April 16, 2004
The Big Scoop Series #1: The Cream of The Crop
Here is what got my attention over the last 7 days. These magnum size compilations are now becoming the norm, hence the title for this new series - The Big Scoop Series - "scoop" both as in "shovel" and as in "you've seen it here first" (well, most possibly!).
And of course, this is just skimming the surface of the infinite smorgasbord of news articles, views and information being circulated in this global non-stop ever-buzzing - and gravely abused! - planet of awakening star seeds.
Amidst this concerto in C (for Crisis) major of widely under-reported facts and thoughts, a couple things stand out for me: the 3 articles at the end about the emerging superpower China, the grim possibility evoked by Michel Chossudovsky - Is America Preparing for Martial Law? - and the ignominious senseless massacre of babies (as in baby seals) in my country.
One last comment. I'm, as always, surprised no one (except Meria!) is hardly ever sending me any feedback on the often grossly shocking information contained in this type of compilation. I wonder why...
Infoglut? No time to read? No desire to emphasize what is wrong by focusing attention on it? Denial of reality (at least this down-to-earth aspect of reality)? Complacency? Passivity? Apathy? Feeling of powerlessness to change any of it? All of the above? None of the above?...
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
P.S. Remember, you can always post your comments directly in the ERN guestbook available at http://two.guestbook.de/gb.cgi?gid=456912&prot=ccbcsw where I found this comment posted yesterday (April 15) by Mike email@example.com>: "I just happen to stumble upon Green Holocaust 18 and couldn't stop reading it. I am a very bad writer, but every word that was written, I have been trying to say in my own way for over 30 years. All I can say is I will put you on my Favorites list and try to read from you every day. If Only Our Words would come true. What a wonderful Earth future generations could have. Thank You Again."
You are welcomed to network anything from this compilation, but please also include the following:
Free subscription to such compilations by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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STATS for this compilation: Over 23,800 words and 99 links provided.
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"Don't be taken in when they paternally pat you on the shoulder and say that there's no inequality worth speaking of and no more reason to fight because if you believe them they will be completely in charge in their marble homes and granite banks from which they rob the people of the world under the pretence of bringing them culture. Watch out, for as soon as it pleases them they'll send you out to protect their gold in wars whose weapons, rapidly developed by servile scientists, will become more and more deadly until they can with a flick of the finger tear a million of you to pieces."
- Jean-Paul Marat (May 24, 1743 July 13, 1793), was a Swiss-born scientist and physician. Recommended by "Kathleen Roberts" firstname.lastname@example.org>
'If only a fraction of the taxes due on the trillions of dollars held in tax havens became available for international development, it would enable most rich countries to allocate 0.7 per cent of their national income to development assistance [double what Britain, for example, currently spends], and put the Millennium Development Goals [on alleviating poverty] within reach of even the poorest countries.'
- Taken from Where the rich stash their cash (March 2, 2005) http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1446130,00.html
"I call to everyone, Christians and the followers of other religions, to work together to build a world without violence, a world that loves life and grows in justice and solidarity."
- Pope John Paul II, Kazakhstan, Sept. 2001
"I insist on repeating clearly to all, once again, that no one may kill in GodÔs name."
- Pope John Paul II, quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press, Jan. 11, 1998
"War is an adventure without return."
- Pope John Paul II Christmas Day speech in 1990 on eve of Gulf War
"On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence and return to the ways of peace."
- Pope John Paul II addressing "all men and women engaged in violence" Drogheda, Ireland, Sept. 29, 1979
All four quotes sent by "Stan Penner"
Worthy of Your Attention
Free Energy News - VERY COMPREHENSIVE WEBSITE!
Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism (CODEPINK)
How can we humanize each other and act as responsible global citizens? Stop the Next War Now, edited by renowned peace activists Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, shares expert insight on the issues and powers-that-be that can lead us to war - including the media, our elected politicians, global militarization, and the pending scarcity of national resources. It aims to educate and reflect on the effectiveness of peace-movement activities and offers hope, through shared ideas, action steps, and practical checklists to transition from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.
Join the Earth Day Virtual March!
(...) You won't have to come to Washington. Or stand in the rain. Just join the virtual march and on Earth Day (April 22), we'll send your message to your Senators about their recent Senate vote and urge them to keep the Arctic National Wildife Refuge off limits to destructive oil drilling for good. CLIP Recommended by Chris Gruener email@example.com>
1. Battle of Vimy Ridge
2. TODAY 2 homes razed by Caterpillar drills in West Bank
3. Darfur Eclipsed by Peace in Southern Sudan
4. The economic tsunami, just months away
5. Some of America's Richest Say 'No, Thanks' to Bush Tax Cuts
6. The Big Fix
7. Underreported news gives government chance to hide the truth
8. Marburg Seeding Linked to Childhood Vaccine Program?
9. Serious Pandemic Flu Accident
10. News on Splenda
11. No Longer the "Lone" Superpower: Coming to Terms with China
12. The China that isnt China
13. China bristles over new drilling rights
14. Living Will Template
SPECIAL CONCERN: CANADIAN SEAL HUNT
There is worldwide protest against this senseless slaughter of baby seals. Here is why...
Seal hunt OK, quota too high: vet (April 11 2005)
CHARLOTTETOWN A veterinarian from the Atlantic Veterinary College believes the federal government should lower the number of seals allowed to be killed in the region. Pierre Daoust recently spent six hours on the ice, watching the kill in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The animal pathologist said, from what he saw, the hunt is being carried out humanely. However, he is worried about the number of harp seals DFO is allowing to be killed. The quota is about 300,000 animals, with a new annual number to be set later this year. Daoust believes the number should be cut to 190,000 seals to protect the population. He expects hunters wanting to take advantage of higher pelt prices will lobby for even more seals. "The last thing I want to see is for the population to go downhill, like we have seen with fish stocks. Some people would laugh or smile at my making this comment when the population is so high. But we have seen this kind of situation happen before. "The region's harp seal population is estimated to be 5 million. A DFO brief said that is close to a record. Seal quotas are set using aerial photographs taken above the ice floes.
Second phase of seal hunt set to begin amid concerns quota may be too high (April 13)
CHRIS MORRIS (CP) - The final phase of the East Coast seal hunt is about to begin off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and already some observers are warning the kill rate is too high to sustain Canada's harp seal population. The federal Fisheries Department soon will begin considering a new quota for the annual hunt, and while sealers want the levels kept high, some scientists are urging caution. Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust, a wildlife veterinarian at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, said Wednesday the 2003-2005 quota of almost 1 million seals is not sustainable. (...) "This is a cull that is designed to reduce the size of the population, ostensibly to benefit fisheries. There is no scientific advice to support the view that reducing the number of seals will benefit fisheries. Basically, the whole discussion is all about politics and not about science." Ben Foley, president of the Canadian Sealers Association in Newfoundland, said sealers would like to see the quota stay the same - close to one million over three years or roughly 320,000 seals per year. "It's increasing all the time," Foley said of the price for seal pelts. CLIP
Eye Witness Account of Canadian Seal Hunt (March 30) http://www.hsi.org.au/news_library_events/press_releases/N299.htm
(...) The hunt is inhumane and cruel. Veterinary studies have shown that humane killing guidelines are not enforced and in many cases seals are skinned while conscious. Each year, parliamentarians, journalists and animal welfare observers report incredible cruelty at the hunt, including dragging conscious seals across the ice with boathooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in agony and skinning seals alive.Today's killing levels meet and even exceed those of the 1950's and 60's, when close to two-thirds of the harp seal population was wiped out.Together with a powerful alliance of like-minded organisation Humane Society International is now calling for a boycott of all Canadian seafood. Over three-quarters of Canadian seafood is exported each year, contributing more than $3 billion for the Canadian economy annually. This dwarfs the few million dollars brought in by the seal hunt each year. We believe the Canadian fishing industry will soon see that the price of an international seafood boycott is not worth continuing this cruel commercial seal hunt." CLIP - Recommended by "Julie Weston" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Star won't join protest of seal hunt (April 9, 2005) http://www2.indystar.com/articles/3/235510-5873-107.html
NEW YORK -- Anna Nicole Smith has canceled a trip to Newfoundland to protest the killing of seals because of concerns about safety. (...) "The sealing industry says that it is killing more seals because of an increase in demand for fur -- all fur," said Smith. "Anyone who buys a mink or fox fur coat or a jacket trimmed in fur bears responsibility for creating an environment of demand for the furs of these baby seals." (...) Canada defends the practice, saying the hunt brings $16.5 million in badly needed income to coastal communities. Pelts are sold primarily to Norway, Denmark and China; the United States bans imports of seal products.
To find out more on this issue go at http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22seal+Hunt%22&meta= and to take action go at http://www.stopthesealhunt.com">http://www.stopthesealhunt.com - Check also http://www.ProtectSeals.org/
I found the following particularly instructive...
Facts about the Canadian Seal Hunt http://www.hsus.org/marine_mammals/protect_seals/facts_about_the_canadian_seal_hunt.html
(...) It is important to note that each killing method is demonstrably cruel. Because sealers shoot at seals from moving boats, the pups are often only wounded. The main sealskin processing plant in Canada deducts $2 from the price they pay for the skins for each bullet hole they findtherefore sealers are loath to shoot seals more than once. As a result, wounded seals are left to suffer in agonymany slip beneath the surface of the water where they die slowly and are never recovered. Is the Seal Hunt Cruel? Yes. In 2001, a report by an independent team of veterinarians who studied the hunt concluded that governmental regulations regarding humane killing were neither being respected nor enforced, and that the seal hunt failed to comply with Canada's basic animal welfare regulations. Shockingly, the veterinarians found that in 42% of the cases they studied, the seals had likely been skinned alive while conscious. (...) Seals are killed primarily for their fur, which is used to produce fashion garments and other items. There is a small market for seal oil (both for industrial purposes and for human consumption), and seal penises have been sold in Asian markets as an aphrodisiac. There is almost no market for the meat, so seal carcasses are normally left to rot on the ice. (...) Is It True Seals Are Jeopardizing the Canadian Cod Fishery? There is no evidence to support this contention. Some fishing industry lobby groups try to claim that seals must be culled to protect fish stocks, but nothing could be further from the truth.The scientific community agrees that the true cause of the depletion of fish stocks off Canada's East Coast is human over-fishing. Blaming seals for disappearing fish is a convenient way for the fishing industry to divert attention from its irresponsible and environmentally destructive practices that continue today. In truth, seals, like all marine mammals, are a vital part of the ecosystem of the Northwest Atlantic. Harp seals, which are the primary target of the hunt, are opportunistic feeders, meaning they consume small amounts of many different species. So while approximately 3% of a harp seal's diet may be commercially fished cod, harp seals also eat many significant predators of cod, such as squid. That is why some scientists are concerned that culling harp seals could further inhibit recovery of commercially valuable fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic. CLIP
And if you are ready to have your heart broken and cry...
April 2: Paradise Lost http://www.hsus.org/marine_mammals/protect_seals/rebecca_aldworths_journal/april_4.html
Recommended by "A'keara" email@example.com>
Is America Preparing for Martial Law? by Michel Chossudovsky (10 April 2005) READ!!!
The Department of Homeland Security recently carried out an extensive anti-terrorist exercise entitled TOPOFF 3 (April 4-8, 2005). The "drill" was described by officials as "a multilayered approach to improving North American security". The stated objective of the TOPOFF 3 "Full Scale Exercise" was to "prepare America" in the case of an actual bioterrorism attack by Al Qaeda
(...) These exercises must be understood in the broader context of America's National Security doctrine, which presents Al Qaeda as the main threat to the American homeland. The "war on terrorism" is the central building block of the administration's foreign policy and domestic security agendas.
(...) Known and documented, Al Qaeda is a creation of the US intelligence apparatus. The purpose of the TOPOFF anti-terrorist exercises is not to "defend America" against terrorists, but to build a consensus within federal, State and municipal bodies, as well as within the business community and civil society (hospitals, schools, etc.) that this illusive outside enemy exists and that "the threat is real".
(...) In other words, this consensus building process reaches out to tens of thousands of people in positions of authority. The antiterrorist agenda and exercises thus become a "talking point" within numerous governmental and nongovernmental organizations. In turn, the holding of these antiterrorist exercises supports the National Security doctrine of "preemptive war", --i.e. that America has to legitimate right to self defense by intervening in foreign lands and that America must defend itself against terrorists. It also sustains the myth of WMD in the hands of terrorists, being used against America, when in fact the US is the largest producer of WMD, with a defense budget of more than 400 billion dollars a year. The objective is to sustain the war and national security agenda --and of course the possibility of martial law-- within the governmental, nongovernmental and corporate business sectors. Ultimately, the objective is develop across the land, an unequivocal acceptance by key officials (and of their coworkers and subordinates), from the federal to the local level, for an emergency situation, where civil liberties and the rights of citizens would be suspended: Officials will not give a specific figure, but they say the exercise involved several thousand fake deaths and thousands more injuries. This time, the sick and dying were only acting. But officials are aware that someday there could well be a real attack.
(...) A Code Red alert, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), would create conditions for the ("temporary" we are told) suspension of the normal functions of civilian government.
(...) A secret "Shadow government" under the classified "Continuity of Operations Plan" was installed on September 11, 2001. Known internally as "Continuity of Government" or COG, the secret Shadow government would become functional in the case of a code red alert, leading to the redeployment of key staff to secret locations. Code red alert would suspend civil liberties, including public gatherings and/ or citizens' protests against the war or against the Administration's decision to declare martial law. The emergency authorities would also have the authority to exert tight censorship over the media and would no doubt paralyze the alternative news media on the internet.
(...) The "PATRIOT Act" is a repressive "coordination" of the entities of force and deception, the police, intelligence and the military. It broadens, centralizes and combines the surveillance, arrest and harassment capabilities of the police and intelligence apparatus. Homeland defense is, in essence, a form of state terrorism directed against the American people and democracy itself. It is the Pentagon Inc. declaring war on America. The "domestic war on terrorism" hinges upon the Pentagon's doctrine of homeland defense. Mountains of repressive legislation are being enacted in the name of internal security. So called "homeland security", originally set within the Pentagon's "operations other than war", is actually a case in which the Pentagon has declared war on America.
(...) Martial law could be triggered even in the case of a bogus terror alert based on fabricated intelligence. Even in the case where it is known and documented to senior military officials that the "outside enemy" is fabricated, a martial law situation, characterized by detailed command military/ security provisions, would become operational almost immediately.
(...) America at a Critical Crossroads - Unquestionably America is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in its history. The coded terror alerts and "terror events", which have been announced by DHS are part of a disinformation campaign carried out by the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department and Homeland Security. US intelligence is not only involved in creating phony terror warnings, it is indirectly also behind the terror groups, providing them with covert support.
(...) Meanwhile, the militarization of civilian institutions is not only contemplated, it has become a talking point on network TV; it is openly debated as a "solution" to "protecting American democracy" which is said to be threatened by Islamic terrorists. The implications of a code red alert are rarely the object of serious debate. The terror exercises under TOPOFF serve to condition public officials and key decision makers. In turn through media disinformation, citizens are being prepared and gradually conditioned for the unthinkable.
CLIP - AND THEY CALL IT "DEMOCRACY"... READ IT ALL AT http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO504B.html
U.S. soldiers ordered killed by Pentagon in Iraq (April 6, 2005)
TEHRAN (MNA) About 304 recalcitrant U.S. soldiers have been killed by the Pentagons special team, intelligence sources in Iraq have revealed.The sources quoted high-ranking U.S. officers as saying that since the U.S. occupation of Iraq in March 2003 more than 304 U.S. military forces have been executed in spurious clashes at the behest of army commanders and with the knowledge of the Pentagon. The bodies of these soldiers have been sent to their families and announced as forces who have been killed in the fight against terrorists, the Mehr News Agency correspondent in southern Iran has learnt. The soldiers ordered killed were mainly among those who suffered mental disorders and protested against the massacre of Iraqi civilians and askedWho were they fighting for. Reports say the number of soldiers who have injured or maimed themselves to flee from the scene of war in Iraq are on the rise, and new revelations show that this number has exceeded to 2,100 over the past two years. The U.S. Army medical dispensary announced four months ago that more than 6,000 soldiers serving in Iraq suffer from severe mental problems. The reports have also revealed that some of these soldiers tend to kill innocent Iraqi civilians without any particular reason in order to reduce their mental pains.
Pentagon considers troop reductions in Iraq Report (4/11/2005)
Pentagon considers significant troop reductions in Iraq Senior U.S. commanders and Pentagon officials said that the current security conditions in Iraq can lead to significant troop reductions by early 2006, the New York Times reported. The Times said that top military commanders say that the reduction is due to the progress achieved in fighting the Iraqi resistance and in training Iraqi security forces. Some U.S. commanders also say that it now takes longer for fighters to reunite and carry out attacks with new tactics. However, some U.S. officials are wary of declaring success too soon, saying that the resistance is still strong, and that security forces must be ready to secure the war-torn country. The Times also said that the number of daily attacks against occupation forces has dropped to 40, from an average daily peak of 140 ahead of the January 30 elections but still roughly at the levels of last year.Half of the attacks result in casualties or damage, but on average, at least one U.S. soldier dies in Iraq daily, it added. "We're on track," said Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But the resistance "kills virtually every day," he warned. "It's still a very potent threat." Meanwhile, Jalal Talabani, the newly elected Iraqi president said he expects that occupation forces will leave Iraq within two years. CLIP
Let them eat bombs (April 12, 2005)
The doubling of child malnutrition in Iraq is baffling - A report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now. This, of course, comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up hospitals, schools and power stations. It now appears that, far from improving the quality of life for Iraqi youngsters, the US-led military assault on Iraq has inexplicably doubled the number of children under five suffering from malnutrition. Under Saddam, about 4% of children under five were going hungry, whereas by the end of last year almost 8% were suffering. CLIP
Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion (April 10, 2005)
Up to 300,000 Demonstrate in Baghdad - Edmund Sanders reports that the crowds in downtown Baghdad protesting the UStroop presence in the country may have been as large as 300,000. If it were even half that, these would be the largest popular demonstrations in Iraq since 1958! To any extent that they show popular sentiment shifting in Shiite areas to Muqtada al-Sadr's position on the American presence, they would indicate that he is winning politically even though the US defeated his militia militarily. Big demonstrations were also held in Ramadi and in Najaf. In Baghad, Shaikh Mu'ayyad al-Khazraji, a Sadr aide, said that the demonstrations would continue, to pressure the parliament to demand a US withdrawal.
US 'smuggles wounded troops home' under cover of darkness (10 April 2005)
The Pentagon has been accused of smuggling wounded soldiers into the US under cover of darkness to avoid bad publicity about the number of troops being injured and maimed in Iraq. The media have also been prevented from photographing wounded soldiers when they arrive at hospital. CLIP
United States: trade in torture (April 2005)
This is a story of private jets flying out of Germany, of kidnappings on European streets, and of torture. It has a cast of lawyers, spies, suspected terrorists, innocent bystanders and an ex-CIA boss who believes that human rights is a very flexible concept. (...) Jönsson says Zery was tortured repeatedly for almost two months. He was kept in a very cold, very small cell and he was beaten; the most painful torture was . . . where electrodes were put to all sensitive parts of his body many times, under surveillance by a medical doctor.Zery has now been freed, and has not been charged with any crime. But he is banned from leaving Egypt or from speaking openly about his time in prison. Agiza remains in an Egyptian prison. His mother, Hamida Shalibai, who has visited him many times, said in Cairo: When he arrived in Egypt, they took him, hooded and handcuffed, to a building. He was led to an underground facility, going down a staircase. Then, they started interrogation, and torture. As soon as he was asked a question and he replied, I dont know, they would apply electric shocks to his body, and beat him . . . During the first month of interrogation, he was naked, and not given any clothes. He almost froze to death. The confirmation that US agents were involved in the Swedish case provided the first concrete evidence that since 9/11 the US has been involved in organising a worldwide traffic in prisoners. Official and journalistic investigations show that the US has systematically organised the repatriation of Islamic militants to countries in the Arab world and East Asia where they can be imprisoned and interrogated using methods forbidden to US agents. Some call it torture by proxy. Prisoners have been captured and transported by the US not only from Afghanistan and Iraq, but from Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Libya, Sudan, Kenya, Zambia, Gambia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia. (...) Baer believes the CIA has been carrying out renditions for years, but they became bigger and more systematic after 9/11. He says hundreds of prisoners, more than were sent to Guantánamo, may have been sent by the US to Middle Eastern prisons and that 9/11 had justified scrapping the Geneva Convention and was the end of our rule of law as we knew it in the West. CLIP
Cover Story: Soldier boy
In an effort to increase its ranks for coming wars, the U.S. military is recruiting - and paying - children as young as 14 years old for future combat duty. (...) "Is it unfortunate that we have to recruit children to serve in battle? Absolutely," he says. "But most countries have had children soldiering for centuries. We're just leveling the playing field."
Abolish Nuclear Weapons (April 12, 2005)
The key problem concerning the effort to abolish nuclear weapons is that it does not go far enough. The only true way to end the threat of nuclear weapons spreading throughout this world is to also put a stop to nuclear power. Radical? Yes, but consider the even more radical alternative: a world in which scores of nations can construct nuclear weaponry because they possess nuclear power technology. There are major parts of the earth - Africa, South America, the South Pacific, and others - that have now been designated nuclear-free zones. I submit that if we are really to have a world free of the horrific threat of nuclear weapons and their use, our long-term goal need be the designation of this entire planet as a nuclear-free zone - no nuclear weapons, no nuclear power (the other side of the same coin). Radical? Yes, but consider the alternative - trying to keep using carrots and sticks, juggling on the road to inevitable nuclear disaster. That may or may not occur this decade or next but sooner or later, as nuclear power continues to spread, it will. A nuclear-free world is the only way, I believe, that humanity will be free of the dark specter of nuclear warfare. CLIP
U.N. Votes To Outlaw Nuclear Terrorism (April 14, 2005) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51708-2005Apr13.html
(...) The nuclear treaty, which places no new restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons by states, will become law after it is ratified by 22 states. "The convention will provide a legal basis for international cooperation in the investigation, prosecution and extradition of those who commit terrorist acts involving radioactive material or a nuclear devices," said Stuart W. Holliday, the U.S. representative to the United Nations for special political affairs. CLIP - SHOULDN'T THAT APPLIES TO DEPLETED URANIUM AMMUNITIONS USED BY THE U.S.?...
Nuclear Power Is The Problem, Not A Solution by Dr. Helen Caldicott (April 13, 2005)
There is a huge propaganda push by the nuclear industry to justify nuclear power as a panacea for the reduction of global-warming gases.
From orbiting lasers to metal rods that strike from the heavens, the potential to wage war from space raises startling possibilitiesand serious problems. (...) No country today is known to have weapons deployed in space, and many countries oppose their development. However, at least some U.S. Pentagon officials have been arguing that the United States must now, after decades of debate, develop and deploy offensive space weapons. In fact, over the past 10 years, the U.S. government has spent billions of dollars researching and testing such weapons. If deployment became official U.S. policy, such a step would have profound--and, we feel, profoundly negative--implications for the balance of global power. The United States itself, our analysis suggests, would discover that the military advantages that might be gained from space-based weapons are outweighed by their political and economic costs. Deploying such weapons would also create new, asymmetric vulnerabilities to U.S. armed forces, as we will describe in this article. In addition, it would be a significant political and strategic departure from 50 years of international law and diplomatic relations. CLIP
Afghanistan facing health disaster worse than Tsunami
KABUL, April 8 (SANA): As Afghanistan marked World Health Day, the country's health minister, Dr Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatimi, said it was facing a disaster worse than the Tsunami that hit Indian Ocean nations late in 2004 and killed more than 300,000 people. "We are currently being faced with a silent emergency which is heartbreaking and a big tragedy, it is worse than the Tsunami disaster," Fatimi said in Kabul. The minister estimates that around 700 children under the age of five die every day in Afghanistan due to preventable diseases and one women dies every 20 minutes due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Lack of resources and trained medical personnel, along with low levels of awareness and cultural factors, were the main reasons for the alarming figures in a country still recovering from nearly three decades of conflict and international isolation. "Traditionally in rural areas people won't let women to be checked by male doctors," he said, adding that of just 3,000 doctors in the entire country, only one in six was female. "We need nearly 10,000 midwives and at the same time up to 10,000 female health workers," the minister said. "To stand by and allow a preventable disaster from occurring is unconscionable. The long-term consequences for Afghanistan will overturn much of the progress made in recent years," Ameerah Haq, the deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General said.
Afghanistan: Domestic Violence Intolerable, Say Battered Women and Girls
Afghanistan's Karzai Hints at Permanent US Military Basing (14 April 2005)
During a Rumsfeld visit, the Afghan president says the people want long-term ties with America. But some are critical of strategy. Kabul, Afghanistan - Despite growing concern here about the United States' influence in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai called Wednesday for a tighter bond between the two nations and possibly a permanent US military presence. CLIP
EPA Halts Florida Test on Pesticides (09 April 2005)
Washington - Stephen L. Johnson, the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said on Friday that he was canceling a study of the effects of pesticides on infants and babies, a day after two Democratic senators said they would block his confirmation if the research continued. (...) "Mr. Johnson said in a meeting this morning that, his confirmation aside, he had come to pose serious questions as to whether or not this study was the appropriate thing to do," he said. A recruiting flier for the program, called the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, or Cheers, offered $970, a free camcorder, a bib and a T-shirt to parents whose infants or babies were exposed to pesticides if the parents completed the two-year study. The requirements for participation were living in Duval County, Fla., having a baby under 3 months old or 9 to 12 months old, and "spraying pesticides inside your home routinely." The study was being paid for in part by the American Chemistry Council, a trade group that includes pesticide makers. In an interview on Friday, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, one of two Democrats who said they would block the confirmation, said the study amounted to "using infants in my state as guinea pigs." Mr. Nelson said the study sought to recruit subjects in a poor neighborhood by offering parents compensation for practices potentially dangerous to their children. "If you knew smoking caused cancer," he said, "would you want to have a study that said, 'Don't do anything, just keep smoking like you are smoking and we are going to pay you and give you a camcorder so that you can record all this'? " CLIP
U.S. mad cow coverup alleged (April 13, 2005)
American records not credible, former packing plant vet says - EDMONTON - A former American government packing plant veterinarian says the United States government is hiding cases of mad cow disease. Dr. Lester Friedlander said Wednesday that colleagues with the United States Department of Agriculture have told him of cases that the USDA has chosen not to announce.Friedlander, who has been invited to speak to Parliament's agriculture committee next week on proposed changes to Canadian inspection legislation, refused to give details. He said the USDA employees are close to retirement and risk losing their pensions. He has previously spoken out, however, about a Texas cow that had mad cow symptoms and went untested to a rendering plant after a USDA veterinarian condemned it at a packing plant in San Angelo. There have been U.S. news reports that just three cows processed by the plant were tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy over two years. The plant, Lone Star Beef, processes older dairy cows considered at higher risk of carrying BSE. Friedlander said it's not credible that the USDA has found just one BSE case and only in a cow that entered the United States from Alberta rather than being raised in the U.S. "You've found four cases (including a cow from Alberta discovered in Washington state with the disease) out of 12 million cattle and the United States has found none out of 120 million," Friedlander said in an interview during a speaking visit to Edmonton .He said production practices in the two countries are similar enough that the USDA should be finding more BSE cases. CLIP
US Officials Engaged in Mad Cow Coverup: Former Official (April 14, 2005)
Israel is killing Palestinian environment: PA official (4/11/2005)
The garbage that Israel plans to dump in a West Bank district amounts to a clear killing of the Palestinian environment", said Yousef Abu Safiya, chief of the PA environment authority.Addressing a news conference in Gaza, Abu Safiya revealed that Israeli authorities dumped about 115,000 cubic meters of garbage in Gaza valley in addition to 50,000 in the Katif area in the Gaza Strip, saying that such acts pose a dangerous threat to the lives of the Palestinians. "Such an issue is considered more dangerous than the separation wall currently constructed by the Israeli government, because this wall could be easily dismantled; but the dangerous impacts to be left by the chemical waste materials the Israeli authorities were bent on burying in Nablus and elsewhere would negatively affect the environment and humans for many years to come," he said. CLIP
Sudan Donors Pledge $2.6 Billion Aid, Despite Darfur
Donors promised at least $2.6 billion Tuesday to help southern Sudan recover after Africa's longest civil war but Washington told Khartoum to end atrocities in Darfur or risk a slide "back into the depths." "Preliminary calculations show that we have been able to cover the shortfall of $2.6 billion set by the parties," Norwegian Development Minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson said on the second day of the two-day conference. "I think that's worth an applause already," she said, triggering clapping around the conference hall in an Oslo hotel attended by 60 nations. Aid is needed to stave off hunger and to help build schools, roads and hospitals after the 21-year war. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said Washington aimed to give $1-$2 billion but that the aid hinged on Sudan bolstering the January North-South peace deal and on work to end the separate conflict in Darfur in the west. "There is a chance to save this country," he said, expressing hope that Sudan might enter an upwards spiral of development and peace. But he also warned that there was a risk of a downward spiral. "The violence and atrocities in Darfur cast a dangerous shadow over our world," he said. He told Khartoum and others to work to halt atrocities in Darfur, allow better access for aid workers and do more to seek peace in the west. (..) More than 2 million people were killed and 4 million displaced by the war that pitted the mainly animist and Christian south against the Arab north in a conflict complicated by issues of oil, ethnicity and ideology. In Darfur, rebels took up arms against the government in February 2003 in a struggle over power and resources in the arid region. Khartoum retaliated by arming nomadic Arab militia, who are accused of a campaign of murder, rape and arson against villagers. More than 2 million people have fled their homes and tens of thousands have died in the Darfur conflict, which Washington has branded genocide -- a term Khartoum rejects. Zoellick did not use the word "genocide" Tuesday. Under the January peace deal, Khartoum and the SPLM will set up a coalition government, decentralize power, share oil revenues and form joint military units. The $2.6 billion in the aid request is about a third of estimated initial reconstruction needs of $7.9 billion. Most of the cash will come from Sudans oil output of 320,000 barrels per day.
New, asymptomatic bird flu cases (9 March, 2005)
The disease might be more widespread than thought before. Hanoi The avian or bird flu might strike without patients showing any symptomsthe disease might therefore be more widespread than thought before. Today Vietnamese health authorities have released information about two such cases. Nguyen Tran Hien, director of the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology, confirmed that lab tests showed that a 61-year-old woman from northern Thai Binh province had contracted the H5N1 virus but was not showing any symptoms. The womans husband died on February 23 from the bird flu but thus far she has not shown any of the diseases typical symptoms such as respiratory problems and high fever. She remains in good health but has been placed in isolation. CLIP
Symptom-free bird flu cases pose no risk - WHO (10 Mar 2005)
HANOI, March 10 (Reuters) - Two elderly Vietnamese who tested positive for the deadly bird flu virus yet remained healthy pose no significant risk to other people, a World Health Organization expert said on Thursday."In most infections, or many infections, it is not unusual to get people who have either mild or asymptomatic infections," Hanoi-based WHO medical epidemiologist Peter Horby told Reuters. "There is no evidence that asymptomatic infection like this poses any significant risk of onward transmission, so it is not alarming in that sense," he said. CLIP
Bush Signs Quarantine Orders for Bird Flu (April 2) http://www.atsnn.com/story/131185.html
President Bush authorized government quarantine powers for bird flu, by executive order on Friday. The fatality rate for bird flu is about 70%. Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) says he suspects there are more cases than the 69 that have been reported. Also of note: In August of 2003, Fukuda stated that traditional efforts like quarantine would not work to control bird flu. (...) As any farmer can tell you, quarantine never works if you don't clean the barn. In this case, the barn is the whole planet. Rather than quarantining select human victims, it would be far more effective for the US government to enforce existent EPA regulations and ensure safe water treatment. Yet instead of tackling the most significant bird flu transmission vectors - plus other emerging epidemic infectious diseases in America's water and environment - the Bush administration is focusing solely on person-to-person transmission and planning quarantine, which a) won't work, and b) will curtail civil liberties. One needs to wonder why. Since 9/11, Americans have been conditioned to give up civil liberties for the illusion of safety. New measures all infringe on American civil liberties, like the Patriot Act and the President's emergency powers granted to deal with the "war on terrorism." More to the point, all these new measures have become permanent and now supplant the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The new quarantine powers appear to be part of the same package. The potential abuse of quarantine powers and isolation camps has been discussed often at ATS. Recent reports about asymptomatic carriers and Fukuda's observations about mild cases set the stage to quarantine "troublemakers" for political purpose - on the grounds that they are "carriers." Most likely, we can expect government quarantine powers to become permanent, like the Patriot Act.
Large compilation of dozens of news on the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Parallel Universes - Corporate devolution and the end of humanity, by John Kaminski (4-14-05)
They say life is for learning. Here's what I've learned. If you lie, you get rich. If you tell the truth, you stay poor. Take a look around and smell the sewage. Do you dare disagree? Which kind of world do you want? And if you think this one is so great, have you considered where your money has gone? During the past twenty years, trillions of dollars have been illegally vacuumed out of that magnificent cash cow known as the American economy. The Bush family engineered Savings & Loan fire sale, the Bush family engineered 9/11 deception, the Bush family engineered Iraq war. In each case, and so many others, so much money has simply disappeared into the black hole of subterranean financial shenanigans that it's a wonder America is still afloat. (...) Once again I find myself at a crossroads, one which will determine if I shall continue to write these sporadic commentaries on events in our world. There is no sense talking if nobody's listening. I have spent the past three years constantly monitoring the web for the truth behind all these awful stories that affect us all. The reason I write is to try to make sense of them. The net results has been two collections of essays, all previously seen on the web, and one booklet recapping the 9/11 lies. (...) In my parallel universe, people don't lie to each other, because they know lying to someone else is really lying to yourself. In my universe, people realize they're all part of the same organism, or series of organisms, really: family, neighborhood, village, region, nation, planet, solar system, galaxy, universe, playing a potentially important part in the development of each one. CLIP
Bank says Saudi's top field in decline (12 April 2005)
Speculation over the actual size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves is reaching fever pitch as a major bank says the kingdom's - and the world's - biggest field, Gharwar, is in irreversible decline. The Bank of Montreal's analyst Don Coxe, working from their Chicago office, is the first mainstream number-cruncher to say that Gharwar's days are fated.Coxe uses the phrase 'Hubbert's Peak' to describe the situation. This refers to the seminal geologist M King Hubbert, who predicted the unavoidable decline of oilfields back in the 1950s."The combination of the news that there's no new Saudi Light coming on stream for the next seven years plus the 27% projected decline from existing fields means Hubbert's Peak has arrived in Saudi Arabia," says Coxe, referring to data compiled by the International Energy Association's (IEA) August 2004 monthly report. (...) Pumping large amounts of oil at the maximum rate can damage the geological structure of the field, usually referred to as "rate sensitivity". Basically the hole falls in on itself, making large amounts of oil within it un-extractable. CLIP
US appears to have fought war for oil and lost it (April 11, 2005)
(...) So when, according to the former head of ExxonMobil's Gulf operations, "Iraqi exiles approached us saying,you can have our oil if we can get back in there", the Bush administration decided to use its overwhelming military might to create a pliant - and dependable -oil protectorate in the Middle East and achieve thatessential "opening" of the Gulf oilfields. But in the words of another US oil company executive, "it all turned out a lot more complicated than anyone had expected". Instead of the anticipated post-invasionrapid expansion of Iraqi production (an expectation of an additional 2m b/d entering the world market by now), the continuing violence of the insurgency has prevented Iraqi exports from even recovering to pre-invasionlevels.In short, the US appears to have fought a war for oil in the Middle East, and lost it. The consequences of that defeat are now plain for all to see.
Olduvai update (23 Nov. 2004) http://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/globalnetnews-summary/2005-04/msg00059.html
(...) Historic data of world energy production, world population, and the ratio of the two (e) were presented, discussed, and graphed from 1850 to 2003. The graph of e revealed 1) strong growth in e from 1945 to 1970, 2) weak growth from 1970 to 1979, and 3) no growth from 1979 through 2003. The latter interval comprises the historic 'Olduvai plateau'. Postulate 2 of the Olduvai theory states, "Energy production per capita (e)will decline exponentially from the cliff event circa 2008 to 2030." Ifthat is true, then the population in the world's industrial nations, we argue, will go from about 3.3 billion in 2008 to about 0.9 billion in 2030,a net die-off of about 300,000 people per day in the 22 years from 2008 to 2030.
Economies stare down $105 barrel
DOUGLAS LOWI WROTE a letter to a newspaper recently in response to an article it published reporting that either the United States or Israel would start bombing Iran if it did not stop its uranium enrichment program. According to the Iranians, this enriched uranium is to be used for producing electricity, not an unreasonable objective given that we do it ourselves, as do the Americans and Israelis. The point of my letter was that to threaten Iran with bombing, whatever the reason, was tantamount to economic suicide for the Americans, because Iran is the worlds number four oil producer. Were it to shut its oil taps, the price of crude oil would rocket - from its already historically high price at the moment - sending the American, and global, economy into turmoil. The problem is global oil production is now peaking. If the peak does not occur this year, well be lucky. (...) But if global oil production is reaching its peak, then this is just the beginning of high oil prices and high inflation. We need to be asking our politicians why they plan to spend billions of pounds on new roads, airports and rail links to airports when the oil to supply the transport is running out. The era of cheap transport is nearing an end. Iran, by the way, produces about four million barrels of oil a day out of a world total of about 84 million, more than twice as much as the UK. The last time it cut its oil supply to the worlds markets (1979 - the Iranian revolution), oil prices doubled and shortly after we had interest rates of about 15 per cent.
IEA warns against possible acute oil shortage
PARIS, April 1 (Itar-Tass) -- The International Energy Agency (IEA)has come to the conclusion that the world economy is facing a serious threat of acute oil shortage. IEA experts have prepared a special report, due to be published within a few weeks, in which they warn the key oil consuming countries about the need for immediately taking tough energy-saving measures, if the daily oil supply to the world market is reduced by one to two million barrels.The measures, suggested by IEA, include the reduction of a working week, a ban on using privately owned vehicles, the introduction of a 90-kilometre speed limit, the reduction of public transport fare and the encouragement of staff members to work at home, using Internet. CLIP
How to Survive the Crash and Save the Earth (December 19, 2004)
(...) Our little world is doomed because it's built on a foundation of taking from the wider world without giving back. For thousands of years we've been going into debt and calling it "progress," exterminating and calling it "development," stealing and calling it "wealth," shrinking into a world of our own design and calling it "evolution." We're just about done. We're not just running out of cheap oil -- which is used to make and move almost every product, and which gives the average American the energy equivalent of 200 slaves. We're also running out of topsoil, without which we need oil-derived fertilizers to grow food; and forests, which stabilize climate and create rain by transpiring water to refill the clouds; and ground water, such as the Ogallala aquifer under the Great Plains, which could go dry any time now. We're running out of room to dump stuff in the oceans without killing them, and to dump stuff in the atmosphere without wrecking the climate, and to manufacture carcinogens without all of us getting cancer. We're coming to the end of global food stockpiles, and antibiotics that still work, and our own physical health, and our own mental health, and our grip on reality, and our will to keep the whole game going. CLIP
The Beauty of Wind Farms - By David Suzuki (16 April 2005)
Off the coast of British Columbia in Canada is an island called Quadra, where I have a cabin that is as close to my heart as you can imagine. From my porch on a good day you can see clear across the waters of Georgia Strait to the snowy peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains. It is one of the most beautiful views I have seen. And I would gladly share it with a wind farm. But sometimes it seems like I'm in the minority. All across Europe and North America, environmentalists are locking horns with the wind industry over the location of wind farms. In Alberta, one group is opposing a planned wind farm near Cypress Hills Provincial Park, claiming it would destroy views of the park and disturb some of the last remaining native prairie in the province. In the UK more than 100 national and local groups, led by some of the country's most prominent environmentalists, have argued that wind power is inefficient, destroys the ambience of the countryside and makes little difference to carbon emissions. And in the US, the Cape Wind Project, which would site 130 wind turbines off the coast of affluent Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has come under fire from famous liberals, including Senator Edward Kennedy and Walter Cronkite. It is time for some perspective. With the growing urgency of climate change, we cannot have it both ways. We cannot shout from the rooftops about the dangers of global warming and then turn around and shout even louder about the "dangers" of windmills. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges humanity will face this century. It cannot be solved through good intentions. It will take a radical change in the way we produce and consume energy - another industrial revolution, this time for clean energy, conservation and efficiency. We have undergone such transformations before and we can do it again. But first we must accept that all forms of energy have associated costs. Fossil fuels are limited in quantity and create vast amounts of pollution. Large-scale hydroelectric power floods valleys and destroys animal habitat. Nuclear power is terribly expensive and creates radioactive waste. CLIP
Jessica Lunsford Killer tied to GOP Connected Child Sex Ring
(...) You won't believe what follows in the disgusting, vulgar intrigue connecting Florida Governor Jeb Bush and George W. Bush and the GOP...
A Government By The Terrorists And For The Terrorists (08 Apr 2005)
Understanding what happened on 9/11 requires an understanding of the shadow government that pulls the strings of the puppets who dance before us in the virtual reality of American media. This short essay will not explain what happened on 9/11. Instead it will give the reader a little insight into the clique behind the event. Future essays will go into greater depth and move towards a greater understanding of how the American people were deceived into believing that a non-existent terrorist organization is real and how this non-existent terrorist organization was blamed for the attacks on 9/11 as a cover for the actions of the shadow government. CLIP
Sharon: Kleptomania in Palestine to Continue (April 11, 2005)
For more than fifty years the Palestinians have endured the duplicitous Zionists who have no intention of ever allowing them to form their own state. Ariel Sharon, the international war criminalmost notably for his actions resulting in the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon and more recently the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bankhas told the world from Bush's fake ranch in Texas the Israelis have no intention of ever giving an inch to the Palestinians. "President Bush cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday against West Bank settlement growth but Sharon gave no commitments and pressured Palestinians to act on terrorism," reports Reuters. In other words, Bush mouthed a few useless words and Sharon said what Sharon always saysthe Palestinians will never realize a state, no matter what happens. In the meantime, the Israelis will continue building illegal "settlements" on stolen land, actions most civilized people consider criminal behavior.
Amazing New Evidence Emerges in Oklahoma Bombing (April 8, 2005)
TERRY NICHOLS IMPLICATES FBI INFORMANT IN BOMBING - A recent raid on the one-time home of Terry Nichols has uncovered more evidence implicating federal agents in the bombing of Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.
Execution by injection far from painless (14 April 2005)
Execution by lethal injection may not be the painless procedure most Americans assume, say researchers from Florida and Virginia. They examined post-mortem blood levels of anaesthetic and believe that prisoners may have been capable of feeling pain in almost 90% of cases and may have actually been conscious when they were put to death in over 40% of cases.Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated in the US, 788 people have been killed by lethal injection. The procedure typically involves the injection of three substances: first, sodium thiopental to induce anaesthesia, followed by pancuronium bromide to relax muscles, and finally potassium chloride to stop the heart. But doctors and nurses are prohibited by healthcare professionals' ethical guidelines from participating in or assisting with executions, and the technicians involved have no specific training in administering anaesthetics. "My impression is that lethal injection as practiced in the US now is no more humane than the gas chamber or electrocution, which have both been deemed inhumane," says Leonidas Koniaris, a surgeon in Miami and one of the authors on the paper. CLIP
Could Exxon-Mobil Works Have Tripped Indonesian Tsunami? (Jan. 25, 2005)
Exxon and the Tsunami One cubic mile of natural gas extracted every four years at epicenter Aceh facility presents a probable man-made trigger in 9.0 earthquake with accompanying tsunami that killed more than 225,000 people. Think of a gigantic boulder sitting precariously, nudged over the edge with a small lever. CLIP
Powerful earthquake hits near Sumatra island (4/10/2005)
Residents of Padang, on the island of Sumatra, head for higher ground - An undersea earthquake of magnitude 6.8 hit near the Indonesian island of Sumatra Sunday, forcing people in the city to flee their homes in panic, fearing possible tsunami like the one that hit the island in December last year. CLIP
Clouds May Harbor Nanobacteria (Apr. 11, 2005)
Tiny particles linked to a number of painful and sometimes deadly diseases may spread across the globe by hitching a ride in clouds, claim researchers in a recent issue of the Journal of Proteome Research. The particles, known as nanobacteria, are 100 times smaller than typical bacteria and have been found in kidney stones, arterial plaques and ovarian cancers. (...) The researchers also suggested that nanobacteria could help clouds develop by clumping together at the perfect size to promote the collection of airborne water droplets.
Whale-Dolphin Hybrid Has Baby WholphinApril 15, 2005
HONOLULU - The only whale-dolphin mix in captivity has given birth to a playful female calf, officials at Sea Life Park Hawaii said Thursday. The calf was born on Dec. 23 to Kekaimalu, a mix of a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. CLIP
Grave Cell Phone Dangers Revealed... http://www.campaignfortruth.com/Eclub/210305/CTM%20-%20phone%20dangers%20revealed.htm
(...) "public health scientist George Carlo found that rare tumors on the outside of the brain are more than doubled among cell phone callers - particularly on the right side of the head where phones are usually held. (...) How dangerous are cell phones? "The risk is extremely high," declares Dr. Cherry. "There are 66 epidemiological studies showing that electromagnetic radiation across the spectrum increase brain tumors in human populations. Two of those studies are for particular brain tumors from cell phones." Cherry says that because cancer takes decades to develop, it will be another 10 or 20 years before "mobiles" manifest a big bonanza in brain tumors. But he adds, we're already seeing "acute effects that are noticed within minutes of using a cell phone." CLIP
EMF-Omega-News 9. April 2005
Omega-News Collection 9. April 2005
New Pope Elected! Catholic Cardinals Stunned!
The almost 120 Cardinals from around the world that gathered to choose a successor in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel were stunned and expressed amazement. Cardinal Mohoney the Vatican spokesperson had this to say, "We in the conclave are all shocked. We cast our vote's using these new electronic voting machines. The results overwhelmingly favored George W. Bush over all the Catholic candidates. The last Pope, John Paul, was a superb linguist, fluently speaking 11 languages, this one can't speak fluently in one language. We just don't know what to say." CLIP
From: "Stan Penner" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 9 Apr 2005
Subject: Battle of Vimy Ridge - which began April 9, 1917
Pierre Berton, a Canadian soldier, an officer, and also a renowned author, describes the battle of Vimy Ridge in gruesome detail in his book, Vimy. In conclusion he asks, "Was it worth it?" The battle had cost thousands of limbs, eyes, and lives on both sides. Even relatives had been pitted against each other in this terrible slaughter and, much after the war, as an old German soldier and the son of a Canadian soldier talk about this they agree that the war had been "a terrible waste of human life brought on by greedy people and tolerated for too long by silent majorities." To the question, "Was it worth it?" Burton himself replies, "The answer, of course, is no." (McClelland et al, Toronto, 1986, p. 307-308}.
When will we ever learn?
Forwarded by "Gush Shalom " email@example.com>
From: "ICAHD" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 13 Apr 2005
Subject: TODAY 2 homes razed by Caterpillar drills in West Bank
April 13th, 2005
Just Hours Before Caterpillar Shareholders Meet in Chicago Caterpillar Excavation Drills Destroy Palestinian Homes in East Jerusalem: Two homes demolished by Caterpillar excavation drills in Anata; demolitions underway in Kfar Akab.
At approximately 8:00 am, less than 12 hours before Caterpillar shareholders were scheduled to meet in Chicago to discuss a resolution concerning sales of bulldozers to Israel, 60 Israeli soldiers accompanied two Caterpillar excavation drills to the Yamani home in Anata on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. The family of 12 was given 30 minutes to remove their belongings from the 80 meter home. It took approximately 30 minutes for the Caterpillar excavation drills to destroy the home along with the animal stable alongside the house.
The home was built three years ago on land owned by the Yamani family with the help of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. It was located in Area C of the West Bank in an area where it is virtually impossible to receive a building permit from the Israeli authorities. This was the reason given for the demolition: that the home was built without a permit.
At around 9:30 am, once the demolition of the Yamani home was complete, the Caterpillar excavation drills moved on to the Dahalia home half a kilometer away. The house has served as the residence for the 22 members of the Dahalia family, 15 of them children, for the past two decades. After an hour, the home was reduced to a pile of rubble. The reason given for this demolition was the same as the first: it was built without a permit (in an area where it is almost impossible to receive permits). Both of these actions violate international law.
As this is being written, more homes are being demolished with Caterpillar machinery in Kfar Akab, between Jerusalem and Ramallah.
To join an action against Caterpillar TODAY, April 13th, or to find out what you can do to force Caterpillar to stop selling home crushing machinery to Israel, visit http://www.catdestroyshomes.org
Darfur Eclipsed by Peace in Southern Sudan
By Christophe Ayad - Libération
13 April 2005
Khartoum has obtained 4.5 billion dollars for reconstruction in the south of the country.
Money and Tears
The Sudan has obtained a promise for 4.5 billion dollars in the period 2005-2007 to reconstruct the country's south, devastated by two decades of civil war, while Darfur is more than ever prey to a bloody dead-end conflict that has killed 300,000 in two years. All the bad faith of the Sudanese government, which in Nairobi in January signed a peace agreement in the South with its right hand, while it destroys its Western province with its left hand, is summed up therein. All the cynicism of the international community, struck by a criminal strabismus, as well.
The aid unblocked by the roughly sixty countries present at the Oslo conference of donors in Norway is at once temporary and cyclical, to avoid a famine, and structural (for the construction of roads, schools, hospitals). Close to 90% of the residents of the South live below the poverty line, and one person in three depends on food aid: the result of twenty-five years of scorched-earth politics, exactly as is being practiced in Darfur.
Friday, only two days before the donors' meeting, the African Union (AU), which maintains 3,000 observers in Darfur, revealed that a group of 350 Janjaweed (pro-government Arab militia) had devastated the village of Khor Abeche, held by the rebels, the night before, "looting, burning, and destroying" everything except the mosque and the school. According to the communiqué, Khartoum had done everything to prevent the AU observers from coming, while the threats of a punitive raid had been circulating in the region for several days. The head of the local Janjaweed had promised to avenge the robbery of 150 head of cattle, which he attributed to the inhabitants of Khor Abeche. Curiously, the AU's text was not acknowledged at the United Nations in any way, as though there was to be no question of imperiling the Oslo meeting under Kofi Annan's aegis. Only Washington has threatened to refuse to unblock the 1.7 billion dollars promised, in the absence of a peaceful settlement in Darfur. That route is not being taken: on Monday, Chad renounced its mediation between Khartoum and the Darfur rebels.
The humanitarian aid workers on the ground are more and more fearful of being targeted by the Janjaweed, who have been thrown into a panic by the possibility of being dumped by the government and handed over to the International Criminal Court as proposed in Resolution 1593. The hour for settling scores has tolled in Darfur as in Khartoum.
Forwarded by Paul Prior email@example.com> on April 9
Mike Whitney: 'The economic tsunami, just months away'
"If the world's central bankers accumulate fewer dollars, the result would be an unrelenting American need to borrow in the face of an ever weaker dollar - a recipe for higher interest rates and higher prices. The economic repercussions could unfold gradually, resulting in a long, slow decline in living standards. Or there could be a quick unraveling, with the hallmarks of an uncontrolled fiscal crisis." -- New York Times editorial
I know, from reading the comments on this web site, that many Smirking Chimp readers believe as I do, that the economic tsunami planned by the Bush administration is probably only months away. Many of us have watched helplessly as the national debt has increased 3 trillion dollars while the dollar has continued its predictable decline. At present, the dollar has fallen a whopping 38% since Bush took office, due entirely to the massive $450 billion tax cuts Bush gave away to his constituents. At the same time, myriad laws have been passed (Patriot Act, Intelligence Reform Bill, Homeland Security Bill, National ID, Passport requirements etc) anticipating the need for greater repression when the economy takes its inevitable nosedive. Regrettably, that nosedive looks to be coming sooner rather than later.
The administration is currently putting as much pressure as possible on OPEC to ratchet up the flow of oil another 1 million barrels per day (well over capacity) to settle down nervous markets and buy time for the planned bombing of Iran in June.
Like Greenspan's artificially low interest rates, the manipulation of oil production is a way of concealing how dire the situation really is. Rising prices at the pump signal an upcoming recession, (depression?) so the administration is pulling out all the stops to meet the short term demand and maintain the illusion that things are still okay. (Bush would rather avoid massive popular unrest until his battle-plans for Iran are carried out)
But, of course, things are not okay. The country has been intentionally plundered and will eventually wind up in the hands of its creditors as Bush advisors planned from the very beginning. Those who don't believe this should note the methodical way that the deficits have been produced at (around) $450 billion per year; a systematic and orderly siphoning off of the nation's future. The value of the dollar and the increasing national debt follow exactly the same (deliberate) downward trajectory.
This same Ponzi scheme has been carried out repeatedly by the IMF and World Bank; Argentina being the last dramatic illustration. (Argentina's economic collapse occurred when its trade deficit was running at 4%; right now ours is at an unprecedented 6%.) Bankruptcy is a fairly straight forward way of delivering valuable public assets and resources to collaborative industries, and of annihilating national sovereignty. After a nation is successfully driven into destitution, public policy decisions are made by the creditors and not by representatives of the people. (Enter, Paul Wolfowitz)
Did Americans really believe they could avoid a similar fate?
If so, they'd better forget about it, because the hammer is about to come down Big-time, and the collateral damage will be huge.
The Bush administration is mainly comprised of internationalists. That doesn't mean that they "hate America"; simply that they are committed to bringing America into line with the "new world order" and an economic regime that has been approved by corporate and financial elites alike. Their patriotism extends no further than the garish tri-colored flag on their lapel. The catastrophe that middle class Americans face is what these elites breezily refer to as "shock therapy"; a sudden jolt, followed by fundamental changes to the system. We can expect tax reform, fiscal discipline, deregulation, free capital flows, lowered tariffs, reduced public services, and privatization. In other words, a society entirely "of, by, and for" corporations.
There are a number of signs that the economy is close to meltdown-stage. Even with cheap energy, low interest rates and $450 billion in borrowed revenue pumped into the system each year, things have still been in a virtual holding pattern. This has a lot to due with the massive shifting of wealth to the richest Americans. Supply-side, trickle-down theories have been widely discredited and Bush's tax cuts have done nothing to stimulate the economy as promised. Now, with oil tilting towards $60 per barrel, things are changing quickly, and the shock-waves should be felt throughout the country in very short order.
The Iraq war has contributed considerably to our current dilemma. The conflict has taken nearly one million barrels of Iraqi oil per day off line. In other words, the astronomical prices at the pump are the direct result of Bush's war. The media has failed to report on the negative affects on oil production, just as they have concealed the incredibly successful insurgent strategy of destroying pipelines. This isn't a storyline that plays well to the American public, who expected that Iraq would be paying for its own reconstruction by now. Instead, the resistance is striking back at the empire's Achilles heel (America's need for massive amounts of cheap oil) and its having a dramatic affect on the US economy.
Just as the economy cannot float along with a sharp increase in oil prices, so too, Bush's profligate deficits threaten the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency. This is much more serious than a simple decline in the value of the dollar. If the major oil producers convert from the dollar to the euro, the American economy will sink almost overnight. If oil is traded in euros then central banks around the world would be compelled to follow and America will be required to pay off its enormous $8 trillion debt. That, of course, would be doomsday for the American economy, and the administration would do whatever is in its power to avoid that scenario. But, already a recent report indicates that two-thirds of the world's 65 central banks have "begun to move from dollars to euros." The Bush plan to savage the dollar has been telegraphed around the world and there's only one thing that the administration can do to insure that energy traders keep trading in dollars....control the flow of oil. That means that an attack on Iran is nearly a certainty.
The difficulties facing both the dollar and the economy are not insurmountable. The world has shown an unbelievable willingness to compensate for America's wasteful spending as long as America shows itself to be a responsible steward of the global economy. However, the military and economic recklessness suggests that some of the key players on the world stage (particularly Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Germany, France, China, Brazil) are collaborating on an alternate plan; a contingency plan. If Iran is bombed in an unprovoked act of aggression, we will certainly see this plan activated. The most likely scenario would be a quick switch to the euro that would have grave implications for the American economy. For Iran, the attack would justify arming disparate terrorist organizations with the weaponry they need to attack American and Israeli interests wherever they may be. In any event, the attack will confirm for everyone that we are engaged in a new world war; a conflict for global domination.
Tough Years Ahead
The neoliberal chickens have come home to roost. America has become the latest and grandest experiment for the eccentric economic policies of the Washington Consensus. The architects of this maniacal plan are expecting to bankrupt the nation and precipitate a seismic (and irreversible) shift in the fortunes of middle class Americans. The overwhelming accumulation of public debt coupled with a one-party political system (that controls the voting machinery) ensures that we are facing years of collective struggle ahead. If there's a quick fix, I have no idea what it might be.
Oil for dollars, and dollars for US deficit (Apr 9, 2005)
(...) With such a simple policy to fund its deficit for another year, it's no wonder the United States can get by without any brain power at the Treasury Department. In effect, the US and its Gulf Arab allies just pulled off the biggest central-bank heist in the history of the world. The price of oil just went up 60% or more, which really cuts down to size that $3.4 trillion of net foreign holdings of US financial assets. As a loyal American, one would like to cheer one's government's deft move to pick the pockets of our trading and financing partners. Moreover, the US gets the Arabs to fund a large share of our deficit, subsidize our interest rates, and help keep our taxes low for another year. Surely I can afford to buy another gas-guzzling sport-ute, get a rifle, and wave a flag.The United States is extracting tribute on oil from the world. If the world wants Middle Eastern oil, it can pay for it through the Saudi branch of the US Treasury. Why do the heads of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, etc, hold dollars? Because they want to keep the money and the power. The ruling family of Saudi Arabia controls 25% of the world oil reserves and is completely dependent on oil revenues for its survival. Tens of thousands of Saudi princes live off lavish royal stipends. Think of Arabia as a family firm. If the dollar goes down in value, the Saudi royal family still gets to keep hundreds of billions of dollars. But, if they don't buy dollars, why would the US keep them in power? It would simply not be in our interests to do so. Remember when Saddam Hussein talked about pricing Iraq's oil in euros? "Shock and awe" quietly followed. CLIP
Some of America's Richest Say 'No, Thanks' to Bush Tax Cuts
by Abid Aslam
Published on April 8, 2005 by OneWorld.net
WASHINGTON -- Some of America's wealthiest individuals have declined billions of dollars in tax cuts bestowed upon them by President George W. Bush's administration and have urged others among the country's richest and most famous to donate their federal tax cuts to campaigns against the Bush package, often described as ''tax breaks for the rich.''
''It's obscene that Washington is handing out tax breaks to millionaires with one hand and shredding the safety net with the other,'' said Marta Drury, a member of Responsible Wealth, a national network of affluent Americans advocating what they term ''widespread prosperity'' and concerned that a deepening wealth divide in America is undermining the country's social and democratic fabric.
''So I'm calculating my 2004 tax cut and donating it to organizations fighting for responsible, fair, and adequate taxes. I don't believe that people like me with incomes over $200,000 need $69 billion in tax cuts,'' Drury added, referring to the total estimated value of 2004 tax cuts granted Americans in her income bracket.
Responsible Wealth, founded in 1997 and claiming 1,000-plus members, has stood at the forefront of what Time magazine termed the ''billionaire backlash'' against elite tax cuts and Bush's proposal to repeal the estate tax. On Wednesday, members urged others in the ranks of America's rich and famous to join the ''Responsible Tax Pledge'' initiative.
The tax pledge asked members to calculate their 2004 tax breaks and donate these to fair-tax campaigns. For wealthy individuals like Drury, the average estimated tax break in 2004 was $20,000. For several other pledge signatories, it amounted to more than $100,000.
''It's irresponsible to put America deeper into debt to give tax cuts to millionaires,'' the tax pledge stated.
It said it was ''wrong to give tax cuts to the wealthy instead of investing in education, research, job training, affordable housing, a healthy environment, vaccines, and emergency services.''
The pledge called on Congress ''to reject more tax cuts for wealthy Americans, roll back the existing tax cuts for the very wealthy instead of making them permanent, and support responsible, fair, and adequate taxes.''
Taxpayers who made more than $1 million received an average federal income tax break of $123,592 in 2004, according to the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution think tanks. This compared to $383, the average tax break in 2004 for the two-thirds of taxpayers who made less than $50,000 per year.
''The next time a politician says we can't afford to fund something you care about, ask yourself if $69 billion per year would help,'' said Scott Klinger, Responsible Wealth's co-director. ''When you hear that the only choices we have are to cut budgets, increase the deficit or increase your taxes, remember that $69 billion in tax breaks went to people who made more than $200,000 last year.''
Bill Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation--the largest foundation on Earth--and father of the Microsoft Corp. co-founder, has spearheaded Responsible Wealth's campaign to oppose regressive changes to the tax code and to reform and preserve the estate tax.
The tax is levied against estates of more than $1.5 million where assets are not transferred to a surviving spouse and thus applies to about 2 percent of all inheritance cases, Responsible Wealth said.
Even so, permanently repealing the tax as Bush has proposed would cut federal revenue by $1 trillion over two decades and have the effect of depressing charitable giving by $12-24 billion per year, Responsible Wealth said, citing Congressional Budget Office figures.
The elder Gates for years has argued that individual wealth is a product not only of hard work and smart choices but also of a society that provides economic development, education, health care, and property rights protection. Such an economy's top dogs benefit the most from tax-funded institutions and programs and therefore should not resent or seek relief from having to pay taxes, he has said.
He still has some convincing to do.
Facing off against Gates and Responsible Wealth are families including the widow and heirs of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton and influential lobby groups including the National Federation of Independent Business.
Led by Sam Walton's only daughter, Alice, the family spent $3.2 million on lobbying, conservative causes, and candidates for last year's federal elections. ''That's more than double what it spent in the previous two elections combined,'' USA Today reported Wednesday, citing public documents.
The Waltons have sought income tax changes and other legislation that could preserve their shareholding in America's biggest business and the family's $84 billion fortune, the newspaper said.
Stroke the Rich (11 April 2004)
IRS has become a subsidy system for super-wealthy Americans IRS winks at rich deadbeats. The federal tax system that millions of Americans are forced to deal with before April 15 is not at all what you think it is. Congress has changed it in recent decades from a progressive system in which the more one earns the more one pays in income taxes. It has become a subsidy system for the super rich. Through explicit policies, as well as tax laws never reported in the news, Congress now literally takes money from those making $30,000 to $500,000 per year and funnels it in subtle ways to the super rich -- the top 1/100th of 1 percent of Americans. CLIP
Where the rich stash their cash (March 2, 2005) http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1446130,00.html
Nick Mathiason on a new study that reveals the amazing wealth the super-rich hold in offshore tax havens - depriving governments of hundreds of billions of dollars - and the looming crackdown by the world's tax collectors (...) These three examples demonstrate one essential fact: the rich can afford to minimise their tax bills, while the rest of us have to stump up. This weekend The Observer can exclusively reveal that the world's richest people are hiding an astonishing $11.5 trillion in tax havens. For the first time, research has pieced together the amount of wealth held in low-tax environments. The annual income that these assets earn totals $860bn. But what is sure to concern government treasuries the world over is that the taxable income on $11.5tn could exceed $255bn. There is nothing illegal in stashing cash in secretive tax havens. Minimising tax obligations is a way of life for many people in all income brackets. But these shock figures - established by campaign group Tax Justice Network, a collection of tax experts and economists - will sound alarm bells that the social contract between sovereign states and the wealthy is being torn up. 'This is one of the defining crises of our times,' says John Christensen, co-ordinator of the Tax Justice Network and a former economic adviser to the Jersey government. 'One of the most fundamental changes in our society in recent years is how money and the rich have become more mobile. This has resulted in the wealthy becoming less inclined to associate with normal society and feeling no obligation to pay taxes.' CLIP
Tax Justice Network
The global Tax Justice Network arose out of meetings at the European Social Forum in Florence, late 2002, and at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, early 2003. It is a response to harmful trends in global taxation, which threaten states' ability to tax the wealthy beneficiaries of globalisation. These trends have disturbing implications for development, democracy, public services and poverty, as explained further in the network's Declaration. CLIP
Recommended by "Stephanie Sutton" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Global Eye - The Big Fix
By Chris Floyd
April 8, 2005
Let's face the facts. The game is over and we -- the "reality-based community," the believers in genuine democracy and law, the heirs of Jefferson and Madison, Emerson and Thoreau, the toilers and dreamers, all those who seek to rise above the beast within and shape the brutal chaos of existence into something higher, richer and imbued with meaning -- have lost. The better world we thought had been won out of the blood and horror of history -- a realm of enlightenment that often found its best embodiment in the ideals and aspirations of the American Republic -- is gone. It's been swallowed by darkness, by ravening greed, by bestial spirits and by willful primitives who now possess overwhelming instruments of power and dominion.
A gang of such spirits seized control of the U.S. government by illicit means in 2000 and maintained that control through rampant electoral corruption in 2004. The re-election of President George W. Bush last November was a deliberately shambolic process that saw massive lockouts of opposition voters; unverifiable returns compiled by easily hackable machines operated by avowed corporate partisans of the ruling party; and vast discrepancies between exit polls and final results gaps much larger than those that led elections in Ukraine and Georgia to be condemned as manipulated frauds. Indeed, a panel of statisticians said last week that the odds of such a discrepancy occurring naturally were 959,000 to 1, the Akron Beacon-Journal reported.
So let's have no illusions about where we are. Gangsters are in charge, and nothing and no one will be allowed to challenge their dominion. They are waging aggressive war to cement their position and that of their allies: the energy barons, the arms merchants, the construction and services cartels, the investment bankers. These power blocs now command monstrous resources and unfathomable profits; they can buy out, buy off or bury any force that opposes them. Meanwhile, they use the loot of the stolen Republic -- its blood and treasure -- as fuel for their ever-expanding war machine: Bush now has a "secret watch-list" of 25 more countries ripe for military intervention, the Financial Times reported.
With more war crimes afoot, last month Bush issued an official "National Defense Strategy" that openly declares "judicial processes" as one of the enemies confronting the United States, actually equating them with terrorism, The Associated Press reported. Law is "a strategy of the weak," says the Bush Doctrine, in a chilling echo of Hitlerian machtpolitik: Might makes right. The judicial process must not be allowed to "constrain or shape" American behavior in any way, the gangsters declared.
Think of it: Law is now the enemy. Democracy, as we've seen above, is the enemy. This, the demented code of criminals and tyrants, has become the ruling doctrine of the United States -- replacing the Constitution, replacing the noble struggle for liberty and enlightenment with the howl of the beast, with a freak show of avarice and death.
Bush's Poll Numbers Worst on Record (11 April 2005)
Second terms are tough, and no president has banked less political capital for the fights ahead. With apologies to George Tenet, the first 100 days of President Bush's second term have been no slam-dunk. How rough has it been? Bush has the lowest approval rating of any president at this point in his second term, according to Gallup polls going back to World War II. Bush's erosion of support among independents in particular has helped bring his overall approval rating down to 45 percent. Fort-nine percent disapprove of his performance. Compare Bush's numbers, as of the most recent Gallup poll, to the previous six presidents who served second terms:
* Clinton: 59 percent approval versus 35 percent disapproval
* Reagan: 56 percent versus 37 percent disapproval
* Nixon: 57 percent versus 34 percent
* Johnson: 69 percent versus 21 percent
* Eisenhower: 65 percent versus 20 percent
* Truman: 57 percent versus 24 percent4
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
Underreported news gives government chance to hide the truth
Published in the Asbury Park Press 04/7/05
By MARTIN L. HAINES
A free press, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, is an essential ingredient of our liberties. Free speech, perhaps our most important right, includes the right and the obligation to criticize our government. That right is of little value unless we know the facts that only a free and responsible press can provide. Today, saddled as we are with a government more interested in restricting the dissemination of news than the opposite, a free press is crucial.
Sometimes news is overreported. Any incident involving sex, however trivial or remote, receives wide publicity. The display of Terri Schiavo's sad picture was not only needlessly repetitious but also became a thoughtless invasion of her privacy.
While overreporting is sometimes destructive and always annoying, it is underreporting that dangerously restricts the exercise of our right to free speech. It is the failure of major news sources to report stories critical of our government. It is a form of censorship that permits governments to act in secret.
We can learn a lot about underreporting by reading "Censored 2005" and its annual predecessors.
"Censorship 2005" is written by Peter Phillips and managed by the Sociology Department of Sonoma State University in California. Its central feature is a report on the 25 most underreported news stories of 2004. Each story is updated by its author, usually with references to more resources. The book also provides information on censorship in general and its use throughout the world.
The 25 stories are chosen through an exhausting process of elimination, beginning with the selection of perhaps 1,000 stories, whittled down by various reviews, culminating in the final selections by a panel of judges experienced in the gathering and reporting of news.
The stories in "Censored 2005" reveal otherwise hidden government activities - disturbing reflections of our society's drastic unraveling by a conscienceless administration.
The No. 1 censored story covers the greatly increasing wealth inequality in our country. In 2003, the top 1 percent of the U.S. population owned about one third of the country's wealth, a result of "legislative policies carefully crafted and lobbied for by corporations and the super-rich over the past 25 years," Phillips wrote.
The most shocking story deals with the uranium contamination of our own troops and the civilian populations of Iraq and Afghanistan, caused by U.S. military operations. The contamination results from the post-9/11 use of tons of radioactive depleted and non-depleted uranium munitions. Four million pounds were dropped on Iraq in 2003 alone.
Most American weapons contain high amounts of radioactive uranium. When detonated, radioactive dust is released over wide areas and inhaled by troops and civilians. The dust enters the body and stays there, causing cancers, birth defects and other deadly and disabling illnesses, for which there is neither treatment nor cure. Its use continues - without government acknowledgment.
Other troublesome U.S. actions have been taken to favor the rich, disfavor the poor and satisfy the demands of the conservative right and big corporate campaign contributors: The giveaway and destruction of our natural resources. Restrictive rules concerning power plant emissions have been greatly relaxed. Projects giving logging companies access to old growth trees are being funded by the government. An energy policy created in secret by self-serving, energy using and selling corporations is being pressed upon Congress.
Voting machine use and electoral policies are suspect. Four corporations control the manufacture of machines and all are headed by personnel with strong connections to the current administration - clear conflicts of interest, which are ignored. Software used to control the counting and reporting of votes is withheld from public scrutiny.
Judicial appointments, once vetted by the American Bar Association, which rated candidates and kept extremists, liberal or conservative, off the bench, are now passed upon by the Federalist Society. The society is an ultra-conservative organization devoted to "fulfilling the radical right's agenda on race, religion, class, money, morality, abortion and power," Phillips wrote.
The administration claims frequently that it is bringing democracy to Iraq. In fact, we have censored its news publications and suppressed its labor unions, serious failures to honor democratic principles.
The sciences, as nearly as possible, are explorations of truth. Truth sometimes frustrates government plans. When it does, the sciences, not the plans, have been scrapped by the Bush administration.
There is much more valuable information in "Censored 2005." All of it is eye-opening information needed to keep a free society free.
Martin L. Haines, of Moorestown, is a retired Superior Court judge and a former State Bar Association president.
Censored 2005: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2003-2004 http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2005/index.html
Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003 http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2004/
Forwarded by "Kathleen Roberts" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Marburg Seeding Linked to Childhood Vaccine Program?
April 10, 2005
Most of the affected persons are children under one year old. Three nurses were also infected. This week, 12 samples tested positive for Marburg fever by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The above comments by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on March 25 suggest that the Marburg outbreak in Angola was initiated via a childhood vaccine program. The initial WHO announcement indicated around 75% of the cases were in children under the age of 5. The comments by MSF indicate that more than 67% of the cases under 5 years-of-age were in children under 1 year-of-age.
Since Marburg hemorrhagic fever is now readily transmitting to teenagers and adults, including 17 health care workers, it seems that the concentration of cases in children under 1 was not due to a lack of immunity that coud be found in adults. Indeed, the case fatality rate has been at or near 100% for all cases, regardless of age, with few, if any, survivors.
Unfortunately, the cases in Angola did not receive significant attention until health care workers were infected about a month ago. Within 1-2 weeks the Marburg virus was detected in 9 of 12 fatal cases, and resources began to flow into Angola.
However, it now seems that the effort failed to interrupt transmission when the virus was largely confined to the city of Uige, and now cases in seven provinces have been reported. The number of cases has more than doubled in the past few weeks.
Prior Marburg and Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreaks had been largely limited to rural areas. However, the cases in the Angola capital of Luanda, and associated slums like Cacuaco, threaten to create a novel transmission setting in a densely populated urban area. This setting could magnify the number of cases, which could lead to a much broader outbreak inside and outside of Angola, potentially leading to a deadly pandemic.
WHO: No End in Sight to Virus Outbreak (April 13, 2005)
(AFP) - There is no end in sight to the outbreak of the Marburg virus in Angola, a top expert from the World Health Organisation said, citing "massive problems" in mobilising Angolans to fight the Ebola-like bug in this northern city. "After four weeks, this epidemic is still peaking," said Pierre Formenty, the WHO's top specialist on new and dangerous diseases.
Launches Marburg Campaign as Toll Tops 200 (April 12, 2005)
Angola LUANDA (Reuters) - Angola launched a massive public information campaign on Tuesday in a bid to stamp out the killer Marburg virus as the toll from the worst ever outbreak topped 200. Five TV and radio advertisements in both the official language Portuguese and the most widely spoken local languages were broadcast throughout the day on national media. "The only way to control this epidemic is to stop the transmission. People need to adapt their behavior, put in practice preventative measures," UNICEF spokesman Celso Malavoloneke told Reuters. He said 750 boy scouts and 450 health ministry volunteers were on standby to help a weekend distribution of information pamphlets including suggested ways to halt the spread of the disease. At least 203 people have died from the rare hemmorhagic fever out of a total of 221 known cases and health officials say they have yet to get the epidemic under control. Aid workers told Reuters on Monday that terrified families suspicious of health workers in protective gear looking like space suits were keeping the sick at home, thereby fanning the spread of the disease through communities at the epicenter of the outbreak in Uige province, northeast of the capital Luanda. UNICEF's Malavoloneke said rebuilding public trust in the health system -- left in tatters after the end of a civil war lasting nearly three decades -- was vital. "This is a matter of trust. People become afraid of losing loved ones, they are afraid to let them go to hospital because they fear they won't see them again," he said. There is no known cure for Marburg fever, meaning most treatment is purely palliative. "People have also started losing trust in the quality of services offered by hospitals. Our colleagues working in the health sector also need to improve the quality of services," Malavoloneke said. The first recorded outbreak of the disease was in the 1960s when scientific researchers working in the German town of Marburg contracted it from imported African monkeys. The disease is spread through bodily fluids including sweat, blood and saliva, and symptoms include headaches, internal bleeding, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
More related news at http://story.news.yahoo.com/fc?cid=34&tmpl=fc&in=World&cat=Angola
Date: 12 Apr 2005
From: Goldi email@example.com>
Subject: Serious Pandemic Flu Accident
Consider this a heads-up warning. Not surprisingly, the risk of contamination is downplayed in the article forwarded below, but as we all know that don't mean squat. Beef up your immune systems, folks!
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Sunshine] Serious Pandemic Flu Accident
Date: 12 Apr 2005
From: The Sunshine Project firstname.lastname@example.org>
Every once in a while - this is the second time in over 5 years, to be exact - the Sunshine Project distributes a particularly important news item from another source on its announcements listserver. This article, a breaking story from the Associated Press, describes a laboratory error in which nearly 5,000 labs have reportedly been sent a sample of a pandemic (1957) influenza strain.
Even worse, if the AP story is correct, the strain has apparently already spread beyond its intended destination and use. According to AP, the distribution of the pandemic strain was first detected by Canadian authorities in a sample not related to the offending test kit. This occurred more than two weeks ago.
The Sunshine Project has been warning for some time that the next influenza pandemic may well come from a lab, that pandemic flu strains are being needlessly recreated and dispersed, and that the conditions under which pandemic flu research is being conducted are unsafe. If this were 1918, or some of the US Centers for Disease Control 'bird flu' recombinants, both being handled at less-than-maximum BSL-3 containment, this situation would be even worse.
If this incident doesn't cause a major reassessment of the safety of flu research, a lab-sponsored pandemic may well be the only thing that induces sobriety.
This major incident should also be taken note of for its relevance to smallpox destruction. US-sponsored proposals to be considered by the WHA in May would lead to increased work with smallpox and other othropoxviruses with smallpox genes. For more information, see: http://www.smallpoxbiosafety.org
As if recent tularemia incidents, SARS escapes, and the myriad of other accidents in recent years were not enough... When will researchers and regulators come to grips with the inevitability of human error and equipment failures and restrict research and require transparency (as a restraining measure) - by law - as is so obviously required? As this example readily demonstrates, such controls need to be international and binding.
Labs Urged to Destroy Pandemic Flu Strain
By EMMA ROSS, AP Medical Writer
April 12, 2005
LONDON, United Kingdom (AP) -- Thousands of scientists were scrambling Tuesday at the urging of global health authorities to destroy vials of a pandemic flu strain sent to labs in 18 countries as part of routine testing.
The rush, urged by the World Health Organization, was sparked by a slim, but real, risk that the samples, could spark a global flu epidemic. The vials of virus sent by a U.S. company went to nearly 5,000 labs, mostly in the United States, officials said.
"The risk is relatively low that a lab worker will get sick, but a large number of labs got it and if someone does get infected, the risk of severe illness is high and this virus has shown to be fully transmissible," WHO's influenza chief, Klaus Stohr, told The Associated Press.
It was not immediately clear why the 1957 pandemic strain, which killed between 1 million and 4 million people - was in the proficiency test kits routinely sent to labs.
It was a decision that Stohr described as "unwise," and "unfortunate."
That particular bug was "an epidemic virus for many years," Stohr said from the U.N. health agency's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. "The risk is low but things can go wrong as long as these samples are out there and there are some still out there."
The 1957 strain has not been included in the flu vaccine since 1968, and anyone born after that date has no immunity to it.
Dr. Nancy Cox, chief of the influenza branch at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said her agency was notified of the situation Friday morning. She also said officials strongly doubt someone deliberately planted the dangerous germ or that this was an act of bioterrorism.
"It wouldn't be a smart way to start a pandemic to send it to laboratories because we have people well trained in biocontainment," she said.
Most of the samples were sent starting last year at the request of the College of American Pathologists, which helps labs do proficiency testing. The last shipments were sent out in February.
Dr. Jared Schwartz, an official with the pathology college, said a private company, Meridian Bioscience Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, is paid to prepare the samples. The firm was told to pick an influenza A sample and chose from its stockpile the deadly 1957 H2N2 strain.
Stohr said U.S. health officials also reported to WHO that some other test kit providers besides the college also used the 1957 pandemic strain in samples sent to labs in the United States.
Almost 99 percent of the labs that got the test kits are in the United States, Stohr said. Fourteen were in Canada and 61 samples went to labs in 16 other countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America, according to the WHO. Some of the labs outside the United States have already destroyed their samples, he said, and WHO is hoping that the rest of the vials will be destroyed by Friday.
The test kits are used for internal quality control checks to demonstrate that a lab is able to correctly identify viruses or as a way for labs to get certified by the College of American Pathologists.
The kits involve blind samples. The lab then has to correctly identify the pathogen in the vial in order to pass the test. Usually, the influenza virus included in these kits is one that is currently circulating, or at least one that has recently been in circulation.
On March 26, National Microbial Laboratory Canada detected the 1957 pandemic strain in a sample not connected with the test kit. After informing WHO and the CDC of the strange finding, the lab investigated. It informed the U.N. health agency on Friday that it had traced the virus to the test kit.
The WHO then notified the health authorities in all countries that received the kits and recommended that all the samples be destroyed immediately.
That same day, the College of American Pathologists faxed the labs asking them to immediately incinerate the samples and to confirm in writing that the operation had been completed.
US Firm May Have Unleashed Deadly Flu Strain
More related news at
Courting Armageddon (April 14, 2005)
How the Bush Administration's Biological Weapons Buildup Affects You - News that a U.S. company recently sent vials of a 1957 pandemic flu strain to laboratories across the world by accident is only the latest outrage from the billion-dollar boondoggle called the federal biological weapons program. As you might recall, the Bush administration started its "biodefense" spending spree following the September 2001 deadly anthrax attacks, and one of its first projects was to genetically engineer a super-resistant, even more deadly version of the anthrax virus. Our leaders are nuts. Unfortunately, Project Jefferson has good company. A US Army scientist in Maryland is currently trying to bring back elements of the 1918 Spanish flu, a virus which killed 40 million people. And a virologist in St. Louis has been working on a more lethal form of mousepox (related to smallpox) - just to try stopping the virus once it's been created. Lack of oversight and runaway spending are exacerbated by the Bush administration's disrespect for the internationally-recognized Biological Weapons Convention. In short, reduced pressure on weapons labs to issue declarations and allow inspections means less accountability - and more opportunities for secrecy and abuse. CLIP
From: "Holly Porter" email@example.com>
Subject: News on Splenda
Date: 9 Apr 2005
Excerpt from Death by Modern Medicine by Dr. Carolyn Dean available at http://www.ashtreepublishing.com/bookshop/
Splenda (Sucralose) Equal is an aspartame sweetener made by Merisant Company. Splenda is Equal's major competitor and is being hauled into court by the makers of Equal for false advertising. Spenda claims that it's made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar, but Merisant says Splenda is deceiving people into believing they are eating natural sugar but without the calories.
In a cat fight that will probably expose both products for what they really are, ABC News on December 1, 2004, said that the lawsuit against Splenda says that it is made from dextrose, maltodextrin and 4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha, D-Galactopyranosyl-1, 6-dichloro-1, 6-dideoxy-beta, D-fructofuranoside.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, who posted news about the lawsuit on his extensive health Web site http://www.mercola.com, offered the following incisive comment:
Talk about the proverbial pot calling the kettle black! it's no wonder why Merisant is going after McNeil: Splenda sales have soared way past Equal since it was introduced in the United States some four years ago. I do find it quite odd that the manufacturer of an artificial sweetener whose primary toxic ingredient is aspartam! e (a.k.a. Equal) is suing another manufacturer of an equally artificial sweetener with the equally toxic sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda). As far as I?m concerned, they are equally dangerous, equally misleading and equally detrimental to your health.
Dr. Mercola lists the following problems that are associated with Splenda in animal research:
Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40 percent shrinkage)
Enlarged liver and kidneys
Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus
Reduced growth rate
Decreased red blood cell count
Extension of the pregnancy period
We dont know the long-term effects on humans, because the studies have not been done. The people who have been using this product for four years are the experiment.
THE FDA AND HEALTH CANADA - lapdogs of the drug companies
The British government has released a very damning report on the International drug firms, their truthfulness?, honesty??, and far too great control over everyone's health.
Recommended by "John T. Linnell"
NOTE FROM JEAN: This very long - only about one third of it is included here - and extremely well researched article would be important enough in my view to be a stand alone dispatch. It concerns events and trends that, for the most part, escape the grasp of most people and the glare of media attention. And yet in a few years from now it could be seen, retrospectively, as the clearest foresighted warning the world has had concerning a policy path that could very well lead - if left unchanged - to the next Global War, a very devastating conflict that will leave hundreds of millions of people dead or maimed and psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives, as well as cause untold environmental disasters though both neglect of impending troubles and war-related crimes against nature. It is a vast tragedy in the making and all the signs are there to indicate that, if left unchecked, things will evolve from bad to worst until such a deadly conflagration erupts. Bringing pressure to bear on the current US imperial administration and on the Japanese government to shift their ill-conceived strategies would seem like a good first step to take. Actively encouraging through spiritual means cool heads and good-hearted people, both in China and in Taiwan, to assert their influence so as for peace to prevail, no matter the provocations perceived or actually made, could also prove, in the end, to be the lever needed to tilt the balance towards a just, sensible and wise path of decisions and actions.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org> who wrote: "Chalmers Johnson on why US and Japan should leave China and Taiwan to their own devices." And when I sent him my thanks for bringing this matter to my attention he replied: "I would say if ever there were a greater need for one of your meditation focuses this and soon building tensions over energy resources are it right now. That article was really a great history lesson for me too. I got the link from a long time friend and networker who owns the http://residentbush.com/ site."
Any comment or suggestion from anyone on this?...
JPRI Working Paper No. 105 (March 2005)
No Longer the "Lone" Superpower: Coming to Terms with China
by Chalmers Johnson
I recall forty years ago, when I was a new professor working in the field of Chinese and Japanese international relations, that Edwin O. Reischauer once commented, "The great payoff from our victory of 1945 was a permanently disarmed Japan." Born in Japan and a Japanese historian at Harvard, Reischauer served as American ambassador to Tokyo in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Strange to say, since the end of the Cold War in 1991 and particularly under the administration of George W. Bush, the United States has been doing everything in its power to encourage and even accelerate Japanese rearmament.
Such a development promotes hostility between China and Japan, the two superpowers of East Asia, sabotages possible peaceful solutions in those two problem areas, Taiwan and North Korea, left over from the Chinese and Korean civil wars, and lays the foundation for a possible future Sino-American conflict that the United States would almost surely lose. It is unclear whether the ideologues and war lovers of Washington understand what they are unleashing -- a possible confrontation between the world's fastest growing industrial economy, China, and the world's second most productive, albeit declining, economy, Japan, one which the United States would have both caused and in which it might well be consumed.
Let me make clear that in East Asia we are not talking about a little regime-change war of the sort that Bush and Cheney advocate.  After all, the most salient characteristic of international relations during the last century was the inability of the rich, established powers - Great Britain and the United States -- to adjust peacefully to the emergence of new centers of power in Germany, Japan, and Russia. The result was two exceedingly bloody world wars, a forty-five-year-long Cold War between Russia and the "West," and innumerable wars of national liberation (such as the quarter-century long one in Vietnam) against the arrogance and racism of European, American, and Japanese imperialism and colonialism.
The major question for the twenty-first century is whether this fateful inability to adjust to changes in the global power-structure can be overcome. Thus far the signs are negative. Can the United States and Japan, today's versions of rich, established powers, adjust to the reemergence of China -- the world's oldest, continuously extant civilization -- this time as a modern superpower? Or is China's ascendancy to be marked by yet another world war, when the pretensions of European civilization in its U.S. and Japanese projections are finally put to rest? That is what is at stake. Alice-in-Wonderland Policies and the Mother of All Financial Crises China, Japan, and the United States are the three most productive economies on Earth, but China is the fastest growing (at an average rate of 9.5% per annum for over two decades), whereas both the U.S. and Japan are saddled with huge and mounting debts and, in the case of Japan, stagnant growth rates. China is today the world's sixth largest economy (the U.S. and Japan are first and second) and our third largest trading partner after Canada and Mexico.  According to CIA statisticians in their Factbook 2003, China is actually already the second-largest economy on Earth measured on a purchasing power parity basis -- that is, in terms of what China actually produces rather than prices and exchange rates. The CIA calculates the U.S.'s gross domestic product (GDP) -- the total value of all goods and services produced within a country -- for 2003 as $10.4 trillion and China's as $5.7 trillion. This gives China's 1.3 billion people a per capita GDP of $4,385.
Between 1992 and 2003, Japan was China's largest trading partner, but in 2004 Japan fell to third place, behind the European Union (EU) and the United States. China's trade volume for 2004 was $1.2 trillion, third in the world after the U.S. and Germany, and well ahead of Japan's $1.07 trillion. China's trade with the U.S. grew some 34% in 2004 and turned Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland into the United States's three busiest seaports. The truly significant trade development of 2004 was the EU's emergence as China's biggest economic partner, suggesting the possibility of a Sino-European cooperative bloc confronting a less vital Japanese-American one. As Britain's Financial Times observed, "Three years after its entry into the World Trade Organization [in 2001], China's influence in global commerce is no longer merely significant. It is crucial."  For example, most Dell Computers sold in the U.S. are made in China, as are the DVD players of Japan's Funai Electric Company. Funai annually exports some 10 million DVD players and television sets from China to the U.S., where they are sold primarily in Wal-Mart stores. China's trade with Europe in 2004 was worth $177.2 billion, with the United States $169.6 billion, and with Japan $167.8 billion.
China's growing economic weight in the world today is widely recognized and applauded, but it is China's growth rates and their effect on the future global balance of power that the U.S. and Japan, rightly or wrongly, fear. The CIA's National Intelligence Council forecasts that China's GDP will equal that of Britain's in 2005, Germany's in 2009, Japan's in 2017, and the U.S.'s in 2042.  But Shahid Javed Burki, former vice president of the World Bank's China Department and a former finance minister of Pakistan, predicts that by 2025 China will probably have a GDP of $25 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity and will have become the world's largest economy followed by the United States at $20 trillion and India at about $13 trillion - and Burki's analysis is based on a conservative prediction of a 6% Chinese growth rate sustained over the next two decades. He foresees Japan's inevitable decline because its population will begin to shrink drastically after about 2010.  Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that the number of men in Japan already declined by 0.01% in 2004; and some demographers, it notes, anticipate that by the end of the century the country's population could shrink by nearly two-thirds, from 127.7 million today to 45 million, the same population it had in 1910.  By contrast China's population is likely to stabilize at approximately 1.4 billion people, and is heavily weighted toward males. (According to Howard French of the New York Times, in one large southern city the government-imposed one-child-per-family policy and the availability of sonograms have resulted in a ratio of 129 boys born for every 100 girls; 147 boys for every 100 girls for couples seeking second or third children. The 2000 census for the country as a whole put the reported sex ratio at birth at about 117 boys to 100 girls.)  Chinese domestic economic growth is expected to continue for decades, reflecting the pent-up demand of its huge population, relatively low levels of personal debt, and a dynamic underground economy not recorded in official statistics. Most important, China's external debt is relatively small and easily covered by its reserves; whereas both the U.S. and Japan are approximately $7 trillion in the red, which is worse for Japan with less than half the U.S. population and economic clout.
Ironically, part of Japan's debt is a product of its efforts to help prop up America's global imperial stance. For example, in the period since the end of the Cold War, Japan has subsidized America's military bases in Japan to the staggering tune of approximately $70 billion.  Refusing to pay for its profligate consumption patterns and military expenditures through taxes on its own citizens, the United States is financing these outlays by going into debt to Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and India. This situation has become increasingly unstable as the U.S. requires capital imports of at least $2 billion per day to pay for its governmental expenditures. Any decision by East Asian central banks to move significant parts of their foreign exchange reserves out of the dollar and into the euro or other currencies in order to protect themselves from dollar depreciation would produce the mother of all financial crises. 
Japan still possesses the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, which at the end of January 2005 stood at around $841 billion. But China sits on a $609.9 billion pile of U.S. cash (as of the end of 2004), earned from its trade surpluses with us. Meanwhile, the American government and Japanese followers of George W. Bush insult China in every way they can, particularly over the status of China's breakaway province, the island of Taiwan. The distinguished economic analyst William Greider recently noted, "Any profligate debtor who insults his banker is unwise, to put it mildly. . . . American leadership has . . . become increasingly delusional -- I mean that literally -- and blind to the adverse balance of power accumulating against it." 
The Bush administration is unwisely threatening China by urging Japan to rearm and by promising Taiwan that should China use force to prevent a Taiwanese declaration of independence, the U.S. will go to war on its behalf. It is hard to imagine more shortsighted, irresponsible policies, but in light of the Bush administration's Alice-in-Wonderland war in Iraq, the acute anti-Americanism it has generated globally, and the politicization of America's intelligence services, it seems possible that the U.S. and Japan might actually precipitate a war with China over Taiwan.
Since the end of World War II, and particularly since regaining its independence in 1952, Japan has subscribed to a pacifist foreign policy. It has resolutely refused to maintain offensive military forces or to become part of America's global military system. Japan did not, for example, participate in the 1991 war against Iraq, nor has it joined collective security agreements in which it would have to match the military contributions of its partners. Since the signing in 1952 of the Japan-United States Security Treaty, the country has officially been defended from so-called external threats by U.S. forces located on some 91 bases on the Japanese mainland and the island of Okinawa. The U.S. Seventh Fleet even has its home port at the old Japanese naval base of Yokosuka. Japan not only subsidizes these bases but subscribes to the public fiction that the American forces are present only for its defense. In fact, Japan has no control over how and where the U.S. employs its land, sea, and air forces based on Japanese territory, and the Japanese and American governments have until quite recently finessed the issue simply by never discussing it.
Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, the United States has repeatedly pressured Japan to revise article nine of its Constitution (renouncing the use of force except as a matter of self-defense) and become what American officials call a "normal nation." For example, on August 13, 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell stated baldly in Tokyo that if Japan ever hoped to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council it would first have to get rid of its pacifist Constitution. Japan's claim to a Security Council seat is based on the fact that, although its share of global GDP is only 14%, it pays 20% of the total U.N. budget. Powell's remark was blatant interference in Japan's internal affairs, but it merely echoed many messages delivered by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the leader of a reactionary clique in Washington that has worked for years to remilitarize Japan and so enlarge a major new market for American arms. Its members include Torkel Patterson, Robin Sakoda, David Asher, and James Kelly at State; Michael Green on the National Security Council's staff; and numerous uniformed military officers at the Pentagon and at the headquarters of the Pacific Command at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
America's intention is to turn Japan into what Washington neo-conservatives like to call the "Britain of the Far East" -- and then use it as a proxy in checkmating North Korea and balancing China. On October 11, 2000, Michael Green, then a member of Armitage Associates, wrote, "We see the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain as a model for the [U.S.-Japan] alliance."  Japan has so far not resisted this American pressure since it complements a renewed nationalism among Japanese voters and a fear that a burgeoning capitalist China threatens Japan's established position as the leading economic power in East Asia. Japanese officials also claim that the country feels threatened by North Korea's developing nuclear and missile programs, although they know that the North Korean stand-off could be resolved virtually overnight -- if the Bush administration would cease trying to overthrow the Pyongyang regime and instead deliver on American trade promises (in return for North Korea's giving up its nuclear weapons program). Instead, on February 25, 2005, the State Department announced that "the U.S. will refuse North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's demand for a guarantee of 'no hostile intent' to get Pyongyang back into negotiations over its nuclear weapons programs."  And on March 7, Bush nominated John Bolton to be American ambassador to the United Nations even though North Korea has refused to negotiate with him because of his insulting remarks about the country.
Japan's remilitarization worries a segment of the Japanese public and is opposed throughout East Asia by all the nations Japan victimized during World War II, including China, both Koreas, and even Australia. As a result, the Japanese government has launched a stealth program of incremental rearmament. Since 1992, it has enacted 21 major pieces of security-related legislation, nine in 2004 alone.  These began with the International Peace Cooperation Law of 1992, which for the first time authorized Japan to send troops to participate in U.N. peacekeeping operations.
Remilitarization has since taken many forms, including expanded military budgets, legitimizing and legalizing the sending of military forces abroad, a commitment to join the American missile defense ("star wars") program -- something that the Canadians in February 2005 refused to do -- and a growing acceptance of military solutions to international problems. This gradual process was greatly accelerated in 2001 by the simultaneous coming to power of President George Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Koizumi made his first visit to the United States in July of that year and, in May of 2003, received the ultimate imprimatur, an invitation to Bush's "ranch" in Crawford, Texas. Shortly thereafter, Koizumi agreed to send a contingent of 550 troops to Iraq for a year, extended their stay for another year in 2004, and on October 14, 2004, personally endorsed Bush's reelection.
A New Nuclear Giant in the Making?
Koizumi has appointed to his various cabinets hard-line anti-Chinese, pro-Taiwanese politicians. Phil Deans, director of the Contemporary China Institute in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, observes, "There has been a remarkable growth of pro-Taiwan sentiment in Japan. There is not one pro-China figure in the Koizumi Cabinet."  Members of the latest Koizumi Cabinet include the Defense Agency chief Yoshinori Ono, and the foreign minister Nobutaka Machimura, both ardent militarists; while Foreign Minister Machimura is a member of the right-wing faction of former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, which supports an independent Taiwan and maintains extensive covert ties with Taiwanese leaders and businessmen. 
Taiwan, it should be remembered, was a Japanese colony from 1895 to 1945. Unlike the harsh Japanese military rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945, it experienced relatively benign governance by a civilian Japanese administration. The island, while bombed by the Allies, was not a battleground during World War II although it was harshly occupied by the Chinese Nationalists (Chiang Kai-shek's Guomindang) immediately after the war. Today, as a result, many Taiwanese speak Japanese and have a favorable view of Japan. Taiwan is virtually the only place in East Asia where Japanese are fully welcomed and liked.
Bush and Koizumi have developed elaborate plans for military cooperation between their two countries. Crucial to such plans is the scrapping of the Japanese Constitution of 1947. If nothing gets in the way, Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) intends to introduce a new constitution on the occasion of the party's fiftieth anniversary in November 2005. This has been deemed appropriate because the LDP's founding charter of 1955 set as a basic party goal the "establishment of Japan's own Constitution," a reference to the fact that General Douglas MacArthur's post-World War II occupation headquarters actually drafted the current Constitution. The original LDP policy statement also called for "the eventual removal of U.S. troops from Japanese territory," which may be one of the hidden purposes behind Japan's urge to rearm. 
A major goal of the Americans is to gain Japan's active participation in their massively expensive missile defense program. The Bush administration is seeking, among other things, an end to Japan's ban on the export of military technology, since it wants Japanese engineers to help solve some of the technical problems of its so far failing Star Wars system. The United States has also been actively negotiating with Japan to relocate the Army's 1st Corps from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Camp Zama, southwest of Tokyo in the densely populated prefecture of Kanagawa, whose capital is Yokohama. These U.S. forces in Japan would then be placed under the command of a four-star general, who would be on a par with regional commanders like Centcom commander John Abizaid, who lords it over Iraq and South Asia. The new command would be in charge of all U.S. Army "force projection" operations beyond East Asia and would inevitably implicate Japan in the daily military operations of the American empire. Garrisoning even a small headquarters, much less the whole 1st Corps made up of an estimated 40,000 U.S. soldiers, in a sophisticated and centrally located prefecture like Kanagawa is also guaranteed to generate intense public opposition and rapes, fights, car accidents and other incidents similar to the ones that occur daily in Okinawa. 
Meanwhile, Japan intends to upgrade its Defense Agency ( Boeicho ) into a ministry and possibly develop its own nuclear weapons capability. Goading the Japanese government to assert itself militarily may well cause the country to go nuclear in order to deter China and North Korea, while freeing Japan from its dependency on the American "nuclear umbrella." The military analyst Richard Tanter notes that Japan already has "the undoubted capacity to satisfy all three core requirements for a usable nuclear weapon: a military nuclear device, a sufficiently accurate targeting system, and at least one adequate delivery system." Japan's combination of fully functioning fission and breeder reactors plus nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities give it the ability to build advanced thermonuclear weapons; its H-II and H-IIA rockets, in-flight refueling capacity for fighter bombers, and military-grade surveillance satellites assure that it could deliver its weapons accurately on regional targets. What it currently lacks are the platforms (such as submarines) for a secure retaliatory force in order to dissuade a nuclear adversary from launching a pre-emptive first-strike. 
The Taiwanese Knot
Japan may talk a lot about the dangers of North Korea, but the real objective of its rearmament is China. This has become clear from the ways in which Japan has recently injected itself into the single most delicate and dangerous issue of East Asian international relations -- the problem of Taiwan. Japan invaded China in 1931 and was its wartime tormentor thereafter as well as Taiwan's colonial overlord. Even then, however, Taiwan was viewed as, and today is unquestionably a part of China, as the United States has long recognized. What remains to be resolved are the terms and timing of Taiwan's reintegration with the Chinese mainland. This process was deeply complicated by the fact that in 1987 Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists, who had retreated to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of the Chinese civil war (and were protected there by the American Seventh Fleet ever after), finally ended martial law on the island. Taiwan has since matured into a vibrant democracy, and the Taiwanese are now starting to display their own, mixed opinions about their future.
In 2000, the Taiwanese people ended the long monopoly of power by the Nationalists and gave the Democratic Progressive Party, headed by President Chen Shui-bian, an electoral victory. A native Taiwanese (as distinct from the large contingent of mainlanders who migrated to Taiwan in the baggage train of Chiang's defeated armies), Chen stands for an independent Taiwan, as does his party. By contrast, the Nationalists, together with a powerful mainlander splinter party, the People First Party headed by James Soong (Song Chuyu), hope to see an eventual peaceful unification of Taiwan with China. On March 7, 2005, the Bush administration further complicated these delicate relations by nominating John Bolton to be the American ambassador to the United Nations. He is an avowed advocate of Taiwanese independence and was once a paid consultant to the Taiwanese government.
In May 2004, in a very close and contested election, Chen Shui-bian was reelected, and on May 20, the notorious right-wing Japanese politician Shintaro Ishihara attended his inauguration in Taipei. (Ishihara believes that Japan's 1937 Rape of Nanking was "a lie made up by the Chinese.") Though Chen won with only 50.1% of the vote, this was still a sizeable increase over his 33.9% in 2000, when the opposition was divided. The Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately appointed Koh Se-kai as its informal ambassador to Japan. Koh has lived in Japan for some 33 years and maintains extensive ties to senior political and academic figures there. China responded that it would "completely annihilate" any moves toward Taiwanese independence even if it meant scuttling the 2008 Beijing Olympics and good relations with the United States.
Contrary to the machinations of American neo-cons and Japanese rightists, however, the Taiwanese people have revealed themselves to be open to negotiating with China over the timing and terms of reintegration. On August 23, 2004, the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan's parliament) enacted changes in its voting rules to prevent Chen from amending the Constitution to favor independence, as he had promised to do in his reelection campaign.  This action drastically lowered the risk of conflict with China. Probably influencing the Legislative Yuan was this warning on August 22 by Singapore's new prime minister, Lee Hsien-loong: "If Taiwan goes for independence, Singapore will not recognize it. In fact, no Asian country will recognize it. China will fight. Win or lose, Taiwan will be devastated." 
CLIP READ THE REST AT http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp105.html
Japan says dialogue needed to resolve China dispute (April 14, 2005)
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan avoided escalating a war of words with China on Thursday, saying dialogue was needed to resolve disputes, including one over energy projects in the East China Sea. Simmering tensions between the two Asian giants over a range of topics, especially what Beijing sees as Japan's failure to own up to wartime atrocities, erupted in China at the weekend, with thousands taking part in protests that turned violent. The situation worsened on Wednesday after Japan announced it had started procedures to allocate rights for test-drilling in a disputed area of the East China Sea. "As the prime minister said yesterday, it is in the interest of both Japan and China to make the East China Sea a sea of cooperation rather than a sea of confrontation," Japan's top government spokesman told a news conference. "We believe that we need to discuss this from a broad perspective," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said. China earlier on Thursday reacted angrily to Japan's plan to allow gas exploration in a disputed area of the East China Sea, calling the move a "serious provocation" at a time when ties are at rock-bottom in a dispute over Tokyo's wartime past. CLIP
Increasing internal riots in China the dragon is shaking from inside (April 11, 2005)
From outside it looks great but actually inside the dragon is shaking. China is experiencing increasing riots for social and geopolitical reasons. People are concerned about relentless growth, industrialization, and uneven distribution of wealth and extreme pollution from industrial factories. Tens of thousands of villagers in Chinas Zhejiang province rioted against police and security forces April 10, leaving some 50 police officers hospitalized, according to April 11th reports. The clash started after police tried to dislodge 200 elderly women from a camp they had established to protest pollution at an industrial site in Huankantou village, Dongyang city. Reports that two of the women had died during the police operation triggered the riot. A local police official told Reuters that the government had ordered them not to retaliate, so officers could defend themselves only with shields.
Chinese protests against Japan becoming permanent member of UN Security Council
Apr. 9, 2005 - China is not comfortable allowing Japan to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This was made clear by Chinese demonstrations in Beijing. A ten thousand-strong demonstration was held on April 9th in Beijing, protesting Japan's World War II record in China and its bid for a permanent seat in the U.N. Security Council. Demonstrators pelted the Japanese Embassy and the Japanese Ambassador's residence with rocks, bottles and cans. They also smashed the windows of a Japanese restaurant. The Japanese Foreign Ministry called the rally "extremely regrettable," Agence France-Presse said. Japan, India and Germany are lobbying for permanent membership in the UN Security Council. Because of Second World War and its memory many in the world oppose Japan and Germany to ever join the Security Council permanently. Many are also concerned by the fact that India with 20% of world population is not a member of the UN Security Council.
India, China Forge Link Hoping to 'Reshape World Order' (12 April 2005)
Once hostile giants sign accords on borders, economies, trade and tech-sharing. New Delhi - India and China announced a new "strategic partnership" Monday, pledging to resolve long-standing border disputes and boost trade and economic cooperation between two rising powers that together account for more than a third of the world's population. The announcement came after a summit between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, who began a four-day visit to India with a weekend stop in Bangalore, the center of India's booming information-technology sector. The agreements signed Monday mark an important shift in relations between the Asian giants, which fought a brief border war in 1962 and have long regarded one another with suspicion. The prospect of a more cooperative relationship has significant global implications, given the vast economic potential of India and China and their voracious appetites for energy and other natural resources. "India and China can together reshape the world order," Singh said at a ceremony welcoming Wen to India's presidential palace. CLIP
The China that isnt China
By Ignacio Ramonet
SUDDENLY international concern is focused on the Taiwan Strait, a scene of major tension since 14 March, when the Chinese parliament passed an anti-secession law that for the first time authorises Beijing to use non-peaceful means against Taiwan if its authorities insist on going their own way in opting for independence.
On 13 March President Hu Jintao, who is also general secretary of the Communist party, wearing uniform and just elected head of the central military commission, invited the armed forces to prepare for armed conflict (1). The declaration is being taken all the more seriously since Chinas military budget has been increased by 12.6 %.
Taiwans president, Chen Shui-bian, whose party is pro-independence and who a few days before had threatened to introduce an anti-annexation law, has described the Beijing vote as a law that authorises war. The United States expressed concern. The White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said: We view it as unhelpful and something that runs counter to recent trends toward a warming in cross- straits relations . . . We oppose any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo (2). The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, put this view to Hu in Beijing on 21 March.
Since 1972 Washington has recognised only one China and sees Taiwan as an integral part of that country. But in 1979 Congress unanimously voted a resolution urging the US to guarantee Taiwans security. The recent nomination of John Bolton, a fierce supporter of Taiwanese independence and former adviser to the government in Taipei, as US ambassador to the United Nations will not reassure the Beijing authorities.
Japan is alarmed because of the negative effects of this law on peace and stability in the region. Tensions between the two powers have increased in recent months. In February Tokyo announced that its forces had taken control of a lighthouse on the uninhabited archipelago of Senkaku, territory claimed by Beijing, which calls it Diaoyu. China described this as a serious provocation and completely unacceptable (3). The archipelago is in a rich fishing area where significant hydrocarbon deposits have been discovered.
To counter Chinas international weight the US now supports the main diplomatic claim advanced by Japan: a permanent seat on the UN security council. In February, in a historic move, Tokyo and Washington signed a joint declaration in which they proposed a common strategic objective of working towards a peaceful resolution of the issues in the Taiwan Strait (4). This is the first time since 1945 that Japan has abandoned its neutral stance on Taiwan.
Beijing believes that the Bush admini-stration has a containment policy against China, with Japan in the role of ally-cum-poodle as a Britain in Asia. In Chinas view, Washington is encouraging Japanese rearmament while increasing its own military bases around China (in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan) and strengthening military ties with India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
But things are not so simple. Economically, Washington needs China, which recycles much of its fabulous foreign exchange surpluses by buying US Treasury bills, thereby indirectly financing the US budget deficit (5). Washington also urgently needs Chinese assistance as intermediary in the negotiations to persuade North Korea to give up nuclear weapons
Beijing knows that it has a strong hand. It also knows that it is becoming a force at international level. This is why Chinas prime minister, Wen Jiabao, has warned: Solving the Taiwan issue is subject to no interference by any outside forces. We are not willing to see any foreign interference occur. He added: But we are not afraid of any interference should it occur (6).
The tensions have had repercussions within Europe. The anti-secession law against Taiwan has caused a delay in the lifting of the European embargo on the sale of arms to Beijing, for which France and Germany had pressed.
China is keen to maintain an international stability that will leave it free to continue its rise to power and guarantee a trouble-free Olympics in 2008. It knows it should not go too far. But in a Chinese domestic context where social division and competition is intensifying, the authorities want to remind the world that national unity comes before anything else, and that the secession of Taiwan would constitute a full casus belli.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
China bristles over new drilling rights
Japan's approval of gas exploration in disputed waters inflames tensions
By GEOFFREY YORK
April 14, 2005
BEIJING -- In defiance of Chinese protests, Japan is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to allow its companies to drill for gas in disputed waters of the East China Sea, sparking new tensions between the two Asian powers.
Beijing immediately struck back after the announcement, denouncing the Japanese plan as a "provocation" and threatening to take further action.
Yesterday's sharp exchange was a further blow to the countries' troubled relationship, already severely damaged by two weeks of mass protests in Chinese cities. As many as 20,000 people protested against Japan with violent rock-throwing attacks in Beijing last weekend -- the biggest protests in the Chinese capital since 1999.
The tensions have been fuelled by the growing assertiveness of both countries on the world stage. Japan is bidding for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, which China opposes. Both countries are expanding their military roles, both have seen an upsurge in nationalist sentiment and both are seeking control of disputed islands in the East China Sea. They are also feuding over Japanese history textbooks that seem to gloss over Japan's invasion of China in the 1930s.
Tuesday, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao demanded that Japan "face up to history squarely." The same day, a Japanese cabinet minister described China as "a scary country."
With relations deteriorating, Tokyo announced yesterday that it will begin to allocate natural-gas exploration rights for Japanese companies in the disputed seabed in the East China Sea, halfway between the coastlines of the two countries.
"We made the decision because it is of vital importance to set up test drilling rights to protect Japan's national interests," a Japanese trade official told reporters.
Japan has been demanding a halt to a Chinese exploration project in the same offshore region, where China has already built drilling platforms. Tokyo is worried the Chinese project will suck up gas reserves that properly belong to Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi denied that the gas-drilling decision was linked to the growing political conflict between the two countries. But the Chinese government saw it differently, lodging a sharp protest.
"Japan has come up with a provocation to China's rights and the norm of international relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told the Xinhua news agency. He warned that China "will retain the right to make further reaction."
Earlier this month, Beijing cautioned Japan that it should not allocate drilling rights in the disputed waters because it would "further escalate the situation."
The explosive potential of the territorial dispute was vividly illustrated last November when a Chinese nuclear attack submarine was spotted in Japanese waters. Japan reacted with an unusually strong military response. For three days, it pursued the Chinese sub with two destroyers and several sub-hunting aircraft. It was the most serious military confrontation between the two countries since the Second World War.
The submarine incident provoked new calls for a faster Japanese military expansion to keep pace with the dramatic growth of China's military machine. The Chinese military budget is rising by double-digit figures every year, while the Japanese military budget is one of the largest in the world.
"Japan needs to develop well-balanced defence forces with the capacity to respond to new threats, such as the rapid buildup of China's navy, especially its submarines," retired Japanese vice-admiral Hideaki Kaneda wrote recently.
Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura is heading to Beijing on Sunday for talks with his Chinese counterpart to try to ease the growing tensions.
From: "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Living Will Template
Date: 9 Apr 2005
I, _________________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.
Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood ethically challenged politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.
If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a __________________ ( cold beer, Margarita, Bloody Mary, Martini, Rum & Coke, Blow-job, etc...you get the idea) it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.
Under no circumstances shall the hypocritical members of the Legislature (State or Federal) enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma.
Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case.
I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency, it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.
I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own business, too.
If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.