MAY LOVE PREVAIL ON EARTH
April 25, 2005
The Empire of Darkness Series #25: Torture and Other Human Rights Abuse
Much of this compilation deals with one of the most abject things some humans do to other humans: torture. This is a very difficult issue to consider because it brings us face to face with some of the vilest, darkest aspects of the human souls under the control of forces that are bent on destroying freedom and any expression of love and compassion. It started with an email calling my attention to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and finally turned out into a wider review of torture as now routinely encouraged by many governments including the United States government. There has been non governmental organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch campaigning for years against all kinds of human rights abuse and for a time it seemed things were gradually improving. But since the Bush administration has concocted its fake terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 as an excuse to launch its program of wars of conquest infamously named "War on Terror", a growing number of governments bent on keeping their hold onto power have walked in the U.S. footsteps and have been increasingly resorting to torture to terrorize their populations into submission. This is particularly the case in China whose leaders even have the nerve to push the Japanese government into apologizing for the past misdeeds of their close ancestors (a long overdue admission of guilt!) while their own human rights record is so abysmal.
To counter such horrific abuses, the main thing to do aside from supporting the campaigns of human rights groups and vigorously denouncing these viscerally unacceptable policies and those who support them directly or indirectly is to reaffirm the sanctity of all life and the absolute obligation to respect the dignity of all human beings. Upholding the spiritual vibration of compassion and love for all as a means to counterbalance and eventually eliminate the streams of fear, hatred and terror flowing from these horrific actions and growing like a stain on humanity's conscience is also a key responsibility of all Light bearers whose presence on Earth at this time is precisely aimed at healing the persistent scars of brutish violence tarnishing the human psyche after millennia of such unrelenting persecution and murder of humans by other humans.
The whole world must rise as one against all these atrocities to ban them forever from the face of the Earth and bring in a world of Peace, Love and Harmony for all.
Together, and peacefully, we shall succeed...
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
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"The collective consciousness of Earth must choose to live according to the universal principles and understandings necessary for a healthy society and environment."
- Taken from "Message For Everyone" by James Gilliland (included in my next compilation)
Worthy of Your Attention
DISASTER AIDE: SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS (April 24, 2005)
And much, much more! Recommended by "Eluned Hurn" email@example.com>
Radical Earth Solutions
Information Clearinghouse - Loads of need-to-see articles
MARS CIVILIZATION EVIDENCE (March 6, 2005 - Stunning pictures!)
Recommended by "Adi Gaia" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Omega-News Collection 16. April 2005
Omega-News Collection 23. April 2005
EMF-Omega-News 16. April 2005
EMF-Omega-News 23. April 2005
1. Information about Falun Dafa
2. Why is Jiang Zemin Persecuting Falun Gong?
3. Homes Across U.S., Europe Get Chinese Communist Propaganda Phone Calls
4. Frequently Asked Questions About Falun Gong
5. The Hundred Days of Abu Mazen
6. Apologizing To Torturers
7. Latin America in revolt: Continent defies USA
8. A Taste for EMPIRE
9. IRAQ - $300,000,000,000.00 (Progress Report)
10. Mother's Day Call to Action: STOP THE KILLING
11. VITAMIN WARS
12. Earth Day: The environmental movement's midlife crisis
13. An Open Letter To American Educators and Our Legislators
14. Coalition warns of global mass surveillance
15. Incomplete News Undermines US Values
SPECIAL SECTION ON MURDER AND TORTURE BY THE U.S. AND OTHER COUNTRIES
Note: This compilation is far from complete as anyone can imagine...
How The U.S. Murdered a City Fallujah: The Truth at Last (02/17/05)
Doctor Salam Ismael took aid to Fallujah last month. This is a report of his visit. - IT WAS the smell that first hit me, a smell that is difficult to describe, and one that will never leave me. It was the smell of death. Hundreds of corpses were decomposing in the houses, gardens and streets of Fallujah. Bodies were rotting where they had fallen-bodies of men, women and children, many half-eaten by wild dogs. A wave of hate had wiped out two-thirds of the town, destroying houses and mosques, schools and clinics. This was the terrible and frightening power of the US military assault. The accounts I heard over the next few days will live with me forever. You may think you know what happened in Fallujah. But the truth is worse than you could possibly have imagined. (...) Our small convoy of trucks and vans brought 15 tons of flour, eight tons of rice, medical aid and 900 pieces of clothing for the orphans. We knew that thousands of refugees were camped in terrible conditions in four camps on the outskirts of town. There we heard the accounts of families killed in their houses, of wounded people dragged into the streets and run over by tanks, of a container with the bodies of 481 civilians inside, of premeditated murder, looting and acts of savagery and cruelty that beggar belief. Through the ruins That is why we decided to go into Fallujah and investigate. When we entered the town I almost did not recognise the place where I had worked as a doctor in April 2004, during the first siege. We found people wandering like ghosts through the ruins. Some were looking for the bodies of relatives. Others were trying to recover some of their possessions from destroyed homes. (...) This quarter seemed to have been singled out for punishment during the second siege. We moved from house to house, discovering families dead in their beds, or cut down in living rooms or in the kitchen. House after house had furniture smashed and possessions scattered. In some places we found bodies of fighters, dressed in black and with ammunition belts. But in most of the houses, the bodies were of civilians. Many were dressed in housecoats, many of the women were not veiled-meaning there were no men other than family members in the house. There were no weapons, no spent cartridges. It became clear to us that we were witnessing the aftermath of a massacre, the cold-blooded butchery of helpless and defenceless civilians. Nobody knows how many died. The occupation forces are now bulldozing the
neighbourhoods to cover up their crime. What happened in Fallujah was an act of barbarity. The whole world must be told the truth. CLIP
US guards at Guantanamo tortured me, says UK man (04/24/05)
A British resident has claimed he was tortured by US guards at Guantanamo Bay, suffering violent sexual assaults, near drowning and an attack in which he was blinded.The Independent on Sunday has been given a detailed account from Omar Deghayes of repeated abuse by American and Pakistani interrogators over the past three years including electric shocks and sodomy by US guards.The allegations, made by human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, have persuaded British ministers to take up Mr Deghayes's case. In some of the most disturbing allegations to emerge from Guantanamo, Mr Deghayes also accuses US and Pakistani interrogators of beating him repeatedly since his arrest three years ago, smearing his face with human excrement, starving him of food, and withdrawing light and clothing. CLIP
Human rights group calls for criminal investigations of Rumsfeld and Tenet (April 24)
NEW YORK (AP) -- A human rights watchdog group wants a criminal investigation of senior U.S. intelligence and military officials who it says may have condoned or ignored the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and other locations. The report, being issued Sunday by Human Rights Watch, criticizes Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former CIA Director George Tenet for allegedly trying to pass blame for the abuse to military subordinates and individual soldiers. Human Rights Watch took no stance on the ultimate culpability of the officials, but said an investigation was warranted. "This pattern of abuse across several countries did not result from the acts of individual soldiers who broke the rules," Reed Brody, special counsel for the group, said in a statement. "It resulted from decisions made by senior U.S officials to bend, ignore, or cast rules aside." The report also calls for investigations of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former senior U.S. commander in Iraq, and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, former commander of the Guantanamo Camp. The Army announced this past week that it had cleared Sanchez of all allegations of wrongdoing in connection with Abu Ghraib and said he would not be punished. Three officers who were among Sanchez's top deputies during the period of the prisoner abuse in 2003 also have been cleared. An Army Reserve one-star general has been reprimanded, and the outcome of cases involving seven other senior Army officers was not immediately known. None of the 10 investigations done so far has concluded that Rumsfeld was directly at fault. The report says coercive questioning techniques authorized by Rumsfeld for use at Guantanamo Bay spread not only to Abu Ghraib but to sites throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and other "secret locations." The techniques included using guard dogs to frighten prisoners, putting prisoners in stressful positions and removing their clothes, the report said.
U.S.: Investigate Rumsfeld, Tenet for Torture (THIS SHOULD GO UP TO BUSH AND CHENEY!)
(New York, April 24, 2005)The United States should name a special prosecutor to investigate the culpability of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and ex-CIA Director George Tenet in cases of detainee torture and abuse, Human Rights Watch said in releasing a new report today. The report, Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees, is issued on the eve of the first anniversary of the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos (April 28). It presents substantial evidence warranting criminal investigations of Rumsfeld and Tenet, as well as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, formerly the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Gen. Geoffrey Miller the former commander of the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The soldiers at the bottom of the chain are taking the heat for Abu Ghraib and torture around the world, while the guys at the top who made the policies are going scot free, said Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch. Thats simply not right. Human Rights Watch said that there was now overwhelming evidence that U.S. mistreatment and torture of Muslim prisoners took place not merely at Abu Ghraib but at facilities throughout Afghanistan and Iraq as well as at Guantánamo and at secret locations around the world, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the laws against torture. This pattern of abuse across several countries did not result from the acts of individual soldiers who broke the rules, said Brody. It resulted from decisions made by senior U.S. officials to bend, ignore, or cast rules aside. (...) A year after Abu Ghraib, the United States continues to do what dictatorships and banana republics do the world over when their abuses are discoveredcover up the scandal and shift blame downwards, said Brody. A wall of immunity surrounds the architects of the policy that led to all these crimes. CLIP
Karpinski is Abu Ghraib Scapegoat
In case you missed it: Government Documents on Torture (March 25)
Below are documents the government did not want the general public to read -- including an FBI memo (pdf) stating that Defense Department interrogators impersonated FBI agents and used "torture techniques" against a detainee at Guantanamo.
Guantánamo: Give U.N. Monitors Access to Detainees
Cuba Should Also Open Its Own Prisons to U.N. Rights Inspectors (Geneva, April 19, 2005) - Cuba late last week put forward a resolution at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights demanding such access for the rights monitor. Cuba should permit the U.N. rapporteurs to visit detainees in its own prisons as well. The international community should get commitments from both the United States and Cuba to grant U.N. investigators access to detainees on all parts of the island, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. The European Union put its weight behind this effort. For several weeks, Human Rights Watch has urged the European Union to lead discussions at the Commission on providing access for the special rapporteurs to terrorism detainees in Guantánamo Bay. More than three years after the first detainees were brought to Guantánamo, the U.S. government continues to detain nearly 550 people indefinitely without charge or trial and without applying the Geneva Conventions. There is growing evidence that detainees at Guantánamo have suffered torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, in violation of the conventions as well as human rights treaties that the U.S. government has ratified. CLIP
US: Pentagon Detention Guidelines Entrench Illegality
Enemy Combatants Could be Held as Ghost Detainees (Washington, April 7, 2005) -- Proposed Pentagon guidelines will formalize the U.S. militarys illegal policy of holding enemy combatants without protections under the Geneva Conventions, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The new policies, set out in a 142-page final draft document prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff entitled Joint Publication 3-63: Joint Doctrine for Detainee Operations,include a directive that would allow the military to hold enemy combatants as ghost detainees, by denying access to them by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The guidelines also specify that humane treatment of all detainees can be limited by military necessity, a position that is both contrary to international and domestic law and opens the door to mistreatment and even torture of detainees. Instead of correcting current violations of the Geneva Conventions, these guidelines would shred the conventions further, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. The policies set out in this document could even require personnel to commit war crimes. Military personnel can be criminally liable for stripping protected persons of their rights under the conventions. CLIP
Terrified US soldiers are still killing civilians with impunity, while the dead go uncounted (04/24/05)
(...) "We should end the immunity of US soldiers here," says Dr Mahmoud Othman, a veteran Kurdish politician who argues that the failure to prosecute American soldiers who have killed civilians is one of the reasons why the occupation became so unpopular so fast. He admits, however, that this is extremely unlikely to happen given the US attitude to any sanctions against its own forces. (...) It was obvious to many American officers from an early stage in the conflict that the Pentagon's claim that it did not count civilian casualties was seen by many Iraqis as proof that the US did not care about how many of them were killed. The failure to take Iraqi civilian dead into account was particularly foolish in a culture where relatives of the slain are obligated by custom to seek revenge. The secrecy surrounding the numbers of civilians killed reveals another important facet of the war. The White House was always more interested in the impact of events in Iraq on the American voter than it was in the effect on Iraqis. From the beginning of the conflict the US and British armies had difficulty in working out who in Iraq really was a civilian.
'Diplomatic Assurances' Allowing Torture - Growing Trend Defies International Law
(New York, April 15, 2005) Governments in Europe and North America are increasingly sending suspects to abusive states on the basis of flimsy diplomatic assurances that expose the detainees to serious risk of torture and ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The 91-page report, Still at Risk: Diplomatic Assurances No Safeguard against Torture, documents the growing practice among Western governmentsincluding the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlandsof seeking assurances of humane treatment in order to transfer terrorism suspects to states with well-established records of torture. The report details a dozen cases involving actual or attempted transfers to countries where torture is commonplace. Governments that engage in torture always try to hide what theyre doing, so their assurances on torture can never be trusted, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. This is a very negative trend in international diplomacy, and its doing real damage to the global taboo against torture. States that offer such assurances include some of the most abusive regimes in the worldSyria, Egypt and Uzbekistan. Transfers have also been effected or proposed to Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Russia, and Turkey, where certain peoplefor example, suspected Islamists, Chechens, or Kurdsare singled out for particularly brutal abuse. Torture is banned under international law. No exceptions are allowed, even in times of war or national emergency. The ban includes the absolute prohibition on transferring people to places where they face a risk of torture. CLIP
Afghanistan: U.N. Rights Monitoring Still Needed
(London, April 20, 2005) -- Afghanistans perilous human rights situation demands ongoing monitoring by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged the U.N. Commission for Human Rights, now conducting its annual meeting in Geneva, to keep Afghanistan on its agenda and to increase the number of human rights monitors in the country. There is still a human rights crisis in Afghanistan, said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. Warlords and armed factions still dominate many parts of the country and routinely abuse human rights, especially the rights of women and girls. Donor nations, and specifically the NATO countries, have been slow in meeting their commitments to Afghanistan. As a result, Afghans countrywide continue to complain about extortion and robberies by militias and political repression by local strongmen. CLIP
Algeria: Amnesty Law Risks Legalizing Impunity for Crimes Against Humanity
(New York, April 14, 2005) -- Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflikas proposal of a general amnesty for human rights abuses committed in the countrys brutal internal conflict may permanently deprive victims or their families of their right to truth, justice and reparation, a group of international human rights organizations warned today. The organizations include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Center for Transitional Justice, the International Commission of Jurists and the International Federation for Human Rights. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is proposing an amnesty law as a step towards national reconciliation. He has recently declared that he envisages a referendum on the law as soon as the necessary conditions are satisfied. So far, little is known about the terms of the proposed amnesty. No draft law has been made public, but official statements indicate that the law will grant exemption from prosecution to any member of an armed group, state-armed militia or the security forces for crimes committed in the course of the conflict, including serious human rights abuses. This proposal comes after years of failure by the Algerian authorities to investigate the human rights abuses committed during the internal conflict that began in 1992. This failure is all the more serious in light of the severity and magnitude of these abuses, some of which amount to crimes against humanity. In recent public statements, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has said that 200,000 people have been killed during the conflict. Tens of thousands are civilian men, women, and children who were killed in violent attacks. Thousands have been tortured in detention. Thousands more have disappeared after arrest by the security forces or have been abducted by armed groups and summarily executed by them. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the authorities have not taken action to clarify the circumstances of the crimes and bring the suspected perpetrators to justice, despite the tireless efforts of victims and their families to search for the truth and provide information to the judicial authorities in cases where complaints have been filed. CLIP
Israel/Occupied Territories: Women carry the burden of conflict, occupation and patriarchy
Palestinian women in the Occupied Territories bear the brunt of the conflict. They are victims of multiple violations resulting from Israel's policies and restrictions, and of a system of norms, traditions and laws which treat women as unequal members of Palestinian society. However, the endless cycle of killings is not the only human rights scandal. The increased militarization of the conflict and Israels policies in the Occupied Territories have had grave consequences for Palestinian women. Their homes have been demolished and their movements have been severely restricted, limiting their access to medical services, education and employment. Poverty and unemployment have aggravated existing problems of gender inequality in Palestinian society. Violence in the family has increased but discriminatory laws and practices provide no protection for women.All government authorities have a duty to protect the rights of women. Amnesty International calls on both sides to recognize their respective responsibilities to end the suffering of Palestinian women. CLIP
Israel and the Occupied Territories: An ongoing human rights crisis (Does not reflect the current cease-fire)
The human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories continues to deteriorate. Some 2,500 Palestinians, most of them unarmed and including some 450 children, have been killed by the Israeli army and more than 900 Israelis, most of them civilians and including more than 100 children, have been killed by Palestinian armed groups since the start of the current uprising, or intifada, in September 2000. Tens of thousand of Palestinians and thousands of Israelis have been injured, many maimed for life. Palestinians do not feel safe neither in the street nor in their homes, as Israeli army aircrafts, helicopter gunships and tanks frequently shell Palestinian refugee camps and densely populated residential areas. Israelis also do not feel safe when they leave their homes, as Palestinian armed groups deliberately target Israeli civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks on buses, restaurants and other public places. CLIP
Georgia: Torture Still Goes Unpunished
Despite 'Rose Revolution,' Government Fails to End Impunity for Torture(Tbilisi, April 13, 2005) Since the Rose Revolution that brought a new government to power in 2003, the Georgian authorities have failed to end widespread torture of detainees in the criminal justice system, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today.
Ecuador: Respect for human rights must be the top priority of the political agenda
(21 April 2005) President Alfredo Palacios must take this historic opportunity to place human rights very firmly at the top of the countrys political agenda, and demonstrate that the government is truly committed to tackle the deep political crisis the country is being submerged in, said Nuria Garcia, Amnesty International researcher on Ecuador today. "Guaranteeing respect for human rights, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law are key measures that must be undertaken by the authorities as a matter of urgency," said Ms Garcia.
Haiti: Hundreds Killed Amid Rampant Impunity
Visiting U.N. Security Council Members Should Boost Efforts to End Crisis(Port-au-Prince, April 14, 2005) The Haitian government has failed to stop the rampant violence in the capital that has left hundreds of persons killed and wounded in recent months, Human Rights Watch said today. (...) Since the beginning of the year, 391 patients were treated for gunshot and other wounds at the Port-au-Prince hospital run by the humanitarian medical organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF estimates that nearly 100 people were killed each month in Port-au-Prince from September to December 2004. In recent months, the number of violent deaths continued to be very high. Statistics gathered by the Haitian National Justice and Peace Commission show 63 people killed in January and 68 in February. The Commission believes that the actual figures may be much higher, however, as its statistics are incomplete. CLIP
US admits 2,600 weapons sent to Haiti
THE US government gave more than 2,600 weapons to bolster Haitis controversial police force last year despite allegations of human rights abuses and a more than 13-year-old arms embargo, officials at the State Department and US Embassy said.
Human rights crisis continues in Nepal
As the internal conflict between the security forces and armed insurgents of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist) enters its 10th year, a long-ignored human rights crisis threatens to slide toward catastrophe. The situation deteriorated sharply following King Gyanendra's direct seizure of power and declaration of a State of Emergency on 1 February. Fundamental rights were suspended, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of movement. Within days, hundreds of people were arrested among them political leaders, student activists, trade unionists, journalists, and human rights defenders. CLIP
The impact of guns on women's lives (THERE IS A PETITION TO SIGN THERE)
Countless women and girls have been shot and killed or injured in every region of the world. Millions more live in fear of armed violence. Two key factors lie at the heart of these abuses: the proliferation and misuse of small arms and deep-rooted discrimination against women. Armed violence against women is not inevitable. In many countries women have become powerful forces for peace and human rights in their communities. Their actions show how real change can be effected and women's lives made safer. Each of us can help put an end to armed violence by joining the international campaigns to Stop Violence Against Women and to Control Arms.
Darfur: Women Raped Even After Seeking Refuge
Donors Must Increase Support to Victims of Sexual Violence (Oslo, April 12, 2005) Women and girls who have fled ethnic cleansing in Darfur are being raped and subjected to sexual violence around the camps where they have sought refuge, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. CLIP
Ethiopia: Crimes Against Humanity in Gambella Region
Army Impunity and Official Inaction Fuel Abuses - (March 24, 2005) The Ethiopian military has committed widespread murder, rape and torture against the Anuak population in the remote southwestern region of Gambella since December 2003, Human Rights Watch said in a 64-page report released today entitled Targeting the Anuak: Human Rights Violations and Crimes against Humanity in Ethiopias Gambella Region. Human Rights Watch said that the abuses detailed in the report could amount to crimes against humanity. CLIP
North Korea: Allow Access for U.N. Rights Monitor
China Must Stop Sending Back North Koreans at Risk of Persecution - The North Korean authorities should immediately and fully cooperate with U.N. human rights experts to improve the countrys abysmal human rights conditions, Human Rights Watch said today. On Thursday, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva adopted a third consecutive resolution condemning North Koreas poor human rights record. (...) Tens of thousands of North Koreans have fled to China, leaving home for reasons both of political repression and widespread hunger. Regardless of their reasons for leaving, they face harsh treatment upon return, ranging from detention to torture, long prison terms and even executions. The North Korean government considers leaving North Korea without state permission as a criminal offense and often as an act of treason, which may be punishable by death. China is obliged under international law not to return persons to a territory where their life or freedom is threatened. This obligation, known as the principle of non-refoulement, is articulated in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, both of which China has been a party to since 1982. The right of non-refoulement is recognized as a rule of customary international law, binding on all states regardless of whether they have signed that treaty. China, however, has been arresting and periodically sending back North Koreans, categorically labeling them as illegal economic migrants and disregarding the persecution they will face as a result of their illegal exit. CLIP
China: Religious Repression of Uighur Muslims
Architecture of Xinjiang Suppression Detailed - (April 11, 2005) The Chinese government is directing a crushing campaign of religious repression against Chinas Muslim Uighurs in the name of anti-separatism and counter-terrorism, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China said in a new report today. (...) The worldwide campaign against terrorism has given Beijing the perfect excuse to crack down harder than ever in Xinjiang, said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch. Other Chinese enjoy a growing freedom to worship, but the Uighurs, like the Tibetans, find that their religion is being used as a tool of control. The Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking minority of some 8 million people, whose traditional homeland lies in the oil-rich Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in northwest China, have become increasingly fearful for their cultural survival and traditional way of life in the face of an intensive internal migration drive that has witnessed the arrival of more than 1.2 million ethnic Chinese settlers over the past decade. Many Uighurs desire greater autonomy than is currently allowed; some wish for a separate state, although there is little recent evidence of violent rebellion. (...) At its most extreme, peaceful activists practicing their religion in ways that the Party and government deem unacceptable are arrested, tortured, and at times executed. The harshest punishments are saved for those accused of involvement in so-called separatist activity, which officials increasingly term terrorism for domestic and external consumption. CLIP
Canada's Blind Eye to 'Torture' (04/23/05)
The Sun's Kathleen Harris examines new documents that reveal Canada's former ambassador to Syria accepted a 'confession' from Maher Arar's captors - CANADIAN officials were complicit or wilfully blind in Maher Arar's torture at the hands of his Syrian captors, supporters charged yesterday after a public inquiry released reams of new "top secret" documents. The 2,300 pages reveal that Franco Pillarella, Canada's former ambassador to Syria, actively sought and passed on to RCMP and CSIS a summary of Arar's "confession" under interrogation. CLIP
U.N. Rights Body Ignores Major Abuses
U.N. Commission on Human Rights Takes a Few Positive Steps (Geneva, April 22, 2005) This years session of the Commission on Human Rights ended today without addressing a number of the most disturbing human rights situations which afflict the world, Human Rights Watch said. This confirms the recent assessment by the Secretary-General that the U.N. Commission on Human Rights needs to be replaced with a new and more effective body. Within the first week of the commissions six-week meeting, several governments, including the European Union, United States, and Canada, announced their intention to not introduce resolutions critical of some of the worlds key human rights violators, such as China, Iran, the Russian Federation in Chechnya, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe. This years commission was hugely disappointing from its outset, said Joanna Weschler, U.N. advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. This session has been a powerful demonstration of the need to scrap the commission and replace it with something new and better. CLIP
Antarctic glaciers retreating (April 22, 2005)
Analysis of more than 2,000 aerial photographs dating from 1940 and more than 100 satellite images from the 1960s by Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey and the US Geological Survey show glaciers along the Antarctic Peninsula retreating at an increasingly rapid pace and almost 90 per cent have melted significantly in the past 50 years. It is unclear, however, whether the increased temperature causing the shrinkage is a natural regional effect or a result of global warming, said the scientists who conducted the study, published this week in the journal Science reports ABCnews. Scientists worry about the melting of the ice sheets because the extra water may increase sea levels, which in turn could mean more flooding damage to coastal areas during storms. They calculated that 87 percent of the 244 glaciers going out to sea from the peninsula have retreated during the last 50 years and that the pace of shrinkage has accelerated in the last decade. Until now, scientists were uncertain whether the glaciers were growing or melting.
A Planet on the Brink (17 April 2005)
The Archbishop of Canterbury warns that the price of our continued failure to protect the earth will be violence and social collapse.
STRATOSFEAR (April 20, 2005) IMPORTANT CONCERN!!
Pollutants from more than five million civil and nearly 2,800 military flights each year are destroying Earths protective ozone layer and stealing blue skies, while accounting for more than 10% of global greenhouse warming. With 27,000 heavy jetliners scheduled to enter service by 2017more than doubling the current fleeta recent British government report calls aerial gridlock a risk to planetand urges travelers to refuse short-haul flights and take the train instead. FREQUENT FRIERS - How Air Travel Is Imperiling Passengers And The Planet With both poles melting down toward a cataclysmic methane release from thawing tundra and ocean seafloorsand with another 13,500 heavy jetliners scheduled to enter service by 2017, more than doubling the current fleeta recent British government report calls jet travel a risk to planet and urges travelers in the UK and EU to take the train instead. Were talking bye-bye civilization within our lifetime. Jet-induced pollutants and cloud cover account for more than 10% of global greenhouse warming. Yet more than five million civil and nearly 2,800 military flights continue each year to significantly affect an atmosphere already hammered by outmoded engines and smokestack industries belching toxic gasses at ground level. Jet emissions linger long in the clear, cold, calm of the stratosphere, modifying Earths atmosphere about 100-times longer than when released near the ground. Airbus Industries warns that the biggest jet pollutantsnitrogen oxidesare also the most worrisome. At cruising altitudes high in the stratosphere, these gasses cause 30-times more atmospheric warming than when released near the groundcontributing as much to global warming as all car emissions worldwide! This major pollutant from jet engines also erodes Earths tattered ozone shielding, exposing not only plants and animals on the ground to increased solar radiationbut everyone onboard high-flying jets, as well. CLIP
Holy Warriors (04/21/05)
Cardinal Ratzinger handed Bush the presidency by tipping the Catholic vote. Can American democracy survive their shared medieval vision? - President Bush treated his final visit with Pope John Paul II in Vatican City on June 4, 2004, as a campaign stop. After enduring a public rebuke from the pope about the Iraq war, Bush lobbied Vatican officials to help him win the election. "Not all the American bishops are with me," he complained, according to the National Catholic Reporter. He pleaded with the Vatican to pressure the bishops to step up their activism against abortion and gay marriage in the states during the campaign season. About a week later, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter to the U.S. bishops, pronouncing that those Catholics who were pro-choice on abortion were committing a "grave sin" and must be denied Communion. He pointedly mentioned "the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" -- an obvious reference to John Kerry, the Democratic candidate and a Roman Catholic. If such a Catholic politician sought Communion, Ratzinger wrote, priests must be ordered to "refuse to distribute it." Any Catholic who voted for this "Catholic politician," he continued, "would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion." During the closing weeks of the campaign, a pastoral letter was read from pulpits in Catholic churches repeating the ominous suggestion of excommunication. Voting for the Democrat was nothing less than consorting with the forces of Satan, collaboration with "evil." In 2004 Bush increased his margin of Catholic support by 6 points from the 2000 election, rising from 46 to 52 percent. Without this shift, Kerry would have had a popular majority of a million votes. Three states -- Ohio, Iowa and New Mexico -- moved into Bush's column on the votes of the Catholic "faithful." Even with his atmospherics of terrorism and Sept. 11, Bush required the benediction of the Holy See as his saving grace. The key to his kingdom was turned by Cardinal Ratzinger. With the College of Cardinals' election of Ratzinger to the papacy, his political alliances with conservative politicians can be expected to deepen and broaden. Under Benedict XVI, the church will assume a consistent reactionary activism it has not had for two centuries. And the new pope's crusade against modernity has already joined forces with the right-wing culture war in the United States, prefigured by his interference in the 2004 election. CLIP
New Pope Intervened against Kerry in US 2004 Election Campaign
Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry (April 24, 2005)
Confidential letter reveals Ratzinger ordered bishops to keep allegations secret - Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret. The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001. It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week. Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a 'clear obstruction of justice'. CLIP
A Time for Disobedience (April 19th, 2005)
Faced with Bush's lockdown on information, reporters have to stand up - The press is now looking squarely at a perversion of government. The administration of George W. Bush has raised secrecy and information control to a level never before seen in Washington. The falsehoods about weapons of mass destruction that gave the White House the public support to wage war in Iraq may be the most vivid example of the perversion, but the practice permeates all corners of the Bush government. The press has been grappling with how to cope with this extreme control and distortion of news, some reporters and editors more than others. One possibility they might consider is civil resistance, as in quiet, nonviolent, respectful rebellion. CLIP
MEDIA BLACKOUT ON TRILATERALS (April 22, 2005)
Secretive Commission Meets to Talk War, Trade - Both Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reassured members of the Trilateral Commission, meeting in Washington April 15-18, that they anticipated no invasion of Iran. Rumsfeld further assured Trilateralists that Iraq will not be another Vietnam with combat troops on patrol 10 years from now, Trilateral sources said.However, they stressed the qualification combat patrol, indicating that troops may remain for logistical duties. Logistical duties can turn into combat with a single shot. Both Cheney and Rumsfeld are old-timers with international power groups. As secretary of defense under President Bush the Elder, Cheney participated in the annual closed meetings of the Trilaterals. Rumsfeld has participated with the Trilaterals and its brother group, Bilderberg, as a White House aide under President Ronald Reagan and as defense secretary under the current President Bush. Bilderberg and the Trilateral Commission have interlocking leadership and a common agenda. David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger are leaders of both groups. The Trilaterals European chairman, Peter Sutherland, head of Goldman-Sachs International, is also a Bilderberg leader. Former House Speaker Tom Foley is the TCs North American chairman. Appearances by Cheney, Rumsfeld and other administration officials were viewed as top secret. The appearances were not listed on their public schedules, not even as involving a private group. There were no transcripts available, which is routine in normal functions. The U.S. invasion of Iraq created the first serious dissent among participants from the United States and Europe in both the Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg. On all other major issues, including empowering the United Nations to directly tax the citizens of the world as a crucial enhancement of its evolving as a world government, both groups are united and collaborating. (...) This year, the Trilaterals returned to their earlier policy of trying to keep their gathering secret. Its Washington office angrily refused to say when and where they would meet.The huge staff refused to provide papers and the only working journalist on the scene was under constant surveillance. The Trilateral Commissions meetings have inspired conspiracy theories of powerful puppeteers who secretly pull the strings of world power as they seek to establish a new world order, the Times story said. The theories are based partly on fact.
Report: ExxonMobil Spends Millions Funding Global Warming Skeptics (April 22nd, 2005)
A new investigation by Mother Jones magazine has revealed that ExxonMobil has spent at least $8 million dollars funding a network of groups to challenge the existence of global warming. We speak with the author of the report, a member of one the organizations that receives money from Exxon and a journalist covering environmental and climate change issues. CLIP
Some Like It Hot
Forty public policy groups have this in common: They seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat. And they all get money from ExxonMobil. (...) There is overwhelming scientific consensus that greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are causing global average temperatures to rise. Conservative think tanks are trying to undermine this conclusion with a disinformation campaign employing reports designed to look like a counterbalance to peer-reviewed studies, skeptic propaganda masquerading as journalism, and events like the AEI luncheon that Crichton addressed. The think tanks provide both intellectual cover for those who reject what the best science currently tells us, and ammunition for conservative policymakers like Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who calls global warming a hoax. This concerted effort reflects the shared convictions of free-market, and thus antiregulatory, conservatives. But theres another factor at play. In addition to being supported by like-minded individuals and ideologically sympathetic foundations, these groups are funded by ExxonMobil, the worlds largest oil company. Mother Jones has tallied some 40 ExxonMobil-funded organizations that either have sought to undermine mainstream scientific findings on global climate change or have maintained affiliations with a small group of skeptic scientists who continue to do so. Beyond think tanks, the count also includes quasi-journalistic outlets like Tech CentralStation.com (a website providing news, analysis, research, and commentary that received $95,000 from ExxonMobil in 2003), a FoxNews.com columnist, and even religious and civil rights groups. In total, these organizations received more than $8 million between 2000 and 2003. (...) EXXONMOBILS FUNDING OF THINK TANKS hardly compares with its lobbying expenditures$55 million over the past six years, according to the Center for Public Integrity. And neither figure takes much of a bite out of the companys net earnings$25.3 billion last year. Nevertheless, ideas lobbying can have a powerful public policy effect. Consider attacks by friends of ExxonMobil on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). A landmark international study that combined the work of some 300 scientists, the ACIA, released last November, had been four years in the making. Commissioned by the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that includes the United States, the study warned that the Arctic is warming at almost twice the rate as that of the rest of the world, and that early impacts of climate change, such as melting sea ice and glaciers, are already apparent and will drastically shrink marine habitat for polar bears, ice-inhabiting seals, and some seabirds, pushing some species toward extinction. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) was so troubled by the report that he called for a Senate hearing. (...) PERHAPS THE MOST SURPRISING aspect of ExxonMobils support of the think tanks waging the disinformation campaign is that, given its close ties to the Bush administration (which cited incomplete science as justification to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol), its hard to see why the company would even need such pseudo-scientific cover. In 1998, Dick Cheney, then CEO of Halliburton, signed a letter to the Clinton administration challenging its approach to Kyoto. Less than three weeks after Cheney assumed the vice presidency, he met with ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond for a half-hour. Officials of the corporation also met with Cheneys notorious energy task force. ExxonMobils connections to the current administration go much deeper, filtering down into lower but crucially important tiers of policymaking. CLIP
The end of oil is closer than you think (April 21, 2005)
Oil production could peak next year, reports John Vidal. Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye - The one thing that international bankers don't want to hear is that the second Great Depression may be round the corner. But last week, a group of ultra-conservative Swiss financiers asked a retired English petroleum geologist living in Ireland to tell them about the beginning of the end of the oil age.They called Colin Campbell, who helped to found the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre because he is an industry man through and through, has no financial agenda and has spent most of a lifetime on the front line of oil exploration on three continents. He was chief geologist for Amoco, a vice-president of Fina, and has worked for BP, Texaco, Shell, ChevronTexaco and Exxon in a dozen different countries."Don't worry about oil running out; it won't for very many years," the Oxford PhD told the bankers in a message that he will repeat to businessmen, academics and investment analysts at a conference in Edinburgh next week. "The issue is the long downward slope that opens on the other side of peak production. Oil and gas dominate our lives, and their decline will change the world in radical and unpredictable ways," he says.Campbell reckons global peak production of conventional oil - the kind associated with gushing oil wells - is approaching fast, perhaps even next year. CLIP
Mother Of All Bombs
Fascism: Are We There Yet? (April 21 2005)
Our government is treating us the way exterminators treat vermin. We are ruled by people who mask evil ideology with the artful use of language, so an advertising slogan is in order. "Roaches check in, but they don't check out." The United States government is now proposing that the roach treatment be meted out to American humans who want to visit Canada, Mexico, Panama and Bermuda. These countries currently do not require visiting Americans to have passports.The United States can't force these nations to change their laws, so they are changing ours. The Department of State is proposing that Americans returning from these countries be required to have passports in order to re-enter the United States. We'll be able to check in, but not check out without letting Uncle Sam know where we have been. (...) Most progressives have muttered at one time or another that they would leave the country if Bush won again. Well, he did and it is as bad as we feared. The future isn't looking a lot brighter and the attacks have become more brazen. People who call themselves Christians speak of a legislative "nuclear option" meant to end the Senate filibuster and silence critics of the powerful. Even religious leaders have happily adopted the language of violence and death. CLIP
Playing War: The Emerging Trend of Real Virtual Combat in Current Video Games
(...) Consider: the real-world America's Army created, programmed, and distributed, for free online, the game called America's Army, specifically for the purpose of recruitment. Anyone can download it for free, right now, at americasarmy.com. The real army counts on people, mostly young men ripe for recruitment, to download the game, enjoy it, think to themselves, "Hey, you know, I should do this for real," and then go enlist. Apparently the strategy is working very effectively. In late March 2004, the CBS Evening News reported on a huge America's Army gaming tournament. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money and computer equipment were at stake. Several recruiters sat in the competition room. Hundreds of players walked directly from their round of competition over to sign up with recruiters. CBS reported that since the game was released in 2002, recruitment has spiked; the video game is the most effective recruitment tool since the Uncle Sam "I Want You" posters during World War II. This video game recruitment strategy meshes very neatly with the Army's recent advertising campaign. The Army shows images of underage kids essentially playing games - flying a remote-controlled plane in one, and actually playing a video game in another. Then the same people (presumably) are shown as young adults doing pretty much the same activities in the Army: the model plane flyer pilots a decoy drone plane, and the video gamer efficiently directs real tanks and troops around a battlefield. The clear message is: " You should join the real Army because we will pay you to play pretty much the same games you play for fun right now. You were born for this." Full Spectrum Warrior blurs reality and gaming perhaps even more thoroughly. Like America's Army, this game was produced by the real U.S. Army. CLIP
It's terror when we say so (April 23, 2005)
The Bush administration's iron-clad spin is that it is winning the "war on terror". Then comes a problem: the recently created (by a George W Bush executive order) National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) states there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985. So what does the State Department do? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice orders the "sanitation" of this year's version of "Patterns of Global Terrorism", a report regularly issued by the State Department. (...) It would be naive to assume that Rice's decision on the report was disclosed by US mainstream media. Once again the information had to be found on the Internet, through Larry C Johnson, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst writing for the online journal The Counterterrorism Blog. According to Congressman Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, "This is the definitive report on the incidence of terrorism around the world. It should be unthinkable that there would be an effort to withhold it - or any of the key data - from the public. The Bush administration should stop playing politics with this critical report." It's politics, stupid Waxman seems to forget that the fiercely loyal Rice would never allow the disclosure of sensitive information bound to contradict her boss - thus the flood of denials from State Department officials, who blame the shelving on dubious NCTC "methodology". The NCTC reported 624 "significant" terrorist attacks in 2004, compared with 175 in 2003 - the year of the Iraq invasion and the bombing of the United Nations building in Baghdad. And the data did not even include attacks on the US occupying force in Iraq. According to the Bush administration's own logic, Iraq is "a central front in the war on terror". Considering the Sunni Arab Iraqi resistance had been able to mount as many as 70 attacks a day throughout 2004, this would mean - according to Bush's own criteria - a terror mega-inflation. Major embarrassment had already crept in in 2004, when the State Department was forced to revise upward the number of terrorist attacks included in the 2003 report. The previous numbers were doctored so they would not contradict the Bush re-election machine - which at the time was spinning the notion that the war in Iraq was a major blow against the enemy in the "war on terror". The official explanation for the doctoring was "bureaucratic mistakes". CLIP
U.S. Prison Population Soars in 2003, '04 (April 25)
Growing at a rate of about 900 inmates each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004, the nation's prisons and jails held 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents, the government reported Sunday. By last June 30, there were 48,000 more inmates, or 2.3 percent, more than the year before, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The total inmate population has hovered around 2 million for the past few years, reaching 2.1 million on June 30, 2002, and just below that mark a year later. While the crime rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of people in prison and jail is outpacing the number of inmates released, said the report's co-author, Paige Harrison. For example, the number of admissions to federal prisons in 2004 exceeded releases by more than 8,000, the study found. (...) According to the Justice Policy Institute, which advocates a more lenient system of punishment, the United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country, followed by Britain, China, France, Japan and Nigeria. There were 726 inmates for every 100,000 U.S. residents by June 30, 2004, compared with 716 a year earlier, according to the report by the Justice Department agency. In 2004, one in every 138 U.S. residents was in prison or jail; the previous year it was one in every 140. In 2004, 61 percent of prison and jail inmates were of racial or ethnic minorities, the government said. An estimated 12.6 percent of all black men in their late 20s were in jails or prisons, as were 3.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.7 percent of white men in that age group, the report said. CLIP
Anti-American Century II
(...) The agendas of neoconservativism have borne fruit. But, it is an acrid, bitter and ultimately poisonous banquet. Rather than a New American Century, neoconservativism has produced, and there is every reason to believe that it will continue to produce, an Anti-American Century. It is time to leave the horrible banquet. High time.
Senate Panel Delays Vote on Bolton to U.N. (April 19)
WASHINGTON - John Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador suffered an unexpected setback Tuesday when the Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee scrapped plans for a vote in favor of a fresh look at allegations of unbecoming conduct. No date was set for a vote, but a delay of at least two weeks seems likely while the committee looks into fresh allegations, including those of a Dallas businesswoman who says Bolton berated her at an international conference a decade ago. Some Democrats also bluntly questioned Bolton's veracity. The decision to postpone a vote closed a rancorous session in which Republicans first sought to push Bolton through the Foreign Relations Committee and Democrats resisted. (...) Democrats on the committee said they were continuing to receive fresh allegations of Bolton behavior that was imperious or worse. Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the panel, read from what he said was a letter from a U.S. Agency for International Development worker in Kyrgyzstan who alleged Bolton harassed her not sexually while he was in private practice representing a company. "She's prepared to provide an affidavit. The letter she sent in, and I'm going to just take a second here, it says, `When I was dispatching a letter to AID, my hell began. Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel, throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door, and genuinely behaving like a madman. I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton then routinely visited me to pound on the door and shout threats.'" (...) A Yale Law School graduate, Bolton has been a lawyer in private practice and an academic. He is considered one of Bush's most conservative advisers on foreign policy, and one of the most caustic. He has said, for example, that the loss of 10 stories from the United Nations headquarters building in New York would make no difference. CLIP -- Note from Jean: I received the following from The Pen email@example.com> about John Bolton: "He will trigger nuclear conflict - The underlying purpose of the submission of John Bolton as the U.N. ambassador is to CAUSE a militant confrontation with Iran, to make absolutely sure that all possibilities for diplomacy falter. The identical diplomatic "talents" he has displayed in abusing every dedicated assistant who ever tried to tell him the truth will be dedicated to scuttle any possibility for making peace. All this is now coming to light IN SPITE OF the extreme bonds of secrecy under which our intelligence community ordinarily operate.If you think the endless occupation of Iraq is a terrific disaster you will JUST LOVE our war with the whole entire rest of the world's Muslims. Looking long term there is really nothing we can do with our military to stop other nations, even unfriendly ones, from getting technology that's decades old. These materials are largely available out there already. But do we have to COMPEL other actors to use them for military ends? And there is only one force on this planet that can prevent it . . . your voices speaking out to our members of Congress on the nomination of Bolton." To do something about this, go at http://www.usalone.com/bolton.htm - This is a one click form that sends your personal message to all your members of Congress at once.
Many related comments through http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Should+John+Bolton+be+U.N.+Ambassador%3F&meta=
News Archive: Nuclear Weapons
I Can See Your House From Here (April 8, 2005)
Google's close-up satellite photo maps are way creepy, but in a very cool way.
NOTE FROM JEAN: I was so outraged - HORRIFIED REALLY! - by what I discovered about the persecution by the Chinese government of people practising a form of Chinese yoga, that I decided to research this issue and came up with several important related articles. It all started with this simple email with a fairly innocuous title ...
Date: 22 Apr 2005
Subject: Information about Falun Dafa
This is an informational post about Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) and its persecution in China. Falun Dafa is an ancient Chinese Buddhist Qigong that teaches the principles of truth, compassion and forbearance. 100 million people around the world pratice it. Millions upon millions have begun practicing it and truly regained their health and uplifted their morals, as I am one of them. I can vouch from personal experience that Falun Dafa is truly great. But, what's not great is how it is persecuted in China.
In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) outlawed Falun Dafa, because it was so immensely popular that the CCP was afraid of losing power. So the state of Falun Dafa in China today is terrible. Over 100,000 people have been sent to labor camps, where they have been tortured or even murdered. Genocide is what you could call it. The tortures used are unthinkable, possibly worse then those used by the Nazi's during WWII. Rape by thirty thousand volt electric batons, forced feeding of human feces, just terrible infringements upon human rights. Conditions are improving, but this persecution has continued for far too long, over six years, and these people need our help, for us to speak out against their persecution, to give voice to those who can't be heard. Thank you everyone for taking time to read this post. I hope you can share this information with as many people as you can and that you can come to learn more about the righteous faith of Falun Dafa and its persecution. You can find more here:
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." Practiced in over 50 countries world-wide, Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture. With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's Communist leader Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999. Since that time, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it. The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 1,336 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. In October 2001, however, Government officials inside China reported that the actual death toll was well over 1,600. Expert sources now estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps, typically without trial.
NOTE FROM JEAN: Please explore carefully the first URL suggested above and see for yourself how simple, beautiful and spiritually uplifting this ancient spiritual practice is - this new method, now after only 9 years in existence is used daily by over 100 million people in 60 countries according to this website. I'm sure you'll resonate with this as being in line with much of our own spiritual practices in the West and easily identify with these people as brothers and sisters on the path to awakening as all of us are.
Then look at http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2004/9/1/51972.html
WARNING WHAT YOU WILL SEE AND LEARN ON THIS PAGE - THE METHODS OF TORTURE USED AGAINST FALUN GONG PRACTITIONERS - IS EXTREMELY DISTURBING.
Then, here is what I found though http://www.clearwisdom.net where there is much more to read. This article below will give you a good idea of the extent of the absolutely horrific persecutions, similar in many ways to what Jews and other people endured under Nazi dictatorship. After reading this, check your local media or ANY mainstream media for that matter, and try to find ANY coverage on these widespread atrocities that have been going on since 1999. Then think of all the politicians who went to China to curry economic favors from this abhorrent dictatorship whose exploitation of its enslaved or abysmally underpaid workers - unparalleled worldwide - has generated untold riches for a tiny minority - just like in much of the West. Think also of its invasion and continuing brutal domination of Tibet. Think of its bloody crushing of its pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square. And then wonder why the rest of the world is turning a blind eye on all this - thus indirectly blessing these horrific inhumane policies - and even accepted to allow this despicable government to hold the next Olympic Games - in the vain, naive hope that by doing so they would nudge this Communist regime to continue opening up to higher human rights standards and join the community of civilized nations. If only it had worked. If only these terrified and terribly lost souls had willingly opened up to their own repressed compassion and changed their ways. If only the rest of the world had held them to the same higher standard of human rights they had requested them to hold with regard to the goods they produce for the entire planet now. If only...
Posting date: 4/22/2005
Practitioners Pursued and Arrested as CCP Launches Largest Nationwide Assault on Falun Gong Since July 20, 1999
Falun Gong Accused of being "Political," Martial Law Declared, Blacklist Used to Arrest Practitioners
(Clearwisdom.net) The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime is pursuing and arresting Falun Gong practitioners on a large scale. According to news collected from a variety of sources, the arrests have been orchestrated in a unified way throughout the entire country and Falun Gong practitioners are being specifically targeted. This police action is taking place on the largest scale since July 20, 1999.
According to sources in China, in order to take advantage of the people's aversion to politics and fear of political persecution, the authorities in Beijing have branded Falun Gong as a "reactionary political organization" in an attempt to create an atmosphere conducive to escalating the persecution. In March, they issued an internal document that ordered the ransacking of Dafa practitioners' homes throughout the entire country. Even before this, the number of practitioners arrested in different areas had been increasing. Since the end of 2004, facilities for printing and downloading informational materials from the Minghui website in different areas of China had encountered more serious persecution. News continued to emerge of people participating in the distribution and production of truth-clarifying materials being arrested.
Yesterday evening, Shandong Province began enforcing martial law and arresting Falun Gong practitioners. The number of practitioners abducted is estimated to be very high, although currently we are not able to ascertain the exact number.
According to reliable sources, the authorities in the Jinan area of Shandong Province have held a meeting to plan how to locate and arrest practitioners in the entire city. On the evening of April 21, many police cars were checking vehicles at intersections. It was obvious that they were targeting Dafa practitioners, because they didn't check the vehicle's annual inspection, nor did they check for driver licenses. Instead, they stopped the vehicles and looked to see if the drivers looked like good people. At the Tikou Road exit of the railroad overpass east of Hualian, a three-wheel farm vehicle was stopped. A policeman dragged a kind looking older gentleman in his 60s from the vehicle by his collar. After the three-wheel vehicle left, a passerby said he heard the policeman tell the driver, "I will watch where you run to." A taxicab driver stopped and wanted to see what was going on, why people were being stopped and dragged from their cars. Wasn't this checking people, instead of cars? The policeman chased away the taxicab driver.
According to other news, before the CCP leader Hu Jintao visited Weifang in Shandong Province, the Ministry of Public Security called the Police Department in Weifang and said, "If you find any Falun Gong activity, find one and kill one. The police will bear no responsibility." This order was delivered orally, and not put in writing. When Hu Jintao was visiting the Weichai Power Company, two thirds of the workers that Hu interviewed were replaced by policemen. Those who shook hands with Hu were also policemen, and the company's leaders.
On April 6 and 7, a large-scale persecution was carried out in Yifeng County, Jiangxi Province. All the people that they believed to be firm Falun Gong practitioners were arrested.
Around April 10, the police in Guangan, Sichuan Province held an urgent meeting for five consecutive days, and secretly planned further persecution of Dafa practitioners.
The police departments in Urumqi posted rewards on bulletin boards for information leading to the arrest of practitioners. (They did not dare to stamp the official seal on the postings, because they were afraid of leaving evidence of persecution.)
In Wuhan, Hubei Province, the CCP has handed documents to its members in the region. A policeman privately told practitioners that any practitioner found having even one copy of the "Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party" in his possession would be sentenced to a four-year jail term.
The wave of withdrawing from the Party is still building, with the number of people announcing their withdrawal from the Party on the Internet reaching one million. According to internal sources, the large-scale persecution at this time is directly related to this event. The publication of the "Nine Commentaries" on both the Chinese and English language version of The Epoch Times has caused a huge response and reaction. The CCP has now launched its well-planned persecution of Dafa practitioners throughout the entire country. And their means will be exceedingly brutal.
According to different news sources, the secret persecution is being mapped out nationwide. We are investigating the details in the regions that have already begun to act. Inside the police departments in different areas, there are some people who know the truth of Dafa and are sympathetic to Falun Gong. Through the various political movements in Chinese history, they have clearly seen the evil nature of the Communist Party. They hope Dafa practitioners will be careful, and not let the Party's treacherous plots succeed.
Torture Methods Used in Persecution
Falun Gong Human Rigths Working Group
Falun Dafa Information Center
Falun Dafa to send petition to Rice today (April 19, 2005)
The Falun Dafa Association of Saipan will submit today a petition addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, asking the U.S. government to pressure China to stop its persecution of Falun Gong and its members. (...) Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a host of other human rights organization have reported that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been arrested on spurious charges, with thousands more being sent to slave labor camps without trial. "Torture is widespread, and now accounts for at least 1,500 deaths in police custody. Thousands have been stripped of their homes, jobs, education, and even families," reads part of the petition letter. Perez also said the suppression of Falun Gong by Chinese authorities has spread overseas to democratic countries, "notably on American soil." The letter alleges that China has attempted to influence and intimidate officials at all levels of the U.S. government who support Falun Gong, as well as harass, threaten and violently beat U.S. citizens. The reported beating of Americans has led the U.S. House of Representatives to unanimously pass Resolution 188, calling for an immediate investigation and action against any Chinese government personnel that are found to be involved. The resolution also condemns the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and in America. CLIP
Special Interview (April 19, 2005)
Zeng Ning Resign From CYP; People in Guizhou, China Support One Million Resignations From CCPIt is a Wise Choice to Resign from the CCP - On Saturday, April 23, several dozen of overseas pro-democracy organizations, overseas Chinese organizations and The Epoch Times will hold a Gathering to Support the One Million Resignations from the CCP, Pro-Democracy and Freedom in Manhattan, New York. Xin Fei from The Epoch Times interviewed Mr. Zeng Ning, a famous democratic movement representative in Guizhou, China. (...) Many people used to have a different perspective, thinking that joining the CCP or influencing the CCP from within could transform the nature of the CCP and transit China to democracy. But through experience, people have gradually realized that there was hardly any effect or result. Therefore people have started to resign from the CCP so as to dissolve its influence, control and persecution against Chinese society. Resigning from the CCP is a relatively feasible and effective way to dissolve the dictatorship of the CCP. My perspective on it also went through a process of transformation. Now I think that resigning from the CCP is actually a clear and wise choice. It could be counted as a way to advance the Chinese society further to democracy. Since China started the reform and opened up 20 years ago, a very small group of CCP members have degenerated into a criminal group, purely pursuing for individual profits. In order to protect their profits, such group of people use all possible means and are willing to sacrifice everything, including letting the Chinese society and the Chinese nation suffer. The crack down in 1989, the suppression and persecution against Falun Gong practitioners after 1999, and the abuse of human rights through brutal torture of dissidents and their activities, etc., all expose that the CCP, in order to protect the interest of this very small group, is willing to commit any crimes at any cost. This special group within the CCP put their interest above that of China and the Chinese nation. Although on the surface the CCP has over 60 million members, not all of them truly want to defend the present dictatorship and protect the interest of a small group of people. In fact, among the 60 million CCP members, only a very small number of the top leaders and those related to them have truly obtained significant gains. The majority of the CCP members are merely victims tied to the CCP, which is on its way to its grave. CLIP
More related news at http://news.google.ca/news?hl=en&ned=ca&q=Falun+Gong+persecution&btnG=Search+News
See what Human Rights Watch has to say about these persecutions
Why is Jiang Zemin Persecuting Falun Gong?
Why Persecute Falun Gong?
by Shiyu Zhou, Ph.D.
On April 25, 1999, more than ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners held a peaceful gathering on Fuyou Street in Beijing to appeal to the Chinese State Council Appeal Office for the release of 45 practitioners arbitrarily detained by the police in Tianjin during the previous two days.
This incident at once received international attention, for Fuyou Street is right next to the Communist Party leadership compound Zhongnanhai, and was portrayed by many as the besieging of the Chinese leadership compound. The incident was later utilized by the Chinese Government as a major charge against Falun Gong to justify the persecution and was also mistakenly considered by many to be the direct cause of the crackdown.
Why the April 25th incident? And why the crackdown? This article explores some possible answers to these important questions. It includes some crucial comments made by Chinese President Jiang Zemin in two classified documents (based on information recently revealed by high level officials in the Chinese Communist Party) that Jiang issued as he decided to crackdown on Falun Gong, and is provided as reference for those who are interested in getting to the bottom of the most frequently asked question about Falun Gong: Why is the Chinese government doing this?
Misconceptions about the April 25th Incident
The Falun Gong incident of April 25, 1999 was not a sudden, accidental event that caught the Chinese government by surprise as is commonly believed. Nor was it the kind of political demonstration involving the besieging of the Chinese leadership compound as claimed by the Chinese Government. From the written attacks that begun during the Guangming Daily incident in June 1996 to the mobilization of police and use of violence in Tianjin in April 1999, the development and escalation of the Falun Gong persecution actually happened over a period of three or four years.
The Introduction of Falun Gong to the public
Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese cultivation practice system. It was first introduced to the public by its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, on May 13, 1992. For the first four years, the Chinese Government enthusiastically endorsed the practice due to the health benefits it had brought to practitioners, which helped reduce the troubled governments health care burden. Many governmental organizations, including the Qigong Scientific Research Association of China and the Public Security Ministry of China, had given awards and recognition to Falun Gong and Mr. Li.
Though Falun Gong has no formal organization, through word of mouth the number of people practicing quickly reached millions in a short few years. By early 1999, based on a Chinese government survey, there were at least 70 million people from all walks of life practicing Falun Gong all over China. Falun Gong has become the largest voluntary organization in China, larger even than the Communist party, according to the U.S. News and World Report February 1999 issue.
The escalation of the Falun Gong persecution
Since the ending of the Great Cultural Revolution in the late 1970s, Chinas focus has been shifted from political campaigning to economic and technological development. This change in the political climate has reduced the opportunities for political advancement for those who specialize in political propaganda and ideological battles. To remain necessary components of the government, these people typically rely on political unrest to provide them with a cause used to gain political power. The rapid development of Falun Gong was noticed by some departments in the central government. Falun Gong, they decided, was just what was needed.
These individuals began by spreading negative publicity through government-run media to defame Falun Gong and its founder since June 1996. On July 24, 1996, the Chinese News Publication Office issued a nationwide circular banning the distribution of all Falun Gong publications. In early 1997, the Public Security Ministry of China began a nationwide investigation to gather evidence in the hopes of casting Falun Gong as an evil cult. The investigations came to a quick end for no evidence was found. In July 1998, another investigation was ordered by the Public Security Ministry, which resulted in the illegal harassment of Falun Gong practitioners by the local Public Security Bureau in a number of areas around the country. On April 23, 1999, police were ordered to beat and arrest people who expressed their concerns to a magazine in Tianjin, which had published a slanderous article against Falun Gong.
On April 24, 1999, when Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin requested the release of the arbitrarily detained practitioners, they were told by the Tianjin government officials that the Public Security Ministry of China had been involved in this matter, so the arrested Falun Gong practitioners would not be released without authorization from Beijing. In short, Falun Gong practitioners were told they must take their appeal to the State Council Appeal Office in Beijing.
This triggered the April 25th incident during which Falun Gong practitioners appealed to the Chinese State Council Appeal Office for the release of the detained practitioners in Tianjin. After Premier Zhu Rongji, the official head of the State Council and second in command of the country under President Jiang, personally came out to meet with practitioners. The situation was handled in a friendly manner and a resolution was reached that was acceptable to both the government and the practitioners. The entire event was peaceful and characterized by orderliness and all the practitioners who had gathered outside the State Council Appeal Office quietly dispersed, content with Premier Zhus handling of the issue.
Then, why the crackdown?
On the very night of April 25, 1999, however, Chinese President Jiang Zemin took a completely different stand on the incident from Zhu Rongji, who was heartily cheered by thousands of Falun Gong practitioners as he met with them in the morning. In a letter written on the evening of April 25th, 1999, entitled Comrade Jiang Zemins Letter to the Standing Committee of the Politburo and Other Concerned Leader Comrades, Jiang denounced Falun Gong as an (approved to be) cult, asking is there a mastermind [inside the Party] plotting and directing behind the scenes?Thus, President Jiang makes clear his suspicion that the incident indicated foes within the Party were aligning against him.
Clearly, Jiang Zemin could not tolerate such a social group [Falun Gong] involving a large number of Party members, cadres, intellectuals, as well as army men, workers and peasants, who were not under the direct control of the Party as he indicated in his April 25th letter. . In particular, he felt threatened by the potential that such a large group could be directed by a mastermind among his political rivals within the Party.
Jiang further revealed his perception of Falun Gong in a June 7th letter entitled Comrade Jiang Zemins Speech at a Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee Regarding Handling and Resolving the Falun Gong Issue Without Delay, where he fully developed the crackdown policy.
Obviously, Jiang wrote in the letter, an individual like Li Hongzhi does not have that much power. The Falun Gong issue has a very deep political background
He then drew the conclusion that the April 25 incident is the most serious incident since the political turbulence in 1989 and effective countermeasures must be taken.
What happened in the political turbulence in 1989? As many still remember, the then Chinese Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang was replaced by Jiang soon after his meeting with the students on hunger strike in Tiananmen Square. Under similar pressure from Jiang, it was said that Zhu Rongji had to do a self-criticism in front of the politburo members shortly after his meeting with Falun Gong practitioners outside the State Council Appeal Office.
Jiangs letters clearly demonstrate his view of Falun Gong as a tool being utilized by political foes within the Party, and how, without any concrete evidence, he made the erroneous policy decision to persecute Falun Gong strictly on this basis.
It is no secret that several Politburo members thought Jiang had used the wrong tactics, said Willy Lam in his CNN report. By unleashing a Mao-style movement, Jiang is forcing senior cadres to pledge allegiance to his line, quoted a party veteran in Lams report. This will boost Jiangs authority-and may give him enough momentum to enable him to dictate events at the pivotal 16th Communist Party congress next year.
Since the crackdown was launched by Jiang Zemin in July, 1999, tens of thousands of innocent Chinese citizens have been detained for practicing Falun Gong. Thousands have been tortured, sent to labor re-education camps without trial, illegally encarcerated in mental institutions, and millions have been left homeless, jobless or expelled from school. In short, Jiangs crackdown has devastated a large segment of Chinese society, which includes farmers, academics, business people, government officials, military personnel, etc. The true tragedy of this crackdown, however, lies not only in its affects on the Chinese people, but the fact that the persecution against Falun Gong, in fact, has little to do with the content of Falun Gong nor the character of those who practice it. Falun Gong has simply been used as a pawn in the hands of those seeking to secure and vie for power. In this sense, Falun Gong is a victim of circumstance within the complex landscape of Chinese political power.
More related articles at http://back.faluninfo.net/why/
Homes Across U.S., Europe Get Chinese Communist Propaganda Phone Calls
NEW YORK Scores of individuals in the U.S., Canada, and at least a dozen countries throughout Europe reported receiving phone calls today with recorded messages unmistakably from Chinas Communist regime. The messages contained propaganda demonizing Falun Gong and claiming the Chinese Government is defending human rights by saving people from the traditional Chinese practice.
Individuals described receiving such calls as shocking, disturbing, outrageous, and frightening. Most report receiving multiple phone calls; some received as many as six calls. The messages were in both Chinese and English. Calls came throughout the day, each carrying the same recorded message.
We are working with Federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to investigate and find all parties behind these cowardly acts.
In all likelihood this marks the first time in U.S. history that agents of a Communist nation have, undoubtedly under that states direction, done a mass calling to U.S. homes and cell phones with recorded propaganda. To FDIs knowledge this was not seen even in the cold war era. That Chinas Communist regime which now enjoys WTO status, UN Security Council Membership, and describes itself as a friend in the war on terrorism would do such a thing bespeaks of the regimes bizarre, irrational, destructive obsession with Falun Gong. While hundreds of millions in China live in poverty without healthcare or access to education Chinas leaders are doing tele-hate-marketing in foreign nations. What a sad day for China and its people.
Contents of the message are identical to propaganda from Chinas five-year-old campaign against Falun Gong. The message centered on reports by the Beijing regime attempting to link Falun Gong with an alleged self-immolation incident in 2001, which has since been exposed as a hoax. (website) Sadly, the propaganda this time appropriates a recent article by the Associated Press-Beijing in an apparent attempt to gain credibility. (statement)
Of greatest concern is that these intrusive phone calls fit into the Communist regimes larger Falun Gong purge. The regime has worked tirelessly for years to discredit and demonize Falun Gong, hoping to bend public opinion. Human rights attorneys have likened Chinas vilifications to the deadly tactics of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (against the Jewish people in Nazi Germany) and those in Genocide-stricken Rwanda.
And now these vilifications are reaching into homes across North America and Europe.
We are calling upon the governments of Europe and North America to immediately investigate the source of this hate-mongering and take all possible actions to stop and prevent their likes. All involved must be held accountable. That something like this could happen in the democratic free world is as unthinkable as it is outrageous.
STATEMENT - Feb. 06, 2005
Falun Dafa Information Center, http://www.faluninfo.net
Frequently Asked Questions About Falun Gong
How many people have been affected by Jiang Zemin's persecution against Falun Gong?
Since the former leader of China, Jiang Zemin, began the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in 1999:
- 100 million people practiced Falun Gong in 1998, but lost that right when Jiang banned it in 1999.
- Millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally arrested, detained and/or abused by Chinese police.
- Between 200,000 and 1 million have been illegally sent to forced labor camps without trials.
- Human rights workers have documented over 38,000 specific cases of torture or severe abuse.
- More than 1,000 healthy individuals have been incarcerated in mental hospitals and tortured there, an act condemned by World Psychiatric Association.
- More than 500 have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 18 years.
- At least 1804 deaths through police abuse and torture have been confirmed, with government sources inside China indicating that the actual number could be has high as 7,000 or more.
What is Falun Gong?
Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that includes exercise and meditation. Its principles are based on Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Persons who practice regularly find it to bring them better health, reduced stress, inner peace, and deepened morals. The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China and then beyond. Today, Falun Gong is practiced by over 100 million people in more than 60 countries.
For more information about the practice of Falun Gong, visit FalunDafa.org.
Who is Mr. Li Hongzhi?
Mr. Li Hongzhi is the founder and teacher of Falun Gong. He introduced the practice to the general public in China in 1992. In keeping with Chinese tradition, Li is often respectfully referred to as "Master" or "Teacher," but he is not accorded special treatment, nor does he accept money or donations from students of Falun Gong. Li has given lectures on Falun Gong in many countries, including Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and the United States. For his contributions to humanity he has been given over 600 honors and awards, and is a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
Is Falun Gong a religion?
Like religions, Falun Gong has its spiritual beliefs. Through practicing, one strives to become a better person who is able to contribute more to our society, so the goal is similar. But in Falun Gong there are not any devotional activities or worship, nor any set doctrine or canon; there is also no membership, organization, or hierarchy. Falun Gong is more properly referred to as an ancient form of self-cultivation practice, often called qigong or "Chinese Yoga."
Why is the Chinese government persecuting Falun Gong?
A 1998 Chinese Government survey indicated there were 100 million people practicing Falun Gong in China -- a mere six years since it was first introduced to the public. Fearing Falun Gong's widespread popularity was overshadowing his own legacy, then-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin ordered the traditional Chinese practice "eradicated." According to a 1999 Washington Post article, "Communist Party sources said that the standing committee of the Politburo did not unanimously endorse the crackdown and that Jiang alone decided that Falun Gong must be eliminated." Other groups whose beliefs are not controlled by the Chinese State are persecuted as well, like Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Tibetan Buddhists.
For a more detailed account of why the Chinese leader is persecuting Falun Gong, visit our special report on the subject.
How has Falun Gong responded to this oppression?
Practitioners of Falun Gong in China have, for the past five years, continually made appeals to the Chinese government via peaceful, legal channels, and have resisted the persecution with nonviolent public protests -- acts which, themselves, have often lead to imprisonment, torture and murder at the hands of Chinese police. Throughout, there has not been a single report of Falun Gong practitioners responding with violence, destroying property, or the like - despite grave injustices. Practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong outside China have taken up long marches, staged sit-ins, launched letter-writing campaigns, staged rallies, held press conferences, and documented rights abuses -- also strictly adhering to peaceful means to raise awareness.
What has been the United States' response, and that of the international community?
The US government has been unequivocal in its opposition to China's actions against Falun Gong. In November of 1999 the US House unanimously passed resolution 218, with the Senate concurring, which condemned Beijing's actions and called for the immediate release of all jailed practitioners. A new, even stronger resolution, HR 188, was passed unanimously in July of 2002. Former President Clinton, President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have spoken out and issued statements on the persecution of Falun Gong. Governments around the world have responded with similar force. Human rights groups and other organizations have been outspoken in their support for Falun Gong's freedom of belief, including Freedom House, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, and the National Organization for Women.
From: "Gush Shalom" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 16 Apr 2005
Subject: The Hundred Days of Abu Mazen
[Uri Avnery warns once more of the efforts of Sharon to undermine Abu Mazen, whose popularity in the White House Sharon cannot but perceive as a threat. So far Bush is not impressed and urged the Israeli PM to give Abu Mazen a chance. But Sharon still holds the key: the facts on the ground.]
The Hundred Days of Abu Mazen
Next Saturday, 100 days since Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas) assumed the office of President of the Palestinian National Authority, Jews will celebrate Passover, in memory of the Exodus from Egypt - one of the great stories in human annals.
According to the story (Exodus 5), Pharaoh ordered the Children of Israel to produce bricks from straw, but did not provide the straw. "And the Children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying: Wherefore dealest thou with thy servants? There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us: Make brick!"
Abu Mazen might voice the same complaint. He is being asked to fulfill the task he has taken upon himself, without getting the minimum necessary to do so.
After 100 days, what does Abu Mazen's balance sheet look like?
In the positive column, there appear some impressive achievements.
First of all, the very existence of his regime. That is a striking achievement by itself, which is being ignored because people have become so used to it.
The sudden (and still unexplained) death of Yasser Arafat could have caused chaos. Instead, there was an astonishingly smooth transition to the new regime and democratic elections took place without violent incidents. Very few peoples have managed to do that after the death of the Father of the Nation. The entire Palestinian public must be given credit for this. It understood the gravity of the hour and united behind the successor.
Second, the cease-fire. That is an impressive achievement, too. The armed Palestinian organizations ("resistance groups" or "terrorist organizations", according to taste) agreed to a cease-fire vis-a-vis Israel, in spite of the fact that Israel did not declare an official cease-fire vis-a-vis them. True, the informal agreement is being violated here and there, sometimes by the Israelis, sometimes by the Palestinians, but all in all it is honored much more than could have been expected.
This is not the result of the weakness of the armed factions. On the contrary, it is possible only because the Palestinians have recovered their self-respect. In the fours years of the second Intifada, they have shown they have hundreds and thousands of fighters ready to sacrifice their lives. They have improvised arms, like the mortars and Qassam missiles, to which the Israeli army has not yet found an answer. In these circumstances, the cease-fire is not seen as humiliating.
(The Israeli side accuses the organizations of using the cease-fire for rearming. Of course. That is the nature of any temporary cease-fire: both sides use it to prepare for the resumption of the fighting.)
Third, unification. The agreement of Hamas to join the Palestinian Authority (and perhaps also the PLO) and take part in the elections is a very important achievement. The birth of a national contract augurs well for the future Palestinian state - especially as it happens in an intense national liberation struggle.
Fourth: the change in the American attitude towards the Palestinian people. This should, perhaps, be put on top of the list. Up to now, the American attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was 100% in favor of the government of Israel; now there is a shift in favor of the Palestinians. American support for the Israeli government has sunk to only 90%, or perhaps as low as 80%.
Abu Mazen's personality must be credited for a considerable part of these achievements. Yasser Arafat, the leader of the fight for liberation, was an forceful, colorful, theatrical personality, who attracted blind admiration and burning hatred. Nearly everyone around the world knew the man in khaki with the keffiyeh headdress. Abu Mazen is almost the exact opposite: an introverted, moderate person without colorful mannerisms. When I got to know him first, some 22 years ago in Tunis, he was already wearing a business suit and tie. He does not arouse opposition. He fights for his convictions without much ado.
Perhaps the negative column for Abu Mazen derives also from these traits.
Arafat was a commander. Abu Mazen is an educator.
Arafat, too, preferred agreement to compulsion. That comes from an ancient Arab wisdom, the principle of "Ijma". Discussion continues until a general consensus is achieved, with every single participant agreeing. For Abu Mazen, that is essential.
The entire world demands that he carry out "reforms". It is not quite clear why it should concern the world or the President of the United States how the Palestinians conduct their affairs and how many security services they have. (Arafat deliberately established several armed services, in order to prevent the concentration of armed power in the hands of any single person who might be tempted to carry out a coup-d'etat.)
Abu Mazen is expected to consolidate the armed organizations into three services. That is easy to do on paper, but difficult to carry out. There are many commanders, most of them with subordinates who are fiercely loyal to them. None of them is looking for an opportunity to resign.
In any case, it is difficult to carry out the reforms asked for. In every Arab society, and especially in Palestinian society, the hamulah, or extended family, is hugely important. Any attempt to ignore it in the implementation of reforms will meet with stiff resistance. Abu Mazen must move cautiously, slowly, trying to build consent. That is a prolonged process, which aims for durable rather than quick results.
There must be no illusion about it: this is exactly what Sharon is hoping for.
For him, the sympathy Bush holds for Abu Mazen presents a great danger. It is very uncomfortable for him to share American favors with a Palestinian leader. Any wavering in Washington's position of total support for the Israeli government turns on a red light in Jerusalem.
Sharon is too shrewd to attack Abu Mazen frontally. That would infuriate Bush. Therefore, the pitch is: Abu Mazen is a good person, but weak. His regime is collapsing. He is lost.
But the most serious failure of Abu Mazen, in the eyes of his people, is on the national level: in the first 100 days he has not obtained one single significant concession, neither from Israel nor from the US.
Bush does really want to help him. He praises him publicly, rejects Sharon's efforts to belittle him, sends him respected emissaries. But nothing has changed on the ground: the Israeli occupation has not been eased, the daily humiliations at the checkpoints go on, and so does the building of the wall. Not one single "outpost" has been removed, the settlements are being expanded. The Israeli army carries on in the West Bank as if nothing has happened, killing here and arresting there. There is no significant movement towards the release of prisoners. Israelis continue addressing the Palestinians in the same overbearing, humiliating tone used by military governors towards their subjects.
When Bush talks about a "Palestinian state with temporary borders", every Palestinian understands that this means the permanent occupation of most of the West Bank. Sharon's "redeployment" looks to them like a plan to turn the Gaza Strip into one huge prison, cut off from the world and the West Bank.
Sooner or later, the Palestinian public is going to ask Abu Mazen: Are these the fruits of the cease-fire? Is this the value of American promissory notes?
Several provocations have been designed to bring about violent reactions, so as to expose Abu Mazen's impotence. One was the announcement about the building of 3500 new housing units in Ma'aleh Adumim settlement. The same goes for the incidents in which Palestinians are killed, without anybody finding it necessary to punish those responsible or to apologize for the violation of the cease-fire.
For the time being, it has not succeeded. Bush needs Abu Mazen no less than Abu Mazen needs Bush. The American president must prove to his public that his military adventures have created a new, free and democratic Middle East. Since the situation in Iraq is shrouded in doubt, Abu Mazen's democratic regime is the only example he can boast of (even if it is not clear what part he played in this). Abu Mazen's collapse would be a big loss for Bush.
Therefore, on the 100 th day of Abu Mazen, the accounts are still not balanced. Like the Children of Israel, he must produce bricks without getting any straw.
But in the biblical story, there is a happy end: the Children of Israel were delivered from bondage. One way or another, that will happen to the Palestinians, too.
On 22 Apr 2005 Gush Shalom also sent this:
Israel and the entire world are fascinated by Sharon's great show in the Gaza Strip. That is the first stage of his plan. Behind this smoke screen, Sharon is occupied with expanding the big "settlement blocs" in the western part of the West Bank. Their annexation is the second stage of his plan. But at the same time, Sharon is preparing the third stage: the annexation of the Jordan valley and the Dead Sea shore. Together with the settlement blocs, these constitute 52% of the total West Bank area. This week, the occupation authorities have informed dozens of inhabitants of Aqaba, north of Nablus, that they have to get out of their village, which has been declared a "close military zone". Aqaba is a small village bordering on the Jordan valley. The expulsion of the families is the beginning of a big secret operation for widening the valley, in preparation for its eventual annexation to Israel.
Sharon Vows To Defy Bush Over Expansion Of Israeli Settlements (April 22, 2005)
Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, vowed to continue expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank despite his admitted differences with President George Bush on the issue.In his most uncompromising comments yet on the settler question, Mr Sharon depicted the planned withdrawal from Gaza as the only way of preserving the largest settlement blocks on the Palestinian side of the pre-1967 border with Israel. "I am doing everything I can to preserve as much [of the West Bank settlements] as I can," he said. CLIP
Sent by "The Other Israel" email@example.com> on 24 Apr 2005
Freedom for one side alone is no freedom, and won't last
The Gaza pull-out will be postponed for three weeks, now due mid-August; under American pressure some coordination with the Palestinian Authority is building up; meanwhile Prime Minister Sharon is repeating in a whole series of interviews in the Israeli printed press that there will be no "disengagement B"; it will be up to Abu Mazen to go head-on against Hamas instead of coopting them - in short, Sharon is collecting arguments why not to move on with the Roadmap, and out of the West Bank. Meanwhile the "creation of facts" goes on in high gear.
Recommended by EdElkin@aol.com - IMPORTANT ARTICLE INDEED!
Apologizing To Torturers
04/17/05 - - Can you imagine the BBC and other major broadcasters apologizing to a rogue regime which practices racism and ethnic cleansing; which has effectively legalized the use of torture (according to Amnesty International); which holds international law in contempt, having defied hundreds of UN resolutions and built an apartheid wall in defiance of the International Court of Justice; which has demolished thousands of people's homes and given its soldiers the right to assassinate; and whose leader was judged personally responsible for the massacre of more than 2000 people?
Can you imagine the BBC saying sorry to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or other official demons, for broadcasting an uncensored interview with a courageous dissident of that country, a man who spent 19 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement? Of course not.
Yet, last month, the BBC apologized confidentially to a regime with such a record, so that its correspondent would be allowed back, having promised to abide by a system of censorship that continues to gag the dissident.
The regime is President Ariel Sharon's in Israel, whose war crimes, appalling human rights record and enduring lawlessness continue to be granted a certificate of exemption not only by the US-dominated West, but by respectable journalism.
The British Labour government's collusion with the Sharon gang is reflected in the BBC's balanced coverage of a repression described by Nelson Mandela as the greatest moral issue of the age. Simon Wilson, the correspondent made to apologies for a proper, important and long overdue interview with nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, will know better in future.
That is hardly new. What is new is the extent to which insidious state propaganda has penetrated sections of the media whose independence has been, until recently, accepted by much of the public.
To appreciate this, one applies the Law of Opposites and the Law of Silence. The Law of Opposites can be applied to almost any news broadcast these days. The long-awaited death of the Pope is a case in point. By reversing the river of drivel about the Pope the people's Pope (almost universal), the man who changed history (US President George Bush) a towering figure revered across all faiths and none (British PM Tony Blair) you have the truth.
This deeply reactionary man held back history and destroyed lives all over the world with his fanatical opposition to basic decencies, such as birth control. He called this abominable, spitting the word out, and so condemned millions, from starving infants to babies born with AIDS. In Latin America, he publicly humiliated courageous priests whose preference for the poor dared to cross the medieval hierarchy he upheld. The claim that he brought down communism is also the opposite of the truth. As I learned when I reported his papal return to his native Poland in 1979, the church in that country, whose conservatism he embodied, was a scheming bedfellow of the Stalinist regime until the wind changed.
The Law of Opposites can be applied to the current Western government/media fashion for saving Africa, known as the Year of Africa. The BBC has hosted a special conference about this, just as Blair will host the G8 summit in July with eradicating Africa's poverty as its theme.
Like the rest of the impoverished world, African countries qualify for the vogue enlightenment only if they agree to impose on their people the deadly strictures of the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank such as the destruction of tariffs protecting sustainable economies and the privatizing of natural resources such as water. At the same time, they are encouraged to buy weapons from British arms companies, especially if they have a civil war under way or there is a tension with a neighbour.
The Law of Silence is applied to crimes committed not by official demons Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Serb President Slobodan Milosevic et al but by Western governments. An Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent, Eric Campbell, in recently promoting a book of his adventures, described the broadcast coverage of the war in Iraq. Live satellite is a travesty, he said. Basically, if [the reporters] are on satellite, they havent seen anything. The correspondent is read the stories from the wire and told that is what they have to say on air that's in the majority of cases.
That may help to explain why the horror of the US attack on Fallujah has yet to be reported by the other major broadcasters. By contrast, independent journalists such as Dahr Jamail have reported doctors describing the slaughter of civilians carrying white flags by US marines. This was videotaped, including the killing of most of a family of 12. One witness described how his mother was shot in the head and his father through the heart, and how a six-year-old boy standing over his dead parents, crying, was shot dead. None of this has appeared on British television. When asked, a BBC spokesperson said, The conduct of coalition forces has been examined at length by BBC programmes. That is demonstrably untrue.
Similarly, the Law of Silence applies to the likely American attack on Iran. Scott Ritter, the UN weapons inspector who in 1999 disclosed that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was thereafter virtually blackballed, has recently revealed that, according to a Pentagon official, Iran will be attacked in June. Again, he has been ignored by most of the media.
The Law of Silence applies to the Bush regime's campaign to subvert and overthrow Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, arguably the most democratically elected leader in Latin America, if not the world (nine elections) whose own preference for the poor has diverted the proceeds of the world's fourth biggest oil supplies to the majority of Venezuelans.
Last year, I did a long interview with Jeremy Bowen, a BBC reporter I admire, for a program about war correspondents. Although I guessed that what was really wanted was my tales of journalistic derring-do on the frontline, I set about describing how journalists often produced veiled propaganda for Western power by accepting our version or by omitting the unpalatable, such as the atrocities of Western state terrorism: a major taboo. I emphasized that this censorship was not conspiratorial, but often unconscious, even subliminal: such was our training and grooming. My contribution did not appear.
From Green Left Weekly, April 20, 2005. Visit the Green Left Weekly home page at http://www.greenleft.org.au/
THE WAY TO GO LATIN AMERICA! PAVING THE WAY FOR A GLOBAL REVOLT AGAINST THE AMERICA EMPIRE... SOON EVEN MEXICO IS LIKELY TO HAVE A SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT. COULD CANADA BE NEXT? WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN IN THE U.S. PER SE?
Latin America in revolt: Continent defies USA
For over two decades the US has forced neoliberalism and its accompanying poverty and despair down Third World throats in order to make the world better for US business. To many, the spreading US economic empire, backed by the point of a gun and a loan, has seemed unassailable. But now, unable to defeat a rag-tag bunch of Iraqi militias, and rapidly losing allies in Latin America, the empire is not looking so strong.
As yet another neoliberal, pro-US government falls in Latin America, Resistances Stuart Munckton looks at the continent that might defeat Uncle Sam.
January 1, 2005 was a significant date not for what happened, but for what didn't. On that day, the Free Trade Area of the Americas was supposed to be signed. The FTAA was one of Washingtons pet projects it was a major step in removing barriers against US corporate plunder in Latin America. But by late 2004, the FTAA negotiations had been suspended, with governments in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay refusing to negotiate their peoples future away.
The failure of the FTAA negotiations was just another indication of how on the nose Washington is in the continent. A more dramatic indication came on April 21, as embattled Ecuadorian President Luis Gutierrez was forced from office by a Congress faced with mass protests demanding widespread political change. Although elected on an anti-neoliberal platform, Gutierrez abandoned his promises in an attempt to keep Washington happy.
Gutierrez is the latest on a long list of neoliberal Latin American politicians thrown out of office in elections, or by popular revolt. In the last five years, uprisings have overthrown governments in Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. In Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador and Uruguay, governments have been elected on anti-neoliberal platforms in the last seven years. Left-wing forces are considered a serious chance in upcoming presidential elections in Mexico and Nicaragua.
In Bolivia, even if President Carlos Mesa, himself first brought to power in an upsurge of protest, manages to avoid being overthrown before elections are due in 2007, he looks to be defeated by radical Movement for Socialism leader Evo Morales.
In Colombia, the US-backed government has been unable to destroy a left-wing insurgency, despite staggering amounts of military aid from Washington.
Behind this revolt is a continent that no longer buys the myth of a neoliberal-led drive out of poverty and inequality. Since the 1980s, Washington, and its tame international financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, pushed free trade, privatisations and redirecting funds to debt repayment from basic services as a way to prosperity. By opening up their economies to competition and the efficiency of market forces, Latin American countries were promised significant economic growth that would reduce poverty. In fact, what happened was a significant increase in the hold over the economies of Latin America by multinationals, especially US corporations.
Between 1990 and 2002 multinational corporations acquired 4000 banks, telecommunications, transport, petrol and mining interests in Latin America. William I. Robinson, in an article entitled Storm clouds over Latin America published in the December 2002 Focus on Trade, wrote that, after a decade of neoliberalism in Argentina, which culminated in an economic collapse in December 2001, the number of people living in poverty increased from one to 14 million.
In a statement to the US Congress House Armed Service Committee on March 5, General Bantz Craddock, explaining the reason for Latin Americas widespread political instability, said: The free market reforms and privatisation of the 1990s have not delivered on the promise of prosperity for Latin America
The richest one tenth of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean earn 48% of the total income, while the poorest tenth earn only 1.6% ... Uruguay has the least economic disparity of Latin American and Caribbean countries, but its unequal income distribution is still far worse than the most unequal country in Eastern Europe and the industrialized countries.
This increased poverty has brought with it a deep discrediting of the whole neoliberal project. And anger against those who keep implementing the pain has led to huge mobilisations, street protests, factory occupations and militant movements, which in turn have forced many governments to retreat on neoliberal policy in order to maintain control.
In Argentina, Nestor Kirchner was elected president in 2003, after more than a year of crisis, during which the country went through four presidents in less than a week. Kirchner was elected with just over 20% in 2003, in a situation where old-style politics was too discredited to keep control, but the popular movements were not strong enough to take power.
Kirchner, despite emerging from one of the traditional parties of government, has stood up to the international financial institutions, he has managed to renegotiate Argentina's crippling foreign debt down. In a statement on April 5, the Council for Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based think-tank, pointed out that both the US and the IMF have not applied their usual pressure on Argentina to adhere to strict debt repayments no doubt recognising that any government that attempted to continue with the same policies as before the 2001 uprising would not last very long.
However, the most significant breakthrough for the poor majority searching for an alternative to corporate domination has come in Venezuela. Since the 1998 election of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the government has challenged US imperialism and its local allies. Domestically, Venezuela's extensive oil wealth is being used to fund ambitious social programs to improve the lives of the majority who live in poverty. One of the most significant gains has been the mass literacy program, which has succeeded in eradicating illiteracy according to United Nations standards.
An attempted 2002 coup against Chavez, backed by the US, was defeated by mass mobilisation, a part of the organisation of working people that characterises the countrys Bolivarian revolution.
One of the biggest reasons Chavezs Bolivarian revolution is a threat to the US is because he is seeking to unite Latin American countries, economically and politically, enabling a continent-wide fight back against US economic tyranny.
CLIP - Read the rest at http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/624/624p24.htm
And make sure to give a look at http://www.greenleft.org for more articles on Latin America
Melbourne: Premiere of John Pilger's latest film Stealing a Nation - May 6
A fundraiser for Green Left Weekly - John Pilger's most recent documentary exposes the brutal dispossession of the Chagos people from their island 'Diego Garcia' which was sold to the USA by the British government. Diego Garcia serves as one of the US's largest military base for the war on Iraq and evidence is mounting that Diego Garcia is aso used as a Guantanamo-style torture camp.
IMPORTANT HISTORICAL REMINDER...
A Taste for EMPIRE
Excerpted from "Discovering America as It Is" by Valdas Anelauskas (Clarity Press 1999) by Valdas Anelauskas - The capitalist logic of expansionism led U.S. elites to seek not just a continental but a global empire. Hence, even before the smoke had cleared at places like Wounded Knee, greedy eyes were being cast across the waters of the world as the country's business and governmental leaders contemplated the acquisition of colonies in a variety of strategic locales. Given the climate, it was no overstatement when in 1898, on the eve of the Spanish-American war, the editors of the Washington Post opined that, "We are face-to-face with a strange destiny. The taste of Empire is in the mouth." Or, as Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge more accurately framed the matter about three years earlier, "We have a record of conquest, colonization and expansion unequaled by any people in the Nineteenth century. We are not about to be curbed now."
(...) The United States has always had global ambitions. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 declared the entire Western Hemisphere to be a U.S. sphere of influence. Leaving aside its continuous record of aggression against American Indians, its expropriation of Florida from Spain during the early nineteenth century, and subsequent war of conquest against Mexico in 1847-48, the United States carried out 103 military interventions prior to the Spanish-American War.
(...) Altogether, during the thirty years from the Spanish-American War to the Great Depression, the United States sent its troops into Latin American countries thirty-two times. Apart from the expeditionary force it dispatched to fight in World War I, it intervened militarily in other locales on a further dozen occasions during the same period. And, in the aftermath of the Second World War, possessed of a temporary nuclear monopoly and with its primary opponents in shambles, the scope of such activities was extended still further as U.S. policymakers endeavored to finally attain a truly global reach.
(...) For nearly five decades, the United States has used its status as the dominant military and economic power to intimidate rival nations around the world as it pursues the interests of American big business. There is no other country whose government talks so endlessly of peace and engages so precipitously in acts of war, largely undeclared as such. For years, the government of the United States has willfully inflicted agony, death and destruction on the peoples of other countries, most of whom were militarily weak or defenseless. During the Vietnam War, U.S. General Curtis Lemay advocated, and almost achieved, the goal of bombing the enemy into the Stone Age. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos may never recover from the economic and ecological devastation brought on by U.S. bombing in its war of aggression in Southeast Asia. In Cambodia alone, between 1969 and 1973 the US air force dropped more than 530,000 tons of bombs, killing more than 600,000 people and displacing nearly 2 million.
Tens of thousands have been slaughtered by direct U.S. military actions against the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Nicaragua, Libya, Lebanon, Panama, and Iraq. Besides direct attack by the U.S. military, people in many countries are also subject to the state terror of governments supported by the United States. Palestinians, for example, are regularly murdered by Israel's military forces supplied and financed by the U.S. Government. The United States sells arms and provides military aid to dictators and totalitarian regimes around the world. President Jimmy Carter allowed the U.S. to train the Shah of Iran's despicable Savak "security" police, a veritable torture club.
The U.S. supported Indonesia's Suharto dictatorship even though it had become common knowledge that the Indonesian military practiced genocide against the people of East Timor. The Indonesian armed forces, known as ABRI, have long been the chosen instrument of American foreign policy for bolstering its preferred totalitarian regime in the world's fourth largest country. The United States collaborated with ABRI (providing it with lists of suspected communists) in 1965, when General Suharto slaughtered a half-million people in the process of coming to power. It also condoned ABRI's invasion of East Timor on December 7, 1975, and its subsequent elimination of 200,000 East Timorese through what the State Department in its 1996 Human Rights Report calls "extrajudicial killings." Since Indonesia lacks external enemies, its armed forces are devoted almost entirely to maintaining internal security. For most of the period of the Suharto regime, the CIA has actively trained ABRI special forces in a variety of lethal tactics, including advanced sniper operations, close quarters combat, containing street demonstrations, and psychological operations.
The United States spent billions of dollars to overthrow the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan, supporting the most reactionary and fanatic Taliban forces in that country. The CIA had supported a mercenary army recruited of feudal warlords and their servants for a "holy war" against the communists. These forces received huge amounts of weapons, military training, and other aid from the U.S. It was the largest CIA operation in history.
The U.S. Government does not like Castro's Cuba, although that country is impotent to threaten any American interest. Nevertheless, the U.S. imposed an embargo designed to bring Cuba back under its thumb. The U.S. Congress enacted the 1996 Helms-Burton Act to punish Cuba by punishing foreign enterprises that do business there. This effort to assert U.S. law outside its territory was received with outrage by other nations who resented the American attempt to dictate their trade policies with Cuba. In October 1998, the United Nations General Assembly voted 157 to 2 in favor of the United States dropping its embargo against Cuba. The only two votes in favor of continuing the embargo were those of the United States (of course) and Israel. While U.S. deputy UN ambassador Peter Burleigh called the sanctions "an important foreign policy tool... aimed at promoting a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba," properly speaking, this methodical program to deny food, clothing, educational supplies, building materials and medical supplies to an entire nation for thirty-five years amounts to economic warfare and terrorism. It is like mercilessly starving another human being, then referring to the deprivation as an important human relations tool.
Now free from the constraints that were once imposed upon it by the opposition of another global superpower, the U.S. government operates today in a belligerent and bullying manner. "Never before in modern history has a country dominated the earth so totally as the United States does today," the German newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, reported in 1997. The expected peace dividend that was to be reaped at the end of the Cold War has not been realized. The U.S. still has weapons, aircraft, battleships and tens of thousands of troops stationed at bases all over the world ready to attack any country at a moment's notice, in what mainstream American scholarship seeks to legitimize as the role of a global hegemony in the maintenance of peace.
Forwarded by Paul Prior firstname.lastname@example.org>
"(...) the watchdog group Transparency International recently declared that Iraq is becoming "the biggest corruption scandal in history" - CANADIANS ARE WILLING TO BRING DOWN THEIR CORRUPTED LIBERAL GOVERNMENT FOR MUCH LESS THAN THAT...
IRAQ - $300,000,000,000.00 (Progress Report)
We'd call it buyer's remorse, but "remorse" doesn't quite capture the stunning tragedy of the moment. Following yesterday's Senate approval of the latest war supplemental, American taxpayers will soon have paid three hundred billion dollars that's $300,000,000,000.00 to help finance the most disastrous foreign policy decision of our generation. You paid. Your co-workers paid. Elderly couples, struggling single parents, college kids, middle-class families we all paid. Here's what you've got to show for it:
NO CREDIBLE "VICTORY STRATEGY": Defense Secretary Rumsfeld recently claimed that while the Bush administration has no exit strategy for Iraq, it does have a "victory strategy," the goal of which is "to help the Iraqi Forces develop the skills and the capacity to provide their own security." The sad truth: we don't have either. Though more than a year and a half has passed since Gen. John Abizaid first announced plans to build Iraq's security force, the Government Accountability Office reported last month that coalition leadership has still failed "to develop a system to assess the readiness of Iraqi military and police forces so they can identify weaknesses and provide them with effective support." What to make of President Bush's cheery declaration last week that Iraqi forces now outnumber their U.S. counterparts? It's simply not credible. The GAO states explicitly: "U.S. government agencies do not report reliable data on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are trained and equipped." Moreover, the high number of security forces frequently touted by senior White House officials "overstates the number actually serving," probably by "tens of thousands." As one training supervisor, Army Staff Sgt. Craig E. Patrick, admitted recently: "It's all about perception, to convince the American public that everything is going as planned and we're right on schedule to be out of here. I mean, they can [mislead] the American people, but they can't [mislead] us. These guys are not ready."
MULTIPLE NEW THREATS TO GLOBAL SECURITY: The CIA's National Intelligence Council believes that "Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of 'professionalized' terrorists," providing "terrorists with 'a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills.'" And with Iraq's fragile constitutional process still endangered by ethnic tensions and deadly insurgents, new potential threats lie just around the bend: a much-feared ethnically-driven civil war, a Shiite theocracy allied with mullahs in Iran, or a fractured Kurdistan in the north destabilizing Kurdish regions in Turkey, Iran and Syria.
HIGHEST LEVEL OF TERROR ATTACKS IN TWO DECADES: Every year since 1985 the State Department has published its annual report on international terrorism, described as "the definitive report on the incidence of terrorism around the world." In compiling the latest report, "the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985." (Eager the see the findings for yourself? Don't hold your breath. The State Department decided to suppress the report.)
HISTORIC RECRUITMENT SHORTFALLS: The numbers tell the disturbing tale. The Army in February failed to fill its monthly quota of volunteers sent to boot camp for the first time in five years. The Marine Corps recently missed its monthly recruitment goal for the first time in ten years. The National Guard missed its annual recruitment goal for the first time in eleven years. (Both the Army and the National Guard missed their recruitment goals again in March, by an even greater margin than in February.) The share of females in Army recruiting classes is steadily declining. And "the number of foreign nationals enlisting in the US military is dropping, even though service now provides a fast track to American citizenship," the Associated Press reported this week.
UNPROTECTED TROOPS: Shockingly, a "third of the 35,000 Humvees and other trucks in Iraq" still "rely on sheet metal as a last-minute solution" to thwart insurgent attacks. And until yesterday, the war supplemental bill didn't include one red cent for armored Humvees and trucks. In an eleventh hour push, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) was able to crowbar roughly $200 million into the Iraq package for armor costs. Too bad the Army and Marine Corps say they need at least $750 million to finish the job.
NO SYSTEM FOR ACCOUNTABILITY: The Bush administration clearly knows how to spend our money. Keeping tabs on it is a whole other story. Though the watchdog group Transparency International recently declared that Iraq is becoming "the biggest corruption scandal in history," Sec. Rumsfeld is taking his sweet time figuring out how to keep our tax dollars from being swindled. GAO chief David Walker told the Senate two weeks ago the Pentagon still "doesn't have a system to be able to determine with any degree of reliability and specificity" how we spend war-related emergency funds. Moreover, Walker said, while there's no doubt that previously appropriated funds were spent, "trying to figure out what they were spent on is like pulling teeth."
War Costs Climb to over $300 Billion
Moving closer to U.S. promotes war, not peacemaking (April 24, 2005)
A common complaint is that revelations from the Gomery inquiry have brought the operation of the federal government effectively to a halt. One front that Ottawa seems to keep doggedly moving ahead on regrettably is our military integration with the U.S.Indeed, while the Gomery issue built to a crescendo last week, hardly any attention was paid to the release of a defence policy review that signalled Ottawa's intention to make the Canadian military more part of the U.S. war machine a change that would likely offend most Canadians if they were aware of it. Of course, it wasn't stated like that. Rather, the change was billed as part of our "new, more sophisticated approach to our relationship with the United States." In essence, this "more sophisticated" approach boils down to linking our military operations more with Washington's. "Today our ships integrate seamlessly with U.S. Navy formations," the review notes enthusiastically, holding up this model of "interoperability." Of course, Canada has a long history of military co-operation with the U.S., but the Bush administration's more aggressive military stance has threatened to change the nature of that relationship. Washington wants us to join their global war against "terror" a murky, open-ended war that allows the U.S. to intervene anywhere in the world.A report in the Wall Street Journal last month described a new top-level Pentagon planning document which calls for the U.S. military to become more "proactive" and "focused on changing the world instead of just responding to conflicts." This is hair-raising stuff that goes beyond even the frightening notion of pre-emptive war. Now Washington seems to be talking about using its unsurpassed military might to force nations to behave as it wants them to. Only the most rabid pro-Washington zealot would fail to see the opportunities for abuse in such unchallenged power. CLIP
Date: 20 Apr 2005
From: CODEPINK email@example.com>
Subject: Mother's Day Call to Action: STOP THE KILLING
This Mother's Day, let us reclaim the original sentiment of the holiday by rising up to demand: "Stop the killing now!"
As we were preparing our Mother's Day call to action this weekend, we received a phone call from Marla Ruzicka's mother. She told us that Marla had just been killed by a car bomb in Iraq. Marla, a passionate advocate for peace, was with us on our first CODEPINK visit to Iraq in 2003 and chose to stay on to help the innocent victims of the war.
Yet again we are brought to our knees with grief. Marla was family to us. On this Mother's Day, thoughts of Marla and her mother Nancy flow together with the stories of American Mother's whose children have been killed while serving in this war, and all the grieving mothers in Iraq. All have suffered terribly from this war. Filled with despair and determination, a voice inside us shouts: STOP THE KILLING.
This call to Stop the Killing is, indeed, the message of abolitionist Julia Ward Howe, who in 1870 issued the original Mother's Day proclamation calling on women to rise up against war. "We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs," Julia said. (click here to read the complete proclamation)
This Mother's Day, let us transform Julia's words into action. Here are several ideas:
1. Vigil or protest at your local recruiting station on Saturday, May 7th, the day before Mother's Day. We have created a guide for you that includes background information on the counter-recruitment movement and suggestions for actions, chants, banner ideas and educational links. Invite your mom, sister, children and other activists in your community to join. Please mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>contact us with your plans so we can announce your action in our national press release. We hope to have 30 actions happening around the country on May 7th.
2. Sign the Mother's Day Pledge that you will honor the world's mothers by devoting time during the year to actions against war. We have 10 ideas to get you started.
3. Write an anti-war op-ed for your newspaper or letter to the editor to educate people about the true origins of Mother's Day. If you write and submit a piece early -- like now! -- you'll have a better chance of getting it printed.
4. Get your mother a gift that fits your values and supports the work of CODEPINK. Visit our on-line store for ideas or our special Mother's Day gift packages. You may place orders up to May 2nd, 2005.
Whatever you do, please take some action on Mother's Day to commemorate the true meaning of this day, to continue Marla's work on behalf of innocent victims, and to end the insanity of sacrificing our children to war.
With tender hearts....
Farida, Gael, Grace, Jodie, Medea, Rae, Tiffany and Willow
Purple Hearts - Injured Soldiers Tell Their stories
A story that President Bush would probably prefer not to see propagated.In detail, they recount what happened on the day they got injured; how they arrived back home, blind or legless; how they have to try to forget the war now, in small towns around Alabama and Pittsburgh, or in Washington and L.A. Officially recognized as heroes, a Purple Heart on the uniform in the closet, most of these soldiers long to go back to an army that has no use for them anymore. Click here to watch it now.
EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE!
From: "Will Thomas" email@example.com>
Subject: VITAMIN WARS
Date: 20 Apr 2005
[Excerpted from Convergence Weekly]
By William Thomas
Next August, Canadians may awaken to find their access to safe, life-enhancing vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements cut off permanently by a UN committee acting on behalf of a threatened pharmaceutical cartel whose costly chemistry kills more than a hundred thousand North Americans every year.
Americans could soon find themselves in similar straits, Many Europeans have already seen supplements disappear from store shelves. And the rest of the European Union is slated to join them on August 1, 2005. At least 75% of all vitamin and mineral forms will be banned.
REPRESSION GOES GLOBAL
Losing health freedom is drastic and permanent. In Norway, implementation of the Food Supplements Directive has already seen the price of zinc tablets leap from $4 per bottle to $52. The ancient immune-enhancing herb Echinacea has gone from an accessible $14 to a prohibitive price of $153. As for Omega-3, Omega-6 and cod liver oilthese essential natural oils are so effective at maintaining good health, they will no longer be sold in the UK or the EU.
The fact that cigarettes are still being sold, while vitamin C is already banned in France, Germany, Sweden and Scandinavia exposes an "illness industry" whose profits depend on keeping customers sickand cures out of reach.
"It's not to their advantage if we're healthy," says health freedom fighter John Hammell. "They don't make business with health they make business with disease. Anything that will make you sick or will keep you sick, or keep you going into their hospitals to see their doctors to get drugs is what they want. It's as simple as that."
While prescription drugs do prolong some lives, the cost continues to be extreme. The cadaverously cold fact is that the American medical establishment continues to be the leading cause of death and injury in the USA. Every year, more than two million patients experience adverse drug reactions. At least 125,000 of them die from adverse reactions to drugs that should never have been prescribed. Another 175,000 Americans die annually from properly prescribed and administered pharma drugs. An additional 16,000 Americans are killed every year taking aspirin.
TAKE YOUR VITAMINS
Looking at dozens of clinical studies, the American Medical Association has concluded, "Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone." In order to avoid "cardiovascular disease, colon and breast cancer; osteopenia and fractures" and "several chronic diseases," the AMA advises, "it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements."
Essential for all life, vitamins and minerals can't kill because the body quickly metabolizes these substances it recognizes and excretes excess.
DOSAGES FOR DUMMIES
Instead of regulating extremely dangerous pharmaceuticals, a "scientific" committee led by Codex chair Dr. Rolf Grossklaus, and Randy Dennin from the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has established "safe upper limits" for supplements based on the same Nordic Ministries Council recommendations that have already eliminated consumer access to high-potency vitamins in Denmark and Norway. "Codex regulations are not based on science or research findings," protests Dr. James Howenstine. MD Alan Gaby analyzed the "Safe Upper Limits" about to be imposed by Codex. Dr. Gaby called the attempt to curtail vitamin and mineral access worldwide, "One giant step backward" after non-scientists set the SULs "well below doses which have been used by the public for decades with apparent safety."
What would happen to pharmaceutical profits if the two biggest North American killerscancer and heart diseasecould be mostly prevented by daily nutritional supplementation with safe plant products?
What about billions of dollars in drugs sales to treat depression, swollen prostates, or high blood pressure?
The real risk, German scientist Gerd Stueckler told the Codex evaluation committee, "lies mostly in the lack of sufficient nutrients. I must conclude that the whole Codex Alimentarius endeavor is not about protecting the world's public health but that it is only about protecting the profits of pharmaceutical companies and the profits of the health industry in general and that the WHO is willing to support the enforcement of a genocide on a worldwide scale."
Resistance to this UN-abetted global corporate hijacking was immediate. In 1993, when the FDA and its pharma-hiring sponsors tried to put all supplements under prescription, more than four million angry Americans told Congress and the President to protect their freedom of choice. In 2001, when Codex kicked into high gear, some 180 million protest letters flooded their UN office. More recently, 547 million people clicked on petition450.org and emailed an online protest to the EU Parliament, crashing the government server.
South Africa has already denounced and declined the Codex classification of food as drugs. Observing that the rich cultural heritage of the worlds earliest civilizations in Africa, Central America, China and India is far older than the 150-year-old history of interventionist allopathic medicines, health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said that her health department "would like to avoid the pitfall of putting such products in the same regulatory environment as pharmaceutical drugs, whose testing and control is very different."
The government also announced that traditional African herbal medicines, homeopathic remedies, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, and similar natural food products would not have to go through rigorous drug testing. More than 80% of South Africans spend three- billion Rand a year on traditional, homeopathic and other complementary medicines.
In October 2004, outraged legislators introduced Bill C-420 to block Health Canadas latest attempt to take 60,000 natural products off shelves visited by millions of families.
In London, the attempt to transform the EU directive into British law has also been challenged in court by a pan-European coalition calling themselves the Alliance for Natural Health.
The European Court of Justice is dealing with the WHO's attempts to further restrict access to supplements across the EU. the International Court in Luxemburg also heard a case claiming that Codex violates the EU Constitution. America an increasingly sick society. The World Health Report 2000 ranks the United States 12th in a 13 country survey of 16 health indicatorsincluding infant mortality and life expectancy between one and 40 years. Thomas Smith reports that over half the American population exhibits symptoms of diet-related diabetes and hypoglycemia, with Adult Onset Diabetes "routinely noted in six-year-old children."
"our medical community is a commercial venture organized to make money for its practitioners," Smith explains. Today the average medical doctor receives three hours or less training on nutritiondespite the fact that our bodies are constructed entirely of what we eat and drink."
Can we win the vitamin wars?
"The equation is simple," says Hammell, whose early efforts almost single-handedly preserved and protected American health freedoms. "There are a handful of investors wanting to continue benefiting from diseases and war and there are the interests of more than 6 billion people in a world without disease and without war. The outcome of this battle is certain. We, the people, will win it, but more and more people need to join."
Read the full 3,900 word article, complete with illustrations and referencesincluding a chart comparing recommended vitamin and mineral daily dosages with proposed Codex limitsat http://www.willthomas.net/
Vitamin C May Be A Life-Saver (April 14, 2005))
Mega-doses Can Counter Avian Flu, Hepatitis & Herpes, And Control Advance Of AIDS - Imagine that a deadly virus is sweeping the world, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of children. Nothing seems able to stop it - until a doctor stands up at the American Medical Association and reports on 60 cases involving severely infected children, all of whom have been cured. Yet his work, subsequently reported in a peer-review journal, is ignored, leaving the virus to wreak havoc for decades.This isn't a docudrama about some futuristic plague - it's a true story about what happened in June 1949 when polio was at its peak.Dr Frederick Klenner, a clinical researcher from Reidsville, North Carolina, reported that a massive intravenous dose of Vitamin C -up to 20,000mg daily for three days (today's recommended daily allowance is 60mg) - had cured 60 of his patients. The findings were published in a medical journal, yet there was virtually no interest. Apart from a couple of minor trials, no attempt was made to find out if they had any scientific substance.Relating this curious incident in a new book, Vitamin C,Infectious Diseases & Toxins: Curing the Incurable, Dr Thomas Levy, a U.S. cardiologist, admits to being gripped by a range of emotions when he came across Klenner's work and other studies that replicated it. "To know that polio had been easily cured yet so many people continued to die, or survived to be permanently crippled by it, was difficult to accept." Levy argues that the medical profession has routinely ignored research showing that high doses of Vitamin C can combat bacteria,toxins and severe viral infections including avian flu, SARS,hepatitis and herpes. And this is not a case of doctors sniffing at anecdotal evidence from a handful of enthusiasts. "Vitamin C is possibly the best-researched substance in the world. There are more than 24,000 papers and articles on the authoritative clinical website, Medline. Yet virtually the all the evidence has been dismissed." Levy even claims that Aids can be controlled if a high enough dosage of Vitamin C is maintained. CLIP
THE SLOW POISONING OF AMERICA [and CANADA]
I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, so did a friend of mine, John Erb.He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and spent years working for the government.He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called The Slow Poisoning of America. In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies.No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so the scientists have to create them. They make these morbidly obese creatures by injecting them with MSG when they are first born. The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and humans?) to become obese they even have a title for the race of fat rodents they create: "MSG-Treated Rats" MSG?I was shocked too. I went to my kitchen, checking the cupboards and the fridge. MSG was in everything! (...) So why is MSG in so may of the foods we eat? Is it a preservative or a vitamin? Not according to my friend John. In the book he wrote, an expose of the food additive industry called The Slow Poisoning of America, he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body. (...) The MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products. It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn't added. Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substance! Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago, MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the prepackaged meals, soups, snacks and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday. The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food. They claim it's safe to eat in any amount. How can they claim it is safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like these? CLIP - This article is also available from http://www.cascadiahealthproducts.com/slow-poisoning-of-america-and-Canada.htm
Recommended by Jebbie Browne firstname.lastname@example.org>
Earth Day: The environmental movement's midlife crisis
By Paul Sabin
April 21, 2005
As Earth Day turns 35 Friday, the environmental movement is in the throes of a midlife identity crisis. In despair over the Republican victories in the November election and riven by internal tensions, activists are certain of neither their strategies nor their audience. What are environmentalism's major growing pains, and how can its troops avoid committing movement suicide?
The first Earth Day in 1970 didn't necessarily constitute the "birth of the modern environmental movement," as Earth Day Network, an awareness-promoting group, likes to claim. When the inaugural event took place, many key laws, like the National Environmental Policy Act, had already been passed. Still, the national teach-in that took place on April 22, 1970, drew 20 million Americans into the parks and streets. The action that day helped kick off a decade in which Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency and, along with the states, passed wide-ranging environmental and public-health legislation.
In the 1980s, Earth Day largely languished. Then the celebration ramped up again, at least for milestone anniversaries, with cleanups and rallies that captured the spirit of an earlier era. Earth Day 1990 events drew an estimated 100 million people around the world. Leonardo DiCaprio chaired the 2000 celebration, hosting a celebrity interview with President Clinton on global warming and enticing half a million people to the Washington Mall for a day of speeches and music.
Friday there will be the usual local cleanups, educational programs, and fund-raisers. Earth Day Network will exhort you to "go to a festival," "install solar panels," and "change a habit." Bunbury, Australia, wants you to join in a leisurely beach stroll, "collecting litter which will then be sorted into 8 categories and weighed for comparison against other beach clean-ups." Hawaii has formally proclaimed today to be Starbucks Earth Day, in honor of the giant coffee company's eco-initiatives in the state. In other words, the annual celebration will be both widely observed and a hodgepodge of do-gooderness and sponsorships. There's nothing wrong with the civic action and awareness-raising, but none of it is commensurate with the Earth's problems or the environmental movement's political challenges.
Since the November election, many environmentalists have slid into a funk. Groups like the Sierra Club and Environment 2004 spent millions on the election. But energy boondoggles and dirty air didn't move voters. However ominously global climate change looms, the major candidates barely mentioned it. Like labor unions and the Democratic Party, since November the environmental groups have been worrying over their future.
Into this morass of self-doubt fell "The Death of Environmentalism," a paper by media consultant Michael Shellenberger and pollster Ted Nordhaus. The Reapers, as Grist Magazine calls the authors in its lively forum on the topic, contend that environmental protection needs to be wrapped into a broader progressive agenda. The authors want to recast climate change and oil dependence as public-health threats, national security concerns, and opportunities for economic developmentanything but pollution problems. As an illustration, they point to the Apollo Alliance, an initiative launched by environmental and labor leaders that calls for a multibillion-dollar federal investment in clean-energy technologies to create new jobs and promote energy independence.
The Reapers' paper has been rightly criticized as an Oedipal attack that fails to recognize how much the environmental movement has already changed. But it taps the current zeitgeist by reflecting the anxiety that's churning at this moment of flux. There are three transformations under way. They are for the movement's long-term good, but together they create the current sense of crisis.
Environment Is Everywhere: Since the late 1980s, activists have expanded the meaning of "environment" well beyond wildlife and open space to encompass things like asthma and architecture. They also see the causes of environmental problems more expansively. Public education, for instance, is an environmental issue because bad schools make urban communities less safe and healthy; they also send families running to the suburbs, which contributes to sprawl. This broader conception of environment gets at what actually causes such problems, but it also makes it hard to delineate them or identify who to work with to fix them. At one moment, environmentalists join with business leaders to push for laws to slow climate change; at the next, they bash Wal-Mart in alliance with labor unions. The movement needs to find the umbrella that holds these various alliances together. Collaboratives like the Quivira Coalition, which brings together ranchers and conservationists, are starting to do that regionally. But all this is new, and the next generation of environmentalists is being pulled in many, at times conflicting, directions.
Green, Not White: Long dominated by white, middle- and upper-class professionals, the movement has slowly begun changing its makeupand facing up to its past elitism. Social historians studying American conservation have shown that many national parks, for example, were created when the government kicked Native Americans out of their lands. In recent years, activists fighting for "environmental justice" for low-income people of color have frequently criticized mainstream green groups for shunting aside the concerns of poor communities. Some enviros want to get it, but they haven't figured out how yet. Five years ago, the disintegration amid racial politics of an ambitious effort in the South Bronx to build a massive recycling milla project that would have created jobs and redeveloped polluted landmarked the gap between the theory of the new environmentalism and its messy reality.
Wising up: In the 1990s, well-organized conservatives dominated the debate over property rights and public lands. Industry-funded campaigns derailed progress on climate change. Now environmentalists are co-opting some of the right's strategies. The Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, the Pew Marine Fellows Program, and SeaWeb, for example, teach scientists to make their work accessible so they can have political influence. "The Death of Environmentalism" essay showcases the movement's newly learned tactics, sort ofit was funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which wants environmentalists to work more with other progressives to fight corporate power. For maximum effect, the Reapers released their report at an annual meeting of environmental foundations. In typical left-wing fashion, however, they swung their sickle inward.
The major changes roiling today's environmental movement necessarily add layers of complexity to the "Save the Earth" and "Stop Pollution" messages of the first Earth Day 35 years ago. One measure of maturity is the ability to think with complexity while also acting effectively. Environmentalists must figure out how better to do that, both to emerge from their midlife crisis and to make everyone else care about the threats to the future that they see so clearly. In celebration of Earth Day Friday, let's get cracking.
Paul Sabin is executive director of the Environmental Leadership Program, a national non-profit organization that seeks to build diverse leadership for a just and sustainable future. He is the author of Crude Politics: The California Oil Economy, 1900-1940.
Earth Day Turns 35 - Celebrate your home (April 21, 2005)
The environment has taken a backseat to modern living and not without cost. The temperature is gradually swelling, polar ice caps are melting, species are dying off, and in many places the water is too polluted to drink. There is no better time than the present to reverse the tide -- and no better day to begin than Earth Day. Fortunately, for those of us who need a push and some direction, there's a bevy of resources. CLIP
Forwarded by Janice Ashby email@example.com> on April 23
An Open Letter To American Educators and Our Legislators
I don't know how many American politicians can stand to look at themselves in their mirrors. The snowballing propaganda of mental health screening of each and every American child is beyond contempt. You want to create a new citizenry to suit your new world order? Then why in the heaven did you not come to the American people and tell us all about the benefits of a new world order. Oh, that's right heaven can't exist and besides, you can't champion the benefits of the NWO because there are no benefits except to corporations, their executives, and the new and emerging heads of the global state.
How dare you all of you for implementing legislation and Executive Orders that make our beloved children the guinea pigs of big pharma and the lab rats of post normal science projects. How dare you sneak behavior modification into our public, parochial, and charter schools with skewed environmentalist morality?
How dare you attempt to re-soul our children from their religions to Agenda 21's Pantheistic, socialistic manipulations? Do you actually expect this entire nation of people to allow mental health 'advocates' to determine the sanity of our children based upon their religious beliefs and their manipulated acceptance of radical environmentalism and globalism? Are you out of your minds, or do you all truly believe we are brain dead lower life forms? And wouldn't your big pharma just love to the get their drug hooks into the entire American population of people under the age of 18. You are unbelievable.
The New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health-The New Freedom Initiative-No Child Left Behind wants to implement across-the-board screening of our children to identify and force-treat invented mental illnesses that will hopefully make your transition to global dominance less painful. It wants 'TeenScreen' to give mental health check-ups to all teen-aged people before they graduate from high school, and if they fail, based on 'sustainable' Agenda 21 criteria, then they are to be forced into treatment forced by a team of federally funded bureaucrats and their globalist missionaries to re-program the next generation of new world order worker bees that is, the ones you decide are sane enough to keep. Tell me, what's the plan for all the kids you and yours diagnose as crazy. What are your plans for them and their futures? Got a place set up for them, have you?
And even toddlers! And using fear to get compliancy from parents to lead innocent children to mental health screeners for some pre-determined diagnosis of mental instability. How can you be so evil? I'll tell you because your children won't be tested and manipulated.
They will be protected by your wealth, your connections, and your compliancy and agreement with the global powers that be. Your children will be saved from your heinous crimes by virtue of their attendance in private schools. And while you may be willing to turn our children, and maybe even yours, into nothing more than social human lab rats, the rest of America is not. If we must, we will all educate our children at home, where they can be kept safe from your highly orchestrated, social re-engineering, partnership, consensus remove-America-from-the-children goals. So, let's end with the truth of your mental health acts and legislations that you've hidden: you want to know and document, in advance, which children will cause you problems via their religions, their individuality, their teenage rebellion, their politics, and their political influences in their homes.
You want to know which children were successful with the consensus strategies in the classrooms. You want to know, in advance, the socio-economic levels of children. And maybe your criteria for a safe, no borders North American Alliance also includes many other factors depending on your levels of devotion to eugenics. To all of you and any complicit school system, this will be and is the straw that breaks the camel's back. America, unless you have forgotten, is a Republic, founded by those who refused to tolerate the tyranny of oppressive monarchs. Each and every American parent must stand up and refuse to allow this insidious and devious insanity near our children. What you are told about the mental health movement in schools is false. The prescribed reasons for proficiency testing and now mental health testing, are totally false. Your children are being profiled for reasons that are unimaginable.
Websites for Wisdoms:
Forwarded by "Paul Prior" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Coalition warns of global mass surveillance
April 20, 2005
By JIM BRONSKILL
OTTAWA (CP) - Civil liberties groups called on countries around the globe Wednesday to rein in "intrusive and discriminatory measures" - from national ID cards to no-fly lists - implemented in the name of fighting terrorism. The International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance decried the growing web of security tools employed by governments in the post-Sept. 11 era to profile, monitor and track individuals.
Driven largely by the United States, countries are aggressively using information gathered and shared through electronic systems to crack down on dissent, close borders to refugees and activists, and seize and detain people without reasonable grounds, the ad-hoc coalition says.
"The object of the infrastructure is not ordinary police work, but mass surveillance of entire populations," says a declaration issued by campaign members.
"In its technological capacity and global reach, it is an unprecedented project of social control."
The campaign is spearheaded by groups including the Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, the American Civil Liberties Union and Statewatch, based in Europe.
Gerry Barr of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, a campaign supporter, likened the expanding government use of personal information to criminal fraud.
"This is identity theft on a massive and official scale," he told a news conference.
Organizers circulated a list Wednesday of 83 organizations from around the world that have endorsed the campaign's declaration.
It calls on governments to:
- Halt all collection, storage and use of data and information-sharing practices contrary to existing privacy and human rights laws and standards.
- Ensure citizens can correct personal data held by governments and challenge misuse, including placement on a security watch list.
- Stop wholesale collection of information on individuals, such as purchase of databanks from private companies.
- Halt introduction of a universal biometric passport and the creation of "sharing standards" for passenger information until the issues have been openly debated.
The International Civil Aviation Organization adopted passport standards last year that require biometrics, or measurable physical characteristics, to determine identity.
The mandatory standard is a chip containing the traveller's photo, allowing quick electronic recognition. Iris scans and fingerprints were chosen as optional characteristics.
"The global introduction of a biometric passport is one way to achieve nearly universal registration of everyone on the planet, so that individuals can be easily identified, surveilled and assessed for risk," says a report released in support of the campaign.
Governments have ushered in a host of new security measures following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, arguing they are essential for public safety.
Barr, who is also co-chair of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, said some surveillance measures have been put in place without proper parliamentary scrutiny.
"I think there are a lot of people in Parliament who are asleep at the switch."
The new Pentagon can peruse intelligence on US citizens and send Marines down Main Street. (...) Because most of its activity takes place in secret, and because the Pentagon has still not fully clarified its mandate, very little is known about exactly what kind of information NORTHCOM is gathering, and on whom. A review of documents and interviews with military and civil liberties experts makes clear, however, that the command's domestic intelligence ambitions are more far-reaching than anything the U.S. military has undertaken in the past and that the hope is to "fuse" disparate government databases so they can be readily accessed by NORTHCOM's leadership. Not surprisingly, all of this worries civil liberties advocates. "There is no explicit prohibition in any law to the effect that the Pentagon may not engage in domestic intelligence," says Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, D.C. To place a wiretap or to search a home of a suspected terrorist without their knowledge, Martin notes, officials need a secret warrant from an intelligence court-but other than that, they have a great deal of leeway. "The military can follow you around," she notes. "It can use giant, secret databases of linked networks to gather a picture of the activities of millions of Americans, mapping all of their associations, and the only restriction is that such surveillance be done for purposes of foreign intelligence, counterterrorism, the drug war, or force protection." CLIP
Date: 22 Apr 2005
From: Peter Phillips email@example.com>
Subject: Incomplete News Undermines US Values
Incomplete News Undermines US Values
By Peter Phillips
Dozens were kidnapped by roving gangs off the streets of their hometowns, disappeared from families, hooded, chained, repeatedly interrogated, incarcerated for years in military prisons, and then told it was all a mistake. Did this happen in Stalinist Russia, some South American military dictatorship, Apartheid South Africa? No, the gangs were special forces of the US Government operating with approval from the highest levels of the Pentagon, the victims Afghan civilians recently released from the Guantanamo military prison camp in Cuba.
The New York Times published an article April 20 reporting how 17 innocent Afghans were recently freed from Guantanamo prison after three and half years. "Several of the Afghans said in interviews that they had been told by American officers that they were being freed because they were innocent of any crime," the article reported. "The men would be given new clothes, turbans and travel money and allowed to go home," the paper disclosed.
Prior to the release of the Guantanamo prisoners last Fall, Seymour Hersh fully exposed the US's worldwide abuse of power and violation of human right in articles published in the Guardian and New Yorker. Hersh documented that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, with approval from the White House, had authorized a special-access program (SAP) to go on global manhunts for terrorists. It was deemed OK to kidnap suspected terrorists and take them to countries that would get tough (torture) them during interrogations. Several hundred people captured wholesale in Afghanistan and transported to Cuba were deemed enemy non-combatants without rights of due process or coverage under the Geneva Convention.
The New York Times' story covers the release of the internees without Hersh's historical context of high level official approval. Additionally, the NY Times story fails to address coverage of how, in a country that supports due process and human rights, our military could take such tragic action violating the rights of these men and their families. Instead the story implies that the kidnapping of these Afghans was justified in that undoubtedly some of the prisoners were guilty. This is like rounding up the church choir because the minister was caught in bed with the organist.
Failure to publish the full truth regarding the release of the Afghan prisoners is a strong indication that the New York Times and corporate media groups in general are unable and unwilling to fully address human right violations by our own government. The broad publication of stories about the breach of human rights by our national security forces is inconsistent with corporate media's continuing desire to have 24 hour access to sources of news inside the White House, Pentagon and State Department. This failure of nerve to support the public's right to know and insure a transparent governmental process is undoubtedly giving America a black eye in the world community. Increasingly America is seen as an uncontrolled empire of power and abuse. For many in the world we are the Darth Vaders of the planet - pure evil incorporated.
Non-Americans know that the people in the US do not approve of these practices. We must, however, openly share their outrage and demand that America hold to our values of due process and human rights. To do this we must support media that address these issues. We need a media that post and recognize the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in every newsroom. Anything less cuts at the very soul of the American people.
Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
A BIT OF LEVITY AFTER ALL THIS...
A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: My friend is dead! What can I do? The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead. There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: OK, now what?"
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep.
Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
"I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" replies Watson.
"And what do you deduce from that?"
Watson ponders for a minute.
"Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?"
Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, you idiot!" he says. "Someone has stolen our tent!"
Why do ducks have webbed feet?
To stamp out fires.
Why do elephants have flat feet?
To stamp out burning ducks.
A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: That's the ugliest baby that I've ever seen. Ugh! The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: The driver just insulted me! The man says: You go right up there and tell him off go ahead, I'll hold your monkey for you.
Texan: Where are you from?
Harvard grad: I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.
Texan: Okay where are you from, jackass?
Two weasels are sitting on a bar stool. One starts to insult the other one. He screams, "I slept with your mother!" The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do. The first again yells, "I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!" The other says, "Go home dad youre drunk."
A turtle was walking down an alley in New York when he was mugged by a gang of snails. A police detective came to investigate and asked the turtle if he could explain what happened. The turtle looked at the detective with a confused look on his face and replied "I don't know, it all happened so fast."
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.
A doctor says to his patient, 'I have bad news and worse news'.
'Oh dear, what's the bad news?' asks the patient.
The doctor replies, 'You only have 24 hours to live'.
'That's terrible', said the patient. 'How can the news possibly be worse?'
The doctor replies, 'I've been trying to contact you since yesterday'.
These jokes were found through http://www.laughlab.co.uk
Thousands more jokes through http://directory.google.com/Top/Recreation/Humor/Jokes/
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