September 29, 2005
Miscellaneous Subjects #218: A Whole Lotta News
Yet another week full-packed with amazing news, articles and events worth mentioning, much of which made it into this compilation. Hopefully you'll have time to look into it as there are sure signs that promising major changes are afoot in the US that will render harmless all kinds of nefarious plans.
Stay tuned and have a great weekend!
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
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LAST MINUTE ADDITION!!
Just before sending this, I found a request by Betty Martini
"In the early 1990's National Cancer Institute data showed that there had been a ten percent rise in humans of the same kind of brain tumor that most pathologists found in the aspartame animal studies. (...) "During these past 35 years I have met with, spoken to or corresponded with hundreds of aspartame users who feel that the chemical has caused them great harm -- seizures, blindness, migraines and other problems. With over 10,000 consumer complaints filed with FDA, it is the most complained-of food additive." [Read entire letter at http://www.wnho.net/eib_turner.htm] (According to) neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D. wrote: "This is the most serious breach of public trust in the history of this nation. ... "The promoters of aspartame use have been lying from the beginning and continue to use their money and political clout to cover up the real and present dangers of this toxic product." (...) Dr. Betty Martini, of Mission Possible International: "All eyes should be on New Mexico and this historic decision. Everyone who can help should get involved. New Mexico can behead this snake, and when it does a precedent will be set for every state! A war is being waged against our health by the producers, vendors, lobbyists, front groups and shills of this poison who use their vast power, cash, propaganda, advertising and colossal corruption to buy freedom to poison us all."
"Why didn't you fight back against the Chinese? The Dalai Lama looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at us and said with a gentle smile, Well, war is obsolete, you know. Then, after a few moments, his face grave, he said, Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back... but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you."
"Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement."
Worthy of Your Attention
Acetone In Fuel Said to Increase Mileage
Readily-available chemical added to gas tank in small proportion improves the fuel's ability to vaporize completely by reducing the surface tension that inhibits vaporization of some fuel droplets. CLIP Recommended by "John T. Linnell" email@example.com>
Hilarious video stream on Bush
Are you aware that the Bush administration and many of its corporate
sponsors offer this vision for our future (brief video):
Cost of War in Iraq
1. The Impending Cakewalk in Iran
2. Antiwar Fervor Fills the Streets & A beautiful day for America
3. We Don't Exist
4. Cindy Sheehan Arrested on Sidewalk Outside White House
5. Protesters worldwide call for end to Iraq war
6. Message from Matthew
7. Fascism: Another perfect storm
8. JOSE PADILLA AND THE DEATH OF PERSONAL LIBERTY
9. ROBERTS VOTED TO GIVE BUSH DICTATORIAL POWERS
10. PAPIERE BITTE
11. The threat to humanity is right next door
12. Crude awakening: Rita's educating us about oil
13. White House moves to prevent run on petrol supplies
14. Back to Gaza
15. Secession from the Empire: The Middlebury Declaration
16. Francesco di Assisi's birthday
17. Spiritual Awakenings, Glimpses into the Higher Realms
18. Interesting & alarming message about more deception
19. Shocking!!! Save health care, student loans, Amtrak and PBS
20. Rita causes record damage to oil rigs
21. Cocaine Is Killing Colombian Nature Parks
George Bush in Hell (Sept 28)
You would not want to be George W. Bush right now. Not that you ever would anyhow, but especially not now. Indeed, there are indications that not even George W. Bush wants to be George W. Bush right now. That second term in office, the one that just a year or two ago seemed so precious that he was willing to launch a war just to obtain it, now feels like a life sentence. Plans for four years spending political capital now look a lot more like endless months of capital punishment. The Bush Administration has nowhere to go but down, and that is precisely where it is headed. Poll data show that even members of his solid-to-the-point-of-twelve-step-eligibility base are now deserting him as his job approval ratings plunge like so much Enron stock, lately crashing southward through the forty percent threshold. With almost his entire second term still in front of him, Bush is poised to set new records for presidential unpopularity. That scraping noise you hear? It's the sound of sheepish voters creeping out to the garage late at night, furtively removing "Bush-Cheney 2004" bumperstickers from the back of their SUVs when no one is looking. Meanwhile, as the scales fall from the eyes of the hoi polloi, even the one constituency which could plausibly make the claim that Bush has been good for America (read: their wallets), is speaking the unspeakable as well. Robert Novak, of all people, wrote a column last week chronicling his experience watching rich Republicans at an Aspen retreat bash the idiocy of Bush administration policies on Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, stem-cell research and more. (...)
In short, George W. Bush is toast, as is the whole regressive conservative movement of which he is but the most egregious exemplar. Not even another 9/11 would be likely to help him, as the security president who fails to provide security is the nothing (but simply failed) president. CLIP
Voters' Remorse on Bush
Bob Herbert: Maybe, just maybe, the public is beginning to see through the toxic fog of fantasy, propaganda and deliberate misrepresentation that has been such a hallmark of the George W. Bush administration, which is in danger of being judged by history as one of the worst of all time.
Bush Drinking Again (09/23/05)
Pressures of Office and falling polls knock President off the wagon -- WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (OfficialWire) -- According to the National Enquirer George W. Bush is sneaking shots behind his wife's back, while many of his staff know he's drinking again. Enquirer reporters, Jennifer Luce and Don Gentile, quoting 'family sources' detail how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster. His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George." Bush claims to have given up the drink after his 40th birthday, but according to a Washington source "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught himbut the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months." The result is he's taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to cope. "And now with the worst domestic crisis in his administration over Katrina, you pray his drinking doesn't go out of control." Substance abuse is no stranger to Bush. During the 2000 presidential campaign, there were also persistent questions about past cocaine use. Eventually Bush denied using cocaine after 1992, then quickly extended the cocaine-free period back to 1974, when he was 28. Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, said: "I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great. I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."
The Republican Money Machine: The Hammer Falls
It isn't just Tom DeLay. The vast corrupt money machine that funded the Republican Revolution is exploding before our eyes.
Troubled Year Gets Worse for the GOP
Yesterday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) represented one of the most significant blows the party has suffered in a year replete with problems. Bush has been the party's public face. But in Washington, DeLay has been an iron force. With muscle and determination, DeLay ruled the inside game, and his indictment is therefore all the more significant.
Interview: Cindy Sheehan, Our Imploding President
As Sheehan approaches, she's mobbed. She hugs some of her greeters, poses for photos with others, listens briefly while people tell her they came all the way from California or Colorado just to see her, and accepts the literal T-shirt off the back of a man, possibly a vet, with a bandana around his forehead, who wants to give her "the shirt off my back." She is brief and utterly patient. She offers a word to everyone and anyone.
Bush plea for cash to rebuild Iraq raises $600 (September 25, 2005)
An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars. The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country. This coincides with concern over the increasing cost of the war. More than $30 billion has been appropriated for the reconstruction. Initially, America's overseas aid agency, USaid, expected it to cost taxpayers no more than $1.7bn, but it is now asking the public if they want to contribute even more. It is understood to be the first time that a US government has made an appeal to taxpayers for foreign aid money. Contributors have no way of knowing who will receive their donations or even where they may go, after officials said details had be kept secret for security reasons.USaid's Heather Layman denied it was disappointed with the meagre sum raised after a fortnight. 'Every little helps,' she said. In the past 12 months, Americans raised some $250bn for charity, including other foreign causes such as the Asian tsunami victims. Layman said: 'There is no financial goal. People are looking for a way to help rebuild Iraq and this is a way to facilitate that.' The fundraising comes amid concern that some US projects in Iraq will be scrapped or only partly completed because of rising costs. Some officials fear that money may run out before key projects are completed. Last week, the number of US troops killed in Iraq rose above 1,900.
Katrina Redux? Beaumont Paper Finds Federal Storm Failure in Texas
The Beaumont (Tex.) Enterprise reported tonight that disaster response coordinators in the area hard hit by Rita say they are seeing the same foot-dragging federal response this weekend witnessed two weeks ago in New Orleans and Mississippi.
FEMA Under Fire Again, Now for Rita Effort
The plywood sign outside the home in East Texas where eight Beaumont families had sought refuge from Hurricane Rita carried a simple message: "Help Needed. Ice and Water. 43 People."
Hurricane Rita Latest Information & Updates
Congress Seeks Broad Expansion of Valerie Plame/CIA Leak Probe (September 15, 2005)
Forty-one Members Of Congress Ask Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald To Examine Bush Administration's False Uranium Claims That Led To Disclosure Of CIA Operative's Identity To Determine If - Additional Federal Laws Were Broken Washington, D.C. - Troubled by what they see as violations of federal law that prohibit making false and fraudulent statements to Congress, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and 40 of his House colleagues today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald asking that he expand his investigation of who in the Bush Administration revealed to the news media that Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a covert agent for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Hinchey and his colleagues urged Fitzgerald, who was designated as special prosecutor for the case, to examine the causes behind the exposure of Plame's identity -- specifically, the Bush Administration's false and fraudulent claims in January 2003 that Iraq had sought uranium for a nuclear weapon, which the Administration used as one of the key grounds to justify the invasion of Iraq. (...) Hinchey said, "Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation holds grave implications for the safety of our C.I.A. operatives, the freedom of our press, and the accountability of our current executive branch leadership. The laws that high-level members of the Bush Administration may very well have violated are of a very serious nature on their own. However, when you take into account that these laws may have been broken in order to commence a major war, it becomes clear that action must be taken to punish those who misled the Congress and the American people. We have American men and women dying in Iraq on a daily basis because people in this Administration fabricated or manipulated intelligence on uranium that was used as a key reason for justifying the war. This is wholly unacceptable and I believe that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has the authority and the responsibility to investigate these possible criminal violations." CLIP
Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina (September 25, 2005)
It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly. Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry, said he had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped. 'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?' CLIP
HUNDREDS OF NEW ORLEANS PRISONERS LEFT TO DIE; UNKNOWN HOW MANY DID
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH - As Hurricane Katrina began pounding New Orleans, the sheriff's department abandoned hundreds of inmates imprisoned in the city's jail, Human Rights Watch said. Inmates in Templeman III, one of several buildings in the Orleans Parish Prison compound, reported that as of Monday, August 29, there were no correctional officers in the building, which held more than 600 inmates. These inmates, including some who were locked in ground-floor cells, were not evacuated until Thursday, September 1, four days after flood waters in the jail had reached chest-level. "Of all the nightmares during Hurricane Katrina, this must be one of the worst," said Corinne Carey, researcher from Human Rights Watch. "Prisoners were abandoned in their cells without food or water for days as floodwaters rose toward the ceiling." (...) Human Rights Watch compared an official list of all inmates held at Orleans Parish Prison immediately prior to the hurricane with the most recent list of the evacuated inmates compiled by the state Department of Corrections and Public Safety (which was entitled, "All Offenders Evacuated"). However, the list did not include 517 inmates from the jail, including 130 from Templeman III. Many of the men held at jail had been arrested for offenses like criminal trespass, public drunkenness or disorderly conduct. Many had not even been brought before a judge and charged, much less been convicted.
249 New Orleans Police Officers Left Posts
JULIA SILVERMAN ASSOCIATED PRESS - Nearly 250 police officers - roughly 15 percent of the force - could face a special tribunal because they left their posts without permission during Hurricane Katrina and the storm's chaotic aftermath, the police chief said. Police Superintendent Eddie Compass plans to assemble a tribunal of four of his assistant chiefs to hear each case and sort the outright deserters from those with a legitimate reason for not showing up for work. The department has about 1,700 officers.
Almost 6,000 Doctors Displaced by Katrina, Study Says
AP - Nearly 6,000 doctors along the Gulf Coast were uprooted by Hurricane Katrina in the largest displacement of physicians in U.S. history, university researchers reported. How many of those doctors will set up shop permanently in other cities, or decide to retire instead of reopening their practices, remains as unclear as New Orleans's future.
MEDIA HYPED ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR DURING STORM
[These false reports are now being used by Bush to justify a military takeover of disaster operations] LA TIMES - Maj. Ed Bush recalled how he stood in the bed of a pickup truck in the days after Hurricane Katrina, struggling to help the crowd outside the Louisiana Superdome separate fact from fiction. Armed only with a megaphone and scant information, he might have been shouting into, well, a hurricane. . . "It just morphed into this mythical place where the most unthinkable deeds were being done," Bush said Monday of the Superdome. His assessment is one of several in recent days to conclude that newspapers and television exaggerated criminal behavior in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, particularly at the overcrowded Superdome and Convention Center. The New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday described inflated body counts, unverified "rapes," and unconfirmed sniper attacks as among examples of "scores of myths about the dome and Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the media and even some of New Orleans' top officials." Indeed, Mayor C. Ray Nagin told a national television audience on "Oprah" three weeks ago of people "in that frickin' Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people.". . .
ACLU CRITICIZES BUSH'S PROPOSAL FOR MILITARY TAKEOVER IN DISASTERS
BILL SAMMON, WASHINGTON TIMES - President Bush sought to federalize hurricane-relief efforts, removing governors from the decision-making process. "It wouldn't be necessary to get a request from the governor or take other action," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday. "This would be," he added, "more of an automatic trigger." Mr. McClellan was referring to a new, direct line of authority that would allow the president to place the Pentagon in charge of responding to natural disasters, terrorist attacks and outbreaks of disease. "It may require change of law," Mr. Bush said yesterday. "It's very important for us as we look at the lessons of Katrina to think about other scenarios that might require a well-planned, significant federal response -- right off the bat -- to provide stability." The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused Mr. Bush of attempting a power grab in the wake of fierce criticism that he responded too slowly to Hurricane Katrina a month ago. "Using the military in domestic law enforcement is generally a very bad idea," said Timothy Edgar, national security policy counsel for the ACLU. "I'm afraid that it will have unforeseen consequences for civil liberties." . . . "The Posse Comitatus Act is sometimes criticized as some sort of obscure, centuries-old law," Mr. Edgar said. "But you know, most of our liberties are centuries old. So that would be like saying the Bill of Rights is obscure and old. "Our strict separation between military and civilian power is one of the things that separates us from Latin America, for example," he added. "Changing that would put us on a huge slippery slope."
Tipping Point/Point of No Return (Sept 26)
Theres something ghoulish about polls at this particular moment. Should we see whether, on the whole, people like the idea of ethnic cleansing? Theres a morbid fascination with the numbers -- a sickening drop of the stomach -- nevertheless. When people do respond with revulsion to some Bush government atrocity, theres a little surge of hope that pulls us back into the game of waiting for that magical tipping point when enough Americans will finally be disgusted with this criminal regime to push it from office. That tiny gasp of hope then automatically becomes the target of the Republican spin machine, whose main object is hopes annihilation. Nothing is more effective in that regard than the medias willingness to promulgate the fascists phony fun facts. (...) Reviewing the last few weeks is like backing up a scream on TV. This President not only delayed aid to dying people, he actively blocked and prevented access to aid from around the world. He sealed off the exits and drowned an excess, unwanted, poor population like rats. Those who survived and made it out to shelters around the country find that their poverty has been, in effect, criminalized. They are no longer free to come and go. And the Democrats act like this is normal. Their lack of proportionate response to disaster engineering and disaster profiteering is a key element in normalizing the increasingly militarized takeover we are witnessing. Their silence, especially on the war, has become positively eerie. Not one major Democrat attended the September 24 anti-war mobilization. If they know something we dont know, it aint good. CLIP
THE BUSH MOB: THE REAL LOUISIANA LOOTERS
[To get a sense of scale, Louisiana officials are seeking $250 billion in federal aid. Let's say there are a million individuals who are homeless, injured, or jobless as a result of the hurricanes. That would be $250,000 for each individual or a million dollars for a family of four. Of course, the victims won't see anything close to this. Here's where the money is really going] NY TIMES EDITORIAL - The first results are in on who is set to profit from the Katrina cleanup, and - surprise - many of the firms winning major contracts have big political connections. Congressional investigators are already looking into Ashbritt, a Pompano Beach, Fla., company with ties to Mississippi's governor, Haley Barbour - the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Ashbritt has nabbed $568 million in contracts for trash removal. Questions have also been raised about the political connections of two other major contractors: the Shaw Group, and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Both companies have been represented by Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency - although Mr. Allbaugh says he does not help any of his clients obtain federal contracts. CLIP
Blood on Their Hands
Bob Herbert: Make no mistake: government officials have blood on their hands. Men, women and children - some of them handicapped, some of them elderly or already desperately ill - were condemned to horrible suffering and, in many cases, agonizing deaths. Human beings were left to drown in their flooded homes, in hospitals, in nursing homes and in the street. The American people deserve to know why.
Jimmy Carter Says Bush Lost 2000 Election
Pentagon May Be Spying with No Oversight
Republican members of Congress say there are signs that the Defense Department may be carrying out new intelligence activities through programs intended to escape oversight from Congress and the new director of national intelligence. The warnings are an unusually public signal of some Republican lawmakers' concern about overreaching by the Pentagon, where top officials have been jockeying with the new intelligence chief, John D. Negroponte, for primacy in intelligence operations.
Reuters Says US Troops Obstruct Reporting of Iraq
The conduct of US troops in Iraq, including increasing detention and accidental shootings of journalists, is preventing full coverage of the war reaching the American public, Reuters said on Wednesday.
The Costs of Quagmire
As the costs begin to escalate in the Gulf States with Congress authorizing $60 billion for rescue and cleanup operations and as fingers point in the Capital, the costs of another quagmire mountthat of the Iraq War.
US Bars Robert Fisk from Entering Country (22 September 2005)
The internationally renowned correspodent for The Independent - the great British journalist Robert Fisk - has been banned from entering the United States. Fisk has been covering war zones for decades, but is above all known for his incisive reporting from the Middle East for more than 20 years. His critical coverage of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, and the continuing occupation that has followed it, has repeatedly exposed U.S. and British government disinformation campaigns. He also has exposed how the bulk of the press reports from Iraq have been "hotel journalism" - a phrase Fisk coined. The daily New Mexican reports that "U.S. immigration officials refused Tuesday to allow Robert Fisk, longtime Middle East correspondent for the London newspaper, The Independent, to board a plane from Toronto to Denver. Fisk was on his way to Santa Fe for a sold-out appearance in the Lannan Foundation's readings-and-conversations series Wednesday night. CLIP
Sinister Events in a Cynical War
Here are questions that are not being asked about the latest twist of a cynical war. Were explosives and a remote-control detonator found in the car of the two SAS special forces men "rescued" from prison in Basra on 19 September? If true, what were they planning to do with them? John Pilger asks why did the British military authorities in Iraq put out an unbelievable version of the circumstances that led up to armoured vehicles smashing down the wall of a prison?
Torturous Silence on Torture
"Where do American religious leaders stand on torture?" asks Ray McGovern. "Their deafening silence evokes memories of the unconscionable behavior of German church leaders in the 1930s and early 1940s."
Calls Mount for Prisoner Torture Commission
New allegations of prisoner torture in Iraq are likely to add urgency to pending legislation that would create a 9/11-type commission to investigate detainee treatment and ensure that the US operates within the law on interrogations.
Giving Democracy a Bad Name: Afghanistan's Parliamentary Elections
The United States has supposedly created new democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, but these endeavors give democracy a bad name. Sure, the two countries have some ingredients of representative democracy, such as elected officials and a constitution. But both countries are still beset by grinding poverty, insurgencies, and entrenched militia forces that make the exercise of democracy either impractical or dangerous. Both countries have high numbers of foreign troops occupying their land and terrorizing the population while hunting terrorists. And both countries governments answer to their respective U.S. ambassador on most issues. In the midst of such a violent and coercive environment, Afghans are pressing ahead with the latest in a series of democratic exercises imposed by the United States: the first Afghan parliamentary elections in four decades will take place this Sunday, September 18. Even though many Afghans hope that the elections will empower them to end their troubles, the fear is that the elections will probably be as undemocratic in practice as every other U.S.-inflicted Afghan institution.
More Support for An "Undeclared Global Weather War?" -- (Sept 16)
(...) Almost no one, even now, is aware of Secretary Cohen's remarkably revealing testimony re "eco-terrorism" in 1997, reproduced at the beginning of this entry. Still fewer seem to realize -- even after they've actually read his statement -- the staggering technological and political implications behind what this Republican Clinton Administration Defense Secretary stunningly revealed--Regarding the current existence of this "god-like" technology ... a technology which can actually, as Cohen testified, "alter the climate ... set off earthquakes [and] volcanoes remotely ... through the use of electromagnetic waves ..."Flash forward to 2005 -- and the quiet introduction this Spring (in both houses of Congress) of a bill to officially institutionalize within the United States Government precisely such major "weather modification" ... under the Secretary of the Department of Commerce -- and, by October 1, 2005!A Bill entitled: "Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005."Its purpose ...? Here's a direct quote from the Senate version of Bill S. 517:SEC. 2. PURPOSE. It is the purpose of this Act to develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated national weather modification policy and a national cooperative Federal and State program of weather modification research and development [emphasis added] .... CLIP
FEMA Employees Lynched for Looting in New Orleans (Sept 17)
(...) There are growing rumors in military and civilian circles here that FEMA personnel have been involved in shipping large amounts of emergency food rations, allegedly for resale, out of the area in official trucks at the height of the recovery efforts.
Blackwater Down: Mercenaries on US Soil
"This vigilantism demonstrates the utter breakdown of the government," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "These private security forces have behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq. To have them now on the streets of New Orleans is frightening and possibly illegal."
Caught red-handed - BRITISH UNDERCOVER OPERATIVES IN IRAQ http://rawstory.com/news/2005/CAUGHT_RED__0923.html
(...) According to the Washington Post (9/20/05), "Iraqi security officials on Monday variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives." Reuters (9/19/05) cited police, local officials and other witnesses who confirmed that "the two undercover soldiers were arrested after opening fire on Iraqi police who approached them." Officials said that "the men were wearing traditional Arab headscarves and sitting in an unmarked car." (...) In an interview with Al Jazeerah TV, the popular Iraqi leader Fattah al-Sheikh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly and deputy official in the Basra governorate, said that police had "caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market." Contrary to British authorities' claims that the soldiers had been immediately handed to local militia, al-Sheikh confirmed that they were "at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime." CLIP
THE BUSH FAMILY'S WAR PROFITEERING
The extent of Iraq contracts going to corporations which involve members of President George W. Bush's family is widespread and extensive involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Often these firms receive contracts where the corporations have no expertise and certainly the Bush family members have no expertise or experience in these areas. It is a world not of know how but of know who, marinated in campaign contributions. It seems like Bush family and friends are trading on their relationship to the President. The matrix of government contracts and Bush related corporations invites further investigation by the media and Congress - inquiries that are long overdue.
US army plans to bulk-buy anthrax (24 September 2005)
THE US military wants to buy large quantities of anthrax, in a controversial move that is likely to raise questions over its commitment to treaties designed to limit the spread of biological weapons.A series of contracts have been uncovered that relate to the US army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. They ask companies to tender for the production of bulk quantities of a non-virulent strain of anthrax, and for equipment to produce significant volumes of other biological agents.Issued earlier this year, the contracts were discovered by Edward Hammond, director of the Sunshine Project, a US-German organisation that campaigns against the use of biological and chemical weapons. CLIP
Iran Rejects U.N. Resolution (Sept 25)
(...) The resolution called on the board to consider reporting Iran at a future meeting. As grounds, it mentioned noncompliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and suspicions that Iran's nuclear activities could threaten international peace and security. Diplomats from countries backing the resolution said it set Iran up for referral as early as November, when the board next meets in regular session, unless it dispels international concerns. It was not yet clear if Iran will take any of the drastic measures it has threatened to do if the IAEA and Europeans adopt a threatening language. Tehran had already warned that, if the resolution was approved, it could respond by starting uranium enrichment, a possible path to nuclear arms, and by reducing IAEA powers to inspect its activities under the additional agreement it had signed but not yet ratified. CLIP
House Committee Strips Away Endangered Species Protections (September 23, 2005)
WASHINGTON, DC, (ENS) The House Resources Committee has approved legislation limiting the federal governments power to protect endangered species.Passed last night, the legislation eliminates the critical habitat provisions of the Endangered Species Act and eases the obligations imposed on private property owners by the existing law.House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo said the bill is needed because the current law "has failed to produce the goal all Americans share the recovery of endangered species." Pombo, a California Republican and author of the legislation, told colleagues that only 10 of the 1,268 animal and plant species listed under the Endangered Species Act have been recovered and removed from the endangered species list."Thirty years of critical habitat have done very little if anything to help species," said Pombo, a longtime advocate of Endangered Species Act reform on behalf of agricultural, development and private property interests. "The current system does not work." Critics of the bill, including environmentalists, conservation scientists and religious groups, believe it marks a major rollback of the Endangered Species Act and makes federal protection of habitat necessary for species recovery voluntary. "It is a drastic mistake to remove the protections for the habitat of endangered species," said Representative Jim Saxton, a New Jersey Republican. "These species dont magically disappear. They disappear because we destroy their homes. "The Endangered Species Act has been a major success is protecting imperiled species, said Representative Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat, and the laws shortcomings are largely based on insufficient funding and poor implementation. Pombos bill is "not modernizing the Act, it is euthanizing it," Inslee said. "It is putting it down with the guise of kindness, with the guise of making it stronger." CLIP
Confrontation Looms as I.A.E.A. Passes Resolution on Iran (Sept 26) http://www.pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=371&language_id=1
For the past few years, Iran has been testing the resolve of the international community on the issue of its nuclear research program. Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (N.P.T.), argues that it reserves the right to control the nuclear fuel cycle. Tehran states that control over the cycle is important for Iran's development of nuclear energy. Indeed, according to the N.P.T., a state does reserve the right to control the nuclear fuel cycle, including the process of enrichment. The sticking point is that the process of enriching nuclear fuel is controversial because while enrichment is necessary to create nuclear energy, the enrichment process, if enhanced, can also be used to produce weapons-grade material to create nuclear weapons. On September 24, the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) passed a resolution stating that "Iran's many failures and breaches of its obligations [under the N.P.T.] ... constitute noncompliance." The resolution calls for Iran to end the conversion of uranium and to answer more questions about its past nuclear activities. Failure to comply with these demands could result in Iran's nuclear case being brought before the U.N. Security Council, an action that could result in economic and military sanctions being placed on the Persian state. CLIP - Recommended by Curtis Lang firstname.lastname@example.org> who wrote: "I thought you might be interested in this deep background analysis of the Iran crisis. Much as Bushs people might want to attack Iran, there are many constraining forces holding them back. Its a complex situation and this story goes into the many interlocking aspects of the geo-strategic situation, economic, military and political."
The Hamas Card and the Israeli Withdrawal of Gaza (19 August 2005)
In light of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar's statement calling for a halt in attacks from Gaza against Israel, we encourage you to read this article.
Israel Orders Army to Quell Rocket Fire; Hamas Ends It (26 September 2005)
Jerusalem - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel said Sunday that he had given the military free rein to act against Palestinian factions firing rockets at Israel. Hours later, the militant group Hamas announced that it was halting all attacks from the Gaza Strip. The surprise statement by Hamas, delivered late Sunday night in Gaza City by a senior Hamas leader, Dr. Mahmoud Zahar, offered the possibility that the violence of the past three days could be brought to a halt. The region had been relatively calm in recent weeks, but a major confrontation loomed after Hamas began firing rockets from northern Gaza into southern Israel on Friday night, and Israel responded with airstrikes. "There are no restrictions on the use of any measure in order to strike at the terrorists," Mr. Sharon said Sunday morning at his weekly cabinet meeting. "This phenomenon must be stopped." On Sunday night, an Israeli airstrike killed an Islamic Jihad leader, Muhammad Khalil, and another member of the faction as their car traveled along a coastal road in Gaza City. Earlier Sunday, about 20 Palestinians, including women and children, were wounded in strikes against facilities suspected of being used by Hamas, including a school. But late Sunday night, Dr. Zahar said Hamas "declares an end to its operations from the Gaza Strip against the Israeli occupation." He also said Hamas would abide by a pledge that several Palestinian factions made early this year for a temporary suspension of attacks against Israel. CLIP
Caribbean Corals Hit by Warm, Storm-Spawning Seas (Sept 26)
OSLO - Corals in the Caribbean are being damaged by the same warm seas that have fuelled Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, the WWF conservation group said on Friday. Corals off Florida, Barbados, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Cuba seemed to be undergoing the worst damage, known as bleaching, since 1997-1998. Corals are vital breeding grounds for many species of fish and draw tourists to the Caribbean. (...) According to reports from government and university scientists around the Caribbean, about 89 percent of corals in parts of Florida's Biscayne national park were affected by bleaching. Off Puerto Rico, about 50-75 percent had suffered bleaching. And off Barbados, temperatures of 31-32 Celsius (88-90F) had been recorded at depths down to 60 feet (20 metres), causing widespread damage. Causes of warmer Caribbean temperatures this year are unknown. Many scientists say that a build-up of gases from burning fossil fuels in cars, factories and power plants are blanketing the world and are slowly driving up temperatures.
Apocalypse Now: How Mankind Is Sleepwalking to the End of the Earth (September 21, 2005)
This headline appeared in the London Independent in early February of 2005, following a conference at the Hadley Centre in Exeter, England, where 200 of the worlds leading scientists issued the most urgent warning to date: that dangerous climate change is taking place today, and not the day after tomorrow. Floods, storms, and droughts. Melting polar ice, shrinking glaciers, oceans turning to acid. Scientists from the fields of glaciology, biology, meteorology, oceanography, and ecology reported seeing a dramatic rise over the last 50 years of all the indicators of climate change: increase in average world temperatures, extreme weather events, in the levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and in the level of the oceans. The award winning environmental writer Geoffrey Lean wrote: Future historians, looking back from a much hotter and less hospitable world . . . will puzzle over how a whole generation could have sleepwalked into disaster -- destroying the climate that has allowed human civilization to flourish over the past 11,000 years. The overwhelming majority of scientists and international climate monitoring bodies now agree that climate change is taking place, that humans are responsible, and that time is running out. In fact, we could reach the point of no return in a decade, reported Lean. CLIP
The Age of Catastrophe: Preparing for Disaster (Sept 26)
We will never fully comprehend the complexities of our planet. For centuries, we have labored to overcome and alter the course of nature. We have redirected the path of great rivers, destroyed vital ecological systems, pumped toxic waste into our waterways, oceans and atmosphere, and buried massive stockpiles of deadly chemicals and radioactive waste deep in the bowels of the earth. We may not fully comprehend the role of human interaction with the forces of nature but we are all born with an innate understanding that if we poison our own living space, there will be a price to pay. When we witness melting glaciers, warming oceans, altered climates and shifting oceanic currents, followed by a chain of catastrophes, we do not require a panel of experts or an executive commission to inform us that something is radically astray. It is increasingly clear that we have entered an age of unprecedented catastrophe and we are woefully unprepared to cope with it. In the wake of 911, we have invested hundreds of billions in Homeland Security but in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we are hard pressed to know what that means. Apparently, Homeland Security does not include the fundamentals of civil defense: communications, evacuation, emergency shelters, food, water, fuel, generators and medical facilities. CLIP
The Science of Peace
The Science of Peace is a series of evocative one-hour documentary programs currently in development at Integrity Entertainment. Today's world clearly demonstrates the critical need for new and innovative peace-making tools. Crime, depression and stress-related disorders continue to increase, our communities are fractured, and our worlds countries are at war. However, there is now evidence to support that there are elements to the peace-making process that circumvent religion, culture, race and education, lying instead in the minds and laboratories of our scientists. The Science of Peace, hosted by LeVar Burton, presents some of the many renowned physicists, biologists, physicians and philosophers who are established in the field of this emerging new 'peace science. The revelatory information is supported by demonstrations of state-of-the-art technology, such as the HeartMath computer software, which reveals the correlation between the heart and emotions, and the highly sophisticated Random Number Generator, which indicates that there is a global consciousness which we collectively impact. LeVar will show us these technologies at work in laboratory experiments and in a variety of institutional, academic and real-world settings. We will investigate the latest forms of peace science and interview the ordinary people who are using these new technologies successfully in their daily lives. The series will effectively illustrate how each person, when bringing peace into his or her own life, becomes an instrument for global peace. CLIP - Recommended by Olivia Barham Livvi@aol.com>
Omega-News Collection 24. September 2005
The Impending Cakewalk in Iran
by Mike Whitney
September 27, 2005
Top-ranking Americans have told equally top-ranking Indians in recent weeks that the US has plans to invade Iran before Bushs term ends. In 2002, a year before the US invaded Iraq, high-ranking Americans had similarly shared their definitive vision of a post-Saddam Iraq, making it clear that they would change the regime in Baghdad.
-- Calcutta Telegraph, September 25, 2005
The UNs nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, officially signed Irans death warrant yesterday. By passing a US-backed resolution that refers Irans nuclear program to the Security Council, the member states have endorsed Americas genocidal Middle East policy and paved the way for another war. Even though Tal Afar, Samara and other civilian enclaves are still under a withering attack from American forces, and even though reports of rampant prisoner abuse and torture continue to surface around Falluja, and even though increasing numbers of young Sunni men, whove been beaten and shot in the back of the head, are being fished from the Euphrates River every day, the sycophantic Euro-allies have thrown their support behind a resolution that will unavoidably lead to another war. Everyone who signed on to this treacherous pact is equally culpable of the misery it will inevitably produce.
Behind the fraudulent rhetoric and grand gestures for peace, the former colonial powers, Germany, France and England, have bonded with the Master-state to plunder and occupy the resource-rich world beyond their borders. Theyll be knocking the cobwebs off the pith helmets and jodhpurs in jolly England as they join the campaign to strip another unsuspecting nation of their natural wealth and subjugate their people.
Old habits die hard.
The balloting on the IAEAs resolution was another stunning example of US political fakery. Normally the agency requires that resolutions be unanimously approved.
Not this time.
The vote for a resolution typically requires that two-thirds of the members consent. (The resolution only got 22 of 35 possible votes)
Not this time.
Every part of the voting was twisted, manipulated and corrupted to meet the needs of the superpower and its lust for war. Behind every sordid ballot, the coercive influence of the American Goliath could be felt.
No one wants this war, but few have the courage to defy their Washington overlords.
The resolution will never reach the Security Council where it would be immediately struck down by a veto from Russia or China, but the damage has been done, all the same. The Bush administration will use the mere suggestion of non-compliance as cover for unleashing the Israeli hellhounds on Iranian weapons sites; following the strategy that has been in place from the very onset.
Schroeder, Chirac and Blair are as guilty of this impending aggression as the perpetrators in Tel Aviv or Washington.
Iran has no nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons program, no plans for acquiring nuclear weapons, and no territorial ambitions.
They pose no threat to their neighbors.
Did they help to push Israel out of Lebanon after a 20-year occupation?
Yes. Was that a crime?
Tehran is not involved in the Iraqi resistance, is not supplying military hardware or bomb-making material to foreign terrorists, does not want another war, and has no desire to be nuked by Don Rumsfeld. Despite the nonsensical braying from Time Magazines Michael Ware, accusing Iran of all kinds of nefarious activity in fueling the Iraqi resistance, none of his claims can be verified. What can be verified, however, are the myriad attempts by the Pentagon to propagandize and finger-point at other states for the problems they created for themselves in Iraq.
Sorry, guys, Iraq is your baby. Now, fix it.
As for Michael Ware, the Pentagon has a whole stable full of enlightened scribes ready to manufacture whatever fiction is required for the next war. Ware is no exception. Hes just doing his job.
So far, Irans nuclear program has operated entirely within the confines of the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty) The IAEAs chief Mohammed ElBaradei has stated repeatedly that there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran is building nuclear weapons.
But, lets not ignore the real meaning of the NPT. The Non-proliferation Treaty is nothing more than a legal framework that institutionalizes the double standards and hypocrisy of the more powerful states. Why should Iran grovel for nuclear fuel for its power plants, while the USA is developing new bunker-busting nukes, space warfare weaponry, and upgrading its 10,000 nuclear missile stockpile?
What we really need is an IAEA inspection team to ferret through the US arsenal. Then the world could really make some headway on proliferation issues.
Why should Iran be threatened and humiliated in front of the world body when Israel, India and Pakistan stole nuclear technology and developed bombs for themselves?
The NPT is a degrading apartheid-system that maintains the status quo and keeps Americas boot firmly placed on the neck of the developing world. It should be replaced with a scheme that puts justice and evenhandedness above the self-serving bigotries of the superpower and its cohorts.
But, why are we kidding ourselves anyway? The current farce at the UN has nothing to do with Irans imaginary nuclear weapons-program. The whole affair is just a shabby rerun of the lead up to Shock and Awe.
Wheres the hidden stash of Iraqi WMD we were promised by Bush, Cheney and Powell? Apparently, they were secretly spirited away to Tehran where they could create the pretext for another war.
Irans real crime is that it sits on an ocean of oil, the driving force behind all administration policies. It is in non-compliance with the Bush directive that puts every drop of world petroleum in the hands of the Washington cabal.
The EUs participation in this charade tells us that the global oil shortfall is even more severe than most people imagine. In just five years, all of the existing reserves of world oil will begin trending downward, falling well short of growing demand. Much of the current research indicates that Saudi Arabia is drying up as well, leaving Western economies at the mercy of Teheran, Baghdad and Caracas. Despite the phony bluster about free trade, Bush and Co. have no intention of sacrificing American supremacy to something as fickle as the market. Nor do they plan to allow the global economic system to slip into foreign control by entrusting the worlds most valuable resource to the dubious rulers in Iraq and Iran -- not while they have an endless supply of laser-guided missiles and bunker-busting munitions.
The handwriting is on the wall. Its just a matter of whether Iran will go peacefully into that good night or not. The ground has already been cleared for another larcenous crusade, another monstrous, unprovoked aggression against a peaceful nation. The red herring of non-compliance will be brandished to the world while Washington gears up for its next bloody campaign. The plan to reshape the Middle East is moving forward at breakneck speed and unsuspecting Iran just entered the imperial crosshairs.
Fasten your seatbelts for another savage cakewalk.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: email@example.com.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Antiwar Fervor Fills the Streets
Demonstration Is Largest in Capital Since U.S. Military Invaded Iraq
By Petula Dvorak Washington Post Staff Writer
September 25, 2005
Tens of thousands of people packed downtown Washington yesterday and marched past the White House in the largest show of antiwar sentiment in the nation's capital since the conflict in Iraq began.
The demonstration drew grandmothers in wheelchairs and babies in strollers, military veterans in fatigues and protest veterans in tie-dye. It was the first time in a decade that protest groups had a permit to march in front of the executive mansion, and, even though President Bush was not there, the setting seemed to electrify the crowd.
Signs, T-shirts, slogans and speeches outlined the cost of the Iraq conflict in human as well as economic terms. They memorialized dead U.S. troops and Iraqis, and contrasted the price of war with the price of recovery for areas battered by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Riffs on Vietnam-era protests were plentiful, with messages declaring, "Make Levees, Not War," "I never thought I'd miss Nixon" and "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam." Many in the crowd had protested in the 1960s; others weren't even born during those tumultuous years.
Protest organizers estimated that 300,000 people participated, triple their original target. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who walked the march route, said the protesters achieved the goal of 100,000 and probably exceeded it. Asked whether at least 150,000 showed up, the chief said, "That's as good a guess as any.
"It's their protest, not mine. It was peaceful -- that's all I care about," Ramsey said.
The protesters rallied at the Ellipse, then marched through a misty drizzle around the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The crowd thinned as events continued into the evening with a concert on the grounds of the Washington Monument that featured Joan Baez and other performers, along with antiwar speeches.
The police presence along the demonstration's route seemed more relaxed than at recent protests, although D.C. police and U.S. Park Police had hundreds of officers in place to deal with potential trouble. Police said a construction fence was torn down and a newspaper box damaged, but they reported no injuries or major problems. They said three people were arrested -- one on a charge of destruction of property, one on a charge of attempted theft and one on a charge of disorderly conduct.
More than 200 counter-demonstrators set up outside the FBI building on Pennsylvania Avenue, and some back-and-forth yelling occurred as the antiwar marchers moved past. "Shame on you! Shame on you!" one counter-protester shouted at the antiwar group. Several dozen officers stood between the two groups, and no trouble erupted, police said.
Some organizations supporting the war in Iraq plan to demonstrate today on the Mall.
Antiwar groups staged smaller rallies yesterday in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, London, Rome and other cities. In Washington, the events were sponsored by groups including the ANSWER Coalition and United for Peace and Justice and focused on a succinct theme: "End the War in Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now."
Roughly 147,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq. Since the war began in March 2003, 1,911 U.S. members of the military have been killed and 14,641 have been wounded.
The protest groups helped organize caravans and carpools, and many participants began arriving early in the morning after bumpy, all-night bus rides.
Leslie Darling, 60, came from Cleveland with four friends and said it was her first antiwar protest. She said she was moved by what happened after Hurricane Katrina.
"It made clear that while we spend all this money trying to impose our will on other countries, here at home in our own country, we can't take care of each other," she said.
When the bus coming from Kalamazoo, Mich., pulled up to Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, Sister Maureen Metty, 56, stretched her legs and prepared for a brand-new experience.
"There were 250 sisters who wanted to be here today, but I'm the one they chose to send," she said. She carried a sign that read "Sisters of St. Joseph's for Peace," a folding stool and a backpack with snacks, her toothbrush and toothpaste. She snapped a flurry of pictures for the sisters back home, took a deep breath and headed into the crowd.
People came to the Mall and Ellipse in waves. Organizers said that several thousand never got there because of an Amtrak breakdown on the New York-to-Washington line in the morning. Others who took Metro faced delays because of repairs on the Yellow and Blue lines.
Once protesters arrived, they joined throngs headed toward the rally on the Ellipse, which featured numerous speakers, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, actress Jessica Lange and Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who drew thousands of demonstrators to her 26-day vigil outside Bush's Crawford, Tex., ranch last month and was the inspiration for many protesters yesterday. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Iraq last year.
"This is amazing!" Sheehan said. "You're part of history."
Some of the biggest applause went to someone not even on the program. Adam Hathaway, an 8-year-old who became lost while mingling in the crowds. Before he was separated from his mother, Adam was showing people his jar of pennies and proclaiming that "President Bush is taking lots of this and using it in the war."
Several announcements were made seeking help in finding the blond boy from Maine. He was reunited with his mother, Julia Hathaway, as the crowd cheered.
Bush was not around to hear the protesters filing past the White House. He spent the day at command centers in Texas and Colorado, where he assessed Hurricane Rita recovery efforts. Vice President Cheney was undergoing surgery at George Washington University Hospital to treat aneurysms on the back of his knees.
Bush and Cheney were depicted on posters, T-shirts and in makeshift costumes. Several demonstrators wore masks of Bush's likeness and prison jumpsuits. They were often asked to pose for photographs.
Many protesters said they had opposed the action in Iraq all along but were emboldened to demonstrate after polls showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the war.
The masses on the street served up a broad cross section of the United States by age, geography religion and ethnic group. The Raging Grannies, Presbyterians for Peace, Portuguese Against Bush and a group of Quakers were there. The Buddhist Peace Delegation took up most of 14th Street NW with its golden banner that read: "May all beings be safe and free from anger, fear, greed, dilution and all ill being."
Protest organizers made special note of military participants in the antiwar effort.
Army 1st Sgt. Frank Cookinham, with a Special Forces patch on one shoulder, scorpion tattoos crawling across the back of his neck and "LOCO" permanently inked on his Adam's apple stands out in most crowds. He was pretty uncomfortable yesterday.
"I've never done this before, but here I am, in uniform, figuring this is the only way I can shove it to Bush," said Cookinham, of Newport, R.I., a Persian Gulf War veteran who recently returned from a second tour in Iraq. "This war makes no sense."
Marching past the Treasury Building, Steven Olsen, 57, and his wife, Brenda, 49, of Yonkers, N.Y., held signs bearing a photo of their son, an Army Reserve sergeant sent to Iraq after enrolling in medical school.
"I hear from him about once a month," said Brenda as her husband gently waved a placard that said, "Proud of my soldier: Ashamed of this war."
Forwarded by "Kathleen Roberts" email@example.com>
SEPTEMBER 24, 2005 - A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR AMERICA
I admit it- I was starting to lose hope. After the NYC antiwar march on the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq garnered only 10,000 poeple, I figured that a creeping apathy had taken hold in the movement, and people just couldn't be bothered to care anymore.
But damn - I've never been so happy to be wrong, in my entire life.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself...
As we approached the corner of Constitution ave and 15th, it was apparent that something BIG was right around the corner- there was a tension and an audible buzz in the air that really can't be described- you had to have been there, to know what I mean.
When we turned the corner- well- words can't describe what I saw, and what I felt- they really can't. At the edge of the Washington Monument plaza was a hastilly-erected fence- and beyond that, were people- people as far as the eye could see. For a moment, I just had to stop, and take it all in.
Seriously, at this point, the linear narrative has to end. I descended into the crowd, and I lost myself- the next five hours were among the most amazing I've ever experienced in my life.
The sounds - the waves of cheering shook the very air - you could feel it.
The sights - innumerable legions of people, stretched as far as the eye could see - you felt at the same time, both tiny, and invincible.
I am not frail, nor am I overly emotional. After two years of seeing pictures of the mangled corpses that have been issuing forth from the killing field that Iraq has become, I felt that I had become emotionally still. After seeing the floating bodidies of the dead in Katrina's wake, I thought that my emotional capital had been spent. After seeing the honor of our nation callously squandered, I felt that I was a man without a country.
But let me be frank with you:
An hour into the march, I had to drop out for a bit- I sat down on the street, and through misty eyes, I beheld the throngs, heard the thunderous clamour, and I could do nothing else but bury my face in my hands, and cry. Yes- call me a pussy- a weak, liberal pansy- but I wept like a baby.
First, I wept in shameful mourning, at the thousands who have died in pursuit of a war that never should have been- a war that has claimed so many innocent lives, in pursuit of profit, greed, hubris, and an abominable neoconservative ideology that is willing to squander the precious blood of our fellow man, for a sick dream of empire.
Then, I opened my eyes, and cried anew, but this time, the tears were borne of joy, and hope.
As I raised my head, a child, no more than seven or eight years old passed by, looked at me, and gave me the peace sign, with a smile that broke the clouds above with a ray of sunshine, which I will carry with me, to my dying day.
The tears departed- I got back to my feet, re-joined the march, and for the first time, in so many years, I felt pride. I looked to the right, and saw a batallion decorated veterans. I looked to the left, and saw a group of college students from colorado- looking about me, I saw the young, the old, the black, the white, the asian, and the hispanic- and then, my vision blurred...
And suddenly- we were all Americans. Loud, angry, and proud Americans. Here we all were- the good, the better, and the best, patriots all, determined to make our voices heard.
It was a beautiful day- a day in which the true conscience of the long-dormant majority took to the streets, and reclaimed our dignity, as a people, and a nation.
Now- some lament that no matter what happened this saturday last, it doesn't matter. They will argue that, despite this massive anti-war rally, the Bush Bowl will continue their ruinous policies, and the corporate media will continue to ignore the anti-war majority.
They are right on both counts- the offensive policies continue to pour out of the Republican machine in Washington, and, indeed, the corporate media has been mum, about the events on Saturday. But, on the other hand, this event has galvanized the hidden majority of the American public, in ways that will be played out, in the coming months and years.
Hundreds of thousands walked away from this event, reinforced and strengthened. Prior to this rally, Bush only had to worry about one Cindy Sheehan- now, Bush has thousands of Cindy Sheehans to deal with, spread accross this country.
We sowed the seed, on March 20, 2003. The sprout emerged in Crawford, in August - it flowered in DC - and these seeds of peace will grow, and eventually overcome this poisonous soil of hate and division that has been spread over our nation - but only if we continue to fight, organize, and become the change we wish to see.
Hundreds of Thousands March against the War
Anti-War Momentum | Peace by Pieces
Critics cannot easily dismiss this incarnation of anti-war enthusiasm as a fringe passion of anarchists, communists and freaks. Recent polls say a majority of Americans - as many as 59 percent - think the war in Iraq is a "mistake" and the troops should be brought home. "People are angry, but they're focused," says Karen Bradley. "It's not blind rage. People are sober, and very determined."
Iraq War Veterans' Presence in DC Unreported
The New York Times and much of the other news coverage of Saturday's anti-war demonstration in Washington, DC, failed to note the presence of a particularly knowledgeable group of protestors - recently-returned veterans of the war in Iraq.
Media Ignores Historic Anti-War March
Hundreds of thousands of Americans around the country protested the Iraq War on the weekend of September 24-26 in Washington, DC. But if you relied on television for your news, you'd hardly know the protests happened at all.
We Don't Exist
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
25 September 2005
Last weekend, Karl Rove said that I was a clown and the anti-war movement was "non-existent." I wonder if the hundreds of thousands of people who showed up today to protest this war and George's failed policies know that they don't exist. It is also so incredible to me that Karl thinks that he can wish us away by saying we aren't real. Well, Karl and Co., we are real, we do exist and we are not going away until this illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq is over and you are sent back to the depths of whatever slimy, dark, and loathsome place you came from. I may be a clown, Karl, but you are about to be indicted. You also preside over one of the biggest three-ring, malevolent circuses of all time: the Bush administration.
The rally today was overwhelming and powerful. The reports that I was arrested today were obviously false. The peace rally was mostly very peaceful. Washington, DC was filled with energetic and proud Americans who came from all over to raise their voices in unison against the criminals who run our government and their disastrous policies that are making our nation more vulnerable to all kinds of attacks (natural and "Bush"-made disasters).
I led the march for peace alongside such venerable activists as the Reverends Al Sharpton, Bob Edgars, and Jesse Jackson Jr., and Julian Bond. Two of our Congresswomen with cojones from California, Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, also led the march.
Many people told me thank you for coming. I want to tell America "Thank you!!" At the Camp Casey reunion this evening, I was so overcome with emotion and gratitude that I wanted to hug every citizen of this country. We in the Camp Casey movement are so proud and thrilled that America showed up in such great numbers.
So much happened today! I am exhausted but very content. I am again filled with a renewed sense of hope that we will get our country back and get our troops home. I was also thrilled at the number of young people who came out today. That is another great sign that the side of good is winning.
With the Reverends, we stopped in front of the White House and said a prayer. After the prayer, I said that we are light and they are darkness. Darkness can NEVER overcome the light, ever. As long as there is one spark, the darkness has lost. We will prevail, we will be victorious. The darkness has lost because our beacons of peace and truth are shining for the entire world to see. And it is a very pretty sight. Take that Karl.
When Rose Met Cindy: The Case against the War in Iraq (23 September 2005)
On both sides of the Atlantic, two mothers who lost sons in Iraq have launched campaigns to end the conflict. One camped outside George Bush's ranch. The other stood in the general election. This week, they came face to face for the first time. Andrew Buncombe reports.
Cindy Sheehan: "We Mean Business"
Cindy Sheehan | Patriotic Dissent
Speaking in Washington DC today, Cindy Sheehan states that we in the peace movement need to agree on one thing: yes we need an exit plan, but it is not a strategy, it is a command. The command should be: have all of our military personnel and paid killer mercenaries out of Iraq within 6 months, and the generals carry out the command.
About Cindy Sheehan
David Swanson states that Cindy Sheehan has demanded in a voice loud enough for the nation to hear that the war end immediately. And Cindy is able to do this without seeming irrationally impatient: she makes clear that she does not want a single additional mother to go through what she has.
Norman Solomon | The News Media and the Anti-War Movement
Over the weekend, many TV news watchers saw little or nothing about the anti-war protests. What's crucial is that the movement not allow its momentum to be interrupted by media treatment.
Cindy Sheehan Arrested on Sidewalk Outside White House
Peace mom leads a massive anti-war march, then takes a bust for the cause
by Sarah Ferguson
September 26th, 2005
It's not easy being a professional peace momespecially when everyone wants a piece of you. "I've been staying in a different place every night," says Cindy Sheehan, the 48-year-old California housewife who galvanized the anti-war movement and starred in the march against the Iraq war on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
Since she left her now famous Camp Caseynamed for the 24-year-old son she lost in Iraqoutside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, four weeks ago, Sheehan has been barnstorming the country, touring in a caravan of rented RVs and cars with some three dozen other military families and Vietnam and Iraq war vets. She and her fellow activists have been prowling the halls of Congress, insisting on face time with legislators. On Monday, Sheehan and several other parents of fallen soldiers were among some 300 activists arrested in a mass civil disobedience on the sidewalk outside the White House.
While right-wing critics like Rush Limbaugh like to suggest she's being bankrolled by Move On, Michael Moore, and other elements of the "limousine left," Sheehan's crusade is still very much a grassroots affair. When she and the rest of the Bring Them Home Now tour hit Washington this week to challenge Bush to meet with them and put the heat on Congress for funding the war, they crashed on couches and slept on bunkbeds at an international youth hostel.
That kind of dogged authenticity is the root of Sheehan's power. At Saturday's massive anti-war demonstration, she electrified the crowds with her plea not to let any more moms suffer the agony of losing a child in a war she says is unwinnable and "founded on lies." "We are here today because we don't want to see any more kids come home in coffins," she told the tens of thousands massed before her at the Ellipse. "How many more of other people's children are you willing to sacrifice for the lies?" she demanded, turning her anger toward Congress. "Shame on you for giving [Bush] the authority to invade Iraq."
It's a potent message, and one even hawkish supporters of the war like Senator Hillary Clinton are being forced to acknowledge. Not wanting to fall into the trap of looking callous for refusing a grieving mom, Clinton, Senate Minority leader Harry Reid, and even the chief of staff of Senate Majority leader Bill Frist agreed to sit down with the military families and Iraq war veterans who trooped through the Capitol all week. On Monday, Sheehan met with Indiana Democrat Dick Lugar, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committeepart of a grassroots lobbying push that drew 700 antiwar campaigners to the Hill. Republican senator John McCain is scheduled for a meeting on Tuesday.
For extra motivation, the pols can turn to the polls. A record two thirds of the American public now disapproves of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, and 52 percent think we should get out "as soon as possible." That's in contrast to an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken two months ago, when 58 percent of those asked said they supported keeping troops in Iraq "until civil order is restored, even if that means continued U.S. military casualties."
Saturday's march, estimated by police at something more than 100,000 people and by organizers at around 300,000, marked a revival of protest on a scale not seen since the start of the U.S. invasion in 2003. More significant than the size of the march was its tone. In contrast to the almost giddy Bush-bashing of previous demos, there was a sense of somber urgency brought by the presence of hundreds of military families and alienated Iraq war vets. Their voices have given the movement a new center of gravity.
"Just like Rosa Parks, Cindy Sheehan has triggered a public policy debate that's bigger than her as a personality," Reverend Jesse Jackson said backstage. "She's unleashed a dynamic that is calling into question the basis of this war.
"You can be against the war and win re-election now. You can be against the war and get elected," Jackson continued. "We have Republicans who are starting to turn on Bush. That was not true a year ago, before Cindy Sheehan and before Katrina."
And that's also why the right is doing its best to derail the Cindy bandwagon, casting her as an anti-American, "professional griever." Beyond dredging for dirt in her personal life, Republican operatives are now trotting out their own pro-military moms in an effort to blunt Sheehan's message. They launched a "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" cross-country bus tour, which arrived in Washington on Sunday.
Their rally drew only several hundred supporters to the Washington Mall, where they held up signs like "Freedom Isn't Free" and "Saddam Is a WMD" as they listened to speakers like Watergate thief-turned-radio-pundit G. Gordon Liddy, who accused Sheehan of "whoring the good name of her son" and carrying out a "left-wing socialist agenda."
Also speaking out was Temple, Texas, native Gary Qualls, whose 20-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Louis Qualls, was killed in Falluja last year. Qualls brandished a small white cross, pulled from a memorial Sheehan's group had set up in Crawford, with his kid's name painted on it. "This is the very first cross repossessed from Cindy Sheehan's unholy camp!" he declared, his face red with anger. "We need nothing but pure honor and respect for our service members and for our leader George Bush."
Sheehan offers no way out of this political conflict or this war, and it's hard to say what will become of her iconic status now that she's spun into the orbit of the anti-war left, with both national campaigns like Win Without War and every wing-nut wannabe seeking to glom on to her cause. Monday's civil disobedience ran the gamut of Code Pinkers and Naderites, anarch-kids and feminist boob-flashers, along with some guys roaming around in prison garb, with Abu Ghraib hoods over their heads.
"The whole world is watching," chanted the crowd of supporters as Sheehan took the first bust, blowing a kiss to her followers when the cops loaded her into a van before a scrum of media surging to capture the shot. "The whole thing is scripted," the anarch-kids chanted back.
For now, Sheehan pledges to keep talking, believing more and more people are listening. "It's hard to tell these stories," she says of the sons and husbands that she and other military families have lost. "But we do it to heal ourselves and to heal this country. We do it because we have been broken, and we don't want anyone else to be broken. We're doing it for the innocent Iraqis in harm's way, and we're doing it for the other families, so they don't have to hear that knock on the door."
Cindy Sheehan Arrested at White House (26 September 2005 )
Cindy Sheehan, along with several well-known figures, has been arrested at the front gates of the White House in Washington, DC. Sheehan had attempted once again to gain an audience with George W. Bush; again she was refused. Sheehan and her supporters then proceeded to sit down and pray at a restricted point in front of the White House. She and many others have been arrested.
Protesters worldwide call for end to Iraq war
Sept. 24, 2005
Thousands of demonstrators converged on the U.S. capital Saturday, in just one of many anti-war marches planned for cities across North America and Europe.
Young activists, nuns, families mourning the loss of loved ones who fought and died in Iraq, marched past the White House, shouting "Peace now."
Organizers hoped to draw as many as 100,000 people in Washington D.C. for the day of protest and remembrance.
"I think they probably hit that," said Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey.
The coalition of anti-war groups organizing the day's events say their unifying message is simply: "bring the troops home."
President George Bush did not receive the message first-hand, though, as he spent the day dealing with Hurricane Rita from Colorado and Texas. The president has repeatedly said withdrawing U.S. troops now would hand the nation's enemies a victory.
But that hasn't stopped those gathering in the capital to direct their anger at the president.
"Bush Lied, Thousands Died," one sign read.
Folk singer Joan Baez -- an icon of the 1960s Vietnam War protests -- marched and later sang at the foot of the Washington Monument. She said Iraq has become a mess and that the troops need to come home immediately.
"There is chaos. There's bloodshed. There's carnage," said Baez.
Rallies also took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Brussels, Florence, Rome, Paris and Madrid.
Canadians took to the streets in several cities as well, from Calgary to Toronto, Vancouver to Halifax.
In Ottawa, about 200 anti-war advocates called for Canada and the U.S. to end their "occupations'' in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti.
"We love our troops, bring them home," said Federico Carvajal of Together Against War.
"We don't want to be responsible for those human rights violations that we are currently responsible for.''
In Toronto, several hundred people waved banners and anti-war signs in front of the U.S. Consulate before marching to the Ontario Liberal party offices.
In London, England, meanwhile, thousands of protesters took to the streets calling for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.
A member of the Stop the War Coalition which organized the march from the Houses of Parliament to Hyde Park says she and others are there to be heard.
"Enough is enough," Lindsey German told The Associated Press. "It is now time, once again, for the British people to step forward into the streets and insist that this time we will not be ignored."
The day of rallies marks the unofficial culmination of California mother Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son Casey was killed fighting in Iraq last year.
"This war is immoral, it will end," said Sheehan. "The darkness will never overcome the light."
Sheehan became the focus of anti-war sentiment in America last month, when she staged a 26-day demonstration in front of the vacationing president's Texas ranch.
Anti-War Rally Will Be a First for Many
"End the war in Iraq," draws protesters of all stripes. "This demonstration will reflect, by far, the most diverse group of antiwar protesters since before the war began," said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition, one of the event's sponsors. "We have people coming from all political persuasions, including a very large number of people who have never before been part of the antiwar movement or protest activity."
Dahr Jamail | More Dissent, More Censorship
A quarter of a million people jammed the streets of the capital this past weekend, as Mr. Bush conveniently found himself visiting the US Northern Command's HQ in Colorado Springs.
'You Can't Wash Your Hands When They're Covered in Blood'
Hart Viges shares his experience in Iraq. "One of our snipers called back on the radio saying "Excuse me but did I hear that order correctly? Green light on all taxi cabs?" "Roger that soldier. You'd better start buckling up." All of a sudden the city just blew up. Didn't matter if there was an innocent in the taxi-cab - we laid a mortar round on it, snipers opened up."
Saudis Warn of Region-Wide Conflict
Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war.
From: "Suzanne Ward" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Message from Matthew
Date: 23 Sep 2005
September 22, 2003
S: I'm here, dear!
MATTHEW: Thank you for coming to the computer, dear soul. I'll begin straightaway to explain why I answered "Bad news" to your question, "What about Rita?" Indeed this is one of the most powerful storms in Earth's history, and once again, this is the work of humankind befouling Mother Nature's own cleansing efforts. As with Katrina, your extraterrestrial family is alleviating to the extent possible the intentional disaster course and velocity of this hurricane's force. But as powerful as their technology is, it cannot quell the storm's natural momentum that has been greatly compounded by the weather controllers efforts. I shall say more about this in a moment.
Mother, when I told you shortly after you sent out my last message that the levees had been strategically blown to flood specific parts of New Orleans, you asked why I hadn't mentioned that in our message sitting. I didn't tell you the full reason, and I'd like to state here why I did not. It was difficult for me to accept that fact, just as it was to know that Katrina's course was steered by weather control measures. How could I have added our awarenessmuch less our expectation!of the intentional flooding to my message and then plead for all of you to send love to those who did it? Mother, I just couldn't do that. Not because this terrible truth won't become publicly known, not because knowing it will be any less painful at that time than before, but because of my own emotions.
You cannot imagine how deeply saddened we are by the massive extent of personal tragedies that need not have happened. Yes, Earth must release negativity along her ascension path, but it is not her wish to have such needless death and devastation result. In many ways we are so closely bonded with youwith those who are suffering and those who are responsible for the agony and anxietythat we cannot help but feel sorrow. It goes beyond compassion. We know the anguish of shock and griefit is an integral part of us from lifetimes wherein we experienced these emotions ourselves. And so we grieve with those who are grieving and we grieve for the ones whose darkness caused it.
Because the thought forms of intent to blow up the levees were in the mass consciousness, we anticipated that. Light warriors on the planet did not know where all of the dark energy streamer attachments led and could not prevent all the detonations. What we in these higher vibrations could not know was all facets of the aftermath or their extent because many details were unknown until they unfolded in the chaos. But we also knew from thought forms that people who survived the storm would be allowed to die afterwards, that they would be doomed by the design of the perpetrators of this entire unconscionable happening. This is what we saw before it became known on Earth through the accounts of people who endured and survived the inhumane-ness of deliberate neglect.
I have told you, emotions are more deeply felt in the higher frequencies, and your heartaches are intensified in us. I am not in Nirvana, so you know I don't mean only the thousands of souls who entered Earth's spirit world due to the storm and that neglect in the aftermathI mean countless souls in various places in the universe feel your horror and sorrow. We cannot hold onto those feelings and still radiate love energy to Earth, especially to the dark ones responsible, so we do not let the feelings engulf us; but we know what happened and why, and we cannot erase this from our hearts and consciousness. Now you can understand why my emotions got in the way of my "full reporting."
To return to the uncommonly monstrous storm named Rita, there is great need for cleansing the Gulf area of the negativity formed by diverse sources that now include the dark aspects of Katrina. Remnants of heavy karmic influences from many generations of injustices must be completed, and the extraction of oilan element of your planet's body that is essential in its natural place for her well beingmust be stopped. The latter is a global need, and it will happen as other energy sources are implemented, but because oil production in the Gulf area is inextricably tied with the "illegal" drug industry, hidden amassed wealth, rampant political and corporate corruption, widespread "black-ops" operations, extensive environmental damage and disregard for marine life, in that area it must cease the soonest.
Mother, I know that you've received a number of questions pertaining to higher gasoline pricesbasically, "Is this the reason President Bush's first focus of Katrina's destruction was on the oil fields?" Creating additional financial hardship on an already overly-taxed population is certainly one goal, but there are many and more significant aims afoot. In the field of potential, Rita is an ominous arena for the light and dark forces' overall struggle.
It is as with Katrina's origin, if left alone to do her cleansing, Earth would accomplish the mission far enough off coast so that minimal destruction would result by landfall. Especially so soon after Katrina, why once again was manmade weather control introduced? Political expediency because of Katrina. Bush is determined to redeem his presidential image, so severely tarnished by the well known aspects of that storm's aftermath, and his band of Illuminati scientists are using Rita to counter with adequate preparation and immediate assistance the shameful lack of it regarding Katrina.
This shows the extent of his madness. He is unwilling to end the occupation of Iraq or the diverting of billions of reconstruction dollars into the pockets of his friends; and he is unwilling to scuttle, only delay, his plans to invade Iran with the same intent. He is committing billions of dollars to rebuild a wealthy "white" New Orleans, which means incurring billions more to establish permanent resettling of the vast majority of the people who were evacuated. Ignoring the decreasing numbers of military troops and aid personnel for his new purpose via Rita as well as the bankrupt economy of his country, he is determined to devastate more of it so he can be acclaimed for effective leadership. Clearly, for the good of all life forms on Earth, this madness cannot continue, and it won't much longer.
S: Matthew, do you know how much longer?
MATTHEW: No, not exactly, nor does anyone in any station because energy set in motion must be played outit cannot simply be stopped at a predetermined cut-off date. The favorable factor in our calculating "sooner" rather than "later" is, by Earth's request, God's authorization for increased ET intervention in your world's affairs, including other civilizations representatives who are residing on Earth. Part of this is pressure on individuals who have evidence showing the Bush administration's betrayal of the country throughout his time in office, where pervasive voting fraud and Illuminati members on the Supreme Court placed him. This means heightened and strategically directed rather than overall light-beaming to those who are wavering in their intent to speak out due to life threats, which could be construed as interference in free will if it were not by God's authorization. In a term of popularity there, a "proactive paradigm" is now in processyour space brothers and sisters may take charge where they previously could not because all free will choices, however dark in nature, in those situations had to be honored.
S: People are publicly speaking out about Bush's lies, comprehensive reports about documented evidence are swirling around the Internet, and there is a Chicago grand jury indictmentmaybe more than oneof Bush and others in several issues that amount to treason, so I can't see where this development you mentioned will have any influential effect.
MATTHEW: Mother dear, it's precisely "influential effect" that I'm referring to. The public denouncements of your government's policies and activities are from people whose impact is on others who also have no power to be persuasive beyond their actions. Please don't think that I'm denying the enormous power of this collective energy of intent! It's that the development affects individuals in the government whose positions are so influential that speaking out publicly cannot be ignored or swept away as "conspiracy theory."
S: Do you know who?
MATTHEW: I do and I cannot say. Soon you'll know! No, I can't say exactly when, but again, this is "sooner" rather than "later." I am sticking with our observations that by year-end there will be considerable changes in your leadership.
S: OK, dearI'm counting on you to be right! You've often said that Earth demanded that no more actions on the scale of 9/11 could happen. Why doesn't everything "manmade" about Katrina and afterwards fall into that? More people died, more devastation occurred, more people are affected.
MATTHEW: Mother, I know this bothers you tremendously, beyond your discomfort of thinking that my information about that was wrong, and I'm not sure I can explain this to your satisfaction. There are fine lines between what constitutes free will acts of "terrorism" and free will acts in connection with natural cleansing efforts. God is bound by Creator's law of free will, and in honoring Earth's free will choice for no more acts equivalent to 9/11, all dark attempts to repeat that kind of act have been prevented. I can only say that it is different when Earth follows her natural course to release pent-up negativity and human hands enter. I understand that you can't perceive this situation within the universal laws.
S: You know I can't, but thank you for trying. Do you know how many people died due to Katrina?
MATTHEW: My information comes from monitors in Nirvana, who tell me that deaths attributable to neglect after the storm and flooding still are occurring and the toll exceeds 12,000. Do not expect this number to be announced. There is no central point where people can register names of deceased or missing family members, and their wide dispersal from the affected areas is, in large part, to prevent the combining of individual stories that could lead to an accurate count. You have seen in some Internet information various numbers, all in the many thousands, of body bags ordered for New Orleans. The order was predicated upon population figures in the large areas of planned flooding when fewer survivors were expected.
Bodies are being disposed of in expedient ways without attempts at identification. This is not newthe same mass disposals were carried out after previous weather-controlled storms in your country, also among peoples without the power to protest or even means to inquire about their lost families and friends.
The same disinformation about death toll applies to military troops in the Mideast. The official count of about 1900 is perhaps 20 percent, maybe even less, than the actual number. Those who question why no photographs can be taken as the coffins arrive are justified in suspecting that it's because the death toll is much higher than the official release. And there is little media acknowledgement of the hundreds of thousands of troops who have been severely wounded physically and psychically by this war.
Mother, as heartless as mass burial of unidentified bodies is, and as dishonorable as it is to deny the actuality of the war dead, the SOULS of the people who perished are not adversely affected or they benefit immensely! The loss of the bodies designed for the specific experiencing they chose is a fleeting moment in their eternal life. The many whose pre-birth agreements weren't lived out due to their physical lifetimes being cut short, receive "full credit" in Nirvana via a divine realization and transformation process, just as if karmic lessons for soul growth had been successfully completed during the Earth lifetime. They are free of third density's limitations! The vital significance of this must become known to ease the grieving of their beloved families to the measure possible.
I could have said earlier that for these departed souls, we rejoice! It is our joyousness for them that helps to relieve the sorrow we share with the souls who "lost" them. And I could have mentioned the same about our joy at seeing the burst of light emanating from Earth as souls globally offer and provide aid to those who survived Katrina and the week that followed. As Earth's journey progresses into the higher frequencies, you, too, will achieve the emotional balancing that souls in these stations of higher evolvement have. The entire universe is perpetually balancing, and the more a soul advances in spiritual clarity, the easier the balancing act becomes.
S: Let's go back to what happened after Katrina hit land. I've read reports from people who were there, interviews with survivors and rescuers personal experiences. I can't believe that everyone in FEMA has a "dark heart," but from those personal accounts I read, it seems that they all hindered rather than helped rescue efforts.
MATTHEW: Federal Emergency Management Administration is a misnomer. It implies that the purpose of this unwieldy but powerful organization is to be at the ready to help in disasters of natural origin, but it is not that at allFEMA was established to control the country's population, period. What the world saw via television and front pages of the press is proof that the agency is not set up to manage any needs of the people. The ranks of FEMA workers are not "dark-hearted," but they are not trained to deal with emergencies, they are not given proper equipment and supplies, and they are given assignments they don't feel are helping the people they are there to help. My colleagues in Nirvana report that these workers are disheartened by the confusion and the lack of assistance they were permitted to give, and they don't realize that confusion and lack of assistance is exactly what was intended by the few "dark hearts" at the scene and at the top of the agency.
Mother, something else I said at the time I told you about the levees is that the men on their way to repair them were fatally shot because they knewor it was suspected that they knewabout the detonations. Prior to the storm's arrival, CIA members of the Illuminati were covertly in place in New Orleans with assignments not only to explode the levees, but also to ensure there was confusion in rescue operations, to cut communication lines, start the looting, and eliminate all threats to any of the truth becoming knownthat is why those levee repairmen were killed. But it is as I also said then, others have evidence of what many know but cannot prove about the levees, and this evidence will become publicly known. It will be one of the pivotal nails in Bush's presidential coffin, so to speak, and will lead to the public's easier come by belief when his complicity in "9/11" and his affiliation with the Illuminati's master plan for world control are disclosed.
S: Was the very formation of the United States part of that master plan?
MATTHEW: In some minds, yes, but not in the minds of the leaders of the Revolution and the founding of the nation as a republic, when the prevailing energy was political, religious and economic freedom. Even with denying women a voice in voting and the buying and selling of slaves, that freedom energy was strong, much stronger than the off-planet dark souls could tolerate. Therefore, along with voting rights for women and freedom for slaves came the dark side of both advances: The dark souls infiltrated the hearts and minds of the young nation's people who had tendencies toward greed and control, and thus was born the ideas of fraudulent elections and continued subjugation of the former slaves by discrimination. The original energy of individuals freedom has been plunging to the current nearly non-existent level, largely without the awareness of the citizenry. I say this without judgment of their ignorance or character, as the dark ones are exceedingly cunning about infiltrating even the tiniest cracks in godly resolve and then dulling sensibilities and blinding reason.
S: It does seem so, dear. You've said before that a transitional government is in place to minimize confusion and disruption of life's "normalcy" when the current administration is ousted. You in the higher realms obviously think the new leaders will be able to prevent mass anxiety and dangerous resistance, but is there any indication of certainty? We can't have our hopes raised and crushed at that critical juncture!
MATTHEW: Mother, fear NOT! If you could see the billions of light sparks on the planet as we do, if you could know the wisdom and "supernatural" powers of the new leadership souls as we know them, and if you could see Earth in all her transformation glory in say, five years, as we do, your mind would be at ease!
S: How many of us will be here in five years?
MATTHEW: Less than your current population, and for that, feel only joy for the souls who won't be. All with dark proclivity will be gonethey will be in placements for starting over at the level of comprehension they need. All who are afflicted with diseases or slow starvation or malformed bodies due to the various toxins will not be theretheir physical ordeals will have ended. The projected birthrate according to statistical calculations will not happen, and the souls who are incarnating with long longevity contracts will reproduce judiciously. It is not that your planet is over-populated so that there cannot be an abundance of good for all, but that "evil" has long prevented this from reaching so many.
S: I see. Mash dear, what can light workers do to hurry this along? You've got to know how disheartening it is even for us, and surely far more so for people who don't have an inkling that everything so abhorrent is going to end.
MATTHEW: Oh Mother, dearest soul to me, we do. We do. How we wish all of you could feel the love and compassion we feel for you, the respect we have for your emotional strength, for your steadfastness in hope despite the heartache at what you see happening. We cannot ask more of you than we already have, we can only ask it again: Hold love in your hearts for all of Earth. This is the most powerful thing you can do for beloved Gaia and for all souls within her essence. Remembering that thoughts and feelings are prayers, please pray for all to be healed. Yes, do whatever you can in logistical and financial ways to help all who need itthis generates light to sustain you and thembut above all, feel LOVE.
S: That reminds me of a question on this growing list I have. Someone wants your opinion about signing a letter "All my love." A family member chided her for doing that, and the question is: "Is she right that this indicates no love is left for anyone else?"
MATTHEW: Oh my goodness! I do hope that the person who objected to "All my love" sees this. Love is infinite! It can't be quantified or divided or diminished or used up! Each of you has a boundless capacity to give and receive love. You can give "all of it" a million times or more and it remains as it always has been and always will bethe most powerful force in the universe.
Mother, I think this is a lovely and loving way to end this message. Your smile lets me know that you feel the same. So, with a reminder to you about the note you wish to add, I send ALL MY LOVE to all of you.
[Note: My heartfelt thanks to everyone who had various kinds of healing sessions, sent prayers, or recommended therapies after reading about my hand in Matthew's August 31 message. The effects were amazingly quick and my hand is almost perfect againeven my overall health is improvedthanks to your response with caring spirit and healing energy.
A hand with compromised use is such a very minor condition that I'm embarrassed about it being mentioned, but typing the message with my left hand in a carpal tunnel (not the diagnosis) brace and two fingers in splints did become stressful. The consequence of still having to type in an unfamiliar way, only one finger on that pesky hand (but now without contraptions and discomfort), is an inbox filled with 100s of unanswered emails. I'm spending many hours daily in an effort to catch up before our Oct 5-13 trip, but with new emails daily and other things popping in to claim my time, it seems unlikely that I'll be able to do that. This is a lesson in patience for me more than for you! LOVE and PEACE, Suzy]
Note from Jean: For more details on Matthew and Suzanne Ward Nirvana/Earth collaboration and to review Matthew's previous messages, please visit http://ww.matthewbooks.com
From: "Nadia McLaren" email@example.com>
Date: 25 Sep 2005
Subject: Fascism: Another perfect storm
Here's a collection where Christians, workers, liberals, humanists and others speak out on the perceived growth of fascist government in the USA.
Isn't it curious that we can agree a definition of facism but find it impossible to produce even moderate consensus on a definition of terrorism. Perhaps it is closer to "terrarism". We now spend over 4% of our wealth and labour (not forgetting the earth's resources - or just about 20% of US government spending) in war against the undefinable, which is pretty much what facism is: a blend of imperialism and corporatism blessed by a self-serving brand of religion.
Yesterday there was a massive anti-war protest (estimated 300,000) in Washington DC that was barely covered by the corporate media, whilst at the other end of the country apocalyptic climate conditions accompanied the largest exodus of US citizens in history. Today the US president is settled in the headquarters of US Northern Command in Colorado Springs. He travelled there from Texas after Hurricane Rita hit, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, accompanied by speculation that he may enact far-reaching emergency procedures which could potentially lead the country into a situation of Martial Law.
It's been over two years since I distributed material on this theme, but more arrives at a steady rate. This is consequently a large collection and I would not expect you will read it all. My usual advice is the skim the headings for what particularly attracts your eye.
Which does not stop me sprinkling a few bad-taste jokes and some visual amusements (see attachments) to keep you reading. But, despite the fun, I'm not one who believes that the American acts through incompetence. The "stuff-happens" administration is wearing thin as an excuse.
Familiarity should not bring complacency. Whether you agree with them or not, these people choose to speak up rather than shut up. I have found all of their articles worth reading and hope you find one or two yourself. If you are short of the time, the salient points are in the first text item or the following flash presentation.
LIVING UNDER FASCISM
By Rev. Davidson Loehr
11/07/04 "UUA News" -- You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word "fascism" in a serious discussion of where America is today. It sounds like cheap name-calling, or melodramatic allusion to a slew of old war movies. But I am serious. I don't mean it as name-calling at all. I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying. That's what I am about here. And even if I don't persuade you, I hope to raise the level of your thinking about who and where we are now, to add some nuance and perhaps some useful insights.
(...) Our current descent into fascism came about through a kind of "Perfect Storm," a confluence of three unrelated but mutually supportive schools of thought.
1. The first stream of thought was the imperialistic dream of the Project for the New American Century. I don't believe anyone can understand the past four years without reading the Project for the New American Century, published in September 2000 and authored by many who have been prominent players in the Bush administrations, including Cheney, Rumsfleid, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Donald Kagan to name only a few. This report saw the fall of Communism as a call for America to become the military rulers of the world, to establish a new worldwide empire. They spelled out the military enhancements we would need, then noted, sadly, that these wonderful plans would take a long time, unless there could be a catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor that would let the leaders turn America into a military and militarist country. There was no clear interest in religion in this report, and no clear concern with local economic policies.
2. A second powerful stream must be credited to Pat Robertson and his Christian Reconstructionists, or Dominionists. Long dismissed by most of us as a screwball, the Dominionist style of Christianity which he has been preaching since the early 1980s is now the most powerful religious voice in the Bush administration.
Katherine Yurica, who transcribed over 1300 pages of interviews from Pat Robertson's "700 Club" shows in the 1980s, has shown how Robertson and his chosen guests consistently, openly and passionately argued that America must become a theocracy under the control of Christian Dominionists. Robertson is on record saying democracy is a terrible form of government unless it is run by his kind of Christians. He also rails constantly against taxing the rich, against public education, social programs and welfare - and prefers Deuteronomy 28 over the teachings of Jesus. He is clear that women must remain homebound as obedient servants of men, and that abortions, like homosexuals, should not be allowed. Robertson has also been clear that other kinds of Christians, including Episcopalians and Presbyterians, are enemies of Christ. (The Yurica Report. Search under this name, or for "Despoiling America" by Katherine Yurica on the internet.)
3. The third major component of this Perfect Storm has been the desire of very wealthy Americans and corporate CEOs for a plutocracy that will favor profits by the very rich and disempowerment of the vast majority of American workers, the destruction of workers' unions, and the alliance of government to help achieve these greedy goals. It is a condition some have called socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor, and which others recognize as a reincarnation of Social Darwinism. This strain of thought has been present throughout American history. Seventy years ago, they tried to finance a military coup to replace Franlkin Delano Roosevelt and establish General Smedley Butler as a fascist dictator in 1934. Fortunately, they picked a general who really was a patriot; he refused, reported the scheme, and spoke and wrote about it. As Canadian law professor Joel Bakan wrote in the book and movie "The Corporation," they have now achieved their coup without firing a shot.
Our plutocrats have had no particular interest in religion. Their global interests are with an imperialist empire, and their domestic goals are in undoing all the New Deal reforms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that enabled the rise of America's middle class after WWII.
Another ill wind in this Perfect Storm is more important than its crudity might suggest: it was President Clinton's sleazy sex with a young but eager intern in the White House. This incident, and Clinton's equally sleazy lying about it, focused the certainties of conservatives on the fact that "liberals" had neither moral compass nor moral concern, and therefore represented a dangerous threat to the moral fiber of America. While the effects of this may be hard to quantify, I think they were profound.
These "storm" components have no necessary connection, and come from different groups of thinkers, many of whom wouldn't even like one another. But together, they form a nearly complete web of command and control, which has finally gained control of America and, they hope, of the world.
When all fascisms exhibit the same social and political agendas (the 14 points listed by Britt), then it is not hard to predict where a new fascist uprising will lead. And it is not hard. The actions of fascists and the social and political effects of fascism and fundamentalism are clear and sobering. Here is some of what's coming, what will be happening in our country in the next few years:
* The theft of all social security funds, to be transferred to those who control money, and the increasing destitution of all those dependent on social security and social welfare programs.
* Rising numbers of uninsured people in this country that already has the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance in the developed world.
* Increased loss of funding for public education combined with increased support for vouchers, urging Americans to entrust their children's education to Christian schools.
* More restrictions on civil liberties as America is turned into the police state necessary for fascism to work
* Withdrawal of virtually all funding for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. At their best, these media sometimes encourage critical questioning, so they are correctly seen as enemies of the state's official stories.
* The reinstatement of a draft, from which the children of privileged parents will again be mostly exempt, leaving our poorest children to fight and die in wars of imperialism and greed that could never benefit them anyway. (That was my one-sentence Veterans' Day sermon for this year.)
* More imperialistic invasions: of Iran and others, and the construction of a huge permanent embassy in Iraq.
* More restrictions on speech, under the flag of national security.
* Control of the Internet to remove or cripple it as an instrument of free communication that is exempt from government control. This will be presented as a necessary anti-terrorist measure.
* Efforts to remove the tax-exempt status of churches like this one, and to characterize them as anti-American.
* Tighter control of the editorial bias of almost all media, and demonization of the few media they are unable to control - the New York Times, for instance.
* Continued outsourcing of jobs, including more white-collar jobs, to produce greater profits for those who control the money and direct the society, while simultaneously reducing America's workers to a more desperate and powerless status.
* Moves in the banking industry to make it impossible for an increasing number of Americans to own their homes. As they did in the 1930s, those who control the money know that it is to their advantage and profit to keep others renting rather than owning.
* Criminalization of those who protest, as un-American, with arrests, detentions and harassment increasing. We already have a higher percentage of our citizens in prison than any other country in the world. That percentage will increase.
* In the near future, it will be illegal or at least dangerous to say the things I have said here this morning. In the fascist story, these things are un-American. In the real history of a democratic America, they were seen as profoundly patriotic, as the kind of critical questions that kept the American spirit alive - the kind of questions, incidentally, that our media were supposed to be pressing. CLIP
In the meantime, is there any hope, or do we just band together like lemmings and dive off a cliff? Yes, there is always hope, though at times it is more hidden, as it is now.
As some critics are now saying, and as I have been preaching and writing for almost twenty years, America's liberals need to grow beyond political liberalism, with its often self-absorbed focus on individual rights to the exclusion of individual responsibilities to the larger society. Liberals will have to construct a more complete vision with moral and religious grounding. That does not mean confessional Christianity. It means the legitimate heir to Christianity. Such a legitimate heir need not be a religion, though it must have clear moral power, and be able to attract the minds and hearts of a voting majority of Americans.
And the new liberal vision must be larger than that of the conservative religious vision that will be appointing judges, writing laws and bending the cultural norms toward hatred and exclusion for the foreseeable future. The conservatives deserve a lot of admiration. They have spent the last thirty years studying American politics, forming their vision and learning how to gain control in the political system. And it worked; they have won. Even if liberals can develop a bigger vision, they still have all that time-consuming work to do. It won't be fast. It isn't even clear that liberals will be willing to do it; they may instead prefer to go down with the ship they're used to.
One man who has been tireless in his investigations and critiques of America's slide into fascism is Michael C. Ruppert, whose postings usually read as though he is wound way too tight. But he offers four pieces of advice about what we can do now, and they seem reality-based enough to pass on to you. This is America; they're all about money:
* First, he says you should get out of debt.
* Second is to spend your money and time on things that give you energy and provide you with useful information.
* Third is to stop spending a penny with major banks, news media and corporations that feed you lies and leave you angry and exhausted.
* And fourth is to learn how money works and use it like a (political) weapon as he predicts the rest of the world will be doing against us. (from http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/110504_snap_out.shtml)
That's advice written this week. Another bit of advice comes from sixty years ago, from Roosevelt's Vice President, Henry Wallace. Wallace said, "Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."
Still another way to understand fascism is as a kind of colonization. A simple definition of "colonization" is that it takes people's stories away, and assigns them supportive roles in stories that empower others at their expense. When you are taxed to support a government that uses you as a means to serve the ends of others, you are ironically in a state of taxation without representation. That's where this country started, and it's where we are now.
I don't know the next step. I'm not a political activist; I'm only a preacher. But whatever you do, whatever we do, I hope that we can remember some very basic things that I think of as eternally true. One is that the vast majority of people are good decent people who mean and do as well as they know how. Very few people are evil, though some are. But we all live in families where some of our blood relatives support things we hate. I believe they mean well, and the way to rebuild broken bridges is through greater understanding, compassion, and a reality- based story that is more inclusive and empowering for the vast majority of us.
Those who want to live in a reality-based story rather than as serfs in an ideology designed to transfer power, possibility and hope to a small ruling elite have much long and hard work to do, individually and collectively. It will not be either easy or quick.
But we will do it. We will go forward in hope and in courage. Let us seek that better path, and find the courage to take it step, by step, by step.
7 November 2004
First UU Church of Austin
4700 Grover Ave.,
Austin, TX 78756
14 DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM - A Flash Presentation
And here's another version of the 14 identifying signs of fascism with examples
How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to change a light bulb?
1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed.
2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed.
3. One to decide that, yeah, it IS dark in here.
4. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb.
5. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the light bulb or for darkness.
6. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb.
7. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner: "Light Bulb Change Accomplished."
8. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark.
9. One to viciously smear #.8
10. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along.
11. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.
9/11 AND THE SPORT OF GOD By Bill Moyers (09 September 2005)
This article is adapted from Bill Moyer's address this week at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where Judith and Bill Moyers received the seminary's highest award, the Union Medal, for their contributions to faith and reason in America. CLIP
Bill Maher nailed it the other night with his commentary on Bush. Here's a link to see the video
WHAT ARE MORAL VALUES?
PEAK OIL AND THE WORKING CLASS (September 2, 2005)
BUSH AND BLAIR'S "WAY OF LIFE" (08/06/05)
As we hear from Bush, Blair and an unlimited number of media GIs and presstitutes, we are now in the midst of a conflict which involves the deepest and dearest interest of every individual of the human race: "Our way of life." Upon its result depends the misery or happiness of the present and future generations. It is a contest between the few in power in the US, Israel, UK and a few other allied countries, who believe, that it is for their individual and corporate interest that man should continue to be kept in ignorance, and be governed, as heretofore, by lies, force and fraud; and those who are convinced, that for real happiness and satisfaction, human beings should be henceforward governed by truth and justice only. A new global revolution is in the making. This is the revolution which the progress of knowledge and information sharing now requires from the totalitarians a fundamental shift in the arrangement of society and treatment of other nations, which will essentially promote the interest and happiness of all, not just the former and present colonial masters. Are these totalitarians ready for the change? Their statements suggest, not. CLIP
NEW REPORT DETAILS BUSH ADMINISTRATION SECRECY
From Michael Gilbert's latest Non-Profit News
In news that should give a chill to any organization that isn't fully in support of the U.S. administration's mission of messianic militarism, a federal appeals court has ruled that terror suspects may be detained indefinitely without trial. Please do stop for a moment and consider what this means -- so long as the U.S. government says you are an "enemy combatant" (without having to prove any crime in a court of law), it may imprison you and isolate you -- before you decide that this has nothing to do with your organization's mission.
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JOSE PADILLA AND THE DEATH OF PERSONAL LIBERTY
"The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive."
- Judge Antonin Scalia
By Mike Whitney
09/10/05 "ICH" -- -- I had to sit down when I heard the Padilla case had been settled. I literally felt sick to my stomach, like I was gasping for air. The case of Jose Padilla is quite simply the most important case in the history of the American judicial system. Hanging in the balance are all the fundamental principles of American jurisprudence including habeas corpus, due process and "the presumption of innocence". All of those basic concepts were summarily revoked by the 3 judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court. The Court ruled in favor of the Bush administration which claimed that it had the right to indefinitely imprison an American citizen without charging him with a crime. The resulting verdict confers absolute authority on the President to incarcerate American citizens without charge and without any legal means for the accused to challenge the terms of his detention. It is the end of "inalienable rights", the end of The Bill of Rights, and the end of any meaningful notion of personal liberty.
I remember reading 3 or 4 years ago, in Zbigniew Brzezinski's, "The Grand Chessboard", of a strategy to dominate the world that would result in the loss of freedom for American citizens. Brzezinski recognized the inherent threat that liberty posed to the development of empire. He stated:
"It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." (p.35)
Brzezinski's prescient forecast has proved to be astonishingly accurate. The determination of the neocons, the Federalist Society, the far-right radio giants, the Olin, Scaife, Coors and Bradley foundations, and the entire stable of right-wing, quasi-fascist groups that operate openly within American society, have pounded the final wooden stake into the heart of the personal freedom. The basic legal protections that safeguard the citizen from the arbitrary and hostile action of the state have been rescinded. We all stand naked before the absolute power of the President.
The government has no case against Jose Padilla, a hapless Chicago gang- banger who allegedly visited Pakistan before he was arrested at O'Hare airport 3 and a half years ago. He is simply an unwitting victim of circumstance; a convenient scapegoat for eviscerating the rule of law. The Bush administration has used its extraordinary influence in the media to demagogue the case and keep him locked-away without producing one shred of evidence against him. The entire affair has been a grotesque mockery of justice. The hard-right groups that engineered this plot know exactly where the fault-lines in American jurisprudence lie; in the inalienable protections of its citizens.
Padilla became the test-case for shattering the Bill of Rights with one withering blow. It has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectation.
There's no chance that the Supreme Court will retry the case and draw more attention to the shocking details of this judicial-coup; they already punted once before preferring to pass it along to the lower court. Rather, the meaning of the case will be ignored until the president needs to exercise the newly-bestowed powers of supreme leader. That authority is now firmly rooted in the legal precedent established by the Padilla ruling.
No Longer the Land of the Free
Americans seem unaware of the great loss we've all suffered by the Padilla verdict. If the President is allowed to arbitrarily decide who has "inalienable rights", than those rights become the provisional gifts of the government rather than a reliable shield against the abuse of state power. It means that every American citizen is as vulnerable to the same violation of human rights as the men currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. It also means that the legal wall that shelters the citizen from the random violence of the political establishment has been reduced to rubble.
The Padilla ruling is the blackest day in American history. The icons of American liberty; the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Statue of Liberty; are empty shrines if they are not underscored by the guarantee of freedom. The Vietnam Memorial, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the 4th of July, the Federalist Papers, and the American flag; all gratuitous expressions of a principle that has vanished from the political landscape.
Every man and woman who ever wore an American uniform and died in the service of their country, died in vain. Their sacrifice has been rendered completely worthless by the action of the 4th Circuit Court.
George Bush has now extinguished every meaningful part of the American dream. The last vestige of the social contract has been defiled and desecrated by the administration and their court. Personal freedom is dead in America; it was impaled by the verdict against Jose Padilla. How many thousands or, perhaps, millions of Americans will die or endure incalculable suffering to regain what we have lost on this tragic day?
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Apartheid Justice in America: Krugal vs. Padilla (Sept 29)
In the three years that Jose Padilla has been locked away in solitary confinement, the government has been unable to cobble together enough evidence to even charge him with a crime. They have nothing on him, just the ever-changing claims of a Justice Department that shows less respect for justice than it does for personal liberty. Originally, Attorney General John Ashcroft claimed that Padilla was a dirty bomber who intended to detonate nuclear material within the US. Two years later, Ashcroft reversed his claims saying that Padilla was planning to blow up apartment buildings with natural gas pipelines. Just recently, the government changed its story for a third time, saying that Padilla was on the battlefield in Afghanistan which made him an enemy combatant. This last twist to the story came in response to the ruling in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld which allows the government to indefinitely detain any American citizen picked up off the battlefield while fighting the US. Its a fabrication, of course, but the DOJ doesnt mind the sloppiness of the deception as long as their goals are achieved; in this case, the permanent imprisonment of an American Muslim. The Padilla case is of particular interest now that we have a genuine case of domestic terrorism we can use for comparison... CLIP
BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS JOIN RANKS OF TYRANNY By Robert Zaller (06/24/05)
The American playwright Lillian Hellman titled her memoir of the McCarthy years Scoundrel Time. A memoir of this period in American history might well be called Gestapo Time. It is now more than a year since the revelations of torture and homicide against prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the showpiece of our efforts to "democratize" Iraq, shocked and outraged the world. Torture and suicide at Guantanamo Bay, the concentration camp aptly described by Amnesty International as the gulag of our times, has been on the record for three years. Foreign nationals, recategorized as enemy combatants by basement bureaucrats, have disappeared down these and other black holes around the globe. They have been denied legal process, access to counsel, and any contact with the outside world. This has no precedent in the law of nations, or in the practice of any but the most repressive dictatorships. Nor have American citizens themselves been spared this treatment. One, Jose Padilla, remains incarcerated without trial in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Another, Yaser Hamdi, was summarily deported to Saudi Arabia. Two others, Kashan and Zain Afzal, were imprisoned without charge for eight months in Pakistan, interrogated by the FBI, and threatened with deportation to Guantanamo. This is how fascism comes. It comes through creating legal nonpersons of citizens and noncitizens alike. It comes through violating human rights standards, sanitizing torture, and condoning murder. It comes through whitewash "investigations" of war crimes that leave the real perpetrators untouched, and a Congress resolutely determined to see and hear no evil. It comes through a press cowed by censorship and a judiciary impotent in the face of constitutional invasion. CLIP
Can "It" Happen Here? Isn't "It" Already? A FASCIST CHRISTIAN AMERICA
They're planning ... to create a nation where you can change the Constitution with simple majorities, where you can pass laws with simple majorities, where you can pack the courts and thereby create a Christian nation through a simple majority vote. ... The whole thing is one of the grand coup d'etats of all time. That's what we're seeing. CLIP
YOU MAY BE BRAINWASHED BY CORPORATE MEDIA IF YOU...
... believe the 5 corporations who own almost all of the media in the U.S. are liberal.
... believe $300 billion of U.S. tax money, allocated for the war and reconstruction in Iraq is actually going to Iraq .
... are unaware Iraq had 650 million barrels of oil in reserve just before the war in Iraq .
... are unaware at least $8.8 billion is known to be missing in Iraqi oil revenue from the period the U.S. was in control of Iraq . CLIP
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ROBERTS VOTED TO GIVE BUSH DICTATORIAL POWERS
The United States long ago ceased to be anything like a living, thriving republic. But it retained the legal form of a republic, and that counted for something: as long as the legal form still existed, even as a gutted shell, there was hope it might be filled again one day with substance.
But now the very legal structures of the Republic are being dismantled. The principle of arbitrary rule by an autocratic leader is being openly established, through a series of unchallenged executive orders, perverse Justice Department rulings and court decisions by sycophantic judges who defer to power - not law - in their determinations. What we are witnessing is the creation of a "Commander-in-Chief State," where the form and pressure of law no longer apply to the president and his designated agents. The rights of individuals are no longer inalienable, nor are their persons inviolable; all depends on the good will of the Commander, the military autocrat.
George W. Bush has granted himself the power to declare anyone on earth - including any American citizen - an "enemy combatant," for any reason he sees fit. He can render them up to torture, he can imprison them for life, he can even have them killed, all without charges, with no burden of proof, no standards of evidence, no legislative oversight, no appeal, no judicial process whatsoever except those that he himself deigns to construct, with whatever limitations he cares to impose. Nor can he ever be prosecuted for any order he issues, however criminal; in the new American system laid out by Bush's legal minions, the Commander is sacrosanct, beyond the reach of any law or constitution.
This is not hyperbole. It is simply the reality of the United States today. The principle of unrestricted presidential power is now being codified into law and incorporated into the institutional structures of the state, as Deep Blade Journal reports in an excellent compendium of recent outrages against liberty.
For example, on July 15, a panel of federal appellate court judges upheld Bush's sovereign right to dispose of "enemy combatants" any way he pleases, the Washington Post reports. In a chilling decision, the judges ruled that the Commander's arbitrarily designated "enemies" are non-persons: neither the Geneva Conventions nor American military and domestic law apply to such garbage. Bush is now free to subject anyone he likes to the "military tribunal" system he has concocted - a brutal sham that some top retired military officials have denounced as a "kangaroo court" that will be used by tyrants around the world to "hide their oppression under U.S. precedent."
One of the kowtowing jurists on the appeals panel was none other than John G. Roberts. Four days after he affirmed Bush's autocratic powers, Roberts was duly awarded with a nomination to the Supreme Court. Now he will be sitting in final judgment on this case - and any other challenges to Bush's peremptory commands. This is what is known, in the tyrant trade, as "a safe pair of hands."
The ruling by Roberts and his fellow Republican jurists ignores the fact that the Geneva Conventions - which lay down strict guidelines for the handling of any person detained by military forces, regardless of the captive's status - have been incorporated into the U.S. legal code, as Deep Blade points out. They cannot be abrogated by presidential fiat. And anyone who commits a "grave breach" of the Conventions - by facilitating the killing, torture or inhuman treatment of detainees (e.g., stripping them of all legal status and subjecting them to rigged tribunals) - is subject to the death penalty under American law.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AGAINST THE "UNIVERSAL ADVERSARY" by Michel Chossudovsky
Orwellian "Scenarios" - A recent Report of the Homeland Security Council entitled Planning Scenarios describes in minute detail, the Bush administration's preparations in the case of a terrorist attack by an outside enemy called the Universal Adversary (UA). The Universal Adversary, is identified in the scenarios as an abstract entity used for the purposes of simulation. Yet upon more careful examination, this Universal Adversary is by no means illusory. It includes the following categories of potential "conspirators": * "foreign [Islamic] terrorists" , * "domestic radical groups", [antiwar and civil rights groups] * "state sponsored adversaries" ["rogue states", "unstable nations"] * "disgruntled employees" [labor and union activists]. According to the Planning Scenarios Report : "Because the attacks could be caused by foreign terrorists; domestic radical groups; state sponsored adversaries; or in some cases, disgruntled employees, the perpetrator has been named, the Universal Adversary (UA). The focus of the scenarios is on response capabilities and needs, not threat-based prevention activities." (See Planning Scenarios ) The domestic radical groups and labor activists, which visibly constitute a threat to the established political order, are now conveniently lumped together with foreign Islamic terrorists, suggesting that the PATRIOT anti-terror laws together with the Big Brother law enforcement apparatus are eventually intended to be used against potential domestic "adversaries". CLIP
IT IS NOT ONLY IRAQ THAT IS OCCUPIED. AMERICA IS TOO (08/12/05) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9747.htm
My country is in the grip of a president surrounded by thugs in suits - "The Guardian" -- It has quickly become clear that Iraq is not a liberated country, but an occupied country. We became familiar with that term during the second world war. We talked of German-occupied France, German-occupied Europe. And after the war we spoke of Soviet- occupied Hungary, Czechoslovakia, eastern Europe. It was the Nazis, the Soviets, who occupied countries. The United States liberated them from occupation. Now we are the occupiers. True, we liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein, but not from us. Just as in 1898 we liberated Cuba from Spain, but not from us. Spanish tyranny was overthrown, but the US established a military base in Cuba, as we are doing in Iraq. US corporations moved into Cuba, just as Bechtel and Halliburton and the oil corporations are moving into Iraq. The US framed and imposed, with support from local accomplices, the constitution that would govern Cuba, just as it has drawn up, with help from local political groups, a constitution for Iraq. Not a liberation. An occupation.
US Northern Command and Hurricane Rita by Michel Chossudovsky (September 24, 2005)
There are indications that the Bush Administration is preparing to enact far-reaching emergency procedures in response to Hurricane Rita, which could potentially lead the country into a situation of Martial Law. Following his visit to Texas on September 23, President Bush traveled together with DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to The Peterson Air Force Base, at the headquarters of US Northern Command in Colorado Springs. CLIP
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By Doris Colmes
06/01/05 "ICH" - - Those were the magic words of the time: "Papiere Bitte. (Translation: "Papers, Please.") Hearing those words, even now, causes dull echoes of sounds akin to bodies hitting dirt, or bullets penetrating flesh to thud into my mind. Because, if those papers weren't correctly in order, or, if you were a Jew sneakily present in any place (including the grocery store) which displayed the usual "NO JEWS OR DOGS ALLOWED" sign, you were dead meat--literally. And, yes, of course I'm talking about my childhood as a little Jewish kid in Nazi Germany.
No one ever forgets stench. Whether it is a long-forgotten encounter with a ripe skunk, or a ripe egg, or a ripe decomposing body, once one of those odors has been brain-documented, then even the slightest tinge of such an aroma pops back up immediately, along with the circumstances under which it first offended the nostrils.
And, that's what's happening now. I smell the long-forgotten skunk, the long-forgotten rot of fascism. What is happening all around can no longer be denied. . What I ran away from so desperately in 1938 is coming back full circle. Only the jack-boots have not yet arrived.
America quite literally saved my life. The love and gratitude deep in my heart for this country will never go away. But I'm scared now. Haunted by deep fear for the generations to come, who may wind up as I did ? looking over their shoulders, scurrying for cover, mute with terror. And it hurts.
Think I'm some kinda elderly nut-job neurotically manufacturing dictatorship? Well, let's look at the 82 billion dollar defense bill passed just a few weeks ago, which (with a vote tally of 100 to 0) had the Real ID Act hidden inside it. This law allows a national identification process in which each and every person in the U.S.A. will be on computer.
This ID will be based on driver's license applications, although it isn't just for driving. Just like the infamous "Internal Passport" of Nazi Germany, no one will need it unless needing to fly, cash checks, apply for jobs, walk the streets, enter federal buildings -- or drive. As stated in TIME magazine on May 15, 2005 , "If you are a wealthy recluse with liquid assets, it doesn't concern you." Everyone else better watch out! Well, maybe that wealthy recluse had better watch out also. After all, he/she might be of a forbidden religion, or of suspicious racial origin.
Legal "ID Theft" and legal "illegal surveillance?" "The Real ID Act links driver's licenses of all states, creating a data base including the private details of every single U.S. citizen. It mandates that your driver's license share a common machine-readable digital photo of you, all the better to track your every movement. It hands the federal government unfunded mandate power to dictate what data all states must collect for license holders, including everything from fingerprints to retinal scans". And, if you don't drive, you'll still need to submit to the national ID card. How else, after all, will the cop who doesn't like the shape of your face, or the fact that you are (God Forbid) wearing a turban get to arrest you? Yes, "Papiere Bitte" has come home to roost.
And, folks, that's only the beginning. More technically sophisticated techniques will be implemented as they occur. If the Nazis had had electronic surveillance, phone bugging and all else that the Patriot Act not only condones but advises, there would have been an even tighter grip on the populace.
After all, the Patriot Act is modeled directly after Gestapo methods: Those 3:00 AM home intrusions ? without warrant or reason for arrest ? will get our undesirable "domestic terrorists" straight to the nearest version of Guantanamo with no need for trial. The USA is currently building thirty seven "detention centers" nationwide, and they'll soon be filled with persons who protest too much, or are simply of the wrong nationality. After all, it worked very well in Germany , successfully eliminating Jews, Gypsies, and anyone willing to stand up, and refuse to "Hail Hitler."
What's next? Well, it's already happening: The Geneva Conventions were initiated after WW II to prevent the insane war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Nazi Germany from ever happening again. Now, with blithe disregard of all of the above, the U.S.A. not only institutes torture (not just physical, but deliberately mental and emotional) on its prisoners, but actually exports these folks to countries in which such torture is governmentally approved. What the U.S. domestic prison system has kept hidden for years, is now right out there for everyone to applaud. How long it will take before the prison guards tie together the legs of a woman in labor and then make bets on how long it will take her to die? After all, that's what guards did for fun in Nazi Germany. Abu Ghraib, anyone?
So, you ask, "If that's all true, why doesn't the media expose it all?" Now, that's such a classic example of Nazi strategy, it's almost funny. The Nazis took over the media, folks. No newspaper published a single sentence without governmental approval, and propaganda was fed to the populace instead of news. Sound familiar? A TIME magazine article, (April, 2005), gave illustrated examples of how the current administration administers this process.
And, last but certainly not least, the Nazis took over the German government in its entirety with one simple maneuver: They simply took over the courts. You know, like it's happening right now, today, even as we speak: Our filibuster was busted, and those neo-con activist judges are a-sittin' on the bench, ready to take over the Supreme Court. Because, once that Supreme Court is co-opted, hey, driver's license ID cards are gonna be the least of our worries. Ask me. I know!
Doris is an independent writer and may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The threat to humanity is right next door
By MANGAI BALASEGARAM
September 25, 2005
I'm worried. Seriously worried. You see, people on the other side of the planet are in a panic. And I'm not talking about hurricanes but the bird flu. In Indonesia. But we Malaysians living next door have been told that there's nothing to worry about. And that is why I am worried.
Surely we should all be concerned when the disease is in a country that we have strong ties with? All these years, we havent been able to stop Indonesians hopping on boats to come here illegally, so what makes us think were protected from bird flu?
South-East Asia is the epicentre of the epidemic. The disease now seems to be endemic here that is, its not going to disappear any time soon. Even if we dont import Indonesian chickens, legally or otherwise, the virus can still find its way here through migratory wild birds, which have taken the virus to as far away as Siberia. This is not something we can afford to be relaxed about.
The issue at hand is not whether we can eat our chicken rice tomorrow. Certainly, bird flu is a lethal killer for chickens more than 100 million were killed in Asia last year, at devastating costs to the industry.
No, the apocalyptic eventuality that keeps some health experts awake at night is a global human flu pandemic. This would make last years tsunami look like a storm in a teacup. Billions infected. Tens of millions dead. Mass panic. Mass chaos. Hospitals overloaded. Food stocks dwindling. The global economy in a wreck as trade drops. Communities closing doors to outsiders. The army taking over?. Get the picture?
This isnt a Hollywood drama. This isnt about Malaysia winning the World Cup. This is a real possibility.
Right now, this particular strain of the H5N1 virus rarely infects humans. But if it changes genetically to allow the virus to spread easily from person to person, then it will ignite a pandemic.
Nobody knows when and if that change will happen. But the stage is set. Flu viruses change all the time thats why we get flu again and again (new strains). And as long as bird flu continues uncontrolled, as long as humans keep getting directly infected by sick birds, then we can expect that change to eventually happen.
Besides, pandemics happen fairly frequently whenever a strain emerges that humans have no immunity from. The last one was in China in 1968, when 750,000 people died. The big one was in 1918, when up to 50 million people died (some say even 100 million).
This current strain looks nasty. Roughly half the people infected have died. Given that we live in a very mobile, global world, it will spread rapidly. Remember SARS?
Governments are slowly realising that the most immediate threat to humanity is not Osama bin Laden or global warming but disease. Last week, even American President George Bush called for an international partnership to fight the disease.
Some countries are stockpiling anti-flu drugs. Britain is even looking for sites for mass mortuaries, according to press reports. But no country is prepared. A vaccine is not even ready.
Surely then, we should try to stop outbreaks happening in the first place here in Asia. Reduce infection and you reduce the chances for the virus to transform. A few months ago, an international meeting was held on this very issue right here in Kuala Lumpur. There was agreement that to stop bird flu, age-old farming practices need to be changed.
Why is bird flu so persistent in Asia and not elsewhere? Basically, because of the way we breed and kill chickens.
It is common to have farms in backyards, where humans, chickens and ducks (a natural host for the virus) all live closely together. Most chickens in Vietnam are reared in backyard farms. No wonder that the disease has been so severe there, with the most human infections.
Plus theres a lot more poultry (and people) these days in China, the poultry population has risen from 12 million in 1968 to 13 billion today.
Another Asian practice is slaughtering live birds in markets. Blood from an infected bird flowing freely is hazardous. Also, have you seen how the birds are kept? Chicken faeces which carries the virus in infected birds often goes uncleaned in cages and on the floor. How often do markets get cleaned?
Maybe a pandemic will never happen. But I dont think we should just wait to find out. We should stay on high alert and, meanwhile, improve the way chickens are reared and killed. Thats something we should do anyway. But do you think the average Ah Pek slaughtering chicken in the market has any idea that he might start the next pandemic? I think not.
* Mangai Balasegaram is a journalist who stubbornly remains an optimist, despite more than a decade of working on bad news. She still believes it is possible to change the world, if only by changing the perspective a little bit. Send your feedback to email@example.com.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Crude awakening: Rita's educating us about oil
September 25, 2005
By Sheila Lennon / The Providence (R.I.) Journal
I closed the windows last night for the first time since May, and my thoughts turned to heating the house.
This winter could be brutal, even if the weather is relatively mild. Because wages are stagnant while the cost of everything that needs to be transported to us rises, there's no room in most budgets for large increases in heating costs. Too many are barely making it, and the prospect of people freezing in their homes is very real.
If the middle class has no money to spend on anything but essentials, there goes the rest of the economy.
Use the comments below, please, to offer perspective and solutions.
The Oil Drum: I wish I didn't have to be the wet blanket:
...South Texas and Western Louisiana have an immediate problem, and the rest of us have a relatively intermediate term problem. And it has to do with the immediate availability of gasoline. As Rita came close to shore, gas stations all over the Gulf Coast began to run out of gas. It was not really a long-term worry since the refineries were right there and could resupply. But now they are no longer on-stream. The folks that run them have followed instructions and are gone for about a week . It is going to take some time to do the safety checks and repairs needed to get the facilities back to order, and then gas can, to a limited degree, begin to flow again.
But we have lost the stock reserve that has been eaten up in matching the lost production from Katrina, and so now it will be more difficult to bring up the refineries. Not (and this is the good news) because of the sustained damage, (because the word running around is that this has been much less than anticipated) but because they are going to start running out of crude....
...The response of the MSM (mainstream media) so far is still a "we dodged a bullet" but unfortunately we haven't taken our shirt off yet.
But then, on the other hand, maybe global warming will make this a really mild winter. If you live in somewhere such as Maine, perhaps you'd better start hoping that that will be the case.
Be sure to read the comments on that post.
Living on the Cusp: Living through the transition from the Petroleum Age to a Sustainable Future is sort of a blog, linking oil stories and commenting. Here's what leaps out:
It is also clear from the above report from CIBC World Markets (CIBC World Markets Predicts $100 per barrel Oil within Years) that oil producers are having second thoughts about the Gulf of Mexico, the only region in the USA that has seen significant growth in oil and natural gas production. The results of hurricane Katrina, and previously Ivan last year, and now possibly Rita, is either you build oil platforms and infrastructure to withstand more violent storms, or you abandon oil production in this region, or you stagger along and accept that from time to time various parts of the region will be off line, and or damaged beyond repair. Any way you look at it some part of future potential production will have to be forgone because of higher costs, which at some point will outweigh the benefits of that portion of production.
It is interesting to note that this cost, more severe weather due to climate change, is most likely the direct result of burning fossil fuels creating elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere. This is an unforeseen twist to the peak oil story, direct negative feedback due to climate change, making oil production too expensive and pushing the EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) envelope from positive to negative....
Without a safe secure energy supply industrial civilisation cannot function. What with having armies in Iraq to guard the supply of oil to the USA , and storms in the Gulf of Mexico , and lack of refining capacity, and now effectively no OPEC we are in uncharted and complex territory. Increasingly oil is proving to be a loadstone to the global economy, a position it always had but because of plentiful supply the importance it held was masked. As we reach the first and perhaps the most important of earth's limits my only prayer is that we see the folly of the road we are now travelling and move at all possible speed towards the only safe and secure energy policy. It is one that has renewable energy and conservation at its centre and fossil fuels, at most, at the periphery.
White House moves to prevent run on petrol supplies
Rita's damage will make gasoline supplies even tighter: This KRT story reports on some refinery damages, which you can locate on these maps: Hurricane Rita Texas Petrochemical Resources, Hurricane Katrina & Louisiana Petroleum Resources.
You suspected this: Gas Profit Guzzlers (WaPo):
When the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline peaked at $3.07 recently, it was partly because the nation's refineries were getting an estimated 99 cents on each gallon sold. That was more than three times the amount they earned a year ago when regular unleaded was selling for $1.87....
Rethinking energy. This story from the San Jose Mercury News is in the Journal's business section today. Here's how it ends:
(Venture capitalist Ray) Rothrock was trained as a nuclear engineer. He bemoans how the existing (electricity) grid loses about half of its power in transmission due to heat loss on the lines, and how failures disrupt entire portions of the grid....
A much more efficient system, Rothrock says, would be to have thousands, if not millions, more power sources -- such as solar-powered homes -- freely connected to the grid.
"The model is the Internet,'' he explains. "It would be like Cisco routers -- if one data line fails, you reroute it with switches.''
A postscript: Yesterday, ordered by my boss and beseeched by my husband to take a day off, I slept a lot. When I finally awoke, Joe was visiting his mother and I had the house to myself. I didn't watch TV, stayed away from the computer. I puttered, made a pot roast, read on the porch in the warmth of the afternoon.
In this spirit that life goes on despite our fears and worries I offer this from Richard Heinberg's latest Museletter, published at Winnipeg Indymedia: A Peak Oil Survival Manual.
Thinking about hard times is not a morbid pastime; it is a healthy exercise in realism. The world around us - in which most people are living in less-than-sublime ignorance while the ecological basis of their very existence is eroding from beneath them - is a seductive dream-world. As you confirm this for yourself, begin to awaken from that dream (or nightmare) and live a greater proportion of each day in more direct contact with reality. Turn off your television. Get outside and garden; pay attention to nature. Pare down, scale back, and adjust your expectations.
Maybe this is one of the last times I will ever enjoy the convenience of any of a thousand little things. We might as well make the most of whatever comforts we currently enjoy while we have them; the main caveat is that we not be distracted by them from the job of adjusting ourselves to the coming reality.
Of all the high-energy benefits to savor, perhaps the most fuel-dependent and thus transitory is long-distance travel. I have taken some flak for advising young people to travel internationally before air fares become prohibitively expensive: after all, more air travel means more fuel used, more pollution generated. How irresponsible of me! Yet the timeframe in which such travel will be possible may be very narrow, and the benefits may be great. For Americans who have known only Mall Culture all their lives (and I am addressing these comments especially to Americans), a short low-budget visit to Europe or a poor African, Asian, or Latin American nation could be an experience to last a lifetime, and one to be passed down to children and grandchildren. Conserve energy, yes. Drive less. Stay at home and tend your garden. But do not reflexively pass up a fleeting opportunity to see what life is like in other cultures....
Rita Causes Record Damage to Oil Rigs
Hurricane Rita has caused more damage to oil rigs than any other storm in history and will force companies to delay drilling for oil in the US and as far away as the Middle East, initial damage assessments show. Rita's westerly path tore through areas in the Gulf where many new drilling sites were being explored and established.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
White House moves to prevent run on petrol supplies
By Sheila McNulty in Tucson
September 28 2005
President George W. Bush's call for the US public to conserve energy is aimed at preventing a run on petrol at a time when the US is precariously short of it.
Energy companies have been trucking fuel in from various parts of the US to restock pumps that ran dry in Texas, following two hurricanes that struck the heart of the nation's energy infrastructure and a massive evacuation that cut into much-needed supplies. This has stretched already tight national petrol supplies.
"The president's best bet for the next two weeks is to try to see if he can get Americans to stop doing discretionary driving without creating panic," said Amy Myers Jaffe, research fellow at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy. "He's in a very challenging position."
The US petrol market lost close to 80m gallons of petrol in the evacuation of about 3m people from Houston ahead of Hurricane Rita. Although Houston was not hit, forecasters had projected that the fourth-biggest US city would be in the eye of what was then a Category 5 hurricane. That boosted regional demand 4-5 times higher than normal as residents fled, Baker Institute research shows.
In the end, Hurricane Rita released its fury on the Gulf of Mexico drilling area, damaging more offshore rigs than any storm ever, before hitting four refineries on the Texas/Louisiana border.
While damage to rigs, which drill for oil, will drive up future fuel prices, the damage to refineries on top of the run on petrol in the evacuation is likely to have an immediate impact at a time when Americans already are seeing petrol for $3 per gallon at the pump.
"The storms and the resulting price rises have created a sense of anger with consumers and urgency with politicians," said Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, the consultancy. Congressmen say constituents are more concerned by rising fuel prices than the war in Iraq or the president's handling of Hurricane Katrina. And analysts fear prices for many fuels are set to climb higher.
The storm cost the US about 5 per cent of US refining capacity, even as another 5 per cent remained offline following Hurricane Katrina. Perhaps more importantly in the short term, however, is the immediate burden placed on the system by last week's massive evacuation of Texas and Louisiana.
It pushed national consumption of petrol to about 6 per cent more than for the week of Labor day, which is considered peak driving time in the US, according to the Baker Institute. That was about 20 per cent higher than normal for this time of year.
Researchers say continued heightened demand will put additional strains on the US petrol distribution system, which was tight even before hurricane season began, with refineries running as close to full capacity as possible. The nation has no refined stores, so the loss of petrol from the evacuation alone could result in higher retail prices.
Kenneth B Medlock III, an economics lecturer at Rice University, said consumer inclinations to keep petrol tanks full can aggravate the situation. He notes even price caps in the 1970s failed to discourage consumers from filling up tanks and left many without needed fuel.
Public commitment to voluntary adjustments to habits and practices is the best short-term solution, Ms Jaffe said. Not only would that prevent another run on petrol stocks but also gain credibility with Europe, as the US asks for emergency refined product relief.
"We cannot just ask for more fuel and let other countries bear the brunt of changed use patterns," Ms Jaffe said.
Yet refiners have for years resisted taking on the expense of storing stocks, and conservation is politically delicate.
"Telling Americans not to get in their cars is like telling Americans not to eat apple pie," she notes.
That is why Ms Jaffe and others say that President Bush and the big oil and petrol companies in recent advertisements are soft-pedalling on the call to cut discretionary driving. Mr Bush has simply encouraged car-pooling and reducing unnecessary trips.
The need for the public to conserve could not come at a more delicate time.
Bob Linden of PA Consulting noted that heating oil is going to come into the limelight in coming days, when people begin ordering fuel oil for winter. Refineries that normally would be building inventories of fuel oil have been instead replenishing petrol supplies lost in the hurricanes and the evacuation. That has set the stage for reduced supplies of heating oil that will drive up prices as winter approaches.
"This is peak filling time," Mr Linden said. "The trend is going to be apparent that fuel oil inventories are going down."
From: "G u s h S h a l o m" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 25 Sep 2005
Subject: Back to Gaza
Back to Gaza
International release Sep 25, 2005It is hardly surprising that so shortly after the withdrawal from Gaza we once again find ourselves deep in a cycle of bloodshed, of tit-for-tat bombings and missile launches. After all, nobody claimed that the Disengagement from Gaza was an act of peace, the least its author Ariel Sharon. It was not carried out in any spirit of reconciliation, but rather of distrust and bald threats, coupled with intensive activity aimed at deepening Israeli occupation on the West Bank.
And so, two weeks later Sharon is conspicuously placing artillery batteries on the border of the recently evacuated Gaza Strip and making explicit threats of shelling civilian populations in retaliation for the shooting of Qassam missiles. Not by chance, all this takes place on the very eve of Sharon's decisive showdown with his arch-rival Netanyahu.
Labour Party ministers seem to give their most enthusiastic support to Sharon's escalation efforts, which Minister Haim Ramon says "would cause the Palestinian civilian population to turn against Hamas."
(Forgotten, the lesson from March 1996 when then Labour PM Shimon Peres sought to bomb the Lebanese civilian population into rebellion against Hizbollah. But when more than a hundred Lebanese villagers got killed by Israeli artillery the outrage only contributed to Peres' own electoral defeat...)
The sudden escalation has given an additional significance to the peace rally, scheduled long in advance, which was held last night outside the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem - in close conjunction with a simultaneous Palestinian rally held at the Presidential Compound in Ramallah. By their very presence on the street on such a night, these estimated 7000 demonstrators expressed their defiance of the superheated nationalism and jingoism which seems to be gripping Israel in the past 48 hours.
The Y-net (Yediot Aharonot) news item on the Jerusalem rally included a quotation of Gush Shalom spokesperson Adam Keller, who was present among the crowd. Since this part was not included in the English version our translation follows.
Leftists rally against occupation
Some 7,000 left-wingers demonstrate near PMs Jerusalem residence, call for renewal of talks Doron Sheffer A month after the disengagement ended, and amid growing violence in Gaza, about 7,000 left-wing activists protested near the Prime Ministers official residence in Jerusalem. The demonstrators called on the government to end the occupation by reaching a final-status agreement with the Palestinians in accordance with the Geneva Accord, a proposed peace deal formulated by left-wing politicians and some Palestinian officials. CLIP
Date: 24 Sep 2005
From: Ethan X email@example.com>
Subject: Secession from the Empire: The Middlebury Declaration
The Middlebury Declaration
Note: The following declarationa team effort originally conceived for a 2004 secession conference in Middlebury, Vermontsets the Vermont independence movement in a national and international context and suggests the agenda for a think tank that we expect to get off the ground soon, to be called, in honor of our initial meeting (what else?) the Middlebury Institute.
We gather here to explore the possibilities of a new politics that might provide a realistic and enactable alternative to the familiar sorry political scene around us. We are convinced that the American empire, now imposing its military might on 153 countries around the world, is as fragile as empires historically tend to be, and that it might well implode upon itself in the near future. Before that happens, no matter what shape the United States may take, we believe there is at this moment an opportunity to push through new political ideas and projects that will offer true popular participation and genuine democracy. The time to prepare for that is now.
In our deliberations we considered many kinds of strategies for a new politics and eventually decided upon the inauguration of a campaign to monitor, study, promote, and develop agencies of separatism. By separatism we mean all the forms by which small political bodies, dedicated to the precept of human scale, distance themselves from larger ones, as in decentralization, dissolution, disunion, division, devolution, or secession, creating small and independent bodies that rule themselves. Of course we favor such polities that operate with participatory democracy and egalitarian justice, which are attainable only at a small scale, but the primary principle is that these states should enact their separation and self-government as they see fit.
It is important to realize that the separatist/independence movement is the most important and widespread political force in the world today and has been for the last half-century, during which time the United Nations, for example, has grown from 51 nations in 1945 to 193 nations in 2004. The breakups of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia are recent manifestations of this fundamental trend, and there are separatist movements in more than two dozen countries at this time, including such well-known ones as in Catalonia, Scotland, Lapland, Sardinia, Sicily, Sudan, Congo, Kashmir, Chechnya, Kurdistan, Quebec, British Columbia, Mexico, and the Indian nations of North America.
There is no reason that we cannot begin to examine the processes of secession in the United States. There are already at least 28 separatist organizations in this countrythe most active in Alaska, Texas, Hawaii, Vermont, Puerto Rico, and the Southand there seems to be a growing sentiment that, because the national government has shown itself to be clumsy, unresponsive, and unaccountable in so many ways, power should be concentrated at lower levels. Whether these levels should be the states or coherent regions within the states or something smaller still is a matter best left to the people active in devolution, but the principle of secession must be established as valid and legitimate.
To this end, therefore, we are pledged to create a movement that will place secession on the national agenda, encourage nonviolent secessionist organizations throughout the country, develop communication among existing and future secessionist groups, and create a body of scholarship to examine and promote the ideas and principles of secessionism.
It does seem that we have set ourselves a daunting task. And yet almost every week the papers bring news of the continuing action of the worlds powerful centrifugal force, and that should stand as steady encouragement in this work.
CLIP - Read the rest at http://www.vtcommons.org/node/69
Date: 26 Sep 2005
From: Patty-Lynne Herlevi firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Francesco di Assisi's birthday
As I was falling asleep last night, the thought occurred to me that honoring Saint Francesco di Assisi's birthday on October 4th could lead to another day of meditation and prayers around the world.
I have been working with Francesco as a Spirit Guide for around 3 years now. During this time I have researched the saint and worked on projects that honor him and the first Franciscans. Now, I am a pagan more or less so I find Francesco's teachings universal.
On October 4, I ask your readers to honor Francesco (St. Francis of Assisi) in what ever way works best for them. For instance because Francesco honored Lady Poverty, we need to stop shaming people who are poor and start seeing their potential to contribute to the community. Instead of enabling the poor or the sick, we need to go in the direction of micro-lending or other ways of encouraging poor communities to share their gifts with the rest of the world and earn money in the process.
Here are ways to honor this special saint on his birthday:
Donate to an environmental organization (remember he is the Patron Saint of Ecology).
Take a walk in nature and bless everything you come across.
Pray or meditate for peace and balance in the world.
Donate money to an organization that empowers the poor instead of just making sure the poor stay poor and helpless.
Empower someone in your life in some way, give someone a leg up in the world.
If someone needs food and you have food to give, feed that person or persons.
If you have extra clothing you no longer need, donate it to a homeless shelter.
Support the work of contemporary Franciscan organizations (do a Google search and you will find many).
Donate to a low-kill or no-kill animal shelter.
Adopt an animal.
Practice compassion, integrity, humility and simplicity in your life.
See materialism for the illusion that it is and seek real love the way Francesco did 800 years ago--walk away from illusions if you feel the desire.
Teach someone a new skill or heal them for no charge.
Finally, I want to end with Francesco's famous prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.
Patty-Lynne Herlevi Balquin
This message has been blessed by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, may your life be filled with love and gentleness.
From: "Maggie Erotokritou" email@example.com>
Date: 28 Sep 2005
Subject: Spiritual Awakenings, Glimpses into the Higher Realms
Spiritual Awakenings, Glimpses into the Higher Realms
I am excited to share with you the information that my new book, Spiritual Awakenings, Glimpses into the Higher Realms has just been published. It is a wonderful book and the energy of it is tremendous. This book was ordained from above, the idea for it and the people who should be contacted to participate in the book was given in meditation. This was before I became the new co-ordinator for Pan. At the time I had no idea who else was on the network, later I discovered that almost all the contributors were members of Pan, not surprizing considering they are all lightworkers.
Spiritual Awakenings, Glimpses into the Higher Realms, is a unique compilation of 21 different accounts of spiritual awakening. Each of the authors is well known and respected in their own specific field. Through sharing their experiences of the spiritual path and their individual unfoldment, they offer inspiration and teachings, and an awareness of the possibilities that are available to all of us.
These 21 Lightworkers from around the world come from different backgrounds, traditions and religions, yet each one recognizes the unifying threads that connect and bring us together in unity consciousness. They are all people of vision, empowered through their experiences with the Divine Presence, who have shown unfaltering strength in their desire to be of service to humanity. They give us glimpses into the higher realms as they share their amazing journeys of awakening and the revelations they have discovered and embraced on the path.
Contributors include Barbara Wolf (from the Global Meditation Network) Patricia Diane Cota Robles, Michael Lightweaver (founder of the Planetary Awakening Network) Sharon Shane, Silverstar, Maria Yraceburo and many others and of course I have also written a chapter) It is an extraordinary book full of experiences, teachings, revelations and food for thought. Below is the introduction entitled Awakening.
Enjoy, this is a gift from the higher realms, love and light, Maggie
Spiritual Awakenings, Glimpses into the Higher Realms, will take you into the realms of unlimited potential that exist within every human being as well as the unfolding of a greater Divine Plan to bring about peace, joy and a deeper reverence for life on earth.
World wide, people are awakening spiritually. The call is being sent out and people are responding to a great spiritual transformation. There is no one way, one religion or one teacher who has all the answers, for ultimately the answers lie within. At times, different people can help us open to our truth and to our deeper purpose in being here as well as help accelerate our process. However, it is our own choices and decisions made moment by moment that make the difference and can greatly change the direction of our lives.
Once spirit or those in the higher realms watching over us observe that we are truly sincere and committed to our process of spiritual awakening, and we are willing to be of service to humanity, then assistance to bring this about will be given. More synchronicities will occur as the intuition is sharpened and the guidance becomes clearer.
Each of the 21 chapters of "Spiritual Awakenings", written by different authors, is unique and has its background in different traditions that will assist in expanding and enriching your own personal journey. Some experiences you may easily identify with; others may be new and as yet unknown, but all of these will encourage the opening of your mind to go beyond what you already know. Each chapter is profound and revealing and contains within it seeds to be planted in your consciousness as each author takes you deeply into a journey of awakening and liberation.
May your personal journey be blessed and full of light as you awaken to the depths of who you truly are, a divine being here to assist in this global awakening.
Maggie Erotokritou Cyprus June 2005
Spiritual Awakening can be ordered from http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?catalogid=10759
From: "Pamela Wyeth" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Interesting & alarming message about more deception
Date: 26 Sep 2005
As the ONLY reliable source for so much of the news we need to have to do our jobs as Lightworkers, I'm submitting a message I found on a MoveOn forum. It shows yet another aspect of deception from the Bush administration. Thank you again, Jean, for your tireless work to bring light into the darkness of our crumbling society.
Light and Love!
I am writing about a very serious issue. One that needs to come into the limelight. My name is Cory Choy. I am a recent graduate of Montgomery Blair High School.
Bush recently came to my high school to talk about social security. He spoke to students. But here's the thing. NONE OF THE STUDENTS WERE FROM MONTGOMERY BLAIR. ALMOST NONE OF THEM WERE EVEN FROM MARYLAND. There were two bus loads of RNC interns present. Some Young Republicans from Iowa and California. This is downright Orwellian. If you guys want a good spot, why don't you talk about the fact that NOBODY FROM THE TOWN IS INVITED TO BUSH'S TOWN HALL MEETINGS.
I was kept outside of my own high school by police and secret service. So were about 500 real Blair students who had nothing to do but protest.
When I watched CBS (aren't they supposed to be on our side?) news, they portrayed the students inside as being from Montgomery Blair. THIS IS A LIE. PLEASE. WE NEED YOUR HELP. EXPOSE THIS FARCE.
As a young American, I am losing more and more faith in democracy. Help me out. MoveOn, Please bring this to media attention.
- Cory Choy, Student (June 25, 2005; Silver Spring, MD)
Date: 26 Sep 2005
Subject: Shocking!!! Save health care, student loans, Amtrak and PBS (again!)
From: Phyllis Montague email@example.com>
House Republicans have called for nearly $1 trillion in cuts to vital national services to pay for Katrina. But we can fully rebuild the Gulf Coast without cutting services Americans need just by ending Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.
Please tell Congress today:
Dear MoveOn member,
Last week, congressional Republicans responded to Hurricane Katrina by proposing to cut nearly a trillion dollars from vital national services, like health care for the poor and elderly, student loans, Amtrak, and eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (again!).1 Republican leaders in Congress are now gauging the public's response to see if they can get away with their plan. We need to show them the answer is "no."
The cost of rebuilding the Gulf Coast, while huge, is far less than what President Bush has given away in tax cuts to the wealthiest one percent.2 National crises like Hurricanes Rita and Katrina are times for all Americans to stick together and put in our fair share.
So today we're launching an urgent petition to Congress to fully rebuild the Gulf Coast and pay for it by ending Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy, not by slashing vital services that Americans need. If we can gather a quarter million signatures this week, we can show them that this destructive plan just won't fly.
Please sign today: (and tell others)
The Republican proposal, titled "Operation Offset," was authored by the Republican Study Committee, a group of over 100 influential members of Congress, including powerful committee chairs and members of the Republican leadership.3 The proposal starts with support from at least these 100 representatives, and they are looking to quickly build momentum.
A full reconstruction of the Gulf Coast region is generally estimated to cost around $200 billion.4 We could more than meet this cost by rolling back Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for just the wealthiest one percent of the country, which would save us an estimated $327 billion.5
"Operation Offset," however, calls for an astounding $949 billion dollars in cuts over 10 years to vital national services.6almost five times the full cost of reconstruction. To further put that in perspective, it's also more than 4 times what we've spent in Iraq.7
This plan is not about "offsetting," or rebuildingit's about exploiting this crisis to push their longstanding goals for America. As conservative movement leader Grover Norquist has often put it, the goal is to get government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."8 This proposal is their latest attempt to drown the public sector.
The excess of the Republicans' proposed cuts is almost unbelievable. You can read the full proposal here:
Here are just some of the most egregious cuts:
$225 billion cut from Medicaid, the last-resort health insurance program for the very poor.
$200 billion cut from Medicare, the health care safety net for the elderly and the disabled.
$25 billion cut from the Centers for Disease Control
$6.7 billion cut from school lunches for poor children
$7.5 billion cut from programs to fight global AIDS
$5.5 billion to eliminate all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
$3.6 billion cut to eliminate the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities
$8.5 billion cut to eliminate all subsidized loans to graduate students.
$2.5 billion cut from Amtrak
$2.5 billion to eliminate the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative
$417 million cut to eliminate the Minority Business Development Agency
$4.8 billion cut to eliminate all funding for the Safe and Drug-Free schools program
And the list goes on and on.
Which and how many of these cuts move forward in Congress depends largely on the public response this week.
As the reconstruction begins our country faces a basic question: Will we respond to Katrina by banding together to solve national problems, or by helping the wealthy and powerful cut and run while those left behind fend for ourselves?
The radical Republicans have spoken up loud and clear with their answer, and we must respond with ours.
Please sign today:
Thanks for all that you do.
Ben, Tanya, Matt, Justin and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Monday, November 26, 2005
1 "Lawmakers Prepare Plans to Finance Storm Relief," The New York Times, September 20th 2005
Note: the $500 billion referred to this article only covers section 1 in "Operation Offset". The full proposal has six sections and calls for total cuts of $949,674,000,000 over 10 years.
See the full proposal here: http://www.moveonpac.org/images/operation_offset/operation_offset.htm#total?id=6042-2105924-fgWmaL8C1VSJZLuF0JQYEA&t=6
2 Center for American Progress
3 The Republican Study Committee
Some examples of prominent RSC members include:
RSC Founder Rep. John Doolittle (AZ), Republican Conference Secretary
Rep. Eric Cantor (VA) Chief Deputy Majority Whip
Rep. Richard Pombo (CA), Chair, House Committee on Resources
Rep. Joe Barton (TX), Chair, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
4 "How to spend (almost $1 billion a day)" Time Magazine, September 26th, 2005
5 Center for American Progress
6 Operation Offset, RSC Budget Options 2005
7 Based on a $196 billion dollar cost for the Iraq war to date.
National Priorities Project
8 "Grover Norquist: 'Field Marshal' of the Bush Plan", The Nation, May 14th 2001
PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Rita causes record damage to oil rigs
By Carola Hoyos in London, Sheila McNulty in Houston and Thomas Catan in Johannesburg
September 27 2005
Hurricane Rita has caused more damage to oil rigs than any other storm in history and will force companies to delay drilling for oil in the US and as far away as the Middle East, initial damage assessments show.
Oil prices eased on Wednesday over concerns that demand for crude would be hit by the continued shutdown of refineries. US crude fell 27 cents to $64.80 a barrel by 06:444 GMT after losing 75 cents on Tuesday.
ODS-Petrodata, which provides market intelligence to the offshore oil and natural gas industry, said it expected a shortage of rigs in the US Gulf this year.
Based on what we have right now, it appears that drilling contractors and rig owners took a big hit from Rita, said Tom Marsh of ODS-Petrodata. The path Katrina took was through the mature areas of the US Gulf where there are mainly oil [production] platforms. Rita came to the west where there is a lot of [exploratory] rig activity.
Ken Sill of Credit Suisse First Boston said: Early reports indicate numerous rigs are missing, destroyed or have suffered serious damage and several companies have yet to report. Rita may set an all-time record.
The US Coast Guard said nine semisubmersible rigs had broken free from their moorings and were adrift.
This damage could not have come at a worse time for oil companies and consumers. US crude futures on Monday fell 37 cents to $65.45 a barrel in midday trading in New York as refineries that were evacuated before the onset of Rita returned to operation.
Earlier in the day, Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia's oil minister, said the market had not taken up the 2m barrels a day of spare capacity the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries offered last week. Speaking in Johannesburg, he blamed high oil prices on a lack of industry infrastructure, including rigs and refineries, rather than oil reserves. Rigs, which are movable and are used for exploration and development, were in short supply before hurricanes Katrina and Rita blew through the US Gulf in late August and September.
High oil prices and the desperate search for new oil supplies needed to meet rampant demand from the US and China have made rigs difficult to find and expensive to hire. Rigs cost $90m-$550m to construct, depending on how sophisticated the structure and how deep the water in which it will drill. A rig ordered today is unlikely to be ready before 2008 or 2009, analysts said.
As a sign of just how precious rigs are becoming to the market, Anadarko, the biggest US independent oil company, this week set a record by committing to a rig six years in advance; commitments in the past were made months ahead of time rather than years.
Initial reports from companies are ominous. Global Santa Fe reported it could not find two of its rigs. Rowan Companies reported four rigs damaged, with two having moved, one losing its legs and the fourth presumed sunk. Noble has four rigs adrift, with two run aground one into a ChevronTexaco platform.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
Cocaine Is Killing Colombian Nature Parks
September 28, 2005 By Kim Housego, Associated Press
PUERTO ARTURO, Colombia Cocaine is killing the great nature parks of Colombia. Government spraying of coca plant killer is driving growers and traffickers out of their usual territory into national parks where spraying is banned. Here they are burning thousands of acres of virgin rain forest and poisoning rivers with chemicals.
Now the government faces a painful dilemma: to spray weedkiller would be devastating, but the impact of coca-growing is increasingly destructive. The question is, which is worse?
Colombia is home to about 15 percent of all the world's plant species and one of its most diverse arrays of amphibians, mammals and birds. Dozens of species that populate its jungles and Andes mountains exist nowhere else on the planet. One of the richest is the Sierra Macarena National Park, where monkeys clamber across the jungle canopy and seven species of big cat prowl in its shadows.
But Sierra Macarena is most threatened by cocaine. A recent flight over part of its 1.6 million acres revealed a trail of ugly gashes and charred trunks of trees felled by coca planters. The intruders also have built dozens of makeshift drug labs in the park and in the nearby village of Puerto Arturo, bringing in tons of gasoline, cement, hydrochloric acid and other toxic chemicals to process the coca leaves into cocaine. All of it pollutes the rivers and soil.
So far only a small fraction of Sierra Macarena has been affected, but the spread of cocaine operations is alarming.
The amount of acreage under coca cultivation has more than tripled to 9,600 acres since 2003, according to the Counternarcotics Police. Overall, 28,000 acres are being cultivated in Colombia's 49 national parks, compared with 11,000 acres only three years ago. But the destruction is worse than the figures would indicate; for every acre of coca planted, an average three acres are torn down.
"The national parks offer perfect havens for traffickers," police Col. Henry Gamboa said as his Black Hawk helicopter swooped over a cocaine lab in the Sierra Macarena. "There is virtually nothing we can do about it. Our hands are tied."
The coca is planted by peasant farmers who process it into paste and sell it to rebels or right-wing paramilitary factions, who refine the paste into cocaine. Both groups have infiltrated Colombia's national parks.
The government says it is studying whether to lift the ban on spraying. If it doesn't, growers are bound to plant more crops in the reserves. But Indian tribes and environmental advocates contend that spraying would be harmful to the animals and their surroundings.
The United States has provided billions of dollars over the past five years for spraying Colombian drug fields, a move the United Nations says helped reduced overall cocaine production in Colombia last year by 13 percent.
Environmentalists insist the solution is for government workers to destroy the crops with machetes -- a method that has worked in mountainous areas beyond the spray planes' reach.
But the Sierra Macarena and many other national parks are occupied by rebels who threaten to kill anyone involved in manual eradication, officials say.
The Counternarcotics Police recently took politicians, judges and journalists on a helicopter tour of Sierra Macarena, where Colombia's grasslands meet the Amazon jungle about 90 miles south of the capital, Bogota.
"We would like to carry out manual eradication," Environment Minister Sandra Suarez told The Associated Press. "But in some regions of the park ... access is clearly difficult."
Suarez and other top Colombian officials say aerial spraying may be the only option.
National Police chief Gen. Jorge Daniel Castro, who supports spraying, says "We're waiting for the order" to send in the planes.
If that happens, Indian groups, many whose members live in national parks, vow to hit the streets in protest.
"Fumigation is not the answer to the drug problem in Colombia," said Nilson Zurita of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia. "It destroys the environment and sickens animals and people. Another solution must be found."