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"I love the comparison of the fishes coming onto the shore! Brings up wonderful images of the debates fishes might have had back then, and the less advanced among them making the same type of arguments as humans today! (If fishes argue, that is.)"
"I just want to share my thoughts with you about the first comment of one of your subscriber. I am a student of the Course in Miracles. What brought me to that course was the despair I felt towards the state of the world. I had to shift something and see things differently in order to help. I had to come to a place of peace to really be able to fill my function which is to bring light to the world. I have also changed my attitude about everything I see that is hurting mother earth. It used to bother me so much that I felt depressed about it. I became very active in trying to ''fix'' everything in the world but it was done out of frustration and despair. Now, I am as active but I always make sure I feel the light in me before I do anything. When I changed my attitude towards things, a strange thing occurred: instead of feeling alone, I suddenly felt that there were so many good souls in this world who were doing exactly what I was doing. It made me realize that there is big shift occurring right now on every level. I feel much more connected with the Oneness we have been talking about and I can now keep my vision of a better world because I feel from inside that something ''way'' better is coming. I so much agree with your response: ''And as more and more of us shift into this new spiritual groove, it will become increasingly easy for the other members of our global human tribe to do likewise, because we are all connected and all One at soul level, which is ultimately the only Reality that truly matters.'' Thanks for being there as our lighthouse!"
- Marie Colette (email@example.com)
"Once again I must thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the pillar that allows so many of us who have been on this path, a place to gather. Your light is shining bright my good friend. I wanted to add my humble comments to the question posed by Barbara R. To borrow words from the great Mohandas Gandhi - "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" For someone who has been on this path for many.. many years - yes, I can proudly say I am probably an elder now, we have come such a long way... we are not ignored, only the ignorant few laugh, and the battles are less - more and more souls are awake and understand the issues. Yes, it looks bad but I take strength in the thought that, as with any illness it must come to the surface to be transmuted. So this is in effect a good thing, the last throes of the disease. Our two biggest battles are fear and anger - they cloud our ability to see and feel what is truly taking place. I can give no greater advice than quiet time, connecting with nature and keeping yourself, as much as you can in this crazy world, in a state of love. Barb, you will find that the more you can do this the more you will start to break into the paradigm that is already starting to form all around you. Surround youself with like minded people and do things you enjoy as much as possible. Above all follow your heart, all light workers MUST follow their calling now. This is the time prophesied and WE are the ones for whom we have waited."
- Eve Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"A view of our blue and green planet from space only hints at the amazing expression of life that abounds within its landscapes and oceans. Yet, entire ecosystems are being destroyed and uncounted species lost forever despite compelling scientific evidence and common sense reinforcing the critical importance of their conservation. Life, in all of its forms, is sacred and worthy of preservation. Despite a prevailing mindset that the fate of mankind is somehow separate from that of the natural world, the human condition is in fact profoundly dependent on the biosphere of which we are inextricably a part. Conservation is not the exclusive domain of ecologists and policy-makers, but rather a shared responsibility for all of us.
"As for the televised announcement to your world, They are here and they come in peace, no conclusions had been reached about what the program should include, and your leaders who were involved in the planning sessions several months ago have been occupied since then with matters of importance in their respective countries. Therefore, some individuals who participated in those early meetings are talking about scrapping the program and in its stead, a few small craft would land in safe areas around the globe. The landings would be coordinated with colleagues on the ground so the greeting of the extraterrestrials by persons who are well-known to you can be filmed and simultaneously, or perhaps later, televised through arrangements with persons who are in positions to manage that. There would be sufficient evidence that the visitors are indeed from other civilizations peaceful civilizations! so that any outcries of Hoax! or Invaders! from the dark ones would have no validity whatsoever among the populace. Other introduction possibilities also are being discussed, and at this point, nothing has been decided. However, this goes back to linear time passing faster and faster and the need to accomplish major reforms prior to the closing of the celestial window through which Earth will leave third density. That time may run out before she can exit never has been in question she can and shall exit! The objective of the planners is to swiftly, yet prudently, bring forth all the truths that must be known, including the truth about what happened on this date nine years ago. Toward that goal of enlightening all receptive souls as the finish line of choosing their destiny draws ever nearer, vast powerful sources are beaming increased amounts of light to Earth and her peoples."
- Matthew -- Taken from his September 11, 2010 Message which deals with Media control lessening; light source, purposes, receiving; ascension requirements; spiritual preparedness; detachment; Pakistan flooding, Hurricane Earl; law of attraction; partisan politics; ET presence, option to TV program
Powerful HBO documentary on life after death available online http://nhne-pulse.org/documentary-life-afterlife
Recommended by Fred Burks (email@example.com) who wrote: "This documentary presents many rich and inspiring stories, including interviews with both skeptics and believers in the afterlife. The preponderance of evidence presented, however, is pretty convincing that there is something pretty amazing going on in the non-material world of life after death."
UFOs: Declassified Document on CIA Website Shows Psychological Warfare Plan With UFOs http://www.WantToKnow.info/ufos/19520907_flying_saucers_cia_document_declassified
The CIA has posted on its website many declassified documents on UFOs and "flying saucers." One of the most intriguing of these is copied in full below, with bold font added to key sections. Note that this document was written just over a month after a flyover of Washington, D.C. by a group of these flying saucers. You can read a fascinating article published in the Washington Post on this flyover at this link. For more on this key incident, click here. The CIA's response to the possibility of flying saucers, as indicated in the document below, is quite revealing. Another declassified document on the subject of flying saucers is also quite revealing. In this FBI document from 1947 shortly after the Roswell incident former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover laments that he was not given access to any of the discs recovered. You can find a summary of this document at this link, with information on how to access the original on the FBI website. (...) Note: Hundreds of military and government witnesses have gone on record claiming a major cover-up around UFOs. Among them are a former chief of the CIA, the former chiefs of defense of the UK and Canada, and two NASA astronauts, including Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon. Why haven't most people heard about this? CLIP
Ben Rich Lockheed CEO Admits on Deathbed: ET UFO Are Real (September 14, 2010) http://xenophilius.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/ben-rich-lockheed-ceo-admits-on-deathbed-et-ufo-are-real/
According to article published in May 2010 issue of the Mufon UFO Journal - Ben Rich, the "Father of the Stealth Fighter-Bomber" and former head of Lockheed Skunk Works, had once let out information about Extraterrestrial UFO Visitors Are Real And U.S. Military Travel To Stars. What he said might be new to many people today, but he revealed the information before his death in January 1995. His statements helped to give credence to reports that the U.S. military has been flying vehicles that mimic alien craft. The article was written by Tom Keller, an aerospace engineer who has worked as a computer systems analyst for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 1 : "Inside the Skunk Works (Lockheed's secret research and development entity), we were a small, intensely cohesive group consisting of about fifty veteran engineers and designers and a hundred or so expert machinists and shop workers. Our forte was building technologically advanced airplanes of small number and of high class for highly secret missions."2 : "We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects, and it would take an act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity. Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do." CLIP
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Have Been Compromised by Unidentified Aerial Objects (Sept 15, 2010) http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-nuclear-weapons-have-been-compromised-by-unidentified-aerial-objects-102962064.html
Ex-military men say unknown intruders have monitored and even tampered with American nuclear missilesGroup to call on U.S. Government to reveal the facts - WASHINGTON, PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby. Six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about these events at the National Press Club and urge the government to publicly confirm their reality.One of them, ICBM launch officer Captain Robert Salas, was on duty during one missile disruption incident at Malmstrom Air Force Base and was ordered to never discuss it. Another participant, retired Col. Charles Halt, observed a disc-shaped object directing beams of light down into the RAF Bentwaters airbase in England and heard on the radio that they landed in the nuclear weapons storage area. Both men will provide stunning details about these events, and reveal how the U.S. military responded.Captain Salas notes, "The U.S. Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it." Col. Halt adds, "I believe that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted-both then and now-to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation."The group of witnesses and a leading researcher, who has brought them together for the first time, will discuss the national security implications of these and other alarmingly similar incidents and will urge the government to reveal all information about them. This is a public-awareness issue. Declassified U.S. government documents, to be distributed at the event, now substantiate the reality of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites extending back to 1948. The press conference will also address present-day concerns about the abuse of government secrecy as well as the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons. CLIP
VIDEO Conclusion: Jerry Wills, Tau Ceti extraterrestrial, speaks his truth on 2012 - Part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vJgtDBhoGY
More details HERE - In conversation with Alfred Lambremont Webre, Mr. Wills speaks about the 2012-13 catastrophic timeline and the 2012-13 positive timeline and what this means to all of us. CLIP
UFO Hessedalen Norway Clip 5 (including an amazing picture and a mention of zero-point energy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gBLxowe25Q
The aliens have a underground base in Hessedalen Norway. "We have been told by a contact inside the Galactic Federation of Light that the Erranians and the Siriusans have a base there together and if that is true that whould explain why there is so much activity there all the time almost not a week there without being able to se a flying disk or "balls of light"." - Taken from a Sept 17, 2010 comment by Robert Myrland posted HERE
Project Hessdalen http://www.hessdalen.org/index_e.shtml
Hessdalen is a small valley in the central part of Norway. At the end of 1981 through 1984, residents of the Valley became concerned and alarmed about strange, unexplained lights that appeared at many locations throughout the Valley. Hundreds of lights were observed. At the peak of activity there were about 20 reports a week. CLIP
Tanzania's Proposed Serengeti Highway Threatens Greatest Wildlife Migration on Earth (September 16, 2010) http://forests.org/shared/alerts/sendsm.aspx?id=tanzania_serengeti
The government of Tanzania has approved a major commercial highway across Serengeti National Park. The northern Serengeti - located near the Kenya border - is the most remote and pristine area in the Park's entire ecosystem. Serengeti National Park's locally and globally significant ecosystem is driven by migration of wildebeest, elephant and zebra; and will be utterly devastated by the plan, as will be local livelihoods and well-being. There is a growing local and international support network protesting the project, and together we should be able to ensure it never commences.
Take Action to protect the Pacific walrus https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=723
At this very moment, tens of thousands of ice-loving Pacific walrus are crowded on one tiny beach on the coast of Alaska because their sea ice habitat has retreated hundreds of miles offshore. No one has ever seen this many walrus stranded on Alaska's Arctic shorelines, and this unprecedented event is a direct result of global warming. Pacific walrus need sea ice for giving birth, raising their young, and resting between trips to feed on clams. When sea ice disappears, moms and calves are forced to come to shore where young walruses are at risk of being trampled to death or attacked by predators. This summer, sea ice is reaching another record low-third only to the devastating lows of 2007 and 2008-stranding unprecedented numbers of walruses on land. In the meantime, the federal government has released a report that says there is a 40% chance that Pacific walrus will be on a path to extinction by century's end, even using climate models that predict less drastic warming and sea ice melt than we are already experiencing. The Pacific walrus needs your help. Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of conducting a status review to decide whether to list the Pacific walrus under the Endangered Species Act. This is the perfect time to take action to help give the walrus a fighting chance! Please take a moment to tell the Service that Pacific walrus cannot survive without the protections of the Endangered Species Act.
Save the tiger http://www.wwf.org.uk/how_you_can_help/donate_now/save_the_tiger/
Right now, there are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild and that number is falling. Tiger habitat is being lost at an alarming rate and poaching has surged over recent months.Thankfully, theres still hope. Given protection, space to roam and sufficient prey, tiger numbers can increase rapidly. They can claw their way back from the brink. But, we need your help. - Our plan to double the number of wild tigersRead more about tigers - The global tiger summit, originally due to be held in St Petersburg in September this year, has been postponed so the Russian government can ensure senior government representatives from all of the Tiger range countries are able to attend. This gives us more time to help develop the best possible recovery plan for tigers, and for people to sign the petition and show their support for doubling wild tiger numbers. If you haven't already, please sign-up today, ask your friends to help and follow our tiger Facebook page for updates on the summit.
Jai Jagat... a dream that can be reality http://ipeace.ning.com/video/jai-jagat-a-dream-that-can-be
Acharya Vinoba Bhave joined Gandhi when he was very young, about seventeen, while Gandhiji was already shaking Indias consciousness with his writings, speeches and actions. Many, at that time, left their villages to join the revolution. Young Vinoba was one of them and he was acknowledged by Gandhi for the purity of his heart and his spiritual strength. He became the closest friend and advisor of Mahatma Gandhi, whom choose him as the first individual satyagrahi and when Gandhi was killed in 1948 he led the Sarvodaya movement till his death in 1982. He walked on foot, from village to village in India, for seventeen years, collecting huge donations of land from the landlords and redistributed it among the landless, for self-sufficiency and freedom from slavery and hunger through an outstanding constructive revolution: the Boodan and Gramdan movement. The dream of Vinoba was about a world without geopolitical boundaries, no religious divisions, no separations among all human beings, all equal in the Love of the same God. He had a vision of the world as one village, where all humans would live as a family, with Love, Truth and Compassion inspiring their relationship. He promoted the decentralization of power to the villages and in his Ashrams all important decisions were taken unanimously. In 1957, the first of November, he was greeted at at huge gathering of the Sarvodaya movement and the crowd was shouting.. Jai Bharat! Jai Bharat! Which means Hail India, Victory to India!, slogan that was very common in post-independence time. He told the crowd that, from that moment on, they should have greeted him and each other with Jai Jagat! victory to the whole world, victory to all. One world consciousness pioneer, Vinoba had a vision of the fall of all nationalisms and the fusion of humanity in one nation, the planet and one citizenship, humanity.
NBC's 'The Event': The secret even the President does not know. (September 11th, 2010) http://www.examiner.com/ufo-in-phoenix/nbc-s-the-event-the-secret-even-the-president-does-not-know
Imagine a secret so secret that the President of the United States of America is not on the Need-To-Know listone that would change the course of history were it to become widespread public knowledge.Sounds like a great premise for an intense action-suspense drama. It's so good that NBC has utilized it as the basis for the highly anticipated television drama 'The Event', scheduled to debut September 20, 2010. The description above was taken directly from the trailer. Few television series have generated this much abject curiosity prior to their debut and no event since someone shot J.R. Ewing has been kept so secret by a publicity hungry television studio. So what is the Event that will change television history? (...) The promotional clips for the series are a masterpiece of ambiguity as to the exact nature of the situation that forces the President to contemplate the most profound act of his political career. If you watch them with the mindset of the consensus paradigm, several possibilities come to mind: The well-worn notion of impending destruction of an American city by a terrorist nuclear device; the release of an unstoppable genetically designed plague; a planetary extinction level event cause by an impending meteor strike or something even worse. Whatever that might be.There is an event in the first episode, apparently an attack upon the President by forces unknown, but that is not the event, which remains a closely guarded trade secret. According to Blair Underwood, who plays President Elias Martinez, a Cuban-American proud of his heritage, the true nature of the event will be apparent to the audience by the second episode, but the answer to that question will only engender many more questions which will be progressively answered as the series continues. And that statement itself is a clue. CLIP - Visit http://www.nbc.com/the-event/ to find our more and watch the first episode (up to Sept 26 only)
Doomsday warnings of US apocalypse gain ground (SEPT 12, 2010) http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.a64b6fa820c23d9ef2058a22276ce3a1.2c1&show_article=1
Economists peddling dire warnings that the world's number one economy is on the brink of collapse, amid high rates of unemployment and a spiraling public deficit, are flourishing here. The guru of this doomsday line of thinking may be economist Nouriel Roubini, thrust into the forefront after predicting the chaos wrought by the subprime mortgage crisis and the collapse of the housing bubble. "The US has run out of bullets," Roubini told an economic forum in Italy earlier this month. "Any shock at this point can tip you back into recession."But other economists, who have so far stayed out of the media limelight, are also proselytizing nightmarish visions of the future. Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff, who warned as far back as the 1980s of the dangers of a public deficit, lent credence to such dark predictions in an International Monetary Fund publication last week. He unveiled a doomsday scenario -- which many dismiss as pure fantasy -- of an economic clash between superpowers the United States and China, which holds more than 843 billion dollars of US Treasury bonds. "A minor trade dispute between the United States and China could make some people think that other people are going to sell US treasury bonds," he wrote in the IMF's Finance & Development review." That belief, coupled with major concern about inflation, could lead to a sell-off of government bonds that causes the public to withdraw their bank deposits and buy durable goods."Kotlikoff warned such a move would spark a run on banks and money market funds as well as insurance companies as policy holders cash in their surrender values."In a short period of time, the Federal Reserve would have to print trillions of dollars to cover its explicit and implicit guarantees. All that new money could produce strong inflation, perhaps hyperinflation," he said. "There are other less apocalyptic, perhaps more plausible, but still quite unpleasant, scenarios that could result from multiple equilibria." According to a poll by the StrategyOne Institute published Friday, some 65 percent of Americans believe there will be a new recession. And the view that America is on a decline seems rather well ingrained in many people's minds supported by 65 percent of people questioned in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll published last week.
(...) And it seems such pessimism has even filtered into the IMF, which warned on Friday that high levels of national debt and a still shaky financial sector threaten to derail the global economic recovery."The foreclosure backlog in US property markets is large and growing, in part due to the recent expiration of the home buyer's tax credit. When realized, this could further depress real estate prices."This could lead to "disproportionate losses" for small and medium-sized banks, which could in turn "precipitate a loss of market confidence in the recovery," the IMF warned.
Basel III: The Global Banks at The Edge of The Precipice. Trillions of "Toxic Waste" in the Global Banking System (September 20, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21099
The Global Too Big To Fail Banks are so precarious that literally anything can trigger a collapse in the coming months. I have read recent commentaries on Basel III posted to various renowned websites and financial publication, but they missed (or deliberately misled) the underlying message of the proposals, the implementation of which will be delayed till 2017 and some till 2019. Basel III is pure spin and its timing was to assuage the deep-seated fears that there are no solutions in sight to save the fiat money system and fractional reserve banking. THE PROBLEM - The major global banks are all under-capitalised and this was all too apparent when Lehman Bros. collapsed. Banks were borrowing so much and so recklessly to play at the global casino that when the bets went sour, they were staring at a black-hole in the $trillions. In fact the banks are all insolvent.The problem was compounded when the central bankers (all are corrupt without exception) and regulators turned a blind eye to how bankers defined what constituted "capital" so as to circumvent the need to maintain the capital ratio.
(...) At this moment, I cannot give a precise time-line as to how long the FED and the global central banks can prolong the confidence game, hoodwinking the public and sovereign creditors that all is well. When confidence in banks evaporates for whatever reasons, the consequences will be ugly and there will be massive social upheavals across the globe. The first indication that the game is up is when US treasuries are increasingly purchased by the FED to make up for the shortfalls by foreign creditors and to finance the ballooning US deficits. All of a sudden, some entities may start to get real nervous and unload the treasuries, and the FED steps in to shore up treasuries. Then, the tipping point is reached and Hell breaks loose! CLIP
Real Versus Fake Crises: Concealing The Risk of An All Out Nuclear War - By Michel Chossudovsky (September 16, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21044
We have reached a turning point in our history. The US and its allies are preparing to launch a nuclear war with devastating consequences.During the Cold War, the concept of "mutual assured destruction" (MAD) was put forth. An understanding of the consequences of nuclear war largely contributed to avoiding the outbreak of war between the US and the Soviet Union.Today, in the post-Cold war era, no such understanding prevails. The spectre of a nuclear holocaust, which haunted the world for half a century has been relegated to the status of "collateral damage".This military adventure in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to assess or fully comprehend the devastation which would result from a Third World War, using "new technologies" and advanced weapons systems, until it actually occurs and becomes a reality. A sequence of US sponsored wars characterizes a period of our history euphemistically referred to as "the post-War era". The US led war in Afghanistan has been ongoing, in various stages, for thirty-one years. Iraq has been under US and allied military occupation for more than seven years. We are living history but at the same time we are unable to comprehend the events which shape our future and which are currently unfolding in front of our very eyes. The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye. (See Michel Chossudovsky, Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran, Global Research, August 1, 2010, Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran, August 13, 2010) The media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Meanwhile, public opinion has its eyes riveted on what might be described as "fake crises". A Third World War is no longer a hypothetical scenario. CLIP
Obama edges to the dark side (SEPT 20, 2010) http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/09/2010916104022372281.html
As consensus grows regarding the futility of US national security policy, concerns arise over Barack Obama's strategy. - In possibly the most dramatic mea culpa in Presidential history, Bill Clinton, newly appointed as UN Special Envoy for Haiti, admitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the US policy of compelling poor developing countries to buy US agricultural products at subsidised prices, which destroyed local agricultural sectors, was a disaster. "I did that. I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else."For where Clinton helped lay the groundwork for the re-militarisation of America's political and economic systems through his uncritical embrace of neoliberalism (which, despite the "liberal" in the label, inevitably leads to neoconservatism and war), Obama, with the greatest of care and deliberation, is heading to the 'dark side' that the millions of Americans who voted for him did so with the justified expectation that he'd avoid. Politics of insanity? The warning signs that President Obama's trajectory would depart from his campaign rhetoric were clear from the beginning. (...) As Michael Hayden, Bush's last CIA Director, put it in a recent interview, "Obama has been as aggressive as Bush" in defending executive prerogatives and powers that have enabled and sustained the 'war on terror.' But just how close to the dark side Obama has moved became evident in the last couple of weeks, specifically from two angles. In the first, a federal appeals court overturned a lower court decision allowing former CIA prisoners to sue companies that participated in their rendition and torture in overseas prisons. In deciding that the plaintiffs could not sue despite an ample public (rather than classified) record supporting their claims, Judge Raymond C. Fisher supported the Obama Administration's contention that, in his words, sometimes there is a "painful conflict between human rights and national security" in which the former must be sacrificed to preserve the latter. CLIP
British monarch 'asked for heating handout' (Sept 24, 2010) http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/100924/oddities/britain_royals_offbeat
LONDON (AFP) - Queen Elizabeth II asked the British government for money from a fund for poor people to help pay heating bills on her palaces, a newspaper reported on Friday. The request was rebuffed because officials feared the news would be a public relations disaster for the monarch, according to the Independent, which learned of the request under Freedom of Information legislation.Royal aides complained to ministers in 2004 that the queen's gas and electricity bills had increased by 50 percent and were now "untenable", costing more than one million pounds (1.5 million dollars, 1.2 million euros) a year. Aides said the 15-million-pound state grant the queen received for the upkeep of the palaces was inadequate and asked if the royal family was eligible for special funds to replace four combined heat and power units at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The money would come from a government scheme to fund heating programmes that benefit people on low incomes. According to the Independent, the then Labour government initially agreed to the idea but then changed its mind. An official wrote to the palace pointing out the fund's intended purpose, adding: "I also feel a bit uneasy about the probable adverse press coverage if the palace were given a grant at the expense of, say, a hospital." Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the report.
The Crown Jewels: The Queen Is The Ultimate Insider Trader (August 25, 1997) http://american_almanac.tripod.com/crown.htm
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the wealthiest crone in the world, who gives new meaning to the phrase, "stinking rich." Her total wealth is divided into two parts. One is a Venetian-style fondo (trust), that is, it is inalienable and must be passed on to her heir, free from inheritance tax. The second part of her wealth consists of her private collection of castles, jewelry, and art, and a portfolio of blue chip stocks and bonds and real estate investments around the world. Her investment portfolio is estimated to be worth £3 billion. One of the secrets to her disposable wealth is that she amassed it tax free until 1992--the Annus Horribilis, which started with the separation of Charles and Diana and ended with the fire at Windsor Castle--when she entered a memorandum of understanding to pay taxes on income, capital gains, and inheritance on this portfolio; although, the Queen can break this agreement at any time she desires.A second, most important secret is that the Queen is the world's ultimate "insider trader." She not only gets tips from British financiers, but also has access to all the state secrets, through the "boxes." Thus, if the Queen learns from among all public and private British Empire intelligence and economic warfare entities reporting to her, for example, that Nigeria is about to be destabilized, she can immediately call her broker. Under the secrecy laws of the British Empire, it would be unthinkable for anyone to consider pressing charges of insider trading and conflict of interest against the sovereign: In fact, only a handful of trusted advisers would ever know. (...) Her Majesty's Portfolio - It is forbidden for Parliament to discuss the fact that the Queen has kept her private wealth a secret. But, in 1977, it was discovered through a Parliamentary question, that the Bank of England had established a special nominee company, the Bank of England Nominees Ltd. (BOEN), to hide investments of the Queen's portfolio, as well as those of others whom she recommends, such as King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, the Sultan of Brunei, King Bhumibhol Adulayadej of Thailand, and the Kuwaiti Investment Office. But, BOEN is only one of the means apparently employed by the Queen's royal insider trader to hide her wealth. Philip Beresford, author of The Book of the British Rich, written in conjunction with the Sunday Times of London, has said that the Queen tends to invest in "blue chip" stocks, including Rio Tinto Zinc, General Electric Company of Great Britain, Imperial Chemical Industries, Royal Dutch Shell, and British Petroleum. Among the firms through which she has invested are Barings, S.G. Warburg's subsidiary Rowe & Pitman, and Cazanove. The Queen's holding in Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) was first discovered through a leak from a source at the Bank of England to Andrew Morton, who wrote the authorized biography of Diana, Princess of Wales. According to Charles Higham, co-author of Elizabeth and Philip, the Queen is a major stockholder in RTZ, which, with her old friends at Anglo-American, controls 12% of the world's precious, strategic, and base metals and minerals (see corporate profiles). Forbes magazine also reported that she was a major RTZ shareholder, as was the Bank of England. Higham quotes Sir Mark Turner, then chairman of RTZ: "You're running into problems of what the government is going to say about the Queen's involvement. RTZ is one of the great assets of the country." CLIP - Check also The World's Richest Royals ("Royal wealth derives from inheritances or positions of power...") Queen Elizabeth II's personal jewelry collection ("The total value of her personal jewelry is conservatively estimated at around $57 million.")
Russia: We will provide Syria with advanced missiles, despite Israel, U.S. protests (17.09.10) http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/russia-we-will-provide-syria-with-advanced-missiles-despite-israel-u-s-protests-1.314339
Russia plans to go ahead with its sale of advance anti-ship rockets, state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Russian Defense Minster Anatoly Serdyukov as saying on Friday, despite recent attempts by U.S. and Israeli officials to thwart the planned deal. The deal involves the sale of advanced P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles to the Syrian military, weaponry which Israel considers as capable of posing significant danger to its navy vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. Last month, Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had tried to sway his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, from completing the deal, reportedly saying the missiles could be transferred to Hezbollah and used against IDF troops, as was the case in the Second Lebanon War. Speaking Friday, however, the Russian defense minister indicated that Russia would indeed go forward with the 2007 contract, saying that "the issue of selling the missiles to Syria was raised during the talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates... Undoubtedly, it [the contract] would be fulfilled by the Russian side." CLIP
Israel government told its soldiers committed summary executions (22nd September, 2010) http://feeds.bignewsnetwork.com/?sid=688479
UN experts have determined that the Israeli raid on a so-called peace flotilla was overly violent and totally illegal. The Human Rights Council has said Israel's military response to the Gaza aid sail was "disproportionate and brutal," violating international law. The special UN panel said there was now clear evidence to support prosecutions against Israel for wilful killing and torture. In its scathing report, the panel rejected an argument by Israel that activists on the aid ship had turned violent, thereby justifying the actions of Israeli soldiers when they opened fire. The UN Human Rights Council panel said Israel's military had used unnecessary violence to commit grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law. It said that the Israeli shootings were "consistent with summary execution." A 56-page document released by the UN says that Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory was also unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there. The report said: "The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. A series of violations of international law were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation." The panel concluded that a humanitarian crisis existed in Gaza on the day of the incident, making the Israeli blockade unlawful. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has responded by saying the Human Rights Council had a "biased, politicized and extremist approach." Israel did not cooperate with the panel and is awaiting a report from a separate UN group under New Zealand's former Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and Colombia's former President Alvaro Uribe, who are yet to report their findings. Israel soldiers shot and killed eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American aboard the Mavi Marmara on May 31 as it was sailing toward Gaza.
Flotilla Raid Illegal, U.N. Panel Finds (September 22, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/23/world/middleeast/23briefs-Flotilla.html
A report released in Geneva by three United Nations-appointed human rights experts said Wednesday that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, killing nine activists. The United Nations Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission concluded that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza was unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there, and that the military raid on the flotilla was brutal and disproportionate. The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded by saying the Human Rights Council had a "biased, politicized and extremist approach." The Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza, praised the report and called for those involved in the raid to be tried. Israel refused to cooperate with the panel, but is working with a separate United Nations group that is examining the incident. - Check also BBC Bias: The Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Livable Communities Act of 2009 (SB1619) Diabolic Social Engineering or Not? (September 21, 2010)
LOTS OF RESISTANCE TO AN APPARENTLY WELL INTENTIONED TOP-BOTTOM GOVERNMENTAL SCHEME http://redhawk500.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/livable-communities-act-of-2009-sb1619-diabolic-social-engineering-or-not/
(...) There are a number of organizations and PACS that are very concerned about the intent of this bill. They contend it is a social engineering bill to restrict residence in the suburbs and rural areas and force Americans into city centers. They are very concerned that the bill has passed the United States Senate Banking Committee and is on the fast track to passage in the Senate. The bill is called the Livable Communities Act (SB 1619) and it was introduced by outgoing Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.). According to its opponents the bill seeks to fulfill the United Nation's plan Agenda 21, adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and signed onto by "New World Order" President George H.W. Bush.Ron Paul released this statement on September 16th: "This bill, better called the Dodd Homeowner Control Act, was snuck through committee on August 3rd, and a final Senate vote could come as early as next week! Nancy Pelosi has the votes to pass it in the House, and Barack Obama is sure to sign it.I don't know about you, but I have no interest in participating with Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, and their radical environmentalist friends in their version of Extreme Home Makeover. The Dodd Bill, in the spirit of the U.N.'s "Agenda 21," focuses on "sustainable development" and "comprehensive regional plans." These are code words for government determining not only how you live in your own home, but deciding what your neighborhood looks like by using your tax dollars to bribe state and local governments into forcing your community to fit federal guidelines. There is not a minute to lose. A Senate filibuster is the only chance to stop this U.N. power grab. Under the guise of "sustainability" the Dodd Homeowner Control Act will create a massive new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, likely to be under the control of a "Development Czar." Such a Czar would be tasked with imposing federal standards on energy, zoning, and housing that line up with the U.N.'s radical environmental agenda. State and local laws and zoning would be wiped out. CLIP - Check also Social Engineering Bill In Senate Will Force You Into City
Report: Global cost of dementia is soaring (Sept 21, 2010) http://tinyurl.com/28blurr
LONDON The global cost of dementia will likely exceed $604 billion this year, or 1 percent of the world's gross domestic product, a new report says.In a study issued on Tuesday, European researchers estimate about 35 million people have dementia worldwide. They said that figure is likely to double every 20 years, to nearly 66 million in 2030 and 115 million in 2050.In the report scientists called the spread of dementia "an epidemic that is increasing its pace with the 'graying' of the population around the world." As people live longer, particularly in developed countries, they become more susceptible to developing dementia. After age 65, the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, doubles every five years. At age 85, people have about a 50 percent chance of developing Alzheimer's."If dementia care were a country, it would be the world's 18th largest economy," the report said. "If it were a company, it would be the world's largest by annual revenue, exceeding Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil."The report was based on data collected from countries worldwide, including estimates from developing countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia."Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are the single most significant health and social crisis of the 21st century," Daisy Acosta, chairman of the Alzheimer's Disease International, said in a statement. CLIP
Life on this Earth Just Changed - The North Atlantic Current is Gone (AUGUST 29, 2010)
NOTE FROM JEAN: I DON'T THINK THIS IS RELIABLE INFO... - it's reliability is questioned near the end of Deepwater Horizon: where is the oil? - BUT IF YOU READ THE NEXT ARTICLE - This year's winter may be the harshest - Polish climatologists - YOU'LL SEE THERE IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN... http://europebusines.blogspot.com/2010/08/special-post-life-on-this-earth-just.html
The latest satellite data establishes that the North Atlantic Current (also called the North Atlantic Drift) no longer exists and along with it the Norway Current. These two warm water currents are actually part of the same system that has several names depending on where in the Atlantic Ocean it is. The entire system is a key part of the planet's heat regulatory system; it is what keeps Ireland and the United Kingdom mostly ice free and the Scandinavia countries from being too cold; it is what keeps the entire world from another Ice Age. This Thermohaline Circulation System is now dead in places and dying in others. This 'river' of warm water that moves through the Atlantic Ocean is called, in various places, the South Atlantic Current, the North Brazil Current, the Caribbean Current, the Yucatan Current, the Loop Current, the Florida Current, the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Current (or North Atlantic Drift) and the Norway Current.
(...) The most current data continues to show a dying of the entire Thermohaline Circulation System in the Atlantic Ocean. This is indicative of the fact that the dispersants have caused the oil to remain in place below the surface, and according to most reports remain in almost full amounts (up to 80%) long after the BP Oil Disaster began. Since there is no current way to remove this massive amount of free flowing oil below the sea at depths up to one mile deep, it is apt to continue to effect any natural recovery of the Thermohaline Circulation System.
(...) The 'process' of entering a new Ice Age could begin coming upon us in full force (rather like in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow") at any time, or it could take three to five year to fully play out with early glaciation beginning in North America and Europe and Asia this winter (both models have existed in the beginnings of different Ice Ages in Earth's past). Current sea surface temperature satellite data show pre-Ice Age cooling continuing - image ~ A new Ice Age, could kill 2/3 of the human race in the first year in a rapid onset; a slower onset would likely kill close to this number but simply take a handful of years.! Thank you BP; thank you President Obama, the lies and the dispersants were just great. Now if you could just direct all that hot air to the right places maybe we can avoid a icy hell in our near future. UPDATE 2 September 2010: Europe is going into an early winter ~ link ~ with snowfall in the Alps coming a month early ~ link ~ half a meter of snow in late August in Norway ~ link ~ early snow in Russia ~ link ~ Additionally, sea ice in the Antarctic is at near record levels ~ link ~ and coldest August in South Australia in 35 years ~ link ~ This is indicative of a major climatic change to the entire planet and is to be expected from the dying Thermohaline Circulation System in the Atlantic Ocean. - Check also Oceanic Conveyor Belt Background
This year's winter may be the harshest - Polish climatologists (Sept 22, 2010) http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/09/22/21716105.html
According to Polish climatologists, the Gulfstream- the Atlantic warm current, which protects Europe against the Arctic cold, is cooling fast. It might even disappear completely, they warn. Russian meteorologists disagree with the pessimism of their Polish counterparts, agreeing though that the speed of the Gulfstream has indeed been reduced two-fold for several years. The Scandinavian countries are already feeling the breathing of the Arctic. The Polish climatologist, Mikhail Kovalevski believes that if the trend continues, the climatic zones will move North and Europe will become a permafrost area for ever. But after looking at satellite pictures, NASA officials say that the global warming of the past 18 years has made the Gulfstream stronger and warmer. Russian meteorologists however hold the middle ground, Alexander Frolov, head of the Russian Meteorological Agency says. The Gulfstream is powerful and is not declining; it warms up Europe, and consequently, it has a high significance for both Poland and the Scandinavian nations. But access to the heat might be restricted by the thawing of the ice and the turning of the water fresh - that is cold fresh water may appear on the surface, preventing the heat from going into the atmosphere to have an impact on the climate. We do not overestimate such a phenomenon, Frolov says. He agrees that the Arctic ice is thawing fast, and according to the specialists, the area of the ice is now 4.8 million kilometers-600 thousand kilometers less than in 2007. said Frolov. That is the third minimum area of ice ever recorded since the beginning of meteorological observation. The Arctic is indeed very warn at the moment, particularly the western part, Frolov says. CLIP
Gulf Stream Collapse http://www.planetextinction.com/planet_extinction_gulfstream.htm
The Gulf Stream has slowed by 6 million tonnes of water per second over the past 30 years. Many scientists are worried that this portends a collapse and have applied computer models to work out the alternatives. These show there is a 50% chance the current will collapse totally when global temperatures rise by 3°C.The waters that flow from the Antarctic to the north on the surface of the Atlantic are warm and lose water by evaporating, and therefore get saltier. Salt water is heavier than fresh water and when it reaches the north Atlantic it would sink were it not that the cold water from the arctic is denser still. The arctic water sinks under the warm and provides the force that drives the conveyor and creates the Gulf Stream.One scenario presented recently to the Pentagon posits that a Gulf Stream collapse could begin in a few years. That massive current of warm water would no longer reach far into the North Atlantic. This would seriously disrupt the temperate climate of Europe and the east coast of North America. The probable outcome would be that the climate of the UK that is now 8°C warmer than the same latitudes in other parts of the world would become closer to that in Russia.The lesser impact would be a 500mm ocean rise as water heats up.It is not clear what type of weather would follow a collapse. Some forecasters believe the globe would continue to heat, others predict a new ice age or a global drought. The best models suggest there would be a 5°F drop over Asia and North America and up to 6°F in Europe. On the other hand there would be an increase by up to 4°F in Australia, South America, and south Africa.Winter storms and cyclonic winds would intensify, amplifying the impact of the changes. Average annual rainfall in Europe and China could decrease by nearly 30%. Europes climate would then become more like Siberias bringing harsh conditions for agriculture.
From The Gulf Stream To The Bloodstream and Why What Youre About To Read Is The Alarm Bell of The Pending Gulf Disaster (With an alarming video that is worth watching!) http://www.projectgulfimpact.org/
For nearly five months, the BP oil disaster has consumed the minds of millions of people worldwide. In addition to the horrific impacts that the crude oil and chemical dispersants have daily on the environment and the economy, a fatal threat has quietly slipped by the publics proverbial radar. The harm dealt by this silent enemy is beginning to creep into the lives of those living and working in the Gulf. The problem has been lurking in the Gulf since the first days of the BP oil spill and now has the potential ignite a disaster unlike any this country has ever seen. CLIP
Is BP's Gulf Oil Radioactive? (2010-08-31) http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/08/bps-crude-oil-may-be-radioactive.html
(...) This is all bad enough at the spill and cleanup sites, and it's not nearly the near-term danger of all the toxins in the oil-dispersant stew. But it can become a danger when you start concentrating it in normal landfills. Remember, oil was exempted from hazmat regulations for political reasons, not because it's not hazardous. And, as far as we can tell, nobody is even testing the BP waste going into those landfills and if the oil company knows radiation levels, we can expect them to keep it secret. Hey, this is the company that required a Congressional order and a Federal Court Subpoena just to release video of the spill we have no way of knowing what else they're not telling us.And it's not comforting that the EPA, which allowed BP to use toxic dispersant to hide the oil and is now minimizing what's left through bogus science, and the Coast Guard, which allowed dispersant use even in excess of what the EPA approved, are in charge of all this. And the EPA knows better, of course.
Radioactive Oil From BP Blowout! - as shown in this video http://www.rense.com/general91/d2se.htm
(...) But there is much more to talk about the new discoveries of deep oil. Something very dangerous lurks in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Keep in mind the reserve Deepwater was drilling happens to be the deepest offshore reserve to date. Also keep in mind how we learned oil is sourced from deep below the Earths crust. Further down then mankind has been able to study and observe. Helium is a naturally occurring gas formed in oil reserves. So common that helium detectors have been used to discover oil reserves. Helium is an inert gas known to be a by-product from the radiological decay of uranium and thorium. Uranium and Thorium are known to be in great quantities at greater depths. Yes, radioactive elements occur naturally and can be found and detected in trace amounts in shallow oil reserves. Oil reserves that do not produce large amounts of methane also lack uranium and thorium. The presence of methane is proportional to the presence of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. Yes, you read that correctly! The more methane that is present reflects the amount of Uranium and Thorium in the oil reserve. The deeper the oil, the younger the radiological decay is that produces helium.
Oil 2-Inches Thick Found On Gulf Sea Floor (Sept. 14, 2010) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/14/national/main6864328.shtml
Scientist Shocked by Samples of "Dense" Sludge a Mile Below Surface, and as Far as 80 Miles from BP Well - (AP) Far beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, deeper than divers can go, scientists say they are finding oil from the busted BP well on the sea's muddy and mysterious bottom. Oil at least two inches thick was found Sunday night and Monday morning about a mile beneath the surface. Under it was a layer of dead shrimp and other small animals, said University of Georgia researcher Samantha Joye, speaking from the helm of a research vessel in the Gulf. The latest findings show that while the federal government initially proclaimed much of the spilled oil gone, now it's not so clear. At these depths, the ocean is a cold and dark world. Yet scientists say that even though it may be out of sight, oil found there could do significant harm to the strange creatures that dwell in the depths - tube worms, tiny crustaceans and mollusks, single-cell organisms and Halloween-scary fish with bulging eyes and skeletal frames. "I expected to find oil on the sea floor," Joye said Monday morning in a ship-to-shore telephone interview. "I did not expect to find this much. I didn't expect to find layers two inches thick. It's weird the stuff we found last night. Some of it was really dense and thick." OTHER REELATED NEWS: "50,000 workers and others exposed during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill" - "Leukemia, multiple myeloma, and melanoma are of particular interest" (Sept 21, 2010) - "MILLIONS": Fishermen and local officials get real over fish kills(Compilation Video) - Fisherman finding dead fish of "species they have NEVER SEEN BEFORE" (VIDEO) - Censored Gulf news: Gulf Coaster Trail of Tears. Evacuees flee for health and safety
Digging for Oil (Sept 20, 2010) VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diqu6_odX08
PENSACOLA BEACH - The head of the Gulf Islands National Seashore wants to set the record straight about whether you can bring a shovel and pail to the beach. Last week an officer stopped a Channel Three News crew from getting video of the oil under the sand. Once again we're out here on the Gulf Islands National Seashore. I wanted to show you this sand castle out here that some one had abandoned and you can see that while they were building it, they encountered this, quite a few gooey tarballs out here on the Gulf Side Beach. We were told last week, that doing something like this, building a sand castle, was illegal. Pat Gonzales/ US Fish and Wildlife: "You can not come out here and do your own investigation if you're looking for oil product." CLIP
CDC allegedly falsifies reports--ignoring up to 3,587 Miscarriages from H1N1 Vaccine (Sept. 17, 2010) http://www.progressiveconvergence.com/Final%20Press%20Release%20CDC%20Allegedly%20falsified.htm
A shocking report from the National Coalition of Organized Women (NCOW) presented data from two different sources demonstrating that the 2009/10 H1N1 vaccines contributed to an estimated 1,588 miscarriages and stillbirths. A corrected estimate may be as high as 3,587 cases. NCOW also highlights the disturbing fact that the CDC failed to inform their vaccine providers of the incoming data of the reports of suspected H1N1 vaccine related fetal demise.NCOW collected the data from pregnant women (age 17-45 years) that occurred after they were administered a 2009 A-H1N1 flu vaccine. The raw data is available on the website. CLIP - AND WE CAN BE SURE THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF THE UNREPORTED "ADVERSE EFFECTS" WORLDWIDE OF THIS LETHAL VACCINE!...
It's a swine mess - Government set to force OAPs to have pig vaccine with flu jab (19/09/2010) http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/978888/Swine-flu-vaccine-to-be-secretly-given-with-regular-flu-jab.html
MILLIONS of people will be given a secret swine flu jab by health bosses this winter. The H1N1 vaccine will be mixed into the regular flu jab for OAPs, pregnant women and others at high risk. While millions refused to take the jab during last winter's pandemic, this time they will have no choice if they want to be protected against normal flu. The Government was left with more than 30 million swine flu vaccines after the pandemic fizzled out in 2010. Some types of swine flu vaccinations are suspected of being linked to an increase in the rare condition narcolepsy, which causes sufferers to suddenly fall asleep at random times. In Finland, one brand - Pandemrix, produced by GlaxoSmithKline - was banned, and officials in Sweden have started a Europe-wide investigation into it. CLIP
Canadians To Be Vaccinated With Live H1N1 Virus with MSG For The 2010/11 Flu Season (September 23, 2010) MILLIONS OF POOR, GULLIBLE, BRAINWASHED CANADIANS ARE ABOUT TO BE CONNED AGAIN... TO THE PERIL OF THEIR HEALTH AND FOR THE HIGH PROFIT OF ANOTHER BIG PHARMA CORPORATION http://www.infowars.com/canadians-to-be-vaccinated-with-live-h1n1-virus-with-msg-for-the-201011-flu-season/
The Public Health Agency of Canada has once again given their seal of approval for the injection of a dangerous cocktail of toxic chemicals they call a trivalent vaccine. The 2010/11 recipients of AstraZeneca's FLUMIST will be exposed to several strains of live viruses including H1N1 and H3N2. The vaccine also contains MSG and other known neurotoxins and immunotoxins. Similar to last year's Arepanrix Vaccine, FLUMIST was approved without evaluating its safety and effectiveness on a single Canadian. The vaccines are especially being promoted for children since the nasal spray vaccine can be marketed as less invasive due its intranasal delivery that does not require needles. Ontario's chief medical officer of health said a non-injectable vaccine is an "attractive option." The product has been on the U.S. market for the last seven years. AstraZeneca Canada is currently ensuring that all Canadian pharmacies are making preparations to stock the vaccine this fall. The influenza vaccine will be one of several vaccines to be offered on the Canadian market. CLIP
Big Pharma Scores Big Win: Medicinal Herbs Will Disappear in EU by Heidi Stevenson (12 September 2010)
SADLY, ALL OF THE FOLLOWING NIGHTMARE IS TRUE http://www.gaia-health.com/articles301/000301-big-pharma-scores-big-win-medicinal-herbs-disappear-eu.shtml
It's almost a done deal. We are about to see herbal preparations disappear, and the ability of herbalists to prescribe them will also be lost. -- Big Pharma has almost reached the finish line of its decades-long battle to wipe out all competition. As of 1 April 2011-less than eight months from now-virtually all medicinal herbs will become illegal in the European Union. The approach in the United States is a bit different, but it's having the same devastating effect. The people have become nothing more than sinks for whatever swill Big Pharma and Agribusiness choose to send our way, and we have no option but to pay whatever rates they want. Big Pharma and Agribusiness have almost completed their march to take over every aspect of health, from the food we eat to the way we care for ourselves when we're ill. Have no doubt about it: this takeover will steal what health remains to us. It Begins Next April Fools DayIn the nastiest April Fool's Joke of all time, the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products (THMPD) was enacted back on 31 March 2004. (1) It laid down rules and regulations for the use of herbal products that had previously been freely traded. This directive requires that all herbal preparations must be put through the same kind of procedure as pharmaceuticals. It makes no difference whether a herb has been in common use for thousands of years. The costs for this are far higher than most manufacturers, other than Big Pharma, can bear, with estimates ranging from £80,000 to £120,000 per herb, and with each herb of a compound having to be treated separately. It matters not that a herb has been used safely and effectively for thousands of years. It will be treated as if it were a drug. Of course, herbs are far from that.
(...) Try to imagine facing your children or grandchildren when they ask why you didn't. How will you tell them that you really weren't that interested in their welfare? How will you tell them that it was more important to watch the latest fake reality show on television than to take the time to write a simple letter?It is only by actively protesting that this travesty against our welfare can be stopped. If we sit back in apathy, then it will happen. Our right to protect our health and that of our children is hanging in the balance. If you care for your child's or grandchild's welfare, then you must act. Speak out, for now is the moment of truth. You can sit back and do nothing, or you can speak out. And then, once you have, talk to everyone you know. Tell them that it's time to act. There truly is no time to waste.
(...) Fenna - Is this law regarding combinations and brand name type preparations ? Or, is it for individual raw or bulk dried herbs and tinctures ? Reply: Heidi: All of them are affected, though combinations will face the worst of it. Brand names or raw or bulk or tinctures - all are the same in this. The ones most adversely affected are imported herbs. There are methods for EU-based herbs to be approved, but the process is onerous and costly. Very few have been able to go through the process. No herb can be approved for anything considered a serious medical condition. That seems to mean that a herb used to treat cold symptoms can be approved - if it's EU-based and it isn't part of a combination (though a couple of herbs together may be allowed) and if the company trying to get it approved has the means to go through the process. If it's used for something considered serious - and the EU gets to decide what that means - will be banned, period. All of that, of course, means that the herbs must be treated the same as pharmaceutical drugs, and that can mean destroying what makes them work by processes that involve sterilization. The concept of natural will often have no meaning. Also, nothing can be approved unless it's plant-based. For all practical purposes, nearly all herbs will start to disappear after April. Existing stocks will be allowed, but that's all. Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs will be illegal, period.
(...) Heidi - Unfortunately, that's changing - including in Canada. A herb will have to go through the same sort of thing that a drug does to be sold, and it makes no difference if a claim is made about it. All herbs (and, obviously, many foods, too) will be forbidden unless they meet absurd and stringent rules - and most will be forbidden, period. Reply: Didi: Heidi is right - I have spoken to my local herbal store attendant selling vitamins and herbs. At first, she was reluctant to talk about this however, after talking for a while she confirmed that these changes are indeed coming to Canada as well. As of December 2009 all the companies making vitamins and herbals have had to submit their formulations to the body overseeing this and some have had to adjust the levels of vitamins included or remove items altogether. Eventually, it will come down to exactly what is happening in the EU come next April. It's just a matter of time - problem is that I don't even know who to to contact regarding this. The media is completely owned and you don't hear word one about Codex and the changes surrounding vitamins and herbals... Also look up bill S.510 in the States. Very scary what this world is coming to. FYI - Codex has been completely implemented in Norway and Germany and you can't buy over the counter vitamins there unless prescribed and purchased through a pharmacist.
Navy to test its ability to vaccinate masses in a pandemic (September 15, 2010) http://hamptonroads.com/2010/09/navy-test-its-ability-vaccinate-masses-pandemic
It may be part of an exercise, but have no doubt: The needles in this simulated pandemic flu scenario are real. And so are the deltoids of thousands of sailors to be immunized in coming days as part of a test of the Navy's capacity to "surge" huge quantities of vaccines to its work force. CLIP
The food industry, like Big Pharma, controls the FDA and USDA (September 20, 2010) http://www.naturalnews.com/029787_food_industry_corruption.html
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently released a report highlighting the widespread influence of the food industry over food safety policies. According to the study, at least a quarter of those who work for either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (UDSA) have admitted that corporate interests regularly force the agencies to change or remove policies that hurt their bottom line, even when those policies protect the public. The UCS sent 44-question surveys to roughly 8,000 workers from both the FDA and USDA, 60 percent of whom work as field inspectors. Nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated that their agencies' practices harm public health in order to appease corporate interests, and more than 30 percent indicated that many of the higher-ups at both the FDA and USDA "inappropriately" influence decision making, in addition to having previously worked in the food industry. "Upper level management does not adequately support field inspectors and the actions they take to protect the food supply," explained Dean Wyatt, a USDA veterinarian in charge of federal slaughterhouse inspectors, to reporters. "Not only is there lack of support, but there's outright obstruction, retaliation and abuse of power." According to Wyatt, he has been demoted for actually doing his job properly and documenting industry violations. It is highly likely that there are countless others like him who have been reprimanded, muzzled or even punished for doing their jobs. To make matters worse, more than 30 percent of survey respondents said they believe their agencies are not "moving in the right direction". And this makes perfect sense, considering that 25 percent indicated their agencies do not even make public health a priority when considering policy decisions.
TSA Secure Flight Information - Homeland Security to Require 72-Hour Notice of Air Travel http://www.aa.com/i18n/utility/secureFlight.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=secureflight
As a result of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandate, beginning November 1, all passengers will be required to have Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) in their reservation at least 72 hours prior to departure. This is the next phase in a program that was initiated by the TSA in 2009. In compliance with this mandate you will be required to provide Secure Flight Passenger Data: To purchase any ticket on or after September 15, 2010 - To travel November 1, 2010, or later regardless of purchase date You will be unable to travel without providing the following information. Full Name (first, middle and last name, as it appears on the non-expired government-issued photo ID that you will use when traveling) - Date of Birth - Gender - Redress Number (if applicable) CLIP
Atmospheric Geoengineering (20/09/10) http://www.i-sis.org.uk/atmosphericGeoengineering.php
Anonymous report confirms climate and weather manipulation experiments conducted by the US and its allies over the past decades (...) Moratorium on geoengineering activities - One encouraging piece of information is that, in response to policy interest in geoengineering as a means to control climate, the sub-committee of the United Nations Convention of Biodiversity proposed, in May 2010, a moratorium on geoengineering activities. This proposal will be heard at the Tenth Conference of Parties to the UN Convention of Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan in October this year (2010). The Case Orange report further states that the US permits open air testing of chemical and biological weapons, which overrides the civil law mentioned earlier in this article. The authors paraphrase the permissive law thus: "The Secretary of Defense may conduct tests and experiments involving the use of chemical and biological agents on civilian populations." It seems that 'national security' concerns can be used by the President to overrule environmental and public health considerations. Is the same true in Europe? I have provided a basic outline of the main evidence arising from the Case Orange report. It makes an important contribution to opening up otherwise secretive agendas that have no place in any self-declared democracy. Other significant reports include an important paper by Dr Ilya Perlingieri, entitled "The Consequences of Toxic Metals and Chemical Aerosols on Human Health". She states: "Over the past decade, independent testing of Chemtrails around the country have shown a dangerous, extremely poisonous brew that includes: barium, nano-aluminium coated fibreglass (known as CHAFF), radioactive thorium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, dessicated blood, mould spores, yellow fungal mycotoxins, ethylene dibromide and polymer fibres. Barium can be compared to the toxicity of arsenic and is known to adversely affect the heart. Aluminium has a history of damaging brain function." I need hardly add that ethylene dibromide is a highly toxic agricultural pesticide.Now that we are party to this information we must to act on it. It is vital that we support the moratorium taking place in Japan this October. Do write to your MPs and tell them that these global activities are not the stuff of 'conspiracy theories'; and that they are taking place without public consultation and without any attempt to warn of their likely repercussions.
Extreme Heat Bleaches Coral, and Threat Is Seen (September 20, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/science/earth/21coral.html
This year's extreme heat is putting the world's coral reefs under such severe stress that scientists fear widespread die-offs, endangering not only the richest ecosystems in the ocean but also fisheries that feed millions of people. From Thailand to Texas, corals are reacting to the heat stress by bleaching, or shedding their color and going into survival mode. Many have already died, and more are expected to do so in coming months. Computer forecasts of water temperature suggest that corals in the Caribbean may undergo drastic bleaching in the next few weeks. What is unfolding this year is only the second known global bleaching of coral reefs. Scientists are holding out hope that this year will not be as bad, over all, as 1998, the hottest year in the historical record, when an estimated 16 percent of the world's shallow-water reefs died. But in some places, including Thailand, the situation is looking worse than in 1998. Scientists say the trouble with the reefs is linked to climate change. For years they have warned that corals, highly sensitive to excess heat, would serve as an early indicator of the ecological distress on the planet caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases. "I am significantly depressed by the whole situation," said Clive Wilkinson, director of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, an organization in Australia that is tracking this year's disaster. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first eight months of 2010 matched 1998 as the hottest January to August period on record. High ocean temperatures are taxing the organisms most sensitive to them, the shallow-water corals that create some of the world's most vibrant and colorful seascapes. Coral reefs occupy a tiny fraction of the ocean, but they harbor perhaps a quarter of all marine species, including a profusion of fish. Often called the rain forests of the sea, they are the foundation not only of important fishing industries but also of tourist economies worth billions. CLIP
Colossal coral bleaching kills up to 95 percent of corals in the Philippines (September 23, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0923-fidenci_coralbleach.html
It is one of the most worrisome observations: fast massive death of coral reefs. A severe wide-scale bleaching occurred in the Philippines leaving 95 percent of the corals dead. The bleaching happened as the result of the 2009-2010 El Niño, with the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia waters experiencing significant thermal increase especially since the beginning of 2010. In one of our conservation sites prior to the bleaching event, dead coral represented only 20 percent of all corals, after bleaching that percentage rose to 95 percent of corals. (...) The bleaching has been observed at many other sites around the Philippines featuring mass mortality of corals including the coral triangle outside the Philippines. This environmental catastrophe will probably be considered the most damaging bleaching event ever recorded in the Philippines, surpassing the big one of 1998. (...) The consequence of this large-scale event is far from being fully known but fish diversity and populations will be highly affected. Livelihood depending on small sustainable fishing activities will see their income significantly reduced. Tourism will suffer greatly and tourists activities to replace diving will be needed. Prior to this years bleaching, it was estimated that about 85 percent of the reefs have been damaged or destroyed in the Philippines, now the current estimate is likely to be close to 95 percent.
Massive coral bleaching in Indonesia (August 16, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0816-aceh_bleaching.html
A large-scale bleaching event due to high ocean temperatures appears to be underway off the coast of Sumatra, an Indonesian island, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). An initial survey by the conservation group's "Rapid Response Unit" of marine biologists found that 60 percent of corals were bleached. Follow up assessments "revealed one of the most rapid and severe coral mortality events ever recorded" with 80 percent of some species dying. "It's a disappointing development particularly in light of the fact that these same corals proved resilient to other disruptions to this ecosystem, including the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004," WCS Indonesia Marine Program Director Dr. Stuart Campbell said in a statement. Campbell, and other members of the research team, linked the event to a sharp rise in sea surface temperatures in the Andaman Sea. Temperatures reached 34 degrees Celsius (93°F)4 degrees Celsius higher than long term averages for the areain May 2010. (...) This is another unfortunate reminder that international efforts to curb the causes and effects of climate change must be made if these sensitive ecosystems and the vulnerable human communities around the world that depend on them are to adapt and endure. Coral reefs are also at risk from ocean acidification, a product of rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. Some researchers say acidification could prove more devastating in the long-run to coral ecosystems than elevated sea temperatures.
The biology and conservation of declining coral reefs (August 15, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0815-neme_corals_teleki.html
Coral reefs are often considered the "rainforests of the sea" because of their amazing biodiversity. In fact, coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. It is not unusual for a reef to have several hundred species of snails, sixty species of corals, and several hundred species of fish. While they comprise under 1% of the worlds ocean surface, one-quarter of all marine species call coral reefs their home. Fish, mollusks, sea stars, sea urchins, and more depend on this important ecosystem, and humans do too. Coral reefs supply important goods and servicesfrom shoreline protection to tourism and fisherieswhich by some estimates are worth $375 billion a year. CLIP
Shark attack victims: save sharks! (September 13, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0913-sharks.html
Shark attack survivors urged the United Nations to take measures to protect sharks, which are increasingly threatened by unsustainable fishing practices. Brought together by the Pew Environment Group, nine shark attack victimsAchmat Hassiem of South Africa, Paul de Gelder of Australia, James Elliott of Britain, Yann Perras of France, Vincent Motais de Narbonne of Réunion, Debbie Salamone of Florida, Chuck Anderson of Alabama, Mike Coots of Hawaii, and Krishna Thompson of New Yorkcalled for a ban on fishing of threatened or near-threatened with extinction and an end to the practice of "finning", whereby sharks are fished only for their fins, which are usually used in shark fin soup, a delicacy for the Chinese. Up to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins alone and overall, at least 30 percent of shark species are now threatened or near-threatened with extinction. "Do we have the right to drive any animal to the brink of extinction before any action is taken?" said Paul de Gelder, a diver for the Australian Navy who lost his right hand and right lower leg to a bull shark last year while conducting anti-terrorism exercises. "Regardless of what an animal does according to its base instincts of survival, it has its place in our world. We have an obligation to protect and maintain the natural balance of our delicate ecosystems." CLIP
Scientists warn little known gibbons face immediate extinction (September 19, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0919-hance_gibbons.html
It's not easy to be a gibbon: although one of the most acrobatic, fast, and marvelously loud of the world's primates, the gibbon remains largely unknown to the global public and far less studied than the world's more 'popular' apes. This lack of public awareness, scientific knowledge, and, thereby, conservation funding combined with threats from habitat loss to hunting to the pet trade have pushed seven gibbon species, known as 'crested', to the edge of extinction according to scientists attending the 23rd Congress of the International Primatological Society. "The crested gibbons are the most threatened group of primates and all species require urgent attention to save them from extinction", Thomas Geissmann, gibbon expert from Zurich University and advisor with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), said in a statement.
(...) Of the seven species of crested gibbon, three are listed by the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, four are Endangered, and one is Vulnerable to extinction. One would be hard pressed to find another mammalian group so imperiled. In fact, two of the speciesthe eastern black crested gibbon and the western hoolock gibbonappear on the world's top 25 most endangered primates list. New surveys in largely unexplored regions have found unknown populations of some gibbon species, yet the situation remains dire for many. Gibbon experts say more action is needed if these apes are to saved from extinction. - Check also Humans push half of the world's primates toward extinction, lemurs in particular trouble
Australian Timber Giant Gunns to End Old Growth Logging (September 10, 2010) http://forests.org/blog/2010/09/releasevictory-australian-timb.asp
(Tasmania, Australia) - In a massive win for the environmental movement, the new head of Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited [search] has broke ranks with Tasmania's forest industry and confirmed it will pull out of native forest logging altogether. At an industry conference in Melbourne Thursday, Gunns new chief executive Greg L'Estrange announced the company will move away from logging native forests [search] and develop plantation-based products. Further, Gunns revealed it would quit the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, which was arguing for a continuation of native forest logging in the state.The promises, if fully implemented, are a huge victory for Tasmania and Australias forest movement, such as the Wilderness Society, as well as a large body of international affinity campaigns. Tasmania has the tallest flowering plants on Earth, with trees reaching over 90 meters, and contains Australia's greatest tracts of temperate rainforest. Australias intact Eucalypt forests are also extraordinarily carbon rich. Gunns and Tasmania's environment movement have been long-time foes, culminating in a bitter five-year lawsuit brought by the company against 20 conservationists, including Greens leader Bob Brown, which Gunns lost in 2009, while failing to stifle opposition. CLIP
International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations - LOTS of good information there! http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/21_set/2010/index.html
Large-scale monoculture tree plantations have severe social and environmental impacts. The companies that plant them carry out major publicity campaigns. That is why it is important to expose the falsehoods underlying the arguments used by the companies to defend these plantations. Plantations are NOT forests!
Another food goliath falls to palm oil campaign (September 22, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0922-hance_generalmills.html
One of the world's biggest food makers, General Mills, has pledged to source only sustainable and responsible palm oil within five years time. With this announcement, General Mills becomes only the most recent food giant to pledge to move away from problematic sources of palm oil, which is used in everything from processed foods to health and beauty products. Nestle made a similar pledge earlier this year after a brutalizing social media campaign that lasted for months while Unilever, the world's biggest palm oil buyer, has been working closely with green groups for years. In a statement General Mills said they planned "to help ensure our purchases are not associated in any way with deforestation of the worlds rainforestsand to further reinforce the development of certified sustainable palm oil production practices." Outspoken critic of General Mills, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), welcomed the decision in a press release. RAN had campaigned against General Mills as recently as January when they unfurled a giant banner at company headquarters condemning the food giant for deforestation.
(...) Yet, palm oil has become a hugely attractive commodity because it is the world's most productive oil seed (far outstripping soy, which is linked to deforestation in the Amazon). Proponents of the palm industry argue that the palm oil industry is pulling Malaysia and Indonesia out of poverty. While the industry provides a large tax base to local governments, critics point out that many of its employees live below the poverty line. While the campaign against deforestation linked to palm oil continues to have success with big companies in western markets, activists have not yet tackled the biggest consumers of palm oil: China and India. - Check also Eco-friendly palm oil initiative censures company linked to deforestation
Special Blog: Oil palm in Africa http://oilpalminafrica.wordpress.com/
Natural stands and traditional use vs corporate-owned industrial plantations for palm oil exports in 23 African countries - Mainly driven by the international demand for palm oil and more recently for agrofuels- African communities are facing the expansion of large scale oil palm plantations. Governments are opening the doors to corporations for planting vast areas of land with oil palm plantations. This trend is not only happening in West and Central African countries, but is even expanding to parts of Eastern Africa. Large scale oil palm plantations are already causing serious environmental and social impacts in some countries, resulting in loss of community rights over their territories. CLIP
Why is the FDA about to rubber-stamp GE salmon? (Sept 20, 2010) http://www.grist.org/article/2010-09-20-why-is-the-fda-about-to-rubber-stamp-ge-salmon/
We're about to enter a brave new world in which transgenic, or genetically engineered (GE, as they are more commonly known), food animals may soon be appearing on our plates. An FDA special committee is meeting right now to determine whether a GE fish -- AquAdvantage salmon, genetically engineered by AquaBounty Technologies to reach mature size more quickly, thanks to genes from the Chinook salmon and from the eel-like ocean pout -- is safe for human consumption. The approval process for the GE salmon will set a precedent for all future GE animals; if the FDA does not set the bar high for solid science, it will mean a lack of scrutiny for other, perhaps less safe, GE animals in the future.Unfortunately, the FDA appears poised to rubber-stamp the AquAdvantage salmon. (...) Why is the FDA accepting such sloppy science, flouting its own regulations, giving the public nearly no time to weigh in, and packing its committee full of biotech hacks who will not ask the tough questions necessary to ensure the AquAdvantage salmon is safe before it winds up (unlabeled, the Washington Post reports) on our plates? Who knows. But one thing's for sure: AquaBounty, which only spent $30,000 on lobbying between the end of 2009 and the first half of 2010, is getting more than its money's worth.
Food: Why the Debate Over GM Salmon Misses the Point (Sept 21, 2010) http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2010/09/21/food-why-the-debate-over-gm-salmon-misses-the-point/
Will the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve a genetically modified salmon for sale in supermarkets around the country? Bet on it. Members of a federal advisory group in Maryland heard testimony on Sunday and Monday from scientists, environmentalists and businesspeople on the safety of AquaAdvantage salmon, a new brand that would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the U.S. food supply.
(...) The GM salmon can then produce that growth hormone in cold weather, not just in warm weather, which enables them to grow to market size in 18 months instead of three years.That's good for fish farmers-especially AquaBounty, the company that spent $60 million and 10 years developing the GM salmon-but is it good for consumers and the environment? The public will get its chance to to comment on the case today at an open FDA hearing in Maryland, and you can expect the atmosphere to be heated-GM food is a hot-button issue on both sides, and the idea of actually engineering a living species will only intensify those concerns. One thing is certain: if the world continues to eat more and more seafood, that fish will have to come from aquaculture, because fisheries simply can't support-sustainably-the global appetite for seafood. (Aquaculture already produces nearly half of the total weight of fish eaten worldwide.) But while GM salmon-and the engineering of other species for food-might help alleviate some of the pressure on wild fish, the debate misses the point. We've made an elemental mistake with aquaculture, choosing to farm the fish that we're used to catching and eating-like salmon or bass or cod-even though these species haven't taken very well to becoming our chickens of the sea. Even though the salmon farming industry has managed to improve its efficiency, farmed salmon still need about 1 lb. of wild fish for feed per 1 lb. of salmon-so aquaculture becomes another cause behind the long emptying of the sea. The proportion is even worse for species like bluefin tuna, which are just beginning to be farmed. And even a more efficient GM salmon will do nothing to change the environmental problems associated with salmon farming.The problem is the fish. As Paul Greenberg puts it in his great book Four Fish, we may be raising the wrong species. Instead of carnivores like salmon or tuna, we should be farming species that are naturally better adapted to aquaculture-like the vegetarian species tilapia, or arctic char, which tastes like salmon but can be raised in close quarters, reducing the impact on the surrounding environment. Instead of trying to change the fish to our tastes, maybe we should try changing our tastes to fit the fish.
Food campaign better food for people and nature - for subscribers in the UK http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/campaigning/food_campaign/
The uniquely beautiful Cerrado region in Brazil (pictured top) is currently being deforested faster than the Amazon. Around two-thirds of the Cerrado has already gone. One of the biggest culprits is soya cultivation. And the demand for soya is driven by the eating habits of people like us. You might not think you eat much soya, but our farm animals do. About 80% of soya imported into the UK is fed to livestock. Livestock production, in turn, has enormous environmental impacts using vast amounts of water, producing mountains of waste and responsible for a large proportion of the UKs greenhouse gas emissions. This is just one example of how our food impacts the environment. Its time to re-think the way we produce and consume our food. If we want vital eco-systems like the stunning Cerrado to thrive, its crucial. How you can help. Were engaging and influencing key players in the UK food industry including retailers, producers, food processors, and government. And wed like you to get involved too. We need your help to make sure government takes the lead in changing our food system.There are two fantastic opportunities coming up very soon. The Sustainable Livestock Bill and the Public Bodies Sustainable Food Bill may have dull-sounding titles, but in fact theyre both excellent ways to get MPs to act. Even better, your time-strapped MP only has to turn up once to parliament to support both bills on 12 November, to be precise.The Sustainable Livestock Bill is a great chance to tackle the unsustainable way the UKs livestock is bred, fed and consumed. The Public Bodies Sustainable Food Bill covers the £2billion-worth of food procured by government annually for our hospitals, care homes and armed forces introducing new environmental, ethical and health standards. In short, better food for people and for nature.Tell your MP to be at these debates in parliament on 12 November, to ensure these two vital bills progress to the next stage. Take action! Ask your MP to support the food bills - Check also: Will Brazil Change its Forest Code and Kill the Amazon rainforest? and An undamaged Amazon produces its own clouds and rain
Indigenous tribes, ranchers team to battle Amazon fires (September 14, 2010) http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0914-indigenous_amazon_firefighters.html
Facing the worst outbreak of forest fires in three years, cattle ranchers and indigenous tribesmen in the southern Amazon have teamed up to extinguish nearly two dozen blazes over the past three months, offering hope that new alliances between long-time adversaries could help keep deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon on a downward trajectory. The voluntary fire brigades, which have now spent more than 400 hours battling fires, are the product of partnership between Aliança da Terra, a Brazilian nonprofit working to improve land stewardship by cattle ranchers in the heart of the Amazon; Kayapó and Xavante Indians; local authorities; and the U.S. Forest Service. Over the past two years the Forest Service, with financial assistance from USAID, has led three intensive training sessions on tactics for fighting wild fires. The training came at an opportune time: the number of fires burning in the state of Mato Grosso surged from 5,000 last year to 18,800 this year, the highest since 2007. Exceptionally dry conditions have exacerbated fires set annually for land-clearing. An image released two weeks by NASA shows smoke obscuring a 2,500-kilometer corridor extending from Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil in the north to Argentina in the south. 148,946 fires were burning at the moment the photo was taken.
(...) The benefits of working together to fight fires extend well beyond protecting against financial losses. Hospitals in the region are presently fully of patients with respiratory problems caused by breathing the choking smoke. Reducing fires will reduce health costs. The smoke also makes transportation hazardous. "You don't want to be in this part of Mato Grosso right now. The smoke is so thick, it's hard to breathe and dangerous to fly," said Carter, noting that smoke is less bad in areas where the fire brigades are active. The success in extinguishing fires also raises an interesting prospectthe emergence of an informal system of governance in region where law enforcement is virtually unknown. Frank Merry, a scientist at the Moore Foundation, says this development could be the most important outcome of the fire-fighting effort. "A co-benefit is not only fighting the fireswhich, of course, is huge since fire is one of biggest threats to Xingu National Parkbut the establishment of frontier governance," he told mongabay.com. "Having the cowboys and Indians work together sows the seeds of governance and suggests a breaking down of some of the cultural barriers between the frontier groups who have been traditional enemies." "To me this is a really interesting entrance to frontier governance outside rule of law," he continued. "It is a form of self-generated governance." The brigade system is set to expand to 16 counties, including five surrounding the Xingu National ParkGaúcha do Norte, Querência, São Felix do Araguaia, São Jose do Xingu, and Santa Cruz do Xinguwhich have nearly 13 million hectares of tropical forests. CLIP
Aspartame Awareness Weekend - What You Can Do http://rense.com/general92/aspar.htm
For 30 years, aspartame (AminoSweet, Equal, NutraSweet, Spoonful, Canderel, E951, Benevia, etc.) has caused sickness and death in 100 countries. In the beginning, the FDA tried to get G. D. Searle indicted for submitting fraudulent studies that did everything from filtering out the neoplasms to excising brain tumors, and putting dead rats back in the study and resurrected them on paper. This failed because the lawyers for the manufacturer hired the two federal prosecutors.Next the FDA Board of Inquiry revoked the petition for aspartame approval. Don Rumsfeld, CEO of the manufacturer, G. D. Searle Co. called in his political markers to get aspartame on the market anyway. Rumsfeld was close to Ronald Reagan and the night after his inauguration Reagan had upright FDA Commissioner, Jere Goyan, fired. Then he appointed Arthur Hull Hayes as FDA Commissioner.Hayes over-ruled the Board of Inquiry and let slip the hounds of disease, disability and death on an unwarned innocent world population. Immediately, the devastations began: MS symptoms, lupus, loss of vision, brain tumors, migraines, confusions and a rampage of ADD, ADHD, autism, birth defects and psychiatric problems. Diabetics complained of blood sugar being out of control, confusion and convulsions. In 1985, Monsanto bought G. D. Searle. Senator Howard Metzenbaum called for congressional hearings, which Senator Orin Hatch fought to prevent. Finally, there were hearings in 1985 & 1987. Hatch took money from Monsanto, and Metzenbaum's bill which would have put a moratorium on aspartame until NIH did independent studies died in committee. This whole nasty story is in the documentary, Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World. Hear Attorney James Turner, explain in this clip: http://www.soundandfury.tv/pages/rumsfeld.html - H. J. Roberts, M.D., in a 1990 press conference warned: "I think it would be a tragedy if this issue is ignored since we could be inviting disastrous medical, psychological and neurological problems. I hope I'm wrong. But let's look at the problem NOW instead of in five or 10 years when we might be having a medical plague on our hands." They should have listened. By 2001 the world plague was obvious and Dr. Roberts released his 1000 page medical text: Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, http://www.sunsentpress.com/ - Aspartame is a disease because the symptoms are predictable and there is a pattern. CLIP - Note from Jean: Betty Martini (firstname.lastname@example.org) who sent this to me is concerned about a new artificial sweetener Advantame (made of aspartame and vanilla and not yet approved by the FDA. She wrote: "I'm so worried about the Advantame because it has been studied and proven to interact. I just feel people will be dropping everywhere. When will it ever end?" For more details read No to Ajinomoto Asking FDA Approval of New Sweetener Advantame!
President Bill Clinton Confirms Hes Experimenting With Vegan Diet (Sept 17, 2010) http://www.ecorazzi.com/2010/09/17/president-bill-clinton-confirms-hes-experimenting-with-vegan-diet/
President Bill Clinton recently confirmed in an interview with journalist Willow Bay that he is indeed eating a mainly vegan diet. In the interview, the former president explains the reason behind his decision to go vegan. Im trying to be one of those experimenters, said Clinton. Since 1986, several hundred people who have tried essentially a plant-based diet, not ingesting any cholesterol from any source, has seen their bodies start to heal themselves break up the arterial blockage, break up the calcium deposits around the heart. 82 percent of the people who have done this have had this result, so I want to see if I can be one of them. CLIP
NY midwives lose right to deliver babies ( September 21, 2010) http://www.naturalnews.com/029799_midwives_New_York_City.html
(NaturalNews) It is now illegal for women to give birth at home in New York City, following the closure of the only hospital that supported midwives in the practice. "It's pretty shocking that in a city where you can get anything any hour of the day a person cannot give birth at home with a trained practitioner," said Elan McAllister, president of Choices in Childbirth. New York state law requires that any midwife performing a home birth be approved to practice by a hospital and an obstetrician. Yet the only hospital in New York City that was willing to sign to do so, St. Vincent's in Manhattan, closed at the end of April. Since then, the city's 13 home-birth midwives have approached at least 75 hospitals looking for a new partner, to no avail. Less than 1 percent of U.S. births take place in the home, in contrast to rates as high as 30 percent in European countries such as the Netherlands. And while midwives preside over most European births, calling doctors only in emergencies, 92 percent of U.S. babies are delivered by obstetricians. As a consequence, the medical establishment tends to view midwives as financial competition. Yet the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, at 16.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births compared with 3.9 in Italy, 7.6 in the Netherlands and 8.2 in the United Kingdom. Critics of the U.S. system attribute this problem, in part, to an over-reliance in interventionist methods by doctors who may have never witnessed a natural birth. Amnesty International has called the U.S. childbirth record a "human rights crisis." "There are 600 women who are going to give birth in the next year who want midwives with them at home, and to take away their rights and choices is so backwards it's embarrassing," Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer said. Sources for this story include this ARTICLE
What Your Cell Phone Could Be Telling the Government (Sept. 15, 2010) http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2019239,00.html
Smart phones do many things these days: surf the Internet, send e-mail, take photos and video (and - oh, yes - send and receive calls). But one thing they can do that phone companies don't advertise is spy on you. As long as you don't leave home without your phone, that handy gadget keeps a record of everywhere you go - a record the government can then get from your telephone company. (...) When you carry a cell phone, it is constantly sending signals about where you are. It "pings" nearby cell-phone towers about every seven seconds so it can be ready to make and receive calls. When it does, the phone is also telling the company that owns the towers where you are at that moment - data the company then stores away indefinitely. There is also a second kind of locational data that phone companies have, thanks to a GPS chip that is embedded in most smart phones now. This is even more accurate - unlike the towers, which can only pinpoint a general area where you may be, GPS can often reveal exactly where you are at any given moment within a matter of meters. There are some good reasons for this, which is why the government is actually forcing the phone companies to do a better job of knowing where you are. In the name of improving emergency services, the Federal Communications Commission will require phone companies to meet benchmarks in 2012 for how closely they can pinpoint a caller's location. "About 90% of Americans are walking around with a portable tracking device all the time, and they have no idea," says Christopher Calabrese, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office.(See "The iPhone Jailbreak: A Win Against Copyright Creep.")Not surprisingly, law enforcement has found this sort of data extremely handy. Prosecutors are increasingly using cell-phone records to show that a suspect was near the scene of a crime - or not where he claimed to be. CLIP
EMF-Omega-News 11. September 2010 http://www.buergerwelle.de/cms/content/view/491/70/
Long-Term, Low-Level Microwave Irradiation of Rats - A Review of the Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices - August 2010: Science Update - Why are we using some of the most lethal microwave frequencies for WiFi and digital cordless phones? - Barrie Trower Wifi coverage in Canada August 2010 - Wi-Fi Danger in School: Real or Imagined? - Stratford: Death by Smart Meter and Wi-Fi - Avon Lake doctor puts City Hall on notice over cell tower health concerns - Motorcycle Cancer Risk Campaign for EMF Magnetic Field Radiation - Wageningen University launches project - A Gesture for Health, a Discharge Routine - Welsh Assembly mobile phone leaflets for children are inappropriate - The Issue of Power-Line Noise - Next-up News - News from Mast Sanity
EMF-Omega-News 18. September 2010 http://www.buergerwelle.de/cms/content/view/493/70/
Health effects of prenatal radiation exposure - Research suggests neurobehavioral symptoms and cancer increase in populations near mobile phone base stations - Symptoms, personality traits, and stress in people with mobile phone-related symptoms and electromagnetic hypersensitivity - 5 billion cell phones the greatest health experiment ever to take place - Could Wireless Antennas Be the Next Asbestos? - Palm Springs School' Cancer Cluster' - Links to important information - More and more people becoming sensitive to electro-magnetic frequencies - Electromagnetic radiation causes concern for Newmarket family - New disease: Wireless connection? - Let's talk about electromagnetic fields - EHS FROM PASSIVE AND TARGETED EXPOSURES - Inquiry into disability-related harassment - What Industry Has Done to Hide and How To Protect Your Family - Cell tower is health risk - Utility group alleges SmartMeter sparked San Bruno explosion
EMF-Omega-News 25. September 2010 http://www.buergerwelle.de/cms/content/view/496/70/
Radiation Hazards from Cell phones and Cell towers - Increasing rates of head melanoma - On health effects of electromagnetic radiation in residential areas and schools - Wi-Fi Impacts teacher's Health and Career - Stuart Cobb's Brain Tumor - Losing sleep? Blame it on mobile towers - The dangers and risks to children and staff from Wi-Fi in schools - The New Wireless Commons - Cellphones and the Insurance Industry - Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion releases Report on WiFi and Health - NY town enacts tough cell tower limits - Cell Phone Warning Label Discussion at Burlingame City Council - Canada: Teacher's Federation has their eyes open on WiFi - The studies at the National Toxicology Program have started - ICNIRP's safety limits may be exceeded - Homeowner fights corporation over private cell tower - Call for restrictions on mobile phone masts - Leitrim Council to seek judicial review on planning issue - Residents ready to fight cell phone tower - WALTHAMSTOW: Mobile phone mast 'could be harmful to children' - Resident: Power line electromagnetic fields a health concern - WomenÕs Health is Environmental Health - "FULL SIGNAL" Wireless Hazards Documentary to Screen at San Francisco Library 11-10 - Next-up News - News from Mast Sanity
Note from Jean: Here is an issue of special concern which seldom gets our attention but which will definitely contribute in shaping one way or another humanity's short, mid and long term future. The brave - or grave as in graveyard... - new world science is now creating is fraught with unimaginable perils and yet also holds the promise of ever greater levels of creature comforts and amazing technological amenities, provided we manage to put it to the service of the greater good of all instead of the greater wealth and power of a tiny coterie of transnational oligarchs. Under most everyone's radar, there is apparently a near-secret arms race going on right now to create genetically and cybernetically enhanced super-soldiers (enhanced warriors with extra-human physical, physiological, and cognitive abilities that could even allow for "communication by thought alone"), with the inevitable spillover of a commercially-driven quest for enhanced babies leading to the emergence of a superior class of posthumans whose abilities will dwarf whatever "normal" humans can accomplish. Some argue that with the intractable challenges humanity is faced with in this 21st century, we have no choice but to develop super human abilities to overcome our currently dim survival odds... which is most likely an argument the proponents of such a transhumanist new world will want us to believe in. Remember how transgenic plants (GMOs) were supposed to help stave off starvation?... And thank God there have been no snafus with that scheme!... like trans-species genetic pollution - check http://www.gmcontaminationregister.org/ for the endless list of what could and does go wrong when profit-driven science tinkers with the key genetic building blocks of nature, and keep this in mind while reading the elements of this mightily troubling article below that deal with the self-replicating nature of the mad tinkering now underway, and apparently already too advanced to be stopped at this stage... As its title indicates, this open letter is designed to prod Christian leaders into informing themselves and responding from their religious perspective to these mounting challenges. I'm sure you'll agree that this concerns us all. Yet, since we are not Christian leaders, I've deleted the irrelevant (to us) introduction of this article. I'd love to hear any reactions from those of you who may feel like me that this is an issue the spiritually-minded new consciousness community should address urgently. I, for one, consider that the best way to pre-empt all the dark scenarios outlined below is to further increase the tempo of our collective Earth-shifting and global soul opening efforts (notably through globallly synchronized topic-focused meditations) so as to soon precipitate the Millionth Human Phenomenon that will change it ALL...
In recent years, astonishing technological developments have pushed the frontiers of humanity toward far-reaching morphological transformation that promises in the very near future to redefine what it means to be human. An international, intellectual, and fast-growing cultural movement known as transhumanism, whose vision is supported by a growing list of U.S. military advisors, bioethicists, law professors, and academics, intends the use of biotechnology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence as tools that will radically redesign our minds, our memories, our physiology, our offspring, and even perhaps- as Joel Garreau, in his bestselling book Radical Evolution, claims-our very souls. The technological, cultural, and metaphysical shift now underway unapologetically forecasts a future dominated by this new species of unrecognizably superior humans, and applications under study now to make this dream a reality are being funded by thousands of government and private research facilities around the world. The issues raised by human-transforming science must be addressed by Christian leaders in a serious national conversation. To fail in this responsibility may lead to the question "what does it mean to be human" being abdicated to a frightening transhuman vision.
AN OPEN LETTER TO CHRISTIAN LEADERS ON BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF MAN
Time running out to influence debate on transhumanism
Lewis foresaw the progressive abandonment of what we would call "moral law" based on Judeo-Christian values giving way to "the dead hand of the great planners and conditioners" who would decide what men should biologically become. The terms "great planners and conditioners" correspond perfectly with modern advocates of transhumanism who esteem their blueprint for the future of the species as the one that will ultimately decide the fate of man. A recent step toward establishing this goal occurred when the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Human Enhancement Ethics Group (based at California Polytechnic State University, whose advisory board is a wish list of transhumanist academics and institutions worldwide) released its fifty-page report entitled "Ethics of Human Enhancement: 25 Questions & Answers." This government-funded report addressed the definitions, scenarios, anticipated societal disruptions, and policy and law issues that need to be considered en route to becoming posthuman (the full NSF report can be downloaded for free at our Web site: http://www.ForbiddenGate.com). Some of the topics covered in the new study include:
* What are the policy implications of human enhancement?
* Is the natural-artificial distinction of human enhancement morally significant?
* Does human enhancement raise issues of fairness, access, and equity?
* Will it matter if there is an "enhanced divide" between "new" people classifications?
* How would such a divide make communication difficult between "normals" and the "enhanced"?
* How should the enhancement of children be approached?
* What kind of societal disruptions might arise from human enhancement?
* Should there be any limits on enhancement for military purposes?
* Might enhanced humans count as someone's intellectual property?
* Will we need to rethink the very meaning of "ethics," given the dawn of enhancement?
The "Ethics of Human Enhancement" report was authored by the NSF-funded research team of Dr. Fritz Allhoff (Western Michigan University), Dr. Patrick Lin (California Polytechnic State University), Prof. James Moor (Dartmouth College), and Prof. John Weckert (Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics/Charles Sturt University, Australia) as part of a three-year ethics study on human enhancement and emerging technologies. This came on the heels of the US National Institute of Health granting Case Law School in Cleveland $773,000 of taxpayers' money to begin developing the actual guidelines that will be used for setting government policy on the next step in human evolution-"genetic enhancement." Maxwell Mehlman, Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law, director of the Law-Medicine Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and professor of bioethics in the Case School of Medicine, led the team of law professors, physicians, and bioethicists over the two-year project "to develop standards for tests on human subjects in research that involves the use of genetic technologies to enhance 'normal' individuals." Following the initial study, Mehlman began offering two university lectures: "Directed Evolution: Public Policy and Human Enhancement" and "Transhumanism and the Future of Democracy," addressing the need for society to comprehend how emerging fields of science will, in approaching years, alter what it means to be human, and what this means to democracy, individual rights, free will, eugenics, and equality. Other law schools, including Stanford and Oxford, are now hosting similar annual "Human Enhancement and Technology" conferences, where transhumanists, futurists, bioethicists, and legal scholars are busying themselves with the ethical, legal, and inevitable ramifications of posthumanity.
"No matter where one is aligned on this issue, it is clear that the human enhancement debate is a deeply passionate and personal one, striking at the heart of what it means to be human," explained Dr. Lin in the NSF report. Then, with surprising candor, he added, "Some see it as a way to fulfill or even transcend our potential; others see it as a darker path towards becoming Frankenstein's monster."
Because any attempt at covering each potential GRIN-tech, catastrophic, Frankenstein's monster possibility in an open letter such as this would be impractical, I summarize below a few of the most important areas in which conservatives, bioethicists, regulators, and especially Christians could become informed and involved in the public dialogue over the potential benefits and threats represented by these emerging fields of science:
Synthetic biology is one of the newest areas of biological research that seeks to design new forms of life and biological functions not found in nature. The concept began emerging in 1974, when Polish geneticist Waclaw Szybalski speculated about how scientists and engineers would soon enter "the synthetic biology phase of research in our field. We will then devise new control elements and add these new modules to the existing genomes or build up wholly new genomes. This would be a field with the unlimited expansion [of] building new...'synthetic' organisms, like a 'new better mouse.'" Following Szybalski's speculation, the field of synthetic biology reached its first major milestone in 2010 with the announcement that researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) had created an entirely new form of life nicknamed "Synthia" by inserting artificial genetic material, which had been chemically synthesized, into cells that were then able to grow. The JCVI Web site explains:
Genomic science has greatly enhanced our understanding of the biological world. It is enabling researchers to "read" the genetic code of organisms from all branches of life by sequencing the four letters that make up DNA. Sequencing genomes has now become routine, giving rise to thousands of genomes in the public databases. In essence, scientists are digitizing biology by converting the A, C, T, and G's of the chemical makeup of DNA into 1's and 0's in a computer. But can one reverse the process and start with 1's and 0's in a computer to define the characteristics of a living cell? We set out to answer this question [and] now, this scientific team headed by Drs. Craig Venter, Hamilton Smith, and Clyde Hutchison have achieved the final step in their quest to create the first...synthetic genome [which] has been "booted up" in a cell to create the first cell controlled completely by a synthetic genome.
The JCVI site goes on to explain how the ability to routinely write the software of life will usher in a new era in science, and with it, unnatural "living" products like Szybalski's "new better mouse." Jerome C. Glenn added for the 2010 State of the Future 14th annual report from the Millennium Project, "Synthetic biologists forecast that as computer code is written to create software to augment human capabilities, so too genetic code will be written to create life forms to augment civilization." The new better mice, dogs, horses, cows, or humans that grow from this science will be unlike any of the versions God made. In fact, researchers at the University of Copenhagen may look at what Venter has accomplished as amateur hour compared to their posthuman plans. They're working on a third Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) strand-a synthetic hybrid of protein and DNA-to upgrade humanity's two existing DNA strands from double helix to triple. In so doing, these scientists "dream of synthesizing life that is utterly alien to this world-both to better understand the minimum components required for life (as part of the quest to uncover the essence of life and how life originated on earth) and, frankly, to see if they can do it. That is, they hope to put together a novel combination of molecules that can self-organize, metabolize (make use of an energy source), grow, reproduce and evolve."
PATENTING NEW LIFE-FORMS
Questions are evolving now over "patenting" of transgenic seeds, animals, plants, and synthetic life-forms by large corporations, which at a minimum has already begun to impact the economy of rural workers and farmers through such products as Monsanto's "terminator" seeds. Patenting of human genes will escalate these issues, as best-selling author Michael Crichton pointed out a while back in a piece for the New York Times titled, "Gene Patents Aren't Benign and Never Will Be," in which he claimed that people could die in the future from not being able to afford medical treatment as a result of medicines owned by patent holders of specific genes related to the genetic makeup of those persons. Former special counsel for President Richard Nixon, Charles Colson, added, "The patenting of genes and other human tissue has already begun to turn human nature into property. The misuse of genetic information will enable insurers and employers to exercise the ultimate form of discrimination. Meanwhile, advances in nanotechnology and cybernetics threaten to 'enhance' and one day perhaps rival or replace human nature itself-in what some thinkers are already calling 'transhumanism.'"
The prospect of human cloning was raised in the nineties immediately after the creation of the much-celebrated "Dolly," a female domestic sheep clone. Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned using "somatic cell nuclear transfer," which involves removing the DNA from an unfertilized egg and replacing the nucleus of it with the DNA that is to be cloned. Today, a version of this science is common practice in genetics engineering labs worldwide, where "therapeutic cloning" of human and human-animal embryos is employed for stem-cell harvesting (the stem cells, in turn, are used to generate virtually any type of specialized cell in the human body). This type of cloning was in the news recently when it emerged from William J. Clinton Presidential Center documents that the newest member of the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, had opposed during the Clinton White House any effort by Congress to prevent humans from being cloned specifically for experimental purposes, then killed. A second form of human cloning is called "reproductive cloning" and is the technology that could be used to create a person who is genetically identical with a current or previously existing human. While Dolly was created by this type of cloning technology, the American Medical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have raised caution on using this approach to create human clones, at least at this stage. Government bodies including the U.S. Congress have considered legislation to ban mature human cloning, and though a few states have implemented restrictions, contrary to public perception and except where institutions receive federal funding, no federal laws exist at this time in the United States to prohibit the cloning of humans. The United Nations, the European Union, and Australia likewise considered and failed to approve a comprehensive ban on human cloning technology, leaving the door open to perfect the science should society, government, or the military come to believe that duplicate or replacement humans hold intrinsic value.
REDEFINING HUMANS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Where biotechnology is ultimately headed includes not only redefining what it means to be human, but redefining subsequent human rights as well. For instance, Dr. James Hughes, whom I have debated on his syndicated Changesurfer Radio show, wants transgenic chimps and great apes uplifted genetically so that they achieve "personhood." The underlying goal behind this theory would be to establish that basic cognitive aptitude should equal "personhood" and that this "cognitive standard" and not "human-ness" should be the key to constitutional protections and privileges. Among other things, this would lead to nonhuman "persons" and "nonperson" humans, unhinging the existing argument behind intrinsic sanctity of human life and paving the way for such things as harvesting organs from people like Terry Schiavo whenever the loss of cognitive ability equals the dispossession of "personhood." These would be the first victims of transhumanism, according to Prof. Francis Fukuyama, concerning who does or does not qualify as fully human and is thus represented by the founding concept that "all men are created equal." Most would argue that any human fits this bill, but women and blacks were not included in these rights in 1776 when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. So who is to say what protections can be automatically assumed in an age when human biology is altered and when personhood theory challenges what bioethicists like Wesley J. Smith champion as "human exceptionalism": the idea that human beings carry special moral status in nature and special rights, such as the right to life, plus unique responsibilities, such as stewardship of the environment. Some, but not all, believers in human exceptionalism arrive at this concept from a biblical worldview based on Genesis 1:26, which says, "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.'"
NANOTECHNOLOGY AND CYBERNETICS
As discussed in the upcoming new book Forbidden Gates, technology to merge human brains with machines is progressing at a fantastic rate. Nanotechnology-the science of engineering materials or devices on an atomic and molecular scale between 1 to 100 nanometers (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter) in size-is poised to take the development between brain-machine interfaces and cybernetic devices to a whole new adaptive level for human modification. This will happen because, as Dr. C. Christopher Hook points out:
Engineering or manipulating matter and life at nanometer scale [foresees] that the structures of our bodies and our current tools could be significantly altered. In recent years, many governments around the world, including the United States with its National Nanotechnology Initiative, and scores of academic centers and corporations have committed increasing support for developing nanotechnology programs. The military, which has a significant interest in nanotechnology, has created the Center for Soldier Nanotechnologies (csn) [which is] interested in the use of such technology to help create the seamless interface of electronic devices with the human nervous system, engineering the cyborg soldier.
In the early part of the twentieth century, the study and practice of selective human breeding known as eugenics sought to counter dysgenic aspects within the human gene pool and to improve overall human "genetic qualities." Researchers in the United States, Britain, Canada, and Germany (where, under Adolf Hitler, eugenics operated under the banner of "racial hygiene" and allowed Josef Mengele, Otmar von Verschuer, and others to perform horrific experiments on live human beings in concentration camps to test their genetic theories) were interested in weeding out "inferior" human bloodlines and used studies to insinuate heritability between certain families and illnesses such as schizophrenia, blindness, deafness, dwarfism, bipolar disorder, and depression. Their published reports fueled the eugenics movement to develop state laws in the 1800s and 1900s that forcefully sterilized persons considered unhealthy or mentally ill in order to prevent them from "passing on" their genetic inferiority to future generations. Such laws were not abolished in the U.S. until the mid-twentieth century, leading to more than sixty thousand sterilized Americans in the meantime. Between 1934 and 1937, the Nazis likewise sterilized an estimated four hundred thousand people they deemed of inferior genetic stock while also setting forth to selectively exterminate the Jews as "genetic aberrations" under the same program. Transhumanist goals of using biotechnology, nanotechnology, mind-interfacing, and related sciences to create a superior man and thus classifications of persons-the enhanced and the unenhanced-opens the door for a new form of eugenics and social Darwinism.
GERM-LINE GENETIC ENGINEERING
Germ-line genetic engineering has the potential to actually achieve the goals of the early eugenics movement (which sought to create superior humans via improving genetics through selective breeding) through genetically modifying human genes in very early embryos, sperm, and eggs. As a result, germ-line engineering is considered by some conservative bioethicists to be the most dangerous of human-enhancement technology, as it has the power to truly reassemble the very nature of humanity into posthuman, altering an embryo's every cell and leading to inheritable modifications extending to all succeeding generations. Debate over germ-line engineering is therefore most critical, because as changes to "downline" genetic offspring are set in motion, the nature and physical makeup of mankind will be altered with no hope of reversal, thereby permanently reshaping humanity's future. A respected proponent of germ-line technology is Dr. Gregory Stock, who, like cyborgist Kevin Warwick, departs from Kurzweil's version of Humans 2.0 first arriving as a result of computer Singularity. Stock believes man can choose to transcend existing biological limitations in the nearer future (at or before computers reach strong artificial intelligence) through germ-line engineering. If we can make better humans by adding new genes to their DNA, he asks, why shouldn't we? "We have spent billions to unravel our biology, not out of idle curiosity, but in the hope of bettering our lives. We are not about to turn away from this," he says, before admitting elsewhere that this could lead to "clusters of genetically enhanced superhumans who will dominate if not enslave us." The titles to Stock's books speak for themselves concerning what germ-line engineering would do to the human race. The name of one is Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future and another is Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism.
Besides the short list above, additional areas of concern where Christian leaders may wish to become well advised on the pros and cons of enhancement technology include immortalism, postgenderism, augmented reality, cryonics, designer babies, neurohacking, mind uploading, neural implants, xenotransplantation, reprogenetics, rejuvenation, radical life extension, and more.
HEAVEN AND HELL SCENARIOS
While positive advances either already have been or will come from some of the science and technology fields we are discussing, learned men like Prof. Francis Fukuyama, in his book, Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, warn that unintended consequences resulting from what mankind has now set in motion represents the most dangerous time in earth's history, a period when exotic technology in the hands of transhumanist ambitions could forever alter what it means to be human. To those who would engineer a transhuman future, Fukuyama warns of a dehumanized "hell scenario" in which we "no longer struggle, aspire, love, feel pain, make difficult moral choices, have families, or do any of the things that we traditionally associate with being human." In this ultimate identity crisis, we would "no longer have the characteristics that give us human dignity" because, for one thing, "people dehumanized à la Brave New World...don't know that they are dehumanized, and, what is worse, would not care if they knew. They are, indeed, happy slaves with a slavish happiness." The "hell scenario" envisioned by Fukuyama is but a beginning to what other intelligent thinkers believe could go wrong.
On the other end of the spectrum and diametrically opposed to Fukuyama's conclusions is an equally energetic crowd that subscribes to a form of technological utopianism called the "heaven scenario." Among this group, a "who's who" of transhumansist evangelists such as Ray Kurzweil, James Hughes, Nick Bostrom, and Gregory Stock see the dawn of a new Age of Enlightenment arriving as a result of the accelerating pace of GRIN (genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology) technologies. As with the eighteenth-century Enlightenment in which intellectual and scientific reason elevated the authority of scientists over priests, techno-utopians believe they will triumph over prophets of doom by "stealing fire from the gods, breathing life into inert matter, and gaining immortality. Our efforts to become something more than human have a long and distinguished genealogy. Tracing the history of those efforts illuminates human nature. In every civilization, in every era, we have given the gods no peace." Such men are joined in their quest for godlike constitutions by a growing list of official U.S. departments that dole out hundreds of millions of dollars each year for science and technology research. The National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Commerce anticipated this development over a decade ago, publishing the government report Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance (download here)-complete with diagrams and bullet points-to lay out the blueprint for the radical evolution of man and machine. Their vision imagined that, starting around the year 2012, the "heaven scenario" would begin to be manifested and quickly result in (among other things):
* The transhuman body being "more durable, healthy, energetic, easier to repair, and resistant to many kinds of stress, biological threats, and aging processes."
* Brain-machine interfacing that will "transform work in factories, control automobiles, ensure military superiority, and enable new sports, art forms and modes of interaction between people.
* "Engineers, artists, architects, and designers will experience tremendously expanded creative abilities," in part through "improved understanding of the wellspring of human creativity."
* "Average persons, as well as policymakers, will have a vastly improved awareness of the cognitive, social, and biological forces operating their lives, enabling far better adjustment, creativity, and daily decision making....
* "Factories of tomorrow will be organized" around "increased human-machine capabilities."
Beyond how human augmentation and biological reinvention would spread into the wider culture following 2012 (the same date former counter-terrorism czar, Richard Clark, in his book, Breakpoint, predicted serious GRIN rollout), the government report detailed the especially important global and economic aspects of genetically superior humans acting in superior ways, offering how, as a result of GRIN leading to techno-sapien DNA upgrading, brain-to-brain interaction, human-machine interfaces, personal sensory device interfaces, and biological war fighting systems, "The twenty-first century could end in world peace, universal prosperity, and evolution to a higher level [as] humanity become[s] like a single, transcendent nervous system, an interconnected 'brain' based in new core pathways of society." The first version of the government's report asserted that the only real roadblock to this "heaven scenario" would be the "catastrophe" that would be unleashed if society fails to employ the technological opportunities available to us now. "We may not have the luxury of delay, because the remarkable economic, political and even violent turmoil of recent years implies that the world system is unstable. If we fail to chart the direction of change boldly, we may become the victims of unpredictable catastrophe." This argument parallels what is currently echoed in military corridors, where sentiments hold that failure to commit resources to develop GRIN as the next step in human and technological evolution will only lead to others doing so ahead of us and using it for global domination.
The seriousness of this for the conceivable future is significant enough that a recent House Foreign Affairs (HFA) committee chaired by California Democrat Brad Sherman, best known for his expertise on the spread of nuclear weapons and terrorism, is among a number of government panels currently studying the implications of genetic modification and human-transforming technologies related to future terrorism. Congressional Quarterly columnist Mark Stencel listened to the HFA committee hearings and wrote in his March 15, 2009, article, "Futurist: Genes without Borders," that the conference "sounded more like a Hollywood pitch for a sci-fi thriller than a sober discussion of scientific reality with talk of biotech's potential for creating supersoldiers, superintelligence, and superanimals [that could become] agents of unprecedented lethal force." George Annas, Lori Andrews, and Rosario Isasi were even more apocalyptic in their American Journal of Law and Medicine article, "Protecting the Endangered Human: Toward an International Treaty Prohibiting Cloning and Inheritable Alterations," when they wrote:
The new species, or "posthuman," will likely view the old "normal" humans as inferior, even savages, and fit for slavery or slaughter. The normals, on the other hand, may see the posthumans as a threat and if they can, may engage in a preemptive strike by killing the posthumans before they themselves are killed or enslaved by them. It is ultimately this predictable potential for genocide that makes species-altering experiments potential weapons of mass destruction, and makes the unaccountable genetic engineer a potential bioterrorist.
Observations like those of Annas, Andrews, and Isasi support Prof. Hugo de Garis' nightmarish vision (The Artilect War) of a near future wherein artilects and posthumans join against "normals" in an incomprehensible war leading to gigadeath. Notwithstanding such warnings, the problem could be unavoidable, as Prof. Gregory Stock, in his well-researched and convincing book, Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future, argues that stopping what we have already started (planned genetic enhancement of humans) is impossible. "We simply cannot find the brakes." Scientist Verner Vinge agrees, adding, "Even if all the governments of the world were to understand the 'threat' and be in deadly fear of it, progress toward the goal would continue. In fact, the competitive advantage-economic, military, even artistic-of every advance in automation is so compelling that passing laws, or having customs, that forbid such things merely assures that someone else will get them first." In what we found to be a bit unnerving, academic scientists and technical consultants to the U.S. Pentagon have advised the agency that the principal argument by Vinge is correct. As such, the United States could be forced into large-scale species-altering output, including human enhancement for military purposes. This is based on solid military intelligence, which suggests that America's competitors (and potential enemies) are privately seeking to develop the same this century and use it to dominate the U.S. if they can. This worrisome "government think tank" scenario is even shared by the JASONS-the celebrated scientists on the Pentagon's most prestigious scientific advisory panel who now perceive "Mankind 2.0" as the next arms race. Just as the old Soviet Union and the United States with their respective allies competed for supremacy in nuclear arms following the Second World War through the 1980s (what is now commonly known as "the nuclear arms race during the cold war"), the JASONS "are worried about adversaries' ability to exploit advances in Human Performance Modification, and thus create a threat to national security," wrote military analyst Noah Shachtman in "Top Pentagon Scientists Fear Brain-Modified Foes." This recent special for Wired magazine was based on a leaked military report in which the JASONS admitted concern over "neuro-pharmaceutical performance enhancement and brain-computer interfaces" technology being developed by other countries ahead of the United States. "The JASONS are recommending that the American military push ahead with its own performance-enhancement research-and monitor foreign studies-to make sure that the U.S.' enemies don't suddenly become smarter, faster, or better able to endure the harsh realities of war than American troops," the article continued. "The JASONS are particularly concerned about [new technologies] that promote 'brain plasticity'-rewiring the mind, essentially, by helping to 'permanently establish new neural pathways, and thus new cognitive capabilities.'" Though it might be tempting to disregard the conclusions by the JASONS as a rush to judgment on the emerging threat of techno-sapiens, it would be a serious mistake to do so. As GRIN technologies continue to race toward an exponential curve, parallel to these advances will be the increasingly sophisticated argument that societies must take control of human biological limitations and move the species-or at least some of its members-into new forms of existence. Prof. Nigel M. de S. Cameron, director for the Council for Biotechnology Policy in Washington DC, documents this move, concluding that the genie is out of the bottle and that "the federal government's National Nanotechnology Initiative's Web site already gives evidence of this kind of future vision, in which human dignity is undermined by [being transformed into posthumans]." Dr. C. Christopher Hook, a member of the government committee on human genetics who has given testimony before the U.S. Congress, offered similar insight on the state of the situation:
[The goal of posthumanism] is most evident in the degree to which the U.S. government has formally embraced transhumanist ideals and is actively supporting the development of transhumanist technologies. The U.S. National Science Foundation, together with the U.S. Department of Commerce, has initiated a major program (NBIC) for converging several technologies (including those from which the acronym is derived-nanotechnology, biotechnologies, information technologies and cognitive technologies, e.g., cybernetics and neurotechnologies) for the express purpose of enhancing human performance. The NBIC program director, Mihail Roco, declared at the second public meeting of the project...that the expenditure of financial and human capital to pursue the needs of reengineering humanity by the U.S. government will be second in equivalent value only to the moon landing program.
The presentation by Mihail Roco to which Dr. Hook refers is contained in the 482-page report, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, commissioned by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce. Among other things, the report discusses planned applications of human enhancement technologies in the military (and in rationalization of the human-machine interface in industrial settings) wherein Darpa is devising "Nano, Bio, Info, and Cogno" scenarios "focused on enhancing human performance." The plan echoes a Mephistophelian bargain (a deal with the devil) in which "a golden age" merges technological and human cognition into "a single, distributed and interconnected brain." Just visiting the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Web site is dizzying in this regard, with its cascading pages of super-soldier technology categories including molecular genetics and genomics; biochemistry, microbiology and biodegradation; and neurophysiology and cognitive neurosciences. If we can so easily discover these facts on the Web, just imagine what is happening in Special Access Programs (saps) where, according to the Senate's own Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, there are hundreds of "waived saps"-the blackest of black programs-functioning at any given time beyond congressional oversight. Because of this and given the seriousness of weaponized biology and human enhancement technology blossoming so quickly, on May 24, 2010, a wide range of experts from the military, the private sector, and academia gathered in Washington DC for an important conference titled "Warring Futures: A Future Tense Event: How Biotech and Robotics are Transforming Today's Military-and How That Will Change the Rest of Us." Participants explored how human enhancement and related technologies are unfolding as an emerging battlefield strategy that will inevitably migrate to the broader culture, and what that means for the future of humanity. As the conference Web site noted:
New technologies are changing warfare as profoundly as did gunpowder. How are everything from flying robots as small as birds to "peak warrior performance" biology [human enhancement] altering the nature of the military as an institution, as well as the ethics and strategy of combat? How will the adoption of emerging technologies by our forces or others affect our understanding of asymmetrical conflict? New technologies are always embraced wherever there is the greatest competition for advantage, but quickly move out to the rest of us not engaged in sport or warfare.
The impressive list of speakers at the DC conference included Vice Admiral Joseph W. Dyer (U.S. Navy, retired), president of the Government and Industrial Robots Division at iRobot; Major General Robert E. Schmidle Jr., United States Marine Corps lead for the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review; Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God and a Global Governance Fellow; P. W. Singer, Senior Fellow and director of the Twenty-First Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution; Stephen Tillery from the Harrington Department of Bioengineering at Arizona State University; and Jon Mogford, acting deputy director of the Defense Sciences Office at Darpa.
Having taken the lead in human-enhancement studies as a U.S. military objective decades ago, Darpa saw the writing on the wall and in scenes reminiscent of Saruman the wizard creating monstrous Uruk-Hai to wage unending, merciless war (from J. R. R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings), began investing billions of American tax dollars into the Pentagon's Frankensteinian dream of "super-soldiers" and "extended performance war fighter" programs. Not only has this research led to diagrams of soldiers "with hormonal, neurological, and genetic concoctions; implanting microchips and electrodes in their bodies to control their internal organs and brain functions; and plying them with drugs that deaden some of their normal human tendencies: the need for sleep, the fear of death, [and] the reluctance to kill their fellow human beings," but as Chris Floyd, in an article for CounterPunch a while back, continued, "some of the research now underway involves actually altering the genetic code of soldiers, modifying bits of DNA to fashion a new type of human specimen, one that functions like a machine, killing tirelessly for days and nights on end mutations [that] will 'revolutionize the contemporary order of battle' and guarantee 'operational dominance across the whole range of potential U.S. military employments.'"
Related to these developments and unknown to most Americans was a series of hushed events following the sacking of Admiral John Poindexter (who served as the director of the Darpa Information Awareness Office from 2002 to 2003) during a series of flaps, which resulted in public interest into the goings-on at the agency and brief discovery of Darpa's advanced human enhancement research. When the ensuing political pressure led the Senate Appropriations Committee to take a deeper look into just how money was flowing through Darpa, the staffers were shocked to find "time-reversal methods" in the special focus area, and unstoppable super-soldiers-enhanced warriors with extra-human physical, physiological, and cognitive abilities that even allowed for "communication by thought alone" on the drawing board. Prof. Joel Garreau, investigative journalist, provides a summary of what happened next:
The staffers went down the list of Darpa's projects, found the ones with titles that sounded frighteningly as though they involved the creation of a master race of superhumans, and zeroed out their budgets from the defense appropriations bill. There is scant evidence they knew much, if anything, about these projects. But we will probably never know the details, because significant people are determined that the whole affair be forever shrouded in mystery. The levels of secrecy were remarkable even for Darpa; they were astounding by the standards of the notoriously leaky Senate. Even insiders said it was hard to get a feel for what the facts really were. It took months of reporting and questioning, poking, and prodding even to get a formal "no comment" either from the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee or from Anthony J. Tether, the director of Darpa.
A careful study of Darpa's programs a year later, however, showed little change. Considerable creative budgetary maneuvering ensued. The peas of quite a few programs now reside under new, and much better camouflaged, shells. "They're saying, 'Okay, this is the second strike. Do we have to go three strikes?'" one manager said. "It doesn't stop anything. We'll be smarter about how we position things." Meanwhile, he said, new human enhancement programs are in the pipeline, "as bold or bolder" than the ones that preceded them.
Recent hints at Darpa's "bold or bolder" investment in human enhancement as part of an emerging arms race is reflected in two of its newest projects (launched July 2010), titled "Biochronicity and Temporal Mechanisms Arising in Nature" and "Robustness of Biologically-Inspired Networks," in which the express intention of transforming "biology from a descriptive to a predictive field of science" in order to boost "biological design principles" in troop performance is made. Darpa's Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2011 President's Budget also includes funding for science that will lead to "editing a soldier's DNA" while more exotically providing millions of dollars for the creation of "BioDesign," a mysterious artificial life project with military applications in which Darpa plans to eliminate the randomness of natural evolution "by advanced genetic engineering and molecular biology technologies," the budget report states. The language in this section of the document actually speaks of eliminating "cell death" through creation of "a new generation of regenerative cells that could ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely." In other words, whatever this synthetic life application is (Wired magazine described it as "living, breathing creatures"), the plan is to make it immortal.
Not everybody likes the imperatives espoused by Darpa and other national agencies, and from the dreamy fantasies of Star Trek to the dismal vision of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, some have come to believe there are demons hiding inside transhumanism's mystical (or mythical?) "Shangri-la."
"Many of the writers [of the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce Commissioned Report: Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance cited above] share a faith in technology which borders on religiosity, boasting of miracles once thought to be the province of the Almighty," write the editors of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society. "[But] without any serious reflection about the hazards of technically manipulating our brains and our consciousness... a different sort of catastrophe is nearer at hand. Without honestly and seriously assessing the consequences associated with these powerful new [GRIN] technologies, we are certain, in our enthusiasm and fantasy and pride, to rush headlong into disaster."
Few people would be more qualified than computer scientist Bill Joy to annunciate these dangers, or to outline the "hell scenario" that could unfold as a result of GRIN. Yet it must have come as a real surprise to some of those who remembered him as the level-headed Silicon Valley scientist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems (SM) when, as chief scientist for the corporation, he released a vast and now-famous essay, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," arguing how GRIN would threaten in the very near future to obliterate mankind. What was extraordinary about Joy's prophecy was how he saw himself-and people like him-as responsible for building the very machines that "will enable the construction of the technology that may replace our species."
"From the very moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me," he begins. But it was not until the autumn of 1998 that he became "anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the twenty-first century." Joy dates his "awakening" to a chance meeting with Ray Kurzweil, whom he talked with in a hotel bar during a conference at which they both spoke. Kurzweil was finishing his manuscript for The Age of Spiritual Machines and the powerful descriptions of sentient robots and near-term enhanced humans left Joy taken aback, "especially given Ray's proven ability to imagine and create the future," Joy wrote. "I already knew that new technologies like genetic engineering and nanotechnology were giving us the power to remake the world, but a realistic and imminent scenario for intelligent robots surprised me."
Over the weeks and months following the hotel conversation, Joy puzzled over Kurzweil's vision of the future until finally it dawned on him that genetic engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology posed "a different threat than the technologies that have come before. Specifically, robots, engineered organisms, and nanobots share a dangerous amplifying factor: They can self-replicate. A bomb is blown up only once-but one bot can become many, and quickly get out of control." The unprecedented threat of self-replication particularly burdened Joy because, as a computer scientist, he thoroughly understood the concept of out-of-control replication or viruses leading to machine systems or computer networks being disabled. Uncontrolled self-replication of nanobots or engineered organisms would run "a much greater risk of substantial damage in the physical world," Joy concluded before adding his deeper fear:
What was different in the twentieth century? Certainly, the technologies underlying the weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC)-were powerful, and the weapons an enormous threat. But building nuclear weapons required...highly protected information; biological and chemical weapons programs also tended to require large-scale activities.
The twenty-first-century technologies-genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics...are so powerful that they can spawn whole new classes of accidents and abuses. Most dangerously, for the first time, these accidents and abuses are widely within the reach of individuals or small groups. They will not require large facilities or rare raw materials. Knowledge alone will enable the use of them.
Thus we have the possibility not just of weapons of mass destruction but of knowledge-enabled mass destruction (KMD), this destructiveness hugely amplified by the power of self-replication.
I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation states, on to a surprising and terrible empowerment.
Joy's prophecy about self-replicating "extreme evil" as an imminent and enormous transformative power that threatens to rewrite the laws of nature and permanently alter the course of life as we know it was frighteningly revived this year in the creation of Venter's "self-replicating" Synthia species (Venter's description). Parasites such as the mycoplasma mycoides that Venter modified to create Synthia can be resistant to antibiotics and acquire and smuggle DNA from one species to another, causing a variety of diseases. The dangers represented by Synthia's self-replicating parasitism has thus refueled Joy's opus and given experts in the field of counter-terrorism sleepless nights over how extremists could use open-source information to create a Frankenstein version of Synthia in fulfillment of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot, which Joy quoted as, "the first moment in the history of our planet when any species, by its own voluntary actions, has become a danger to itself." As a dire example of the possibilities this represents, a genetically modified version of mouse pox was created not long ago that immediately reached 100 percent lethality. If such pathogens were unleashed into population centers, the results would be catastrophic. This is why Joy and others were hoping a few years ago that a universal moratorium or voluntary relinquishment of GRIN developments would be initiated by national laboratories and governments. But the genie is so far out of the bottle today that even college students are attending annual synthetic biology contests (such as the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, or IGEM) where nature-altering witches' brews are being concocted by the scores, splicing and dicing DNA into task-fulfilling living entities. For instance, the IGEM 2009 winners built "E. chromi"-a programmable version of the bacteria that often leads to food poisoning, Escherichia coli (commonly abbreviated E. coli). A growing list of similar DNA sequences are readily available over the Internet, exasperating security experts who see the absence of universal rules for controlling what is increasingly available through information networks as threatening to unleash a "runaway sorcerer's apprentice" with unavoidable biological fallout. Venter and his collaborators say they recognize this danger-that self-replicating biological systems like the ones they are building-hold peril as well as hope, and they have joined in calling on Congress to enact laws to attempt to control the flow of information and synthetic "recipes" that could provide lethal new pathogens for terrorists. The problem, as always, is getting all of the governments in the world to voluntarily follow a firm set of ethics or rules. This is wishful thinking at best. It is far more likely the world is racing toward what Joel Garreau was first to call the "hell scenario"-a moment in which human-driven GRIN technologies place earth and all its inhabitants on course to self-eradication.
Ironically, some advocates of posthumanity are now using the same threat scenario to advocate for transhumanism as the best way to deal with the inevitable extinction of mankind via GRIN. At the global interdisciplinary institute Metanexus (www.metanexus.net/), Mark Walker, assistant professor at New Mexico State University (who holds the Richard L. Hedden of Advanced Philosophical Studies Chair) concludes like Bill Joy that "technological advances mean that there is a high probability that a human-only future will end in extinction." From this he makes a paradoxical argument:
In a nutshell, the argument is that even though creating posthumans may be a very dangerous social experiment, it is even more dangerous not to attempt it....
I suspect that those who think the transhumanist future is risky often have something like the following reasoning in mind: (1) If we alter human nature then we will be conducting an experiment whose outcome we cannot be sure of. (2) We should not conduct experiments of great magnitude if we do not know the outcome. (3) We do not know the outcome of the transhumanist experiment. (4) So, we ought not to alter human nature.
The problem with the argument is.... Because genetic engineering is already with us, and it has the potential to destroy civilization and create posthumans, we are already entering uncharted waters, so we must experiment. The question is not whether to experiment, but only the residual question of which social experiment will we conduct. Will we try relinquishment? This would be an unparalleled social experiment to eradicate knowledge and technology. Will it be the steady-as-she-goes experiment where for the first time governments, organizations and private citizens will have access to knowledge and technology that (accidently or intentionally) could be turned to civilization ending purposes? Or finally, will it be the transhumanist social experiment where we attempt to make beings brighter and more virtuous to deal with these powerful technologies?
I have tried to make at least a prima facie case that transhumanism promises the safest passage through twenty-first century technologies.
Katherine Hayles, professor of English at the University of California, in her book How We Became Posthuman takes it one step further, warning that, "Humans can either go gently into that good night, joining the dinosaurs as a species that once ruled the earth but is now obsolete, or hang on for a while longer by becoming machines themselves. In either case the age of the human is drawing to a close."
WHAT WE PROPOSE
While the "counter theological discourse" Brent Waters mentioned at the start of this letter would be reflective of the everlasting gospel of human redemption through the person of Jesus Christ and antithetical to Mark Walker's salvation plan via transhumanism, any serious positional paper must address the difficult philosophical and ethical questions raised by modern technology and the portentous move by governments and powers to use biological sciences to remanufacture mankind. The message would need to be relevant and appeal to the questions and style of a generation raised during the Digital Revolution, an age of personal computing and information-sharing technology that for many of us represents a shift away from the Industrial Revolution's outdated methods of communicating. The need to parse information is changing so rapidly that we expect to hit the knee of the techno-info curve sometime around the year 2012, followed by Singularity and critical mass. As a result, we are teaming with a group of ministries and intellectuals to organize a new national conference, the World Congress on Emerging Threats and Challenges (tentative conference title), the first of which is to be held the third week of July 2011 in Branson, Missouri. More information on this event-and why you should be there-will be posted before the end of 2010 at www.ForbiddenGate.com, including how the conference will address, among other things, the need for a comprehensive and international statement on human enhancement and a Christian Manifesto on GRIN Technology and Human Dignity.
In the meantime, this open letter is a personal invitation to pastors and Christian leaders to offer feedback and comments on the abbreviated information above and/or to be considered as a signatory of the Christian Manifesto on GRIN Technology and Human Dignity planned for discussion at the World Congress on Emerging Threats and Challenges. If you would like to participate in this urgent first step by contributing research or information, we welcome all philosophical and scientific reasoning that is firmly tethered to biblical truth. Please contact us by emailing email@example.com
Why should Christian leaders be involved in the human enhancement debate? Because transhumanists in league with US National agencies are hard at work defining the guidelines for public policy that the rest of us will live with. They question what is morally wrong with "playing God" and refuse to be mired in "theological" limitations, even if such is important to "theists." Note this in the excerpt from the new US National Science Foundation Report "Ethics of Human Enhancement: 25 Questions & Answers"
"It is not just the world around us that we desire to change. Since the beginning of history, we also have wanted to become more than human, to become Homo superior. From the godlike command of Gilgamesh, to the lofty ambitions of Icarus, to the preternatural strength of Beowulf, to the mythical skills of Shaolin monks, and to various shamans and shapeshifters throughout the world's cultural history, we have dreamt-and still dream-of transforming ourselves to overcome our all-too-human limitations.
"With ongoing work to unravel the mysteries of our minds and bodies, coupled with the art and science of emerging technologies, we are near the start of the Human Enhancement Revolution.
"As examples of emerging technologies in the last year or so, a couple imaginative inventions in particular, among many, are closing the gap even more between science fiction and the real world. Scientists have conceptualized... a touch display designed to be implanted just under the skin that would activate special tattoo ink on one's arm to form images, such as telephone-number keys to punch or even a video to watch (Mielke, 2008). Together with ever-shrinking computing devices, we appear to be moving closer to cybernetic organisms (or "cyborgs"), that is, where machines are integrated with our bodies...
"...we can [also] envision the possibility that prosthetic flippers, designed today for dolphins, along with artificial gills, etc., might be requested by humans who want to transform into an aquatic animal...
"Finally, we will mention here the related, persistent concern that we are playing God with world-changing technologies, which is presumably bad (Peters, 2007). But what exactly counts as 'playing God', and why is that morally wrong; i.e., where exactly is the proscription in religious scripture?
"We do not wish to be mired in such theological issues, as important as they are to theists..."
17. Waclaw Szybalski, In Vivo and in Vitro Initiation of Transcription, 405. In A. Kohn and A. Shatkay (eds.), Control of Gene Expression, 23-24, and Discussion 404-405 (Szybalski's concept of Synthetic Biology), 411-412, 415-417 (New York: Plenum, 1974).
Executive Summary of the 2010 State of the Future
Can civilization implement solutions fast enough to keep ahead of the looming challenges? http://millennium-project.org/millennium/SOF2010-English.pdf
The world is in a race between implementing ever-increasing ways to improve the human condition and the seemingly ever-increasing complexity and scale of global problems. Properly managed biotech, infotech, nanotech, and cognotech breakthroughs currently on the drawing boards and the coming synergies among them will help get humanity through the looming environmental, economic, and social conflicts as we move toward a crowded world of about 9 billion people by 2050. However, we all know that technology is not enough. We need serious global policies, as discussed throughout this report, that are implemented through governments, corporations, education systems, NGOs, United Nations systems, and other international organizations. We also need changes in human values to be discussed within and among religions, media, entertainment, and the arts. We need better decisions and decisionmaking processes. Everyone has a part to play in the great race between increasingly complex problems and the ways to improve the prospects for civilization. The world economy has proved it is more resilient than most expected; IMF forecasts a 4.2% world economic growth during 2010. With population increasing at 1.15 %, world average per capita income is rising about 3% annually. The G-20-brokered massive stimulus packages helped to turn around the global financial crisis and are improving international financial regulations, market supervision, and accounting rules. Most financial institutions have recovered, and with some exceptions most economies are beginning to grow, but with little growth in employment growth-which is usually the last to improve after a recession. If current trends in population growth, resource depletion, climate change, terrorism, organized crime, and disease continue and converge over the next 50 to 100 years, it is easy to imagine an unstable world with catastrophic results. If current trends in self-organization via future Internets, transnational cooperation, materials science, alternative energy, cognitive science, inter-religious dialogues, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology continue and converge over the next 50 to 100 years, it is easy to imagine a world that works for all.
(...) After 14 years of the Millennium Project's global futures research, it is still increasingly clear that the world has the resources to address its challenges. What is not clear is whether the world will make good decisions on the scale necessary to really address the global challenges discussed in Chapter 1. The volume of change over the foreseeable future is likely to be far greater than that over the past 25 years, because the factors that made those changes are themselves accelerating (computer power, Internet bandwidth, miniaturization, global interdependence, and artificial biology). This should change what we think is possible. For example, Craig Venter's Institute has created life from non-living chemicals designed on a computer-an artificial life form; in 25 years, such synthetic biology is likely to produce thousands of synthetic genomes creating new kinds of life forms not yet imagined. If so, then today we should be exploring alternative futures and impacts, to better inform our decisions about synthetic biology. Today, nearly 30% of humanity is connected to the Internet; within five years about half the world will have Internet access-and on mobile devices. A few years after that, it is reasonable to assume that all of humanity can be connected. What should be done today to make sure that the best consequences of these changes occur, while inhibiting the worst? To answer this we should know the current situation, trends, potential developments, and possible impacts of the challenges we face today. Chapter 1 explores 15 global challenges in two-page overviews with regional considerations, while more detailed versions totaling over 1,500 pages are in the attached CD.
(...) This year's annual State of the Future is an extraordinarily rich distillation of information for those who care about the world and its future. There are many answers to many problems, but we are flooded with so much extraneous information every day that it is difficult to identify and concentrate on what is truly relevant. Since healthy democracies need relevant information, and since democracy is becoming more global, the public will need globally relevant information to sustain this trend. We hope the annual State of the Future reports can help provide such information. The insights in this fourteenth year of The Millennium Project's work can help decisionmakers and educators who fight against hopeless despair, blind confidence, and ignorant indifference- attitudes that too often have blocked efforts to improve the prospects for humanity. Ridiculing idealism is shortsighted, but idealism untested by pessimism is misleading. We need very hardheaded idealists who can look into the worse and best of humanity and can create and implement strategies of success.
Alien Forests, Oceans and Skies: Genetically Engineered Forests, Altering the Chemistry of the Atmosphere and Hydrosphere (September 8, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20957
Imagine our declining pollinators - bees, moths, butterflies and bats - coming upon thousands of acres of toxic trees, genetically engineered so that every cell in the tree exudes pesticide, from crown to root. Imagine a world without pollinators. Without seed dispersers. Without soil microbes.It would be a silent forest, a killing forest, an alien forest. No wonder Vandana Shiva scoffs at the moniker, biotechnology. "This is not a life technology. It's a death science."Genetically engineered forests are a holocaust on nature. An award-winning documentary, A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees (2005, 46 mins) details the appalling effects. (You can buy the full length film at Amazon.)Global Justice Ecology Project director, Ann Petermann defines the issue: "Genetically engineered trees are the greatest threat to the world's remaining forests since the invention of the chainsaw." Jim Hightower calls them, "wildly invasive, explosively flammable, and insatiably thirsty for ground water."If planting a sterile, killer forest isn't freaky enough, some GM trees will be viable and can and will contaminate natural species. Tree pollen can travel over 600 miles, according to a model created by Duke University, reported Petermann in 2006. Another study found pine pollen 400 miles from the nearest pines. This year, a scientist was surprised to find viable seeds 25 miles offshore."Sterile trees would also be able to spread their transgenes through vegetative propagation," notes Petermann. Unlike with animals, being sexually sterile does not preclude reproduction when it comes to plants.GM contamination occurs around the globe, as documented by GM Watch and the GM Contamination Register (among others). The technology cannot be contained. Genetically modified organisms are dominant over natural species and will forever alter Earth's natural plants.By the way, the latest batch of approved GM trees - 200,000 eucalyptus for seven southern states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina) - are engineered to be cold tolerant. A lawsuit has been filed to overturn their approval. CLIP
PART 12 -- Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, & Human Enhancement Herald the Dawn of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare (September 11, 2010) http://defenderpublishing.blogspot.com/2010/09/part-12-forbidden-gates-how-genetics.html
In 1993, critical thinking about the timing of the Singularity concerning the emergence of strong artificial intelligence led retired San Diego State University professor and computer scientist Vernor Vinge, in his often-quoted and now-famous lecture, "The Coming Technological Singularity," (delivered at Vision-21 Symposium sponsored by Nasa Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute), to state that when science achieves "the technological means to create superhuman intelligence[,] shortly after, the human era will be ended."[i] In contrast to Vinge, cyborgists like Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University in England who endorsed de Garis' book, believe Singularity will not so much represent the end of the human era as it will the assimilation of man with machine intelligence, like the Borg of Star Trek fame. This is because, according to Warwick, Technological Singularity will not occur as a result of freestanding independent machines, but inside human cyborgs where human-machine integration is realized and enhanced biology is recombined to include living brains that are cybernetic, machine readable, and interfaced with artificial neural networks where transhumans with amplified intelligence become so completely superior to their biological counterparts (normal humans) as to be incomprehensible-ultimately "posthuman." The technology to accomplish this task is already well underway and is considered by researchers like Warwick to be one of the most important scientific utilities currently under employment toward man's posthuman future. As a result of this bridge between technology and human biology being attained this century, nothing less than the wholesale redesign of humans, including genetic integration with other life-forms-plants, animals, and synthetic creations-will be realized. This vision-the borgification (marriage between biology and machine) of man-is supported in the latest "State of the Future" report (2010) by the global think tank, the Millennium Project, founded after a three-year feasibility study with the United Nations University, Smithsonian Institution, and the Futures Group International, where synthetic biologists affirm that "as computer code is written to create software to augment human capabilities, so too genetic code will be written to create life forms to augment civilization."[ii] Furthermore, as biotech, infotech, nanotech, and cognotech breakthroughs quickly migrate with appropriate synergies to create widespread man-machine adaptation within society, a "global collective intelligence system [hive supermind] will be needed to track all these science and technology advances," the report goes on to say.
(...) Though the transformation of man to this posthuman condition is in its fledgling state, complete integration of the technology necessary to replace existing Homo sapiens as the dominant life-form on earth is approaching Kurzweil's exponential curve. A Reuters article dated November 9, 2009, titled "Scientists Want Debate on Animals with Human Genes," hinted at just how far scientists have come and how far they intend to go. The news piece started out, "A mouse that can speak? A monkey with Down's Syndrome? Dogs with human hands or feet? British scientists want to know if such experiments are acceptable," and it continued with revelations that scientists inside Britain are comfortable now with up to 50/50 animal-human integration. The article implied that not all the research currently under design is kept at the embryonic level, and that fully mature monstrosities (like the creature in the 2010 movie Splice) may be under study as "some scientists in some places want to push boundaries." National Geographic magazine speculated in 2007 that within ten years, the first of such human-animals would walk the earth, and Vernor Vinge agreed recently that we are entering that period in history when questions like "What is the meaning of life?" will be nothing more than an engineering question. Most readers may be surprised to learn that in preparation of this posthuman revolution, the United States government, through the National Institute of Health, recently granted Case Law School in Cleveland $773,000 of American taxpayers' money to begin developing the actual guidelines that will be used for setting government policy on the next step in human evolution-"genetic enhancement" CLIP
Wind, solar and geothermal generation multiplying as fast as computers or cell phones.
September 13, 2010
by Lester R Brown of Earth Policy Institute
As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new energy economy is emerging. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced by one powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Despite the global economic crisis, this energy transition is moving at a pace and on a scale that we could not have imagined even two years ago. And it is a worldwide phenomenon.
Consider Texas. Long the leading US oil-producing state, it is now also the leading generator of electricity from wind, having overtaken California in 2006. Texas now has 9,700 megawatts of wind generating capacity online, 370 more in the construction stage, and a huge amount in the development stage. When all of these wind farms are completed, Texas will have 53,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity the equivalent of 53 coal-fired power plants. This will more than satisfy the residential needs of the state's 25 million people, enabling Texas to export electricity, just as it has long exported oil.
Texas is not alone. In South Dakota, a wind-rich, sparsely populated state, development has begun on a vast 5,050-megawatt wind farm (1 megawatt of wind capacity supplies 300 U.S. homes) that when completed will produce nearly five times as much electricity as the 810,000 people living in the state need. Altogether, some 10 states in the United States, most of them in the Great Plains, and several Canadian provinces are planning to export wind energy.
Across the Atlantic, the government of Scotland is negotiating with two sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East to invest $7 billion in a grid in the North Sea off its eastern coast. This grid will enable Scotland to develop nearly 60,000 megawatts of off-shore wind generating capacity, close to the 85,000 megawatts of current electrical generating capacity for the United Kingdom.
We are witnessing an embrace of renewable energy on a scale we've never seen for fossil fuels or nuclear power. And not only in industrial countries. Algeria, which knows it will not be exporting oil forever, is planning to build 6,000 megawatts of solar thermal generating capacity for export to Europe via undersea cable. The Algerians note that they have enough harnessable solar energy in their vast desert to power the entire world economy. This is not a mathematical error. A similarly remarkable fact is that the sunlight striking the earth in just one hour is enough to power the world economy for one year.
Turkey, which now has 41,000 megawatts of total electrical generating capacity, issued a request for proposals in 2007 to build wind farms. It received bids from both domestic and international wind development firms to build a staggering 78,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity. Having selected some 7,000 megawatts of the most promising proposals, the government is now issuing construction permits.
In mid-2008, Indonesia a country with 128 active volcanoes and therefore rich in geothermal energy announced that it would develop 6,900 megawatts of geothermal generating capacity, with Pertamina, the state oil company, responsible for developing the lion's share. Indonesia's oil production has been declining for the last decade, and in each of the last five years the country has been an oil importer. As Pertamina shifts resources from oil into the development of geothermal energy, it could become the first oil company state-owned or independent to make the transition from oil to renewable energy.
These are only a few of the visionary initiatives to tap the earth's renewable energy. The resources are vast. In the United States, three states North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas have enough harnessable wind energy to run the entire economy. In China, wind will likely become the dominant power source. Indonesia could one day get all its power from geothermal energy alone. Europe will be powered largely by wind farms in the North Sea and solar thermal power plants in the North African desert.
The goals for developing renewable sources of energy by 2020 that are laid out in my book Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization are based not on what is conventionally believed to be politically feasible but on what I think is needed. This is not Plan A, business as usual. This is Plan B a wartime mobilization, an all-out response that is designed to avoid destabilizing economic and political stresses that will come with unmanageable climate change.
Implementing Plan B entails cutting net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 80 percent by 2020. This would keep atmospheric CO2 levels from exceeding 400 parts per million (ppm), up only modestly from 387 ppm in 2009, thus limiting the future rise in temperature. To make this ambitious cut, the first priority is to replace all coal- and oil-fired electricity generation with renewable sources. Whereas the twentieth century was marked by the globalization of the world energy economy as countries everywhere turned to oil, much of it coming from the Middle East, this century will see the localization of energy production as the world turns to wind, solar, and geothermal energy.
This century will also see the electrification of the economy. The transport sector will shift from gasoline-powered automobiles to plug-in gas-electric hybrids, all-electric cars, light rail transit, and high-speed intercity rail. And for long-distance freight, the shift will be from diesel-powered trucks to electrically powered rail freight systems. The movement of people and goods will be powered largely by electricity. In this new energy economy, buildings will rely on renewable electricity almost exclusively for heating, cooling, and lighting.
Can we expand renewable energy use fast enough? I think so. Recent trends in the adoption of mobile phones and personal computers give a sense of how quickly new technologies can spread. Once cumulative mobile phone sales reached 1 million units in 1986, the stage was set for explosive growth, and the number of cell phone subscribers doubled in each of the next three years. Over the next 12 years the number doubled every two years. By 2001 there were 961 million cell phones nearly a 1,000-fold increase in just 15 years. And now there are more than 4 billion cell phone subscribers worldwide.
Sales of personal computers followed a similar trajectory. In 1980 roughly a million were sold, but by 2008 the figure was an estimated 270 million a 270-fold jump in 28 years. We are now seeing similar growth figures for renewable energy technologies. Installations of solar cells are doubling every two years, and the annual growth in wind generating capacity is not far behind. Just as the communications and information economies have changed beyond recognition over the past two decades, so too will the energy economy over the next decade.
There is one outstanding difference. Whereas the restructuring of the information economy was shaped only by advancing technology and market forces, the restructuring of the energy economy will be driven also by the realization that the fate of civilization may depend not only on doing so, but on doing it at wartime speed.
Eradicating Ecocide highlights the need for enforceable, legally binding mechanisms in national and international law to hold to account perpetrators of long term severe damage to the environment. At this critical juncture in history it is vital that we set global standards of accountability for corporations, in order to put an end to the culture of impunity and double standards that pervade the international legal system. Polly Higgins illustrates how this can be achieved in her invaluable new book.
- BIANCA JAGGER, Founder and Chair of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, advocate for Crimes Against Present and Future Generations
Humanity is at a crossroads.One route is to carry on as before, treating our planet as something to be bought and sold as private property to the highest bidder; the other is to acknowledge that our lives depend on a delicate ecosystem and that we all have responsibilities to each other, our habitat and future generations.
Exposing the truth behind the compromise laws and inadequate voluntary codes favoured by companies to protect their silent right to extinguish life, Higgins advocates a new crime, Ecocide, to prevent the damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems, as a 5th Crime Against Peace.
The recent Mexican Gulf oil spill is a compelling reminder of why such a law is urgently needed. Governments, businesses and financial institutions have all bought into turning a blind eye to the destruction of the planet when economic interests are at stake. Peace, Higgins argues, is unachievable whilst the rules of the game continue to protect commercial expropriation of the planet for profit at a price we cannot afford.
Providing a comprehensive legal overview of the past 200 years, Eradicating Ecocide explains the crime of Ecocide, how it will apply and who can stop the ecocide, for present and for future generations. This is essential reading for anyone who is engaged with current issues; it is also for leaders and policy-makers in all countries.
Laws from other countries which have been successful in curtailing the power of governments, corporations and banks are included with analysis of the duty of care required, a duty that is owed to the public and the global earth community. The book is a crash course on what laws work, what doesnt and what is needed.
POLLY HIGGINS is a lawyer and spokeswoman for the laws that will eradicate ecocide. to read more about Polly Higgins visit her website pollyhiggins.com
There are certain principles of universal validity and application that apply to civilization as a whole. They are the principles that underpin the prohibition of certain behaviour, for example apartheid and genocide. Such abuses arose out of value systems based on a lack of regard for fellow humanity and are now universally outlawed. The rendering of such action as illegal is premised on the advancement of a higher morality that operates without caveat of qualification, a morality based on the sacredness of human life. In a world aspiring to sacredness of life, it is still necessary to identify the crimes to prevent those who fail to live by similar values. But what of the well-being of all life not just that of humanity but of all who inhabit a territory over which one has certain responsibilities?
It was the humanitarian crisis of World War II which prompted the creation of the United Nations Organisation whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace. The Charter of the United Nations (UN Charter) declared in 1945:
We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,
to promote social progress and better standards of life in greater freedom.
In advancement of peace, the term genocide was soon given international legal recognition to describe the enormous deliberate destruction of human life, such as the holocaust of World War II. Trials were held in Nuremberg to prosecute perpetrators. However, it took over 50 years for the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to provide a permanent international enforcement tribunal, as set down by the provisions in the Rome Statute and ratified in 2002. Jurisdiction is limited to prosecution of individuals of the four most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, more commonly known as the four Crimes Against Peace. They are: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, and Crimes of Aggression. Now another type of international crime against peace has arisen: that crime is Ecocide.
The Crime of Ecocide
The neologism ecocide is already in use to a limited extent, denoting large-scale destruction, in whole or in part, of ecosystems within a given territory. Ecocide is in essence the very antithesis of life. It can be the outcome of external factors, of a force majeure or an act of God such as flooding or an earthquake. It can also be the result of human intervention. Economic activity, particularly when connected to natural resources, can be a driver of conflict. By its very nature, ecocide leads to resource depletion, and where there is escalation of resource depletion, war comes chasing close behind. The capacity of ecocide to be trans-boundary and multi- jurisdictional necessitates legislation of international scope. Where such destruction arises out of the actions of mankind, ecocide can be regarded as a crime against peace, against the peace of all those who reside therein. In the event that ecocide is left to flourish, the 21st century will become a century of resource wars.
For the purpose of international law, I propose the following definition for ecocide:
the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.
There are two categories of ecocide: non-ascertainable and ascertainable ecocide. Non-ascertainable ecocide applies where the consequence, or potential consequence, is destruction, damage or loss to the territory per se, but without specific identification of cause as being that which has been created by specific human activity.
Ascertainable ecocide describes the consequence, or potential consequence, where there is destruction, damage or loss to the territory, and liability of the legal person(s) can be determined. The destruction of large areas of the environment and ecosystems can be caused directly or indirectly by various activities, such as nuclear testing, exploitation of resources, extractive practices, dumping of harmful chemicals, use of defoliants, emission of pollutants or war.
Examples of ascertainable ecocide affecting sizeable territories include the deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest, the proposed expansion of the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada and polluted waters in many parts of the world, which account for the death of more people than all forms of violence including war.
In any given example of ecocide, the extent of destruction, damage or loss suffered requires analysis. Whereas destruction and loss are easy to ascertain by way of data, what constitutes damage for the purpose of establishing the crime of ecocide is more complex. Size, duration and significance of impact of damage to a territory in most instances shall be of relevance to determine whether the crime is made out. The Rome Statute sets out an extended definition of damage to the environment, specifically as a consequence of War Crimes, which provides useful assistance. Article 8(2)(b)(iv) criminalises:
widespread long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated.
Change one word here: widespread long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall community advantage anticipated, and incidents of ecocide such as the BP Gulf oil spill can begin to be properly assessed.
The wording used in this section was adopted from the 1977 United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (the Environmental Modification Convention or ENMOD). ENMOD specifies the terms widespread, long-lasting and severe as
widespread: encompassing an area on the scale of several hundred square kilometers; long-lasting: lasting for a period of months, or approximately a season; severe: involving serious or significant disruption or harm to human life, natural and economic resources or other assets.
These expanded definitions, which are already embedded in international laws of war, offer an existing basis upon which the international crime of ecocide can be seated at the table of the ICC. The word ecocide bestows the missing name and fuller comprehension of the crime of unlawful damage to a given environment. As a crime that is not restricted to the confines of war alone, the categorisation of ecocide as a crime against peace is appropriate. Thus, for the purpose of defining ecocide damage, determination as to whether the extent of damage to the environment is widespread, long-term and severe can be applied to ecocide in times of peace as well as in times of war .
Climate change, peak oil, and a stalled economy: The Fall 2010 issue of YES! Magazine shows how people step up in uncertain times to create a resilient way of life.
by Sarah van Gelder - Sept 17, 2010
Many of us live with a sort of schizophrenia as we try to reconcile our lives with what may lie ahead.
I sit behind my cabin and look up at sun filtering through the massive cedar trees and hear the same wind rustling the tree needles as has been heard for thousands of years. I have food to eat, a place to lay my head, and my family is safe.
I'll confess that while YES! and others have warned about the crises for years, I didn't think they would converge so soon. We know the U.S. way of life is unsustainable. But many of us thought we still had time to move back from the cliff edge of ecological and social disaster.
I remember whispered conversations beginning some years ago among those who feared that we would do too little and act too late to stop runaway climate change. What would happen to coastal cities, food supplies, and fresh water resources on an over-heated planet?
Others weren't whispering-they were sounding the alarm. Twenty years ago, World Watch President Lester Brown, Al Gore, NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen, and others warned that the 1990s would be the decade to turn things around or face dire consequences.
More recently, it's become clear that there is another way our dependence on fossil fuels could lead to our undoing. The availability of easy-to-reach oil is on the decline. With increasing competition for what's left, this may mean the end of cheap oil, making it even less likely that we can go back to an over-consumptive economy.
We should be able to rally ourselves as a society to take on climate change, peak oil, and a stalled economy, and make the transition to a sustainable society. But much of the media and government has been captured by powerful corporate interests whose influence hinders needed action.
This issue of YES! is about ways people are buffering themselves from the uncertainties of the times by creating more resilient ways of life. These people are starting urban farms, solar energy co-ops, DIY skill sharing, land trusts, and other projects. They're turning to each other for the sort of security they didn't find in over-leveraged homes and a speculative stock market.
While many of these efforts are still on the fringes, they are gaining support, even from those not normally interested in green living.
For a while yet, we may be living in a dual world. In one, business as usual continues, punctuated by increasingly turbulent weather and social breakdowns. In the other, we rebuild our communities and begin to build the foundations of a new world.
In the business-as-usual world, reactions to these changes may get increasingly bizarre as people blame everything from gay marriage to immigration for their insecurity.
But there are responses far better than blame. We can ground ourselves in the hands-on work of growing food, becoming energy efficient, generating green energy, and fostering relationships of respect and appreciation.
We don't have to wait for an election or a petition to sign. We can just get on with the community work that will allow us to live better, whether or not a systemic collapse happens in our lifetime.
Significance of Biodiversity to Health http://news.mongabay.com/publications/Herndon-Butler_Biotropica_2010.pdf
The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. Despite the magnitude of the global crisis of biodiversity loss, its far-reaching consequences to human health remain largely unappreciated. The legacy of the natural world to medicine is profound and its potential to yield new therapeutics and advancements in biomedical science undervalued. The enormity of the global crisis underscores a fundamental truth, one that is seemingly obvious but has been tragically overlooked: Our species does not exist in isolation from the biosphere. Rather, our fate depends on it. -- DEEP IN THE ANCIENT FORESTS OF SARAWAK, on the island of Borneo, a tree of unassuming appearance held a powerful secret. That secret was unlocked by chance in 1987 when researchers collected specimens of its bark as part of a screening initiative by the National Cancer Institute. To their surprise, Calophyllum lanigerum var. austrocoriaceum yielded an extract with potent anti-HIV activity. Returning to the site to collect more material for analysis, the scientists were shocked to find the tree, and its promise, gone. Its disappearance triggered a frantic search to locate further specimens. Forests were surveyed, biological inventories scanned, and garden collections scoured. Finally trees, collected a full century earlier, were located in Singapores Botanic Garden (Pick & Sloan 2004). Subsequent studies revealed its bioactive compound, calanolide A, to be an inhibitor of HIV with low potential for cross-resistance with other therapies (Currens et al. 1996). No one knows how many species have disappeared in the past 40 years. Estimates range widely from the tens to hundreds of thou- sands, the vast majority of which have never been catalogued, let alone investigated for their potential benefit to mankind. These organisms are being extinguished as a direct consequence of human action: clear-cutting forests for timber and palm oil, bulldozing deserts for housing and infrastructure development, processing of coral reefs for cement, and the damming and polluting of rivers. While species loss may not be apparent in the course of our every- day lives, Earths biological endowmentmillions of species evolved over a time course of millions of yearsis being irretrievably lost at a scale unprecedented in human existence.
(...) In tropical rain forests, the worlds greatest repository of botanical diversity, less than one percent of plant species has been screened for bioactivity (Balick et al. 1996). An even smaller fraction of their vast and scarcely described myriad of fungi and soil microbes has been evaluated for medical potential. Yet over the last 20 years, more than 33 million hectares (338,000km2) of Amazonian rain forest in Brazil alone have been cleared. Only fragments of forest remain in Madagascar, a country of extraordinary biological richness whose legacy to medicine includes the Vinca alkaloids which helped to make pediatric leukemia and Hodgkins lymphoma curable. Rain forests have received the greatest public attention, but other biologically diverse and complex ecosystems, such as coral reefs, are as threatened and less appreciated as a source of new medicines. Few physicians realize that the synthesis of the first effective antiretroviral drug AZT was guided by compounds isolated from a Caribbean sponge.
(...) Innumerable scientific breakthroughs, such as these, were made possible by the extraordinary adaptations organisms have evolved over millions of years to enable survival within a diversity of ecosystems and often harsh physical environments. Wood frogs can survive North American winters frozen for weeks without cardiac activity, circulation, or respiration. Research is ongoing to under- stand the vertebrates mechanisms of freeze tolerance at molecular, cellular, and physiologic levels. The two species of Australian gastric brooding frog were able to protect their young through a unique adaptation. The mother frog raised her offspring, from fertilized eggs to tadpoles, within the shelter of her stomach. No hope remains to gain therapeutic insights on their mechanism of gastric acid suppression: both species went extinct in the 1980s.
The fallout of the modern worlds assault on nature extends beyond loss of biological diversity. Ecosystem alteration and introduction of alien species can compromise human health in a myriad of ways.
AN EXCELLENT INTERVIEW WITH LONG-TIME ERN SUBSCRIBER DENNIS KUCINICH WHO SPELLS OUT VERY CLEARLY WHAT THE COMING NOVEMBER MID-TERM ELECTIONS IN THE US SHOULD BE ALL ABOUT. MY ONLY CAVEAT IS THAT HE FAILS TO CALL FOR A VERY SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION OF THE PENTAGON "SACRED COW" BUDGET AND DO NOT ADDRESS THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE OF THE CORPORATE-MILITARY COMPLEX AND ITS CHOKING HOLD ON US POLICIES AND TAXPAYERS' MONEY. THIS IS THE TYRANNOSAURUS IN THE LIVING ROOM THAT NO ONE IN THE US DARES TALKING ABOUT. THIS MONSTROUS, INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIP MUST BE DISMANTLED ONCE AND FOR ALL BEFORE IT DESTROYS THE WORLD AND THE 100's OF BILLIONS WASTED IN EVER MORE SOPHISTICATED ARMAMENTS AND CRONY MILITARY CAPITALISM MUS BE REALLOCATED TO ACTUALLY FULFILL THE U.S. CITIZENS PRIMARY NEEDS, RESTART THE US ECONOMY ON A TRULY ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE PATH AND TACKLE THE URGENTLY NEEDED SHIFT TOWARDS CLEAN ENERGY (ideally zero-point energy) AND NEW ZERO-EMISSIONS TRANSPORTATIONS.
by Maya Schenwar, Executive Director, t r u t h o u t
Almost nine years into longest war in US history, at a time when the US spends more on its military budget than the rest of the world combined and endless war seems a frighteningly realistic possibility, I spoke with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a long-time advocate for peace. Kucinich reminds us that there is another way: that through unity, persistence and a deeply necessary change in mindset, we can move toward a world in which mutual respect and global connections shape foreign policy, and the self-fulfilling prophecy of war loses its tragic momentum. He challenges us to imagine a world in which "peace is inevitable."
Maya Schenwar: Since the end of formal combat operations in Iraq, you've been speaking out against the continuing presence of US troops and increasing presence of American mercenaries there. How do you respond to those who say the continued presence is necessary for security reasons?
Dennis Kucinich: America's invasion of Iraq has made us less secure. Before the entire world we invaded a country that did not attack us - that had no intention or capability of attacking us - and that, famously, did not have weapons of mass destruction. The subsequent occupation has fueled an insurgency, and as long as we have troops there, the insurgency will remain quite alive.
The very idea that somehow the war is in a new phase needs to be challenged. Insurgents don't differentiate between combat troops and noncombat troops; any of our troops who are out there are subject to attack. And the insurgencies will continue to build, with the continued American presence, resulting in the death of more innocent civilians.
Every mythology about our presence in Iraq is being stripped away. The idea that we can afford it? We can't. That Iraq will pay for it? It shouldn't and couldn't. That somehow we'd be welcomed there? By whom? That there's some kind of security to be gained in the region? We have destabilized the region. That it would help us gain support from moderates in the Muslim world? We are undermined throughout the Muslim world. Every single assertion of this war, and every reason for this war, has been knocked down. And yet it keeps going.
MS: Then, is a complete, immediate withdrawal in order - right now?
DK: That's what we have to do. We should have done it a long time ago. Is it likely that there will be conflict when we leave? Yes. We set in motion forces that are irrevocable. You cannot simply launch a war against a country where there were already factions - Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who were at odds with each other - and think that you can leave there without difficulties. That's going to happen no matter what.
But the fact that the conflict that we helped to create is still quite alive does not justify staying there. War becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of continued war, unless you break the headlong momentum by getting out.
MS: Do you view Afghanistan similarly? Should we be looking at a quick, complete withdrawal?
DK: Well, Afghanistan is a separate war; it needs to be separated. I believe we were right to strike at al Qaeda immediately after 9/11. And I think most Americans believed that was the right thing to do. But - it was wrong to invade and occupy the country. It showed an acute lack of understanding of history, and a lack of understanding of the people of Afghanistan.
At this point, Afghanistan has a kleptocracy. There's no remote possibility that it could sustain anything like a democratic system right now. And we have assured that by using US tax dollars to help prop up a bunch of crooks. When you think of the grotesque scene of Hamid Karzai being given the singular honor of a presence on the floor of United States Senate, and then you learn that some of the very people who are involved in corruption in Afghanistan were working with him on the CIA payroll, you know that what we've seen is a turn, not towards a realpolitik approach, but toward depravity masquerading as diplomacy.
We have lost our way through our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have to come home. Not only do we have to come home from Iraq and Afghanistan, but we also have to take a different look at America's presence in the rest of the world. Unless we start to focus on a global position for the United States that is not hegemonic, but is cooperative with international institutions, we're looking at nothing but one nightmare after another.
MS: So, what do you think that new role in the world would look like for the United States? What would our position be if we made that shift?
DK: We would start supporting structures of international law. With friend and foe alike, we'd support compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. With friend and foe alike, we'd support compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. And we'd submit to the fullness of those treaties. We'd support the small arms treaty, the landmine treaty. We'd support the United Nations. We would participate fully in an international criminal court.
Only when you have recognized global standards of justice can there truly be respect among nations. We cannot have one set of laws for the United States and another set of laws for the rest of the world. For example, our policy on claiming the right to pursue assassination anywhere we please: that is against everything America should stand for. And we haven't worked to craft a climate change agreement that is truly mindful of the environmental challenges we see - an agreement that would phase out coal and nuclear. The US is missing a historic opportunity to chart a new path in the world.
Let it be said, we have a right to defend ourselves. But we do not have a right to take international law in our own hands. We do not have a right to be police, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner all in one fell swoop.
MS: What can the American people - and Truthout's readers - do right now if they want to effect change on the issues we're discussing?
DK: Support the candidates that support the change you want. We have an election coming up, and those candidates who really are dedicated to America taking a new role in the world and taking care of things here at home deserve support.
And we need to ask candidates where they stand on these issues. If they voted to continue the war, will they go back to Congress and continue to support the war? People need to know that. Will they continue to vote for these appropriation funds? Will they continue to vote for resolutions that keep us at war? Will they continue to support the fiction that the "global war on terror" has trumped Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, with respect to Congress's role of declaring war in any country where the US has a military presence?
We all have to start thinking of national defense in a broader way. National defense should also mean a full-employment economy. National defense should mean jobs for all, health care for all, education for all, retirement security for all. We spend more on the military than every other nation in the world put together.
There's another thing we need to do in this discussion: we need to look at how we think of the world. If we see the world only as Us versus Them, as divided into warring camps, then our worldview produces an outcome which creates war. If we see the world only in terms of these dichotomies, that's a precursor of war. If we see a world where war is inevitable, that inevitability becomes a reality - we make it so.
But war is not inevitable. Peace is inevitable, if we are willing to explore the inherent truth of human unity - if we are willing to contemplate the undeniable fact that we're all one, that we are interdependent and interconnected. This compelling truth of human unity needs to be called upon at a time of division. It needs to be insisted upon. It needs to resound with the historical precedent of America's first motto, "e pluribus unum": out of many, we are one.
And so, I'm dedicated to continuing to work for an international policy where we work with the world community, where we use structures of international law and adhere to and participate in them, where we begin to understand that our role in the world cannot be as policeman of the world, and where we work with the nations of the world to achieve security for all people.
MS: What would funding for nonviolence look like?
DK: We need to support a cabinet-level department of peace, which would serve to make nonviolence an organizing principle of our society. The department would address issues of violence in our own society as well as head off war, through having somebody in the cabinet who could advise the president on nonviolent conflict resolution.
Funding would be pegged to 1 percent of the Department of Defense's budget. One percent! And that would be about $7 billion a year.
Why wouldn't we want to explore peaceful means of conflict resolution? We've explored war and war doesn't work. This is a different world. It's not World War II anymore. There's a whole different technological structure to society. We can pick up a cell phone and call anyone, anywhere in the world; we can get on a plane and go anywhere in the world in half a day; we can send a text message anywhere in the world in seconds; we're already experiencing the world as one! Why aren't our social structures keeping pace? Why don't we demand that we come into rhythm with what is really an impulse toward unity?
Peace, which is achieved only through painstaking effort, doesn't have to cost a lot of money. We know what war costs.
And it's not simply a matter of politicians doing it. Each one of us has to reflect on the way we look at the world and think about whether there's anything we do that contributes to violence, if there's anything we do that contributes to polarity. We really have to look at how the way we think is producing the particular kind of world we have. We could have the world any way we want it. We need to carefully analyze our own worldview to see if it's compatible with our survival.
PopSci Investigation: What Kind Of Top-Secret Assassination Tech Does $58 Billion Buy? (09.09.2010) http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-08/anyone-anywhere-anytime
Not since the end of the Cold War has the Pentagon spent so much to develop and deploy secret weapons. But now military researchers have turned their attention from mass destruction to a far more precise challenge: finding, tracking, and killing individuals -- Every year, tens of billions of Pentagon dollars go missing. The money vanishes not because of fraud, waste or abuse, but because U.S. military planners have appropriated it to secretly develop advanced weapons and fund clandestine operations. Next year, this so-called black budget will be even larger than it was in the Cold War days of1987, when the leading black-budget watchdog, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), began gathering reliable estimates. The current total is staggering: $58 billion-enough to pay for two complete Manhattan Projects.
(...) But much about the RQ-170 is puzzling. Why would the Air Force need a stealth aircraft in Afghanistan, a country with no radar defense system? It wouldn't, according to those familiar with the drone. The RQ-170 was developed with a more sophisticated enemy, perhaps China, in mind. That doesn't mean it couldn't be adapted for current conflicts, however. Unlike the relatively easy-to-spot Predator and Reaper drones, the RQ-170's stealth could allow it to conduct missions that those aircraft cannot, such as clandestine tracking, or slipping unnoticed across Afghanistan's border into Iran or Pakistan to spy on their nuclear programs. Aircraft like the RQ-170, the Predator and the Reaper can get only so close to their targets, of course, which is why the Pentagon is developing micro-drones designed to investigate dangerous terrain undetected. In April the Washington Post reported that the CIA was using pizza-platter-size micro-drones to find insurgents in Pakistan. And the 2010 Pentagon budget contains a brief unclassified reference to Project Anubis, a micro-drone developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The Air Force won't talk about that specific vehicle, but a more general 2008 marketing video released by the lab did suggest that future micro-UAVs might be equipped with "incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads, or even explosives for precision targeting capability." The video depicts an explosives-laden drone dive-bombing and killing a sniper. Budget documents indicate that Project Anubis (named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead) is now complete, which means a lethal micro-drone could already be in the field. CLIP - AMONG THE MANY COMMENTS THERE, THIS ONE STOOD OUT FOR ITS COMMON SENSE: "A lot of that "Black Budget" spending should be called fraud, waste and abuse. There are a lot of people who would like to believe that the military is using that money to develop a bunch of Buck Rodgers technology. But, little advanced technology ever reaches the field.Much of that money is funneled to Defense Contractors through projects that are way over priced and that often reach a dead end like much of the "Star Wars" project. Some of the projects require technology that doesn't even exist. Some money goes to researching technologies that don't even make sense. (...) The DOD funds a lot of projects that are absolutely worthless and politicians receive some of their biggest contributions from defense companies. What a coincidence!I worked for the DOD for many years and have witness some really stupid and wasteful spending of your tax money. Your Congressional representatives know a lot more than they let on about where it is going." CHECK ALSO http://www.unmannedwarfare.webs.com/ INCLUDING THESE PICTURES - THESE ONES AND THIS AMAZING "PLANE"
Our Endless War (9/21/10) http://www.bangordailynews.com/story/Opinion/Our-Endless-War,154373
Hardly any American can be comfortable with the assertion of a senior Pentagon planner, Brig. Gen. Mark O. Schissler, that Were in a generational war. He predicted in 2006 that American conflicts would last another 50 or 100 years. Yet no one could be elected president who seriously questioned whether the United States must continue indefinitely to help police Iraq and Afghanistan, keep thousands of U.S. troops in bases strung around the world, and maintain enough nuclear warheads to destroy every major foreign city.A provocative new book, Washington Rules: Americas Path to Permanent War, describes an unspoken national consensus that has grown up during the past 60 years. The author, Andrew J. Bascevich, is a retired Army colonel and now a professor at Boston University. He calls it a sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism. CLIP
Arming the Saudis (24 September 2010) http://www.truth-out.org/arming-saudis63570
The Pentagon has announced a $60 billion arms package to the repressive family dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, the largest arms sale of its kind in history. Rejecting the broad consensus of arms control advocates that the Middle East is too militarized already and that the Saudis already possess military capabilities well in excess of their legitimate security needs, the Obama administration is effectively insisting that this volatile region does not yet have enough armaments and that the United States must send even more. According to reports, Washington is planning to sell 84 new F-15 fighters and three types of helicopters: 72 Black Hawks, 70 Apaches and 36 Little Birds. There are also reports of naval missile-defense upgrades in the works.Though supporters of such arms sales argue that if the United States did not sell weapons to the oil-rich kingdom, someone else would, neither the Obama administration nor its predecessors have ever expressed interest in pursuing any kind of arms control agreement with other arms-exporting countries. A number of other arms exporters, such as Germany, are now expressing their opposition to further arms transfers to the region due to the risks of exacerbating tensions and promoting a regional arms race.The United States is by far the largest arms exporter in the world, surpassing Russia - the second-largest arms exporter - by nearly two to one. The Iranian Rationalization - The ostensible reason for the proposed arms packages is to counter Iran's growing military procurement in recent years, though Iranian military spending is actually substantially less than it was 25 years ago. Furthermore, Iran's current military buildup is based primarily on the perceived need to respond to the threatened US attack against that country, a concern made all the more real by the US invasion and occupation of two countries bordering Iran on both its east and west in recent years. CLIP
How the cap-and-cash-back bill can clear a deadlocked Senate-and make most Americans better off.
For nearly a decade, green NGOs in Washington worked closely with corporate polluters to promote "cap and trade" as a climate solution. The deal was, there'd be a leaky carbon cap with lots of money flowing to polluters and Wall Street. It was far from perfect, but better-so the NGOs said-than nothing.
During the Bush years this strategy made sense-no other approach could survive a presidential veto. After 2008, when Democrats came to power, it made less sense, but the NGOs stuck with it.
In 2009, they squeezed a cap-and-trade bill through the House with 50.3 per?cent of members voting for it. For the past year they've been pushing a similar bill in the Senate, where 60 percent is needed to end debate. With John Kerry and Joe Lieberman doing the deals, they tweaked and re-tweaked the cap-and-trade bill to please coal-burning and nuclear utilities, oil and gas companies, agribusiness and manufacturers, and more. The result was a giant mishmash that confused everyone and didn't pick up votes. Finally, in late July 2010, Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, threw in the towel. This "sum of all lobbies" strategy simply wasn't working.
What now? With Republicans poised to gain seats in November, the future for climate legislation seems bleak. Any climate bill will have to overcome Republican objections that it is a "national energy tax," and indeed, will require active Republican support if it is to have a chance of passing.
Fortunately, there's a plan that can do this: the bipartisan CLEAR Act cosponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The CLEAR Act puts a rising economy-wide price on carbon, mainly by auctioning permits to bring carbon into the economy. It then returns three-quarters of the auction proceeds directly and equally to all legal U.S. residents, enough to assure that a majority of families in every state gets back more than they pay in higher prices.
The CLEAR Act, a.k.a. cap and dividend, has the potential to attract Republicans because it's the opposite of a tax??-it makes most Americans financially better off. Moreover, it's entirely market-based: it raises carbon prices but keeps government out of the dicey and costly role of picking winners. Best of all, its cap-and-cash-back mechanism can be easily understood by skeptical American voters.
None of this means the CLEAR Act can pass without some political horse-trading. But the deals needed for passage can be based on publicly supported principles rather than private gain. The main area for deals involves the 25 percent of auction revenue that isn't returned directly to the people. What if, for example, that money were allocated to two grand public purposes: grants to states for job creation, and federal debt reduction? The proportions could change over time, with more job creation early on and more debt reduction later. When coupled with direct cash back, such a simple, transparent carbon pricing system could attract fence-sitters on both sides of the aisle.
THE LEVEL OF CORPORATE CORRUPTION OF THE AMERICAN CRONYFAKE DEMOCRACY IS MIND-BOGGLING
With the November elections quickly approaching, the majority of Americans will be thinking one thing: "Who cares?" This apathy isn't due to ignorance, as some accuse. Rather, working people's disinterest in the two party system implies intelligence: millions of people understand that both the Democrats and Republicans will not represent their interests in Congress.
This begs the question: Whom does the two party system work for? The answer was recently given by the mainstream The New York Times, who gave the nation an insiders peek on how corporations "lobby" (buy) congressmen. The article explains how giant corporations from Wall-mart to weapons manufacturers are planning on shifting their hiring practices for lobbyists, from Democratic to Republican ex-congressmen in preparation for the Republicans gaining seats in the upcoming November elections:
"Lobbyists, political consultants and recruiters all say that the going rate for Republicans particularly current and former House staff members has risen significantly in just the last few weeks, with salaries beginning at $300,000 and going as high as $1million for private sector [corporate lobbyist] positions." (September 9, 2010)
Congressmen who have recently retired make the perfect lobbyists: they still have good friends in Congress, with many of these friends owing them political favors; they have connections to foreign Presidents and Kings; and they also have celebrity status that gives good PR to the corporations.
Often, these congressmen have done favors for the corporation that is now hiring them, meaning, that the corporations are rewarding the congressmen for services rendered while in office, offering them million dollar lobbyist jobs (or seats on the corporate board of directors) that requires little to no work.
The same New York Times article revealed that the pay for 13,000 lobbyists [!] currently bribing Congress is a combined $3.5 billion. It was also explained how some lobbying firms keep an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans on hand, so they can be prepared for any eventuality in the elections.
This phenomenon is more than a little un-democratic: when millions of people vote for a candidate, the outcomes are quickly manipulated and controlled before the election even happens.
Interestingly, the corporate-directed Wall Street Journal wrote a similar article in 2008, as the Democrats had begun to dominate politics in Washington:
"Washington's $3 billion lobbying industry has begun shedding Republican staffers [politicians], snapping up Democratic operatives [politicians] and entire firms, a shift that started even before Tuesday's ballots were counted and Democrat Barack Obama captured the presidency." (November 5, 2008)
This article was appropriately titled "Lobbyists Put Democrats Out Front as Winds Shift."
The corporate money flows from party to party, so that the same goals are achieved: higher profits for corporations. The sums thrown at these politicians are mind boggling: the Associated Press reported that the corporate-orientated Chamber of Commerce spent "... nearly $190 million since Barack Obama became president in January 2009." (August 21, 2010)
These numbers explain the "deeper" differences between Democrats and Republicans money. Each party is a machine that vies for power because this power carries with it vast sums of corporate money. The longer a party is in office and the more connections it makes, the more its net worth to corporations, the more that these rewards can be spread to the different layers of the party. There is indeed a real-life, nasty fight between the Republican and Democratic Parties to dominate this corporate money.
One "interest group" that ex-Congressmen don't work for is labor unions. Unions spend millions of dollars to help get Democrats elected, and millions more is spent trying to get their ear while they're in office.
But unions cannot out-spend the banks; and they can't offer millionaire retirement packages to retired Senators. The corporate retirement plans of Congressmen prove where their minds are while in office, and whose interests are being looked after. Unions cannot continue to pretend that the Democrats are their "friends." Labor has very little to show for this dysfunctional, decades-long friendship: union membership continues to shrivel as do jobs, wages and benefits for workers a losing strategy if ever there was one.
A "lesser of two evils" approach to politics equals evil politicians for labor, no matter who wins. In fact, the lesser-evil Democrats have become increasingly evil over the years, to the point where the party as a whole is more Conservative than the Nixon-era Republicans. The point has been reached where in various states Democratic governors are being endorsed by unions after promising to attack the wages and benefits of public workers!
To get out of this vicious, dead-end cycle, unions could unite their strength to form coalitions that promote independent labor candidates: 100 percent funded by labor to govern 100 percent in the interest of working people. All other roads lead back to the corporate lobbyists.
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (http://www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The rich people in the Senate defend the interests of rich people (21 Sept 2010) http://www.grist.org/article/2010-09-21-rich-people-in-the-senate-defend-interests-of-rich-people
Yesterday I wrote about three policies that have enduring public support but can't catch a break in Washington, D.C., particularly in the Senate: promoting clean energy and fighting climate change, taxing the rich, and reducing corporate influence in politics. Why is it that senators won't act on what the public wants in these (and other similar) cases? Obviously there are multiple causes and complexities, but at root the answer is pretty simple: Politicians are disproportionately and overwhelmingly responsive to the minority of Americans who have lots of money. (...) Both parties ignore the poor and working class, both are moderately heedful of the middle class, and Republicans are extremely solicitous toward the wealthy.What explains this state of affairs -- the domination of political space by the wealthy? Lots of people are inclined to point to outright corruption and moral turpitude, and there's certainly plenty of that, but there are other, more subtle things going on as well. CLIP
Bleeding-Heart Republicans (23 September 2010) http://www.truth-out.org/bleeding-heart-republicans63508
Who says that Republican congress-critters don't care about minorities in our society? Why, at this very moment, they are pushing hard to pass a $372 billion federal program to lift the economic fortunes of just one minority group -- a far more generous proposal than Barack Obama has even dared to contemplate. The focus of the GOP's generosity is a true American minority: the richest one-tenth of one percent of our people. Living in penthouse ghettos like Manhattan's Upper East Side, this tiny minority of about 120,000 people (who have an average annual income of $8 million) would get some $3 million each over the next decade from the Republican proposal. Doesn't that just make your heart bleed with empathy? This windfall will go to the most un-needy among us if the GOP gets Congress to renew the Bush tax cuts for the superrich. Yes, the same Republican lawmakers who have opposed even modest funding to keep schoolteachers and firefighters on the job are wailing that we should take hundreds of billions of dollars from our public treasury and hand them to some of the richest people on the planet. What's at work here is the narcissistic psychosis of the privileged -- the delusional belief that they are entitled to special treatment because they're ... well, they're rich and therefore consider themselves to be both superior and especially deserving.
(...) Because of the economic collapse caused by the reckless greed of Wall Street bankers, there has been a 50 percent increase in the past two years in the number of Americans relying on food stamps. In the coming months, more and more people -- including schoolteachers and firefighters -- are going to lose their jobs, and many of them will need the helping hand that Congress has now so stupidly and callously withdrawn.Instead of stealing funds from our country's essential food stamp program, Congress should get the money for its jobs bill by taxing the multibillion-dollar bonuses that Wall Street bankers are paying out to themselves. And if that's not enough money, cut the pay, pensions and health care freebies that congress-critters give to themselves -- most of them need to go on a diet anyway.
"Tax the Rich!" Must be the Slogan that Working People Unite Around By Shamus Cooke (09/22/2010) http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/11783
States everywhere across the United States are facing the common enemy of extreme budget deficits. Many states have deficits in the multi-billion dollar realm, as the budget crises dominate the debates for the upcoming gubernatorial elections. In these debates, Republican and Democratic candidates are finding it difficult to disagree on the most essential issues around the budget crises. The most crucial question for any incoming governor must be: how will you resolve the state's budget crisis? The answer from both parties is a resounding: "Public workers and those who depend on their services will pay for the crisis"! Take for instance California, where "friend of labor" Democrat Jerry Brown is running for Governor. The union leaders who endorsed Brown are having difficulty promoting him to their membership, since Brown has been bragging about his anti-union credentials, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle: "Jerry Brown said Friday that if elected governor he would have to "do things that labor doesn't like," including cutting pension benefits for public employees and asking labor leaders to "put everything on the table" to get California's bloated budget under control." In speaking about cutbacks to public workers, Brown said: "If you're looking for frugality, I'm your man... I vetoed the pay raises for the state employees not once, but twice..." (September 3, 2010). These are his credentials for handling the budget crisis. Even with his blatant anti-union perspective, Brown is being promoted as a "lesser of two evils," since his Republican opponent is a billionaire who is more honest in her anti-public worker comments.
(...) These corporate-inspired ideas are shared by both political parties. The now-popular term "reset" refers to a national policy that intends to change the equilibrium of power in the U.S. between unions and corporations. Unions are being attacked, so that wages and benefits for all working people can be lowered. This is how corporations plan to survive the recession and maintain the highest profitability possible. Consequently, the labor movement should be actively planning its defense and counterattack. Union members and community allies need to be educated about the assault and unite in coalitions to defend themselves. Pro-worker solutions to the crisis -- such as taxing the rich -- need to be demanded in the streets in mass demonstrations. But this is not happening. Instead, many unions are spending precious time giving money to their attackers, the Democrats, and encouraging union members to phone bank and canvass for these villains. After the elections, these "friends of labor" will soon become enemies, once the state budgets are being implemented, and union leaders will find themselves having to quickly switch directions, telling their members that they were once again "betrayed" by politicians who didn't make any concrete promises to begin with. Experiences like these have already happened in most states, and will continue to teach workers plenty of lessons, since the budget deficits are getting worse. The main lesson is that working people need to organize themselves independently of Democrats and Republicans, and fight back against a national assault on their jobs and living standards. "Tax the Rich!" must be the slogan that working people unite around to defend education, social services, and public employees in the face of the state budget crises.
Much of this would be unimportant if there weren't a war involved - no one expects to be given a smooth ride in the White House and some of what Woodward describes could even be called healthy debate - but the aura of dysfunction portrayed by Woodward as Obama and his "team" debated strategy in Afghanistan is truly alarming.
Frustrated by the military's inability to offer an endgame after nearly 10 years of combat, the President came up with his own. Largely to placate the base of the Democratic Party, he arrived at the muddling compromise of sending in another 40,000 troops while promising to start bringing forces home just 18 months later, in July 2011.
Woodward's painstaking account confirms the suspicion on the part of Mr Obama's critics that he is fighting a war he doesn't believe in - a feeling shared by others in his team, as Woodward reveals that Holbrooke was among several who said the plan "can't work".
Indeed, it is difficult to find anything that is working for the administration at the moment. On the same day that excerpts of Mr Woodward's latest book were released, Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, announced that he was returning to his professorship at Harvard. He became the third senior economic figure to leave or announce their departure in the past six weeks. We already know that Rahm Emanuel, the combative, foul-mouthed chief of staff, is also likely to step down in November, while other major departures are expected.
Working in the White House is notoriously demanding. Staffers work intolerable hours at high intensity and often burn out well before they limp off to recuperate in academia or the private sector. Reshuffles are common halfway through a four-year presidential term, but with the Democratic Party facing a rout in congressional elections on November 2, the process has started early.
While advisers abandon the White House, congressmen and senators who were swept to power on a wave of enthusiasm for the young, inspirational senator from Chicago in 2008 are now campaigning without mentioning Obama at all. Those who voted against health care - his signature achievement - tout the fact at every opportunity. Some omit the word "Democrat" entirely from their ads or campaign material. There is no other way for them to win.
Even the most faithful are wavering and are saying so publicly. At a televised meeting with voters in the capital this week, designed to sell the idea that the country was on the right economic track, Obama was confronted by a black woman whose anxiety and impatience, but enduring affection for the nation's leader, spoke for the millions who had been moved to support his message of hope and change in 2008.
"Quite frankly, I'm exhausted," Velma Hart said, looking the leader of the free world in the eye. "I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now."
There was more. "I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people. And I'm waiting, sir. I'm waiting."
She inspired others in the audience to follow suit. A recent graduate from law school complained that he couldn't afford to pay even the interest on his student loans.
"What I'm really hoping to hear from you is several concrete steps that you're going to take moving forward that will be able to reignite my generation, reignite the youth who are beset by student loans. And what I really want to know, is - is the American dream dead for me?" he wailed.
At the same event, Anthony Scaramucci, a former Harvard law school colleague of Mr Obama's who now runs a hedge fund, complained that the administration was mistreating Wall Street - "whacking us with a stick".
By this point, it was possible to feel a certain sympathy for the President. Velma Hart revealed that she had two children in private school. A chief accountant at a war veterans' association, both she and her husband are gainfully employed; her immediate problems are no greater than keeping a watchful eye on the family budget and the cost of sending her daughters to university.
The other two questioners in particular displayed a sense of entitlement and victimisation that is creeping into the American psyche, in the face of which the President might have wanted to say, "There is a recession on folks, so get a grip."
But he duly reeled off reforms to the student loan system and credit card rules that would help in the future, and said he understood the uncertainties and difficulties families were facing.
As ever, he came across as less than convincing.
The mastery of the popular mood that was so evident in his election campaign has been lamentably lacking from his presidency.
Perhaps the American public wasn't ready for such a message, but he has failed to take the Cameron approach of spelling out the need for pain now in order to gain later.
Despite a string of legislative successes, Mr Obama has failed to make voters believe that he has helped them, or that he cares more about their jobs and savings than about a long-standing Democratic agenda of health care and enforcing greener energy use on industry.
Although he has passed major financial reforms, his economic team has been deemed too close to Wall Street and too protective of the mega-bonus culture.
There is a view that the elation of becoming the first black president and the euphoria that accompanied his inauguration helped create a degree of arrogance in the White House that has led the President and his advisers to blame the media, or Republicans, for what the electorate is really thinking.
"They have misunderstood Main Street," says Stephen Hess, a White House veteran and author.
"Every administration is dealt a hand and they were dealt a very bad one, with two wars and a recession, but what matters is how you play your hand."
If Mr Obama is to turn his fortunes around he will need to display boldness and creativity when he restructures his team in November.
"If he just promotes all the number twos to replace the departing number ones, it won't be a good sign," Mr Hess says.
"It would show an administration that is in some trouble and which lacks imagination."
It would also give Bob Woodward plenty of material for his next book.
Not Guilty. The Israeli Captain who Emptied his Rifle into a Palestinian Schoolgirl (Sept 1, 2010)
An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday. The soldier, who has only been identified as Captain R, was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago. The manner of Imans killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was scared to death, made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.
After the verdict, Imans father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable.They did not charge him with Imans murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times, he said. This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children.
"A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post's operations room and describes Iman as "a little girl" who was "scared to death". After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot. ....Palestinian witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body. On the tape, Capt R then "clarifies" to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack. Well, at least they didn't stone her, did they? After all, Israel is a "bastion of Western civilization" in the midst of all those swarthy savages, isn't it? I mean, can there possibly be a clearer expression of civilization -- especially its ultra-modern Western version -- than Captain R's Aristotelian formulation? It bears repeating -- nay, memorizing, searing deeply into the brain and heart -- for it is clearly the guiding principle of all our glorious terror-fighting democracies today, not only plucky little Israel but also its patron and paymaster, the United States (and the lackey Limeys who trot along at Washington's heels): Anything that's mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Even if it's a three-year-old. Even if it -- this thing, this object, this Other, this creature, this piece of shit -- is a three-year-old. Kill it. It needs to be killed. Kill it. You need to kill it. A three-year-old? Kill it. It needs to be killed. Now that, my friends, is civilization."
And among the many comments posted there, this one struck me by its desperate tone...
"In a not surprisingly short time this story will read: "Captain X from Country Y slaughtered a 13 yr. old girl today, and invited his comrades to share her brains for lunch. A tutorial on baby raping followed, with a live demonstration by visiting soldiers from Country Z." Forgive me friends, this is not gallows humor I'm attempting. It's despair. Tonight I will succumb to it. Tonight the psychopaths win. The tainted thread of testosterone that infected mankind at its inception, with religion as it's most virulent host, is consuming us. And all is lost. I started my day reading about the mass woman and baby (boy) raping in Africa; finished with the story above. Where do I go from here? How do I erase my conscience? The words "mass extinction of humanity" quicken my pulse when I hear them. I daydream of catastrophic, nature based cataclysm to strike where it's most needed, yet only Pakistan's poorest suffer. Or Haitians. Why can't a massive earthquake happen right smack dab underneath the Pentagon? What a morale booster that would be! I'm rambling; crazed. My apologies."
I also found the following article that reveals much about the twisted psychic brainwashing that helps explain such abhorrent behavior - which, sadly, is widespread in the army of a country that has come to epitomize barbaric brutality and almost demonic deviance in the eye of much of the world, except for the US political class that unconditionally supports Israel to the tune of billions of dollars every year...
An Israeli female soldier, named Eden Abergil, has recently posted photos on Facebook of herself in uniform smiling beside bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainees.
In a certain sense, the Edens collections of photos represented a poor mimicry of the pornographic scenes revealed at the Abu Ghreib detention facility in Iraq a few years ago.
The untold message Abegril apparently wanted to communicate sounded like this: These are my sexual objects, I deal with them as I deem fit. I am the master; their lives are in my hands. They are my playboys.
When Abegril was criticized for besmirching the IDF image, she went wild:
I cant allow Arab lovers to ruin the perfect life I lead, wrote. I am not sorry and I dont regret it.
She added I am in favor of a Jewish-Zionist State. I defend what has been rightfully mine for ages. I would even slaughter, not only abuse, the Arabs.
Well, I dont know if the Gestapo behaved similarly with Jewish detainees in the course of the Second World War. What is sufficiently clear to me though is that this womans sick behavior, especially her invocation of Zionism as a justification for her brutal sadism, is by no means an isolated case in a society suffering from a deep collective psychosis.
This is why it is safe to assume that this type of behavior represents the modus operandi in the Israeli occupation army as well as throughout the Israeli Jewish society as a whole.
It is a society that has come to view the Palestinians as objects for abuse rather than human beings. This is what makes Israeli soldiers so callously and so nonchalantly and haphazardly murder innocent Palestinians in the streets, in schools, and playgrounds in Gaza.
This is what makes a prominent Israeli army general boast that he doesnt feel the slightest feeling of guilt whenever he murders Palestinian kids.
In the final analysis, Israeli killers in Khaki dont think in their heart of hearts that they are really killing real human beings, but rather infra-humans who are closer to being animals than to being humans. This is how these murderers and child killers are taught amd indoctrinated in their schools, colleges, synagogues and Talmudic colleges, that non-Jews are not real human beings, and that their lives have no sanctity what so ever. Well, try to come to the West Bank and have a conversation with these so-called rabbis about the status of non-Jews according to Halacha. Or Read the Kings Torah!! You will hear wonders.
This is certainly how this so called soldier was taught as a child, as a student and later as an adult.
Like all abusers of goyem, Abergil has not been arrested or even detained for questioning by the army. Far from that, she might eventually be granted a citation for good behavior. E.g. For being a good Zionist.
Have we forgotten that Israeli army soldier, codenamed Captain R. who in 2004 murdered in cold blood a Palestinian school girl in Rafah, Iman al Hams, and then shot the 12-year-old dying child 20 more bullets to make sure that she was dead, how he received more than $50,000 as a compensation for having his reputation compromised as a result of international criticism?
Needless to say, the fact that Palestinian rights and dignity are trampled upon by the Israeli state is taken for granted by that evil entity, which mendaciously claims to represent the traditions of the ancient Israelite Prophets, when in fact what it represents has more in common with the ideas of Adolph Hitler than with the teachings of Moses the son of Amram.
Alas, the Palestinians dont have a powerful state that would press or pressure Israel to uphold their human and legal rights, or at least stop killing them. This is why the Palestinians look very much like Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. They can be killed and abused haphazardly by the Nazis of our time, without any real consequences.
Yes, when cases are publicized by international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, or even Btselem, the Israeli human rights group, the Israeli justice system moves swiftly to limit the damage by carrying a usually laconic and belated investigation. Some soldiers are arrested and sentenced to symbolic jail sentences. The soldiers are usually rebuked for doing the dirty act before hostile cameras. Interestingly, this problem, filming the dirty deed, has been resolved by having the soldiers and settlers faces masked. This is how the perpetrators get away with impunity.
The sexual abuse of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, including female soldiers, is actually widespread.
A few years ago, a group of soldiers took a young Palestinian worker from the village of Khorsa near Hebron to a small bush near Jerusalem. There one female soldier ordered the worker to touch her private parts, telling him that she would kill him if he didnt heed the orders. The 19-year-old boy refused, risking the soldiers wrath. Disappointed by the boys dignified behavior, the female soldier called in several male soldiers, telling them that the young boy was trying to rape her. Predictably, the soldiers ganged up on the innocent boy until he nearly reached the point of death.
When the soldiers stopped beating and torturing the boy, they warned him that they would kill him next time if he dared tell the police about what happened.
The Israeli occupation army, which is proudly called the Israeli Defense Forces, is indeed the peoples army. Well, it is also a sick and psychotic peoples army, an army without morality, without honor, and without basic human decency.
It is an Gestapo-like army that is inculcated with the spirit of racism, depravity and criminality. Yes, for most Israelis, the Israeli army may be a sacred cow. However, when examined against true moral standards, it is any army of thugs, child-killers and common criminals. It is the kind of army where despicable psychopaths like Abegril fit perfectly
Khalid Amayreh is a Journalist living in Dura, Hebron District, West Bank, occupied Palestine . He has BA in journalism: University of Oklahoma, 1981 MA in journalism, University of Southern Illinois , 1983
Israel Continues Bombing of Gaza (17 September 2010) http://www.ahora.cu/english/sections/international/2662-israel-continues-bombing-of-gaza.html
Israeli aviation bombed two civilian zones in Gaza on Thursday, its second armed raid in just 24 hours, leaving one Palestinian soldier dead and two injured. Palestinian witnesses said the Israeli fighters targeted a warehouse of agricultural tools in northern Gaza and a desert area in Rafah, a city that borders Egypt and and contains numerous underground tunnels. Israeli military spokesmen justified the aggression by alleging the targets were supposed arms factories and depots for the Palestinian resistance, particularly Hamas. According to Israel, the attacks were in response to the launching of nine rockets at Israeli settlements in Naqab, Ashoul, and Ashkelon by Hamas and other Palestinian groups in the previous 24 hours. However, medical sources in Gaza said it was the second bombing of Gaza in 12 hours, after one Palestinian working on a tunnel died and another two were injured. Israeli planes fired on underground tunnels in Rafah on Wednesday under the pretext of preventing gunrunning for Hamas, but those passages are chiefly used to bring in goods that run out due to the Israeli blockade.
NOTE: How can Benjamin Netanyahu be taken seriously in his current peace negotiations with Palestinians if he bombs them at the same time?
The Secret Killers: Assassination in Afghanistan and Task Force 373 (August 19, 2010)
MEANWHILE THE US ARMY SOLDIERS AND THE US MERCENARIES (military contractors...) ARE KILLING INNOCENT CIVILIANS WITH RECKLESS ABANDON NOT ONLY IN AFGHANISTAN BUT WHEREVER THEY SEE FIT... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pratap-chatterjee/the-secret-killers-assass_b_687749.html
"Find, fix, finish, and follow-up" is the way the Pentagon describes the mission of secret military teams in Afghanistan which have been given a mandate to pursue alleged members of the Taliban or al-Qaeda wherever they may be found. Some call these manhunting operations and the units assigned to them capture/kill teams.Whatever terminology you choose, the details of dozens of their specific operations -- and how they regularly went badly wrong -- have been revealed for the first time in the mass of secret U.S. military and intelligence documents published by the website Wikileaks in July to a storm of news coverage and official protest. Representing a form of U.S. covert warfare now on the rise, these teams regularly make more enemies than friends and undermine any goodwill created by U.S. reconstruction projects. (...) Less than a week later, a Task Force 373 team fired five rockets at a compound in Nangar Khel in Paktika province to the south of Khost, in an attempt to kill Abu Laith al-Libi, an alleged al-Qaeda member from Libya. When the U.S. forces made it to the village, they found that Task Force 373 had destroyed a madrassa (or Islamic school), killing six children and grievously wounding a seventh who, despite the efforts of a U.S. medical team, would soon die. (In late January 2008, al-Libi was reported killed by a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone strike in a village near Mir Ali in North Waziristan in Pakistan.) Paktika Governor Akram Khapalwak met with the U.S. military the day after the raid. Unlike his counterparts in Khost and Nangarhar, Khapalwak agreed to support the talking points developed for Task Force 373 to explain the incident to the media. According to the Wikileaks incident report, the governor then echoed the tragedy of children being killed, but stressed this could've been prevented had the people exposed the presence of insurgents in the area.However, no military talking points, no matter in whose mouth, could stop the civilian deaths as long as Task Force 373s raids continued. On October 4, 2007, its members called in an air strike -- 500 pound Paveway bombs -- on a house in the village of Laswanday, just six miles from Nangar Khel in Paktika province (where those seven children had already died). This time, four men, one woman, and a girl -- all civilians -- as well as a donkey, a dog, and several chickens would be slaughtered. CLIP
U.S. Soldiers Allegedly Killed Afghan Civilians, Kept Body Parts As Trophies (09-10-10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/09/12-us-soldiers-charged-wi_n_710409.html
A dozen U.S. soldiers are charged with organizing a secret "kill team" which allegedly murdered Afghan civilians at random and cut fingers and other body parts from corpses as trophies, according to new documents released by the U.S. military. According to news reports, details in the charging documents released Wednesday shed new light on the cases against 12 soldiers who served a year in southern Afghanistan with a Stryker infantry brigade. The most serious accusations involve five soldiers -- Calvin Gibbs, Adam Winfield, Jeremy Mortlock, Andrew Holmes and Michael Wagnon II -- who are said to have slain three Afghans earlier this year.
(..) Media outlets have equated the alleged crimes to abuses committed by U.S. troops at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison in 2004. "This is the kind of thing that hurts us enormously," foreign policy expert Michael O'Hanlon told CBS. "It will have a disproportionate effect, just like Abu Ghraib did ... just like the Koran burning would in Florida." A military grand jury will consider the charges later this month. CLIP
Suspected U.S. Missiles Kill 10 In Northwest Pakistan (09/14/10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/14/us-missiles-pakistan_n_715816.html
ISLAMABAD Drone aircraft unleashed two missile attacks in a lawless tribal region on the Afghan border, making September the most intense period of U.S. strikes in Pakistan since they began in 2004, intelligence officials said. The stepped-up campaign that included Tuesday's strikes is focused on a small area of farming villages and mountainous, thickly forested terrain controlled by the Haqqani network, a ruthless American foe in Afghanistan, U.S. officials say. (...) U.S. officials do not publicly acknowledge the missile strikes but have said privately that they have killed several senior Taliban and al-Qaida militants and scores of foot soldiers in a region largely out of the control of the Pakistani state.Critics say innocents are also killed, fueling support for the insurgency. CLIP
Seven civilians killed in US-Iraqi raid (Sept 15, 2010) http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100915/wl_afp/iraqunrest
(...) FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) Seven civilians were among 18 people killed in Iraq on Wednesday, shot dead as US and Iraqi troops tried to nab a top Al-Qaeda leader in Fallujah, sparking public anger in the former rebel base. Two Iraqi soldiers were also killed in the firefight west of Baghdad, while a roadside bomb in northern Iraq claimed the lives of nine other troops travelling home on leave. The latest violence comes two weeks after Washington declared an official end to combat operations here, and with no new government having formed since elections in March. The early morning shootout in Fallujah -- long a base for Sunni Arab rebels who waged attacks against US forces and the Iraqi government -- left nine people dead overall. CLIP
Analysis of Civilian Casualties in WikiLeaks Afghan File Reveals Media Bias (July 27, 2010) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-michael-johnson/analysis-of-civilian-casu_b_660273.html
(...) While many of the civilian deaths analyzed in the High Severity section involve the explosion of IEDs set by the Taliban and other rebel groups, others are the direct result of American combat operations. In one example from 2007, eight civilians were killed and four were injured when American forces returned fire after reportedly being attacked with an RPG in Kandahar province. In another report from 2009, seven civilians were killed and one was wounded in a rural village near Nad-E'ali when American troops engaged and killed four alleged militants (though the report says that these enemy deaths were unconfirmed). Both of these reports are listed under the classification Enemy Action, but from the details provided it's impossible to know who was ultimately responsible for the civilian deaths. By emphasizing only the known cases of coalition troops killing civilians The Guardian was actually underreporting the real impact. What the WikiLeaks material reveals most clearly is the devastating toll this war has had on Afghan civilians. That The New York Times chose not to emphasize this fact suggests a political motive to avoid discussing the human impact of the war. This is consistent with the hypothesis that a close association between journalists and American political, economic, and military officials would influence reporters in the direction of those same officials. CLIP
THE OPPORTUNITY GIVEN BY AHMADINEJAB'S QUESTIONING OF THE 9/11 OFFICIAL STORY DURING HIS UN SPEECH THIS WEEK WAS HAPPILY SEIZED BY SOME TO BRING THIS ISSUE BACK AT THE FOREFRONT OF OUR ATTENTION IN THE HOPE OF BREAKING THE ONGOING OFFICIAL COVER UP PROTECTING THE TRUE CULPRITS OF THIS ACT OF HIGH TREASON AND IGNOMINOUS CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY - BECAUSE OF THE CASCADE OF ILLEGAL WARS THAT ENSUED FROM THIS SINGLE MEGA FALSE FLAG OPERATION. JUST AS FOR THE ONGOING COVERUP OF KENNEDY'S ASSASSINATION, THE 9/11 TERROR VISITED UPON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL REMAIN CLAOKED IN OFFICIAL DENIAL AS LONG AS ORDINARY PEOPLE WILL ALLOW THEMSELVES TO LIVE IN A SCHIZOPHRENIC WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE GOVERNMENTAL PRONOUNCEMENTS, MASS MEDIA PROPAGANDA AND INDIVIDUAL REFUSAL TO QUESTION THE OFFICIAL LIES WE ARE BEING CONTINUOUSLY FED. I SALUTE THE COURAGE OF THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN HIGH POSITIONS (listed below) WHO CAME FORWARD TO STATE THEIR COMPLETE DISBELIEF OF THE 9/11 OFFICIAL STORY. (Please go at the URL below to access the numerous links embedded in the text.)
But listen FIRST to...
President John F Kennedy Secret Society Speech version 2 - A TRULY AMAZING SPEECH! http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=xhZk8ronces
Listen to this incredible audio recording of a speech made by JFK before the American Newspaper Publishers Association where he warns the press about the secret societies that are the real power in global affairs.
Establishment Feigns Outrage At Ahmadinejad's 9/11 Rant
Paul Joseph Watson - September 24, 2010
The spectacle of a minority of UN diplomats walking out on a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he questioned the official story behind 9/11 was instantaneously seized upon by the establishment media and exploited as a way of demonizing any inquiry into the terror attacks.
The media hyped the event as a massive walkout even though the majority of diplomats remained seated during the speech, and launched a talking point centered around feigned outrage in an effort to characterize skepticism of the 9/11 official story as an extremist, fringe viewpoint held by vulgar people.
Ahmadinejad may be a petty dictator and an odious character who oversees a regime of oppression and disregard for human rights, but he hasn't invaded and occupied any countries and he hasn't been involved in the murders of over a million innocent people, unlike a certain Tony Blair, who upon the recent release of his book was lauded by the establishment press and is regularly applauded by UN delegates when he makes speeches in front of diplomats.
Just because Ahmadinejad discusses a certain topic doesn't instantly discredit the basis of that issue.
Indeed, despite the fact that blowhard neo-cons who acted as cheerleaders for George W. Bush's brutal and disastrous invasion of Afghanistan as a means of figuratively extending their stunted manhood are claiming Ahmadinejad brazenly stated that "9/11 was an inside job," in an effort to demonize Alex Jones, this actual term was never even used and in reality Ahmadinejad merely listed the different culprits people around the world have blamed for the attacks.
In reality, Ahmadinejad afforded equal time to the official U.S. government version of the events and never even specifically embraced any of the explanations put forward.
So-called opponents of big government like the folks over at Red State love to defend the sanctity of the official 9/11 story, despite the fact that 9/11 was used to triple the size of government and set up the covert police state that now targets conservative Americans as domestic terrorists.
In addition, political operatives who support the Obama administration have gone on record suggesting that another terror attack would be the perfect tonic to reverse Obama's plummeting approval ratings and eliminate his political opposition - conservatives and Tea Party members - so let's stop being naive and denying the fact that governments would exploit or even provoke terror attacks as a means of influencing elections - just as Tom Ridge admitted was the case when Homeland Security issued fake terror alerts for political purposes during the Bush administration.
But the overriding issue to the Ahmadinejad controversy is the fact that whatever Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks about 9/11, it doesn't make the literally dozens of unexplained contradictions with the official story simply vanish into thin air.
No amount of feigned outrage can put the 9/11 truth genie back in the bottle - all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put the official 9/11 story back together again.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 does not answer why Building 7 collapsed in seven seconds within its own footprint on the afternoon of 9/11 despite not being hit by a plane and having suffered minimal damage.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 does not answer why the US air defense system failed to follow standard operating procedures for responding to diverted passenger flights.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 does not answer why cell phones worked at 30,000 feet in 2001.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 does not answer why US authorities failed to respond to scores of warnings from foreign intelligence agencies as well as their own Able Danger program which was tracking the hijackers before the attacks.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 does not answer why Osama Bin Laden was working for the US right up until 9/11, as revealed by FBI translator Sibel Edmonds.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 doesn't answer why unprecedented numbers of put options, speculation that a stock will fall, were place on airline stocks, in the days before 9/11.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 doesn't answer why there has been no formal indictment of bin Laden nine years after 9/11 when it only took three months to charge him with the 1998 embassy bombings.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 doesn't answer why the US government allowed the entire Bin Laden family to fly out of the country without even questioning them when all other air traffic was grounded.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talking about 9/11 doesn't answer a mountain of other issues that clearly indicate the official story is impossible and that millions of people around the world acknowledge this, and no amount of smear-by association will eliminate the thousands of respected individuals and whistleblowers who have spoken out on the issue.
Listed below are just some of the many prominent military, government, scientific and legal officials who have all questioned the official 9/11 story.
The co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission (Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton) said that the CIA (and likely the White House) "obstructed our investigation".
The co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission also said that the 9/11 Commissioners knew that military officials misrepresented the facts to the Commission, and the Commission considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements, yet didn't bother to tell the American people.
Indeed, the co-chairs of the Commission now admit that the Commission largely operated based upon political considerations.
9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton says "I don't believe for a minute we got everything right", that the Commission was set up to fail, that people should keep asking questions about 9/11, that the 9/11 debate should continue, and that the 9/11 Commission report was only "the first draft" of history.
9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that "There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version . . . We didn't have access . . . ."
9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer said "We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting"
Former 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: "It is a national scandal"; "This investigation is now compromised"; and "One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up".
9/11 Commissioner John Lehman said that "We purposely put together a staff that had - in a way - conflicts of interest".
The Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) who led the 9/11 staff's inquiry, said "I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described . The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years . This is not spin. This is not true."
According to the Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, a U.S. government informant was the landlord to two of the hijackers for over a year (but the White House refused to let the 9/11 inquiry interview him).
Current U.S. Senator (Patrick Leahy) states "The two questions that the congress will not ask . . . is why did 9/11 happen on George Bush's watch when he had clear warnings that it was going to happen? Why did they allow it to happen?"
Current Republican Congressman (Ron Paul) calls for a new 9/11 investigation and states that "we see the [9/11] investigations that have been done so far as more or less cover-up and no real explanation of what went on"
Current Democratic Congressman (Dennis Kucinich) hints that we aren't being told the truth about 9/11
Former Democratic Senator (Mike Gravel) states that he supports a new 9/11 investigation and that we don't know the truth about 9/11
Former Republican Senator (Lincoln Chaffee) endorses a new 9/11 investigation
Former U.S. Democratic Congressman (Dan Hamburg) says that the U.S. government "assisted" in the 9/11 attacks, stating that "I think there was a lot of help from the inside"
Former U.S. Republican Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and who served six years as the Chairman of the Military Research and Development Subcommittee (Curt Weldon) has shown that the U.S. tracked hijackers before 9/11, is open to hearing information about explosives in the Twin Towers, and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan (Col. Ronald D. Ray) said that the official story of 9/11 is "the dog that doesn't hunt".
Director of the U.S. "Star Wars" space defense program in both Republican and Democratic administrations, who was a senior air force colonel who flew 101 combat missions (Col. Robert Bowman) stated that 9/11 was an inside job. He also said:
"If our government had merely [done] nothing, and I say that as an old interceptor pilot-I know the drill, I know what it takes, I know how long it takes, I know what the procedures are, I know what they were, and I know what they've changed them to-if our government had merely done nothing, and allowed normal procedures to happen on that morning of 9/11, the Twin Towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive. [T]hat is treason!"
U.S. Army Air Defense Officer and NORAD Tac Director, decorated with the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Soldiers Medal (Capt. Daniel Davis) stated:
"there is no way that an aircraft . . . would not be intercepted when they deviate from their flight plan, turn off their transponders, or stop communication with Air Traffic Control Attempts to obscure facts by calling them a 'conspiracy Theory' does not change the truth. It seems, 'Something is rotten in the State.'"
President of the U.S. Air Force Accident Investigation Board, who also served as Pentagon Weapons Requirement Officer and as a member of the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review, and who was awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses for Heroism, four Air Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals, and nine Aerial Achievement Medals (Lt. Col. Jeff Latas) is a member of a group which doubts the government's version of 9/11.
U.S. General, Commanding General of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, decorated with the Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Purple Heart (General Wesley Clark) said "We've never finished the investigation of 9/11 and whether the administration actually misused the intelligence information it had. The evidence seems pretty clear to me. I've seen that for a long time."
Air Force Colonel and key Pentagon official (Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski) finds various aspects of 9/11 suspicious.
Lieutenant colonel, 24-year Air Force career, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the Defense Language Institute (Lt. Colonel Steve Butler) said "Of course Bush knew about the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism."
Two-Star general (Major General Albert Stubbelbine) questions the attack on the Pentagon.
U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, former instructor at the USAF Fighter Weapons School and NATO's Tactical Leadership Program, with a 20-year Air Force career (Lt. Colonel Guy S. Razer) said the following:
"I am 100% convinced that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were planned, organized, and committed by treasonous perpetrators that have infiltrated the highest levels of our government."
Those of us in the military took an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Just because we have retired does not make that oath invalid, so it is not just our responsibility, it is our duty to expose the real perpetrators of 9/11 and bring them to justice, no matter how hard it is, how long it takes, or how much we have to suffer to do it.
We owe it to those who have gone before us who executed that same oath, and who are doing the same thing in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Those of us who joined the military and faithfully executed orders that were given us had to trust our leaders. The violation and abuse of that trust is not only heinous, but ultimately the most accurate definition of treason!"
U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, a fighter pilot with over 300 combat missions flown and a 21-year Marine Corps career (Lt. Colonel Shelton F. Lankford) believes that 9/11 was an inside job, and said:
"This isn't about party, it isn't about Bush Bashing. It's about our country, our constitution, and our future."
Your countrymen have been murdered and the more you delve into it the more it looks as though they were murdered by our government, who used it as an excuse to murder other people thousands of miles away.
If you ridicule others who have sincere doubts and who know factual information that directly contradicts the official report and who want explanations from those who hold the keys to our government, and have motive, means, and opportunity to pull off a 9/11, but you are too lazy or fearful, or ... to check into the facts yourself, what does that make you? ...
Are you afraid that you will learn the truth and you can't handle it? ..."
U.S. Navy 'Top Gun' pilot (Commander Ralph Kolstad) who questions the official account of 9/11 and is calling for a new investigation, says "When one starts using his own mind, and not what one was told, there is very little to believe in the official story".
The Group Director on matters of national security in the U.S. Government Accountability Office said that President Bush did not respond to unprecedented warnings of the 9/11 disaster and conducted a massive cover-up instead of accepting responsibility.
Additionally, numerous military leaders from allied governments have questioned 9/11, such as:
Canadian Minister of Defense, the top military leader of Canada (Paul Hellyer)
Assistant German Defense Minister (Andreas Von Bulow)
Commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy (Anatoli Kornukov)
Chief of staff of the Russian armed forces (General Leonid Ivashov).
Former military analyst and famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg recently said that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers." He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up allegations about 9/11. And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that "very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been", that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of the current (Bush) administration, and that there's enough evidence to justify a new, "hard-hitting" investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath.
A 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials (Raymond McGovern) said "I think at simplest terms, there's a cover-up. The 9/11 Report is a joke", and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job.
A 29-year CIA veteran, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis (William Bill Christison) said "I now think there is persuasive evidence that the events of September did not unfold as the Bush administration and the 9/11 Commission would have us believe. ... All three [buildings that were destroyed in the World Trade Center] were most probably destroyed by controlled demolition charges placed in the buildings before 9/11." (and see this).
20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer (David Steele) stated that "9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war", and it was probably an inside job.
A decorated 20-year CIA veteran, who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called "perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East", and whose astounding career formed the script for the Academy Award winning motion picture Syriana (Robert Baer) said that "the evidence points at 9/11 having had aspects of being an inside job."
The Division Chief of the CIA's Office of Soviet Affairs, who served as Senior Analyst from 1966 - 1990. He also served as Professor of International Security at the National War College from 1986 - 2004 (Melvin Goodman) said "The final [9/11 Commission] report is ultimately a coverup."
Professor of History and International Relations, University of Maryland. Former Executive Assistant to the Director of the National Security Agency, former military attaché in China, with a 21-year career in U.S. Army Intelligence (Major John M. Newman, PhD, U.S. Army) questions the government's version of the events of 9/11.
The head of all U.S. intelligence, the Director of National Intelligence (Mike McConnel) said "9/11 should have and could have been prevented."
A number of intelligence officials, including a CIA Operations Officer who co-chaired a CIA multi-agency task force coordinating intelligence efforts among many intelligence and law enforcement agencies (Lynne Larkin) sent a joint letter to Congress expressing their concerns about "serious shortcomings," "omissions," and "major flaws" in the 9/11 Commission Report and offering their services for a new investigation (they were ignored).
A prominent physicist with 33 years of service for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC (Dr. David L. Griscom) said that the official theory for why the Twin Towers and world trade center building 7 collapsed "does not match the available facts" and supports the theory that the buildings were brought down by controlled demolition.
A world-renowned scientist, recipient of the National Medal of Science, America's highest honor for scientific achievement (Dr. Lynn Margulis) said:
"I suggest that those of us aware and concerned demand that the glaringly erroneous official account of 9/11 be dismissed as a fraud and a new, thorough, and impartial investigation be undertaken."
The former head of the Fire Science Division of the government agency which claims that the World Trade Centers collapsed due to fire (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), who is one of the world's leading fire science researchers and safety engineers, a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (Dr. James Quintiere), called for an independent review of the World Trade Center Twin Tower collapse investigation. "I wish that there would be a peer review of this," he said, referring to the NIST investigation. "I think all the records that NIST has assembled should be archived. I would really like to see someone else take a look at what they've done; both structurally and from a fire point of view. ... I think the official conclusion that NIST arrived at is questionable."
The principal electrical engineer for the entire World Trade Center complex, who was "very familiar with the structures and [the Twin Towers'] conceptual design parameters" (Richard F. Humenn), stated that "the mass and strength of the structure should have survived the localized damage caused by the planes and burning jet fuel ... the fuel and planes alone did not bring the Towers down."
Former Director for Research, Director for Aeronautical Projects, and Flight Research Program Manager for NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, who holds masters degrees in both physics and engineering (Dwain A. Deets) says:
"The many visual images (massive structural members being hurled horizontally, huge pyroclastic clouds, etc.) leave no doubt in my mind explosives were involved [in the destruction of the World Trade Centers on 9/11]."
A prominent physicist, former U.S. professor of physics from a top university, and a former principal investigator for the U.S. Department of Energy, Division of Advanced Energy Projects (Dr. Steven E. Jones) stated that the World Trade Center Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition.
A U.S. physics professor who teaches at several universities (Dr. Crockett Grabbe) believes that the World Trade Centers were brought down by controlled demolition.
An expert on demolition (Bent Lund) said that the trade centers were brought down with explosives (in Danish).
A Dutch demolition expert (Danny Jowenko) stated that WTC 7 was imploded.
A safety engineer and accident analyst for the Finnish National Safety Technology Authority (Dr. Heikki Kurttila) stated regarding WTC 7 that "The great speed of the collapse and the low value of the resistance factor strongly suggest controlled demolition."
A 13-year professor of metallurgical engineering at a U.S. university, with a PhD in materials engineering, a former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment Senior Staff Member (Dr. Joel S. Hirschhorn), is calling for a new investigation of 9/11.
A Danish professor of chemistry (Dr. Niels Harrit) said, in a mainstream Danish newspaper, "WTC7 collapsed exactly like a house of cards. If the fires or damage in one corner had played a decisive role, the building would have fallen in that direction. You don't have to be a woodcutter to grasp this" (translated).
A former guidance systems engineer for Polaris and Trident missiles and professor emeritus, mathematics and computer science at a university concluded (Dr. Bruce R. Henry) that the Twin Towers "were brought down by planted explosives."
A mechanical engineer with 20 years experience as a Fire Protection Engineer for the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, who is a contributing Subject Matter Expert to the U.S. Department of Energy Fire Protection Engineering Functional Area Qualification Standard for Nuclear Facilities, a board member of the Northern California - Nevada Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, currently serving as Fire Protection Engineer for the city of San Jose, California, the 10th largest city in the United States (Edward S. Munyak) believes that the World Trade Center was destroyed by controlled demolition.
The former Chief of the Strategic and Emergency Planning Branch, U.S. Department of Energy, and former Director of the Office of Engineering at the Public Service Commission in Washington, D.C., who is a mechanical engineer (Enver Masud), does not believe the official story, and believes that there is a prima facie case for controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.
A professor of mathematics (Gary Welz) said "The official explanation that I've heard doesn't make sense because it doesn't explain why I heard and felt an explosion before the South Tower fell and why the concrete was pulverized."
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS AND ARCHITECTS
A prominent engineer with 55 years experience, in charge of the design of hundreds of major building projects including high rise offices, former member of the California Seismic Safety Commission and former member of the National Institute of Sciences Building Safety Council (Marx Ayres) believes that the World Trade Centers were brought down by controlled demolition (see also this)
Two professors of structural engineering at a prestigious Swiss university (Dr. Joerg Schneider and Dr. Hugo Bachmann) said that, on 9/11, World Trade Center 7 was brought down by controlled demolition.
An architect, member of the American Institute of Architects, who has been a practicing architect for 20 years and has been responsible for the production of construction documents for numerous steel-framed and fire-protected buildings for uses in many different areas, including education, civic, rapid transit and industrial use (Richard Gage) disputes the claim that fire and airplane damage brought down the World Trade Centers and believes there is strong evidence of controlled demolition (hundreds of other architects who question 9/11 are listed here)
Former Federal Prosecutor, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Department of Justice under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan; former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and currently a widely-sought media commentator on terrorism and intelligence services (John Loftus) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Former Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation; former Professor of Aviation, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering and Aviation and Professor of Public Policy, Ohio State University (Mary Schiavo) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign; a leading practitioner and advocate of international law; responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention; served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia- Herzegovina at the World Court, with a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University (Dr. Francis Boyle) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Former prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Justice Department and a key member of Attorney General Bobby Kennedy's anti-corruption task force; former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (J. Terrence "Terry" Brunner) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Professor Emeritus, International Law, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University; in 2001 served on the three-person UN Commission on Human Rights for the Palestine Territories, and previously, on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo (Richard Falk) questions the government's version of 9/11 and asks whether the Neocons were behind 9/11.
Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Director, Center for Human Rights, University of Iowa; Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science. Honorary Editor, Board of Editors, American Journal of International Law (Burns H. Weston) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Former president of the National Lawyers Guild (C. Peter Erlinder), who signed a petition calling for a real investigation into 9/11. And see petition.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Troy University; associate General Counsel, National Association of Federal Agents; Retired Agent in Charge, Internal Affairs, U.S. Customs, responsible for the internal integrity and security for areas encompassing nine states and two foreign locations; former Federal Sky Marshall; 27-year U.S. Customs career (Mark Conrad) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Professor of Law, University of Freiburg; former Minister of Justice of West Germany (Horst Ehmke) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Director of Academic Programs, Institute for Policy and Economic Development, University of Texas, El Paso, specializing in executive branch secrecy policy, governmental abuse, and law and bureaucracy; former U.S. Army Signals Intelligence officer; author of several books on law and political theory (Dr. William G. Weaver) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Famed trial attorney (Gerry Spence) questions the government's version of 9/11.
Former Instructor of Criminal Trial Practice, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley 11-year teaching career. Retired Chief Assistant Public Defender, Contra Costa County, California 31-year career (William Veale) said:
"When you grow up in the United States, there are some bedrock principles that require concerted effort to discard. One is the simplest: that our leaders are good and decent people whose efforts may occasionally warrant criticism but never because of malice or venality... But one grows up... And with the lawyer's training comes the reliance on evidence and the facts that persuade... After a lot of reading, thought, study, and commiseration, I have come to the conclusion that the attacks of 9/11 were, in their essence, an inside job perpetrated at the highest levels of the U S government."
FAMILY MEMBERS AND HEROIC FIRST RESPONDERS
A common criticism of those who question 9/11 is that they are being "disrespectful to the victims and their families".
However, half of the victim's families believe that 9/11 was an inside job (according to the head of the largest 9/11 family group, Bill Doyle) (and listen to this interview). Many family and friends of victims not only support the search for 9/11 truth, but they demand it. See also this interview.
Indeed, it has now become so clear that the 9/11 Commission was a whitewash that the same 9/11 widows who called for the creation of the 9/11 Commission are now demanding a NEW investigation (see also this video).
And dying heroes, soon-to-be victims themselves, the first responders who worked tirelessly to save lives on and after 9/11, say that controlled demolition brought down the Twin Towers and that a real investigation is necessary.
PSYCHIATRISTS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS
Finally, those who attack people who question the government's version of 9/11 as "crazy" may wish to review the list of mental health professionals who have concluded that the official version of 9/11 is false:
Psychiatrist Carol S. Wolman, MD
Psychiatrist E. Martin Schotz
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, as well as Radiology, at Duke University Medical Center D. Lawrence Burk, Jr., MD
Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Ruters University Barry R. Komisaruk
Professor of Psychology at University of New Hampshire William Woodward
Professor of Psychology at University of Essex Philip Cozzolino
Professor of Psychology at Goddard College Catherine Lowther
Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies Ralph Metzner
Professor of Psychology at Rhodes University Mike Earl-Taylor
Retired Professor of Psychology at Oxford University Graham Harris
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nebraska and licensed Psychologist Ronald Feintech
Ph.D. Clinical Neuropsychologist Richard Welser
THOUSANDS OF OTHERS
The roster above is only a sample. There are too many Ph.D. scientists and engineers, architects, military and intelligence officials, politicians, legal scholars and other highly-credible people who question 9/11 - literally thousands - to list in one place. Here are a few additional people to consider:
The former director of the FBI (Louis Freeh) says there was a cover up by the 9/11 Commission.
Former air traffic controller, who knows the flight corridor which the two planes which hit the Twin Towers flew "like the back of my hand" and who handled two actual hijackings (Robin Hordon) says that 9/11 could not have occurred as the government says, and that planes can be tracked on radar even when their transponders are turned off.
Perhaps "the premiere collapse expert in the country", who 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer referred to as a "very, very respected expert on building collapse", the head of the New York Fire Department's Special Operations Command and the most highly decorated firefighter in its NYFD history, who had previously "commanded rescue operations at many difficult and complex disasters, including the Oklahoma City Bombing, the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, and many natural disasters worldwide" thought that the collapse of the South Tower was caused by bombs, because the collapse of the building was too even to have been caused by anything else (pages 5-6).
Former Deputy Secretary for Intelligence and Warning under Nixon, Ford, and Carter (Morton Goulder), former former Deputy Director to the White House Task Force on Terrorism (Edward L. Peck), and former US Department of State Foreign Service Officer (J. Michael Springmann), as well as a who's who of liberals and independents) jointly call for a new investigation into 9/11.
Former FBI agent (Robert Wright) says "The FBI, rather than trying to prevent a terrorist attack, was merely gathering intelligence so they would know who to arrest when a terrorist attack occurred."
Former Minnesota Governor (Jesse Ventura) questions the government's account of 9/11 and asks whether the World Trade Center was demolished.
Former FBI translator, who the Department of Justice's Inspector General and several senators have called extremely credible (Sibel Edmonds), said "If they were to do real investigations we would see several significant high level criminal prosecutions in this country. And that is something that they are not going to let out. And, believe me; they will do everything to cover this up". She also is leaning towards the conclusion that 9/11 was an inside job. Some of her allegations have been confirmed in the British press.
9/11 research to be censored from 'Project Censored' (Sept 21st, 2010) http://www.infowars.com/911-research-to-be-censored-from-project-censored/
"Progressive" Washington Think Tank Censors All Independent 9/11 Research; 'Project Censored' watchdog was told that nothing about 9/11 will be published -- The director of a prominent investigative journalism group has told reporters that the organisation's work is being censored because it continues to highlight stories surrounding questions over the official explanation of events on the 11th of September 2001. Project Censored is a long running non-profit national media watchdog group that was founded in 1976 by journalism professor Carl Jensen.It is operated out of the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University, with both faculty and students involved in its preparation. The project's core directive is to highlight newsworthy stories that have been overlooked, ignored or actively censored by the corporate mainstream media.The organisation publishes a volume of what it believes are the 25 most significant of these stories every year. The stories often originate from alternative media researchers and independent sources. The results are published in some major newspapers and journals. In 2004 Infowars' own Alex Jones was awarded second place at the Project Censored Awards for his unparalleled analysis of Patriot Act II, the freedom stripping follow up legislation to the first Patriot Act, passed after 9/11. The commentary subsequently appeared in hundreds of newspapers and other online media resources thanks to the diligence of Project Censored in shining a light on the issue.According to its directors, the group's work is being made more difficult now, however, due to censorship of Project Censored because of its ongoing commitment to cover 9/11 Truth stories. 9/11 Truth issues have made the top 25 Project Censored awards frequently over the past nine years. CLIP
Why an Underwear Bomber Trial with an Entrapment Defense Would be One of the Greatest Events in U.S. History (September 13, 2010) http://haskellfamily.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-underwear-bomber-trial-with.html
(...) It seems to me, that now that the Underwear Bomber is representing himself, or possibly using new attorneys, that the use of an entrapment defense is not out of the question. The use of such a defense could be one of the greatest moments in the history of the United States of America. Only through a defense such as this, could the full involvement of the U.S. Government be fully discovered and divulged. Please consider the following: 1. The Underwear Bomber was escorted through security without a passport by the Sharp Dressed Man who by all accounts, appears to be a government agent. 2. Congressional hearings have confirmed that the Underwear Bomber was likely let on flight 253 intentionally. 3. The bomb failed to detonate, and by many accounts, was designed so that it would not detonate. 4. The entire terrorist attack was filmed from before it started until after it ended.5. The bomb was obtained in Yemen where the CIA has been known to have agents interacting with Al Qaeda.Once you accept the above, it is not so far fetched to believe that the U.S. Government planted a defective bomb on the Underwear Bomber to: 1. Renew the Patriot Act 2. Get body scanners in the airports 3. Further the U.S. involvement in strategically located Yemen 4. Further the fraudulent war on terror 5. Provide further profit to the military industrial complex. Only through an entrapment defense that is fully litigated in open court could the American citizens get what they deserve, an open honest investigation into the Christmas Day events of 2009. Such a trial could possibly wake up the millions of American citizens that fail to even consider that its government is corrupt, dishonest, and working for those who only seek to consolidate their power and wealth. CLIP
9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001
By Michel Chossudovsky - September 9, 2010
This article summarizes earlier writings by the author on 9/11 and the role of Al Qaeda in US foreign policy. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, America's "War on Terrorism" Global Research, 2005
"The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings....The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..", (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
"Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad." (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
"Bin Laden recruited 4,000 volunteers from his own country and developed close relations with the most radical mujahideen leaders. He also worked closely with the CIA, ... Since September 11,  CIA officials have been claiming they had no direct link to bin Laden." (Phil Gasper, International Socialist Review, November-December 2001)
-Osama bin Laden, America's bogyman, was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihad. He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.
-The architects of the covert operation in support of "Islamic fundamentalism" launched during the Reagan presidency played a key role in launching the "Global War on Terrorism" in the wake of 9/11.
- President Ronald Reagan met the leaders of the Islamic Jihad at the White House in 1983
-Under the Reagan adminstration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic "freedom fighters". In today's World, the "freedom fighters" are labelled "Islamic terrorists".
-In the Pashtun language, the word "Taliban" means "Students", or graduates of the madrasahs (places of learning or coranic schools) set up by the Wahhabi missions ffrom Saudi Arabia, with the support of the CIA. Education in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war war largely secular in Afghanistan. The number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.
The Soviet-Afghan war was part of a CIA covert agenda initiated during the Carter administration, which consisted in actively supporting and financing the Islamic brigades, later known as Al Qaeda. The Pakistani military regime played from the outset in the late 1970s, a key role in the US sponsored military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan. in the post-Cold war era, this central role of Pakistan in US intelligence operations was extended to the broader Central Asia- Middle East region.
From the outset of the Soviet Afghan war in 1979, Pakistan under military rule actively supported the Islamic brigades. In close liaison with the CIA, Pakistan's military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), became a powerful organization, a parallel government, wielding tremendous power and influence.
America's covert war in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a launch pad, was initiated during the Carter administration prior to the Soviet "invasion":
"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention." (Former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998)
In the published memoirs of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who held the position of deputy CIA Director at the height of the Soviet Afghan war, US intelligence was directly involved from the outset, prior to the Soviet invasion, in channeling aid to the Islamic brigades.
With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a "parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government". (Dipankar Banerjee, "Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry", India Abroad, 2 December 1994). The ISI had a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers, estimated at 150,000. (Ibid)
Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the Pakistani military regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:
"Relations between the CIA and the ISI had grown increasingly warm following [General] Zias ouster of Bhutto and the advent of the military regime... During most of the Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq] sent his ISI chief to destabilize the Soviet Central Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan in October 1984." (Ibid)
The ISI operating virtually as an affiliate of the CIA, played a central role in channeling support to Islamic paramilitary groups in Afghanistan and subsequently in the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.
Acting on behalf of the CIA, the ISI was also involved in the recruitment and training of the Mujahideen. In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 Muslims from 43 Islamic countries were recruited to fight in the Afghan jihad. The madrassas in Pakistan, financed by Saudi charities, were also set up with US support with a view to "inculcating Islamic values". "The camps became virtual universities for future Islamic radicalism," (Ahmed Rashid, The Taliban). Guerilla training under CIA-ISI auspices included targeted assassinations and car bomb attacks.
"Weapons' shipments "were sent by the Pakistani army and the ISI to rebel camps in the North West Frontier Province near the Afghanistan border. The governor of the province is Lieutenant General Fazle Haq, who [according to Alfred McCoy] . allowed "hundreds of heroin refineries to set up in his province." Beginning around 1982, Pakistani army trucks carrying CIA weapons from Karachi often pick up heroin in Haqs province and return loaded with heroin. They are protected from police search by ISI papers. 1982-1989: US Turns Blind Eye to BCCI and Pakistani Government Involvement in Heroin Trade See also McCoy, 2003, p. 477) .
Osama Bin Laden
Osama bin Laden, America's bogyman, was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihad. He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.
During the Reagan administration, Osama, who belonged to the wealthy Saudi Bin Laden family was put in charge of raising money for the Islamic brigades. Numerous charities and foundations were created. The operation was coordinated by Saudi intelligence, headed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, in close liaison with the CIA. The money derived from the various charities were used to finance the recruitment of Mujahieen volunteers. Al Qaeda, the base in Arabic was a data bank of volunteers who had enlisted to fight in the Afghan jihad. That data base was initially held by Osama bin Laden.
The Reagan Administration supports "Islamic Fundamentalism"
Pakistan's ISI was used as a "go-between". CIA covert support to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISI, --i.e. the CIA did not channel its support directly to the Mujahideen. In other words, for these covert operations to be "successful", Washington was careful not to reveal the ultimate objective of the "jihad", which consisted in destroying the Soviet Union.
In December 1984, the Sharia Law (Islamic jurisprudence) was established in Pakistan following a rigged referendum launched by President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Barely a few months later, in March 1985, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 166 (NSDD 166), which authorized "stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen" as well a support to religious indoctrination.
The imposition of The Sharia in Pakistan and the promotion of "radical Islam" was a deliberate US policy serving American geopolitical interests in South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Many present-day "Islamic fundamentalist organizations" in the Middle East and Central Asia, were directly or indirectly the product of US covert support and financing, often channeled through foundations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Missions from the Wahhabi sect of conservative Islam in Saudi Arabia were put in charge of running the CIA sponsored madrassas in Northern Pakistan.
Under NSDD 166, a series of covert CIA-ISI operations was launched.
The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades through the ISI. CIA and ISI officials would meet at ISI headquarters in Rawalpindi to coordinate US support to the Mujahideen. Under NSDD 166, the procurement of US weapons to the Islamic insurgents increased from 10,000 tons of arms and ammunition in 1983 to 65,000 tons annually by 1987. "In addition to arms, training, extensive military equipment including military satellite maps and state-of-the-art communications equipment" (University Wire, 7 May 2002).
With William Casey as director of the CIA, NSDD 166 was described as the largest covert operation in US history:
The U.S. supplied support package had three essential components-organization and logistics, military technology, and ideological support for sustaining and encouraging the Afghan resistance....
U.S. counterinsurgency experts worked closely with the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in organizing Mujahideen groups and in planning operations inside Afghanistan.
... But the most important contribution of the U.S. was to ... bring in men and material from around the Arab world and beyond. The most hardened and ideologically dedicated men were sought on the logic that they would be the best fighters. Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad. (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Afghanistan and the Genesis of the Global Jihad, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
Under NSDD 166, US assistance to the Islamic brigades channeled through Pakistan was not limited to bona fide military aid. Washington also supported and financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the process of religious indoctrination, largely to secure the demise of secular institutions:
... the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..
The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books "are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy." Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.
... AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.
"It's not AID's policy to support religious instruction," Stratos said. "But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity."
... Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university's education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994." (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
The Role of the NeoCons
There is continuity. The architects of the covert operation in support of "Islamic fundamentalism" launched during the Reagan presidency played a key role in role in launching the "Global War on Terrorism" in the wake of 9/11.
Several of the NeoCons of the Bush Junior Administration were high ranking officials during the Reagan presidency.
Richard Armitage, was Deputy Secretary of State during George W. Bush's first term (2001-2004). He played a central key role in post 9/11 negotiations with Pakistan leading up to the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. During the Reagan era, he held the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. In this capacity, he played a key role in the implementation of NSDD 163 while also ensuring liaison with the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus.
Meanwhile, Paul Wolfowitz was at the State Department in charge of a foreign policy team composed, among others, of Lewis Libby, Francis Fukuyama and Zalmay Khalilzad.
Wolfowitz's group was also involved in laying the conceptual groundwork of US covert support to Islamic parties and organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Bush's Secretary of Defence Robert Gates also was also involved in setting the groundwork for CIA covert operations. He was appointed Deputy Director for Intelligence by Ronald Reagan in 1982, and Deputy Director of the CIA in 1986, a position which he held until 1989. Gates played a key role in the formulation of NSDD 163, which established a consistent framework for promoting Islamic fundamentalism and channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal. .
The Iran Contra Operation
Richard Gates, Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, among others, were also involved in the Iran-Contra operation.
Armitage was in close liaison with Colonel Oliver North. His deputy and chief anti-terrorist official Noel Koch was part of the team set up by Oliver North.
Of significance, the Iran-Contra operation was also tied into the process of channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan. The Iran Contra scheme served several related foreign policy:
1) Procurement of weapons to Iran thereby feeding the Iraq-Iran war,
2) Support to the Nicaraguan Contras,
3) Support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan, channeled via Pakistan's ISI.
Following the delivery of the TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran, the proceeds of these sales were deposited in numbered bank accounts and the money was used to finance the Nicaraguan Contras. and the Mujahideen:
"The Washington Post reported that profits from the Iran arms sales were deposited in one CIA-managed account into which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had placed $250 million apiece. That money was disbursed not only to the contras in Central America but to the rebels fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan." (US News & World Report, 15 December 1986).
Although Lieutenant General Colin Powell, was not directly involved in the arms' transfer negotiations, which had been entrusted to Oliver North, he was among "at least five men within the Pentagon who knew arms were being transferred to the CIA." (The Record, 29 December 1986). In this regard, Powell was directly instrumental in giving the "green light" to lower-level officials in blatant violation of Congressional procedures. According to the New York Times, Colin Powell took the decision (at the level of military procurement), to allow the delivery of weapons to Iran:
"Hurriedly, one of the men closest to Secretary of Defense Weinberger, Maj. Gen. Colin Powell, bypassed the written ''focal point system'' procedures and ordered the Defense Logistics Agency [responsible for procurement] to turn over the first of 2,008 TOW missiles to the CIA., which acted as cutout for delivery to Iran" (New York Times, 16 February 1987)
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was also implicated in the Iran-Contra Affair.
The Golden Crescent Drug Trade
The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is intimately related to the CIA's covert operations. Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA's Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).
Alfred McCoy's study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, "the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world's top heroin producer." (Ibid) Various Islamic paramilitary groups and organizations were created. The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade, which was protected by the CIA, were used to finance the various insurgencies:
"Under CIA and Pakistani protection, Pakistan military and Afghan resistance opened heroin labs on the Afghan and Pakistani border. According to The Washington Post of May 1990, among the leading heroin manufacturers were Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan leader who received about half of the covert arms that the U.S. shipped to Pakistan. Although there were complaints about Hekmatyar's brutality and drug trafficking within the ranks of the Afghan resistance of the day, the CIA maintained an uncritical alliance and supported him without reservation or restraint.
Once the heroin left these labs in Pakistan's northwest frontier, the Sicilian Mafia imported the drugs into the U.S., where they soon captured sixty percent of the U.S. heroin market. That is to say, sixty percent of the U.S. heroin supply came indirectly from a CIA operation. During the decade of this operation, the 1980s, the substantial DEA contingent in Islamabad made no arrests and participated in no seizures, allowing the syndicates a de facto free hand to export heroin. By contrast, a lone Norwegian detective, following a heroin deal from Oslo to Karachi, mounted an investigation that put a powerful Pakistani banker known as President Zia's surrogate son behind bars. The DEA in Islamabad got nobody, did nothing, stayed away.
Former CIA operatives have admitted that this operation led to an expansion of the Pakistan-Afghanistan heroin trade. In 1995 the former CIA Director of this Afghan operation, Mr. Charles Cogan, admitted sacrificing the drug war to fight the Cold War. "Our main mission was to do as much damage to the Soviets. We didn't really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade," he told Australian television. "I don't think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout. There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes, but the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan." (Alfred McCoy, Testimony before the Special Seminar focusing on allegations linking CIA secret operations and drug trafficking-convened February 13, 1997, by Rep. John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus)
Lucrative Narcotics Trade in the Post Cold War Era
The drug trade has continued unabated during the post Cold war years. Afghanistan became the major supplier of heroin to Western markets, in fact almost the sole supplier: more than 90 percent of the heroin sold Worldwide originates in Afghanistan. This lucrative contraband is tied into Pakistani politics and the militarization of the Pakistani State. It also has a direct bearing on the structure of the Pakistani economy and its banking and financial institutions, which from the outset of the Golden Crescent drug trade have been involved in extensive money laundering operations, which are protected by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus:
According to the US State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (2006) (quoted in Daily Times, 2 March 2006),
Pakistani criminal networks play a central role in the transshipment of narcotics and smuggled goods from Afghanistan to international markets. Pakistan is a major drug-transit country. The proceeds of narcotics trafficking and funding for terrorist activities are often laundered by means of the alternative system called hawala. ... .
Repeatedly, a network of private unregulated charities has also emerged as a significant source of illicit funds for international terrorist networks, the report pointed out. ... "
The hawala system and the charities are but the tip of the iceberg. According to the State Department report, "the State Bank of Pakistan has frozen more twenty years] a meager $10.5 million "belonging to 12 entities and individuals linked to Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda or the Taliban". What the report fails to mention is that the bulk of the proceeds of the Afghan drug trade are laundered in bona fide Western banking institutions.
The Taliban Repress the Drug Trade
A major and unexpected turnaround in the CIA sponsored drug trade occurred in 2000.
The Taliban government which came to power in 1996 with Washington's support, implemented in 2000-2001 a far-reaching opium eradication program with the support of the United Nations which served to undermine a multibillion dollar trade. (For further details see, Michel Chossudovsky, America's War on Terrorism, Global Research, 2005).
In 2001 prior to the US-led invasion, opium production under the Taliban eradication program declined by more than 90 percent.
In the immediate wake of the US led invasion, the Bush administration ordered that the opium harvest not be destroyed on the fabricated pretext that this would undermine the military government of Pervez Musharraf.
"Several sources inside Capitol Hill noted that the CIA opposes the destruction of the Afghan opium supply because to do so might destabilize the Pakistani government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf. According to these sources, Pakistani intelligence had threatened to overthrow President Musharraf if the crops were destroyed. ...
'If they [the CIA] are in fact opposing the destruction of the Afghan opium trade, it'll only serve to perpetuate the belief that the CIA is an agency devoid of morals; off on their own program rather than that of our constitutionally elected government' (NewsMax.com, 28 March 2002)
In 2007, Afghanistan supplied approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin. The proceeds (in terms of retail value) of the Afghanistan drug trade are estimated (2006) to be in excess of 190 billion dollars a year, representing a significant fraction of the global trade in narcotics.(Ibid)
The proceeds of this lucrative multibillion dollar contraband are deposited in Western banks. Almost the totality of the revenues accrue to corporate interests and criminal syndicates outside Afghanistan.
The laundering of drug money constitutes a multibillion dollar activity, which continues to be protected by the CIA and the ISI. In the wake of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.
In retrospect, one of the major objectives of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was to restore the drug trade.
The militarization of Pakistan serves powerful political, financial and criminal interests underlying the drug trade. US foreign policy tends to support these powerful interests. The CIA continues to protect the Golden Crescent narcotics trade. Despite his commitment to eradicating the drug trade, opium production under the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has skyrocketed.
The Assassination of General Zia Ul-Haq
In August 1988, President Zia was killed in an air crash together with US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel and several of Pakistan's top generals. The circumstances of the air crash remain shrouded in mystery.
Following Zia's death, parliamentary elections were held and Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister in December 1988. She was subsequently removed from office by Zia's successor, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993, she was re-elected and was again removed from office in 1996 on the orders of President Farooq Leghari.
Continuity has been maintained throughout. Under the short-lived post-Zia elected governments of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, the central role of the military-intelligence establishment and its links to Washington were never challenged.
Both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif served US foreign policy interests. While in power, both democratically elected leaders, nonetheless supported the continuity of military rule. As prime minister from 1993 to 1996, Benazir Bhutto "advocated a conciliatory policy toward Islamists, especially the Taliban in Afghanistan" which were being supported by Pakistan's ISI (See F. William Engdahl, Global Research, January 2008)
Benazir Bhutto's successor as Prime Minister, Mia Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) was deposed in 1999 in a US supported coup d'Etat led by General Pervez Musharraf.
The 1999 coup was instigated by General Pervez Musharaf, with the support of the Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmad, who was subsequently appointed to the key position of head of military intelligence (ISI).
From the outset of the Bush administration in 2001, General Ahmad developed close ties not only with his US counterpart CIA director George Tenet, but also with key members of the US government including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, not to mention Porter Goss, who at the time was Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence. Ironically, Mahmoud Ahmad is also known, according to a September 2001 FBI report, for his suspected role in supporting and financing the alleged 9/11 terrorists as well as his links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America's "war on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005)
These various "terrorist" organizations were created as a result of CIA support. They are not the product of religion. The project to establish "a pan-Islamic Caliphate" is part of a carefully devised intelligence operation.
CIA support to Al Qaeda was not in any way curtailed at the end of the Cold War. In fact quite the opposite. The earlier pattern of covert support not only extended, it took on a global thrust and became increasingly sophisticated.
The "Global War on Terrorism" is a complex and intricate intelligence construct. The covert support provided to "Islamic extremist groups" is part of an imperial agenda. It purports to weaken and eventually destroy secular and civilian governmental institutions, while also contributing to vilifying Islam. It is an instrument of colonization which seeks to undermine sovereign nation-states and transform countries into territories.
For the intelligence operation to be successful, however, the various Islamic organizations created and trained by the CIA must remain unaware of the role they are performing on geopolitical chessboard, on behalf of Washington.
Over the years, these organizations have indeed acquired a certain degree of autonomy and independence, in relation to their US-Pakistani sponsors. That appearance of "independence", however, is crucial; it is an integral part of the covert intelligence operation. According to former CIA agent Milton Beardman the Mujahideen were invariably unaware of the role they were performing on behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): "neither I, nor my brothers saw evidence of American help". (Weekend Sunday (NPR); Eric Weiner, Ted Clark; 16 August 1998).
"Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no contacts with Washington or the CIA." (Michel Chossudovsky, America's War on Terrorism, Chapter 2).
The fabrication of "terrorism" --including covert support to terrorists-- is required to provide legitimacy to the "war on terrorism".
The various fundamentalist and paramilitary groups involved in US sponsored "terrorist" activities are "intelligence assets". In the wake of 9/11, their designated function as "intelligence assets" is to perform their role as credible "enemies of America".
The Islamic groups created by the CIA are also intended to rally public support in Muslim countries. The underlying objective is to create divisions within national societies throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, while also triggering sectarian strife within Islam, ultimately with a view to curbing the development of a broad based secular mass resistance, which would challenge US imperial ambitions.
This function of an outside enemy is also an essential part of war propaganda required to galvanize Western public opinion. Without an enemy, a war cannot be fought. US foreign policy needs to fabricate an enemy, to justify its various military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. An enemy is required to justify a military agenda, which consists in " going after Al Qaeda". The fabrication and vilification of the enemy are required to justify military action.
The existence of an outside enemy sustains the illusion that the "war on terrorism" is real. It justifies and presents military intervention as a humanitarian operation based on the right to self-defense. It upholds the illusion of a "conflict of civilizations". The underlying purpose ultimately is to conceal the real economic and strategic objectives behind the broader Middle East Central Asian war.
Historically, Pakistan has played a central role in "war on terrorism". Pakistan constitutes from Washington's standpoint a geopolitical hub. It borders onto Afghanistan and Iran. It has played a crucial role in the conduct of US and allied military operations in Afghanistan as well as in the context of the Pentagon's war plans in relation to Iran.
9/11 ANALYSIS: 9/11 and America's Secret Terror Campaign: The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda, Part III http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20975
(...) A French court undertook a probe into the financial network of Osama bin Laden, who was widely assumed to simply be independently wealthy, and financed al-Qaeda operations through his own funds. However, it was revealed that Osama maintained a joint bank account with his half-brother Yeslam bin Laden in Switzerland between 1990 and 1997. Of particular interest to investigators was "a 241 million euro transfer made to Pakistan in 2000 from an account belonging to a company called Cambridge, a SBG [Saudi Bin Laden Group] subsidiary, that was opened at Deutsche Bank in Geneva," with the funds "transferred into an account belonging jointly to Osama bin Laden and someone of Pakistani nationality." Der Spiegel, a major German newspaper, was granted access to thousands of pages of intelligence documents relating to bin Laden and al-Qaeda. In the report on the documents, the authors revealed that when bin Laden needed financing, "The Saudi elite -- and his own family -- came to his assistance." The list of financiers is a veritable who's who of the Middle Eastern monarchy, including the signatures of two former cabinet ministers, six bankers and twelve prominent businessmen. The list also mentions "the bin Laden brothers."
(...) In March of 2000, it was reported that Osama bin Laden was sick and suffering from kidney and liver disease. A western intelligence source told the Hong-Kong based magazine, Asiaweek, that bin Laden was dying of kidney failure. In July of 2001, Osama bin Laden spent 10 days at the American hospital in Dubai for treatment. He traveled from Pakistan to Dubai on July 4, 2001, to be treated in the urology department. While he was in the hospital, Osama was visited by several members of his family, Saudi officials, and the CIA. One visitor was Saudi Prince Turki al Faisal, the head of Saudi intelligence, and the CIA station chief in Dubai, who was soon after recalled back to Washington. On September 10, 2001, the night before the attacks of 9/11, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan "getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan." Pakistani intelligence reported that bin Laden was quickly taken to a military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. As one medical worker said, "they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them." Pakistani President Musharraf openly stated in public that Osama suffers from kidney disease and is near death.
(..) In August of 2009, Sibel Edmonds revealed that, "the US was on 'intimate' terms with the Taliban and al-Qaeda using the militants to further certain goals in central Asia," and stated, "With those groups, we had operations in Central Asia." She explained that Washington used those groups "as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict." In other words, the US was arming, funding and using al-Qaeda for its own objectives, just as it always had. On September 11, 2009, 8 years to the day of the events of 9/11, a major British newspaper, the Daily Mail, ran a story critical of the official story regarding Osama bin Laden. In it, the author posed the question: What if he has been dead for years, and the British and U.S. intelligence services are actually playing a game of double bluff? What if everything we have seen or heard of him on video and audio tapes since the early days after 9/11 is a fake - and that he is being kept 'alive' by the Western allies to stir up support for the war on terror?
(...) It must be looked at and addressed much more closely and critically; the role between the U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies to what is known as "al-Qaeda." Given our historical understanding of al-Qaeda as a "database" of intelligence assets, which were recruited to fight the Afghan-Soviet war, and our more recent understanding of the relationships between various intelligence agencies historically and presently to these groups and individuals, does it not seem plausible that the operation of al-Qaeda as a covert branch of U.S. policy has continued? Certainly, more research needs to be undertaken, but what is clear is that any and all official investigations thus far have been nothing but concocted lies: that is, willful and intended deception, designed to hide the truth, not reveal it. It is also within this context, of understanding the deep nexus of intelligence and terrorism in international relations and imperial stratagems (that is, strategic deception), that we must view the rise, role, evolution and purpose of the "Global War on Terror," now in its 9th year, spending trillions to send poor Americans to kill poor Muslims in nations across the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South Asia.
Architects, engineers say they have proof 9/11 was a 'lie' (September 11, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21005
The group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth say they have important evidence that proves the official story of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was "a lie" and "a fraud." On Saturday, the United States remembers the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, which killed 3,000 Americans and was the basis for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Ceremonies will occur all over the country. However, one group says they have found recent evidence, which proves the official story of what happened on that devastating day is a "lie," according to Press TV. The proof, says Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, shows pre-set explosives that were used in the demolition of the World Trade Center. The group further adds that molten metal was found after the 9/11 inquiry."Jet fuel and office fires cannot melt iron or steel. They don't even get half as hot as that and so something else was there, very energetic material that had to be placed throughout the buildings," said Greg Roberts of the non-profit organization. Meanwhile, Richard Gage, founder of the organization who has toured the globe speaking at conferences, said: "Once we take the blinders off, we can see. There are very few people in America who have taken the blinders off. So we are assisting people by showing them the evidence."Gage further explained that more than 600 architects are more concerned over the collapse of World Trade Center building 7, which was not hit by an airplane and was destroyed in 6.5 seconds.The group is now calling upon United States Attorney General Eric Holder to request a federal grand jury investigation into the "largest crime of the century."
WTC 1 and 2: Justice and 9/11 Demands Accountability. Forensic Evidence Indicates Presence of Controlled Demolition Material by Dick Gregory (September 10, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20979
(...) One thing I know is that the official government story of those events, as well as what took place that day at the Pentagon, is just that, a story. This story is not the truth, but far from it. I was born on October 12, 1932. I am announcing today that I will be consuming only liquids beginning Sunday until my eightieth birthday in 2012 and until the real truth of what truly happened on that day emerges and is publicly known.
9/11 ANALYSIS: Coverup at Ground Zero: Selling Out the Investigation. Destruction and Removal of the Evidence (September 11, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21006
The following article by a prominent Fire Engineer, published in Fire Engineering Magazine, was posted on the Global Research website in September 2002.Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the "official investigation" blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure. CLIP
911 ANALYSIS: Two days Before 9/11, Shah Masood is Assassinated. Was it a Coincidence? http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20987
Nine years ago, on the 9th of September 2001, the leader of the Northern Alliance Commander Ahmad Shah Masood was mortally wounded in a kamikaze assassination. This event has a direct bearing not only on our understanding of 9/11 but also on the US-NATO sponsored war and occupation of Afghanistan. Had Shah Masood not been assassinated, the US administration would not have been able to install their political puppet Hamid Karzai in Kabul. Masood, rather than Hamid Karzai (a former employee of the UNOCAL oil company), could have become the head of the post-Taliban government formed in the wake of the U.S. bombings of Afghanistan. In other words, the assassination of the leader of the Northern Alliance, was consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives. Since the late 1980s, the U.S. had sought to sidetrack and weaken Masood, who was perceived as a nationalist reformer, by providing support both to the Taliban and the Hezb-I-Islami group led by Gulbuddin Hektmayar against Masood. Moreover, Masood was supported by Moscow. In the wake of his assassination, the Northern Alliance became fragmented into different factions. This also served to weakening Russian influence in Afghanistan. Michel Chossudovsky, September 9, 2010
9/11 ANALYSIS: Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20986
An earlier version of this article was published four years ago on the 9th of September 2006, in the context of the 2006 commemoration of the tragic event of September 2001. Osama bin Laden's whereabout on September 10, 2001 were confirmed by a CBS News Report. Osama had been hospitalized one day before the 9/11 attacks. How on earth could he have coordinated the attacks from his hospital bed in a heavily guarded Pakistani military hospital located in Rawalpindi. Bear in mind that the Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi (under the adminstration of the Pakistani military) exclusively "provides specialised treatment to Army personel and their immediate family". Osama bin Laden must have had some connections in the Pakistani military or intelligence to be admitted to the hospital. He was, according to Dan Rather's CBS report, provided with "treatment for a very special person". If the CBS report by Dan Rather is accurate and Osama had indeed been admitted to the Pakistani military hospital on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America's ally, he was in all likelihood still in hospital in Rawalpindi on the 11th of September, when the attacks occurred. In all probability, his whereabouts were known to US officials on the morning of September 12, when Secretary of State Colin Powell initiated negotiations with Pakistan, with a view to arresting and extraditing bin Laden. The CBS report is a potential bombshell. It invalidates the Osama bin "legend" created by US intelligence. It casts doubt on the notion that Osama was the "mastermind" behind the 9/11 attacks. It points to coverup and complicity at the highest echelons of the US administration. President Obama has confirmed that "capturing or killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains a high U.S. priority" for his role in organizing and coordinating the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed in the urology ward of the Rawalpindi military hospital. If Osama was not behind the 9/11 attacks, the entire "war on terrorism" construct would collapse like a deck of cards. the Obama administration would not have a leg to stand on. Moreover, its justification for waging a war in the Middle East and Central Asia rests on the shaky justification that "America was under attack" and that the government of Afghanistan (Taliban) was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. Michel Chossudovsky, September 10, 2010
The Truth behind 9/11: Who Is Osama Bin Laden? http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3198
At 11am, on the morning of 9/11, the Bush administration had announced that Osama was behind the attacks.-- This article below entitled Who is Osama bin Laden? was drafted on September 11, 2001. It was first published on the Global Research website on the evening of September 12, 2001. Since 2001, it has appeared on numerous websites. The original September 11, 2001 posting is one of the most widely read articles on the internet, pertaining to Al Qaeda. From the outset, the objective was to use 9/11 as a pretext for launching the first phase of the Middle East War, which consisted in the bombing and occupation of Afghanistan. Within hours of the attacks, Osama bin Laden was identified as the architect of 9/11. On the following day, the "war on terrorism" had been launched. The media disinformation campaign went into full gear. Also on September 12, less than 24 hours after the attacks, NATO invoked for the first time in its history "Article 5 of the Washington Treaty - its collective defence clause" declaring the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon "to be an attack against all NATO members." What happened subsequently, with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq is already part of history. Iran and Syria constitute the next phase of the US adminstration's military roadmap. 9/11 remains the pretext and justification for waging a war without borders. Michel Chossudovsky, September 11, 2008
9/11 ANALYSIS: The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11: Creating the Osama bin Laden "Legend" http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20983
This incisive and carefully researched article was first published more than eight years ago by Global Research on June 13, 2002 (revised 19 September 2002). The original URL of this article was http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP206A.html - "My hypothesis: that the events of September 11 were planned by those who not only had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the plan, but also were best placed to manage the consequences stemming from it, as well as managing the flow of information. If this were an "inside job", the first thing to do was to look at who conveyed specific information on bin Laden before - and I stress, before - 9/11, for they were most likely involved wittingly or not with those who masterminded it. "Read for yourself, and decide, at the end of the day, how much credibility you will continue to accord to those who claim to be the proper trustees of your fate and well-being." (Chaim Kupferberg, June 2002) CLIP
9/11 ANALYSIS; Clinton Administration supported operatives of "The Military Islamic Network" (September 9, 2010) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20974
The following 1997 document of the US Congress was posted on the Global Research website nine years ago, barely two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. This 1997 document reveals accusations by Republican Party to the effect that the Clinton administration had supported operatives of "The Military Islamic Network" is Bosnia. What this document reveals from the Horse's Mouth is 1. The US Administration did not cease its support of Al Qaeda in the wake of the Cold War. 2. Both Democratic and Republican administrations consistently supported the alleged architects of 9/11. CLIP
Conundrum: fewer people are hungry, but hunger on the rise
But UN says 925 million people undernourished an 'unacceptably high number'
Jessica Leeder and Eric Reguly -- Sep. 14, 2010
For the first time in 15 years, the number of hungry people in the world has declined. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 925 million people are undernourished - a significant improvement from the 1.023 billion hungry the organization counted in 2009. While the decline is a good sign, global hunger experts say there is no cause to celebrate. The number of hungry people is still "unacceptably high," the UN warns.
The good news
Global hunger numbers are not skyrocketing.
The economic downturn and international food-price increases of 2008 created a staggering jump in the number of undernourished people around the world: In 2009, the FAO for the first time counted more than one billion hungry people without access to sufficient food. That number set off worldwide alarm bells that planet was in the midst of a deepening food crisis.
This year's marked decrease to 925 million returns hunger trends to pre-2009 levels. Driving the decrease was a sharp decline in international and domestic food prices, which had jumped in 2008.
"For a while there, people were really hit with high food prices," said David Dawe, an economist with the FAO's Economic and Social Development Department. "We knew the big increase last year [in 2009] was largely due to a lack of access to food due to the economic crisis and some delay in world food prices coming down in domestic markets."
Helping matters were strong global cereal harvests during the past several years, meaning the food supply is adequate even though 2010 yields are forecast to be lower. As well, income levels are generally growing faster in emerging economies, such as India and China, than those in developed countries, according to the World Bank.
That growth likely accounts for the fact that Asia posted the biggest improvement over last year by reducing by 80 million the number of hungry people in the region. However, the region still has the highest number of undernourished people in the world: 578 million.
The bad news
World hunger is back on the rise.
Rome-based FAO said the figures for 2010 do not include the millions of hungry people in three "emergency" areas: Pakistan; Haiti and the Sahel in Africa.
Pakistan, ravaged by both drought and flood, is particularly grim, with more than 10 million people "in urgent need of assistance," said Josette Sheerhan, executive director of the UN's World Food Program. An area the size of Italy has been inundated with water, just ahead of the harvest season, depriving farmers and other food, seeds, income and electrical power.
Before the global economic slump forced food prices and hunger to unforeseen highs, the proportion of hungry people in developing countries was already trending "slightly up," said FAO economist David Dawe.
In 2000, as part of the Millennium Summit, world leaders pledged to reduce the proportion of hungry people in developing countries from 20 per cent in early 1990s to 10 per cent by 2015.
"I don't think we're going to see big declines continuing into the future," Mr. Dawe said. "That will require more investment in agriculture and more economic growth in poor countries for a little big longer period of time."
Doubts are privately growing within the UN food agencies about substantial further progress toward the goal, which world leaders will discuss at a review summit next week in New York. The WFP's Ms. Sheerhan said it will be "extremely difficult to achieve" given the latest figures suggest a 16 per cent hunger rate, meaning only four percentage points worth of progress have been made during the past decade.
According to the FAO, the bulk of malnourished people (98 per cent) remain concentrated in developing countries. Two thirds of those are concentrated in just seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. More than 40 per cent live in China and India alone.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of hunger, with 30 per cent of the population undernourished.
Grain, meat prices a threat to world's hungry: FAO (Sept 14, 2010) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68D2O120100914
(Reuters) - Rising grain, meat and sugar prices pose a threat to the nearly one billion people who are undernourished, with global hunger still above pre-economic crisis levels despite the first decline in 15 years in 2010."The recent increase in food prices, if it persists, will create additional obstacles in the fight to further reduce hunger," the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report on Tuesday. (...) "Global grain stocks are actually at relatively comfortable levels having been built up following record harvests over the past two years, and this should allay fears of an outright food scare," Jonathan Blake, manager of the Baring Global Agriculture Fund said on Tuesday. CLIP
Number of Hungry in the World is Inadmissible (16 September 2010) http://www.ahora.cu/english/sections/opinion/2650-number-of-hungry-in-the-world-is-inadmissible.html
Despite a modest decline in the number of people affected by famine for the first time in 15 years, the situation remains unacceptable, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the FAO. The text says that 925 million people will suffer this scourge in late 2010, compared to the just over one billion recorded a year earlier, when the worst impact of the global economic crisis was felt worldwide. Despite these slightly optimistic data, it will be impossible to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by 400 million the number of hungry people by 2015.This is because, according to experts, the decline in the statistics is cyclical and has more to do with the end of the acute peak of the economic crisis rather than with a change in government and regional policies.If it is true that there are 98 million fewer hungry people, yet the indicator is well above the current figure before the real estate and financial turmoil that shook the world, so there is NO reason to toll the bells of victory in the fly since according to strict terms, the problem remains the same. The food market remains volatile, as recently recognized by the FAO, and although a new crisis in this sector is not expected in the short term, you shouldn't discard either the impact of climatic or political shocks in the rise of prices in some basics and commodities. It should be stressed that the root causes of hunger persist with the same severity of recent years, especially poverty, which affects 1 billiion 200 million people. In 1960, it was estimated that for every person living with all conditions met, there were 30 plunged into despair. Today, the proportion changed from 1 to 60, a truly chilling figure. Moreover, the FAO also notes that children remain the most vulnerable to poverty and the lack of food. A child dies every six seconds from malnutrition and many of those who survive have permanent disabilities in their physical and intellectual development rate. This means that the future is arrested and engulfed for several countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, where 50% or more of children under five years eat only a minimum of calories and proteins essential for life. The most dramatic fact is that the proper solutions are not out of reach. The world has the foods and knowledge required to meet the needs of all people, but you need a crucial factor: the political will to dedicate the necessary resources to do so. In fact, there are countries like Brazil, which constitute an example of what can be achieved by investing in sensitive sectors such as rural areas, where there are thousands of small and medium producers looking for an opportunity. Therefore, it is just insulting that in a world where sophisticated weapons or building huge fully air-conditioned stadiums to spectators and fancy athletes who do not sweat from the heat may receive privileged costs and fabulous investments, about 50 children have died just while you listened to this commentary.
Hunger costs poor nations $450 billion annually: ActionAid (September 17, 2010) http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article36307
(JUBA) - Developing countries require about $450 billion US to address hunger problems every year - more than ten times what is needed to halve the number of hungry people and meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) by 2015, ActionAid said in a recent report. The report released on 14 September, "Who's really fighting hunger" precedes the New York summit, where UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will meet world leaders to review progress so far made on the United Nations (UN) - initiated MDGs, next week. According to the ActionAid report, the world is failing on its promise to tackle hunger - over a billion people going hungry every night. The mammoth human cost, it further says, is eclipsed only by the shocking fact that developing economies are losing vital billions of dollars each year because their people are too hungry to work. "On the eve of the most important development summit for five years, a billion people will be going to bed hungry. Despite promises to the contrary, one sixth of humanity doesn't get enough to eat. But we grow enough food to feed every man, woman and child on the planet," Meredith Alexander, Head of Policy at ActionAid said in a communiqué. "The real cause of hunger isn't lack of food; it is lack of political will. In Brazil, President Lula made beating hunger a personal priority and the country has cut child malnutrition in half," he added. Acknowledging the UK as having been at the forefront of tackling global poverty, Meredith challenged its Deputy Premier to show the same kind of leadership on hunger as the country demonstrated on education, HIV and Aids and debt relief. ActionAid's research also shows the real dates on which countries are likely meet MDG1 and scores nations on their efforts to fight hunger so far.For instance, the report reveals that 20 out of 28 poor nations are unlikely to halvie hunger by 2015, as was hoped, and 12 of these are said to be regressing.Globally, the report says, 20% more people are going hungry now than when the goals were conceived, urging that more investments are needed in agriculture and rural development to alleviate the hunger problem. In Africa, countries like Malawi, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda are reported to have made considerable strides towards achieving the 2015 MDGs. Malawi reportedly reduced the number of people living on food hand-outs from 4.5 million to 150,000 in just five years. Last year, the G8 nations [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G8] nations pledged $22 billion to fight hunger, yet ActionAid, according to the report, estimates that $14 billion of this is in fact old aid promises, repackaged and it is still unclear when or how the money will be spent.
Fifty years ago, a billion people were undernourished or starving; the number is about the same today. That's actually progress, since a billion represented a third of the human race then, and "only" a sixth now.
Today we have another worry: roughly the same number of people eat too much. But, says Julian Cribb, a veteran science journalist from Australia, "The era of cheap, abundant food is over."
Like many other experts, he argues that we have passed the peak of oil production, and it's all downhill from now on. He then presents evidence that we have passed the peaks for water, fertilizer and land, and that we will all soon be made painfully aware that we have passed it for food, as wealthy nations experience shortages and rising prices, and poorer ones starve.
Much of "The Coming Famine" builds an argument that we've jumped off a cliff and that global chaos - a tidal wave of people fleeing their own countries for wherever they can find food - is all but guaranteed. The rest of the book concentrates on catching an outcropping of rock with a finger and scrambling back up. The writing is neither personality-filled nor especially fluid, but the sheer number of terrifying facts makes the book gripping.
Arguments that overpopulation will lead to famine or worse are nothing new, of course; in the early 19th century the Rev. Thomas Malthus contended that the human march toward progress would be derailed by a cycle of overpopulation that led to shortages and misery. And of the many who've followed in the Malthusian tradition, none have been correct: overpopulation has caused problems, but, as noted above, the percentage of people starving has actually declined.
Mr. Cribb is reporting on the fate of a planet whose resources have, in the last 200 years, been carelessly, even ruthlessly exploited for the benefit of the minority. Now that the majority is beginning to demand - or at least crave - the same kind of existence, it's clear that, population boom or not, there simply isn't enough of the Euro-American way of life to go around.
And while there is a sky-is-falling tone to his relatively brief (just over 200 pages) thesis - if it doesn't make you restock your survivalist shelter with another hundred pounds of rice and beans - the book does offer sensible ways to help alleviate the "global feeding frenzy."
Climate change, of course, is an important piece of Mr. Cribb's puzzle, as are overexploitation of the sea and natural resources, overuse of chemical fertilizer, reliance on fossil fuels, protectionism, subsidies, biofuels, waste and other factors.
Most important are what he calls "the two elephants in the kitchen": population growth and overconsumption. A projected 33 percent growth in population in the next 20 years, combined with increased consumption of meat as the global middle class grows larger, means that food production must grow by at least 50 percent in that same period.
Livestock is a major problem: the grain fed to American animals alone is enough to feed those billion hungry people. But what about the next couple of billion? Production, says Mr. Cribb, is headed in the wrong direction. Grain stockpiles shrank in the last decade, and the amount of available water for each human is plummeting. Yet to produce more food, we need more water; to produce more meat, we need much more water.
We also need more land, as much as "two more North Americas" to produce the fodder needed to meet projected demand. Yet existing land is being degraded by a variety of factors. (Mr. Cribb provides a nicely horrifying quote from some older Chinese farmers: "When we were young, we had trouble seeing the cattle in the grassland. Now we can see the mice.")
In the decades following World War II, new technologies helped to increase sharply the worldwide agricultural yield. Mr. Cribb contends that were research adequately financed, a second such Green Revolution, with its own amazing discoveries, might be right around the corner. But the current meager financing picture diminishes that likelihood.
One of the book's more interesting discussions is a comparison of organic and industrial farming. Mr. Cribb sees this as "a philosophical divide the world, in its present state, can ill afford," and suggests that each camp draw lessons from the other to form a new kind of agriculture. Yet for the most part he comes down on the side of organic, or at least small-share farming, pointing out that entire countries support themselves without resorting to industrial farming.
If there is a way out of the morass, rationality and fairness will be its basis, and here Mr. Cribb is impassioned, even inspiring. He would have society mandate food and waste composting (waste should not be wasted); eliminate subsidies to the biggest agriculture companies; and finance research for new technology. (Big Food, he believes, should be compelled to contribute to this. Bravo.)
He proposes subsidizing small farms for their stewardship of the earth, and paying them fairer prices for production; taxing food to reflect its true costs to the environment; regulating practices that counter sustainability and rewarding those that promote it; and educating the public about the true costs of food. "An entire year of primary schooling" should be devoted to the importance of growing and eating food, he suggests.
Few experts without vested interests in corporate agriculture would disagree with any of this, though little progress is being made. Individuals, however, can make helpful changes more quickly. Dietary change is primary, and can be as simple as eating a salad instead of a cheeseburger and an apple instead of a bag of chips. Waste less food. Compost. Garden, even if (or especially if) you live in a city. Choose sustainable food, including fish. And so on.
None of these practices will matter much unless they're adopted worldwide. "Even if North Americans and Europeans halved their meat and dairy consumption," Mr. Cribb writes, "the saving could be completely swamped by the demand from six hundred million newly affluent Indian and Chinese consumers."
Yet Mr. Cribb is not hopeless; he predicts that we'll eventually "unlock new insights capable of making profound gains in food production and sustainability on a par with those of the Green Revolution."
But finding a sustainable farming system is "perhaps the greatest challenge ever faced in the ten thousand years since agriculture began," he writes. If the challenge is not met, we're going to be reading scarier books than this one.
Here is a compelling review of this book - from Amazon.com
"This book is a wake-up call. It deals with the most urgent issue facing humanity in the twenty-first century, perhaps in all of history: the planetary emergency over whether or not we can sustain our food supply through the midcentury peak in human numbers, demand, and needs. It reflects on the likely consequences of our failure to do so."--Julian Cribb, Preface, The Coming Famine
This book brings us a message that we all need to hear: that resource depletions, climate change challenges, and growth in human numbers and appetites pose a dire threat to our food supply. An Australian journalist and Director of National Awareness for Australia's national science agency, Julian Cribb joins a growing chorus of other writers who have looked at food issues from a variety of angles. There are three major differences between this book and most of the other "end of food" books, however.
1) "The Coming Famine" deals systematically with all the major threats to the food supply: water shortages; soil depletions; nutrient loss and waste; fishery collapse; the Green Revolution and private ownership of genetic material; war and mass migrations; peak oil; climate change; uncontrolled human population growth; and unfair trade practices.
2) It focuses attention on the twin demand pressures of population growth and increased human appetites--the twin "elephants in the kitchen."
3) It offers practical suggestions in every chapter that encourage the reader to commit to positive actions. For example, in his chapter on climate change, Cribb suggests rebalancing our diets toward foods with a smaller carbon footprint; reducing consumption of meat, oils, and dairy products; selecting seasonal, locally-grown foods. (Losing hope? Plant a garden.)
Chapter by chapter, Cribb builds the argument that our habits of wasteful, irresponsible, and ignorant consumption have already created the conditions for an inevitable global famine, and that the only way to avert it is to alter our current practices. He bolsters every assertion of fact with a recital of terrifying and nearly irrefutable evidence, fully documented in the notes and delivered in a dispassionate voice that is all the more compelling because it is neither angry nor accusatory.
Cribb doesn't claim to have all the answers, and some of his solutions are contradictory. (For example, it will be hard to develop a second, high-tech "Green Revolution" at the same time that we're running out of fossil fuels and coping with rising sea levels.) But this important book organizes the challenges that face us in a clear and understandable way, provides convincing factual support for the problems he describes, and reminds us (with a note of hope) that humans are a highly adaptive species that can meet the challenges if they can muster enough global will to get the job done.
Cribb's journalist style and his blizzard of facts do not make for pleasant reading, and you may be tempted to put the book down before you've finished it. Don't. It deserves to be read to the end. "Today's food is too cheap to last," Cribb writes, in the book's final section. "To avert the coming famine we all need to start paying its true price--not blindly transferring the cost of what we consume today to our grandchildren tomorrow."
Put The Coming Famine at the top of your reading list. And when you've finished it, go out and tell your friends and colleagues about it. It's that important.
Can organic & vegetarian save the Earth? - A Listmania! list by Jen "Ecowoman" (Columbus, OH) http://www.amazon.com/Can-organic-vegetarian-save-Earth/lm/R39MBVE4XBG41I/ref=tag_cdp_bkt_ercl
The list author says: "I have been studying the relationship between food and the earth since I first read "Hope's Edge" years ago and then again following Michael Pollan's books. There is now a plethora of new authors and books that explore the issues - everything from cookbooks to books on natural history and farming. Here are just a few that I want to read or have read."
1. Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall http://www.amazon.com/Harvest-Hope-Guide-Mindful-Eating/dp/0446698210/ref=cm_lmf_tit_1
(...) Looping personal anecdotes from 40 years of global travels with stories from noble farmer Davids and corporate Goliaths, Goodall methodically builds her case for shopping organic and living modestly. Mustering a tender gumption, she details the vicious cycle of pesticide-ridden and genetically engineered crops which feed the unknowing majority of consumers; and also feed the antibiotic-treated animals that provide these folks with inexpensive entrees. Leaving nasty slaughterhouse scenes to less tactful pens, Goodall focuses more on the product of "factory farming" techniques: mountains of waste, nutritionally depleted soil, polluted water, displaced organic farmers, and severely compromised food. CLIP
2. Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe http://www.amazon.com/Hopes-Edge-Next-Small-Planet/dp/1585422371/ref=cm_lmf_tit_2
Thirty years after Frances Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet changed eating habits around the world, she and her daughter Anna bring us a new round of iconoclastic recommendations that break overwhelming issues down to a simple matter of personal choice. Hope's Edge presents many of the same issues of the original title, but it also provides a wealth of new discoveries and possibilities in this era of genetically engineered foods, worldwide famine, and growing rates of obesity-related health issues. Beyond discussing a wide range of reasons to become a vegetarian (and that means no fish or chicken either, folks), the authors introduce you to a number of individual reasons for hope--Bob, the Wisconsin cheese maker; Jean-Yves, the farmer from Brittany who created the Sustainable Agriculture Network; and Muhammad Yunas, who has changed the lives of countless living in poverty with his remarkable microcredit programs. Along with these stories and the theories they're based on, you'll also find luscious recipes calling for grains, fruits, vegetables, and a handful of dairy products that will delight your taste buds and your conscience. The Lappes firmly believe that the choices of low-level consumers have the potential to make positive changes, both in the world economy and in our physical health. By eating a vegetarian diet, shopping with care, and cooking with love, we might all brighten our future tremendously.
3. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan http://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma-Natural-History-Meals/dp/0143038583/ref=cm_lmf_tit_3
(...) Pollan's narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their ur-species. He starts with a McDonald's lunch, which he and his family gobble up in their car. Surprise: the origin of this meal is a cornfield in Iowa. Corn feeds the steer that turns into the burgers, becomes the oil that cooks the fries and the syrup that sweetens the shakes and the sodas, and makes up 13 of the 38 ingredients (yikes) in the Chicken McNuggets. Indeed, one of the many eye-openers in the book is the prevalence of corn in the American diet; of the 45,000 items in a supermarket, more than a quarter contain corn. Pollan meditates on the freakishly protean nature of the corn plant and looks at how the food industry has exploited it, to the detriment of everyone from farmers to fat-and-getting-fatter Americans. CLIP
4. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan http://www.amazon.com/Defense-Food-Eaters-Manifesto/dp/0143114964/ref=cm_lmf_tit_4
Pollan provides another shocking yet essential treatise on the industrialized Western diet and its detrimental effects on our bodies and culture. Here he lays siege to the food industry and scientists' attempts to reduce food and the cultural practices of eating into bite-size concepts known as nutrients, and contemplates the follies of doing so. As an increasing number of Americans are overfed and undernourished, Pollan makes a strong argument for serious reconsideration of our eating habits and casts a suspicious eye on the food industry and its more pernicious and misleading practices. Listeners will undoubtedly find themselves reconsidering their own eating habits. CLIP
5. The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone http://www.amazon.com/Kind-Diet-Simple-Feeling-Losing/dp/1605296449/ref=cm_lmf_tit_5
In The Kind Diet, actress, activist, and committed conservationist Alicia Silverstone shares the insights that encouraged her to swear off meat and dairy forever, and outlines the spectacular benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, from effortless weight loss to clear skin, off-the-chart energy, and smooth digestion. She explains how meat, fish, milk, and cheese-the very foods we've been taught to regard as the cornerstone of good nutrition-are actually the culprits behind escalating rates of disease and the cause of dire, potentially permanent damage to our ecology.Yet going meat- and dairy-free doesn't mean suffering deprivation; to the contrary, The Kind Diet introduces irresistibly delicious food that satisfies on every level-it even includes amazing desserts to keep the most stubborn sweet tooth happy. Alicia also addresses the nutritional concerns faced by many who are new to a plant-based diet, and shows how to cover every nutritional base, from protein to calcium and beyond. CLIP
6. Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe by Maria Rodale http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Manifesto-Farming-Planet-World/dp/1605294853/ref=cm_lmf_tit_6
Granddaughter to Rodale's founder, and its current CEO, the author offers a passionate, evenhanded, nonacademic argument for the overall wisdom-economical and ecological-for farming organic. Deeply aware of the public confusion and suspicion surrounding organic farming as a hippie cause, Rodale first persuades readers that years of chemical and pesticide use have poisoned our environment-not hard to do, considering elevated cancer levels, increases in asthma, and fertility disorders, among other afflictions attributed to environmental factors. Rodale places blame for U.S. reliance on chemical-saturated farming, especially employing the use of genetically modified seeds, mostly on powerful chemical companies' manipulative advertising doublespeak, but also on government protection of conventional farmers. In her strongest section delineating a year in the life of a chemical farmer, Rodale shares clarifying findings from her own focus group that these farmers become dependent on chemical companies for their products and can't see another way, even when costs keep going up, soil is depleted, and yields decrease. In the end, Rodale does a vigorous job of debunking myths plaguing both sides.
Ms. Vogel is the managing director of New York-based Vogel Capital Management. She begins her analysis stating:
. . . an issue that mimics asbestos and is being ignored by insurers could soon hit their pocketbooks. Simply stated, everyone's favorite form of wireless communication and commerce depends on radio frequency-producing base station antennas, which emit radio waves and microwaves that can harm humans.
Few insurance claims have been filed to date; but in all respects, RF radiation closely tracks with the early development of asbestos claims.
Based upon data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, it is estimated that as many as 250,000 workers a year are compelled to work in close proximity and in front of RF transmitting antennas. When combined with the 15 years this issue has been in existence, the pool of potential claimants could be staggering.
Ms. Vogel clearly delineates the breadth of the issue in her definition of "the wireless ecosystem:"
The wireless ecosystem should not be confused with the much smaller commercial telecom industry. The wireless ecosystem encompasses all FCC licensees (federal, state, local and commercial), site owners, property managers, contractors, third-party workers, the utility industry, hospitals, schools and universities, church organizations, banks/financial institutions, and the insurance industry. It involves every person or entity that may be physically or financially harmed by RF radiation.
Ms. Vogel explains how workers' antenna exposure differs from cellphone exposure and references the legal precedent from Alaska that awarded total disability to a worker whose antenna exposure only slightly exceeded the FCC RF radiation safety limit:
The significance of this topic is overlooked by insurers because of confusion between the harmful effects of cell phones and the damage caused by wireless antennas. Because there is no proven link yet established between cell phones and cancer, insurers see little exposure from this risk.
However, there is a marked difference between radiation exposure from cell phones and exposure from wireless antenna systems: The antennas are hundreds of times more powerful. More importantly, there already is peer-reviewed science from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers linking RF radiation exposure to cognitive injuries.
In addition, legal precedent has been established for such claims in AT&T Alascom and Ward North America Inc. vs. John Orchitt; State of Alaska, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Workers' Compensation. The July 2007 ruling affirmed a 100% disability award to a worker exposed to RF radiation that only slightly exceeded the FCC human exposure limits.
By doing so, the Alaska Supreme Court established a legal precedent that recognizes the causal link between an RF radiation exposure and cognitive or psychological injuries including reduced brain function, memory loss, sleep disorders, mood disorders and depression.
Ms. Vogel concludes by encouraging the insurance industry to be proactive about worker RF radiation safety and push for a solution from the private sector rather than to wait for government to act:
The insurance industry tends to look backwards at historical claims to project future losses. In cases of emerging risk such as the issue of third-party worker overexposure to RF radiation, it would be far better for the industry to be anticipatory rather than reactive, as claims could develop quickly. It would be in the industry's best interests to pre-empt the plaintiffs' bar on this issue and secure a safe workplace for those third-party workers.
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