Special Update on Cancun and on the Wikileaks Saga
I've been unable to send you yet my new compilation because I'm EXTREMELY BUSY and also have almost no time to check my emails. Still I've decided to send you all this update which covers 2 very important newsworthy topics which I'm sure will be of interest to you.
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LAST MINUTE ADDITION
New data shows REDD+ is succeeding (December 15, 2010) YEAH! http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1215-boucher-redd_is_succeeding.html
Amid the whirlwind of climate change news before and after the Cancn climate conference, including a landmark agreement on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation, and related pro-forest actions), an important story seems to have passed by with little notice. Over the past two months, several new analyses have given clear evidence that deforestation has gone down over the past several years. In fact, the drop is quite impressive, and shows that of all the approaches to avoiding the worst consequences of global warming, reducing tropical deforestation is the one that has contributed by far the most to date. The first analysis to come out, in October, was the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) for 2010. This compendium of data from all the countries on the planet is released every five years, and provides the broadest look at the state of the worldŐs forests. The new FRA data showed that tropical deforestation in the first decade of the 2000s was down 18% from the level of the 1990s, dropping from 11.33 million hectares per year in the 1990s to 9.34 million hectares per year in the 2000s. Furthermore, the rate dropped from the first 5 years of the decade to the second five years, principally due to a dramatic decline in Brazilian Amazon deforestation. The FRA 2010 data also showed that the rate of primary forest loss, not just total forest loss, has declined. (...) HereŐs the graph of the Global Carbon Budget estimates for land-use change emissions, converted from billions of tons of carbon to billions of tons of carbon dioxide (one simply multiplies by 3.67): The change over the past decade is dramatic: emissions have fallen from an average of 5.32 billion tons CO2/year in the twentieth century (1960-1999), to just 3.23 billion tons in 2009. This is a decrease of 39% in just a decade, after four decades in which there was essentially no decrease at all (blue line; in 1960 emissions were 5.32 billion tons, and in 1999 they were 5.17 billion tons). Furthermore, unlike the case for the previous four decades, the twenty-first century trend has been consistently downward; every single year since 2000 had the same or lower land use change emissions than the previous year. Global figures like these have both a virtue and a vice. On the one hand, they show the overall effect on the atmosphere, which is ultimately what really matters for global warming. On the other hand, they hide the important differences from country to country, with some making important progress in reducing deforestation and others actually showing increases. So, what has been happening in the big tropical forest countries --particularly the two biggest, Brazil and Indonesia? The Global Carbon Budget paper by Friedlingstein et al. pointed out that data based on satellite observations report a downward trend in both these countries. And just a few weeks later, Brazil provided further evidence that its decrease is continuing, and it has brought deforestation to record low levels. In December the annual summary of data from the Brazilian National Space Institute, INPE, showed another annual decrease of 14% from 2009, cutting deforestation to 6,451 square kilometers compared to an average of 19,508 square kilometers during the baseline period from 1996 through 2005. This is a 67% decrease in just half a decade, a truly remarkable achievement. CLIP CHECK ALSO NASA image reveals worst drought on record for the Amazon river
World Forum of Spiritual Cultures - Oct 18-20, 2010 - MOSTLY IN ENGLISH with some English subtitles 12 min http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5puOp2q0nw0
Rather unique meeting to find solutions for a better world! Recommended by Jonathan Granoff (email@example.com) who wrote: "Amazing from Kazakhstan!" A surprisingly high-minded, soul-anchored spiritual approach to our current world situation. Quote: "The most important thing is the spiritual elevation of humanity." As you'll see Jonathan was there.
Who is Behind Wikileaks? By Michel Chossudovsky (December 13, 2010) MANY PEOPLE SENT ME THIS! SO IT IS A CUNNING PSY-OP AFTER ALL! Here is a comment from Jeff Wefferson (firstname.lastname@example.org) on this article excerpted below: "Chossudovsky's analysis is state-of-the-art. He illuminates the methods, financing and implicit agenda of the whole Wiki-leaks thing...straight out of Wall Street and the heart of the NWO. It's the same old same old, only at a "higher" level of "propaganda sophistication." http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22389
(...) From the outset, Wikileaks' geopolitical focus on "oppressive regimes" in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Central Asia was "appealing", i.e. consistent with US foreign policy. The composition of the Wikileaks team, not to mention the methodology of "exposing secrets" of foreign governments, were in line with the practices of US covert operations geared towards triggering "regime change". The Role of the Corporate Media: The Central Role of the New York Times - Wikileaks is not a typical alternative media initiative. The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel are directly involved in the editing and selection of leaked documents. The Economist and Time Magazine have also played an important role. While the project and its editor Julian Assange reveal a commitment and concern for truth in media, the recent Wikileaks releases of embassy cables have been carefully "redacted" by the mainstream media in liaison with the US government. (See Interview with David E. Sanger, Fresh Air, PBS, December 8, 2010) This collaboration between Wikileaks and selected mainstream media is not fortuitous; it was part of an agreement between several major US and European newspapers and Wikileaks' editor Julian Assange. The important question is who controls and oversees the selection, distribution and editing of released documents to the broader public?What US foreign policy objectives are being served through this redacting process? Is Wikileaks part of an awakening of public opinion, of a battle against the lies and fabrications which appear daily in the print media and on network TV? If so, how can this battle against media disinformation be waged with the participation and collaboration of the corporate architects of media disinformation. Julian Assange has enlisted the architects of media disinformation to fight media disinformation: An incongruous and self-defeating procedure. America's corporate media and more specifically the New York Times are an integral part of the economic establishment, with links to Wall Street, the Washington think tanks, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Moreover, the US corporate media has developed a longstanding relationship to the US intelligence apparatus, going back to "Operation Mocking Bird", an initiative of the CIA's Office of Special Projects (OSP), established in the early 1950s. Even before the Wikileaks project got off the ground, the mainstream media was implicated. A role was defined and agreed upon for the corporate media not only in the release, but also in the selection and editing of the leaks. In a bitter irony, the "professional media" to use Julian Assange's words in an interview with The Economist, have been partners in the Wikileaks project from the outset. Moreover, key journalists with links to the US foreign policy-national security intelligence establishment have worked closely with Wikileaks, in the distribution and dissemination of the leaked documents.In a bitter irony, Wikileaks partner, The New York Times which has consistently promoted media disinformation is now being accused of conspiracy. For what? For revealing the truth? Or for manipulating the truth?
(...) In the case of Wikileaks, the facts are contained in a data bank; many of those facts, particularly those pertaining to foreign governments serve US foreign policy interests. Other facts tend, on the other hand to discredit the US administration. With regard to financial information, the release of data pertaining to a particular bank instigated via Wikileaks by a rival financial institution, could potentially be used to trigger the collapse or bankrutpcy of the targeted financial institution. All the Wiki-facts are selectively redacted, they are then "analyzed" and interpreted by a media which serves the economic elites. While the numerous pieces of information contained in the Wikileaks data bank are accessible, the broader public will not normally take the trouble to consult and scan through the Wikileaks data bank. The public will read the redacted selections and interpretations presented in major news outlets. A partial and biased picture is presented. The redacted version is accepted by public opinion because it is based on what is heralded as a "reliable source", when in fact what is presented in the pages of major newspapers and on network TV is a carefully crafted and convoluted distortion of the truth. Limited forms of critical debate and "transparency" are tolerated while also enforcing broad public acceptance of the basic premises of US foreign policy, including its "Global War on Terrorism". With regard to a large segment of the US antiwar movement, this strategy seems to have succeeded: "We are against war but we support the 'war on terrorism'". What this means is that truth in media can only be reached by dismantling the propaganda apparatus, --i.e. breaking the legitimacy of the corporate media which sustains the broad interests of the economic elites as well America's global military design. In turn, we must ensure that the campaign against Wikileaks in the U.S., using the 1917 Espionage Act, will not be utilized as a means to wage a campaign to control the internet. In this regard, we should also stand firm in preventing the prosecution of Julian Assange in the US.
POEM TO JULIAN ASSANGE
My brother Julian
is sitting solitary in his cell.
He has already purged himself of many comforting illusions
and the focus of the world is on him
it could certainly be worse.
But even so, this is his time of testing
and the reason why hes here.
And in support for you, my brother,
I have spent the day attempting to find truth
in what youve done.
Ive read so much, my mind is numb.
But Ive emerged with greater trust in you.
They spin the story as they want to, but, behind it all, the truth emerges
like a butterfly that everybody thought was dead.
My brother, youre the incarnation of a superhuman drive for truth
but you are also flesh and blood
and subject to the doubts theyll try to summon up in you
through their infernal arts.
Feel how we carry you, you who have stepped into the spotlight
while we stay for now withdrawn.
Be filled with Hope that steals into your senses from the approaching dawn.
Michael Hedley Burton (email@example.com) 12/12/10
FIRST PART: A ROUND UP OF NEWS ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE AND FAILURES OF THE CANCUN CONFERENCE
Note from Jean: Like most everyone I'm pleased that some progress was achieved in Cancun. What I found most interesting is that while I was working on other things I suddenly felt a powerful inner pull to connect with what was happening in Cancun during the last key moments of this event. After closing my eyes and connecting with humanity's representatives there striving to help save our planet from ourselves , I felt a truly astounding level of vibes focused on that event and joining in to help them all breakthrough to success. then I remembered that a live feed from the floor of those conference is usually available and connected through the link I had provided in my last compilation. Despite the last hour (4 am) I found the conference in full swing with important statements made by various key people as I describe below in the comment in CAPS I wrote right after this. But right after that, to confirm my hunch about the extra powerful vibes I had been feeling (did anyone else picked on that as well???), I checked the Real-Time Dot and realized that indeed the randomly generated numbers were in the deep blue which, as I've often noticed, happens when our Sunday and solstice/equinox meditations are significantly powerful - they always are for me anyway! - with a significant following (usually the second of the four Sundays is the one when we usually get the planet's vibes in the blue for a good 30 minutes at least). I took a screen capture of the graph and will post it here in this compilation...
... to let you see what it looked like. My hunch when I saw this was - assuming no one had called any kind of global supportive meditation for that night - that we received a MOST powerful spiritual (angelic?!) boost from the other realms and/or from "elsewhere" to help us clinch a victory for all Life on Earth at this momentous gathering. By achieving this, and even if the agreements made there are far from enough to make a dent in the runaway greenhouse gases buildup, we at least showed that we are finally coming of age, collectively, getting past our usual squabbling to help ourselves out of this mess. This opens the door to even more assistance which, in due time, will be provided to see us all victoriously through this critical stage of our evolutionary awakening. Not only there is hope for us, but a very bright future, indeed, shines just ahead of now...
A LIGHTNING BOLT OF HOPE AND DETERMINATION TOUCHED ALL DELEGATES, REPRESENTING THE WISH OF ALL HUMANITY FOR A LIVABLE FUTURE ON A LIVING AND REJUVENATED, THRIVING PLANET. WE HAVE TURNED A MAJOR CORNER AS I WATCHED (4:30 AM) THE LIVE WEBCAST FROM THE FLOOR OF THE CONFERENCE IN CANCUN WHEN THE DELEGATE FROM BOLIVIA WAS THE LAST TO SPEAK, REITERATING A FINAL WISH FROM HIS DELEGATION BUT NOT OBJECTING TO THE CONSENSUS, AFTER WHICH THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSEMBLY, Mrs PATRICIA ESPINOZA - WHOSE OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN UNANIMOUSLY PRAISED FOR ITS TRANSPARENCY AND INCLUSIVENESS - SLAMMED DOWN HER GAVEL, CONCLUDING THAT THE RESOLUTION WAS OFFICIALLY ADOPTED - TO THE APPLAUSE OF THE WHOLE ASSEMBLY OF EXHAUSTED BUT HAPPY DELEGATES.
Cancun Climate Change Conference agrees plan to cut carbon emissions
Delegates from 193 countries agreed at Cancun to cut carbon emissions and help developing countries tackle climate change as part of an "historic" deal to help stop global warming.
By Louise Gray, Cancun - 11 Dec 2010
To rapturous applause, they signed up to the first truly global climate change agreement under the umbrella of the United Nations, following all-night talks in Cancun.
The negotiations, at a luxury resort in Mexico, repeatedly came close to collapsing as different countries tabled objections. Eventually only Bolivia refused to accept the deal, on the grounds that it would not be enough to end global warming, which it described as "tantamount to genocide".
But as exhausted delegates became increasingly impatient, the protests of the radical South American country were swept aside. Apparently losing her temper, Patricia Espinosa, the Mexican Foreign Secretary who presided over the talks, gavelled through the agreement in the early hours of the morning.
Her action was greeted with a standing ovation as relief swept through the conference hall after two weeks of tense negotiating. The Indian environment minister described her as "a goddess" for her achievement.
The UN has been attempting to achieve a deal on climate change for more than 15 years but found it impossible to get all members to agree. Last year in Copenhagen the talks came close to collapse, embarrassing world leaders who had jetted in to "save the planet". This time expectations were kept deliberately low for fear of killing off the UN process completely.
However the Mexican presidency managed to keep the process alive by making great efforts to include poor countries and by holding open meetings.
The deal falls far short of what some scientists and environmentalist claim is needed to stop catastrophic global warming. But it represents a significant step towards the eventual goal of many, which is a legally binding treaty aimed at preventing temperatures rising more than 2C (3.6F) this century.
For the first time all countries are committed to cutting carbon emissions under an official UN agreement. Rich nations also have to pay a total of £60 billion annually from 2020 into a "green fund" to help poor countries adapt to floods and droughts. The money will also help developing countries, including China and India, switch to renewable energy sources including wind and solar power.
It is not yet decided how the funds will be raised, although preferred options are a new tax on aviation or shipping, or increased carbon taxes more generally.
A new fund will be also set up to help poor countries protect rainforests. The controversial scheme, known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, also came close to collapse but was saved by an agreement to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, while also leaving the door open for big business to make money from carbon markets.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said the UN agreement would force governments to act. "The Cancun agreement is a very significant step forward in renewing the determination of the international community to tackle climate change through multilateral action," he said.
The UK is already committed to taking the lead by cutting its emissions 34 per cent by 2020.
That target will increase to 42 per cent as soon as a legally binding global deal is achieved. Around £1.5 billion will be paid towards the green fund by Britain every year from 2020.
During the talks the UK played a key role in helping nations to resolve the contentious issue of the Kyoto Protocol. Developing nations were refusing to sign up to a deal unless the existing treaty, signed by most developed nations except the US, was honoured. So British lawyers drafted a compromise under which the protocol is guaranteed so long as developing countries also make cuts.
Chris Huhne, the Climate Change Secretary, said the deal would transform the world economy by encouraging both the private sector and governments to invest in green growth, especially in the developing world.
"What this does is show there's a real consensus internationally, a growing consensus from places a year ago you wouldn't expect, such as China and India, that we do have to go down this path to a low carbon economy and it's the road to prosperity," he said.
However Wendel Trio of Greenpeace said the targets need to be a lot tougher to stop global warming. "Cancun may have saved the process but it did not yet save the climate," he said.
Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth International Climate Campaigner, also said the agreement was weak. But he was relieved that the process has not collapsed as expected.
"The world needed strong and determined action to tackle climate change in Cancun - the outcome is a weak and ineffective agreement but at least it gives us a small and fragile lifeline," he said.
Cancun Agreements put 193 nations on track to deal with climate change (December 11, 2010) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/11/AR2010121102308.html
CANCUN, MEXICO - Delegates from 193 nations agreed Saturday on a new global framework to help developing countries curb their carbon output and cope with the effects of climate change, but they postponed the harder question of how industrialized and major emerging economies will share the task of making deeper greenhouse-gas emission cuts in the coming decade. The package known as the Cancun Agreements has salvaged a U.N.-backed process that was close to failure, delivering a diplomatic victory to the talks' Mexican hosts. But it also highlighted the obstacles that await as countries continue to grapple with climate change through broad international negotiations. (...) "The reality is we really got what we were looking for," said U.S. special climate envoy Todd Stern in an interview Saturday. On issues such as forests, financing and scrutiny of major emitters' carbon reductions, he said, "we got good, substantive decisions on all of those things." Michael Levi, senior follow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in an e-mail that while "most of the important work of cutting emissions will be driven outside the U.N. process," the Cancun agreement "should be applauded not because it solves everything, but because it chooses not to: it focuses on those areas where the U.N. process has the most potential to be useful, and avoids others where the U.N. process is a dead end."Some elements of the deal, including one known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, could have an immediate impact on curbing carbon emissions. The new language establishes rules for calculating how much carbon is stored in forest stocks vulnerable to logging or burning, along with safeguards for rain-forest dwellers and biodiversity. Rebecca Chacko, who directs climate policy for the advocacy group Conservation International, said this "basic framework" is "going to inspire countries to really ramp up the financing immediately" for forest preservation, as well as open the door to more private funding.In the end, Mexico was able to pull off what the president of the Center for Clean Air Policy, Ned Helme, called a negotiating "tour de force" by asking delegates what was most important to them and what they could compromise on. The Mexicans finally won over everyone - except Solon, who complained about everything from future climate targets to his treatment by checkpoint security guards. CLIP
The Cancun Agreements Press Statement - Hillary Rodham Clinton (December 11, 2010) http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/12/152672.htm
Over the last year, the United States has worked with our international partners to build on the progress achieved at the climate change conference in Copenhagen. We have pressed for substantive steps that would advance the vision of the Copenhagen Accord. This month we joined the nations of the world in Cancun for a new round of talks aimed at mobilizing common action to meet the shared global challenge of climate change. Today, I am pleased to announce that we secured the Cancun Agreements, a set of balanced international decisions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which represent meaningful progress in our global response to climate change. This outcome advances each of the core elements of the Copenhagen Accord: They anchor the Accord's mitigation pledges; build on a system of transparency, with substantial detail and content of International Consultations and Analysis which will provide confidence that a country's pledges are being carried out; launch a new Green Climate Fund; create a framework to reduce deforestation in developing countries; establish a technology mechanism; and setup a framework and committee to will promote international cooperation and action on adaptation. The Cancun Agreements represent a balanced and significant step forward. In the days and months ahead, the United States will work with our friends and partners to keep the world focused on this urgent challenge and to continue building on this progress.
UN Climate Talks End With Limited Agreements which includes a multibillion-dollar Green Climate Fund to help poor countries deal with climate change. (11 December 2010) http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Global-Climate-Conference-Approves-Deal-Bolivia-Protests-111716629.html
After two weeks of deliberations and negotiations, representatives of more than 190 nations have concluded the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico with agreements to establish a fund to help poor countries deal with climate change and a body to help nations adapt. But the biggest achievement may have been keeping the process alive.After a marathon session that went into the early morning hours Saturday, the climate change conference came to a close with a range of broad agreements. Mexican President Felipe Calderon, speaking as leader of the host nation, hailed the achievement. "With this accord you have altered the inertia and have changed the feeling of collective powerlessness for hope in multilateralism," he said. One of the key agreements here in Cancun was the creation of a global fund through which industrialized nations will provide support to both climate change mitigation and adaptation in poor nations.Expectations were low for this conference, following what was widely seen as the failure of last year's conference in Copenhagen. Many participants and observers from non-governmental organizations were questioning the multilateral process itself. But environmental groups expressed satisfaction with what was accomplished here in Cancun, saying the talks had moved the process forward on several fronts raising expectations for next year's conference in Durban, South Africa.Tara Rao, Senior Policy Advisor on Global Climate for the World Wildlife Fund, told VOA this conference was productive. "I think this is a good start. This is something that provides the foundation to move forward. I think we have elements here that provide a good move towards putting together a legally binding agreement for South Africa," she said.Rao says what is most important in the results of the Cancun meeting is that nations moved forward on all of the main issues rather than concentrating on only a few. She says this will help next year's conference participants work on a full package rather than just parts.But not everyone was that optimistic. Some observers from non-governmental organizations say that, while Cancun did move the process forward, it would be unrealistic to expect a full, comprehensive agreement by next year.One sticking point that remained at the close of this conference concerned the so-called REDD program. REDD is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Coming into the conference this was seen as the program with the most potential for broad agreement, but negotiations fell into a morass of details over financing and implementation of the plan to fund forest preservation in poor countries. Conferees ended up approving a watered-down agreement with Bolivia holding out in protest. Environmental organizations say progress on REDD is crucial since a forest operates as a carbon sink - pulling in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Every year more than five million hectares of forests are lost to logging around the world. Climate activists say it is crucial to put an end to that and to encourage preservation and protection of forests.
Glaciers increasing despite climate change (8 Dec 2010) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8188605/Cancun-climate-change-summit-glaciers-increasing-despite-climate-change.html
Glaciers in many parts of the world are increasing, according to a new United Nations report, despite climate change. Glaciers have grown in western Norway, New Zealand's South Island, parts of Asia and the Tierra del Fuego in South America.However, overall ice and snow on mountains has been retreating since the industrial age, according to scientists from around the world.In some regions, it is very likely that glaciers will largely disappear by the end of this century, whereas in others ice cover will persist but in a reduced form for many centuries to come. The largest losses have been recorded in Patagonia, which cover parts of Argentina and Chile, followed by glaciers in Alaska. There have also been large losses in the northwest United States and southwest Canada followed by the mountains of Asia, including the Hindu Kush of the Himalayas, the Arctic and the Andes. In Europe the rate of loss is slower. In fact glaciers have been putting on mass since the mid-1970s, but this trend was reversed around the year 2000.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a separate science body attached to the UN, was forced to admit that a previous report was wrong to claim the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035. However the new report made clear that glaciers are being lost in the region, albeit on a slower scale. Achim Steiner, head of the UN's Environment Programme, said loss of glaciers can have a severe impact on millions of people. For example in the Himalayas the glaciers are responsible for drinking water and irrigating fields. "Accumulation of science shows us a clear general trend of melting glaciers linked to a warming climate and perhaps other impacts, such as the deposit of soot, reducing the reflection of heat back into space", he said. "This report underlines a global trend, observed over many decades now in some parts of the globe, which has short and long-term implications for considerable numbers of people in terms of water supplies and vulnerability".
Scientists call for rationing (29 Nov 2010) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8165769/Cancun-climate-change-summit-scientists-call-for-rationing-in-developed-world.html
Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions. - In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, physicists and chemists from some of world's most respected scientific institutions, including Oxford University and the Met Office, agreed that current plans to tackle global warming are not enough.Unless emissions are reduced dramatically in the next ten years the world is set to see temperatures rise by more than 4C (7.2F) by as early as the 2060s, causing floods, droughts and mass migration. CLIP
Climate conference approves preliminary deal (Dec 11, 2010) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40616672/ns/us_news-environment/
'Green Climate Fund' to help poor nations adapt to rising sea levels, floods and droughts-- CANCUN, Mexico - U.N. climate talks gave preliminary approval on Saturday to a deal to combat global warming despite objections by Bolivia, delegates said."It is decided," Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe, chairing a session of the talks in Cancun, Mexico, said as she banged down her gavel to signal a consensus. The decision has to be formally endorsed at a full formal session later on Saturday, and it requires unanimity from all 190 states. Applause for Mukahanana-Sangarwe by weary delegates drowned out any possible objections by Bolivia, which has been isolated at the meeting in opposing the deal. The plan was unlocked after delegates simply put off until 2011 a dispute between rich and poor nations over the future of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto obliges developed nations to cut emissions until 2012. In a late-night open session, country after country endorsed the latest compromise texts to emerge from two-week-long talks that went virtually nonstop since Thursday, describing them as key to restoring momentum and trust in the U.N. climate negotiations. The deal does not include a commitment to extend Kyoto beyond 2012, when it is due to expire, but it would prevent a collapse of climate change negotiations and allow for some modest advances on protecting the environment.'Green Climate Fund' Earlier, the United States, China and dozens of other countries rallied around the plan for a modest package of measures including a new "Green Climate Fund" to help poor nations cope with climate change. The proposal, brokered by Mexico, would also help share clean technologies such as wind and solar power, help protect tropical forests, and help poor nations adapt to impacts such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels. "What we have now is a text that, while not perfect, is certainly a good basis for moving forward," said chief U.S. negotiator Todd Stern. His Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, sounded a similar note and added, "The negotiations in the future will continue to be difficult."Those two nations, the world's biggest emitters, will be at the center of those future negotiations, as the Cancun talks, once again, did not take up proposals for a grand compact mandating deep cuts in global warming gases. Some delegates said that the session should not be held hostage by Bolivia alone."Bolivia ... rejects this document," Bolivian delegate Pablo Solon earlier told weary delegates after a 20-minute harangue of capitalism and climate policies by rich nations. Bolivia has the toughest demands of any nation at the talks, demanding that rich nations halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2017 from 1990 levels - far beyond the demands of other nations. "The deal is done. There will probably be a footnote that Bolivia objected," said Jake Schmidt, of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Decisions are not adopted by votes, but when there are no objections raised by any country. Check at the bottom of this webpage Interactive: The northern front: A forewarning of changes worldwide
An historic climate change deal has just been signed in Cancun. But what does it mean?
11 Dec 2010
What happened in Cancun?
More than 190 countries gathered for two weeks of talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The aim of the talks is to curb global warming by cutting carbon emissions.
How was it different from Copenhagen?
The last meeting of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen ended in chaos after countries failed to agree a way forward.
What has been achieved?
Campaigners claim it it has placed UN talks back on track after the disaster at Copenhagen. Countries agreed a 'balanced package' that will keep temperature rise below 2C (3.6F).
It stops short of a legal treaty, but commits all countries to cutting emissions for the first time under the UN.
How did they do it?
Haunted by the Copenhagen summit, the host country Mexico tried to focus on areas of agreement instead of seeking an ambitious full treaty.
It also insisted on transparency rather than closed-door talks among major powers. This and an unrelenting positive mood made it difficult for trouble makers to complain.
How will countries cut emissions?
More than 80 countries, including the US, EU and China, put forward voluntary emissions cuts in Copenhagen. These have now been made a formal agreement under the UN process.
How will emissions be measured?
China has always been uncomfortable about having its emissions measured by the outside world, claiming only rich countries that can afford the technology should be monitored.
However the US has insisted it is only fair that all countries are exposed to the same amount of scrutiny.
In an uneasy compromise the two superpowers have agreed that it is only fair that the world's biggest emitters agree to international standards to measure their carbon.
What has the Kyoto Protocol got to do with it?
The Kyoto Protocol commits rich countries to cutting emissions. It was very important to developing countries that targets in the treaty are extended beyond 2012 because it is currently the only legal climate change agreement the world has.
However rich countries are nervous of committing to the treaty as it does not include China or the US.
In the end a compromise was found where the Kyoto Protocol will be continued, but targets for emissions cuts do not need to be decided until all countries makes cuts.
It is hoped that eventually the Kyoto Protocol will be continued as part of a legal treaty that commits all countries to cutting emissions.
What does it mean for the UK?
Britain has already committed to cutting emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 under domestic law. But the Government has promised to increase this to 42 per cent if there is a global deal, which is now looking increasingly likely.
Is there any money on the table?
Countries have agreed to set up a £60 ($100bn) per annum 'Green Climate Fund' from 2020 to help poor countries adapt to climate change.
It could also help developing countries, including India and China, develop green energy like wind turbines and solar panels. The UK will be expected to contribute around £1.5bn per annum towards the fund.
How will it stop deforestation?
Deforestation causes a fifth of global emissions so protecting trees is claimed to be key step in mitigating global warming.
A new fund called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation or REDD will be set up that will pay poor nations not to chop down trees.
The text includes safeguards to make sure the scheme respects the rights of indigenous people and biodiversity.
Language around carbon markets has been left deliberately vague so it is possible in the future for businesses to make money from 'carbon offsetting'.
Wetlands will also be protected by allowing countries to offset carbon by protecting peatland such as the Yorkshire Moors.
Why is Bolivia so angry?
The Plurinational State of Boliva believes that any UN agreement should 'protect the rights of Mother Earth'.
The South American country believes that the targets are not strong enough to stop catastrophic climate change and signing up to a deal would be 'tantamount' to genocide. They are threatening to keep fighting within the UN process for a stronger deal.
Anything else controversial?
Saudi Arabia won the right to get climate change subsidies for developing 'clean' coal, oil or gas. Carbon capture and storage or CCS takes the carbon emissions from fossil fuels and stores it under ground.
Who are the heroes and villains?
Japan came out as an early villain after refusing to sign up to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol but was persuaded to compromise.
By the end of the conference Bolivia was the trouble maker refusing to sign up the deal because they claimed it was too weak to keep temperature rise below 2C.
Mexico has been the hero throughout, with one delegate describing the President Patricia Espinosa as a 'goddess' for guiding the talks so well.
The UK Government has been praised for leading efforts to find a compromise on the Kyoto Protocol.
Will this save the planet?
Not yet. The latest scientific analysis suggests that the pledges currently on the table will only get the world 60 per cent of the way towards the emissions cuts that are hoped will keep global temperatures rising by more than 2C this century. However the deal agrees that ambitious goals must be increased.
Is this really a success?
Yes, after Copenhagen there were fears that the UN process would collapse. It is embarrassing for the UN not to have a full consensus but the agreement of every country except Bolivia still makes it a very strong agreement. Even though the deal is not legally binding it puts in place decisions that will help the world draw up a new treaty in the future.
What happens next?
The world now has a year to resolve any outstanding issues over the final form of a legal treaty that commits the world to binding targets. There are high hopes this could happen in a UN meeting in Durban, South Africa next year.
However, a deal will need America to up its target which is unlikely while there is a Republican Senate.
New climate battle looms in South Africa in 2011 (Dec 12, 2010) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BB1K120101212
(Reuters) - The world's governments face a new battle in South Africa in 2011 between rich and poor about slowing climate change, buoyed by some progress in Mexico but with faded hopes for a new treaty in coming years.In 2011, governments will try to build on a deal in Mexico to set up a Green Climate Fund to help channel $100 billion in climate aid a year from 2020, along with new systems to protect tropical forests and share clean technologies.The two-week meeting in the Caribbean resort that ended on Saturday showed an ever-broader belief that a legally binding deal is far off, partly because of opposition by China and the United States, the world's top emitters of greenhouse gases."We still have a long and challenging journey ahead of us," said Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's Climate Commissioner, of hopes for a legally binding global deal.Cancun rejected calls by small island states, which fear they will be washed off the map by rising sea levels, to set a deadline for a treaty when environment ministers next meet in Durban, South Africa, in a year's time.Opposition in the Senate to President Barack Obama's calls to legislate curbs on U.S. emissions makes it hard to imagine a new U.N. treaty in coming years -- it would need 67 of 100 Senate votes to be ratified. Durban is likely to be the scene of a battle between developed and developing nations about how to extend or replace the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, which obliges nearly 40 developed nations to cut emissions until December 31, 2012.Cancun made little progress toward resolving splits over Kyoto, long-term curbs on greenhouse gases or ways to bolster fragmented carbon markets that are intended to drive trillion-dollar shifts in investments from fossil fuels. CLIP
Snap Analysis: Climate talks win lifeline, but may sink in 2012 (Dec 11, 2010) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BA1JD20101211
(Reuters) - A new deal among 190 nations to slow climate change throws a lifeline to U.N.-led talks but they will still struggle to find a deal extending the Kyoto Protocol for cutting carbon emissions beyond 2012.Most delegates said the main achievement of the two-week conference in Cancun, Mexico was simply to have an agreement, and thereby restore some faith in a damaged U.N. process after a Copenhagen summit in 2009 failed to agree a treaty. "We have proven that multilateralism can create results," said the European Union's climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who led the Copenhagen summit in 2009."A lot of people are saying that the ghost of Copenhagen has been exorcised here," said Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists. CLIP
Cancun climate agreement: Analysis of the text (12 Dec 2010) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8197785/Cancun-climate-agreement-Analysis-of-the-text.html
The Cancun agreement commits the world to a series of decisions under the United Nations. But what has the world agreed to? TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE: That climate change is "one of the greatest challenges of our time." That warming of the climate system is "unequivocal and that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations". To keep global temperature rise below 2C (3.6F). To reconsider in 2015 whether the goal for global average temperature rise should be decreased to 1.5C. That fighting climate change requires a paradigm shift that requires "more sustainable production and consumption and lifestyles". TO CUT CARBON EMISSIONS: That global emissions of greenhouse gases should peak "as soon as possible". That the world needs to make "deep cuts" in carbon emissions. But developed countries must "take the lead" and poor countries need more time to develop. Developed nations will consider extending the Kyoto Protocol, but only as part of a wider agreement that commits all countries to making emissions cuts. Developing countries will reduce their emissions as part of a global deal. Rich countries will report on emissions cuts against international standards. Poor nations must also report on emissions cuts against international standards, but only after funding has been delivered to help build the appropriate mechanisms. TO HELP POOR COUNTRIES CUT CARBON AND ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE: To pay developing countries £60 million ($100 million) per annum by 2020 to adapt to climate change and develop green technology. To set up an adaptation committee to help poor countries cope with the floods and droughts that climate change could cause. To consider "a climate risk insurance facility" to help poor countries cope with extreme weather impacts. To share green technology. To pay poor countries not to chop down trees. The new scheme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) protects the rights of indigenous peoples and promotes biodiversity. It also leaves the door open for big business to get involved in protecting trees though the carbon offsetting market.
Cancun Climate Summit Avoids the Cost Question (DECEMBER 12, 2010) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704058704576015643723171656.html
World leaders at a climate-change conference in Cancun, Mexico, made clear that addressing the issue will be all about money, agreeing that rich countries would spend potentially trillions of dollars to help poor countries develop on a greener path. But the diplomats postponed hashing out which rich countries would pay how much, and exactly what the poor countries would have to do to get the checks. The two-week United Nations climate conference in the resort city of Cancun underscored that future global efforts to address climate change will likely depend more on economic incentives than on environmental mandates. Cutting emissions typically requires raising taxes on fossil-fuel consumption and raising subsidies for new-energy technologies. That's why international negotiations over climate policy amount to a game of economic chicken, with the world's major economies-notably China and the U.S.-trying to ensure they're not stuck with the bulk of the cost of emission cuts. CLIP
Cancún agreement rescues UN credibility but falls short of saving planet (12 December 2010) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/12/cancun-agreement-rescues-un-credibility
$100bn climate fund likely to come from private sector - Limited successes include aid for preventing deforestation -- The modest deal wrangled out by the 200 countries meeting at the Mexican resort of Cancún may have done more to save a dysfunctional UN negotiating process from collapse than protect the planet against climate change, analysts said today. "The UN climate talks are off the life-support machine," said Tim Gore of Oxfam. "The agreement falls short of the emissions cuts that are needed, but it lays out a path to move towards them." The agreement produced in the early hours of Saturday reinforces the promise made by rich countries last year to mobilise billions for a green climate fund to help poor countries defend themselves against climate damage. It was not clear how the funds would be raised. At Copenhagen last year, rich countries agreed to raise $100bn (£63bn) a year by 2020 for the fund. However, US officials said at the weekend that most of this would come from the private sector. Cancún also produced a victory for forest campaigners who were looking to the talks to produce a system of incentives to prevent the destruction of tropical rainforests in countries such as Brazil, Congo and Indonesia. Under the deal, developing countries will receive aid for not burning or logging forests. Deforestation produces about 15% of the world's carbon emissions. But with a widening divide between rich and poor countries over the architecture of a global agreement, Patricia Espinosa, the Mexican foreign minister credited with preventing a collapse of the two-week talks, told negotiators the result was "the best we could achieve at this point in a long process". Negotiators, clean-energy business associations and campaign groups warned that Cancún's most significant result was putting off the tough decisions until next year's UN summit in South Africa. CLIP
Much work in next year to build Canada's climate credibility (Dec 12, 2010) http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/905872--much-work-in-next-year-to-build-canada-s-climate-credibility
The climate deal reached this weekend in Cancun was hailed as a modest win that inspired hope a legal treaty to tackle global warming could be in hand one year from now.The agreement also bolsters Canada's long-term goal of a pact that includes the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases, particularly China and the United States. But the Conservative government will have to scale up its environmental and diplomatic efforts vastly over the next year to achieve real success when the talks move to Durban, South Africa in 2011. Environment Minister John Baird said the government plans to begin the process of banning the use of dirty coal in Canada, particularly in coal-fired power-generating plants, a major source of emissions. He said the plan is to introduce draft regulations in April that can be finalized by next December (though they would not come into law until 2015). "That will be great progress, a great example that we'll be able to highlight as action," Baird said. He also told reporters at the conclusion of the Cancun talks that "we've got, I think, a lot of work to do" on perfecting and increasing the use of carbon capture and storage - the process by which carbon dioxide released from the oilsands and other energy production facilities is pumped back underground.Critics are hesitant, and rightly so. The Conservative government has been promising rules to cut emissions in every sector of the economy for the past three years. They put off those plans with the election of U.S. President Barack Obama, prefering to piggyback on his climate strategy. But deadlock and delay in the U.S. Congress is becoming a domestic political problem for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
(...) The government of Canada needs to lead in an open, transparent and inclusive process to develop this strategy that we're going to need on how we're going to deliver on all of these commitments, which would be binding in a year," Duncan said. "So we need this strategy and we need this now."A national green plan would give the provinces, as well as business, the direction needed to get on with their own actions, whether that be making expensive equipment purchases in the oilsands or setting energy policies in provincial capitals.Even if this all comes to fruition over the next calendar year, the Conservatives can expect a diplomatic battle when the next climate change conference convenes in Durban.One of the epic, but unresolved, fights at Cancun was over the fate of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an emissions pact under which Ottawa failed to drastically cut emissions.Canada faces massive penalties under Kyoto because greenhouse gases rose dramatically when they should have been falling, and it was never clear at Cancun that there was any incentive for rich nations to heed demands that they accept additional commitments beyond 2012. There was apparently much backroom effort to try to find a compromise. In the end, the only agreement was to tackle the thorny issue again when the world comes together next year.And there is no indication the Tories will change their position. "People have a lot of thinking to do in the run-up to Durban," Baird said Saturday. He reminded reporters that the U.S. Congress rejected Kyoto, meaning the world's largest emitter was left out of the global emissions regime. There is no hope to stabilize global emissions five or even 10 years down the road without a pact that includes the U.S., China, India and other large polluters. "That's not something that's desirable. It's obligatory," he said.The NDP's Duncan said Canada's attitude stands in the way of any progress the country might hope to make on the world stage."We have an opportunity over the next year to completely change gears," she said. "Am I optimistic on that with this government? Not terribly." CLIP
Reading the Coca Leaves: Climate Change, Cancun and Bolivia
If we are to avoid ecocide, we cannot rely on government officials meeting in plush golf resorts.
By Medea Benjamin - December 11, 2010
On the way to participate in a rally organized by the international peasant group Via Campesina in Cancun, a Bolivian indigenous farmer took some coca leaves out of his hand-woven satchel and pressed them into my hand. "You will need these during the climate talks in Cancun to keep you from getting tired or hungry," he insisted. "Pachamama -- mother earth -- gives us these leaves. She takes care of us if we take care of her." Bonding as we chewed the bitter leaves together, the wizened Bolivian farmer shared his hopes that the negotiators would listen to his president, Evo Morales, and come up with an accord that would allow the world to live in harmony with nature.
The climate agreement that was ultimately hashed out in Cancun did not reflect the viewpoint of Bolivia's indigenous community, their President Evo Morales, or Bolivia's passionate UN negotiator, Pablo Solon. The Bolivian government and its grassroots allies wanted a binding agreement that would force significant reductions in greenhouse gases. They wanted an agreement that respected indigenous rights. They wanted an agreement grounded in a new concept -- the rights of nature -- that acknowledges that she who gives us life and abundance (and coca leaves) has as much right to exist as humans.
Many mainstream environmentalists were quick to defend the Cancun agreement, insisting that that a weak agreement is better than nothing, since it allows the international process to go forward and allows activists to keep fighting for better outcomes in the future rounds, including at next year's talks that will take place in Durban, South Africa. No agreement, they suggest, would have stopped the process cold.
But we should be clear that the minimalist agreement from Cancun is totally inadequate to address the climate crisis. It acknowledges that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required, but does not set binding targets. This is due, in large part, to the refusal of the United States -- from the time of the Kyoto Accords -- to agree to mandatory cuts.
The agreement sets up a much-needed Green Climate Fund to help poor nations obtain clean technologies but does not lay out clear sources of financing or how the fund will be controlled. The governments agreed to give an interim trustee role to the World Bank, a move that angered groups in the global south that have suffered at the hands of Bank and activists who have opposed the Bank on a policy level.
The agreement embraces a policy on "deforestation mitigation" known as REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. This gives polluters in the north a chance to buy carbon credits for protecting forests in the global south. Bolivia, and most organizations on the ground and in the streets of Cancun for the past two weeks, object to REDD on the grounds that it commodifies the forests of the global South, endangers indigenous control over the forests and their right to livelihood, and allows northern polluters to keep polluting. Bolivian negotiator Pablo Solon said handing out carbon credits for protecting forests makes it easier for industrialized nations to achieve their emissions reductions targets without taking domestic action to rein in greenhouse gases. "We want to save the forest, but not save developed countries from the responsibility to cut their emissions," Solon said.
At the 11th hour, the negotiators -- desperate for an agreement -- were annoyed at what they saw as Bolivia's obstructionism. "The experts that know about climate change know that we are right," Solon insisted. "This agreement won't stop temperature from rising by 4 degrees Celsius, which is just not sustainable. But they just want an agreement, any agreement, so they are pushing this through." While inside the confines of Cancun's Moon Palace Bolivia was left isolated, outside Bolivia was seen as the superhero standing up for the poor, the indigenous communities, and the rights of nature.
Addressing a news conference in Cancun on December 9, Bolivian President Evo Morales -- himself an indigenous former coca farmer -- made some dire forecasts. "We came to Cancún to save nature, forests, planet Earth, not to convert nature into a commodity or revitalize capitalism with carbon markets." He predicted that without strong, mandatory emissions reductions, the world's governments would be "responsible for ecocide".
I think Evo and my Bolivian coca farmer friend would agree that if we are to avoid ecocide, we cannot rely on government officials meeting in plush golf resorts. Instead, the solutions will come from organic farmers and social entrepreneurs. They will come activists who confront corporate polluters. They will come from passionate environmentalists putting even more pressure on their governments. They will come from those fighting for climate justice on their communities around the globe. Ultimately, they will come from a grassroots global movement steeped in the values of mother nature.
Medea Benjamin is cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace.
Relted article and videos:
Bolivia, the Saudi Arabia of obstruction (10 DEC 2010) http://www.grist.org/article/2010-12-10-left-block
Bolivia and a small bloc of its ultra-leftist allies are obstructing progress on a climate agreement in Cancun. Even as China, the United States, and the overwhelming majority of both developing and developed nations seem ready to finally provide financial incentives for forest protection, a key part of an overall agreement, Bolivia has indicated it is willing to obstruct these measures, primarily because of its alleged opposition to markets. "We are not here to convert nature into a commodity," Bolivian President Evo Morales said in his speech in Cancun, explaining his country's intransigence. So do the forest-protection programs (known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD+) actually make nature into something to be bought and sold? What Morales and his allies don't say is that there is already a global market for forests -- dead ones. Timber, palm oil, soybeans, cattle, oil and gas, and other products of deforestation can all be sold for a profit on the global market. Bolivia, for instance, made more than $5 billion last year from exporting natural gas, timber, and soybeans, much of those through deforestation. Unfortunately, without an agreement in Cancun, there is no financial value given to living forests. As a result, for a rancher, a palm-oil plantation owner, a soybean farmer, or a logging company, the economic choice is clear: There's way more immediate value in cutting down the forests than saving them. CLIP
Bolivian President Evo Morales at Cancún Climate Summit: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Diplomacy of Empire" (December 10, 2010) http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/10/bolivian_president_evo_morales_on_wikileaks
Speaking at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales warned against throwing out the Kyoto Protocol, saying such a move could result in ecocide or genocide. Bolivia has become a leading critic of how the climate talks have developed and of last year's U.S.-backed Copenhagen Accord. At a news conference, Morales also talked about U.S. dispatches on Bolivia unearthed by WikiLeaks and his response to recent criticism from Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa. [includes rush transcript]
Guardian Environment Editor John Vidal on WikiLeaks Cables and U.S. Manipulation of Climate Talks (Dec 7, 2010) http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/7/guardian_environment_editor_john_vidal_on
John Vidal, the environment editor for The Guardian of London, is in Cancún after reporting on the Copenhagen summit a year ago. The Guardian is one the five news outlets to receive the massive trove of WikiLeaks cables ahead of time and has been publishing new revelations every day. We speak to Vidal about the latest diplomatic cables on the U.S. manipulation of the climate talks.
(...) AMY GOODMAN: That follow-up question that I asked the U.S. special climate change envoy-Todd Stern refused to answer-was about the U.S. withholding funds to countries like Ecuador and Bolivia, when they refused to sign on to the Copenhagen Accord.John Vidal, the environment editor for the London Guardian reported on the exchange. John Vidal covered the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen and is in Cancún covering the summit here. His newspaper is one of five news outlets to receive the massive trove of WikiLeaks cables ahead of time and has been publishing new revelations every day. I asked John Vidal about the latest diplomatic cables on the U.S. manipulation of the climate talks.
JOHN VIDAL: We've lifted the lid on what actually happens at conferences like that, and we begin to see the kind of intense pressure and arm twisting and blackmail and different tactics, which has always been used by the rich countries over the poor countries. The only new thing now is that it is-we actually have it written down, we can see it for the first time with our own eyes. So what, you know, we tried to report two years ago, three years ago, whatever, now we actually know. We know for a fact this happened and that happened and he said that and what. The surprising thing is it's not surprising, in a funny way. I mean, it's like, we always suspected that this is how America operates, and now we know. So, in a way, our information was good at the time. I think that Bolivia and other countries' reaction has been very, very interesting, because that's that outrage that the-how the rich have been bullying and press ganging the poor. It's a terrible situation.
AMY GOODMAN: You refer to the terrible night in Copenhagen. Explain exactly what you meant, what went down, and what was revealed in the WikiLeaks documents.
JOHN VIDAL: Copenhagen was just a complete nightmare, a diplomatic meltdown, I think is the fairest way to say it, where you had countries accusing each other of genocide. You had a total failure of the diplomatic process, that text which was meant to enhance everybody and bring them together in fact did the absolute opposite, and it shattered the confidence and the trust between different countries. And WikiLeaks just shows us, from that one point of view of the American cables, that-but this was happening in many, many other countries. It wasn't just America. You know, if we could get hold of the British equivalent of WikiLeaks or the French or the Germans or the Canadians or whatever, we would see similar things, I'm quite sure. This is international diplomacy, which is a very, very dirty business.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the money that was offered to countries, the tens of millions of dollars that we see in the WikiLeaks documents, for example, offered to places like Maldives, the country that was fierce, their representatives, about getting some kind of global warming deal at Copenhagen, and then signed on to the accord?
JOHN VIDAL: I mean, that's how these meetings work. I mean, frankly, it goes to the line, in the end, there's this horse trading thing where I'll give you money if you side with me. This is how-this is how the world works. I mean, we're seeing it very clearly. It is not at all amiable negotiation. People are using every tactic under the book, including blackmail, including, you know, finance. They're using muscle. They're threatening. And that's what happens in the last hours of these conferences. And we'll it again, similar, this time. It won't be quite as bad, because there's not so much at stake at this particular meeting. But when it goes forward next year to Durban, we will see exactly the same stuff, and even in spades. We'll see far more CLIP
WANGARI MAATHAI'S CALL FOR HOLISTIC THINKING ON THE EVE OF CANCUN - A POWERFUL, SENSIBLE VOICE OF WISDOM WITH A CLEAR VISION OF WHAT REACHING GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY ENTAILS. WORTH PONDERING BY EVERYONE TILL DURBAN NEXT YEAR... THANK GOD WE HAVE BRIGHT SOULS SUCH AS WANGARI MAATHAI, PATRICIA ESPINOZA AND COUNTLESS OTHERS TO HELP GUIDE US ALONG THE WAY!
Twelve months ago I stood up in front of heads of state at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen and told them that they could not negotiate with the climate; they would have to negotiate with each other. And as leaders prepare to meet again in Cancún next week, I repeat my plea.
I have been attending UN conferences since 1976 and am now part of the millennium development goals advocacy group. In the past 30 years I have seen much to be proud of, and much for us to hang our heads at. At times when action has been needed, the world has responded. Other times we have not.
Negotiating an issue that has such a vast effect on our world is not easy, and governments know that negotiations are as much about how countries interact as they are about what they agree. There is a history of accidental and deliberate misunderstanding in climate negotiations that has left deep scars, but leaders must overcome this legacy of mistrust by building on common ground in a genuine, fair and trusting way that is based on mutual responsibility - to ourselves and to billions around the world.
I believe in the ability of humanity to come together in the face of seemingly impossible difficulties. Finding a way to rise to the challenge of climate change is not easy. But it is possible. We have the knowledge to deliver - the cost of low-carbon technology is falling, our understanding of how climate change will affect our lives is improving. The UN advisory group on climate finance has shown that we can generate the $100bn (£64bn) a year promised to tackle climate change. Now we must work together to make these possibilities a reality.
It is true that no delegate leaves a conference with a perfect document, but last year in Copenhagen we caught a glimpse of the potential we have if we tackle this global crisis together. For the first time, 115 countries recognised the scientific case for restricting the rise in global temperatures to 2C. For the first time ever, all the major emitters of the world accepted their moral responsibility to reduce their emissions and committed to build trust and transparency. And for the first time ever, we set out our interconnectedness, with developed countries offering to help the poorest countries to protect their people from climate change and to find a path to low-carbon sustainable development.
We appreciate the fact that an international agreement alone will not deliver the answer - words and promises mean nothing without action. Trust is a two-way road and outside of Cancún, governments must do what they have promised: take concrete action to reduce their emissions; deliver finance and work together to make low-carbon development a reality; and protect those least able to cope with the impact of climate change.
If we are to help steer the world through this uncertainty, we must be clear that climate change, though important, is only one part of the puzzle. If we truly want to tackle climate change, poverty and conflict we need to think holistically. We need to, as Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the UN global sustainability panel, "think big, connecting the dots between poverty, energy, food, water, environmental pressure and climate change".
Focusing on only one dot means that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Water is a timeless example. We know that the impact of climate change will be felt through water - too much, too little or the wrong type. And improving basic services such as water sanitation and hygiene is vital to development, reducing child deaths and improving education. There are 884 million people who don't have safe drinking water and 2.6 billion who don't have somewhere to go to the toilet. The floods in Pakistan are a dramatic example of how destructive water can be, yet how essential it is to life. Reducing disaster risk, and providing the most vulnerable with safe water and sanitation is as much about building their resilience to climate change as it is about justice, equality and development.
And we saw in 2008 just what can happen when we fail to connect those dots - climate change, oil prices, protectionism and global economics collided to push food prices up and hang a cloud of starvation over the heads of millions of people.
So these negotiations are about more than climate change - we need to find reason to trust each other so that we can find a new way of working together to tackle the connected global challenges we face. Our failure to link these issues affects us all. In Cancún and beyond, the governments of the world have to learn to work together for our common future. Our planet is finite, our fates are intertwined, our choice is clear - stand together or fall divided.
The Earth-Buster Sale by Reverend Billy Talen (December 9, 2010) http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/12/09/the-earth-buster-sale/
On Black Friday/ Buy Nothing Day - we enjoyed our annual turn on national television, cutting into the heavy-breathing shopping reports with our alternative Christmas. A comment like "But if we stopped shopping - what about jobs? - what about the economy?" would ring in the air again and again.Then we try to describe a quiet revolution that is already more extensive than anyone knows, a transition many of us are making to the realities of peak oil and climate change. Our solution is such a Norman Rockwell painting of a small town, or a Langston Hughes poem of a city neighborhood, with farmer's markets, old shops and everyone knowing the first name of the person they are talking to that the "revolution" we're describing seems simply the good way to do things. Then the choir belts out "What Would Jesus Buy?" and we sing and shout until the producer gives us the slit-throat signal.We do this every year and it's not a bad life. But this year I do feel like singing "If You Don't Know Me By Now." Because there is - you noticed? - a dispiriting return to the corporate Christmas by many consumers. The myth of the single oil-based economy still glories in its unstoppable ads. On the international level there wasn't a leader who explained during the recession that there was an alternative to it. Obama sure didn't.We are finally suffering from the consequences of the mind-bath of marketing. The psychic environment, the thousands of gushing products that we walk through, has altered are basic perceptions. Our "pattern consciousness" is shattered. We have come to believe the basic con-job of Consumerism, which is: "This product on the shelf has no past, no labor or natural resources history. The reality of this shiny package begins with buying it." Thus the emotional report of the shopping grosses last Friday - that it increased by 5% and that this is a stand alone American triumph. The fetish for the retail grosses what a weird horse race! The Wall Street expectations are met, disappointed or surpassed and we are taught to obey the applause signs. But if our pattern consciousness hadn't broken down, we wouldn't act like we are outside of time. We would sense a history in these products.We would see through the hypnotizing horse race to the real impact of Consumerism in the world. We would connect this kind of shopping to sweatshops, to the dying oceans, to wars for oil, to the silencing waves of extinction.We would look down at our hand, hovering there over the counter with money in the fingers. How much power is in this gesture? Consumerism keeps this economy going, which is destroying life. This Christmas is selling everything. And how deeply felt would be our recognition - that living sustainably isn't just a political position. Will our children live?
5 Awards For the World's Most Heinous Climate Villains
As the world heats up and extreme weather increases there are a bunch of high-profile people who just don't get it, are handsomely rewarded not to get it, or both.
By Mike Roddy and Ian Murphy - December 11, 2010
This was the hottest decade on record and 2010 has been the hottest year on record. Extreme weather and starvation are increasing on every continent, as beetles devour our forests and jellyfish begin to rule the sea. MIT and the Met Office Hadley Centre predict a business as usual 6 degree Celsius surface warming by 2100, and more than that over land. Climatologists call this being "screwed." Response from the oil and coal people? Bend over. What follows is a list of people who just don't get it, are handsomely rewarded not to get it, or both.
1. Evil Twin Awards
David and Charles Koch
Misdeeds: Even more evil than their father Fred, who founded the John Birch Society and railed against communist plots while profiting from the oil refineries he built for Stalin. Koch business operations include coal mining, stealing oil from Indian reservations, pipelines and refineries for Canadian Tar Sands oil, and formaldehyde soaked wood from clearcuts. Wherever there's filth and destruction the boys are on it, like hound dogs rolling in bear s h i t. Between '05 and '08 alone, the Kochs spent $25 million spreading the ludicrous message that our best scientists are ideological fear mongers, who would use "climate change" to usher in World Government.
Corporate Teat: Koch Industries, with $100 billion annual income. Want some stock? Not for sale; it's all theirs, baby.
Most Egregious Lie: "Since we can't control Mother Nature, let's figure out how to get along with her changes." -- a company newsletter.
Comeuppance: Locked in an underwater exhibit as part of a display at the Smithsonian's $15 million David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which whitewashes the dangers of climate change, to demonstrate how people will evolve to live in the rising oceans.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet
Misdeeds: Pretend to be friends while engaged in a vicious competition to see who ends up with the most expensive coffin. Flew together to inspect the Alberta Tar Sands and ponder investments, looking to add to Buffet's $34 billion Burlington Northern Santa Fe coal-hauling railroad purchase and the Gates Foundation Nigerian oil portfolio (NOTE FROM JEAN: The article linked to Nigerian oil portfolio should be a must read for anyone still holding illusions about Bill Gates... this guy is a walking contradiction, the epitome of hypocrisy and greed! This originally comes from this Los Angeles Times Jan. 7, 2007 article: Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation). Gates is dumping cash into geo-engineering as a way to "hack" the climate, instead of getting off oil and coal. The duo insist that the government should be responsible for clean energy development, but that we need to tax our citizens to pay for it. They can't be bothered, since they're too busy banking on sure things like fossil fuels.
Corporate Teat: They're the t i t s, not the pups. Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway, much of it tax sheltered by the Gates Foundation.
Most Egregious Lie: "We need an energy miracle." Gates' time frame for converting to clean energy is 40 years, giving him and Buffet plenty of years of income from their dirty investments.
Comeuppance: Sent to actually work in an African village health care clinic for one full year.
Misdeeds: Wrecked any remaining cred from his stint as a Merry Prankster and '60s tepee and patchouli oil Whole Earth Catalog by hitching his wagon to corporate America. Tours the country with a Power Point presentation, trying to persuade people that nuclear power is going to save us from global warming. Missed the memo that nuclear costs at least $7 million a megawatt, and insurance beyond the federal guarantee is not available. Constantly cites bad data, bullshits about nuclear waste disposal technology and now, he's even for "clean coal" (read: coal).
Corporate Teat: Global Business Network, a corporate consulting firm co-founded by Brand, which counts among its clients next-gen nuclear developers GE, Bechtel, Duke Power and Westinghouse.
Most Egregious Lie: To scare environmentalists into embracing nuclear: "I would like to see an environmental movement that's comfortable noticing when it's wrong ..." because "...DDT was banned worldwide, and malaria took off in Africa." (DDT was never banned for disease prevention.)
Comeuppance: Uranium bong hits.
3. Credentials in the Wrong Field Award
Glenn Beck, Professional Histrionic
Misdeeds: Has no expertise on any subject whatsoever, yet manages to have opinions about everything, including evolution, Islam and global warming. Instinctively distrusts anything that has been proven by empirical evidence. Whips crowds into a frenzy about taxes and socialism, and solemnly warns about the ethics of academic climate scientists. Is the heir apparent to Joe McCarthy in exemplifying the Death of the American Dream, through ignorance, paranoia, and megalomania. Repeats every lie about global warming that Fox and the oil companies feed him, then holds a summer rally at the Lincoln Memorial about "restoring honor."
Corporate Teats: Fox Broadcasting, and advertisers such as Exxon, Peabody and Georgia Pacific (a Koch company).
Most Egregious Lie: "Global warming is a hoax."
Comeuppance: Turned into an actual puppet by George Soros, made to perform a nightly rendition of "Fame" outside Jackpot, Nevada.
4. Slimy Politician Award
Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader
Misdeeds: Possibly the phoniest, most corrupt and physically repulsive lawmaker in 100 years. Makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln. Grovels for "campaign contributions" from banking, oil and coal companies, in spite of not having been in a close election for 20 years. Charms desperate and out of work Kentuckians with smarmy warmth.
Performed the incredible feat of gaining a 100 percent Senate voting rating from the US Chamber of Commerce, a zero percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters, and then completed the trifecta by making CREW's annual Most Corrupt Senators list. Canes Senators like Graham and McCain into submission if they threaten a vote that Exxon or Peabody don't approve of.
Corporate Teats: Dozens-including Peabody Coal, News Corp (Fox), Blue Cross, and Citibank.
Most Egregious Lie: "I am the Godfather of Green."
Comeuppance: Assigned to a Kentucky County Hospital for a year to work as a nurse's aide for terminal black lung and emphysema victims.
5. Most Evil Performance as a Chief Executive
Gregory Boyce, Peabody Coal CEO
Misdeeds: Along with his Board and shareholders, surely one of the most malignant men of the 21st century. Boyce's mission in life is to see that the world burns as much coal as possible, in spite of scientists' warnings that this path is already heating the planet and destroying life. Pays lobbyists to fight regulation of coal plants' emissions of cancer-causing mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide.
Claims that the vast amount of CO2 emissions from coal plants can somehow be sequestered and stored. Hedges against eventual regulation of US coal plants by developing export markets to Third World countries, then pretends that he's doing it to help the poor. Believes that the interests of Peabody stockholders and executives are far more important than starvation, death, and species extinction. Boyce is Lucifer in a $5000 suit.
Corporate Teats: In addition to running Peabody, Boyce helps to coordinate efforts by coal trade groups, utilities, and the Chamber of Commerce to help them continue to poison the atmosphere.
Most Egregious Lie: "Only once we have a growing, vibrant, global economy providing energy access and an improved human condition for billions of the energy impoverished can we accelerate progress on environmental issues such as a reduction in greenhouse gases."
Comeuppance: Sentenced to perform community service while living next to and downwind from an Arizona coal plant in a non air-conditioned trailer.
Tony Hayward, former BP CEO
Misdeeds: Prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, he presided over furious maintenance and safety cost cutting efforts, leading to higher profits, despite internal warnings. "Managed" the expanding oil plumes by claiming that only 1,000 barrels a day were escaping, later modified to 5,000 barrels a day. Hayward was perfectly aware that the actual figure was closer to 50,000 barrels.
In another unconscionable act of public relations, BP ordered the use of the toxic dispersant Corexit-banned in Britain -- while failing to equip cleanup crews with respirators. As BP was busy shutting out journalists, and death washed onto Gulf shores, Tony was playing the "demonized and vilified" yacht enthusiast, saying that he just "wanted his life back."
Corporate Teats: Began as a geologist for BP, but worked his way up to CEO by cutting costs, earning the devotion of BP shareholders even as spills and accidents increased.
Most Egregious Lie: "I think BP's response to this tragedy has been a model of good social corporate responsibility."
Comeuppance: Orifices shot full of rubber scraps, mud and golf balls.
David Lesar, Halliburton CEO
Misdeeds: Oversees a company whose missions are to bribe politicians, screw taxpayers, and subcontract work to the lowest, most incompetent bidder. Faulty work by subsidiary KBR in Iraq led to the electrocution of US soldiers while they were taking showers. Charged $45 a case for Coca Cola in Iraq and $100 for a load of laundry. Halliburton knowingly used faulty cement on the Deepwater Horizon, which was a major cause of the explosion, but such is their juice in DC that even Obama is still handing them no bid contracts, even though they moved their headquarters to Dubai.
Corporate Teats: Halliburton's main teat is the Defense Department (the largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world), so the Gulf explosion was part of the company's secondary operations. Killing and environmental mayhem are their main business interests.
Most Egregious Lie: "Will things go wrong? Sure they will; it's a war zone. But when they do, we'll fix it. We always have...We're serving our troops because of what we know, not who we know." -- from an '06 Halliburton PR video
Comeuppance: Encased up to his neck in Halliburton "foam" cement, and ordered to fix faulty shower wiring with his teeth.
Court Gives Green Light to EPA Carbon Pollution Standards, Rejects Polluters' and Climate-Deniers' Claims (December 10, 2010) http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ddoniger/court_gives_green_light_to_epa.html
Big news today from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which just gave the green light to implementing EPA's first carbon pollution standards in January. The court flatly rejected attempts by America's biggest carbon polluters and the State of Texas to block all of EPA's efforts to begin curbing the dangerous pollution that causes global warming under the nation's clean air laws.A rogues' gallery of science-denying coal and oil companies, industry lobbyists and trade associations, right-wing advocacy groups, Tea Party funders, and ultra-conservative elected officials sued EPA to stop every major action EPA has taken over the last two years to start reducing carbon pollution - the science-based "endangerment" finding, the historic standards for new cars, and the first limits on carbon pollution from the biggest new power plants and factories. Over the last year, these cases have served as fashion accessories to dress up the lobbying campaign aimed at getting Congress to overturn the Clean Air Act and block EPA from doing its job under the Supreme Court's 2007 global warming decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. But now that strategy has backfired. You see, the polluters and science-deniers can say anything they want in press releases and lobbying letters to Congress. Especially these days, when lobbying and politics take place in a fact-free zone. But when you go to court, you have to prove your case. And they've failed. They filed hundreds of pages of briefs and affidavits with wild claims that construction will be stopped all across the country and that the economic recovery will be strangled. The court didn't buy any of it. In the order today denying the stays, the court said this:Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review. Specifically, with regard to each of the challenged rules, petitioners have not shown that the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative, or that the alleged harms will directly result from the actions which the movants seek to enjoin. Note that the court said with regard to "each of the challenged rules." That means the court found no merit in their claims of harm from EPA's endangerment finding, no merit in their claims of harm from the landmark clean car standards, and no merit in their claims of harm from the requirement to put available and affordable pollution control technology on big new factories.This is no surprise, since the clean car standards (which are supported by the auto industry) are going to save the average new car buyer $3000. And all that's required of the biggest new factories is to do what's available and affordable to reduce emissions - something they've been doing for other pollutants for decades. Every state but Texas is ready to issue pollution permits for big new sources. And the industries utterly failed to prove that the economic sky is falling. This is a victory for every American who wants cleaner cars and less pollution from our factories.
Leaked document shows EPA allowed bee-toxic pesticide despite own scientists' red flags (DEC 10, 2010) http://www.grist.org/article/food-2010-12-10-leaked-documents-show-epa-allowed-bee-toxic-pesticide-
It's not just the State and Defense departments that are reeling this month from leaked documents. The Environmental Protection Agency now has some explaining to do, too. In place of dodgy dealings with foreign leaders, this case involves the German agrichemical giant Bayer; a pesticide with an unpronounceable name, clothianidin; and an insect species crucial to food production (as well as a food producer itself), the honeybee. And in lieu of a memo leaked to a globetrotting Australian, this one features a document delivered to a long-time Colorado beekeeper. All of that, plus my favorite crop to fixate on: industrial corn, which blankets 88 million acres of farmland nationwide and produces a bounty of protein-rich pollen on which honeybees love to feast. It's The Agency Who Kicked the Beehive, as written by Jonathan Franzen! Hive talking An internal EPA memo released Wednesday confirms that the very agency charged with protecting the environment is ignoring the warnings of its own scientists about clothianidin, a pesticide from which Bayer racked up ¤183 million (about $262 million) in sales in 2009. Clothianidin has been widely used on corn, the largest U.S. crop, since 2003. Suppliers sell seeds pre-treated with it. Like other members of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, clothianidin gets "taken up by a plant's vascular system and expressed through pollen and nectar," according to Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), which leaked the document along with Beyond Pesticides. That effect makes it highly toxic to a crop's pests -- and also harmful to pollen-hoarding honeybees, which have experienced mysterious annual massive die-offs (known as "colony collapse disorder") here in the United States at least since 2006. The colony-collapse phenomenon is complex and still not completely understood. While there appears to be no single cause for the annual die-offs, mounting evidence points to pesticides, and specifically neonicotinoids (derived from nicotine), as a key factor. And neonicotinoids are a relatively new factor in ecosystems frequented by honeybees -- introduced in the late 1990s, these systemic insecticides have gained a steadily rising share of the seed-treatment market. It does not seem unfair to observe that the health of the honeybee population has steadily declined over the same period. According to PANNA, other crops commonly treated with clothianidin include canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat -- all among the most widely planted U.S. crops. Bayer is now petitioning the EPA to register it for use with cotton and mustard seed. The document [PDF], leaked to Colorado beekeeper Tom Theobald, reveals that EPA scientists have declared essentially rejected the findings of a study conducted on behalf of Bayer that the agency had used to justify the registration of clothianidin. And they reiterated concerns that widespread use of clothianidin imperils the health of the nation's honeybees. On Thursday, I asked an EPA press spokesperson via email if the scientists' opinion would inspire the agency to remove clothianidin from the market. The spokesperson, who asked not to be named but who communicated on the record on behalf of the agency, replied that clothianidin would retain its registration and be available for use in the spring. Wimpy watchdogging - Before we dig deeper into the leaked memo, it's important to understand the sorry story of how an insecticide known to harm honeybee populations came to blanket a huge swath of U.S. farmland in the first place. It's nearly impossible not to read it as a tale of a key public watchdog instead heeling to the industry it's supposed to regulate. CLIP
New report shows dirty coal doing even more damage than you thought (9 DEC 2010) http://www.grist.org/article/2010-12-09-new-report-shows-dirty-coal-doing-even-more-damage
In my last post, I wrote that the EPA is delaying a few of its recent regulations and generally appearing tentative and hesitant in the face of attacks from industry and Republicans. At the core of those attacks is the notion that regulations would be a huge financial burden on industry and slow the economy.Is that true? It depends, in large part, on how you quantify the external costs that air pollution imposes on the public. If they are high enough that the benefits from pollution reduction outweigh the costs to industry, then the regulation will be a net boost to the economy, whatever the effect on the individual businesses in question.A new study is out showing that EPA has been substantially undercounting the externalities imposed by ozone pollution -- and thus understating the net benefits of its new ozone rules. The reason for EPA's conservatism is that it focuses almost exclusively on health costs, i.e., mortality and morbidity. (Defending public health is, after all, EPA's mandate.) But direct health costs do not capture the full impact on downwind states. After all, if employees are getting sick or dying, or if they're unable to work outdoors because of poor air quality, there are also, the the report's words, "higher labor and health insurance costs, lost jobs, lost state and local tax revenue, and higher gasoline prices." In other words, polluters aren't just harming individuals, they are harming other businesses and state budgets. The report is called "Expensive Neighbors: The Hidden Cost of Harmful Pollution to Downwind Employers and Businesses" [PDF]. In it, author, former professor, and electricity industry expert Dr. Charles J. Cicchetti finds that power plants without SO2 and NOx scrubbers are imposing some $6 billion in annual costs on downwind businesses. Specifically, the report finds that thanks to unscrubbed coal plants, between 2005 and 2012: Businesses will suffer over $47 billion in costs;Over 360,000 jobs will be lost; State and local governments will lose almost $9.3 billion in tax revenue; Families and businesses in polluted areas will pay $26.0 billion more for reformulated gasoline as a result of ongoing pollution.When these costs are added to health costs to individuals, the benefits of the EPA's upcoming Clean Air Transport Rule, which would put tighter limits on ozone pollution, "exceed compliance costs by about 100 times." You'd be hard pressed to find another federal regulation of which that can be said. Why, if the public benefits so outweigh the costs, do rules like this remain so controversial? Obviously a big part of it is that the costs are concentrated on politically powerful status quo interests and the benefits are diffused among the public, particularly on the low end of the income spectrum. That's not a fair political fight. CLIP
Bees face 'unprecedented' pesticide exposures at home and afield (March 21, 2010) http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/57474/title/Bees_face_unprecedented_pesticide_exposures_at_home_and_afield
Sometimes dozens of pesticides turn up in a single sample of wax or pollen -- SAN FRANCISCO - For years the news has been the same: Honey bees are being hammered by some mysterious environmental plague that has a name -- colony collapse disorder - but no established cause. A two-year study now provides evidence indicting one likely group of suspects: pesticides. It found "unprecedented levels" of mite-killing chemicals and crop pesticides in hives across the United States and parts of Canada.Scientists here at the American Chemical Society spring annual meeting, which kicked off today, will report on the findings of this study later in the week. But if you want an early peak at their results, or can't make it to the meeting, check out a 19-page synopsis of the data that has just been published online in the March PLoS ONE.In it, Christopher Mullin of Pennsylvania State University in University Park and his colleagues describe widespread pesticide tainting in 749 samples of bee-dom, some of those chemicals at levels that would be toxic if they occurred alone. Except that most bees aren't exposed to just a single pesticide.In beeswax, they report, "87 pesticides and metabolites were found with up to 39 different detections in a single sample." The average number of pesticides identified per wax sample (and they analyzed 259 samples): eight. Among 350 pollen samples retrieved from hives, each harbored an average of seven such chemicals - but at times up to 31 pesticide contaminants (or their breakdown products, some of which are far more toxic to bees than the parent chemical would have been).Overall, the 140 bees they analyzed tended to be less contaminated. Their bodies contained, on average, a little over two pesticides. At least one poor bug hosted 25.The researchers have several suspicions why the bees looked cleaner than their dwellings. In some cases, detoxifying systems within the bees might have broken down the chemicals, fostering their excretion. But an even likelier explanation: The sampling focused primarily on live bees extracted from the hives. These tended to be the queens, brood nurses and adolescents - hive residents that aren't on the chemical frontlines, foraging in pesticide treated fields. Indeed, the fact that researchers found so few healthy worker bees in many of the hives from which they received samples suggests that sickened foragers probably die before they get home.In fact, some of the pesticides that were detected in hive materials can disorient bees. Which suggests many foragers that had been unwittingly carrying home such contaminants at last become too confused to find their front door. Mullin's team didn't just sample hives clobbered by colony collapse disorder. They also analyzed all aspects of hives and their inhabitants from ostensibly healthy communities of bees as well. And that's what makes the next stat so troubling. Out of all of those many hundreds of samples analyzed, "Only one of the wax, three pollen and 12 bee samples had no detectable pesticides."CLIP
SECOND PART: SOME OF THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WIKILEAKS SAGA
This is a complement to the material I've compiled and networked last Dec 7 Wikileaks or WikIsrael? WikiAngel or WikiWeasel? We Won't Let Them Pull The Wool Over Our Eyes! If you did not receive it or if some parts were missing, you can review it at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2010/Wikileaks.htm
NOTE from Jean: As I read about some of the latest US shenanigans revealed by Wikileaks, it dawned on me that perhaps the reason why the media now cover with such fervor the news about Assange and the effort made to silence him has a lot to do with using this as a smokescreen to deviate the media and everuone else's attention from the actual content of the leaked cables. One thing sure is that any cursory look at the propaganda media headlines will quickly reveal how little is now being reported about the revelations found in these leaked diplomatic cables.
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.
Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.
We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.
So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:
**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."
**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a b i t c h."
**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."
**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."
And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!
WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.
I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That's Mr. Bush about to be handed a "secret" document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings." Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.
But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?
But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)
Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?
Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 -- after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin -- there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.
Instead, secrets killed them.
For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.
Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that's the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you're up to. You simply can't be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.
And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.
I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.
P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.
Julian Assange remains in jail as Sweden appeals against bail decision (14 December 2010) http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/14/julian-assange-bail-sweden
Appeal will be heard in the high court this week against decision to free WikiLeaks founder on bail, on grounds that he may flee -- Sweden tonight decided to fight a British judge's decision to grant bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than a week in prison over sexual assault allegations involving two Swedish women.
(...) Today's developments represent a small but significant victory for Assange, who is being forced to fight the Swedish sex crime allegations in the midst of a tsunami of controversy after the publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of classified US government cables. The court drama came as a further tranche of cables was released detailing often futile efforts by the US and UK - involving substantial amounts of British taxpayers' money - to block the thriving drug route from west Africa to Europe. The cables reveal countries struggling to cope with the booming trade while government officials sabotage anti-smuggling measures, officials tip off traffickers and vast shipments from South America pass through under the noses of customs. In one cable the president of Ghana is even forced to ask UK officials for help in screening his own entourage, who he fears could be carrying drugs through airports.
(...) The bail conditions are that security of £200,000 is deposited with the court before Assange is freed, as well as two sureties of £20,000 each from two named people. Assange's passport must remain with the police and he must not apply for any international travel documents. He must stay at a country mansion owned by a friend, Vaughan Smith, and observe curfews from 10pm to 2am, and then from 10am to 2pm. During those periods the judge said he would be electronically monitored via a tag. Assange will also have to report to a nearby police station every evening.
(...) Outside court, Stephens said: "It is impossible to say how long it will take before Julian Assange is out. The problem is £200,000 cannot be put in by cheque as that takes seven days to clear. So I have to go around to find cash and have it delivered to court, and until the court has it an innocent man stays in jail."He condemned Sweden's decision to appeal against the bail ruling: "They are continuing to persecute Mr Assange An innocent man is in custody."Assange's mother, Christine, who flew over from Australia, said: "I am very happy with the judge's decision and I thank you all so much for supporting Julian."Earlier she released a statement from her son in which he said: "My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them."We now know that Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others are instruments of US foreign policy I am calling for the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks."
Lawyer for Assange: US has empanelled secret grand jury against WikiLeaks leader (14 December 2010) http://wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/wiki-d14.shtml
As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was preparing to appear today before a London court to appeal a judge's denial of bail, his attorney Mark Stephens warned that Sweden had instigated legal proceedings in order to hand Assange over to the US authorities.Speaking with interviewer David Frost on al-Jazeera television, Stephens said, "We have heard from the Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empanelled grand jury in Alexandria just over the river from Washington DC, next to the Pentagon."Sweden is seeking to question Assange on trumped-up sexual assault charges that have been instigated by right-wing elements in Sweden, backed by the US government, in order to disrupt the efforts of WikiLeaks to continue publishing documents that expose US military atrocities and diplomatic conspiracies around the world.In the al-Jazeera interview, Stephens said, "[T]he Swedes, we understand, have said that if he comes to Sweden, they will defer their interest in him to the Americans. Now that shows some level of collusion and embarrassment, so it does seem to me what we have here is nothing more than holding charges so ultimately they can get their mitts on him." These remarks are the most direct allegation from Assange's defense team that the Swedish charges are simply a device to seize the WikiLeaks leader and then turn him over for prosecution by the US government, or perhaps to be detained in a military or CIA prison. The US wants to prosecute Assange for his role in the WikiLeaks exposures, but Justice Department prosecutors have yet to make public any legal basis for doing so.
Gillard may get me killed: Assange (12th December 2010) http://www.dailymercury.com.au/story/2010/12/12/WikiLeaks-julian-assange-gillard/
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange says Prime Minister Julia Gillard has put his life and freedom at risk by publicly pre-judging his actions as criminal. In written correspondence between Mr Assange and the Australian Government, made available exclusively to the Sunshine Coast Daily, Mr Assange highlights serious fears that Ms Gillard's statements questioning the legality of WikiLeaks would violate his right to a fair trial.He said he feared he and his staff could be killed as he was aware senior figures in the United States, including politician Sarah Palin, had been calling for his arrest and assassination. The 39-year-old Queenslander is currently in solitary confinement in Wandsworth Prison in England for his own safety. CLIP
Australian media organisations, Labor MPs attack persecution of Julian Assange (14 December 2010) http://wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/medi-d14.shtml
Representatives of nearly all the mainstream Australian media organisations today released an open letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, condemning her denunciations of the WikiLeaks publication of secret US diplomatic cables as "illegal". The letter declares that "the reaction of the US and Australian governments to date has been deeply troubling" and states: "We will strongly resist any attempts to make the publication of these or similar documents illegal." The document was signed by 26 editors and news directors, including from the Murdoch and Fairfax media empires, the four national commercial television networks, the two government-owned broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, and two other radio stations. It declares its opposition to attempts to use Australian law or criminal charges to assist the US-led witch-hunt against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen. "There is no evidence, either, that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have broken any Australian law. The Australian government is investigating whether Mr Assange has committed an offence, and the Prime Minister has condemned WikiLeaks' actions as 'illegal'. So far, it has been able to point to no Australian law that has been breached." The letter points out that Assange had "worked with five major newspapers around the world, which published and analysed the embassy cables" CLIP
US Indictment of WikiLeaks Founder Said to be Imminent (December 11, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22369
A US indictment of Julian Assange on espionage charges is believed to be imminent, a lawyer for the WikiLeaks founder said Friday. "We are taking legal advice on the possibility of prosecution in light of high-profile public officials calling for his prosecution and rumors circulating in the US that a sealed indictment is being prepared, or may have already been prepared," Jennifer Robinson told the AFP news agency. She added that any prosecution of Assange and the WikiLeaks web site for espionage would be a violation of the US Constitution. "Our position is that any prosecution under the Espionage Act would be unconstitutional and call into question First Amendment protections for all media organizations," said Robinson. CLIP
Wikileaks, web to revolutionize reporting: Pilger (Dec. 14, 2010) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/wikileaks-web-to-revolutionize-reporting-pilger/article1836872
Revelations on the WikiLeaks website which have enraged governments around the world should force the traditional media to rely less on official sources, award-winning journalist John Pilger said. In an interview to discuss his film "The War You Don't See", the veteran Australian reporter told Reuters the internet, and more specifically WikiLeaks, would bring about a "revolution" in journalism which too often failed to do its job properly. One reason the media did not challenge the U.S. and British governments' justification for going to war in Iraq in 2003, later shown to be misplaced, was their eagerness to believe the official version of events, Pilger argued. He said the same was true of television coverage of the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, when British broadcasters appeared willing only to use Israeli video rather than trawling the internet for alternative footage. "That mindset that only authority can really determine the 'truth' on the news, that's a form of embedding that really now has to change," said Pilger, who has covered conflicts in Vietnam and Cambodia, written books and made several acclaimed documentaries. "There's no question about the pressure on it to change coming from the internet and coming from WikiLeaks - it will change," he added in the interview ahead of Tuesday evening's broadcast of his new film. "That is the canker in all of this, it's the compulsion to quote, not necessarily believing the authority source. But then once you quote it and you put it out on the wires or you broadcast it, it takes on a sort of mantle of fact and that's where the whole teaching of journalism is wrong. "Authority has its place, but the scepticism about authority must be ingrained in people." In The War You Don't See, Pilger interviews leading broadcast journalists including Dan Rather and Rageh Omaar, who agree that journalists failed in their basic duties during the build-up to the Iraq conflict. CLIP
Double Standards: Nobel Prize and Julian Assange - V i d e o ( D e c e m b e r 1 3 , 2 0 1 0 ) http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2010/12/double-standards-nobel-prize-and-julian-assange
The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony's getting underway in Oslo - but there's one noticeably empty chair in the audience. It's reserved for Chinese laureate Liu Xiaobo, who won the award for his human rights and political reform work. But the pro-democracy activist is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion. Chinese authorities are not only banning him, but also his wife from attending the ceremony in Norway. The U.S. is among nations calling for Lui's release, saying peaceful expressions are at the core of human rights.
But Professor Michel Chossudovsky, who's a globalization analyst, says it smacks of double standards.
WikiRebels: Swedish docufilm on WikiLeaks chronicles a new form of global resistance (December 12, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22377
"What we have here is a new breed of rebels, IT guerrillas without a national base." Finally, in response to globalized eco-destruction, globalized wars, and globalized banking that robs national and personal wealth, we now have globalized resistance so profound, so effective, that global elites are waging a massive censorship campaign to silence the group, WikiLeaks, and smear its figurehead, Julian Assange. Sweden's public service television, SVT, is about to broadcast a deeply-moving, one-hour documentary chronicling the history of WikiLeaks, after having followed the crew for six months. An uninterrupted rough cut of the film can be viewed here until December 13. Though the film arrives in the midst of questionable rape charges, with Assange currently in custody, the story has timely relevance with global interest in him and his website. In WikiRebels, we learn about the early hacker life of Julian Assange, and his later decision to form an organization where whistleblowers can anonymously pass information that documents crime and immorality. His stated goal is to expose injustice, and nothing exemplifies this more than the leaked film entitled "Collateral Murder."Published in April of 2010, the military video drew global attention for the callous reaction of the US soldiers who shot unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007, even killing a father who happened upon the murder scene while driving his children to school. WikiRebels shows other films released by WikiLeaks, and catalogs the most significant leaks since its 2006 inception, including the Iceland banking scandal, Kenya corruption and death squads, and toxic dumping in Cote D'Ivoire.Assange's stated hope was that alternative media would disseminate the leaks - amounting to over a million documents to date - in a way that would drive positive change. In the film (and in various interviews), he expressed disappointment that alternative media has mostly been unable to adequately analyze and synthesize the data contained in the massive data dumps. So, the whistleblower organization turned to corporate media, with its deep pockets. The Guardian (UK), Der Spiegel (Germany) and the New York Times (US) brokered a deal to publish their analysis of the documents at the same time.Though this controversy is not mentioned in the rough cut of WikiRebels, such a move launched widespread suspicion that the group is part of a carefully contrived psychological operation. I discount this in Criminalizing Whistleblowers: Wikileaks and America's SHIELD Legislation. Speculation about the source of the documents is much easier than analyzing the thousands of released documents. One independent news source, IndyBay.org, reports that Assange accepted payment from Israel to delete any U.S. diplomatic cables that portray Israel poorly (as if anything could mar its reputation any worse than it already is). The source of this information, however, is Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former disgruntled employee of WikiLeaks. WikiRebels gives Domscheit-Berg plenty of face time to present his views on WikiLeaks, and to voice his complaints about Assange. The most salient complaint might be the decision to release tens of thousands of documents at once, instead of a slower and more careful release, "to grow the project." Domscheit-Berg promises to start a new whistleblower site that will pass leaked material to the media, apparently in an amount and at a rate that he believes the public can digest.The film clearly makes the point that, regardless of the controversies, the WikiLeaks disclosures benefit democracy. One web comment articulates this most succinctly: "Secrecy is the cloak behind which too many crimes are hidden these days."Even Domscheit-Berg admits, "What I really learned in the last three years is that a difference can be made bottom up, and not only top down." At the end of WikiRebels, Iceland TV journalist, Kristinn Hrafnsson concludes, "Democracy without transparency is not democracy." WikiRebels has also been posted on youtube.
PBS Interview; The Redacting and Selection of Wikileaks documents by the Corporate Media - NYT Reporter Defends Publishing WikiLeaks Cables (Dec 12, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22378
The following transcript points to the involvement of the corporate media including the New York Times in the Wikileaks project. How do we interpret this relationship? The corporate media is the source of disinformation and at the same time it is supporting "transparency" and truth in media. David E. Sanger, Washington Correspondent of the New York Times, worked closely with Wikileaks. He was involved in the distribution, editing and dissemination of the leaked documents. CLIP
Military Staffer Knew About Attacks in Stockholm (2010-12-12) WITH THE SWEDISH GOVERNMENT POSSIBLY BALKING AT PURSUING ASSANGE ON BEHALF OF THE US GOVERNMENT, THIS PSEUSO TERRORIST BOMBING THAT HURT NO ONE BUT THE ALLEGED "BOMBER" COULD BE A WARNING FROM THE CIA ABOUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT IF THEY DON'T KOWTOW TO THE OFFICIAL LINE AND FULFILL THE CABAL'S AGENDA... http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22388
A Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) employee warned an acquaintance to stay clear of an area in central Stockholm on Saturday where, several hours later, two explosions went off in what is being called a terrorist attack. Later the Swedish military said it was now "preparing how the issue will be dealt with". "If you can, avoid Drottninggatan today. A lot can happen there just so you know," the message said, according to the TT news agency. CLIP
6 Companies That Haven't Wussed Out of Working with WikiLeaks (Dec 10, 2010) http://www.alternet.org/economy/149142/6_companies_that_haven%27t_wussed_out_of_working_with_wikileaks/?page=entire
As more and more companies bend under government pressure, a few are standing up for the site. -- Giants like PayPal, Amazon.com, Visa and MasterCard almost instantly crumbled under government (and p.r.) pressure to drop WikiLeaks, depriving the site of vital funding sources and online platforms. But other companies, some of them small, independent start-ups, have decided to risk the wrath of Joe Lieberman, the State Department, and their European counterparts and help keep WikiLeaks afloat by providing funding sources (yeah, you can now donate to WikiLeaks even if you only have Visa or MasterCard.) and hosting the site. Here's a list of companies that have stood by WikiLeaks: CLIP
WikiLeaks cable exposes NATO war plan against Russia (9 December 2010) http://wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/nato-d09.shtml
US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks have unveiled secret NATO plans for a US-led war against Russia over the Baltic states. The cables, first reported by the Guardian newspaper Tuesday and posted on the WikiLeaks site, underscore the growing geo-strategic tensions between the US and Russia even as the Obama administration has emphasized a "reset" in relations that was supposed to overcome the conflicts left over from the Bush administration. The secret plans spell out preparations for a full-scale war with Russia that would see the immediate deployment of nine divisions of US, British, German and Polish troops in the event of any Russian incursion into the former Soviet Baltic republics. The plans also specify German and Polish ports that would be used to receive naval assault units and US and British warships destined for battle with Russian forces. Despite these details, there is no indication in the cables of the potentially catastrophic implications of such an armed clash between the world's two largest nuclear powers. While some analysts in Moscow insisted that Russian intelligence was well aware of the contingency plans, their public exposure by WikiLeaks prompted statements of protest by Russian officials and demands for an explanation from NATO. CLIP
Cables bare US operations in Brazil (14 December 2010) http://wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/braz-d14.shtml
Scores of cables between the US State Department and the American embassy in Brasilia released by WikiLeaks have laid bare the ruthless pursuit of US imperialist interests in Latin America's largest country.What emerges from the messages sent from the embassy in Brasilia to Washington is a policy aimed at subordinating Brazil to US interests by promoting "counter-terrorism" as the decisive issue and by pursuing back-channel relations with Brazilian military and security officials. This orientation, the cables indicate, is based on a barely concealed contempt for civilian control. In a country that was ruled for two decades by a military dictatorship backed by Washington, the implications of these relationships are sobering. CLIP
WikiLeaks document points to US contractor role in "dancing boys" incident (13 December 2010) http://wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/dync-d13.shtml
One of the cables released by WikiLeaks documents a discussion between US Embassy officials and the Afghan government over the role of US contractor DynCorp in the crime of "purchasing of a service from a child"-apparently a reference to child prostitution. The cable, dated June 24, 2009, records a discussion the day before between then-US Assistant Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli and Afghan Minister of Interior Hanif Atmar. It deals in part with a scandal surrounding a party thrown by and apparently for members of the US contractor DynCorp, the largest contractor for the State Department. It states, "On the Kunduz Regional Training Center (RTC) DynCorp event of April 11 (reftel), Atmar reiterated his insistence that the U.S. try to quash any news article on the incident or circulation of a video connected with it." CLIP
WikiLeaks exposes US cover-up of Georgian attack on South Ossetia (6 December 2010) http://wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/geor-d06.shtml
Leaked State Department documents provide further evidence that United States authorities knew that the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, a key ally of Washington in the Caucasus region, initiated the August 2008 war with Russia.Cables from US diplomats in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, were released through the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. They show that Washington was well aware that the Georgian government was intensifying its military build-up near the breakaway province of South Ossetia in the weeks before the outbreak of full-scale hostilities. (...) The extent to which Washington was forewarned or even complicit in the attack on South Ossetia ordered by Saakashvili remains unknown, though WikiLeaks has only issued a fraction of the State Department documents in its possession. A Russian magazine has claimed it has information indicating that many of the leaked US State Department files still to be released relate to the 2008 Russia-Georgia war. The Georgian government enjoyed very close ties to Washington leading up to the 2008 war. Saakashvili came to power on the back of the so-called "Rose Revolution" in 2003, a US-backed coup that ousted Georgia's long-time president Eduard Sheverdnadze and ushered in a staunchly pro-Washington and pro-NATO regime in Tbilisi. Under Saakashvili, Georgia received billions of dollars in US military and civilian aid, and American armed forces were heavily engaged in training their Georgian counterparts as a prelude to proposed membership of NATO for the ex-Soviet state. When Moscow reacted to the attack on its forces in South Ossetia with an overwhelming armed response on August 9, Washington swung into full propaganda mode in an effort to portray Russia as the aggressor and Georgia as an innocent victim. CLIP
WILL YOU PULL YOUR MONEY OUT OF BANK OF AMERICA? THIS NEW WORLD FINANCIAL DISASTER IS WHAT THE ILLUMINATI ORDERED by Leonard G. Horowitz and Sherri Kane (Dec 7, 2010) A NEW "INTERESTING" THEORY THAT SEEMS TO FLY IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT WIKILEAKS IS PLANNING TO RELEASE SOON "SECRET" INFO ON U.S. BANKS... HMMM... http://bzyangl.multiply.com/journal/item/3452/WILL_YOU_PULL_YOUR_MONEY_OUT_OF_BANK_OF_AMERICA_THIS_NEW_WORLD_FINANCIAL_DISASTER_IS_WHAT_THE_ILLUMINATI_ORDERED
A plot to cause Bank of America to fail has been hatched involving WikiLeaks and its CEO, alleged "activist," suspected CIA operative, Julian Assange. This article presents related evidence and commentary in advance of a threatened run on Bank of America by depositors frightened by what appears to be an organized conspiracy to crash the US economy. Many years ago, the wizards behind Wall Street invested in the emerging New World Order, and set you up, along with the economy and everyone else, to go down. The Rockefellers, Bushes, and Rothschild League of Bankers, manipulated governments, economies, BigPharma, the energy industries, terrorist groups, weapons makers, and media manipulators. Their successes hinged on controlling every side of every major debate, political faction, and economic opportunity. Their ultimate success depends on controlling you too.To institute their New World Order reforms they need your help. To enlist you in their fraud, they perfected frightening propaganda for marketing socio-economic deceptions, mass mind control, and building vast new industries, such as "Transportation Safety" following 9/11. We The People, with money in banks, are now being pushed to consider the security or our investments. There are rumors of banks closing soon, including Bank of America (BoA), the largest in our nation. If, or when, BoA fails, the "domino effect" assures a New Deal globally for the Rockefeller/Rothchild-directed banking industry.
(...) Assange, Ellsberg and Rand Corporation Propaganda -- Now here's a shocker--history is repeating from the pre-WikiLeaks era... Assange is being promoted, and endorsed, by Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon papers that, like Assange's leaks, neglected Rockefeller family and CIA involvements in the profitable Vietnam War. Ellsberg was employed by the Rand Corporation, a major propaganda contractor for the military investment community, especially the Illuminati. Today, Ellsberg and Assange are heavily involved in public persuasion and distraction, strongly suggesting Rand Corporation's involvements in engineering this publicity campaign that could bring down the banks. In 1971, Ellsberg generated worldwide attention by releasing copies of the 7000-page top-secret Pentagon document on the Vietnam War. He is a master in economics and developed the "decision theory," now known as the "Ellsberg Paradox," related to "game theory," used in war making decisions. With his intelligence background, and globalist connections, there is little doubt Ellsberg and Assange are hiding more than they're telling about their bosses' NWO plans. Assange's squealing in the media, in harmony with Ellsberg, foreshadowing social unrest, martial law, and foreign and domestic military operations, is obviously self-incriminating in lieu of Ellsberg's connections and endorsements of Assange. In counterintelligence operations, two agents are better than one, especially when mutual admiration among "controlled-opposition leaders" leads to mass persuasion and deadly profitable distractions.
(...) Summary and Conclusion - The globalists are poised to create the decisive bank run of the 21st century, to order martial law, conduct global genocide, and celebrate their New World Order with 6 billion fewer revolution risks. They need your help, however, group consent, to sustain their technotronic control and cultural trance. You hold the choice to remain hypnotized by their media and propaganda; to remain confused and frightened. Alternatively, with articles like this, you are becoming enlightened and assured of surviving and thriving in the days ahead. It's probably wise to turn off your television sets if you have not already done so. Stop buying and reading publications by poisoned presses. The messages you need to receive at this time source mostly from heaven, not hell on earth, mostly from within, not without. As the NWO is unfolding, the Spiritual Renaissance is accelerating to balance the negativity with positive opportunities. Collaboration between friends and families, building sustainable communities, stockpiling needed essentials, and securing a relationship with your Supreme Provider based on faith instead of fear, are wise considerations for group discussions and community meetings at this time. Besides the above actions, perhaps the best recommendation is to pray for the end of Central Banking and its usury. There are alternatives including financial cooperatives that are enabling vs. enslaving. Bear in mind that no matter how tough the economy gets, we don't want criminals and genocidalists controlling us. We will not get vaccinated, or other weapons of mass destruction; or take up arms against our brothers and sisters in uniform or the street. We are determined to sustain peace, generate prosperity lawfully, and celebrate our Divine-human capacity to prosper in all ways, assured by faith, prayer, abundance in nature, and grace of our Chief Administrator. CLIP - CHECK ALSO Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura - Wall Street "Jesse goes inside the secret billionaire's boy's club to find out what caused the financial meltdown and how the group allegedly continues to manipulate and control the stock market and oil, gold and silver prices. From Wall Street to Washington, the governor barges in on the rich and powerful to demands answers"
(...) This much can be reported. Back when Obama was a freshman candidate for Senator he was selected to be keynote speaker for the Democratic national convention in 2004. A nobody from Chicago was plucked from midair and cast into the most important slot in the convention. How he would be up there remains to be revealed. Just a little over one year after being elected as a junior senator, in 2006 Obama was the featured guest before a private gathering of the Goldman Sachs executives in Chicago, an honor unheard of for someone that politically insignificant, speaking before the most powerful financial firm on Wall Street and one of the most powerful in the world. This was quietly reported in Bloomberg News.It was the launch of his presidential campaign and Goldman executives soon gave over $800,000 to jump start the Obama presidential bid along with collecting millions of dollars from their fellow Wall Street firms and clients. Oh yes, Robert Rubin became the Obama economic expert, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs. Billionaire Warren Buffet became his most trusted economic advisor, a man who was to invest $5 billion in Goldman Sachs in the height of the economic meltdown. Yet Buffet was also a personal guest of Lord Rothschild at a private conference at his English estate. The story only gets better. CLIP - CHECK ALSO Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura - Wall Street "Jesse goes inside the secret billionaire's boy's club to find out what caused the financial meltdown and how the group allegedly continues to manipulate and control the stock market and oil, gold and silver prices. From Wall Street to Washington, the governor barges in on the rich and powerful to demands answers"
Daniel Ellsberg Says Boycott Amazon - Open letter to Amazon.com Customer Service (December 2, 2010) http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2010/12/02/daniel-ellsberg-says-boycott-amazon/
"I'm disgusted by Amazon's cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating today its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China's control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing. For the last several years, I've been spending over $100 a month on new and used books from Amazon. That's over. I ask Amazon to terminate immediately my membership in Amazon Prime and my Amazon credit card and account, to delete my contact and credit information from their files and to send me no more notices. I understand that many other regular customers feel as I do and are responding the same way. Good: the broader and more immediate the boycott, the better. I hope that these others encourage their contact lists to do likewise and to let Amazon know exactly why they're shifting their business. I've asked friends today to suggest alternatives, and I'll be exploring service from Powell's Books, Half-Price Books, Biblio and others. So far Amazon has spared itself the further embarrassment of trying to explain its action openly. This would be a good time for Amazon insiders who know and perhaps can document the political pressures that were brought to bear-and the details of the hasty kowtowing by their bosses-to leak that information. They can send it to Wikileaks (now on servers outside the US), to mainstream journalists or bloggers, or perhaps to sites like antiwar.com that have now appropriately ended their book-purchasing association with Amazon. Yours (no longer), Daniel Ellsberg
Support WikiLeaks and Defend Julian Assange! (Dec 6, 2010) http://www.truth-out.org/support-wikileaks-and-defend-julian-assange65763
WikiLeaks is under concerted attack from the US government. Also under attack by the US government is the whole idea of freedom of thought and of information.It is increasingly clear that the "rape" charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are trumped-up affairs resulting from pressure by the US government and intelligence agencies on Swedish authorities. The main allegation of rape is being made by a Swedish woman, Anna Ardin, who admits she had consensual sex with Assange, but claims he failed to halt their love-making when a condom allegedly failed. Calling such a situation "rape"--if it even happened--makes a mockery of the term.The idea of an international arrest warrant through Interpol on such a flimsy and in any case virtually unprovable charge is an insult to all the victims of real rape whose cases in the US and elsewhere around the world are regularly left unprosecuted. (...) Dave Lindorff, This Can't Be Happening: "The Obama administration has sunk to a new low in pursuing Assange, and is now having its so-called Justice Department try to manufacture a crime with which to prosecute Assange for doing precisely what real journalists should have been doing - namely exposing the criminal activities of the US government in engaging in acts of war and killing civilians in countries like Yemen and Pakistan where the US is not legally at war, in pressuring foreign allies like Spain on behalf of US companies, in trying to trump up bogus arguments to attack Iran with disinformation about alleged importation of long-range missiles from North Korea, etc." (...) It needs to be clearly understood by all Americans, and especially by anyone in the media who takes the journalism profession seriously, that the attacks on WikiLeaks by the US government--attacks which have included heavy pressure on companies like Paypal, Amazon Books, Visa and Mastercard, all of which have closed their accounts with the organization, making it difficult if not impossible for Assange and his team to raise money, and on internet servers, making it harder for WikiLeaks to stay online--could as easily be used against news organizations and political organizations. If the government gets away with its behind-the-scenes pressuring of a server to close out an organization it doesn't like, it could as easily secretly pressure a print shop not to publish a magazine, a news distributor not to distribute newspapers, or a power company not to provide juice to a broadcaster. If the government (which after all has been a part owner lately of a number of big financial institutions, and controls the regulatory apparatus, can pressure banks to close WikiLeaks' accounts, it could pressure banks to close a book publisher's account. And if the government can, as Attorney General says he is doing, try to create a law with which to arrest and punish Assange, it can as easily trump up a "crime" and arrest a print publisher or radio network owner. These actions are not the actions of a democracy. They are the lawless actions of a dictatorship. Assange himself today makes the case pretty well. The darkness is rapidly closing in during this administration that once claimed to be about "hope and change."
Report: Assange's Swedish Sex Crimes Accuser Flees to Middle East, May Not Be Cooperating with Police (December 10, 2010) http://www.alternet.org/story/149143/report%3A_assange's_swedish_sex_crimes_accuser_flees_to_middle_east,_may_not_be_cooperating_with_police/
An Australian news site reports that Anna Ardin has moved to the Palestinian territories to work for a peace organization. -- One of the two Swedish women who have filed sex complaints against the founder of WikiLeaks has reportedly left Sweden and may no longer be cooperating with the criminal investigation. According to a report at Australian news site Crikey.com, Anna Ardin has moved to the Palestinian territories to volunteer with a Christian group working to reconcile Arabs and Israelis.
(...) Some news reports have linked Ardin to the CIA, based on her contact with anti-Castro groups in Cuba. Ardin wrote her master's thesis on these groups, while located in Havana and Miami. But others have questioned the validity of the connection. Crikey.com notes that Ardin, an avowed feminist, has taken criticism from many prominent feminists, who, perhaps surprisingly, appear to have sided against the female accuser and with the male accused. "Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that women's freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!" Tweeted Naomi Klein. Feminist activist Naomi Wolf penned an article sarcastically congratulating Interpol for its "commitment to engaging in global manhunts to arrest and prosecute men who behave like narcissistic jerks to women they are dating." Assange's lawyer, renowned British advocate Mark Stephens, told CBS News Thursday that prosecutor Marianne Ny is staging a "show trial," in reference to the politically motivated prosecutions of the Stalin-era Soviet Union. Stephens said not only have formal charges not been filed against Assange, but the prosecution has failed to provide him with any documentation relating to the investigation. As a result, he says it's impossible for him to begin crafting a defense. Stephens also said he believed recent news reports that Sweden is holding talks with the United States on whether Assange can be extradited to face charges under US law. It's unclear what US laws Assange could have broken with his release of US State Department cables, as he is not a US citizen and therefore not bound by US treason laws, and his activites with WikiLeaks were carried out outside the US. CLIP
WikiLeaks Supporters' Group Abandons Cyber Attacks (December 11, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/12/11/technology/tech-us-wikileaks-activists-strategy.html
LONDON (Reuters) - A loose grouping of cyber activists supporting WikiLeaks has abandoned its strategy of online attacks on organizations seen as hostile to the site in favor of spreading the leaked documents far and wide online.Internet activists operating under the name "Anonymous" temporarily brought down this week the websites of credit card giants MasterCard and Visa -- both of which had stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks. The United States, enraged and embarrassed by WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, has leant on organizations from Amazon to online payments service PayPal -- which have now withdrawn services to WikiLeaks.In an overnight blog post, Anonymous announced a change of strategy, saying it now aimed to publish parts of the confidential U.S. diplomatic cables as widely as possible and in ways that made them as hard as possible to trace. The cyber activists briefly brought down PayPal's official blog by bombarding it with requests this week but failed to harm retail and Web-hosting giant Amazon, which withdrew its services to WikiLeaks more than a week ago."We have, at best, given them a black eye. The game has changed. When the game changes, so too must our strategies," said the blog post announcing "Operation: Leakspin." The activists are now encouraging supporters to search through leaked cables on the WikiLeaks site and publish summaries of ones that have been least exposed, labeling them so they are hard to find by any authority seeking to quash them. CLIP - Strangely the same day the Guardian had this article: WikiLeaks backlash: The first global cyber war has begun, claim hackers
Assange Espionage Act Indictment 'Imminent' (December 10, 2010) NOT ONLY THIS STUPID ACTION BY OBAMA'S MILITARY-CORPORATE-COMPLEX-SERVING ADMINISTRATION WILL BACKFIRE BUT IT WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT THEM FOR YEARS TO COME IF THEY CONTINUE ON THIS REGRESSIVE FEAR-DRIVEN ROAD TOWARDS EVER GREATER REPRESSION OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH. THEY SHOULD TAKE INSTEAD THE HIGHER ROAD OF FULL DISCLOSURE, COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY AND HONEST TRUTH-TELLING. NO MORE HYPOCRISY. NO MORE LIES... EVER! http://news.antiwar.com/2010/12/10/us-eyes-espionage-act-charges-against-assange/
Dubious Law May Face Serious Court Challenge - The Espionage Act of 1917 may face its first serious charge and by extension serious challenge in years, as lawyers for Julian Assange say that the US is preparing to indict the whistleblower under the act. The act was originally used to arrest antiwar activists during World War 1, and later to censor criticism of the war during World War 2. The court rulings at the time determined that the act could be used to restrict any political expression that the government considered a "clear and present danger." Its post-war application has been all but impossible, however, as attempts to restrict previous coverage of the Pentagon Papers and to charge Daniel Ellsberg under the same act failed in court. Subsequent acts have never been successfully brought to a guilty verdict. Its Constitutionality now in serious doubt, the Obama Administration is falling back on the nearly century old law primarily for lack of anything better to charge Assange with, as his activities are clearly not illegally under any other laws. But whether the Espionage Act can even be said to apply to a foreign national whose "crime" was committed outside of the US is even less clear, perhaps, than the Pentagon Papers case, which the government lost in 1971. The Act is a singularly bold attempt by the modern US to severely curb freedom of speech, and its revitalization by the Obama Adminstration points to the desperation with which they are attempting to stifle embarrassing criticism. America's suddenly censorship-happy position is being met with serious concern abroad but so far the politically connected seem almost in unison behind the silencing of such unseemly dissent.
Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States BY NAOMI WOLF (Dec 10, 2010) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/post_1394_b_795001.html
This week, Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein engaged in acts of serious aggression against their own constituents, and the American people in general. They both invoked the 1917 Espionage Act and urged its use in going after Julian Assange. For good measure, Lieberman extended his invocation of the Espionage Act to include a call to use it to investigate the New York Times, which published WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables. Reports yesterday suggest that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may seek to invoke the Espionage Act against Assange.These two Senators, and the rest of the Congressional and White House leadership who are coming forward in support of this appalling development, are cynically counting on Americans' ignorance of their own history -- an ignorance that is stoked and manipulated by those who wish to strip rights and freedoms from the American people. They are manipulatively counting on Americans to have no knowledge or memory of the dark history of the Espionage Act -- a history that should alert us all at once to the fact that this Act has only ever been used -- was designed deliberately to be used -- specifically and viciously to silence people like you and me.
The Espionage Act was crafted in 1917 -- because President Woodrow Wilson wanted a war and, faced with the troublesome First Amendment, wished to criminalize speech critical of his war. In the run-up to World War One, there were many ordinary citizens -- educators, journalists, publishers, civil rights leaders, union activists -- who were speaking out against US involvement in the war. The Espionage Act was used to round these citizens by the thousands for the newly minted 'crime' of their exercising their First Amendment Rights. A movie producer who showed British cruelty in a film about the Revolutionary War (since the British were our allies in World War I) got a ten-year sentence under the Espionage act in 1917, and the film was seized; poet E.E. Cummings spent three and a half months in a military detention camp under the Espionage Act for the 'crime' of saying that he did not hate Germans. Esteemed Judge Learned Hand wrote that the wording of the Espionage Act was so vague that it would threaten the American tradition of freedom itself. Many were held in prison for weeks in brutal conditions without due process; some, in Connecticut -- Lieberman's home state -- were severely beaten while they were held in prison. The arrests and beatings were widely publicized and had a profound effect, terrorizing those who would otherwise speak out.
Presidential candidate Eugene Debs received a ten-year prison sentence in 1918 under the Espionage Act for daring to read the First Amendment in public. The roundup of ordinary citizens -- charged with the Espionage Act -- who were jailed for daring to criticize the government was so effective in deterring others from speaking up that the Act silenced dissent in this country for a decade. In the wake of this traumatic history, it was left untouched -- until those who wish the same outcome began to try to reanimate it again starting five years ago, and once again, now. Seeing the Espionage Act rise up again is, for anyone who knows a thing about it, like seeing the end of a horror movie in which the zombie that has enslaved the village just won't die.
(...) Let me explain clearly why activating -- rather than abolishing -- the Espionage Act is an act of profound aggression against the American people. We are all Julian Assange. (...) As I noted in The End of America, if you prosecute journalists -- and Assange, let us remember, is the New York Times in the parallel case of the Pentagon Papers, not Daniel Ellsberg; he is the publisher, not the one who revealed the classified information -- then any outlet, any citizen, who discusses or addresses 'classified' information can be arrested on 'national security' grounds. If Assange can be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, then so can the New York Times; and the producers of Parker Spitzer, who discussed the WikiLeaks material two nights ago; and the people who posted a mirror WikiLeaks site on my Facebook 'fan' page; and Fox News producers, who addressed the leak and summarized the content of the classified information; and every one of you who may have downloaded information about it; and so on. That is why prosecution via the Espionage Act is so dangerous -- not for Assange alone, but for every one of us, regardless of our political views. CLIP - READING THE REST OF THIS EYE-OPENING ARTICLE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The End of America http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Wolf#The_End_of_America
In The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Wolf takes a historical look at the rise of Fascism, outlining the 10 steps necessary for a Fascistic group (or government) to destroy the democratic character of a nation-state and subvert the social/political liberty previously exercised by its citizens:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
5. Harass citizens' groups.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7. Target key individuals.
8. Control the press.
9. Treat all political dissidents as traitors.
10. Suspend the rule of law.
The book details how this pattern was implemented in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and elsewhere, and analyzes its emergence and application in American political affairs since the September 11 attacks.
Assange's Lawyer: He's Upbeat, Surprised By Cyber-Attacks (12-11-10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/11/assanges-lawyer-hes-upbea_n_795323.html
Since he first landed in a London jail upon his arrest on Tuesday, the only thing that WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has been requesting is access to a computer.Of course -- what else would you expect the mastermind behind the online whistleblowing operation that has exposed the closely-guarded secrets of the world's most powerful countries to want?In a wide-ranging telephone interview with The Huffington Post on Friday, Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens described his jailhouse visit with his client, claimed that the U.S. State Department may be prepared to work out a deal with Swedish prosecutors amid reports of a grand jury meeting in Virginia to consider charges against Assange and expressed his fears that his own family is being intimidated by unknown security personnel. And Stephens said he has not discussed the allegations of rape and sexual molestation made by two women with Assange yet, though he criticized the Swedish prosecutors for resurrecting the charges after they were initially dropped by the country's chief prosecutor.Assange, who has been kept in the same cell once occupied by Oscar Wilde, is in good spirits and upbeat, "though he's not chuffed to be in jail where he's being kept in Victorian conditions," according to Stephens, who visited his client on Thursday at London's Wandsworth prison, where he was recently transferred from the main section to an isolation unit. (...) Next Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the potential application of U.S. espionage laws to the WikiLeaks case -- the first such congressional hearing since the organization made headlines by leaking documents on U.S. foreign policy and military operations earlier this year.In addition, leaders in Russia, Brazil, and Assange's native Australia have rallied to support him, calling him a political prisoner. Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd recently said, "The blame for any violations of the law should fall on the persons who gave the documents to Wikileaks. The Americans are responsible for that."Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose Russia is portrayed as a relentlessly corrupt country in some of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, said it was hypocritical of the U.S. government to try to prosecute Assange. "If it is full democracy, then why have they hidden Mr. Assange in prison," Putin said during a press conference Thursday. "That's what, democracy?" CLIP
WikiLeaks: Vatican Pressured Ireland On Sex Abuse Scandal (12/11/10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/11/wikileaks-vatican-pressur_n_795334.html
VATICAN CITY - Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that the Vatican felt "offended" that Ireland failed to respect Holy See "sovereignty" by asking high-ranking churchmen to answer questions from an Irish commission probing decades of sex abuse of minors by clergy. That the Holy See used its diplomatic-immunity status as a tiny city-state to try to thwart the Irish fact-finding probe has long been known. But the WikiLeaks cables, published by Britain's The Guardian newspaper on Saturday, contain delicate, behind-the-scenes diplomatic assessments of the highly charged situation.The Vatican press office declined to comment on the content of the cables Saturday, but decried the leaks as a matter of "extreme seriousness." (...) one of Ireland's most prominent campaigners against the Catholic Church's cover-up of child abuse, Andrew Madden, said the leaked document offered more evidence that the Vatican was concerned only about protecting itself, not about admitting the truth."The only issue for the Vatican has been the supposed 'failure' of the Irish government to protect the Vatican from intrusive questions. Self-interest ruled the day when their priests were raping children," said Madden, a former altar boy who was molested by a Dublin priest. In 1995 Madden became the first person in Ireland to go public with a lawsuit against the church, opening the floodgates for hundreds of lawsuits.The Dublin Archdiocese report, published in November 2009, found that senior church officials had kept detailed files on child-abuse reports involving 170 suspected pedophile priests since 1940 - but all the abuse was covered up until 1995, and many files were kept secret until 2004 when Dublin received a new reform-minded archbishop, Diarmuid Martin. CLIP
Openleaks, WikiLeaks Rival, To Launch As Break Away From 'Slave Driver' Assange: Report (12-10-10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/10/openleaks-wikileaks-rival_n_794939.html
Several key members involved with online whistleblower WikiLeaks are said to be deserting beleaguered founder Julian Assange to form their own rival site, Openleaks, reportedly expected to launch Monday. According to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the new site will be called "Openleaks," and like its predecessor, will allow whistleblowers to leak information to the public anonymously. However, the new site will differ in that it won't be responsible for hosting the information itself directly for the public eye, but will instead act as an intermediary between whistleblowers and media organizations."Our long term goal is to build a strong, transparent platform to support whistleblowers--both in terms of technology and politics--while at the same time encouraging others to start similar projects," a colleague wishing to remain anonymous is quoted by Dagens Nyheter as saying.In a documentary by Swedish broadcaster SVT, obtained in advance by the Associated Press, former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg said the new website will work as an outlet for anonymous sources. The AP quotes some excerpts of the documentary: "Openleaks is a technology project that is aiming to be a service provider for third parties that want to be able to accept material from anonymous sources," Domscheit-Berg said. Domscheit-Berg, who during his time with WikiLeaks often went under the pseudonym Daniel Schmitt, said he quit the project after falling out with Assange over what he described as the lack of transparency in the group's decision-making process. "If you preach transparency to everyone else you have to be transparent yourself. You have to fulfill the same standards you expect from others, and I think that's where we've not been heading in the same direction philosophically anymore," he said in the documentary.
Europeans Accused of "Paranoia" Over Fears of U.S. Economic Espionage, Wikileaks Documents Reveal By Tom Burghardt (December 8, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22318
Antifascist Calling... Confidential State Department documents released by the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, revealed that a European Parliamentary vote earlier this year that suspended participation in a U.S. government program that secretly monitored international bank transactions, surprised and angered the Obama administration.In a stunning rebuke of U.S. policies the February 2010 memo, "Chancellor Merkel Angered by Lack of German MEP Support for TFTP," 10BERLIN180 provided new evidence that the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (also known as Swift) is viewed skeptically by the European public and their representatives.Distrust of the Swift program runs deep and its "War on Terror" pedigree is considered little more than a pretext for American spies to carry out economic espionage on behalf of U.S. multinationals. Alarmed over privacy breaches by American firms and criminal acts, such as the illegal U.S. transfer of prisoners on CIA "black flights," aided and abetted by European intelligence agencies, outraged public opinion forced the hand of parliamentarians, who voted overwhelming to suspend the program.German opposition to Swift "was particularly damaging" The New York Times reported, "because the country was among a handful of allies that, according to a 2006 cable, made up a 'coalition of the constructive' organized to ensure that the Swift operation was not 'ruined by privacy experts'."Launched shortly after the 9/11 provocation by the Bush administration, the secret program handed American officials unprecedented access to global financial information on bank transactions routed through a vast database administered by the Swift consortium in Brussels. Access to such unique data would be particularly valuable to U.S. corporations. In light of evidence published in a 2001 European Parliament report that the National Security Agency's ECHELON program was a cover for economic espionage, such fears are not unfounded. Since the program's disclosure in 2006 by The New York Times, criticism over its operations have mounted steadily. CIA and Treasury Department officials secretly poured over records of some $6 trillion dollars in daily financial transactions flowing through global banks and brokerage houses."European Union regulators," the ACLU reported, "found that the mass financial prying was not legally authorized, was conducted without proper checks and balances, and violated several important rules established to protect the privacy of Europeans."Increasing the "creep factor" amongst EU officials, the ACLU disclosed that the ultra-spooky Booz Allen Hamilton corporation had been hired to "oversee" the program by the federal government.Concluding that the firm was not an "independent check" on Swift surveillance, the civil liberties' watchdogs wrote that "Booz Allen is one of the largest U.S. Government contractors, with hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. Government contracts awarded each year. Booz Allen has a history of working closely with U.S. Government agencies on electronic surveillance, including the Total Information Awareness program."Initial misgivings amongst the public and privacy advocates have since blossomed into outright hostility, thus setting the stage for last summer's vote. CLIP
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