May 27, 2003
Miscellaneous Subjects #185: BusHitler
This will most certainly be the only compilation I'll have time to prepare and send you this week - apart from the next Meditation Focus. Hopefully you'll have time to give it a good, long look as there is lots of hair-raising stuff in it. Most of this has to do with the clear and present danger the Bush Regime poses to the entire planet. As you'll see the coined title of this compilation is quite relevant... See also the attached picture.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
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"Several observers have commented that Bush's recent stunt of flying to the deck of an aircraft carrier in order to make a televised speech might well have been copied directly from Hitler's flight to the gigantic Nuremberg rally, his plane dramatically circling in descent towards a million people gathered in barbarian tribute, his purpose being to make a filmed speech. Whether Bush's crowd consciously followed the script set down by Hitler nearly seventy years ago matters less than that the thinking is so similar, with the manipulation of dramatic, militaristic props for propaganda being identical. Bush never goes anywhere where his stage crew has not first assembled giant flags as background. He always wears a sizeable American-flag pin on his lapel. This kind of totemic, obsessive use of flags was absolutely characteristic of Hitler. (...) Even more closely resembling Hitler was Bush's insane rush towards a huge, high-stakes gamble on quick success in Iraq. He displayed not an ounce of statesmanship. It mattered not at all that he put the UN, NATO, and the EU through a crisis and embarrassed long-standing allies to get what he wanted. Had the invasion bogged down into bloody street-fights and large numbers of Americans been killed, Bush could not have survived the political results. This was the purest obsessive, go-for-broke gamble. (...) But when Hitler quickly defeated Poland and then quickly defeated France, the mood in Germany immediately changed. Hitler had achieved a relatively bloodless victory of stunning proportions. He became a hero, a national savior. And so with Bush's massive, high-tech assault on pathetic little Iraq. Anti-war feelings and demonstrations did not rise so suddenly at the start of the much greater conflict in Vietnam, but with a quick, safe victory (safe for Americans, that is), Bush has become something of a shining figure. So much so, that at a recent dinner, a single dinner, Bush raised $18 million in campaign funds. Hitler's manipulation of the idea of peace is paralleled in Bush's manipulation of the idea of justice. Both are complete distortions. Bush's genuine feeling for justice was perhaps best captured during the election campaign with his smug, joking response to a question about a soul on death row in Texas. For those with acute perceptions, still not dulled on a steady diet of synthetic emotions and cardboard ideas from television and Hollywood, there could be no surer sign of how potentially dangerous this man is."
- Taken from "Through A Glass Darkly: An Interpretation of Bush's Character" (MUST READ!) archived at http://www.rense.com/general37/THROUGH.HTM -- Recommended by "Wade Frazier" email@example.com> who wrote: "That last part about Bush and a women on death row is recounted here, among other places: http://www.liberalslant.com/wrp050503.htm - Bush laughing at Karla Faye Tucker's impending execution is not controversial, as far as whether it happened or not, just as his drunk driving conviction(s), going AWOL from the National Guard, cocaine use and other events in his life are not very controversial. America needs to take a good, long look in the mirror ASAP, and figure out where its soul has disappeared to, before it is too late. We may already be on the banks of the Rubicon, and whether it is ahead of us or behind us I am not quite sure."
1. IRAQ: NGOs Decry 'Bribes' and 'Threats' Behind U.N. Vote
2. Two New Crop Circle in Sussex
3. Afghan massacre by US troops filmed
4. THE BUCKS STOP HERE
5. Gun gangs rule streets as US loses control
6. 'The Empty Ocean': Invisible Extinctions
7. Power, Ever More Power
ACTIONS TO SUPPORT
- PETITION: STOP THE FLORIDA-TION OF THE 2004 ELECTION (May 28, 2003)
Today, there is a new and real threat to voters, this time coming from touchscreen voting machines with no paper trails and the computerized purges of voter rolls. Join SCLC President Martin Luther King III and investigative reporter Greg Palast firstname.lastname@example.org> in a nationwide petition drive through Working Assets, to oppose the "Florida-tion" of the 2004 Presidential election. Sign this petition! Pass it on! A complete copy of the petition will be delivered by Working Assets to Attorney General John Ashcroft. To read the full petition and more information on past and potential
threats to American democracy, please go to: http://www.gregpalast.com/
To sign the petition please go to:
This petition drive was forwarded by "Karen Revell" email@example.com>
- On Election Day 2004, How Will You Know If Your Vote Is Properly Counted?
Rep. Rush Holt Introduces Legislation to Require All Voting Machines To Produce A Voter-Verified Paper Trail - Washington, DC Rep. Rush Holt today responded to the growing chorus of concern from election reform specialists and computer security experts about the integrity of future elections by introducing reform legislation, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003. The measure would require all voting machines to produce an actual paper record by 2004 that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in the event of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity. Experts often refer to this paper record as a voter-verified paper trail. Take Action! Send a Message to Congress!
- KUCINICH BUILDING INSURGENT CAMPAIGN... SPEAKS OUT AGAINST WAR AND CORPORATE DOMINANCE: As he tours Northern California reaching big audiences of new voters and raising much-needed funds, Dennis J. Kucinich continues to raise his voice on issues that distinguish him from the other presidential candidates. Today, he continued his antiwar leadership in Congress by challenging the Bush administration on its dangerous rhetoric and stance toward Iran. Last week, he stood up against the surrender of public property -- the broadcast airwaves -- to giant media corporations. -- NOTE FROM JEAN: Since I cannot possibly forward to you everything that is circulated by the Kucinich Campaign, I recommend you go at http://www.kucinich.us and subscribe to his list to get it all directly.
- Stop the New PATRIOT ACT: Just when you thought that it couldn't get any worse!
Take Action! Send a Message to Congress:
CHECK "Power, Ever More Power" AT THE END OF THIS COMPILATION.
- EXXONMOBIL BUSTED BY GREENPEACE GLOBAL WARMING CRIMES UNIT
Global Headquarters Shut Down Day Before Annual Meeting. Read the Press Release at http://www.dontbuyexxonmobil.org/background?text_id=pr_05272003
LAST MINUTE ADDITION: I CANNOT VOUCH THAT THIS NEWS IS FOR REAL - IT LOOKS LIKE A PRANK TO ME... Mark Graffis
Terrifying Bill Passed During NBA Playoffs (28 May 2003) http://theonion.com/onion3920/terrifying_bill_passed.html WASHINGTON, DC—With the nation safely distracted by the NBA playoffs, Congress passed the terrifying Citizenship Redefinition And Income-Based Relocation Act of 2003 with little opposition Monday. "This piece of legislation is essential, both for more efficient implementation of the New American Ideal and to give law enforcement the broad discretionary powers necessary to enforce certain vital civil and behavioral mandates," said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), addressing an empty press room Sunday, midway through game four of the NBA Eastern Conference finals. "We are confident that Americans will embrace this law, should they eventually realize it has been passed." (...) In addition to allocating $14 billion for "development of surveillance technologies and domestic weaponry," the bill expands the criminal code to include any acts determined to be "a compromise of national interests" by the Justice Department or other federal authorities. U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) also tacked on a rider late in the approval process that adds situational provisions to the First Amendment and effectively does away with the Fifth. The controversial additions might have threatened the law's passage, had they not been made during the closing minutes of the Dallas Mavericks' thrilling 112-99 come-from-behind win over the Sacramento Kings in game seven of their series.
Bush Presence to Fuel Anti-G8 Protests in France (May 26)
PARIS (Reuters) - Anti-capitalist protesters plan a mass blockade of this weekend's G8 summit, fired up by the presence of President Bush on a continent where millions demonstrated against the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Tens of thousands of protesters aim to bottle up leaders of the world's seven biggest economies and Russia inside the French town of Evian, using to their advantage the narrow approaches to the Lake Geneva resort and the surrounding mountains.
Green group says US exploits hungry in GM food row (May 26)
BRUSSELS - A global environmental group hit back at a U.S. policy to export genetically modified (GM) food as aid, saying the crops pose potential health and economic risks to developing countries. Friends of the Earth (FOE) said the United States, which is fighting the European Union's ban on most GM foods, was exploiting famine-stricken populations by denying them the choice to avoid genetically engineered crops in aid shipments.
US has plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into death camp (May 26)
THE US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, with its own death row and execution chamber. Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday. The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries, including two Australians. The suspects have been held at Camp Delta on Cuba without charge for 18 months. General Miller said building a death row was one plan. Another was to have a permanent jail, with possibly an execution chamber. (THIS IS ALSO POSTED AT http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/052703B.shtml)
Red Cross Denied Access to POWs (May 25)
Up to 3,000 Iraqis - some of them civilians - believed to be gagged, bound, hooded and beaten at US camps close to Baghdad airport - The United States is illegally holding thousands of Iraqi prisoners of war and other captives without access to human rights officials at compounds close to Baghdad airport, The Observer has learnt. There have also been reports of a mutiny last week by prisoners at an airport compound, in protest against conditions. The uprising was 'dealt with' by the Americans, according to a US military source. The International Committee of the Red Cross so far has been denied access to what the organisation believes could be as many as 3,000 prisoners held in searing heat. All other requests to inspect conditions under which prisoners are being held have been met with silence or been turned down. (...) The ICRC has gained access to prisoners held in camps at Umm Qasr in the south. But with regard to the larger numbers reportedly held in Baghdad, said Doumani, 'we are still waiting for the green light, more than a month after the end of the conflict. This is in breach of the third Geneva Convention.' She said the laws of war should give the ICRC access 'as quickly as possible'. The airport camps are also said to contain many hundreds of civilians detained for looting, who, Doumani said, 'do not fit into the category of prisoners of war, according to the Americans'. (...) On his way out, Nicolian said he passed a bigger encampment in which he saw 'hundreds of men' hooded, with their arms tied behind their backs. A worker for a non-governmental aid organisation, who asked not to be named, told The Observer that he saw men in a similar state aboard a truck, apparently in transit from one place to another. The aid worker said he managed to video the scene. CLIP
War on Iraq was illegal, say top lawyers (May 25)
A panel of eminent experts will warn that UN authority has been 'seriously weakened' by conflict.
Classified: Censoring the Report About 9-11? (May 26)
Bush officials are refusing to permit the release of matters already in the public domain-including the existence of intelligence documents referred to on the CIA Web site.
Saving Private Lynch: Take 2 (May 20) A MUST READ!
In the 1998 film "Wag the Dog," political operatives employ special editing techniques to create phony footage that will engender public sympathy for a manufactured war. Now we find that in 2003 the real-life Pentagon's ability and willingness to manipulate the facts make Hollywood's story lines look tame. After a thorough investigation, the British Broadcasting Corp. has presented a shocking dissection of the "heroic" rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, as reported by the U.S. military and a breathless American press. "Her story is one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived," the BBC concluded - the polite British way of saying "liar, liar, pants on fire." Though the Bush administration's shamelessly trumped-up claims about Iraq's alleged ties to Al Qaeda and 9/11 and its weapons of mass destruction take the cake for deceitful propaganda - grand strategic lies that allow the United States' seizure of Iraq's oil to appear to be an act of liberation - the sad case of Lynch's exploitation at the hands of military spinners illustrates that the truth once again was a casualty of war. CLIP
Was Jessica Lynch's Rescue Staged? (May 16)
Witnesses told us that the special forces knew that the Iraqi military had fled a day before they swooped on the hospital.
Baghdad Women Shrouded in Fear (May 26)
Families' anxiety over risk of rape keeps females out of sight. Lawlessness and tradition combine to limit girls' movement. (...) With nothing to counterbalance the rumor mill there is a void of officialdom with the U.S. military still not in full control of the city, and the Iraqi police force collapsed Iraqis believe violent crimes are being committed with impunity. Prisons are empty, and the thousands of hardened criminals released by Hussein roam the streets.
Remarks on the Floor of the United States Senate by Senator Robert C. Byrd (May 21)
... members of Congress are reluctant to ask questions that are begging to be asked. How long will we occupy Iraq? We have already heard disputes on the number of troops that will be needed to retain order. What is the truth? How costly will the occupation and rebuilding be? No one has given a straight answer. How will we afford this long-term, massive commitment, fight terrorism at home, address a serious crisis in domestic healthcare, afford behemoth military spending and give away billions in tax cuts. (...) And mark my words, the calculated intimidation that we see so often of late by the "powers that be" will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.
Philosophers Draw on the Film 'Matrix' (May 24) (Very interesting if you saw the movie!)
THE MYSTICAL DANCE OF MIRACLES
This is about Joao de Deus, a miracle healer in central Brazil.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org>
IRAQ: NGOs Decry 'Bribes' and 'Threats' Behind U.N. Vote
James Paul of the New York-based Global Policy Forum said that ''many threats - and promises of a few oil fields - have brought the Council membership into line''.
UNITED NATIONS, May 22 (IPS) - A coalition of over 150 peace groups and global non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is lashing out at the U.N. Security Council for adopting a resolution that virtually legitimises the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and endorses the foreign occupation of a U.N. member state.
''The United States was successful in bulldozing its way because it offered too many bribes and held out too many threats,'' says Rob Wheeler, a spokesman for the Uniting for Peace Coalition.
The ''threats,'' he said, were against developing nations in the 15-member Security Council, and the ''bribes'' were the promises made to more powerful nations, which caved in to U.S. pressure.
''Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves. The United States will now decide how those reserves are to be distributed. And nobody wants to be cut out of the pie,'' Wheeler told IPS on Thursday.
The resolution, co-sponsored by the United States, Britain and Spain, was adopted Thursday by a vote of 14:1, with Syria, the only Arab nation in the Council, refusing to participate in the voting.
Approval of the seven-page resolution, which not only lifts the 12-year-old U.N. sanctions on Iraq but also provides political legitimacy to U.S. rule in that war devastated nation, was being hailed as a major diplomatic victory for Washington.
Chile and Mexico, two developing nations in the Security Council with important trade relations with the United States, were under heavy pressure to vote for the resolution. And so were other developing nations in the Council, added Wheeler.
James Paul of the New York-based Global Policy Forum said that ''many threats - and promises of a few oil fields - have brought the Council membership into line''.
Chile's U.N. ambassador, he said, was recalled by his government ''for failing to show sufficient support and enthusiasm for the U.S. position''.
The developing nations in the Security Council - including Mexico, Cameroon, Chile, Angola and Guinea - justified their support by focusing largely on the benefits that the removal of sanctions will offer to the long suffering Iraqis and the country's reconstruction.
Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico said his country supported the resolution because it set in motion that reconstruction. Describing the plan as a ''compromise'', he said that all proceeds of oil resources should be channelled towards the Iraqi people.
''The advisory and monitoring mechanism must guarantee that the handling of oil would be done in a transparent manner. Iraq's future was a great challenge for the United Nations, and to confront it squarely, the organisation itself had to be strengthened.''
The resolution spelling out the future of Iraq was adopted without the presence of a single Iraqi in the Council chamber - a rare occurrence in the Security Council's decision-making process.
With the ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, his chief representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, packed his bags and left New York last month. As a result, Iraq has remained headless at the United Nations.
Although the resolution opened the door for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan singled out the issues he said the Security Council failed to address.
Akram regretted that the resolution did not specify the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in declaring Iraq free of weapons of mass destruction; it did not end the U.N. arms embargo against the country and it did not clarify the U.N.'s role in a future Iraq.
France, which threatened to use its veto against a previous U.S. resolution seeking U.N. approval for an invasion of Iraq last March, went along with the current plan.
While the resolution creates a U.S.-dominated Provisional Authority to run the country, it establishes a development fund for Iraq's oil revenues. The U.N.'s oil-for-food programme, which was mandated to use oil revenues to buy food and humanitarian supplies to sanctions-hit Iraqis, will be phased out over the next six months.
The resolution also creates an International Advisory and Monitoring Board and requests U.N. chief Kofi Annan to appoint a special representative to oversee humanitarian assistance to Iraqis.
But ''far from playing a vital role (the United Nations) is relegated to an advisory and consultative body'', said Wheeler.
Even the proposed advisory body, he said, would include representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), organisations controlled by the United States.
To placate the Russians and the French, who are owed billions of dollars by the ousted Saddam Hussein regime, the resolutions seeks the ''prompt completion of the restructuring of Iraq's debt''.
Ambassador Mamady Troare of Guinea said adopting the resolution represented a success for the United Nations and for the Security Council, which had rediscovered the golden rule of consensus.
Cameroon's Martin Belinga-Eboutou said he had long believed that sanctions against Iraq should be lifted, and that the United Nations should play an important role in rebuilding the country.
But Annan was more cautious when he told delegates that ''the mandate given to the United Nations involved complex and difficult tasks''.
Other members of Uniting for Peace include the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Global Exchange, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Friends of the Earth International (all U.S.-based), Third World Network (Malaysia), World Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (India), NGO Forum (Mauritius) and the World Peace Council (Greece). (END/2003)
Date: 26 May 2003
From: Goldi email@example.com>
Subject: Two New Crop Circle in Sussex
The first formation doesn't look all that impressive at first, but be sure to scroll down for a description and some diagrams of it, which will amaze you!
The second one looks VERY fascinating! Hopefully we will see more info and more detailed photos on this one.
The crop circle season is just beginning to heat up! Don't know about you, but I would dearly LOVE to witness one of these mysterious phenomena up close and personal...
Newmarket Hill, nr Woodingdean, East Sussex. Reported 14th May.
Newmarket Hill (2), nr Woodingdean, East Sussex. Reported 25th May.
Many thanks to David Russell for the aerial images.
From: "Suzy Ward" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Afghan massacre by US troops filmed
Date: 26 May 2003
It's revelations such as this that let Matthew say this war will be the turning point for humanity, that as people learn about such unconscionable acts, there will be global outcry against any more. We need to focus on love and peace, compassion, understanding, mutual respect and cooperation to replace the violence, greed, prejudice, deception, corruption and control that have led to where the world is today.
May 23rd, 2003
Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death Broadcast for the First Time Ever in the US: Eyewitnesses Testify that US Troops Were Accomplices in the Massacre of up to 3,000 Taliban Prisoners During the Afghan War.
The film has been broadcast on national television in countries all over the world and has been screened by the European parliament. Human rights lawyers are calling for investigation into whether U.S. forces are guilty of war crimes. But no U.S. media outlet has broadcast the film.
Today, on Democracy Now!, the U.S. broadcast premiere of a documentary film called Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death.
The film provides eyewitness testimony that U.S. troops were complicit in the massacre of thousands of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan War.
It tells the story of thousands of prisoners who surrendered to the US militarys Afghan allies after the siege of Kunduz. According to eyewitnesses, some three thousand of the prisoners were forced into sealed containers and loaded onto trucks for transport to Sheberghan prison. Eyewitnesses say when the prisoners began shouting for air, U.S.-allied Afghan soldiers fired directly into the truck, killing many of them. The rest suffered through an appalling road trip lasting up to four days, so thirsty they clawed at the skin of their fellow prisoners as they licked perspiration and even drank blood from open wounds.
Witnesses say that when the trucks arrived and soldiers opened the containers, most of the people inside were dead. They also say US Special Forces re-directed the containers carrying the living and dead into the desert and stood by as survivors were shot and buried. Now, up to three thousand bodies lie buried in a mass grave.
The film has sent shockwaves around the world. It has been broadcast on national television in Britain, Germany, Italy and Australia. It has been screened by the European parliament. It has outraged human rights groups and international human rights lawyers. They are calling for investigation into whether U.S. Special Forces are guilty of war crimes.
But most Americans have never heard of the film. Thats because not one corporate media outlet in the U.S. will touch it. It has never before been broadcast in this country.
Today, Democracy Now! brings you the premiere broadcast of Afghan Massacre in the United States.
Afghan Massacre is produced and directed by award-winning Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. Doran is has worked at the highest levels of television film production for more than two decades. His films have been broadcast on virtually every major channel throughout the world. On average, each of his films are seen in around 35 countries. Before establishing his independent television company, Jamie Doran spent over seven years at BBC Television.
The film was researched by award-winning journalist Najibullah Quraishi, who was beaten almost to death when he tried to obtain video evidence of US Special Forces complicity in the massacre. Two of the witnesses who testified in the film are now dead.
Afghan Massacre: the Convoy of Death - produced and directed by award-winning Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran.
ACFTV, International documentary production company
Watch show on Realplayer (low-bandwidth)
Watch show on Realplayer (high-bandwidth)
To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, call 1 (800) 881-2359.
Democracy Now! Exclusive: Four Peace Activists Throw Their Blood on the Deck of the USS Philippine Sea, the First U.S. Warship to Attack Afghanistan After September 11th
Three Dominican Nuns Await Sentencing for Damaging Nuclear Site in Colorado
Five Members of the Pacifist Catholic Worker Movement Face 10 Years in Prison for Peace Protests at Shannon Airport in Ireland
Remembering Peace Veteran Phil Berrigan (1923-2002)
From: "Will Thomas" email@example.com>
Subject: THE BUCKS STOP HERE
Date: 26 May 2003
"Even while George Bush growls out his bellicose message, his country has never been in such an enfeebled state." [The Observer 1/26/03]
THE BUCKS STOP HERE
by William Thomas
May 26, 2003
Is Bush trying to crash America? The Boy Wonder's latest tax dodge, gifting a further $470 billion to the richest 1% of America's ruling elite, recently prompted publication of a full-page ad in the New York Times signed by 40 Nobel Laureates and 400 leading U.S. economists warning of disaster. Explaining their concerns to a Canadian radio audience, one of the ad's sponsors termed Bush's economic policies, "Fiscal madness." [CBC Feb. 11, 2003]
Unless you're one of the 1%.
Think Roman Empire. Think former Soviet Union. Like Nero and the Kremlin, the costs of the increasingly expensive killing machines, troops and logistics needed to suppress its own citizenry while expanding and maintaining a global empire pose a graver threat to Americans than any real, imagined or manufactured enemy. Spending more than half-a-million dollars a minute on weapons of mass destruction means that Washington must currently borrow $2 billion every day to keep the government going.
Those credit card purchases add up. When a man who wrecked every business he was ever handed "took" office in the year 2000, the USA enjoyed a $3 trillion surplus. It's $2.6 trillion in debt today.
Unlike the federal government, which keeps raising the bar on legally permissible indebtedness, states and counties must deliver balanced budgets. As federal funds dry up, and record unemployment shrivels state tax revenues, one-quarter cuts in state revenues are being reflected in 25% less local services.
So much for the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, which marked 2003 as the year the fed would finally started living within its multi-trillion dollar means. "What have we got?" exclaims Ed Henry. "We've got a federal government that is borrowing us into oblivion - $653 billion since the start of fiscal 2002 is not chicken feed. It's the largest debt increase this nation has ever experienced."
Last June, Congress raised the national debt limit from $5.95 trillion to $6.4 trillion. But on Feb. 20, 2003 Bush's big spending hit that ceiling and were unable to borrow another dime. A new national debt limit of $7.38 trillion is about to "solve" the problem by digging a debt hole deep enough to scuttle even a Superpower. See: http://www.etherzone.com/2003/henr050203.shtml Mayday, Mayday, Mayday We Are Sinking" by Ed Henry
The $80 billion spent on invading Iraq, plus another $100 billion or so in immediate reconstruction and administration costs, far exceeds any timely compensation from that occupied country's extorted oil. As Henry explains, back in Washington, "Almost $2 trillion a year isn't enough for the poor dears to get by on. After all, they've got empires to build, lobbyists to satisfy, an oligarchy to support, and their own lavish retirement to consider. If you can't cough up the extra cash needed, your kids can."
"Overreach" is what happens when a little boy stands on five precariously balanced chairs to reach the cookie jar. Labeled "Debt", "Weapons", "Perpetual War", "Climate Change" and "International Self-Preservation" this improvised tower is teetering toward a crash that could relegate the United States to a third-rate power overnight.
The Soviets have been there, done that. Russian strategic analyst Folkhogskola Vardingeby points out that the U.S. debt is growing more than ten times faster than national income. General Leonid Ivashov believes that the U.S.A. has "come to the climax of her military-power adventures for grabbing power over the planet. [Boudewijn Wegerif, "What Matters" radio program 9/24/02]
JUST SAY EURO
For more than 150 countries calling Earth home, the need to rein in Washington's warmongers has become a self-preservation priority. Instead of military confrontation with a nation monopolizing violence, the battle for self-determination versus U.S. domination can be won without firing a shot by saying nope, non and nyet to the world's current controlling currency.
For the world's most threatening war machine runs not just on oil, but on dollars backed by oil. As international banker Dr. Kurt Richebächer explains, U.S. financial markets have become hostage "to the willingness of foreign investors and lenders to finance its spending excesses."
In the face of an out-of-control Superpower attacking countries at will - and shrinking returns on the dollars they hold - foreign complicity in American aggression is evaporating. In the year of the Bush coup in Florida, Europeans invested over $600 billion in the USA. Today, European purchases of U.S. businesses have plummeted to just $7 billion. [The Looming Dollar Disaster]
Call it "Gotchas Economics". Since countries must acquire dollars to buy the fuel that runs their economies - and since only the U.S. can print dollars - Washington has retained an unearned lock on global trade. Today, fully two-thirds of world commerce is dollar-denominated. Recycling some $2 trillion in "petrodollars" has enabled a war-obsessed United States to run perpetual trade deficits. [The Observer 2/23/03]
But now just about everyone is ditching the diving dollar.
WHY AFGHANISTAN WAS INVADED
The Caspian Sea basin's 200 billion barrels of untapped "black gold" appeared to offer Washington a strategic counterbalance equal to Saudi Arabia's immense oil reserves. At least those were the Central Asian oil estimates in 2001 when the Bush administration ignored UN sanctions against the Taliban and began crude negotiations with murderous misogynist mullahs for a pipeline deal. [The Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden]
Now, after war crimes that included the slaughter of thousands of unarmed prisoners, and cluster bomb and radioactive cruise missile attacks against thousands more defenseless civilians, the return to rapacious rule by warlords worse than the Taliban is being overlooked by American occupiers preoccupied with three exploratory oil wells.
Guess what? These new findings shrank the Caspian oil ocean to a more modest subterranean lake of just 10 to 20 billion barrels of poor quality, high-sulphur crude - http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/101802_the_unseen.html . According to top oil experts interviewed by Mike Ruppert, several "majors" have already abandoned their post-war pipeline plans.
Oops! With the planet's biggest polluters and oil consumers set to import 90% of their addiction by 2020, Bush and his Enron backers quickly turned their attention to Iraq's awesomely estimated oil reserves. As Ruppert remarks, "Our greatest nemesis, Bin Laden, was quickly replaced with our new public enemy #1, Saddam Hussein" whose brutal regime had been virtually ignored for decades by the government which put him in power. [From The Wilderness 10/19/02, 12/5/02 http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/120502_caspian.html ]
WHY IRAQ WAS INVADED
Washington laughed when Saddam took the world's second biggest oilfields off the dollar standard and began demanding payment in euros in Oct. 2000. The seemingly dimbulb dictator also converted his $10 billion UN reserve funds to euros - just as that fledgling currency hit an historic low of 82 cents.
The laughter stopped abruptly when the euro's value crouched, then leaped 30%.
According to Aussie analyst Geoffrey Heard, the second brutal war against Iraq was intended to return Iraq's oil reserves to the dollar, intimidate other oil producers considering passing on the buck, and sabotage other potential Middle East players.
Explained Michel Chossudovsky from the Centre for Research on Globalization (http://www.globalresearch.ca) last March: "The war is not only being carried out with a view to taking over Iraq's oil reserves. It is intended to cancel the contracts of rival Russian and European oil companies, as well as exclude France, Russia and China" from a Middle East-Central Asian region containing more than 70% of the world's reserves of oil and natural gas.
No kidding. A $40 billion Iraq-Russia contract to hunt oil in Iraq's western desert is now scrap paper. Ditto the rights of the French oil company TotalFinaElf rights to develop the huge Majnoon field, near the Iranian border, which may contain up to 30 billion barrels of greenhouse-goosing carbon. [Washington Post 9/15/02]
The only reasonable recourse left to Iraq's turfed trading partners is to dump dollars and acquire euros. Awash in 50 billion petrodollars, Russia's parliamentary duma has discussed adopting the euro for oil sales to its main trading partners in Europe. The Bank of China, another major European trader, and Russia's Central Bank are also set to sell dollars for the euro, which has supplanted the dollar as the global "currency of refuge" after the invasion of a shattered country that had nothing to do with 911 or al Qaeda derailed the dollar and sparked al Qaeda retaliation worldwide. [AP 1/24/03]
OPEC'S PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE
Meanwhile, increasing anti-Saudi rhetoric from Washington and the Pentagon's sudden pullout from the Kingdom have left a despised oligarchy vulnerable to terrorism and toppling. Not to mention a U.S. takeover to "protect" the monarchy it abandoned.
Riyadh's reaction may be radical. Last year the former American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia reminded Congress, "One of the major things the Saudis have historically done, in part out of friendship with the United States, is to insist that oil continues to be priced in dollars. I wonder whether there will not again be, as there have been in the past, people in Saudi Arabia who raise the question of why they should be so kind to the United States."
The instant OPEC embraces the euro, the dollar will lose up to 40% of its value, investors will jump from Wall Street windows, U.S. money markets will collapse - and America's bid for "full spectrum dominance" of the globe will end.
Of course, the entire dollar-dependent world will undergo economic convulsions at the same time. So it seems prudent to introduce such drastic currency conversion over the next five or 10 years. But inshallah, a Bushwhacked OPEC could be driven to the euro in a bid to nuke the dollar and economically pre-empt American aggression.
THE ULTIMATE BOYCOTT
While worldwide revulsion against American "rubblization" and irradiation of residential neighborhoods is sparking a reflexive shunning of "Made In America" products, the ultimate boycott is a refusal to deal in dollars.
Seeking profits, security and a chance to retaliate against Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric, Tehran last year shifted most of its central bank reserves to euros. The move to euros as Iran's oil standard is imminent. As Parliamentarian Mohammad Abasspour put it, "the United States dominates other countries through its currency, monopolizing global trade."
Iran's eagerness to help "eliminate" the dollar as the main trade currency qualifies Tehran for immediate U.S. bombing and invasion. As one senior British official put it: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran." [Iran Financial News 8/25/02]
Or North Korea. Last December, in response to Bush's cruel mid-winter oil embargo, that nervously nuclear "Axis of Evil" dropped the dollar and began using euros for all foreign exchange.
Or Venezuela. In another tectonic shift away from the blood-soaked greenback, 13 developing countries are following Caracas' lead and bartering services and commodities directly with each other in computerized swaps. (Look for another CIA-sponsored coup attempt against a president who has won three popular elections soon.)
Or back to an Orient of high body counts and unpleasant lessons. Fast-draw cowpokes who often pull their triggers before drawing their guns ignored the biggest Asian central banks holding most of the planet's dollar reserves, who were already considering decreasing their Treasury holdings - before the U.S. attack on Iraq accelerated that trend. As Chossudovsky comments, Japan, which imports over 80% of its oil from the Middle East, must consider converting many of its dollar assets to euros. With gigantic consequences for the bankrupt Superpower it largely subsidizes.
WILL THE USA AND EUROPE SWITCH ROLES?
Real world power is measured not in children-maiming cluster bombs and radioactive cruise missiles, but in the currencies valued by its holders. Commanding nearly half of world trade, the European Union represents a growing challenge to continued U.S. dominance of a world that lies almost entirely beyond its borders.
At a financial summit in Spain in April 2002, the head of OPEC's Petroleum Market Analysis Department, Javad Yarjani, wondered if "the euro will establish itself in world financial markets, thus challenging the supremacy of the U.S. dollar, and consequently trigger a change in the dollar's dominance in oil markets."
It seemed a stretch. By the late '90s, Yarjani reminded his listeners, "more than four-fifths of all foreign exchange transactions, and half of all world exports, were denominated in dollars. In addition, the US currency accounts for about two thirds of all official exchange reserves."
But the dollar's 53-year advantage is ending. Last December, 10 more countries became EU members. Next year, 450 million oil-burning European consumers will enjoy combined wealth of $9.6 trillion - versus 280 million Americans and their heavily indentured $10.5 trillion economy.
Go figure. Europe is the world's biggest oil importer. Its factories export nearly half of all Middle East imports. Add this up, subtract the dollar's declining value, and it makes real "cents" for European manufacturers, oil companies, and OPEC to trade in euros.
Unless soon bombed into submission, OPEC's switch to the euro will happen. The big question is when? With Britain, Norway, Denmark and Sweden set to join a single euro currency as soon as next autumn, Yarjani believes "this might create a momentum to shift the oil pricing system to euros." [Speech on The International Role of the Euro 4/14/2002, Oviedo, Spain - http://www.e-dinar.com) has reached the equivalent of four tons of that precious metal measured in ounces - while some 600,000 gold-dinar users increase their numbers by 60,000 new members every month.
Several countries are now using some 100,000 Islamic gold dinars and 250,000 silver dirhams in place of the U.S. dollar. If the 1.3 billion citizens of Islamic countries opt for gold dinars and e-dinars in inter-Islamic trade, and euros for oil and imports, greenbacks will become slightly less valuable than Kleenex. And the world's most debt-ridden nation - owing about $12,000 for each of its 280 million human inhabitants - will implode as suddenly and dramatically as Indonesia, Argentina, or the ex-Soviet Union.
ROLLING THE DICE
On the other hand, Chossudovsky calculates, sticking up the world's last oil supplies and locking everyone back into dollar domination through military, cultural and economic subjugation of Central Asia and the entire Middle East "would consolidate America's current position and make it all but impregnable as the dominant world power."
Will the gamble by Bush and his henchman to smash OPEC and grab the leverage offered by the planet's last big oil reserves pay off before the costs of conquest collapse their own country? Does it matter? Continued oil burning under any guise - or guys - will hasten climatic catastrophe within a few short decades.
America's new oil weapon is really a fatal vulnerability. With production peaks passed, and the era of cheap oil ending sometime this decade, European oil addicts are slashing their energy consumption and turning to wind power and hydrogen. While the Bush oil cabal holds the U.S. hostage to a dangerous, disappearing resource, America's ability to compete or cooperate with sustainable energy sources is being squandered - even as that nation's permanent war economy turns the American dream into a nightmare of ruined cities and national insolvency.
For the rest of us, an indigent Uncle Sam too broke to deploy bombers or tanks is a recipe for hope. For Americans, it's time for a regime change.
William Thomas served as a member of a three-man Gulf Environmental Emergency Response Team in Kuwait during and immediately after Desert Storm. Producer of the award-winning documentary, Eco War (http://www3bc.sympatico.ca/Willthomas/orders/orders.htm), he is the author of "Bringing The War Home" (http://www3.bc.sympatico.ca/Willthomas/warhome/warhome.htm) and "All Fall Down: The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion" (http://www3.bc.sympatico.ca/Willthomas/AFD/AFD.htm).
Please for more go at http://www3.bc.sympatico.ca/Willthomas/homepage.html
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Bush Plan Would Wreck an Already Ailing Economy (May 7)
A Tax Cut Without End
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THE SAD CONSEQUENCES OF THE AMERICAN INVASION OF IRAQ
Gun gangs rule streets as US loses control
Ed Vulliamy in Baghdad reports on aid agencies' struggle to save Iraq from looters, disease and poverty
May 25, 2003
As the blood-red sun sinks below the Baghdad skyline, the shooting begins. It is the sound of the anarchy into which the Iraqi capital has spiralled since the war's end: the rasp of machine-guns accompanied by arcs of red tracer fire across the sky. Throughout the city, fires burn, their flames licking the night.
Now, with the United Nations Security Council having formally sanctioned America's military occupation of Iraq, a massive operation is being prepared to catch up on a month of default and negligence in dealing with chaos and desperate need, with newly admitted international organisations hoping it is not too late.
Having been diplomatically brushed aside over the war, the UN is set to arrive under the leadership of the Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was for years responsible for the UN protectorate in East Timor. The World Food Programme has pledged to buy this year's crops, allowing Iraq's farmers to sow for next time around. A relaxation of all customs duty is bringing in a flood of imported goods aimed at boosting a collapsed and workless economy.
But the massive task may be doomed: International Red Cross spokeswoman Nada Doumani says it is necessary 'to fill a vacuum created by war and a lack of infrastructure caused by sanctions'.
Iraq is now a society of either predators or prey, fully armed with weaponry looted from military stores the Americans failed to secure after the war. 'We all have guns now,' says Abdul Ahmed Hasan, 25, surveying the charred remains of his looted photo laboratory. 'Some have guns to attack, some have guns to defend their families. I have four at home.'
Baghdad is being carved up by armed gangs. Towns in the south - apart from the port city of Basra, under British control - are even more dangerous. In the city of Hilla, near Babylon, the poor quarter of Nada, where scores of civilians were killed by cluster bombs during the war, is out of bounds to strangers and US troops alike. Both The Observer and Human Rights Watch were warned not to enter without an armed escort. In the grim wards of the hospital at Hilla, Dr Satar Jabel says victims of war are now outnumbered by those of gang warfare - wounded, if not with guns, with swords.
In Hilla, as in Nasiriyah further south, the arrival of any strange vehicle immediately attracts crowds of children pleading for water and food. 'Before, we had no freedom, but we had security,' muses Kadem Hashem - in the ruins of the house in south Nasiriyah, where he lost all 14 members of his family during a bombing raid. 'Now, we have freedom, but no security, no work and no income.'
A government for this maelstrom is ever more elusive, with a total disconnection between the optimistic language of US press briefings at Saddam Hussein's old palace and the anarchic reality on the street. The Americans are even split over whom to back: the Pentagon is still committed to its pet politician, the formerly exiled businessman Ahmed Chalabi, who has no particular constituency in Iraq. The State Department, which has always distrusted Chalabi, backs a moderate Sunni Muslim leader, Adnan Pachachi.
Militant religious and political leaders from the downtrodden Shia majority manoeuvre and prepare for power, and Kurdish leader Mahmoud Barzani has quit in disgust the US-appointed commission tasked to form a government, returning to Kurdistan in the north with his militias.
Since the war, say workers for several aid organisations, the Pentagon's administration has systematically hindered the reconstruction and the distribution of medicines and other supplies. At the root of the problems, says Pascal Snoeck of Médecins Sans Frontières, was the Pentagon's insistence, in the face of mass looting, on sole hegemony in supervising the humanitarian aftermath of war, refusing to allow non-governmental aid organisations to operate except under direct authority of the occupying force.
While the US demanded such a role, says Snoeck - a logistics co-ordinator for the Paris-based group that invariably spearheads relief efforts worldwide - they were also thoroughly unprepared for the needs of the people. Their idea was that Iraq would be 'liberated - problem solved'.
'Now,' says Snoeck, 'they are saying they cannot manage, and the Americans have reversed their position, asking the NGOs, "Please come and help," having ignored what we have been saying ever since before the war.' The US is 'in breach of its obligations under the Geneva Convention,' says Alex Renton, spokesman in Iraq for Oxfam, in failing to prevent the looting, particularly of medical supplies.
'The question of security is fundamental,' says Renton, 'as is the problem of looting. We did actually manage to repair the water system in Nasiriyah, only to see it looted a couple of days later.'
'The Americans say now they could not have foreseen the problem of looting medical supplies,' says MSF's medical co-ordinator, An Willems. 'But we had been telling them about this risk since just after the war.'
On the ground, the needs are plain to see in such places as the paediatric ward of the Khadessia Hospital in Thawra City, a teeming shanty of four million - all of them Shia - on the edge of Baghdad.
This is one of many hospitals into which the clerical authorities have moved, to provide security and medicine, and to become the only force of social cohesion by default of any alternative.
Here, Dr Hamas Assad Walid does his rounds through a thicket of beds filled with waifs suffering from diseases invariably associated with water contamination and the accumulation of stinking garbage, through which children pick for anything they can sell.
'We have been seeing some 1,000 patients a day,' says Walid, 'and taking in about 60 to 70 - turning away hundreds of children a day.' The hospital is full, with the first children now dying from chronic dehydration and gastroenteritis, and the first cases of jaundice and suspected cholera. Her eyes yellowed, Hawra Abdullah came in seven days ago. Now she stares into oblivion and is unable to hear or speak. 'She was always a quiet girl,' says her mother, Kader, trying to smile, 'but not like this.'
One of the hospital's problems, say the doctors snatching a quick lunch in their shabby common room, was the American-backed reinstatement of Dr Ali Sultan, their old director under Saddam. Sultan was one of a layer of Saddam-era managers put in place by the man appointed by the Americans as Health Minister, Dr Ali Shnan Janabi, despite his record at the apex of the old regime. Doctors across Iraq rebelled against the Americans' first Ministerial appointment and Janabi resigned after 36 hours.
The removal of the neo-Baathist tier has started in Baghdad, with doctors demanding the election of new managers but, in the countryside, the supposed de-Baathification has created just the opposite result.
In towns such as Hilla, there have been demonstrations against reinstatement by the Americans of Saddam's old guard: in the town hall, hospitals and even the Red Crescent. These cronies are the only citizens in town blindly loyal to the American occupier.
Meanwhile, US tanks grind through the streets of Hilla, and the children still wave cheerily. The tank commanders duly wave back, but do not understand what is being shouted at them from behind those mischievous, smiling young faces: 'My father is with your sister!' Or: 'While you are in Iraq, your wife is becoming a rich woman in bed!'
Lugar: 'On Brink of Catastrophe' in Iraq
War Profiteers Take Terror Record to Iraq
U.S. Troops on Shooting Spree after Iraq Attack
Iraq Occupation Illegal, Blair Told
Victims of the Peace in Iraq
Blix: 'Iraq May Have Had No WMDs'
Trust in Leaders Lost if No WMDs Found
Robert Bird: Iraq War, "Unprovoked Invasion of a Sovereign Nation"
Why is US Refusing to Allow UN Inspectors into Iraq?
Massive Anti-US Protest in Baghdad
THE GREAT KILLING: OUR BEAUTIFUL HOME PLANET IS DYING BECAUSE OF GREED, ECOLOGICAL BLINDNESS AND INDIFFERENCE... SHAME ON ALL OF US!
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
'The Empty Ocean': Invisible Extinctions
May 25, 2003
By THURSTON CLARKE
THE EMPTY OCEAN Plundering the World's Marine Life. Written and illustrated by Richard Ellis. 367 pp. Washington: Island Press/Shearwater Books. $26.
The ghosts of vanquished animals still haunt their former habitats; jungles without tigers, prairies without buffaloes and savannas where herds of elephants once foraged all remind us of what has vanished. But maritime extinctions, as Richard Ellis so eloquently reminds us in ''The Empty Ocean,'' are largely invisible, leaving us, ''stranded on shore, watching as the bountiful sea life disappears before our uncomprehending eyes.''
And so Florida mangroves cleared for condominiums are an ecological slap in the face, but a reef off the Florida Keys bleached by the effluvia of legal septic tanks and illegal cesspools looks no different from the shoreline; waves continue breaking gently across it, and its shallows are still the same beautiful turquoise. Walk along a resort beach in Baja California and you would never guess that offshore, in areas where a half-century earlier divers found 4,000 abalones per acre, they can now find only one per acre. Stand on a rocky promontory on one of Norway's Lofoten Islands and the black North Sea waters below look as chilly and forbidding as they have for centuries; unless you had read Ellis's book, you would have no way of knowing that a century earlier they supported shoals of fish teeming in 130-foot-high underwater columns, a miracle known as a ''cod mountain.''
Sometimes the dying occurs within sight, at the water's edge, and hints at the wider devastation beyond. Residents of high-rise condominiums on Florida's Atlantic shoreline sometimes trip over dead or dying female sea turtles while taking morning walks. The creatures have crawled ashore at night to lay their eggs and, mistaking the lighted condominiums for the sun rising over the Atlantic, then head inland, become stranded and die. Visitors to remote Enderby Island could not fail to notice the rabbits, introduced by French settlers in the 19th century and numbering in the thousands. They would notice, too, in some of the rabbits' deep burrows, the carcasses of sea lion pups, 700 of which every year wriggle into these burrows, become trapped and die.
But usually the maritime tragedies happen out of sight, and we must look to clues: jars in Chinese apothecaries filled with a powder of ground-up seal penises; shoehorns, cribbage sets and eyeglasses fashioned from tortoise shells; sea horses turned into key chains; Hong Kong restaurant aquariums teeming with colorful fish harvested from reefs with crowbars, cyanide and dynamite; and restaurant menus offering ''Chilean sea bass,'' a mild-flavored, soft-fleshed creature formerly known as the Patagonian toothfish that in two decades has gone from trash fish to gourmet sensation to endangered species.
Ellis makes imagining this offstage dying easier. It requires a not inconsiderable leap of imagination to picture the marine life sacrificed in the service of a plate of salad-bar peel 'n' eat shrimp, but Ellis helps us by reporting that for every pound of shrimp scraped from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in 1996, nets also brought up eight pounds of rays, eels, flounder, butterfish and other miscellaneous ''bycatch'' -- a term the fishing industry prefers over ''trash fish'' (much as the Pentagon prefers ''collateral damage'' to ''dead civilians'') to describe untargeted species snagged by long lines and dragnets and then discarded at sea. Also snagged by the shrimpers' nets is a large unweighed and unreported bycatch of starfish, crabs, urchins, coral, sponges and horse conchs, so that a diner leaving the salad bar with a one-pound plate of shrimp in one hand could also be said to be balancing in the other an imaginary platter heaped with at least eight pounds (and probably more) of eels, urchins, crabs, flounder, porgies, lizardfish, batfish and butterfish.
Ellis is candid and modest to a fault about what ''The Empty Ocean'' is and is not, declaring in his preface that ''I am not a field researcher -- I classify myself as a library or Internet researcher.'' But he is more than someone who has spent time poring over library books and computer printouts. He has studied marine life for four decades and has served on the International Whaling Commission. He has become a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, and has painted and drawn the sea creatures that appear in many magazines, and that swim engagingly across the pages of this book.
One sees here both the benefits and the drawbacks of his preference for the library and Internet. Rather than writing the ''Silent Spring'' of the oceans, he has produced a book that is likely to provide the inspiration and source material for such a badly needed work. Any reader who tires, as I sometimes did, of the procession of facts, statistics, long quotations and random polemics (''the ubiquitous Homo sapiens, far and away the most dangerous and destructive creature the planet has ever known'') should remember that although Ellis has written a book closer to an encyclopedia than a stirring narrative, it is an encyclopedia of the highest order, the result of a passion for research. It is also a splendid example of history illuminating ecology, with well-chosen facts that enable us to picture a largely invisible catastrophe.
THANKS to Ellis, if I am ever tempted to order shark's fin soup -- which I probably will not be -- I will picture the 60,857 sharks that were landed in Honolulu in 1998 (a 2,500 percent increase in shark landings compared with 1991), and because 99 percent of them were killed for their fins, I will also be picturing 60,248 finless shark carcasses ground up for pet food. Ellis has also diminished my appetite for fish-farmed salmon. The next time I poach a fillet, I will be seeing the three pounds of wild fish necessary to feed a pound of farmed salmon, wild salmon locked in fatal embrace with domesticated escapees, and Scottish fish farms pouring twice as much waste into surrounding waters as the entire population of Scotland.
Near the end of his book, Ellis writes in summary, ''We mourn the loss of rain forests and timberlands; we watch helplessly as urban sprawl encroaches on meadows and prairies . . . but the rampant destruction of the ocean floor and its endemic fauna is one of the greatest environmental disasters in history, and it is occurring virtually unnoticed.'' The destruction may have gone unnoticed until now, but with the publication of ''The Empty Ocean'' it will at least be easier to imagine, and to mourn.
Thurston Clarke's recent books include ''Pearl Harbor Ghosts'' and ''Searching for Crusoe: A Journey Among the Last Real Islands.''
Also from: http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/052603I.shtml
Power, Ever More Power
25 May 2003
When it passed the USA Patriot Act in October 2001, giving law enforcement agents sweeping new powers, Congress unleashed a spying free-for-all that shows no sign of abating. Pentagon analysts are even trying to figure out if they can nab terrorists by watching how people walk "gait recognition," it's called.
Now pushing for even broader authority, the Bush administration's operating principle seems to be if a lot of power is good, a lot more would be better.
Here is what's on the table now:
"Patriot Act II," a hush-hush draft that would give the Justice Department more power to snoop and more leverage over suspects. This measure, formally known as the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, seeks to free the FBI from requirements that it get a judge's OK before prying into a person's phone, bank or credit records. It would expand government power to make secret arrests, like those of hundreds of people, mostly Middle Eastern nationals, after Sept. 11, 2001. The Justice Department largely refused to reveal the identities of those suspects, where they were detained or the reasons for their arrest. The draft measure would also allow the attorney general to strip Americans of their citizenship in some cases for donating to what they may have thought were legitimate nonprofit groups.
Although the measure doesn't officially exist, a copy was leaked this year. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft has declined to brief Congress on his proposals.
The CIA and the military are asking for authority to peruse phone records, credit card records and e-mail logs of people in the U.S. These agencies can ask the FBI for much of this, but the Bush administration believes that giving the CIA and the Pentagon direct authority would be more efficient. It would also mark an unprecedented expansion in the mission of the CIA and the military. Senate Democrats struck this program from a larger bill but it probably will return.
The Defense Department wants permission from Congress to use a new high-powered computer system, costing billions to create, to paw through the private records of millions of Americans in search of patterns that might might lead to a terrorist. The architects of this creepy Terrorism Information Awareness initiative (previously Total Information Awareness) want access to health-care files, rental car receipts, employment and school records, credit histories, e-mail traffic and more.
Set against the broad Patriot Act powers already in place and the administration's continued refusal to release the House-Senate investigation into the 2001 terrorist attacks, these proposals are assaults on the Constitution.
Americans understand the need to temporarily relinquish some liberties in light of terrorist threats. But so far, neither the president nor Ashcroft has identified what specific intelligence weak spots remain and why the prosecutorial tools they have aren't enough. Until Congress hears compelling arguments, its answer should be no.