• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

vrijdag 14 december 2007

Hillary Clinton


Voordat mijn collega's van de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia weer met juichende verhalen komen eerst even dit lezen:

'Hillary Clinton on International Law
Stephen Zunes

'Perhaps the most terrible legacy of the administration of President George W. Bush has been its utter disregard for such basic international legal norms as the ban against aggressive war, respect for the UN Charter, and acceptance of international judicial review. Furthermore, under Bush’s leadership, the United States has cultivated a disrespect for basic human rights, a disdain for reputable international human rights monitoring groups, and a lack of concern for international humanitarian law.
Ironically, the current front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president shares much of President Bush’s dangerous attitudes toward international law and human rights.
For example, Senator Hillary Clinton has opposed restrictions on U.S. arms transfers and police training to governments that engage in gross and systematic human rights abuses. Indeed, she has supported unconditional U.S. arms transfers and police training to such repressive and autocratic governments as Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, and Chad, just to name a few. She has also refused to join many of her Democratic colleagues in signing a letter endorsing a treaty that would limit arms transfers to countries that engage in a consistent pattern of gross and systematic human rights violations.
Civilian Casualties
Not only is she willing to support military assistance to repressive regimes, she has little concern about controlling weapons that primarily target innocent civilians. Senator Clinton has refused to support the international treaty to ban land mines, which are responsible for killing and maiming thousands of civilians worldwide, a disproportionate percentage of whom have been children.
She was also among a minority of Democratic Senators to side with the Republican majority last year in voting down a Democratic-sponsored resolution restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries that use them against civilian-populated areas. Each of these cluster bomb contains hundreds of bomblets that are scattered over an area the size of up to four football fields and, with a failure rate of up to 30%, become de facto land mines. As many as 98% of the casualties caused by these weapons are civilians.
Senator Clinton also has a record of dismissing reports by human rights monitors that highlight large-scale attacks against civilians by allied governments. For example, in the face of widespread criticism by reputable human rights organizations over Israel’s systematic assaults against civilian targets in its April 2002 offensive in the West Bank, Senator Clinton co-sponsored a resolution defending the Israeli actions that claimed that they were “necessary steps to provide security to its people by dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas.” She opposed UN efforts to investigate alleged war crimes by Israeli occupation forces and criticized President Bush for calling on Israel to pull back from its violent re-conquest of Palestinian cities in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Similarly, when Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other reputable human rights groups issued detailed reports regarding Israeli war crimes during that country’s assault on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, Senator Clinton insisted they were wrong and that Israel’s attacks were legal. Furthermore, though these groups had also criticized the radical Lebanese group Hezbollah for committing war crimes by firing rockets into civilian-populated areas in Israel, exhaustive investigations have revealed absolutely no evidence that they had used the civilian population as “human shields” to protect themselves from Israeli assaults. Despite this, Senator Clinton, without providing any credible evidence to the contrary, still insists that they in fact had used human shields and were therefore responsible for the death of more than 800 Lebanese civilians.
Senator Clinton has voted to send tens of billions of dollars unconditionally to Baghdad to prop up that regime, apparently unconcerned about the well-documented reports of death squads being run from the Interior Ministry that have killed many thousands of unarmed Sunni men.
In Senator Clinton’s world view, if a country is considered an important strategic ally of the United States, any charges of human rights abuses – no matter how strong the evidence – must be summarily dismissed. Indeed, despite the Israeli government’s widespread and well-documented violations of international humanitarian law, Senator Clinton has praised Israel for its “values that respect the dignity and rights of human beings.”
Illegal Use of Force
The UN Charter forbids its member states from using military force unless under direct attack or authorized by the UN Security Council. Customary international law allows for pre-emptive war only in cases of an imminent threat, such as troops massing along the border or missiles being loaded onto launchers. Senator Clinton believes that the United States had the legal right to invade Iraq, even though it constituted no threat to the national security of the United States and there had been no authorization by the UN Security Council to use force. Indeed, when the United States launched its invasion of Iraq in March 2003 in defiance of widespread global condemnation of this act of aggression, she voted for a Republican-sponsored resolution categorically declaring that the war was “lawful.”
Senator Clinton has tried to rationalize for her support for this illegal war by claiming that the UN authorized member states to take military action against Iraq in November of 1990. However, that resolution (687) only referred to using such means to enforce resolution 678, which demanded that Iraq withdraw its occupation forces from Kuwait. Once Iraqi forces withdrew – which took place more than a dozen years prior to the 2003 invasion – the resolution was moot.'

The West is the Best

'The UN Has Come to Be Seen As a Tool of the West
by Adrian Hamilton

Answering questions on Radio 4’s World Tonight about the bomb attack on its offices in Algiers, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was cut off in mid-sentence. When asked why the UN was targeted, she started to say: “Unfortunately, the UN is not any more the innocent, humanitarian organisation that can work anywhere,” before she was hustled on to the next question as to why the UN didn’t take better precautions against attack.
But, however uncomfortable the question, especially when the aid organisation has just lost nearly a dozen employees in the bombing, what its spokesman was saying has a terrible ring of truth about it. In the West, the UN is regarded as largely a good thing, with its many arms dedicated to helping refugees, resolving conflicts and, if necessary, to stepping in with the blue helmets to keep the peace.
In other parts of the world, however, the UN is no longer regarded in this benign light. Indeed, in a substantial part of the developing world it has come to seem an instrument of western oppression and US hegemony - a club of the big boys intent on bullying smaller countries in the interests of Washington and its European allies.
When al-Qa’ida blew up the UN offices in Iraq in 2003, killing its envoy, it was trying to drive the outside world away and make sure that nations hesitated to support the US and Britain in the occupation (in this it was, in fact, brutally successful). When al-Qa’ida North Africa, as the militant group now calls itself, blew up the UNHCR offices in Algiers, it was to show that it too had the power and determination to bring down a symbol of western presence.
Iraq has much to do with this change in perceptions. Of course, the UN had been attacked elsewhere before the invasion took place. But Washington’s decision to press ahead with occupation regardless showed to much of the Muslim world both the UN’s powerlessness and the extent to which it was regarded as a tool of the US, not an independent source of global governance. The rest of the world has been brought up to believe that the security role of the UN was to keep a peace already agreed. Now it saw that the UN was being pushed to impose a peace on terms dictated from outside.'

Lees verder: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/12/13/5806/ Of:
http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/adrian_hamilton/article3247515.ece

De Israelische Terreur 286

De Independent bericht: 'Red Cross denounces Israel's curbs on Palestinians ahead of Blair conference
By Donald Macintyre in Ramallah

Israel faced a battery of calls yesterday to alleviate what the Red Cross unusually called a "deep human crisis" by easing restrictions on Palestinian movement, ahead of an international donors' conference co-chaired by Tony Blair.
The World Bank and the Western-backed emergency Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, warned that the $5.6bn (£2.7bn) they hope the conference will pledge in Paris on Monday will not reverse the collapse of the Palestinian economy unless there is a significant reduction in checkpoints and closures.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which prides itself on its neutrality, said that Israel's "harsh security measures" came at an "enormous humanitarian cost" and that the "dignity of the Palestinians is being trampled underfoot day after day, both in the West Bank and Gaza".
The agency said as a result of the "retaliatory" closures of Gaza since Hamas seized control there in June, 823 sick people had been prevented from leaving the Strip. Three of these cases, in which the ICRC had directly intervened, had subsequently died because of administrative and security clearance delays.
The Red Cross said Israel had the right to protect its population but "the balance between [its] legitimate security concerns and the right of the Palestinian people to live a normal life has not been struck".
The agency coupled its call for Israel to take "immediate" action to ease the closures with one for the Palestinian factions to stop attacking civilian areas. A woman was wounded yesterday when a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza hit her home in Sderot. But Beatrice Megevand Roggo, the ICRC's regional head of operations, said the civilian Palestinian population had now "effectively become a hostage to the conflict".
The World Bank backed the three-year reform and development plan Mr Fayyad is offering as a basis for a future Palestinian state in return for the cash injection. But it warned that if the Israeli restrictions remained in place, the plan would at best merely slow down the "downward cycle of crisis and dependence".
Mr Fayyad stressed that "sustainable jobs" for Palestinians could only be assured by a private sector relieved of the current physical constraints that are crippling it in the West Bank and have led to its near-total closure in Gaza. He said: "Unless there is progress on that point no amount of money will compensate for the loss of normal life and normal activity."
The Bank predicted that if donors pledged the full $5.6bn over three years and there was a progressive lifting of closures by Israel, the stricken Palestinian economy could be headed for "double digit growth". But if the restrictions remained in place it would keep shrinking by 2 per cent per year. In the worst case – a shortfall in donations and continuing restrictions– growth would fall sharply and "already growing poverty levels will rise dramatically" .
Mr Blair, the international Middle East envoy, has repeatedly said that the negotiating process on a solution to the conflict initiated by the Annapolis summit, measures by the Ramallah government to impose security in the West Bank, and an easing of restrictions by Israel are mutually interdependent.
Mr Blair, Mr Fayyad and the Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said yesterday they had made progress on four specific projects identified as improving the lives of Palestinians. But while welcoming the projects, Mr Fayyad said he had no guarantees from Israel of a more general easing of restrictions. "There has not been much progress in the six months since we took over," he added.'

Lees verder: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article3249900.ece

Ik heb nergens in de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia gezien dat dit bericht prominent werd gebracht. Hoe zou dat toch komen?

Nederlandse Terreur

Onderstaande berichten geven meteen antwoord op de vraag waarom de sociaal-democraten en de christenen in het Nederlandse kabinet niet tegen de inzet van onder andere clusterbommen zijn. Voor kruideniers aller landen is het mooiste geluid het rinkelen van de kassa. God Zij Met U.

'Persbericht Campagne tegen Wapenhandel
Amsterdam, 3 oktober 2007
Nederland doorvoerland voor wapens Israël

Ten aanzien van Israël voert Nederland een dubbelzinnig wapenexportbeleid, zo blijkt uit het vandaag verschenen rapport ‘Wapenhandel en militaire samenwerking met Israël’ van de Campagne tegen Wapenhandel. Sinds het uitbreken van de tweede Intifada in 2002 wordt wapenexport vanuit Nederland naar Israël vrijwel niet meer toegestaan. Tegelijkertijd kunnen andere landen, met name de Verenigde Staten, zonder problemen op grote schaal militaire goederen via Nederland doorvoeren naar Israël. Zo wordt de schijn gewekt van een terughoudend beleid, terwijl in de praktijk niet wordt geprobeerd de wapenleveranties aan Israël daadwerkelijk te stoppen. In 2005 en 2006 werden ruim 160 miljoen slaghoedjes, 17 miljoen stuks munitie en tienduizenden patronen, rookgranaten en ontstekers uit de Verenigde Staten via Schiphol aan het Israëlische leger geleverd, zo blijkt uit het rapport. Zelfs tijdens de Libanonoorlog in 2006 werd deze doorvoer geen strobreed in de weg gelegd. Als Nederland zijn wapenexportbeleid serieus neemt, moet het aan de ongelimiteerde doorvoer van wapens naar Israël een einde maken. Dat dit niet gebeurt is een bewuste politieke keuze, concludeert de Campagne tegen Wapenhandel. Nederland deinst terug voor het nemen van eigen verantwoordelijkheid.Naast doorvoer is ook de levering van dual use goederen en wapenonderdelen niet met een terughoudend exportbeleid te verenigen. Hoewel export van militaire goederen niet wordt toegestaan, wordt de levering van dual use goederen meestal gewoon toegestaan. Dit is met name zorgelijk waar het gaat om nachtzichtapparatuur voor het Israëlische leger en om chemische stoffen die als grondstof voor gifgas kunnen dienen. Israël heeft het Verdrag Chemische Wapens niet getekend. Ook leveren Nederlandse bedrijven onderdelen voor F-16 vliegtuigen, Apache helikopters en Hellfire raketten aan Amerikaanse wapenproducenten die aan Israël doorleveren. F-16s, Apaches en Hellfires worden door Israël ingezet bij beschietingen en liquidaties in Palestijnse gebieden. De Campagne tegen Wapenhandel pleit voor een consequent terughoudend wapenexportbeleid ten aanzien van Israël, waaronder ook de doorvoer van wapens en de export van dual use goederen moet vallen. Een terughoudend wapenhandelsbeleid zou tweezijdig moeten zijn en ook moeten gelden voor Nederlandse aankopen bij de Israëlische defensie-industrie en voor samenwerking tussen Nederlandse en Israëlische defensiebedrijven. Vrede en mensenrechten in het Midden Oosten zijn niet gediend bij steeds maar toenemende bewapening.De brochure 'Wapenhandel en militaire samenwerking met Israël' is te vinden op http://www.stopwapenhandel.org/

Persbericht Campagne tegen Wapenhandel
Nederland ’s werelds vijfde wapenexporteur

Ongecontroleerde doorvoer naar conflictgebieden en dictaturen
Amsterdam, 11 december 2007 –

Nederland verstevigt zijn positie als grote wapenexporteur met uitvoervergunningen ter waarde van ruim een miljard euro. Nederland behoort daarmee tot de top 5 van de wereld. Grote hoeveelheden nachtzichtapparatuur gaan naar China, Israël en Pakistan, waarheen normaal gesproken geen wapens geëxporteerd mogen worden. Doorvoer van wapens legt Nederland al helemaal geen strobreed in de weg, ook niet naar oorlogsgebieden, zo blijkt uit een vandaag verschenen jaarrapport over het Nederlandse wapenexportbeleid in 2006. Volgende week donderdag debatteert de Tweede Kamer over de Nederlandse wapenhandel. Voor de derde maal publiceert de Campagne tegen Wapenhandel vandaag haar alternatieve jaarrapport van de Nederlandse wapenhandel, dat inzicht biedt in de grote hoeveelheid ruwe gegevens die de overheid sinds enkele jaren publiceert. Daarin valt een duidelijk stijgende lijn te zien in de wapenverkopen van de laatste tien jaar, in het bijzonder de afgelopen vier jaar. De verkoop van tweedehands defensiematerieel speelt daarbij een grote rol. In 2006 spanden verkopen aan Indonesië, Venezuela en Chili de kroon. Die drie bestemmingen waren in 2006 samen goed voor meer dan de helft van de Nederlandse wapenhandel. In strijd met de criteria die Nederland zichzelf oplegt worden ook wapenexporten naar conflictgebieden toegestaan.Zo blijkt uit het rapport dat Nederland militair materieel levert aan India en Pakistan, ondanks hun gespannen relatie en ondanks de precaire situatie waarin Pakistan verkeert. Ook Israël ziet inmiddels weer mogelijkheden om Nederlandse militaire technologie te kopen – Nederland zet daarvoor de deur weer op een ruime kier. Miljoenenexporten van in Nederland gebouwde onderdelen voor nachtzichtapparatuur vinden hun weg naar vooral China, ondermeer naar grensbewakingstroepen. Terwijl tegen dit land vanwege de slechte mensenrechtensituatie een Europees wapenembargo loopt, gelden voor onderdelen van nachtzichtkijkers amper beperkingen vanwege het zogeheten dual-use karakter ervan. Voor doorvoer van wapens gelden amper beperkingen, omdat Nederland leveranties die afkomstig zijn uit bevriende landen zonder controle door laat gaan. Zo leverden de VS zelfs tijdens de Libanon-oorlog in de zomer van 2006 probleemloos vrachten munitie via Schiphol aan Israël. Dat zelfde gold voor Spaanse en Tsjechische wapenzendingen aan bijvoorbeeld Bangladesh, de Filippijnen, Guatemala en Kazachstan. In het rapport “Analyse Nederlandse wapenexportvergunningen 2006“ geeft de Campagne tegen Wapenhandel een uitgebreid overzicht van allerhande feiten en details over de aard en omvang van de Nederlandse wapenhandel in 2006. Deze uitgebreide analyse is een uniek overzicht van de meest recent beschikbare wapenexportgegevens. Noten voor de pers:- het rapport “Analyse Nederlandse wapenexportvergunningen 2006” is te vinden op http://www.stopwapenhandel.org/; een gedrukt exemplaar is op aanvraag beschikbaar.'

Zie ook: http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article487230.ece

Interessant is dat journalisten van de Nederlandse commeriele massamedia dit niet hebben uitgezocht. Waarom zou dat zijn?

donderdag 13 december 2007

Heikelien Verrijn Stuart 2



De juriste Heikelien Verrijn Stuart is website-gast bij Amnesty International:
'Donderdag 13 december
Wat is er aan de hand? Waarom zoveel aandacht in Nederland voor het vertrek van de hoofdaanklaagster van het Joegoslavië Tribunaal? Waarom praten mensen die geen idee hebben wie er terecht staan en wat de belangrijkste strafzaken bij tribunaal zijn over 'Carla'? Is het een nieuw Nederlands verlangen naar ferme persoonlijkheden, mannen van stavast, die vooral in vrouwelijke gedaante – ook Rita is zo'n wezen dat bij de voornaam wordt aangeduid - worden gewaardeerd? Of is er een oprechte belangstelling voor een vrouw die, ogenschijnlijk in groot isolement, een strijd aanbindt met de politieke autoriteiten in de wereld? Del Ponte was vrijwel onzichtbaar in de rechtszaal, haar aanwezigheid op de eerste zittingsdag van belangrijke zaken haast symbolisch. Het strafrechtelijke handwerk wordt door de andere prosecutors gedaan. Zoals we in Carla's List kunnen zien, de film die vanavond in de Nederlandse bioscopen in première gaat, bestaat een groot deel van haar werkend leven uit het door lange gangen in grote gebouwen lopen, praten met onwillige maar diplomatieke mannen in New York, Washington, Brussel, Londen, Zagreb, Belgrado. Auto in, auto uit; vliegtuig in, vliegtuig uit. Het grote publiek kent haar van interviews in de media, stug, soms verbeten, een verholen gevoel voor humor, alsof ze altijd grenzen trekt. Sinds de op valse gronden begonnen oorlog in Irak heerst er een fundamenteel wantrouwen tegen de waarheidsgetrouwheid van politici, een cynisch naar nihilisme neigende rancune tegen politiek en pers. Zou men in Del Ponte iemand zien die de echte waarheid kent, die weet wat er echt speelt? Of ziet men in haar een mede-slachtoffer van alle vuile politiek, één van ons die ook wordt verraden waar ze bij staat? Ik weet het niet. Ik heb me nooit zo met de persoon Del Ponte bezig gehouden. Maar de reacties geven te denken. En daarom gaat het mij eigenlijk al sinds het begin van het Joegoslavië Tribunaal in 1993. Wat vertelt dit soort strafrechtsbedrijf ons over onze cultuur, onze weerbaarheid tegen het verraad, het slechte, de wreedheid? Kanaliseert het strafrecht de wraak, de rancune of roept het nieuwe ressentimenten op? Is er naast oorlog en geweld een plaats voor het recht.'

Norman Finkelstein 2



'Norman Finkelstein

Lecture of and interview with the American political scientist and author Norman Finkelstein.
Beginning December 2007 Norman Finkelstein gave a lecture in Amsterdam under the title: The Coming Break-Up of American Zionism. Finkelstein is the author of among others Image & Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1995), The Holocaust Industry (2003) and Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2005)
The Lecture: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx >
Finkelstein answers questions: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx / Lectures
The Interview: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx />
Here you'll find the latest information about Norman Finkelstein: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com%3e/

Klimaatverandering 124

'''The Arctic is screaming'' — summer sea ice could be gone in five years
By SETH BORENSTEIN
By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer; AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON — An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.
Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press.
"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.
Just last year, two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.
This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."
So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new climate cycle that goes beyond the worst case scenarios presented by computer models?
"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. "Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."
It is the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, responsible for man-made global warming. For the past several days, government diplomats have been debating in Bali, Indonesia, the outlines of a new climate treaty calling for tougher limits on these gases.
What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. Faster melting there means eventual sea level rise and more immediate changes in winter weather because of less sea ice.'

Lees verder:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2004065899_webarctic11.html?syndication=rss

Prijsvraag





Een van deze drie foto's klopt niet. Welke? Het goede antwoord wordt beloond met een chocoladeletter.

Oil 21

'Published on
by The Guardian/UK

Big Oil Lets Sun Set on Renewables

Shell has quietly shed most of its solar power, while BP is buying into dirty tar sands by Terry Macalister

Shell, the oil company that recently trumpeted its commitment to a low carbon future by signing a pre-Bali conference communique, has quietly sold off most of its solar business.

The move, taken with rival BP's decision last week to invest in the world's dirtiest oil production in Canada's tar sands, indicates that Big Oil might be giving up its flirtation with renewables and going back to its roots.

Shell and BP are among the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in the world, but both have been keen to paint themselves green through a series of clean fuel initiatives.

BP, under its former chief executive, John Browne, promised to go "beyond petroleum" while Shell has spent millions advertising its serious interest in the future of the environment.

But at a time when interest in solar power is greater than ever, with the world's first "solar city" being built at Phoenix, Arizona, a small announcement from Environ Energy Global of Singapore revealed that it had bought Shell's photovoltaic operations in India and Sri Lanka, with more than 260 staff and 28 offices, for an undisclosed sum.

The sell-off, to be followed by similar ones in the Philippines and Indonesia, comes after another major disposal executed in a low-key way last year, when Shell hived off its solar module production business. The division, with 600 staff and manufacturing plants in the US, Canada and Germany, went to Munich-based SolarWorld. Shell has however formed a manufacturing link, with Saint-Gobain, and promised to build one plant in Germany.

The Anglo-Dutch oil group confirmed yesterday that it had pulled out of its rural business in India and Sri Lanka, saying it was not making enough money.

"It was not bringing in any profit for us there so we transferred it to another operator. The buyer will be able to take it to the next level," said a spokeswoman at Shell headquarters in London.

The oil group said it was continuing to move its renewables interests into a mainstream business and hoped to find one new power source that would "achieve materiality" for it. Shell continues to invest in a number of wind farm schemes, such as the London Array offshore scheme, which has government approval. Shell has also been concentrating its efforts on biofuels, but declined to say whether it had given up on solar power even though many smaller rivals continue to believe the technology has a bright future.'

Lees verder: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/12/11/5755/

Oil 20



'Published on Wednesday,
by Truthdig.com
From Oil Wars to Water Wars
by Amy Goodman

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this week, in Oslo, Norway. Al Gore shared the prize with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which represents more than 2,500 scientists from 130 countries. The solemn ceremony took place as the United States is blocking meaningful progress at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate have derailed the energy bill passed by the House of Representatives, which would have accelerated the adoption of renewable energy sources at the expense of big-oil and coal corporations.

Gore set the stage: “So, today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

“As a result, the Earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong. We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.”

He went on: “Last Sept. 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the north polar ice cap is ‘falling off a cliff.’ One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.”

How will climate-change skeptics explain that one? (Already, big business is celebrating the break up of the polar ice cap, as a northern sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific is opening, creating a cheaper route for more needless shipping.) It is hard to imagine the north pole, the storied, frozen expanse of ice and snow, completely gone in just a few years. Lost as well will be the vast store of archeological data trapped in the ice: thousands of years of the Earth’s climate history are told in the layers of ice that descend for miles there. Scientists are just now learning how to read and interpret the history. The great meltdown will surely have catastrophic effects on the ecosystem in the north, with species like the polar bear already edging toward extinction.
Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian scientist, accepted for the IPCC. He is a careful scientist with the political finesse to chair the work of the IPCC despite the enduring antagonism of the United States. He pointed to the disproportionate effect of climate change on the world’s poor:

“[T]he impacts of climate change on some of the poorest and the most vulnerable communities in the world could prove extremely unsettling … in terms of: access to clean water, access to sufficient food, stable health conditions, ecosystem resources, security of settlements.”'


The Empire 326


'The Anti-Empire Report Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life
by William Blum
Another peace scare. Boy, that was close.The US intelligence community's new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) -- "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" -- makes a point of saying up front (in bold type): "This NIE does not (italics in original) assume that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons." The report goes on to state: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program ."
Isn't that good news, that Iran isn't about to attack the United States or Israel with nuclear weapons? Surely everyone is thrilled that the horror and suffering that such an attack -- not to mention an American or Israeli retaliation or pre-emptive attack -- would bring to this sad old world. Here are some of the happy reactions from American leaders:
Senate Republicans are planning to call for a congressional commission to investigate the NIE's conclusion that Iran discontinued its nuclear weapons program in 2003.[1]
National Security Adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, said: The report "tells us that the risk of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon remains a very serious problem."[2]
Defense Secretary Robert Gates "argued forcefully at a Persian Gulf security conference ... that U.S. intelligence indicates Iran could restart its secret nuclear weapons program 'at any time' and remains a major threat to the region."[3]
John R. Bolton, President Bush's former ambassador to the United Nations and pit bull of the neo-conservatives, dismissed the report with: "I've never based my view on this week's intelligence."[4]
And Bush himself added: "Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous, and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. The NIE says that Iran had a hidden -- a covert nuclear weapons program. That's what it said. What's to say they couldn't start another covert nuclear weapons program? ... Nothing has changed in this NIE that says, 'Okay, why don't we just stop worrying about it?' Quite the contrary. I think the NIE makes it clear that Iran needs to be taken seriously. My opinion hasn't changed."[5]
Hmmm. Well, maybe the reaction was more positive in Israel. Here's a report from Uri Avnery, a leading Israeli columnist: "The earth shook. Our political and military leaders were all in shock. The headlines screamed with rage. ... Shouldn't we be overjoyed? Shouldn't the masses in Israel be dancing in the streets? After all, we have been saved! ... Lo and behold -- no bomb and no any-minute-now. The wicked Ahmadinejad can threaten us as much as he wants -- he just has not got the means to harm us. Isn't that a reason for celebration? So why does this feel like a national disaster?"[6]
We have to keep this in mind -- America, like Israel, cherishes its enemies. Without enemies, the United States appears to be a nation without moral purpose and direction. The various managers of the National Security State need enemies to protect their jobs, to justify their swollen budgets, to aggrandize their work, to give themselves a mission, to send truckloads of taxpayer money to the corporations for whom the managers will go to work after leaving government service. And they understand the need for enemies only too well, even painfully. Here is US Col. Dennis Long, speaking in 1992, just after the end of the Cold War, when he was director of "total armor force readiness" at Fort Knox:
For 50 years, we equipped our football team, practiced five days a week and never played a game. We had a clear enemy with demonstrable qualities, and we had scouted them out. [Now] we will have to practice day in and day out without knowing anything about the other team. We won't have his playbook, we won't know where the stadium is, or how many guys he will have on the field. That is very distressing to the military establishment, especially when you are trying to justify the existence of your organization and your systems.[7]
In any event, all of the above is completely irrelevant if Iran has no intention of attacking the United States or Israel, even if they currently possessed a large stockpile of nuclear weapons. As I've asked before: What possible reason would Iran have for attacking the United States or Israel other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide?'

Lees verder: http://members.aol.com/bblum6/aer52.htm

The Empire 325


Danny Schechter, the News Dissector:
'SCROOGE TO OUR KIDS: WE CAN’T AFFORD YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE
IN DEBT WE TRUST: Ad on the Subway: “I am 35, single, broke but I have a fierce outfit.”BUSH VETOES KIDS HEALTH INSURANCE IN TIME FOR XMASCAN WE TRUST THE VOTING SYSTEM?INVESTMENT BANK SAYS PERFECT STORM COMING, ISSUES ALERT
Acting in Private, in this Christmas season, your President and mine VETOED the Child Health Insurance Bill.
AP: WASHINGTON - President Bush vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.
And Yet:ROBERT PARRY: WHY THE DEMS MIGHT LOSE IN 2008AMERICAN ELECTIONS: BALLOTS CAST V BALLOTS COUNTED
The federal Election Assistance Commission — theagency created after the 2000 presidential debaclethat is tasked with overseeing voting machine testingand serving as a clearinghouse for electionadministration information — published a survey ofthe 2006 election today that reveals some interestingstats.
The information, collected from electionadministrators nationwide, covers the number ofregistered voters per jurisdiction, voter turnout,types of voting systems used, percentage of votes castby absentee and provisional ballots, etc.
One interesting nugget concerns the number of ballotscast vs. ballots counted in the election.
According to the report, about 82 million ballots were“cast or counted” in the 2006 election (the numberisn’t exact because not every jurisdiction respondedto the survey). But some 3.2 million ballots that werecast never got counted. [I should note here that it’sreally confusing that the EAC refers to the 82 millionballots as “cast or counted” since it isn’t possiblefor a ballot to be counted if it wasn’t cast — atleast not a legal ballot. It would have been betterfor the report to just say “82 million ballots werecast.”
M&G: The business of climate change
Think about climate change long enough and you soon realise that it is more than our lightbulbs that we are going to have to change. Colleagues have argued, as delegates gather in Bali to hammer out a global accord to avert this catastrophe, that a more fundamental overhaul will be required.
HERES THE SIGN: AFGHAN WAR LOST
Gordon Brown: ‘It’s time to talk to the Taliban’
Today, the Prime Minister will announce amajor shift in strategy on Afghanistan. Could it markthe beginning of the end of a bloody six-year war? Oris it just spin?
As the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the US-ledinvasion in 2001 comes to a close, Gordon Brown isready to talk to the Taliban in a major shift instrategy that is likely to cause consternation amonghardliners in the White House.
RAWA: The US and Her Fundamentalist Stooges are the Main Human Rights Violators In Afghanistan
The US and her allies tried to legitimize their military occupation of Afghanistan under the banner of “bringing freedom and democracy for Afghan people”. But as we have experienced in the past three decades, in regard to the fate of our people, the US government first of all considers her own political and economic interests and has empowered and equipped the most traitorous, anti-democratic, misogynist and corrupt fundamentalist gangs in Afghanistan.
A GOOD WORD FOR VLAD
Mike Whitney takes issue with most of our media coverage of Putin’s electoral victory:
On Sunday, Putin’s party, United Russia, stormed to victory in the country’s parliamentary elections with 63 per cent of the vote. It was a romp. United Russia now controls 306 of the 450 seats in the Dumas, an overwhelming majority. The balloting was a referendum on Putin’s leadership and it passed in a landslide.
Now it’s certain, that even if Putin steps down aspresident next year as expected, he will be thedominant player in Russian politics for theforeseeable future.
Vladamir Putin is arguably the most popular leader inRussian history, although you’d never know it byreading the western media. According to a recentsurvey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, Putin’spersonal approval rating in November 2007 was 85 percent, making him the most popular head of state in theworld today. Putin’s popularity derives from manyfactors. He is personally clever and charismatic. Heis fiercely nationalistic and has worked tirelessly toimprove the lives of ordinary Russians and restore thecountry to its former greatness. He has raised over 20million Russians out of grinding poverty, improvededucation, health care and the pension system,(partially) nationalized critical industries, loweredunemployment, increased manufacturing and exports,invigorated Russian markets, strengthened the ruble,raised the overall standard of living, reducedgovernment corruption, jailed or exiled the venaloligarchs, and amassed capital reserves of $450billion.
Russia is no longer up for grabs like it was after thefall of the Soviet Union. Putin put an end to all ofthat. He reasserted control over the country’s vastresources and he’s using them to improve the lives ofhis own people. This is a real departure from the1990s, when the drunken Yeltsin steered Russia intoeconomic disaster by following Washington’s neoliberaledicts and by selling Russia’s Crown Jewels to thevulturous oligarchs. Putin put Russia’s house back inorder; stabilized the ruble, strengthenedeconomic/military alliances in the region, and removedthe corporate gangsters who had stolen Russia’snational assets for pennies on the dollar. Theoligarchs are now all either in jail or have fled thecountry. Russia is no longer for sale.
Russia is, once again, a major world power and a vitalsource of hydrocarbons. It’s star is steadily risingjust as America’s has begun to wane. This may explainwhy Putin is loathed by the West. Freud might call itpetroleum envy, but it’s deeper than that. Putin hascharted a course for social change that conflicts withbasic tenets of neoliberalism, which are theprinciples which govern US foreign policy. He is not amember of the corporate-banking brotherhood whichbelieves the wealth of the world should be dividedamong themselves regardless of the suffering ordestruction it may cause. Putin’s primary focus isRussia; Russia’s welfare, Russia’s sovereignty andRussia’s place in the world. He is not a globalist.'

The Empire 324


'Study Faults Charities for Veterans
Some Nonprofits Shortchange Troops, Watchdog Group Says
By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Americans gave millions of dollars in the past year to veterans charities designed to help troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, but several of the groups spent relatively little money on the wounded, according to a leading watchdog organization and federal tax filings.
Eight veterans charities, including some of the nation's largest, gave less than a third of the money raised to the causes they champion, far below the recommended standard, the American Institute of Philanthropy says in a report. One group passed along 1 cent for every dollar raised, the report says. Another paid its founder and his wife a combined $540,000 in compensation and benefits last year, a Washington Post analysis of tax filings showed.
There are no laws regulating the amount of money charities spend on overhead, fundraising or giving. But the institute's report suggests that 20 of the 29 military charities studied were managing their resources poorly, paying high overhead costs and direct-mail fundraising fees and, in some cases, providing their leaders with six-figure salaries.
The 12 charities rated as failing by the institute -- including the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, the AMVETS National Service Foundation and the Freedom Alliance -- collected at least $266 million in the past fiscal year.
"They know how to work the system, and they seem pretty good at not going over the line, although it is pretty outrageous that so little money is actually winding up benefiting charities," said Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of the Chicago-based institute.
The charities' practices have sparked outrage among some members of Congress.'

The Empire 323

'The USA’s Human Rights Daze
By Norman Solomon.

The chances are slim that you saw much news coverage of Human Rights Day when it blew past the media radar — as usual — on Dec. 10. Human rights may be touted as a treasured principle in the United States, but the assessed value in medialand is apt to fluctuate widely on the basis of double standards and narrow definitions.
Every political system, no matter how repressive or democratic, is able to amp up public outrage over real or imagined violations of human rights. News media can easily fixate on stories of faraway injustice and cruelty. But the lofty stances end up as posturing to the extent that a single standard is not applied.
When U.S.-allied governments torture political prisoners, the likelihood of U.S. media scrutiny is much lower than the probability of media righteousness against governments reviled by official Washington.
But what are “human rights” anyway? In the USA, we mostly think of them as freedom to speak, assemble, worship and express opinions. Of course those are crucial rights. Yet they hardly span the broad scope that’s spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That document — adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948 — affirms “human rights” in the ways that U.S. media outlets commonly illuminate the meaning of the term. But the Declaration of Human Rights also defines the rights of all human beings to include “freedom from fear and want” — and not only as generalities.
For instance, the first clause of Article 23 states: “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”
And: “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work”; the right “to form and to join trade unions”; and, overall, “an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.”
Perhaps the farthest afield from the customary U.S. media parameters is Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which insists: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
Measured with such yardsticks for human rights, the United States falls far short of many countries. If American news media did a better job of reporting on human rights in all their dimensions, we’d be less self-satisfied as a nation — and more outraged about the widespread violations of human rights that persist in our midst every day.'

Lees verder: http://www.mediachannel.org/wordpress/2007/12/13/the-usas-human-rights-daze/

Klimaatverandering 123

'Hoodwinked in Bali on Carbon Credits
By Daphne Wysham
The Nation

Nusa Dua, Bali - It's the second week of the UN Climate Change Conference and the air is heavy with humidity, but despite being the rainy season, it hasn't rained heavily in weeks. The rooms in the conference facilities where people are clustered around computers feel like saunas, an appropriate thing, I suppose - reminding us not only of where we are, in tropical Bali, but also of why we're here. The world has a fever, and we're here to begin to bring the temperature down before it's too late. The question is, will the 15,000 or so government and nongovernment actors here deliver the goods, or have events been set in motion to make such a breakthrough impossible?
The UN website for the Climate Convention puts an upbeat spin on the meetings here. However, behind the public relations efforts divisions are apparent - not just between North and South, or between the United States and most of the rest of the world, but also between and among NGOs.
When money is on the table, there can be plenty to fight about. And right now there is a hefty wad of cash being dangled before governments and NGOs that comes with a catch: accept carbon trading as the deal or get nothing at all. Even so-called adaptation funding, arguably the largest piece of the pie, if done correctly, is being proffered to cash-poor countries - but only as a percentage of the carbon-trading budget. The message: accept carbon trading or your poor will starve.
Not surprisingly, many governments are jumping on board with this offer. Too many developing countries are still suffering the legacy of indebtedness and poverty to Northern institutions like the World Bank and IMF, staggering debt set in motion by the high oil prices of the 1970s, to have much of a choice in the matter. If it means pledging to protect their forests and treat them as carbon offsets to allow the North to continue to pollute, so be it.
And then there is the issue of bribery. While no one can be certain how much money has infected the political process here, there are indications that agreements that are being structured around Indonesia's forests involve insider dealing with carbon traders, deals that place millions if not billions of dollars on the table. Surely, once the deals are sealed, there's enough to share with a few choice decision makers.
The World Bank's cocktail party reception for its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility December 11 in Bali was met with organized protests from indigenous peoples and their allies, and chants of "Hands off, World Bank!" The reason: the forests where indigenous peoples make their home are now up for auction as "carbon sinks." Yet in an age-old pattern of marginalization, no one bothered to consult the indigenous peoples.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly to long-term observers of the climate debate, this enthusiasm for carbon trading has spread to many NGOs as well. Some conservation groups are eager for more cash to help them protect a rainforest here or save an endangered species there. And organizations that work on hunger or disaster relief are equally eager to get more revenue for a problem that only promises to grow worse.
Those who are skeptical of the conditions placed on this cash are largely outside the NGO circles that have dominated the process thus far. To be fair, those working on this issue for years have seen proposed regulatory measures shot down in favor of market mechanisms, in order to get the largest emitter, the United States, on board. Now they are merely trying to get the United States to stop obstructing whatever deals can be struck in the final days.
With time running short, they feel there is no time to go back and rethink the whole concept; they are wedded to a process, one made in America, and having pushed their governments this far, they are reluctant to reconsider. Perhaps because so few alternatives are making it to the table, they continue, full steam ahead, ignoring the concrete results that signal failure, corruption and, worst of all, an increase in greenhouse gases under various carbon-trading schemes.
But here's the deal: carbon trading is not some innocuous attempt at climate stability. It is the neoliberal agenda writ large. Countries that are already on the treadmill of debt will become even more beholden to the institutions that have so successfully advanced the corporate agenda via the World Bank, the WTO and other agents of hegemony.
What, then, is to be done? I suggest there are at least six critical components in a strategy that might actually turn the tables on this dominant "solution" to the climate crisis. But they will not come from the environmental groups, at least not from most of those that are represented here at the climate negotiations, nor from the governments themselves.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/121307N.shtml

The Empire 322

Even maar weer enkele feiten:

'Since Gulf War 1 - 73,846 US Dead, 1,620,906 Disabled
12-11-7
Data from Department of Veterans Affairs, Gulf War Veterans Information System, May 2007: http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWVIS_May2007.pdf
73,846 US TROOPS DEAD (near top of page 6)
1,620,906 PERMANENTLY DISABLED (near top of page 7)
US DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ISSUES OFFICIAL REPORT CONFIRMING 73,000 U.S. TROOPS KILLED IN IRAQ SAME GOVERNMENT AGENCY REPORT CONFIRMS 1.6 MILLION "DISABLED" BY THE WAR

From Peter Marshall E. Boomhower
eboomhower@juno.com

George Walker Bush has presided over the worst defeat of the United States Military since Vietnam and has deliberately skewed reporting of the deaths and injuries to conceal the facts.
Department of Veteran's Affairs, in conjunction with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has released the truth because they need the American People to know our military is literally, destroyed.
They cannot release these horrific numbers via the chain of command because they are under orders to conceal the truth at all costs, so they let slip a report which now cannot be "un-slipped."
Here are the facts and a link to the government source to prove these facts:
More Gulf War Veterans Have Died Than Vietnam Veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, May 2007, Gulf War Veterans Information System reports the following:
Total U.S. Military Gulf War 1 and Gulf War 3 Deaths: 73,846
* Deaths amongst Deployed: 17,847
* Deaths amongst Non-Deployed: 55,999
Total "Undiagnosed Illness" (UDX) claims: 14,874
Total number of disability claims filed: 1,620,906
* Disability Claims amongst Deployed: 407,911
* Disability Claims amongst Non-Deployed: 1,212,995
Percentage of combat troops who filed Disability Claims 36%
Soldiers, by nature, typically don't complain. They don't want to be perceived (by idiots) as being weak, or complainers, or looking to get out of work/danger. In other words, the real impact of those who are disabled from the US invasions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Nations, is not fully reflected in the official Veterans Affairs numbers.
Why are the government numbers of 3,777 as of 9-7-7 are so low? The answer is simple, the government does not want the 73,846 dead U.S. soldiers killed in the Gulf to date to be compared to the 55,000 U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam, lest we all conclude Iraq = Vietnam.

What the government is doing is only counting the soldiers that die in action before they can get them into a helicopter or ambulance. Any soldier who is shot but they get into a helicopter before he dies is not counted.
73,846 dead U.S. soldiers for this scale operation using weapons of mass destruction is not high - we expect the great majority of U.S. soldiers who took part in the invasion of Iraq to die of uranium poisoning, which can take decades to kill.
More than 1,820 tons (3-million, 640 thousand pounds) of radio-active nuclear waste uranium were exploded into Iraq alone in the form of armor piercing rounds and bunker busters, representing the worlds worst man made ecological disaster ever. 64 kg of uranium were used in the Hiroshima bomb. The U.S. Iraq Nuclear Holocaust represents far more than fourteen thousand Hiroshima atomic bombs.
That's 14,000.
The nuclear waste the U.S. has exploded into the Middle East will continue killing for BILLIONS of years and can wipe out more than a third of life on earth. Gulf War Veterans who have ingested the uranium will continue to die off over a number of years.
From a victors perspective, above any major war in history, The Gulf War has taken the severest toll on soldiers.
So far, more than one million people have been slaughtered in the illegal invasion of Iraqi by the U.S.. This is genocide of the highest order.
Iraqi birth defects are up 600% - the same will apply to U.S. Veterans.
Statistics and evidence published by the government and mainstream media in no way reflect the extreme gravity of the situation.
Those working for the government and media must wake up and take responsibility for immediately reversing this U.S. Holocaust. Understanding who is manipulating all of us is critical for all of us.
For those of you who doubt the veracity of this story, who naively believe it can't be true because if it were true, you would have heard it from the government or from the main stream media, can see the proof yourselves directly from the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs web site -Source:
http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWVIS_May2007.pdf
This story is 100% accurate. 100% true. 100% verifiable.
From the bottom of page 9:
1. The total number of service members ever identified by DoD with possible low-level chemical warfare agent exposure serving in units in the hazard areas at or near Khamisiyah, Iraq is 145,472 as of June 30, 2006.
In this report, VBA displayed compensation and pension statistics on 145,456 service members. VA and DoD have completed their fourth quarter 2006 review of service member records. However, there is a possibility of future changes, if needed, based on further review by DoD.'

Remco Campert

een goed gedicht vertroost
sluit vrede met het leven
en beeldt het tragische uit
de eeuwige melancholie
is wat overblijft
het is een dunne dichtbundel
de nieuwe van remco campert
de titel is: nieuwe herinneringen
de oude waren op
remco cempert wordt heel erg oud
dit is een van zijn gedichten:
Affaire
Weet je nog
hoe we allemaal dansten en lachten
op dat grote feest in die tuin
die geurde naar pas gewassen gras
het was een heldere sterrennacht
simpel. zoals je het zegt
we waren jong als de muziek
even bestonden we voor eeuwig

The Peacemaker

Ik hoop dat Iran zo snel mogelijk een atoombom ontwikkelt, want wat lees ik nu op de voorpagina van de krant die onze geest slijpt, de NRC: 'Volgens de VS is de tijd rijp voor toenadering tot Noord-Korea. President Bush schreef onlangs een brief aan Kim Jong-il. Nu gaat Amerika's oudste orkest naar Pyongyang.' En zo hoort het, geen militair offensief, maar een culturele uitwisseling. Zo doen beschaafde mensen dat.

En waarom volgt de Bush bende deze beschaafde weg? Juist, jonge vrienden, omdat Noord Korea kernwapens bezit. Iran bezit ze niet en wordt daarom met Amerikaans en Israelisch geweld bedreigd. Zowel Noord Korea als Iran werden door Bush junior als onderdeel van de 'Axis of Evil' aangewezen, weet u nog wel. En zie het verschil. Daarom durf ik hier de stelling te verdedigen dat Iran zo snel mogelijk een kernwapen moet ontwikkelen. Alleen mensen die voor een politiek van terreur zijn, zijn tegen een Iraans nucleair wapen. En die bom noemen we: de peacemaker.


woensdag 12 december 2007

De Dollar Hegemonie 38

'Even Larry Summers Predicts Doom
A Dollar the Size of a Postage Stamp
By MIKE WHITNEY

Lately it seems as though everyone wants to take a poke at the dollar. Last week, it was the Brazilian supermodel who demanded euros for her jaunts on the catwalk instead of USD. The week before that, hip-hop impresario, Jay-Z, released a video dissin' the dollar and praising the euro as the 'baddest Dude in the 'hood'.
Lambasting the greenback has become trendy. It's a favorite pastime of politicians, too. At the November OPEC meeting in Riyadh, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked the assembled finance ministers to "study the feasibility of selling oil in another currency." Ahmadinejad disparaged the dollar as "a worthless piece of paper".
The fiery Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, followed Ahmadinejad's lead predicting that the demise of the dollar would mean the "end of the Empire."
Hugo may be on to something. The dollar is America's Achilles heel; if the dollar tanks, so does the empire. That means the taxpayer will have to foot the bill for Bush's bloody-interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than the Chinese. That also means that the US will have to export something of greater value than Daisy Cutters and gulags. That could be a tall-order, now that Bush has boarded up the factories, hollowed out the industrial base, and outsourced 3 million manufacturing jobs. We'll have to scrape the rust off the machinery and get back into the widget-making business like we were before the Free Trade fiasco.
Central banks across the globe are trying to figure out how to ditch their dollar reserves without triggering a stampede for the exits. No one wants to see that. But, then, nobody wants to be stuck with vaults full of Uncle Sam's green confetti either. So, the question arises; What is the best way to divest oneself of $5.6 trillion (total USD held overseas) before the Lusitania capsizes?
Kuwait, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and Norway have already opted to ignore the destabilizing effects of "conversion" from dollars and are in some stage of divestiture. Others will follow. The UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia are considering switching from the dollar-peg to a basket of currencies so they can hedge against the inflation that's battering their economies. It's only a matter of time before the Petrodollar System---which links the dollar to petroleum sales and creates a de facto "international currency"---unravels completely, precipitating the final collapse of Breton Woods.
Talk of America's impending currency disaster is no longer relegated to the Internet blathershere. Mainstream journalists have joined the chorus and are sending up their own red flags. The UK Telegraph's economics's editor, Liam Halligan, made this grim observation in his recent article, "Bet Your Bottom Dollar Tensions Will Follow":
"The importance of "dollar divestment" cannot be overstated. At the very least it means the greenback has much further to fall - plunging the US into recession. But it begs a bigger, more alarming, question. How will Washington react to the end of the US hegemony?"
The dollar was savaged by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve. The Fed's policies were designed to coincide with Bush's Middle East Crusade. They were supposed to work like two wheels on the same axle. The administration believed that, by 2007, the military would need only 30,000 or so troops to maintain security in Iraq. That would give Bush's legions the chance to turn east and push on to the next target-state, Iran. If things went according to plan -- and no one thought the high-tech US war machine could be stopped -- the US would control two-thirds of the world's oil. This would allow America to keep writing bad checks on green paper for the next century.
But then, of course, the plan hit a snag. The Iraqi resistance mushroomed, the US got bogged down in an "unwinnable" war, and the once-mighty dollar shriveled into nothingness. Now we're at a turning point and our leaders are in a state of denial. Bush is still playing Teddy Roosevelt, while Paulson and Bernanke are just plain shell-shocked. They probably know the game is over. As the dollar continues to wither; the frustration is beginning to mount in Europe. Liam Halligan sums it up like this:
"Europe has finally had enough of America's "benign neglect" dollar policy. As a large economic area, with a floating exchange rate, the eurozone suffers most. Over the past seven years, the single currency has risen by a shocking 82 per cent against the greenback. That's hammered eurozone exports - provoking serious trade disputes between the EU and US, the world's two biggest trading blocks. No wonder French President Nicolas Sarkozy describes America's drooping dollar as "a precursor to economic war". (UK Telegraph, "Bet Your Bottom Dollar tensions Will Follow")'

Lees verder: http://counterpunch.org/whitney11272007.html

Nederland en Afghanistan 151



Nu opletten hoe lang het ons kabinet van overtuigde sociaaldemocraten en diep gelovige christenen erover gaat doen om op hetzelfde ideetje te komen./

De Independent bericht:

'Brown: 'It's time to talk to the Taliban'
Today, the Prime Minister will announce a major shift in strategy on Afghanistan. Could it mark the beginning of the end of a bloody six-year war? Or is it just spin?
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
As the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 comes to a close, Gordon Brown is ready to talk to the Taliban in a major shift in strategy that is likely to cause consternation among hardliners in the White House.
Six years after British troops were first deployed to oust the Taliban regime, the Prime Minister believes the time has come to open a dialogue in the hope of moving from military action to consensus-building among the tribal leaders. Since 1 January, more than 6,200 people have been killed in violence related to the insurgency, including 40 British soldiers. In total, 86 British troops have died. The latest casualty was Sergeant Lee Johnson, whose vehicle hit a mine before the fall of Taliban-held town of Musa Qala.
The Cabinet yesterday approved a three-pronged plan that Mr Brown will outline for security to be provided by Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and the Afghan national army, followed by economic and political development in Afghanistan.
But the intention to engage Taliban leaders in a constructive dialogue, which Mr Brown will make clear in a parliamentary statement today, will be by far the most controversial element of the plan. A senior Downing Street source confirmed the move last night and one Brown aide who accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Kabul, said: "We need to ask who are we fighting? Do we need to fight them? Can we be talking to them?"
Senior government officials said it was an error to see the Taliban as a unified organisation rather than as a disparate group of Afghan tribesmen, often farmers recruited at the end of the gun, infiltrated by foreign fighters. The aim is to divide the Taliban's local support from al-Qa'ida and militants from Pakistan.
The shift of strategy will place the onus to deliver on Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, who will take the lead in opening discussions with Taliban leaders through provincial governors.
"Musa Qala was a good example of what we are planning – once the town was stabilised, people were ready to appoint judges, local police chiefs, start laying on services and putting in power lines," said the No 10 source. "But the Afghan government has got to demonstrate they can deliver an alternative strategy."
The dialogue strategy is the latest attempt by Mr Brown to distance himself from the military legacy of the Blair era and the hardline instincts of President George Bush. At the weekend, the Prime Minister made a surprise visit to Basra in southern Iraq and announced that the British handover of control of the region to local Iraqi forces would be completed within two weeks. British soldiers' combat role will then cease, as they move to an "overwatch" role, and retreat to Basra Air Station.'

Lees verder: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article3244696.ece

CIDI Bestuurslid schendt Internationaal Recht 9


'A Field Guide to Hasbara ( Propaganda) from the WUJS
World Union of Jewish Students 31.01.2004 17:31 Repression World
This should actually be atributed to a union of Zionists, since this is yet another example of the Zionists' willingness to hide behind and manipulate the Jewish community to further their own ideological and political interests.

Just in case you were wondering what informs the latest efforts by Zionist spammers to flood IMC worldwide... 'Propaganda is used by those who want to communicate in ways that engage the emotions, and downplay rationality, in an attempt to promote a certain message. To effectively present Israel to the public, and to counter anti-Israel messages, it is necessary to understand propaganda devices.' A Field Guide to Hasbara ( Propaganda) from the WUJS [-----This post contains 'highlights' from their Hasbara Guide.-----] World Union of Jewish Students Influencing Public Opinion The first aim of Israel advocacy is to influence public opinion. Public opinion is very important to Israel, and Jewish communities around the world. Firstly, in the field of international relations, foreign policies are heavily influenced by politicians' perceived electoral interests. If politicians detect public support for Israel, they will be likely to support Israel themselves. Secondly, Israel benefits from public support economically - in terms of willingness to visit Israel and buy Israeli goods. Influencing Public Leaders The second aim of Israel advocacy is to influence public leaders. It is possible for citizens to influence public officials and leaders directly. Politicians respond to public pressure. If politicians receive dozens of letters calling upon them to support Israel, they will be more likely to do so. Israel benefits from political support abroad, because it ensures a more sympathetic response to Israeli policies. Influencing the Leaders and Opinion Formers of the Future Campuses are the breeding ground for the next generation of politicians and opinion formers. For this reason, the third aim of student Israel advocacy is to influence campus leaders. Student union leaders might end up as government ministers, student journalists might end up as national newspaper editors. Because people often form and refine many of their political ideas at university, it is important for the long run security of Israel to try to influence student leaders and journalists to understand Israel and to be favourable towards her. In the years to come, Jewish communities will be glad this has been done. Approaches to Israel Advocacy There are two main approaches to Israel advocacy that allow Jewish students to achieve the aims outlined above. These approaches apply to everything Israel activists are trying to achieve in their advocacy for Israel. These approaches can be called "neutralising negativity" and "pushing positivity". Neutralising negativity is about attempting to counter harmful impressions and accusations. This is the side of hasbara that is concerned with the defence of Israel. "Israel is not bad because…." "This action was justified because…"
Een voorbeeld van dit soort zionistische propaganda van het CIDI:

'Ehud Barak: Iran heeft kernwapenprogramma waarschijnlijk hervat

Iran heeft waarschijnlijk zijn kernwapenprogramma hervat. Dat heeft de Israëlische minister van Defensie, Ehud Barak, dinsdag gezegd, aldus de Israëlische legerradio.
Daarmee spreekt hij een rapport over de nucleaire ambities van Iran van het Amerikaanse National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) tegen. Volgens NIE heeft het land zijn programma om kernwapens te maken hoogstwaarschijnlijk in 2003 stopgezet. Sindsdien zouden er ook geen pogingen meer gedaan worden om nucleaire wapens te ontwikkelen.
Barak erkent dat Iran destijds het programma heeft gestaakt, maar voegt eraan toe informatie te hebben dat het "waarschijnlijk'' weer is hervat. Hij zei weinig geloof te hechten aan het rapport van de Amerikaanse inlichtingendiensten.
Ook de Amerikaanse president Bush vindt dat Iran nog steeds een bedreiging vormt voor de wereld. "Het rapport is een waarschuwing, een signaal dat Iran het programma kan herstarten." Daarom blijven "alle opties op de tafel" in zijn beleid voor Iran. Bush: "Iran was gevaarlijk, Iran is gevaarlijk, Iran blijft gevaarlijk als het de kennis heeft om een kernwapen te maken."'
Lees verder: http://www.cidi.nl/
Let wel, er staat waarschijnlijk, dus absoluut zeker is het allerminst. En zeker volstrekt onvoldoende om te pleiten voor het bombarderen van Iran zoals de extremisten in Israel doen. Een militaire aanval op Iran is onder deze omstandigheden volgens het internationaal recht een agressiedaad, een terreurdaad dus, die het CIDI steunt. Waarom het CIDI terrorisme steunt maakt deze volgens Haaretz 'pro-Zionistische lobby groep' niet duidelijk. Hoe propagandistisch het CIDI te werk gaat blijkt ook uit de regel die volgt op de kwalificatie waarschijnlijk: 'Daarmee spreekt hij een rapport over de nucleaire ambities van Iran van het Amerikaanse National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) tegen.'
Beste propagandisten van het CIDI: de Franse socioloog Jaques Ellul heeft een prachtig boek over propaganda geschreven, waarin hij gedocumenteerd laat zien dat een van de belangrijkste kenmerken van alle propaganda is dat het niet duidelijk moet zijn dat het propaganda is. Op het moment dat de consumenten zien dat het propaganda is, dan werkt het niet meer als propaganda. Dan is het geen propaganda meer, maar dat wat het altijd al was namelijk leugens, en dat hebben de mensen dan door. Dus beste mensen van het CIDI: nooit eerst schrijven dat iets waarschijnlijk is en vervolgens stellen dat daarmee iets anders wordt weersproken. Iets kan alleen maar door feiten worden weersproken, nooit door waarschijnlijkheden. Stel, letwel stel dat ik schrijf dat het CIDI waarschijnlijk door Israel wordt gefinancierd en dus volstrekt geen betrouwbare bron is voor een democratisch land als Nederland. Heb ik dan serieus weersproken dat jullie een echt Centrum voor Informatie en Documentatie Israel zijn?
Trouwens, werkt het bedrijf van jullie bestuurslid nog steeds aan de bouw van de illegale Apartheidsmuur op de bezette Westbank? Waarom respecteren het CIDI en Israel het internationaal recht niet?

dinsdag 11 december 2007

The Empire 321





'Big Oil to Sign Iraq Deals Soon


By Ben Lando


UPI


Big Oil's big dreams are close to coming true as Iraq's Oil Ministry prepares deals for the country's largest oil fields with terms that aren't necessarily what companies were hoping for but considered a foot in the door of the world's most promising oil sector.
Iraq's proven oil reserves are only smaller than those in Saudi Arabia and Iran -- and the country is only about 30 percent explored.
Iraq produces about 2.4 million barrels per day, a recent increase from the 2 million bpd post-invasion average, but far below what its reserves could handle. Its oil sector is suffering from decades of Saddam Hussein-era mismanagement, U.N. sanctions and the effects of the current war.
The decision of how to develop a resource that provides for nearly the entire federal budget is political and controversial. To each side's alarm, the national government will rely on a Saddam-era law and Iraq's Kurdish region is signing deals on its own.
Details of negotiations between the ministry and international oil majors are being kept quiet, though media are picking up on pieces of deal-making.
MarketWatch reports executives from BP and Shell were to meet with Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani following Wednesday's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Abu Dhabi. The global energy information firm Platts reports top ministry and company officials are to meet in Amman this week.
Shahristani himself dropped hints to United Press International in a recent interview. He said he's moving forward with oil deals despite the lack of a new national oil law, a draft of which has been stalled in negotiations for more than a year.
"This has nothing to do with the national oil law. There is no timeline. Whenever we finish our discussions we'll just sign the contracts," he told UPI on the sidelines of the OPEC heads of state summit last month.
"This is basically technical-support contracts," he said, adding the contracts will not be the result of a bidding process. "Selected companies will offer us technical support that we need to develop our producing fields."
Develop producing fields? "Yes, only."
With the companies who are helping to, who have been studying them, who have been doing this work? "Yes. Exactly. That's right."
How many fields? "We will not be announcing anything until we sign the contracts."
Super giants? "They are the super giants, yes."'


Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/121007C.shtml


Snapt u!

maandag 10 december 2007

Heikelien Verrijn Stuart


'Carla del Ponte, hoofdaanklaagster van het Joegoslaviëtribunaal, neemt eind 2007 afscheid. Donderdag is zij in Den Haag te gast bij de première van de film Carla's List, een documentaire over Del Ponte en haar medewerkers. Na afloop van de film debatteert zij onder andere met Heikelien Verrijn Stuart, juriste, journaliste en voornaam volgster van het Joegoslavië Tribunaal. Zij houdt deze week voor Amnesty.nl een dagboek bij.
maandag 10 december Vandaag is het internationale mensenrechtendag. Vandaag ook moest "Mr. Gus" Kouwenhoven voor het Haagse gerechtshof verschijnen. Tegen hem loopt het hoger beroep wegens oorlogsmisdrijven die hij zou hebben gepleegd om de wrede en corrupte president Charles Taylor van Liberia te helpen. Taylor zelf bevindt zich in de Scheveningse gevangenis in afwachting van zijn proces dat voor het Sierra Leone tribunaal, dat voor dit proces onderdak heeft gevonden bij het Internationaal Strafhof - zal plaatsvinden. Carla del Ponte vertrekt na ruim acht jaar hoofdaanklaagster van het Joegoslavië tribunaal te zijn geweest. Radio en televisie in allerlei vormen aan de lijn. 'Wil je over Carla komen praten?'. Verbijsterde stilte aan de andere kant als ik zeg dat ik niet in de context van een amusementsprogramma – De Wereld Draait Door – over oorlogsmisdrijven kom praten. Nauw verholen gegaap van een redacteur van een serieus televisie programma als ik niet in blijk te zijn voor een rondje roddelen over Del Ponte. Waarom zou ik? Ik ken haar niet persoonlijk en ben er bovendien ten diepste van overtuigd dat de waarde van een strafproces blijkt in de rechtszaal. Daarover valt als het om internationale hoven gaat nog wel wat meer over te zeggen, maar daaraan kom ik misschien in de loop van deze overvolle week toe. Het is opvallend hoeveel aandacht er aan haar vertrek wordt besteed. Het is alsof voor het publiek het tribunaal en deze hoofdaanklaagster één zijn. De rechters zijn nauwelijks bekend bij de buitenwereld, zij doen in betrekkelijke anonimiteit hun werk. Manhunter Carla del Ponte fascineert, trekt aan en stoot af.'

Norman Finkelstein

'Lecture by and interview with the American political scientist and author Norman Finkelstein.
Beginning December 2007 Norman Finkelstein gave a lecture in Amsterdam under the title: The Coming Break-Up of American Zionism. Finkelstein is the author of among others Image & Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1995), The Holocaust Industry (2003) and Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2005)

The Lecture: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx
The Interview: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx

Or here: http://www.stanvanhoucke.net/audioblog/index.php

Here you'll find the leatest information about Norman Finkelstein: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/>

De Dollar Hegemonie 37

'Iran drops dollar from oil deals: report

TEHRAN (AFP) — Major crude producer Iran has completely stopped carrying out its oil transactions in dollars, Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said on Saturday, labelling the greenback an "unreliable" currency.
"At the moment, selling oil in dollars has been completely halted, in line with the policy of selling crude in non-dollar currencies," Nozari was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
"The dollar is an unreliable currency, considering its devaluation and the oil exporters' losses," he added.
The world's fourth largest oil exporter, Iran has massively reduced its dependence on the dollar over the past year in the face of US pressures on its financial system and the fall in the dollar.
Nozari did not specify in which currencies Iran was now being paid. In the past, officials have said most oil income was in euros, with a significant percentage in yen.
Japan, which purchases 20 percent of Iran's crude oil, has recently agreed to pay for the crude oil in yen, officials have said. The UAE dirham has also been mooted as a possible payment currency.
Iran has in the past months been whittling down the proportion of dollars in its oil revenue income. Officials in October said that dollars accounted for only 15 percent of payments and predicted the amount would fall to zero.
However, the oil income is still being booked in dollars.
The United States has in recent months successfully encouraged major European and Asian banks to cut their dealings with Iran in a bid to make the Islamic republic give way on its controversial nuclear programme.
Washington has also blacklisted major Iranian banks for alleged support of terrorism and seeking nuclear weapons, charges denied by Tehran.'
Snapt u!

De Israelische Terreur 285




'Civil rights group: Israel has reached new heights of racism
By Yuval Yoaz and Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondents
Tags: Association for Civil Rights

Racism against Israel's Arab citizens has dramatically increased in the past year, including a 26 percent rise in anti-Arab incidents, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel's annual report. Author Sami Michael, the association's president, said upon the release of the report that racism was so rife it was damaging civil liberty in Israel

"Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy," Michael said. The publication coincides with Human Rights Week, which begins Sunday. "We are a society under supervision under a democratic regime whose institutions are being undermined and which confers a different status to residents in the center of the country and in the periphery," Michael said. The number of Jews expressing feelings of hatred toward Arabs has doubled, the report stated. According to the June 2007 Democracy Index of the Israel Democracy Institute, for example, only half the public believes that Jews and Arabs must have full equal rights. Among Jewish respondents, 55 percent support the idea that the state should encourage Arab emigration from Israel and 78 percent oppose the inclusion of Arab political parties in the government. According to a Haifa University study, 74 percent of Jewish youths in Israel think that Arabs are "unclean."'

Lees verder: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/932384.html

The Empire 320

'Ondanks rapport: koers van Witte Huis op Iran ongewijzigd
Door Daan de Wit

Het verschijnen van de National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) eerder deze maand brengt een groot conflict binnen de Amerikaanse elite aan de oppervlakte. Het neoconservatieve deel van deze elite wordt in het nauw gedreven door de rest van het establishment. Deze tegenstanders willen geen oorlog met Iran en zijn verantwoordelijk voor de NIE. Echter, de ideologie van de neocons is onaangetast èn maken zij nog steeds de dienst uit. De tegenstand zal de verbetenheid van deze groep alleen maar groter maken. Daardoor kan het zijn dat het rapport de kans op escalatie verhoogt en tegelijkertijd het gevolg, een oorlog met Iran, nog steeds een zeer reële mogelijkheid is.
Het rapport van de Iraq Study Group van voormalig buitenlandminister James Baker was een jaar geleden het eerste grote teken aan de wand, gevolgd door het getuigenis van voormalig veiligheidsadviseur Zbigniew Brzezinski voor de Senaatscommissie Buitenlandse Zaken in februari van dit jaar. Brzezinski en Baker zijn niet de enigen die kritiek laten horen op het neoconservatieve beleid. De gebeurtenissen in Irak hebben velen de ogen geopend en gaven de ruimte aan kritische denkers die zonder 'Irak' simpelweg als onpatriottistisch zouden zijn weg gezet. Admiraal William Fallon, de allerhoogste baas van Centcom, het commandocentrum dat de militaire leiding heeft tijdens een oorlog, zou zich bijvoorbeeld privé in niet mis te verstane woorden hebben uitgedrukt tegen oorlog met Iran. Bronnen van The Sunday Times uit kringen van de Britse geheime diensten en defensie melden in februari dat zo'n vier à vijf Amerikaanse generaals en admiraals bereid zijn ontslag te nemen mocht worden besloten Iran aan te vallen. De krant schrijft dat defensieminister Robert Gates meermalen heeft gewaarschuwd tegen een militaire confrontatie met Iran en dat wordt aangenomen dat hij de mening vertegenwoordigt van zijn hoogste commandanten. De onderliggende inzet bij de strijd tegen de hardliners in het Witte Huis lijkt te zijn dat er naast de imagoschade van de VS, de mislukking van de oorlog tegen Irak, de schuldenpositie van de VS en de torenhoge olieprijs, niet nog een, wellicht veel groter, probleem bij kan. Het eind van de periode Bush is in zicht en het establishment ziet uit naar aan een koerswijziging. Iran-expert Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow voor Midden-Oostenstudies bij de Council on Foreign Relations verwoordt het aldus (MP3, 36'02): 'The NIE is an interesting part of a larger narrative; namely, how the formal institutions of government are now determined to resist the White House, which wasn't the case in 2002. The head of the intelligence organization, McConnell, basically undermined the president's attempt to have a military option. It's inconceivable that the United States of America can attack a country whose intelligence services say does not have a weapons program. Second of all, the military uniformed services also will be in a position of resisting, as Admiral Fallon and others have said. In many ways, this narrative suggests the irrelevance of the Bush White House, the irrelevance of the president himself. This is not like it was -- these institutions are trying to tell the White House it isn't like 2002, when they were just going to roll over and accept the White House's judgments and the White House's exaggerations. I mean, this is not George Tenet anymore.'