step by step.
P.S I am dipping into the poetry of Pablo Neruda in a the recent collection edited by Ilan Stavans and to illustrate what a poetic man with great sensuousness (perhaps sensuality) can feel I will quote some lines from various poems.
To feel you in my veins like God in the rivers. How I would love you, woman, how I would love you, love you as no one ever did! Die and still love you more. And still love you more and more.
Sometimes a piece of sun burned like a coin between my hands.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body. I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses. I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.
the pale day peers out the dawn oozing everywhere.
How clear it is that the stones have touched time, in their fine substance there is the smell of age and the water that the sea brings from salt and sleep.
Into the night of the heart your name drops slowly and moves in silence and falls and breaks and spreads its water.
And you, like a month of star, like a fixed kiss, like a structure of wing, or the beginning of autumn, girl, my advocate, my amorous one, light makes its bed beneath your big eyelids, golden as oxen, and the round dove
often makes her white nest in you.
...and at times it rains; from the heat of the sky falls an infusion as silent as sweat.
And the raucous cats that cross my garden in the dark, like a necklace of throbbing sexual oysters
beneath the elegant coconut trees, next to the ocean and the moon, there is a continual life of trousers and skirts, a rustle of stroked silk stockings, and feminine breasts that shine like eyes..
Like a shipwreck we die inward like smothering in our hearts.
The Prayer of the Body: Compassionate Self-Care and Reclaiming the Sacred Presence
Long-time ERN subscriber Ray Minkler (firstname.lastname@example.org) has sent me a pdf copy of a 158 page compilation he has done - with the author's widow permission and assistance - of several audio recordings and books by the late Stephen Robbins Schwartz (1949-1993) and which he has entitled The Prayer of the Body: Compassionate Self-Care and Reclaiming the Sacred Presence. He has indeed found this material to be so inspiring and so thoroughly compelling that he has devoted all of his discretionary time for 4 months to compile some of the most salient excerpts from his work. Being busy in the garden right now, I don't have time unfortunately to read what he kindly shared with me, so I asked him to summarize in a nutshell what is so extraordinary about what Schwartz wrote and said. So he wrote back:
"It's a very coherent view of the fact that at the core of any emotion, no matter how painful, is exactly what we want... Transcending the violent relationship we have to ourselves which is the basis of all of the violence in the world. Transcending the "positive emotion - negative emotion" paradigm that humanity has been trapped in as far back as we know. Illuminating the fact that we are at war with ourselves and illuminating the exit ramp out of that self-perpetuating trap. Really getting clear about our relationship to that which gives us life and allowing it to nourish us rather than fighting it. And all of this is at a level much deeper than conceptual, to move beyond all of the frames, definitions and limitations that we impose upon our experience based on our conditioning and to directly experience the truth of this in a very real and grounded way in our bodies, not in the frail conceptual arena. As Stephen Schwartz has said, "We don't experience the world. We experience our descriptions of the world." This is transcended. To move from being trapped in thinking that we can be nourished by the menu of life to the expansive arena of actually opening to being nourished by the real food of life in a very real and grounded way."
So I offered Ray to simply post his 158 page compilation on the web and introduce it in a compilation so everyone interested may benefit from this. This is what I just did and you can access it through this LINK (Once it has appeared in your browser, you can save it - through "save as..." - on your computer).
I also mentioned to Ray that if he wished to add anything else as part of this introduction, he was welcomed. So he recommended me these words he wrote for the Preface of his compilation:
"The ongoing experience of what we call "emotions" is a fundamental of the human event. It is quite a revelation to see that it is almost universally agreed upon, by default, that there are "positive emotions" and "negative emotions" in spite of the fact that there is no coherent consensus of what emotions actually are. That's like saying that there are green traffic lights and red traffic lights when no one understands what a traffic light is. Emotions are referred to all the time in everyday conversation. We all talk to one another as if we all know what we are referring to, as if we all had been instructed by some great wisdom teacher in the first grade regarding what emotions really are. It's as if we all assume that we know what emotions are simply because we all have emotional experiences that come and go all the time as well as having the emotion based attitudinal background "noise" and "static" that stays with us all the time. And yet there really is no grounded understanding of what we are actually referring to. What, at base, is an emotion? What is the anatomy and physiology of an emotion? When we have any emotional experience, however blatant or subtle, what is really going on? These questions are going to be addressed.
Because of this severely truncated and handicapped understanding, of perhaps the most basic aspect of our life experience, we have divided and compartmentalized ourselves into two or more parts; the parts that are okay and the parts that we think we must suppress, fix or get rid of. Therefore we have a very conflicted relationship to our emotions, to our bodies, to our lives, to each other and to that which gives us life. In short, we are at war with ourselves. This predicament is nothing new. It seems to have been, almost universally, the "human condition" indefinitely back through time.
If we make ourselves wrong about this then we are simply making ourselves wrong about making ourselves wrong and are staying stuck in the same old game. We must find an exit ramp.
This is not a failure of humanity. This is not a weakness of human nature. This is not a statement about how we've screwed up. This is not another whip to beat ourselves with. It is simply an observation that any beings anywhere in the universe would inevitably suffer deeply and be severely limited in this self-perpetuating trap. It's structural and functional. It's simply the nature of the trap.
This compilation of excerpts will illuminate this internal war that each of us has been taught to wage against ourselves, generation after generation, and it will illuminate the exit ramp out of the trap.
Last fall I had just about come to the end of the sixteen year journey, experiencing profound dissatisfaction with the "New Age, so-called spiritual, self-development, let's get enlightened" paradigm which ends up, one way or another, dividing ourselves into parts, the parts that are "good" and the parts we have to fix, suppress or get rid of. It is totally understandable, and is to be seen compassionately, that all sorts of methodologies for "fixing" or "improving" ourselves, in one way or another, are quite aggressively marketed by the "New Age - religious - allegedly spiritual - self-development - psychiatric" industry. The modern versions of these methodologies and their accompanying ideologies are almost always expressions of being in the trap, not an exit ramp out of the trap. For the most part, they reinforce the bars on our cage.
As a component of the psychiatric branch of this industry, the multi-billion dollar psycho pharmaceutical industry provides consciousness altering chemicals which, in effect, keep us away from the gates to healing, keep us away from full, conscious and direct experience of our wounds. This conflicted, fix yourself, approach to our pain and who we really are is not surprising because, from someone who has been around the block a few times, I have not seen anywhere else any coherent and articulate guidance which actually challenges the "fix yourself" theme. No where else have I seen guidance which is based on who/what we really are rather than who we might become or some idea of what we "should" be.
When we see who we really are then there is no need to become something else. In this there is a restoration of human dignity.
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