zaterdag 29 april 2006

Peak Oil

Democracy Now: 'Has Global Oil Production Reached Maximum Capacity? A Debate on Peak OilWith the price of oil soaring to record highs and oil companies reporting record profits, many are asking whether the world has reached peak oil production. Peak oil occurs when half of all existing oil has been pulled from the ground. Some experts believe we are at peak now while others disagree. We host a debate on the issue with Julian Darley of the Post Carbon Institute and Michael Lynch of the Strategic Energy & Economic Research. [includes rush transcript]
As the price of oil soars to record highs and oil companies report record profits, today we look at some reasons why this may be occurring. Last Friday, oil prices rose to over $75 a barrel with consumers paying an average of $2.91 a gallon - 68 cents higher than a year ago. Yesterday, Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, reported the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history. In January, Exxon posted profits of almost $11 billon, which was the highest quarterly profits of any company ever. Exxon now holds the first, second, fourth and fifth spots of highest quarterly earnings of any company. And Dutch Shell, another oil company, holds the third spot. With the mid-elections looming in November, Congress and President Bush are scrambling over what to do about the public's increasing concern over the rising oil prices and corporate profits. Yesterday, the President and some Republicans called for eliminating the $2 billion dollars in tax breaks that Congress passed as part of the energy bill last August. Some Democrats have called for a repeal of oil and gas tax breaks worth more than $10 billion dollars over the next five years. Earlier this week, Bush stated some of his ideas to address the problem. A conference is being held in New York City this week examining an issue that is getting increasing attention. The Peak Oil Conference, sponsored by Local Energy Solutions and the Five Borough Institute is bringing together experts in energy, agriculture, economics and geology to address what they say is partly the cause of high oil prices. Peak oil occurs when half of all existing oil has been pulled from the ground. Therefore oil becomes more expensive and the economy goes into recession. Some experts believe we are at peak now while others disagree. Today, we host a debate on the issue of peak oil:
Julian Darley, founder and director of the Post Carbon Institute and Global Public Media. He is also author of "High Noon for Natural Gas: the New Energy Crisis" and co-author of the forthcoming book "Relocalize Now! Getting Ready for Climate Change and the End of Cheap Oil." Michael Lynch, President of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. Previously, Michael was Director of Asian Energy and Security, at the Center for International Studies, M.I.T., as well as a Lecturer in the Diplomatic Training Program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.' Luister en lees verder:

Iran 44

De bezetenheid van de Westerse wereld ten opzichte van Iran is opmerkelijk, vooral wanneer die afgezet wordt tegen de gelatenheid en zelfs openlijke steun van het Westen aan Israel. Iran heeft een nucleair programma, Israel bezit nucleaire wapens. Iran heeft nooit met nucleaire wapens gedreigd, Israel wel. En toch worden tegen Israel geen stappen ondernomen, tegen Iran wel. Dat mag voor het Westen redelijk lijken, maar niet voor de rest van de wereld, en zeker niet de islamitische wereld. De Washington Post bericht: 'Report Sets Stage For Action on Iran.
U.N. Nuclear Agency Provides Evidence Needed to Open Security Council Debate. PARIS, April 28 -- In a sharply worded report, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Friday that Iran is accelerating its uranium enrichment efforts and hiding crucial information about its nuclear program. The report opens the way for the U.N. Security Council to debate potential actions against Iran. The Vienna-based U.N. nuclear monitoring agency said serious gaps in the information provided by Iran made it impossible "to provide assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities" or to assess the role of the Iranian military in the nuclear work.The eight-page report provided official evidence that the United States, Britain and France have sought to launch a push for possible sanctions against Iran. But Russia and China, also permanent members of the Security Council, have repeatedly expressed skepticism with that approach. President Bush said after the report's release that "the world is united and concerned" about Iran's "desire to have not only a nuclear weapon but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon. Lees verder:

vrijdag 28 april 2006

Hijacking Catastrophe

'Hijacking Catastrophe' is de naam van een documentaire die buitengewoon de moeite waard is om te zien. U kunt die documentaire nu via Information Clearing House bekijken. Karen Kwiatkowski, luitenant-kolonel buiten dienst van de Amerikaanse luchtmacht, schrijft er het volgende over: 'Better than anyone to date, the Media Education Foundation has quietly and accurately documented the most important history of 21st century thus far in their recent video and DVD release, Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear, and the Selling of American Empire. Hijacking Catastrophe is powerful, understated, straightforward and educational. In a single meticulously organized hour of evidence and analysis, viewers are treated to a thoughtful explanation of modern American empire, neo-conservatism as a driving force for the current Bush administration, and something I have not seen before, a real economic analysis of what is driving some of our current "global war on terror."
The film examines the Bush Administration’s investment in neo-conservatism, and the early, and already horrific, results. While past performance is no guarantee of future earnings, Hijacking Catastrophe shows exactly why America’s "new conservatism" is a pyramid scheme of inhumane proportions. The film examines eight aspects of the current situation of American foreign policy. The film provides an explanation for the obvious continuity between Cold War policies and those of the present. It examines long-term neoconservative thinking and how this peculiar version of Jacobin utopianism ascended from its rather inauspicious political roots. The film explores the dangerous territory of how the post 9-11 national shock was carefully cultivated by neoconservatives in Washington to support their own long-held objectives in the Middle East. Hijacking Catastrophe then documents the Pentagon and White House process of disinformation, exaggeration, and media-supported propaganda between 9-11 and America’s March 2003 invasion of Iraq. It describes the neoconservative vision of military dominance over a supine, energy-rich Middle East, not only for its own sake, but as a warning to other potential international rivals. Hijacking Catastrophe describes the cost of empire in a way so comprehensive that it becomes clear that neo-conservatism, as a foreign policy guide, comes with a very real moral, political and financial garnishment of every American, and of American children yet unborn. The cost is shown not only as a current financial outlay or in lives unlived on the part of soldiers and marines, but in terms of an alarming debt burden, loss of domestic freedom, the growing and invasive state, a permanent tattering of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.' Zie:

Iran 43

Zbigniew Brzezinski was de nationale veilgheids adviseur van president Carter van 1977 tot 1981. In de Los Angeles Times schrijft hij: 'Talk of a U.S. strike on Iran is eerily reminiscent of the run-up to the Iraq war. IRAN'S ANNOUNCEMENT that it has enriched a minute amount of uranium has unleashed urgent calls for a preventive U.S. airstrike from the same sources that earlier urged war on Iraq. If there is another terrorist attack in the United States, you can bet your bottom dollar that there also will be immediate charges that Iran was responsible in order to generate public hysteria in favor of military action. But there are four compelling reasons against a preventive air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities: first, in the absence of an imminent threat (and the Iranians are at least several years away from having a nuclear arsenal), the attack would be a unilateral act of war. If undertaken without a formal congressional declaration of war, an attack would be unconstitutional and merit the impeachment of the president. Similarly, if undertaken without the sanction of the United Nations Security Council, either alone by the United States or in complicity with Israel, it would stamp the perpetrator(s) as an international outlaw(s). Second, likely Iranian reactions would significantly compound ongoing U.S. difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps precipitate new violence by Hezbollah in Lebanon and possibly elsewhere, and in all probability bog down the United States in regional violence for a decade or more. Iran is a country of about 70 million people, and a conflict with it would make the misadventure in Iraq look trivial. Third, oil prices would climb steeply, especially if the Iranians were to cut their production or seek to disrupt the flow of oil from the nearby Saudi oil fields. The world economy would be severely affected, and the United States would be blamed for it. Note that oil prices have already shot above $70 per barrel, in part because of fears of a U.S.-Iran clash. Finally, the United States, in the wake of the attack, would become an even more likely target of terrorism while reinforcing global suspicions that U.S. support for Israel is in itself a major cause of the rise of Islamic terrorism. The United States would become more isolated and thus more vulnerable while prospects for an eventual regional accommodation between Israel and its neighbors would be ever more remote. In short, an attack on Iran would be an act of political folly, setting in motion a progressive upheaval in world affairs. With the U.S. increasingly the object of widespread hostility, the era of American preponderance could even come to a premature end. Although the United States is clearly dominant in the world at the moment, it has neither the power nor the domestic inclination to impose and then to sustain its will in the face of protracted and costly resistance. That certainly is the lesson taught by its experiences in Vietnam and Iraq. Even if the United States is not planning an imminent military strike on Iran, persistent hints by official spokesmen that "the military option is on the table" impede the kind of negotiations that could make that option unnecessary. Such threats are likely to unite Iranian nationalists and Shiite fundamentalists because most Iranians are proud of their nuclear program.' Lees verder:,0,3700317.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Nederland en Afghanistan 63

John Quincy Adams was de zesde president van de Verenigde Staten. In 1821 formuleerde hij de uitgangspunten van de Amerikaanse politiek. Hij wees erop dat de VS 'goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.
She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.... [America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.' Lees verder: Bijna twee eeuwen later doet en is de VS precies waarvoor Adams waarschuwde. De vraag is waarom het Nederlandse kabinet dit steunt. Waarom zitten Nederlandse militairen in Afghanistan? Wat denkt men daar te doen? Monsters bestrijden? En een nog fundamentelere vraag: staat het voortbestaan van de Nederlandse natie op het spel als we geen militairen naar Afghanistan sturen? En als dat niet het geval is, waarom besteedt het Nederlands kabintet dan honderden miljoenen euro's om militair aanwezig te zijn in Afghanistan? Een leger is om een land te verdedigen, niet om ergens ter wereld een copie van onze parlementaire democratie te vestigen die de meerderheid van de mensen daar zelf niet willen. Waarom is daarover geen publiek debat? Gezien het toenemende gevaar van aanslagen is de vraag ook waarom dit onderwerp beperkt blijft tot een politieke koehandel tussen de elites in Den Haag?

Amerikaanse Nucleaire Wapens

De Amerikaanse auteur Benjamin Phelan schrijft in Harper's Magazine: 'Debunking the nuclear "bunker buster." According to Defense Department estimates, there are perhaps 10,000 underground military installations in the world. Most, no doubt, are crude ammo dumps, but some are literally subterranean fortresses. The most dazzling is the complex beneath Russia's Yamantau Mountain, begun under Brezhnev but completed only recently; tunneled sideways into the Urals southeast of Moscow, the complex sits below thousands of feet of quartz, insulated from an American ICBM attack. China, too, has an extensive system of underground bunkers and command shelters, including hundreds of fortified missile silos, complete with living quarters, that are scattered throughout its 3.7 million square miles. In North Korea the reliance on tunnels and bunkers is even more obsessive. Underground weapons factories there are believed to employ as many as 20,000 workers; the nation has tunneled under the DMZ and into South Korea, has dug in upward of 10,000 pieces of artillery along the border, and even has built underground airstrips. Iran possesses an underground uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz that can be expanded or altered in secrecy. Libya's vast chemical-weapons plant at Tarhunah, though now apparently in disuse, is still standing, still underground, and could be quietly reopened by a lapsed Qaddafi. Without satellite surveillance showing its construction and burial, the world might still be ignorant of Syria's As-Safirah chemical-weapons factory. These installations, and countless others unknown around the world, constitute the last class of targets that America's current arsenal cannot credibly threaten with swift annihilation. Since the Cold War, the U.S defense community has become obsessed with the problem of bunkers and how to destroy them. The solution put forward has, of course, been expensive new weaponry. Soon after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush Administration made a push for new nuclear programs, the most conspicuous of which was the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers. During the first presidential debate this fall, John Kerry made much of his opposition to the program. "Right now the President is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons," he said. "We're telling other people, ÔYou can't have nuclear weapons,' but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. Not this president. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going to make it clear to the world we're serious about containing nuclear proliferation." But Kerry's gesture, while well intentioned, was largely empty. The United States already has a nuclear bunker-buster, the B61-11, which was tested during the first Bush Administration and deployed in 1997 under Bill Clinton. In the eyes of potential adversaries, the B61-11 is inherently a weapon that, in Kerry's phrase, "we might even contemplate using": alone in our vast nuclear arsenal, the B61-11 is tailored not to deter a full-on attack by a large nuclear competitor but to preemptively strike a smaller state. If, as Kerry rightly argues, the RNEP is a provocation to non-nuclear states in their efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, it is hardly more so than the bunker buster we already possess.
Were the effectiveness of bunker busters to be demonstrated, the weapons might conceivably be worth the risk and expense. But in fact, even a cursory consideration of the science shows that bunker-busting nuclear weapons are a wasteful and dangerous delusion.' Lees verder: Of:

Verarmd Uranium 2

Information Clearing House bericht: 'GIs, Beware Radioactive Showers! Bush’s impending, insane nuclear attack on Iran has provoked an unprecedented rebellion within the top leadership of the United States military. At the same time, depleted uranium (DU) is steadily taking down our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s time for the soldiers to follow the lead of their commanders in order to end the war. Was Army Sgt. Michael Lee Tosto the first American victim of the Bush administration’s March 2003 “Shock and Awe” attack on Iraq? The 24-year-old North Carolina tank operator died “mysteriously” in Baghdad on June 17, 2003. The Iraqi capital was saturated with radioactive dust from the initial explosions of 1,500 American bombs and missiles, many of them made from solid depleted uranium. After the saturation bombing, the city was the scene of street battles with M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, A-10 Warthog attack jets and Apache helicopters firing DU munitions. The army told Sgt. Tosto’s family that he died from pulmonary edema and pericardial effusion, or cardiac failure, after showing flu-like symptoms. Young Michael Tosto believed George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice. He believed he had been deployed to Iraq to stop Saddam Hussein from nuking the United States. Michael died before we all learned that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are nuking the world. Michael Tosto died, young and innocent, when they nuked him.
After Michael’s funeral, a fellow soldier contacted Michael’s wife Stephanie and told her that his buddy started coughing up blood and his lips turned blue and was dead within 48 hours after the first symptoms. According to Tom Flocco, upon whose story this account is based, “. . . the Tostos say their GI was in excellent health — in his prime of life. And Stephanie Tosto told United Press International, ‘When my husband died, the casualty officer asked me, “Is it possible that Michael had heart problems?” Michael did not have heart problems. One other time they asked me if he had asthma. He was never sick.’ ” Inhaling depleted uranium causes pulmonary edema. Symptoms include bleeding lungs, bronchial pneumonia and vomited blood. Pericardial effusion is a common cause of death among leukemia patients. Michael’s mother, Janet Tosto, reported that military officials told her that her son Michael’s military autopsy exhibited elevated levels of white blood cells. Exposure to depleted uranium can cause lymphocytic leukemia. Tom Flocco consulted Dr. Garth Nicolson of the Institute for Molecular Medicine in Huntington Beach, California who said, “Just one microscopic particle — let alone thousands — trapped in a soldier’s pulmonary system for one year can result in 272 times the annual whole body radiation dose permitted U.S. radiation workers.” Lees verder: Of:

Israelisch Expansionisme 14

Robert Fisk schrijft in de Independent: 'Another brick in the wall. If I were an Israeli I would have built a wall, but not as a way of stealing land. We have been conned again. The Israeli elections, we are told, mean that the dream of "Greater Israel" has finally been abandoned. West Bank settlements will be closed down, just as the Jewish colonies were uprooted in Gaza last year. The Zionist claim to all of Biblical Israel has withered away. Likud, the nightmare party of Menachem Begin and Benjamin Netanyahu, has been smashed by the Gaullist figure of the dying Ariel Sharon, whose Kadima party now embraces Ehud Olmert and that decaying symbol of the Israeli left, Nobel prizewinner Shimon Peres. This, at least, is the narrative laid down by so many of our journalists, "analysts" and "commentators". But it is a lie. Only in paragraph two - or three or four - of the grovelling news reports from the Middle East do we read that Olmert's not very impressive election victory will allow him to "redraw" the "frontiers" of Israel, a decision described as "controversial" - the usual get-out clause of newspapers that wish to avoid the truth: that Israel is about to grab more land and claim it to be part of the state of Israel. Yes, true, the smaller and more vulnerable Jewish colonies illegally built on Palestinian-owned land may be abandoned - stand by for more of the grief and tears which we witnessed in Gaza. But the rest - the great semi-circle of concrete that runs around east Jerusalem, for example - will not be depopulated. Let's start with the wall. It will soon run from top to bottom of the occupied Palestinian West Bank - and it is going to stay. It is higher, in the long sectors where it has been completed - east of Jerusalem, for example - than the Berlin Wall. Yet journalists go on calling it a "security barrier" or a "fence" - because the as yet uncompleted sectors of the wall are still coils of barbed wire. This is part of the dream world that editors and reporters have constructed for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It exists in the same Potemkin landscape that allows journalists to call the occupied Palestinian territory "disputed territory" - after then Secretary of State Colin Powell ordered his diplomats in the region to use this mendacious phrase - and to call Jewish colonies illegally built on Arab land "settlements" or - my favourites now - "Jewish neighbourhoods" or "outposts". It is the same stage set on which Israelis are killed by Palestinians - which they are - but on which Palestinians die in anonymous "clashes" (with whom - and killed by whom, exactly?) And each of these little lies, of course, contains a kernel of truth. The occupied territories are "disputed" between Israelis and Palestinians, the first claiming that God gave them the land, the second producing land deeds to prove that the law entitles them to their own property. If illegal colonies such as Maale Adumim are built adjacent to Jerusalem - itself illegally annexed by Israel - then of course they are "neighbourhoods". And since the wall - which has gobbled up 10 per cent more Palestinian land for the Israelis - is to prevent suicide bombers (and has been fairly successful in doing so), it is a "security barrier". I seem to recall that the East Germans called the Berlin Wall - or "Berlin Fence" as I suppose we would have to call it if built by the Israelis - a "security barrier". Forget the illegality of occupation, then, and the illegality of stealing someone else's home and land, and the illegality of building a wall that thieves yet more property from the 22 per cent of mandate Palestine which the Palestinians are supposed to negotiate for. Let me be frank: if I were an Israeli I too would have built a wall to prevent the suicide executioners of Islamic Jihad and, earlier, of Hamas. But I would have built it along the international frontier of Israel - not used the wall as a cheap method of stealing more land. Indeed, under UN Security Council Resolution 242, which is meant to be the foundation of any peace, the acquisition of land through war is stated to be illegal. The wall itself is illegal. The International Court also ruled it to be illegal. And Israel ignored this ruling. So, of course, did the US. But now the burden of all this post-election theft is to be placed upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. This colourless, helpless man, who presided over the Palestinian Authority's continuing corruption, is supposed to persuade the new Hamas government to accept all of Israel's land-grabs, to pick up where the Oslo process left off (which still left Jerusalem in exclusively Israeli hands), and to abandon all violence - which means to surrender whenever Israeli troops raid refugee camps or cities in the West Bank. The point is that Hamas members have been as assuredly elected representatives of the Palestinians as Mr Olmert and his forthcoming allies in government are representatives of Israelis. But this does not allow them to make any "controversial" plans to redraw their "border" with Israel, not even to insist that Israel withdraws - or redeploys - to its internationally recognised borders. (I'm talking about the pre-1967 frontier, not the 1948 one.) They cannot demand fulfilment of UN Resolution 242 because George Bush has already made it clear that the vast Jewish colonies east of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem itself, will remain in Israeli hands. Sure, 14 of the 24 Hamas ministers have been in Israeli prisons. But what are Palestinians supposed to think when they realise that 15 Israeli generals have been elected to the new Knesset, along with six secret service agents? Yet even this is not the point. If the Israelis want Hamas to acknowledge the state of Israel, then Hamas should be expected to acknowledge the state of Israel that exists within its legal frontiers - not the illegal borders now being dreamt up by Olmert. We will have to abandon the idea that Ariel Sharon - an unindicted war criminal after his involvement in the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacres - was really going to give up the major Jewish colonies built illegally on Arab land or the illegal annexation of Jerusalem. Certainly Olmert is not going to do that. He is going to create wider frontiers for Israel and steal - let's call a spade a spade - more Arab land in doing so. The US will go along with this next illegal land-grab. But will the EU? Will the UN? Will Russia? Will our own dear Tony Blair? Israelis deserve peace and security as much as Palestinians. But "new" and expanded "controversial" Israeli frontiers will not bring peace or security to either.'

donderdag 27 april 2006

De Oorlogsstaat 45

En nu voor het goede nieuws, dankzij de oorlog van de Bush-bende gesteund door onder andere ons eigen kabinet zijn de winsten van de oliemaatschappijen astronomisch gestegen. Reuters bericht: 'Exxon Mobil Profit Rises on Soaring Prices. New York - Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, on Thursday reported quarterly profit surged, driven by rising oil prices. Net income in the first quarter was $8.4 billion, or $1.37 a share, up from $7.86 billion, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier. Revenue jumped to $88.98 billion from $82.05 billion. Crude oil prices have risen steadily from about $20 a barrel in 2002 to over $75 last week, handing oil and gas companies a long-running profit bonanza. But the fat profits have also angered U.S. drivers grappling with rising gasoline prices and provoked sharp criticism of Big Oil from lawmakers and consumer advocates.' Lees verder:

Irak 72

Het Irakese verzet laat de Amerikanen letterlijk en figuurlijk doodbloeden. De Washington Post bericht: 'Projected Iraq War Costs Soar. Total spending is likely to more than double, analysis finds. The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week. The analysis, distributed to some members of Congress on Tuesday night, provides the most official cost estimate yet of a war whose price tag will rise by nearly 17 percent this year. Just last week, independent defense analysts looking only at Defense Department costs put the total at least $7 billion below the CRS figure. Once the war spending bill is passed, military and diplomatic costs will have reached $102 billion this fiscal year, up from $87 billion in 2005, $77 billion in 2004 and $51 billion in 2003, the year of the invasion, congressional analysts said. Even if a gradual troop withdrawal begins this year, war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to rise by an additional $371 billion during the phaseout, the report said, citing a Congressional Budget Office study. "The costs are exceeding even the worst-case scenarios," said Rep. John Spratt (S.C.), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. Such cost estimates may be producing sticker shock on Capitol Hill. This year, the wars will consume nearly as much money as the departments of Education, Justice and Homeland Security combined, a total that is more than a quarter of this year's projected budget deficit. Yesterday, as the Senate debated a $106.5 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and ongoing hurricane relief, 59 senators voted to divert $1.9 billion from President Bush's war-funding request to pay for new border patrol agents, aircraft and some fencing at border crossings widely used by illegal immigrants. When some Democrats said the move would take money from needed combat funds, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the bill's sponsor, called the criticism "pure poppycock."
In another challenge to Bush, the Senate voted by a veto-proof margin, 72 to 26, to shelve an amendment that would have struck spending on all items - from farm drought assistance to a $700 million measure to move a Mississippi railroad away from the Gulf Coast - not requested by the administration. The White House has threatened to veto the bill if it much exceeds the $92.2 billion Bush requested in February.' Lees verder: Of:

Martelen 36 bericht: 'Impunity Endures Two Years After Abu Ghraib. WASHINGTON - Two years after the abuse by U.S. soldiers of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq first came to light, accountability for what turns out to have been a widespread pattern of mistreatment at several detention sites, including torture and at least eight homicides, remains elusive, according to a new report released by three major human rights groups here Wednesday.
"By the Numbers: Findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project" says that at least 330 credible cases of abuse involving 600 U.S. personnel and 460 alleged victims have been reported in Afghanistan, Iraq, and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since late 2001. So far, however, only 40 troops – almost all of them low-ranking enlisted personnel – have been given prison terms. Of these, 30 were sentenced to less than one year's confinement, even in cases involving serious abuse, such as the beating deaths of two detainees at the detention facility at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. "Two years ago, U.S. officials said the abuses at Abu Ghraib were aberrations and that people who abused detainees would be brought to justice," said Meg Satterwhite, who directs the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University (NYU) Law School. "Yet our research shows that detainee abuses were widespread, and few people have truly been brought to justice." Moreover, only three officers have been convicted in courts martial for their part in detainee abuse, and none under the doctrine of command responsibility, a principle incorporated into U.S. military law that provides that a superior is responsible for the criminal acts of subordinates if he or she knew or should have known of them and failed to prevent them or punish those responsible. "Our findings reveal a picture of military discipline from which the doctrine of command responsibility is completely absent," noted Elisa Massimino, Washington director of Human Rights First (HRF), an attorneys' group that includes many retired military lawyers and judges.' Lees verder:

De Oorlogsstaat 44

Gilbert Jordan is a retired professor of English from Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, an anti-war activist, rag time piano player, and full-time landscape artist. E-mail Gilbert at: Voor Common Dreams schrijft hij: 'War: A Theft From Those Who Hunger.

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."- - General of the Army D.D. Eisenhower.

Several years ago I read about a person commiserating with his friend about a serious medical diagnosis. "How bad is it?" he inquired. "Well, let's put it this way: I've stopped flossing."
That anecdote is a perfect analogy for the quagmire we find ourselves in on the recently observed third anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. That war of choice, not necessity, is a milepost in our growth as an imperial power. It is the natural outcome of a half century of increased militarization, time when we have grown to accept the idea that a substantial portion of our resources must be diverted from human needs to building a military force invincible to challenge. As is well documented in a new film, "Why We Fight," the current militarization of America had its roots in the Second World War. The film focuses on Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 farewell speech to the nation at the end of his eight-year presidency. In a remarkably prescient warning, he told Americans that for the first time in our history we had produced a permanent arms industry and that "we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society." What Eisenhower saw 45 years ago has metastasized into a gargantuan military juggernaut whose cost exceeds the arms expenditures of all other nations combined. Eisenhower would be stunned at the growth of this beast now sucking wealth, life, and democracy out of America. It has become the tail that wags the dog, a force so huge and thoroughly ingrained in our culture and political institutions that some believe its dominance has become irreversible. Consider that there are currently over 700 U.S. military bases spread around the globe, a modern equivalent of the Roman legions once covering a huge portion of the known world. The cost of such a smothering presence is intentionally obscured to divert attention from the scope of our military program. The announced Pentagon budget of $439 billion dollars per year is pure pixie dust. Iraq and Afghanistan war costs (another $120 billion this year) are not even included in the figure but covered by supplemental requests to Congress. Absent this and other means of budgetary sleight of hand, the real cost of our military probably approaches three quarters of a trillion dollars per year. Even in America, that should be viewed as an impressive number.' Lees verder:

Iran 42

De Washington Post bericht: 'Iranian Leader Warns U.S. Of Reprisal. Khamenei Is Defiant Ahead of U.N. Report. Escalating the threats between Washington and Tehran, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Wednesday that his country would strike U.S. targets around the world in the event it is attacked over its refusals to curb its nuclear program.
"If the U.S. ventured into any aggression on Iran, Iran will retaliate by damaging U.S. interests worldwide twice as much as the U.S. may inflict on Iran," Khamenei said in a speech to a workers' assembly, according to the official news agency IRNA. His statement adds to a campaign of defiance by senior Iranian officials in advance of a report expected Friday by the U.N. atomic watchdog agency, which analysts predict will cite Iran for defying U.N. Security Council demands to halt its uranium enrichment program. The heightened tensions between the United States and Iran have helped drive oil prices to record highs and have set in motion intense diplomatic meetings aimed at heading off greater destabilization in the Middle East.
In a spate of statements this week, Iranian officials have also threatened to cut oil production, export nuclear technology, bar international nuclear monitors, make their nuclear program entirely secret and withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.' Lees verder:

De Israelische Terreur 14

Via Justwatch verneem ik net dat Zweden de bescherming van de mensenrechten serieus neemt. '
Zweden maakt statement richting Israël

JERUZALEM - Zweden heeft zijn deelname aan internationale luchtmachtoefeningen afgezegd omdat Israël meedoet aan de operaties.

Dat meldde het Israëlische dagblad Haaretz donderdag. De oefeningen hebben in mei plaats in Italië om internationale samenwerking bij vredesoperaties te bevorderen.

„Een bepaald land werkt niet mee aan wereldvrede”, aldus de Zweedse minister van Defensie. Een functionaris van het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken noemde Israël wel bij naam en zei dat „de deelname van Israël de voorwaarden voor Zweedse deelname verandert”.

Israëlische parlementsleden reageerden verontwaardigd op de aankondiging. Een bron binnen de overheid zei dat „het gebrek aan sympathie voor Israël in Zweden ongewoon groot is”.' Nu kijken of ook de Nederlandse regering de mensenrechten respecteert. Enkele jaren geleden zag ik in Libanon de grootscheepse verwoestingen van Israelische terreur bombardementen op bevolkingscentra. Volgens een voorlichter van de Luchtmacht doet Nederland niet aan deze oefening mee. Dat lijkt me verstandig, want als ons land er wel aan zou meedoen dan zou dat een aanleiding kunnen zijn voor de Arabische wereld om onze exportprodukten te boycotten, net zoals Europa dat soms doet met landen waar de mensenrechten worden geschonden. Israel heeft onlangs nog Iran gedreigd te bombarderen. Dat is in strijd met het internationaal recht. Bovendien pleegt het als bezettingsmacht herhaaldelijk buitengerechtelijke executies, een eufemisme voor moord en terrorisme. De peridieke Israelische invallen die hebben geleid tot bloedbaden als dat van Jenin waarbij de burgerbevolking onder andere door helicopters en F-16's met raketten werden bestookt en vermoord en het vluchtelingenkamp tot een ground zero werd verwoest. Het lijkt me dus logisch dat wij niet samen gaan oefenen met een land dat het internationaal recht schendt, zodat het dit recht nog beter kan schenden. Waarom andere landen dit wel doen is opmerkelijk.

Nederland en Afghanistan 62

Dit is wat het Nederlandse leger schrijft over de Afghanistan missies: 'Na de aanslagen op New York en Washington ('9/11') bond de internationale gemeenschap de strijd aan tegen het internationaal terrorisme. De aanslagen waren het werk van het Al Quaida-netwerk, geleid door Osama Bin Laden. Al Quaida bleek nauwe banden te hebben met het Taliban-regime in Afghanistan. Op 7 oktober 2001 begonnen de Verenigde Staten en Groot-Brittannië met operatie Enduring Freedom, gericht tegen Al Quaida en Taliban-eenheden in Afghanistan. Het Taliban-regime werd uit het land verdreven. Vlak daarna werd de International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) gestart, in eerste instantie bedoeld om de Afghaanse interimregering te ondersteunen bij het handhaven van de veiligheid. Onder auspiciën van de NAVO moet Afghanistan opnieuw worden opgebouwd tot een veilig en stabiel land.Nederland neemt op dit moment deel aan zowel ISAF als OEF. Hierbij worden militairen ingezet van alle krijgsmachtdelen.' Zie:
En dit is wat de Nederlandse regering schrijft over de Afghanistan missies: 'Tijdens de conferentie werd een nieuw partnerschap, Afghanistan Compact, afgesproken tussen Afghanistan en de internationale gemeenschap. Deze geldt voor de komende vijf jaar. De afspraken gaan over verdere bestrijding van terrorisme, versterking van de democratie, opbouw van staatsstructuren (leger, politie en rechterlijke macht), sociale en economische wederopbouw, corruptiebestrijding en drugsbestrijding.' Zie:
En dit is de werkelijkheid zoals beschreven door Michael Scheuer 'a 22-year CIA veteran. He served as the Chief of the bin Laden Unit at the Counterterrorist Center from 1996 to 1999. He resigned from the CIA in 2004. He is currently a News Analyst for CBS News as well as a Terrorism Analyst for the Jamestown Foundation's "Global Terrorism Analysis."' In zijn boek 'Imperial Hubris, Why the West is Losing the War on Terror' concludeert hij: 'Bin Laden is leading and inspiring a worldwide anti-U.S. unsurgency; he is waging war while we fight him with counterterrorism policies dominated by law-enforcements tactics and procedures... The battle with al Qaeda is a plain old war, not an intelligence service-led counterterror campaign... We face a foe more dangerous than a traditional nation-state because it has a nation state's goals and resources, draws manpower from a 1.3 billion-person pool, has no fixed address to attack, and fights for a cause in which death while killing enemies earns paradise.' Met andere woorden: wat doen Nederlandse troepen in Afghanistan en wat gaan ze in de toekomst doen? En: waarom is hierover geen publiek debat? Geen overbodige vragen nu het gevaar van terrorisme in Nederland almaar toeneemt door onze militaire betrokkenheid in Afghanistan.

woensdag 26 april 2006

Noam Chomsky 7

Het onafhankelijke ZNet publiceert het nawoord van Noam Chomsky's nieuwe boek 'Failed States': 'We began by considering four critical issues that should rank high on the agenda of those concerned with the prospects for a decent future. Two of them are literally matters of survival: nuclear war and environmental disaster. The first danger is ever-present, beyond imagination, and in principle avoidable; practical ways to proceed are understood. The second is longer-term, and there is much uncertainty about how a serious crisis can be averted, or at least mitigated, though it is clear enough that the longer the delay in confronting the tasks, the harder they will be. And again, sensible measures to proceed are well known. The third major crisis is that the government of the global superpower is acting in ways that enhance these threats, and others as well, such as the threat of terrorism by enemies. That conclusion, unfortunately all too credible, brings to prominence a fourth critical issue: the growing democratic deficit, the gap between public will and public policy, a sign of the increasing failure of formal democratic institutions to function as they would in a democratic culture with vitality and substance. This last issue is both threatening and hopeful. It is threatening because it increases the dangers posed by the first three imminent crises, apart from being intolerable in itself. It is hopeful because it can be overcome, and again, practical ways to proceed are well understood, and have often been implemented under far more difficult circumstances than those faced in the industrial societies today.

No one familiar with history should be surprised that the growing democratic deficit at home is accompanied by declaration of messianic missions to bring democracy to a suffering world. Declarations of noble intent by systems of power are rarely complete fabrication, and the same is true in this case. Under some conditions, forms of democracy are acceptable. Abroad, as the leading scholar-advocate of "democracy promotion" concludes from his inquiries, we find a "strong line of continuity," extending to the present moment: democracy is sometimes acceptable, but if and only if it is consistent with strategic and economic interests (Thomas Carothers). Much the same holds at home, where democracy is valued by power and privilege insofar as it "protects the opulent minority from the majority," as Madison held.

As the strong line of continuity illustrates, the policy planning spectrum is narrow. The basic dilemma facing policy makers is sometimes candidly recognized at its dovish liberal extreme, for example, by Robert Pastor, President Carter's national security advisor for Latin America. He explained why the administration had to support the murderous and corrupt Somoza regime in Nicaragua, and when that proved impossible, to try at least to maintain the US-trained National Guard even as it was massacring the population "with a brutality a nation usually reserves for its enemy," killing some 40,000 people. The reason was the familiar one: "The United States did not want to control Nicaragua or the other nations of the region, but it also did not want developments to get out of control. It wanted Nicaraguans to act independently, except when doing so would affect U.S. interests adversely." The Cold War was scarcely relevant, but once again we find the dominant operative principle, illustrated copiously throughout history.

Similar dilemmas faced Bush administration planners after their invasion of Iraq. They want Iraqis "to act independently, except when doing so would affect U.S. interests adversely." Iraq must therefore be sovereign and democratic, but within limits.' Lees verder: in de categorie teksten/Noam Chomsky.

Martelen 35

Het perbureau Reuters bericht: 'CIA kidnapped terror suspects in the EU: lawmaker. A top European Union lawmaker on Wednesday backed allegations the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had kidnapped and illegally detained terror suspects on EU territory and flown them to countries who used torture. "The CIA has, on several occasions, clearly been responsible for kidnapping and illegally detaining alleged terrorists on the territory of (EU) member states, as well as for extraordinary renditions," Claudio Fava said in his first interim report of the European Parliament's probe into the alleged CIA abuses. A Washington Post report last November that the CIA had run secret rendition flights and secret prisons in Eastern Europe for al Qaeda suspects unleashed a spate of investigations which had so far failed to produce a "smoking gun". But earlier this month the Council of Europe, a human rights organization also investigating the alleged CIA abuses, said at least one European state had admitted to handing over terrorism suspects to foreign agents. After hearing several of the alleged victims of kidnapping and renditions, the interim EU lawmakers' report brings no "smoking gun" but comes to the same conclusions as the Council of Europe. In his report Fava said EU legislations concerning secret services and monitoring of air space and foreign aircrafts are very insufficient and should be strengthened. Claudio Fava said in his report that it would be very unlikely that the Italian authorities or secret services were not aware of the case of Abu Omar.
Milan Prosecutor Armando Spataro has said a CIA team seized terrorism suspect Abu Omar off a Milan street in broad daylight in 2003 before flying him to Egypt where he would have been tortured.' Lees verder:

11 September 2001(10)

Bou Berkenbosch wees me op het volgende: 'Thermite Identified As Culprit Of WTC Collapse. Evidence mounting that cause first identified on Alex Jones Show led to towers' implosion.
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones/Prison April 24 2006
A new branch of 9/11 research claims to have identified the cause of the collapse of the twin towers. The photographic and video evidence makes a very strong case for thermite being responsible for the unprecedented implosions of steel framed reinforced buildings on September 11. This facet was first brought to light during a November 2005 appearance on The Alex Jones Show by Brigham Young University physicist Professor Steven Jones. Jones said that white phosphorous wasn't powerful enough to cause the implosion but that thermite was the likely culprit. Alex Jones's 2005 release Martial Law 9/11 Rise of the Police State highlighted the physical evidence that the towers and Building 7 were brought down with incendiary devices.
Brigham Young University physicist Professor Steven Jones told peers at a Utah meeting that, "while almost no fire, even one ignited by jet fuel, can cause structural steel to fail, the combination of thermite and sulfur "slices through steel like a hot knife through butter."
Jones points to a video (click here to watch) which shows a bright yellow molten substance dripping from the south tower minutes before its collapse. Government investigators claimed that this was aluminum from Flight 175 but Jones is adamant that aluminum is silvery in appearance and doesn't turn yellow.' Zie:

De Bush Bende 9

De Amerikaanse auteur William Rivers Pitt schrijft: 'Changes. The beleaguered Bush White House has spent the last several weeks insisting that no major shake-up of the administration was necessary, and no reshuffling of personnel was in the works.
The New York Times reported on Monday that James Baker III, the man who pulled George W. Bush's irons out of the fire in Florida during the 2000 recount, the Secretary of State and close confidant of the former president Bush, has been tapped to head up a "congressionally mandated, bipartisan effort to generate new ideas" regarding the chaos in Iraq. Baker will travel to Baghdad and the Mideast region on a "fact-finding mission," after which he will deliver to Mr. Bush "some advice and insights that might be useful to the policy makers in Washington."
Whatever else can be said about Mr. Baker, few can deny his effectiveness as a field-general during difficult situations, and his reputation as a power-player is legendary in Washington. A man like this will not be a cipher under any circumstances, and the fact that he is being brought in to deal with the weightiest millstone around this administration's neck is telling. At first blush, the tectonic plates appear to be shifting along Pennsylvania Avenue. The removal of Andy Card as chief of staff, and the placement of Josh Bolten in that position, further indicates that the administration, notwithstanding their denials, intends to start doing things differently. Bolten is looking to be far more hands-on than his predecessor, a significant departure from the insular status quo that has dominated administration deliberations since day one. These seeming changes may only be cosmetic, however. The core of this administration has always been centered around three men - Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush - and this core remains, for the time being, intact. There is also the added dynamic of the relationship between Baker and Bush. Bush has never entirely welcomed advice from his father, and to have his father's most gifted fixer come swooping in to rescue him once again must be galling. Will he chafe at the intrusion? Will Cheney allow his own domination of administration priorities to be diminished? The Defense Secretary is the wild card in the scenario. Rumsfeld, of course, has dug his heels in after absorbing unprecedented criticism of his tenure from a battery of six retired generals. Were it his decision to make, Rumsfeld would remain in his current position until the last minute of the last day of this administration. Ultimately, however, the decision may not be his to make.' Lees verder:

Nederland en Afghanistan 61

Dit is Sheikh Mohammed Sayid Tantawi, Groot Imam van de al-Azhar, de oudste universiteit ter wereld, wiens uitspraken even gezaghebbend zijn voor met name soennitische moslims als de uitspraken van de Paus voor vrome rooms-katholieken. De maand dat de VS Irak binnenviel, maart 2003, verklaarde het hoofd van al-Azhar dat 'once an enemy lands in Muslim territory jihad becomes the individual duty of every Muslim man and woman. Because our Arab and Muslim nation will be faced with a new crusade that targets land, honor, creed, and homeland, scholars ruled that jihad against U.S. forces become the duty of every Muslim man and woman.' Dat geldt zowel voor Irak als voor Afghanistan. Hoe de Nederlandse regering denkt dat Nederlandse militairen met geweld de democratie daar kan vestigen, is een raadsel dat alleen politici en journalisten kunnen oplossen. Als ze tenminste hun werk zouden doen.

Het Amerikaans Imperium 3

Maureen Farrell is a writer and media consultant who specializes in helping other writers get television and radio exposure. Voor Buzzflash schreef ze: 'Footprints and Messianic Missions: Staying In Iraq Till Kingdom Come.
"I have been pleading with the American press corps for months to ask the Bush administration one simple question, a question designed to expose our true agenda: 'Are we, or are we not, constructing permanent military bases in Iraq?'" -- Sen. Gary Hart, March 31, 2006
"Some analysts believe the desire to establish a long-term military presence in Iraq was always behind the 2003 invasion." -- The Independent, April 3, 2006
"The growing skyline of the US embassy in Baghdad is only the most recent indication that the US has no intention of leaving." - Kevin Zeese, April 22, 2006
* * *
Remember the spring of 2003? Back when Americans were basking in promises of "cakewalks" and flowers strewn at U.S. soldiers' feet? Saddam's statue fell, the President dressed up in his flight suit, and all was well with the world. The national mood (i.e. arrogance) reverberated on television, magazines and in newspapers. What was not to love? Then came summer, and doubts began to fester. "They kept telling [the troops] that as soon as you get to Baghdad you would be going home," one soldier's wife told the Guardian in July, 2003. "The way home is through Baghdad, they said." And though Bush promised troops would not remain in Iraq "for one day longer than is necessary," within weeks, officials began talking about "maintaining perhaps four bases in Iraq." At the time, Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, scoffed at Mr. Bush's promise. "This idea that we will be in just as long as we need to and not a day more -- we've got to get over that rhetoric," he said. "It is rubbish. We're going to be there a long time. We must reorganize our military to be there a long time."' Zie: Over the American Empire of Bases zie: En: Overigens: na hoeveel euro's worden de Nederlandse troepen uit Afghanistan weer terug getrokken. Met andere woorden: hoe lang gaat het duren voordat dat geisoleerde land een bloeiende parlementaire democratie is? Heeft u mijn collega's hierover vragen horen stellen?

dinsdag 25 april 2006

Martelen 34

Zo werkt de praktijk van een terreur beleid. De Los Angeles Times vericht: 'US to Free 141 Terror Suspects. The Guantanamo prison detainees pose no threat, an official says. Most of those still in custody have no charges pending against them. Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba - The Pentagon plans to release nearly a third of those held at the prison for terrorism suspects here because they pose no threat to U.S. security, an official of the war crimes tribunal said Monday.
Charges are pending against about two dozen of the remaining prisoners, the chief prosecutor said. But he left unclear why the rest face neither imminent freedom nor a day in court after as many as four years in custody. Only 10 of the roughly 490 alleged "enemy combatants" currently detained at the facility have been charged; none has been charged with a capital offense. That leaves the majority of the U.S. government's prisoners from the war on terrorism in limbo and its war crimes tribunal exposed to allegations by international human rights advocates that it is illegitimate and abusive. The decision to release 141 detainees - the largest group to be reclassified and moved off the island - follows a yearlong review of their cases in which interrogators also determined that they could provide no further intelligence. It was unclear when or where the detainees would be released. About 250 detainees have been released since the prison camps were established in 2002. Longtime critics of the Guantanamo facility said the announcement of the planned release marked a milestone in the four years the base had held suspected terrorists. The prison has been dogged by allegations of torture and has brought choruses of international condemnation, including calls from a United Nations panel and the European Parliament to shut it down. The detainees determined by last year's Administrative Review Boards to pose no threat to U.S. national security are "no longer enemy combatants," explained Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler of the Pentagon office in charge of reviewing detainee status.' Lees verder:,0,1113317.story?track=tottext Of:

De Oorlogsstaat 43

Legal analyst Brendan Smith and historian Jeremy Brecher are the editors, with Jill Cutler, of In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond (Metropolitan/Holt, 2005) (, and the founders of . In de Asia Times schrijven ze: 'Attack Iran, destroy the US constitution. During the 2004 election, President George W Bush famously proclaimed that he didn't have to ask anyone's permission to defend the United States of America. Does that mean he can attack Iran without having to ask Congress? A new resolution being drafted by Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio may be a vehicle to remind Bush that he can't. Bush has called news reports of plans to attack Iran "wild speculation" and declared that the United States is on a "diplomatic" track. But asked this week if his options included planning for a nuclear strike, he repeated that "all options are on the table". The president is acting as if the decisions that may get Americans into another war are his to make and his alone. So the Iran crisis poses not only questions of military feasibility and political wisdom but of constitutional usurpation. Bush's top officials openly assert that he can do anything he wants - including attacking another country - on his authority as commander-in-chief. Last October, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee whether the president would circumvent congressional authorization if the White House chose military action against Iran or Syria. She answered, "I will not say anything that constrains his authority as commander-in-chief." When pressed by Senator Paul Sarbanes about whether the administration can exercise a military option without an authorization from Congress, Rice replied, "The president never takes any option off the table, and he shouldn't." The founding fathers of the United States were deeply concerned that the president's power to make war might become a vehicle for tyranny. So they crafted a constitution that included checks and balances on presidential power, among them an independent congress and judiciary, an executive power subject to laws written by Congress and interpreted by the courts, and an executive power to repel attacks but not to declare or finance war. But the Bush doctrine of preemptive war, as laid out in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States and reiterated this year, claims for the president the power to attack other countries simply because he asserts they pose a threat. It thereby removes the decision of war and peace from Congress and gives it to the president. It is, as Senator Robert Byrd put it, "unconstitutional on its face".' Lees verder:

Het Amerikaans Imperium 2

De Amerikaanse auteur Michael T. Klare schrijft: 'Containing China. Slowly but surely, the grand strategy of the Bush administration is being revealed. It is not aimed primarily at the defeat of global terrorism, the incapacitation of rogue states, or the spread of democracy in the Middle East. These may dominate the rhetorical arena and be the focus of immediate concern, but they do not govern key decisions regarding the allocation of long-term military resources. The truly commanding objective -- the underlying basis for budgets and troop deployments -- is the containment of China. This objective governed White House planning during the administration's first seven months in office, only to be set aside by the perceived obligation to highlight anti-terrorism after 9/11; but now, despite Bush's preoccupation with Iraq and Iran, the White House is also reemphasizing its paramount focus on China, risking a new Asian arms race with potentially catastrophic consequences. President Bush and his top aides entered the White House in early 2001 with a clear strategic objective: to resurrect the permanent-dominance doctrine spelled out in the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) for fiscal years 1994-99, the first formal statement of U.S. strategic goals in the post-Soviet era. According to the initial official draft of this document, as leaked to the press in early 1992, the primary aim of U.S. strategy would be to bar the rise of any future competitor that might challenge America's overwhelming military superiority. "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival... that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union," the document stated. Accordingly, "we [must] endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power." When initially made public, this doctrine was condemned by America's allies and many domestic leaders as being unacceptably imperial as well as imperious, forcing the first President Bush to water it down; but the goal of perpetuating America's sole-superpower status has never been rejected by administration strategists. In fact, it initially became the overarching principle for U.S. military policy when the younger Bush assumed the presidency in February 2001.
Target: China
When first enunciated in 1992, the permanent-dominancy doctrine was non-specific as to the identity of the future challengers whose rise was to be prevented through coercive action. At that time, U.S. strategists worried about a medley of potential rivals, including Russia, Germany, India, Japan, and China; any of these, it was thought, might emerge in decades to come as would-be superpowers, and so all would have to be deterred from moving in this direction. By the time the second Bush administration came into office, however, the pool of potential rivals had been narrowed in elite thinking to just one: the People's Republic of China. Only China, it was claimed, possessed the economic and military capacity to challenge the United States as an aspiring superpower; and so perpetuating U.S. global predominance meant containing Chinese power.' Lees verder:

Irak 71

Common Dreams bericht: 'Abuses Found in Hiring at Iraq BasesViolations of laws on human-trafficking prompt U.S. military's order for change. WASHINGTON - The top U.S. commander in Iraq has ordered sweeping changes for privatized military support operations after confirming violations of laws against human-trafficking and other abuses by contractors involving possibly thousands of foreign workers on American bases, according to records obtained by the Chicago Tribune.Gen. George W. Casey Jr. ordered that contractors be required by May 1 to return passports that have been illegally confiscated from laborers on U.S. bases after determining that such practices violated U.S. laws against trafficking for forced or coerced labor. Human brokers and subcontractors from South Asia to the Middle East have worked together to import thousands of laborers into Iraq from impoverished countries.Two memos obtained by the Tribune indicate that Casey's office concluded that the practice of confiscating passports from such workers was widespread on American bases and in violation of the U.S. anti-trafficking laws.The memos, including an order dated April 4 and titled "Subject: Prevention of Trafficking in Persons in MNF-I," or Multinational Forces-Iraq, say the military also confirmed a host of other abuses during an inspection of contracting activities supporting the U.S. military in Iraq. They include deceptive hiring practices; excessive fees charged by overseas job brokers who lure workers into Iraq; substandard living conditions once laborers arrive; violations of Iraqi immigration laws; and a lack of mandatory "awareness training" on U.S. bases concerning human trafficking.Along with a separate memo from a top military procurement official to all contractors in Iraq, dated April 19 and titled, "Withholding of Passports, Trafficking in Persons," Casey's orders promise harsh actions against firms that fail to return passports or end other abusive practices. Contracts could be terminated, contractors could be blacklisted from future work, and commanders could physically bar firms from bases, the memos show.' Lees verder:

Klimaatverandering 32

Common Dreams bericht: 'Bush Faces Growing Dissent From Republicans on Climate Change.
Representative Bob Inglis, a South Carolina Republican, says he "pooh-poohed'' global warming until he trekked to the South Pole in January. "Now, I think we should be concerned,'' says Inglis, who heads the U.S. House Science Research subcommittee. "Thabout reclaiming their heritage as ere are more and more Republicans willing to stop laughing at climate change who are ready to get serious conservationists.'' U.S. companies including General Electric Co. and Duke Energy Corp. have come out in support of national limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions that scientists say contribute to global warming. They are now being joined by Republican lawmakers who have parted company with President George W. Bush on the issue. In addition to Inglis, who says he saw evidence of heat- trapping gases in the atmosphere during his trip to Antarctica, the list includes Senators Pete Domenici of New Mexico, the chairman of the chamber's Energy Committee; Mike DeWine of Ohio; and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as well as Representative Jim Leach of Iowa. ``Resistance to action on climate change is crumbling,'' says Reid Detchon, an Energy Department official under former President George H.W. Bush who is now head of energy and climate at the United Nations Foundation. ``The business community has a number of prominent leaders arguing for action, and the science on climate change becomes clearer and more inescapable by the day.''
Republicans also are under pressure from one of their core constituencies: fundamentalist Christians. In February, 86 evangelical leaders called on the government to curb greenhouse gases emitted by cars, power plants and other sources, saying they felt a moral duty to speak out because global warming is endangering the earth." Lees verder: Nu het Nederlands kabinet nog.

Het Transnational Institute

Het Transnational Institute emailde me het volgende: 'Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the true costs of Europe's security-industrial complexAmsterdam, 25 April. For immediate release. The European Union is preparing to spend up to €1 billion per year on new ‘research’ into surveillance and control technologies, according to Arming Big Brother, a new report by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Statewatch.“Arms industry lobbying is leading to the creation of a powerful new internal security-industrial complex,” says Ben Hayes, author of the report.Arming Big Brother lifts the lid on the secretive committees and arms industry lobbying that led to the creation of the European Security Research Programme (ESRP). In 2003, a ‘Group of Personalities’ (GoP) comprised of EU officials and Europe’s biggest arms and IT companies, argued that European multinationals need one billion euros per year so they can compete with US multinationals and the US government’s funding of ‘Homeland Security’ research.The GoP’s demands were endorsed by the European Commission, which ignored its own rules on EU research expenditure to begin funding ‘security’ research immediately. The Commission has also appointed a European Security Research Advisory Board (ESRAB) to develop and implement the future ESRP. ESRAB includes at least 14 defence companies amongst its 50 members, but no one from the European Parliament or the EU Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies.“The ESRP is completely unaccountable and gives multinational corporations an unacceptable role in EU decision-making. This is contributing to a European security agenda in the corporate rather than the public interest,” says Hayes. This claim is backed up by the evidence of the 24 projects that have already received funding from the Commission: military organisations and defence sector contractors are leading 17 of them. This includes two high-level ‘studies’ on EU security policy, one led by the European Association of Aerospace and Defence Industries (ASD, Europe’s largest defence industry lobby group), the other by the defence giant Thales. Another 10 projects deal with research into high-tech surveillance systems. The TNI-Statewatch report suggests that the EU ‘security research’ programme is - like the idea of ‘dual-use’ technologies - simply providing cover for military subsidies and lucrative government contracts. “The EU is basically funding the diversification of the ‘military-industrial complex’ into the highly profitable internal security field”, said Hayes.“The militarisation of policing and border controls will not prevent crime or terrorism”, said Hayes, “it does nothing to address ‘root causes’ while posing a massive threat to civil liberties”. “The EU should be regulating the trade in security technology, not lavishing it with taxpayers money in an unaccountable fashion”. A five page summary of Arming Big Brother can be downloaded from <>. The full report is available at <'">>'

Mohammed R. Jabri

Mohammed R. Jabri is redacteur va Hij emailde me een essay waarin hij schrijft: 'Olie, wapens en de Amerikaanse dollar in het Midden-Oosten conflict. Er is een algemeen geloof dat door de media word verspreid: het geloof dat de enige intentie van Westerse naties bestaat uit het goedmaken van de relatie tussen Joden en Moslims. Hoe komt het dan dat, na decennia van bemoeienissen van deze Westerse naties, er nog geen oplossing is gevonden? Het is niet dat Joden en Moslims niet willen. Beide partijen zijn moegestreden en lijken te snakken naar vrede in de regio. Simpel. Omdat vrede geen winstgevende onderneming is voor de buitenlandse ‘elite’ in de regio. Wat belangrijk is, is de consolidatie van de positie van de Amerikaanse dollar in alle wereldeconomieën, het recyclen van oliedollars om winst te maken in de olie-industrie en de verkoop van militaire producten aan de olierijke Arabische regimes. De ongeschreven overeenkomst die de VS heeft is dat deze regimes de olie in dollars gewaardeerd wordt en als tegenprestatie word bescherming geboden. Bescherming waartegen? Het lijkt op de Italiaanse maffia: betaal beschermgeld en je wordt niet aangevallen door degenen aan wie je dat beschermgeld betaalt. Terwijl Fox, Time en CNN nooit dit punt bespreken, mag het duidelijk zijn dat de waardering van olie in dollars immens belangrijk is voor de positie van de dollar en daarom dan ook enkel en alleen olie in dollars mag worden gewaardeerd op de internationale markteconomie. Wanneer olie wordt verhandeld in Amerikaanse dollars zijn landen wereldwijd genoodzaakt een bepaalde hoeveelheid dollars in de reserves van hun nationale banken te houden, om zo hun olieaankopen te kunnen blijven financieren. OPEC is een kartel dat is ontstaan om enkel en alleen dit doel te dienen. Tegen het eind van 2000 raamde de ‘Bank for International Settlements’ de dollarreserves wereldwijd op $1,45 biljoen, oftewel: 76% van de wereldreserves van $1,09 triljoen. Als olie in een andere valuta zou worden gewaardeerd, zouden de meeste landen een overschot aan dollars hebben en zouden zo de meeste biljetten die de VS de afgelopen decennia hebben gedrukt alleen waarde hebben in de VS zelf. Dit zou een vloed aan dollars naar de VS en daarmee dus ook een ongelofelijke inflatie veroorzaken. Daarnaast zou ook het Amerikaans deficit niet meer worden gefinancierd door buitenlandse investeerders en zouden zij niet langer meer investeren in Amerikaanse overheidsobligaties. Met andere woorden: de VS zou ophouden met het zijn van een economische supermacht. In een briljant essay over dit onderwerp, genaamd “A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth” van de econoom William Clark, geschreven in januari 2003 wordt het volgende gesteld: “De grootste nachtmerrie van ‘The Federal Reserves’ is dat OPEC zal switchen van een dollar- naar een eurostandaard als waardering voor aardolie. Saddam Hussein’s Irak heeft in feite deze switch gemaakt. De werkelijke reden van de Bush-regering, of beter gezegd: het Amerikaanse corporatief-militair-industrieel netwerk, om een zogenaamde ‘trekpoppenregime’ in Irak aan te stellen is om de waardering van olie ook in Irak weer in dollars te krijgen”. Anderen hebben ook oor gekregen naar het idee om de olie in euro’s te gaan waarderen en de dollar overboord te gooien (iets wat ook de bekoelde relatie tussen Europa en de VS zou kunnen uitleggen). Op 18 juni 2003 schreef publicist Roy Carson van het Venezolaanse economisch tijdschrift, het volgende: “De beslissing van de Venezolaanse president Hugo Chavez Frias, om de waardering van dollars in Venezuela te vervangen met de Euro, lijkt Washington erg op de tenen te hebben getrapt. Erger nog dan toen Saddam Hussein in november 2002 overging op de euro en de dollar liet voor wat ie is bij het aangaan van olietransacties, wat uiteindelijk leidde tot de invasie van Irak. De CIA en andere inlichtingendiensten, zoals de Britse MI5, schijnen aanleiding te hebben om te vrezen dat nu de volgende stap voor OPEC is om ook over te gaan op oliewaardering in euro’s. Het direct effect zou een immense devaluatie zijn van de gigantische hoeveelheden dollars in de internationale reserves en een voor de VS negatief domino-effect zal hebben als het gaat om de waardering van de staatsschulden. Met een gigantisch budget deficit in het achterhoofd werden de VS nog banger toen het bericht van inlichtingendiensten binnenkwam, dat ook Saoedi-Arabië op het punt staat om over te stappen op de euro en de door OPEC-ministers steeds breder gedragen mening dat de overstap van de dollar naar de euro onvermijdelijk lijkt. De vraag is alleen: wanneer stappen we over?” Arabische bronnen suggereren dat de overstap van de dollar naar de euro in zowel het Midden-Oosten als het Verre Oosten (lees: India en China als karrentrekkers) het meest rationele antwoord is op de Amerikaanse capaciteit om nog meer illegale oorlogen (directer gezegd: staatsgesteunde terrorisme) wereldwijd te steunen. Een belangrijke stap in deze richting is het feit dat ook Iran op de drempel staat om over te gaan op de euro en als resultaat het meest recente mikpunt lijkt van de Amerikaanse politiek c.q. ondiplomatieke bemoeienissen in de ontwikkelingen van het land. De VS steunt achter de schermen de Iranese oppositie en stimuleert deze om dreigende taal uit te slaan richting de zittende regering, om deze te verleiden tot ondemocratische handelingen. De volgende stap lijkt de destabilisatie van de regio en quasi-liberale oorlog onder het pretext van ‘promotie van VS-stijl democratie’, maar in feite is de essentie de consolidatie en bescherming van de Amerikaanse dollar als munteenheid van de wereld.' Lees verder:

maandag 24 april 2006

Israelisch Expansionisme 13

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein van The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions ( stuurde me deze email: 'Save Jerusalem from the Apartheid Wall and Ethnic cleansing. The new comprehensive factsheet on Jerusalem shows the dramatic process of Judaization that the city is undergoing. From the historical, cultural and spiritual role the Palestinian capital played before the Nakba in '48 until today, this activist resource draws a timeline of destruction of Palestinian villages and communities and continuous Zionist colonization. The detailed documentation reveals the Apartheid Wall as a final step towards the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian capital – a world heritage of cultural and religious diversity on the verge of destruction. ' Lees verder:

Nederland en Afghanistan 60

Nederlandse militairen zijn volgens het kabinet Balkenende bezig in Afghanistan de democratie van president Hamid Karzai, de voormalige adviseur van de Amerikaanse oliemaatschappij Unocal, op te bouwen. Al op 19 september 2002 schreef Scott Baldauf van de Christian Science Monitor dat een 'significant number of Afghans - especially the conservative Pashtun majority - are finding that they have more in common with the radical Islamic message of al Qaeda and the Taliban than they do with the pro-Western statements of new Afghan President Hamid Karzai.' Een jaar eerder, op 20 september 2001, waarschuwde 1 van 's werelds grootste militaire historici, Sir John Keegan: 'Efforts to occupy and rule [Afghanistan] usually ended in disaster. But straightforward punitive expeditions, for limited objectives or to bring about a change in Afghan government policy, were succesful on more than one occasion... The succes achieved by Indian and British troops in the last days of the Raj depended on the avoidance of general war and of policies designed to change society or government in Afghanistan. The Raj accepted that Afghanistan was unstable, fractious, and ultimately ungovernable and thought merely to check its mountains warriors' irrepressible love of raiding and fighting... Russia, in 1979, made the mistake the East India Company had made in 1839. It tried to impose a government in Kabul. Putting its own man in place was easy. Keeping him there proved the difficulty... Limited campagins aimed at penetration, aimed simply at inflicting punishment, can succeed, as long as the punitive forces remain mobile, keep control on the high ground and are skillful at tactical disengagement.'

De Amerikaanse Vredesbeweging

Een voorbeeld van de talloze initiatieven van de Amerikaanse Vredesbeweging: 'Join Peacemakers around the World in Building a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence! ON NOVEMBER 10, 1998, the United Nations Responded to an appeal from every living Nobel Peace Prize Laureate by proclaiming the year 2000 to be "the Year for the Culture of Peace" and the years 2001-2010 to be the "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World." We live in a culture of violence. From the tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado to the US bombing of Yugoslavia and Iraq to the fact that one out of every five US children lives in poverty while we spend billions upgrading our nuclear arsenal - violence surrounds us. It is time to stop the violence and start building a culture of nonviolence. A culture of nonviolence values love, compassion, and justice. It rejects violence as a means of solving problems. Instead, it embraces communication, cooperative decision-making, and nonviolent conflict resolution. It ensures freedom, security, and equitable relationships. It promotes inner peace, personal transformation, and disarmament. FOR plans to kick off the Decade for a Culture of peace and Nonviolence in the Summer of 2000 in Washington, DC. Please see the page on The People's Campaign for Nonviolence for details. The text of the UN Declaration and additional information about the declaration can be found here. More information on the Web about the Nobel Laureate Appeal and the Decade of Nonviolence can be found at NobelWeb.' Zie: Of:

zondag 23 april 2006

Iran 41

Truthout bericht: 'Bush Meets Privately With Think Tank Promoting Military Strike On Iran. This tidbit about President Bush's schedule was buried in today's Washington Post:
Bush traveled Friday night to Stanford University, where he met privately with members of the libertarian Hoover Institution to discuss the war. He concluded the day with a private dinner held by George P. Shultz, a Hoover fellow and former secretary of state. Why is this significant? The Hoover Institution is a think tank that has been aggressively promoting the viability of a preemptive military strike in Iran. Here's just a couple of recent examples -
Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at Hoover:
[Europe] will be able to think of all sorts of nicer alternatives to taking out Iran's nuclear development sites. They will be able to come up with all sorts of abstract arguments and moral equivalence, such as: Other countries have nuclear weapons. Why not Iran? Debating abstract questions is much easier than confronting concrete and often brutal alternatives. The big question is whether we are serious or suicidal. [Creators Syndicate, 1/3/06]
Tod Lindberg, a research fellow at Hoover:
Whatever it is that Saddam was going to perpetrate in his remaining years in power, whatever he intended to bequeath to his sons and whatever in turn they would do to follow up on his legacy, this we have prevented... Which takes us back to Iran...I don't think it would be a good idea to wait around in the hope that we never arrive at the moment when we realize we should have done something. [Washington Times, 4/18/06]
George P. Schultz, who hosted the event, was an "early defender of the use of pre-emptive force to deal with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq."' Lees verder: Of:

Osama bin Laden 2

Er doet zich iets opmerkelijks voor. Ondanks de herhaalde waarschuwingen van Osama bin Laden, reageren wij alsof er niets aan de hand is. De oud CIA-functionaris Michael Scheuer, voormalig 'Chief of the bin Laden Unit at the Counterterrorist Center' van deze inlichtingendienst, schrijft in 'Imperial Hubris' het volgende: 'Toward the goal of preparing Muslims, bin Laden has repeatedly warned Americans that another al Qaeda attack on the United States is in the offing and that it will be worse than that of 11 September... bin Laden has appealed directly to the American people to use their democratic system of government to force U.S. leaders to abrogate policies that are harming the Muslim world... "We are defending ourselves against the United States," bin Laden said on behalf of the Islamic world in November 2001. "This is why I used to say that if [the Muslims] do not have security, the Americans also will not have it. This is a very simple formula... This is the formula of live and let live." Declared at the start of the U.S.- Afghan war, bin Laden's warning to the United States has been on his lips ever since. A year after the statement, for example, bin Laden reminded Americans that "the road to safety begins by lifting oppression," and that their government and its allies had yet to heed this advice. "This is an unfair division. The time has come for us to be equal,'' bin Laden warned. "Just as you kill, you are killed. Just as you bombard, you are bombarded.''' Het is een logica die door het Westen niet geaccepteerd wordt. Daar zullen we een hoge prijs voor moeten betalen. In deze postmoderne tijd zal onze terreur met tegenterreur worden beantwoord. Zelfs massavernietigingswapens zijn niet langer meer uitgesloten. 'Al-Qaeda has long sought nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to inflict extensive casualties. Although bombs and other conventional weapons attacks are more likely, especially by al-Qaeda affiliate groups and terrorists inspired by bin Laden, AQC has demonstrated a long-time interest in obtaining and using WMD as a terrorist tactic. Bin Laden declared that acquiring weapons of mass destruction was a "religious duty" in a December 1998 interview with Time Magazine. Bin Laden asked for and received a May 2003 fatwa (religious edict) from Shaykh Nasir bin Hamid al-Fahd entitled "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels" that condoned the use of WMD.' De Saoedische geestelijke concludeert in zijn studie; 'If a bomb that killed 10 million of them and burned as much of their land as they have burned Mislims' land were dropped on them, it would be permissable.' Deze uitspraak maakt de weg vrij voor al Qaida om massavernietigingswapens in te zetten.

Yeats: The Wheel

The Wheel THROUGH winter-time we call on spring, And through the spring on summer call, And when abounding hedges ring Declare that winter&#...