zaterdag 3 maart 2007

The Empire 193

'MacDonald: Where are the Navajo millionaires?
By Kathy Helms

WINDOW ROCK — Former Navajo Nation Chairman Peter MacDonald is writing a book. This has required him to do hours of research into resource issues and has led him to a burning question. Where are the Navajo millionaires? For nearly 90 years, since the 1920s when oil and gas were first discovered on Navajo, up till now, MacDonald said Wednesday, "Using Navajos' resources water, oil, gas, coal, uranium, and also the land for right-of-way the Navajo have made several thousand millionaires." "Millionaires in Gallup, Farmington, Flagstaff border towns. But not one Navajo is a millionaire. Isn't that something? "We've made millionaires in Russia, Britain, China, and every place else ... In the United States, some of them are in California
"How long are we going to do that?" MacDonald asked. "We're going to continue to increase that process by doing this Desert Rock." The Navajo Nation is projected to receive $50 million a year from the Desert Rock Energy Project, a proposed 1,500 megawatt mine-to-mouth coal-fired plant in the Nenahnezad/Burnham area of the Navajo Nation. Diné Power Authority, a Navajo entity, and Sithe Global Power LLC are partners in the project. MacDonald questioned state and federal legislations which make it lucrative to invest in developing clean-coal plants. "It's funny the way this project, Desert Rock, has followed exactly the way Congress has written how clean fuels should be developed," he said, "and all those who are involved in developing these clean fuels in A-B-C manner, that they would get all these subsidies and grants." MacDonald said it reminded him of "the Halliburton situation all these big money people." "The legislation appears to be made for Desert Rock. We are the guinea pigs for these huge financial exercises by the 'big people,' " he said. "If it fails, everybody made money except Navajo. No permanent jobs, no power. "But if it succeeds, there's a huge government subsidy in that (federal) energy legislation. That's what they're using," MacDonald said. Given that Sithe is funded 80 percent by Blackstone and 20 percent by Reservoir Capital, MacDonald asked, "You know who is going to get their money first? Blackstone. And most of that money will come from the feds."'

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De Israelische Terreur 159

Een voorstel om van Israel een democratisch land te maken in plats van een 'joodse natie':

'Adalah proposes draft democratic constitution for a multicultural state of Israel
Draft Constitution Excerpt, Adalah,

On the tenth anniversary of its founding, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel issues "The Democratic Constitution," as a constitutional proposal for the state of Israel based on the concept of a democratic, bilingual, multicultural state. This proposed constitution draws on universal principles and international conventions on human rights, the experiences of nations and the constitutions of various democratic states. The following is the introductory chapter to the draft constitution: 1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which enshrined the human rights lessons of the evils committed during World War II, and the international human rights covenants, which were subsequently ratified, state that: All human beings are equal; anti-discrimination is an absolute principle which cannot be compromised; all peoples have the right of self-determination; no nation possesses rights that are superior to those of another nation; and it is essential to ensure the personal liberty and economic and social rights of the individual for freedom, equality and justice to be achieved.2. After the end of World War II, and as a result of their long and just struggle against colonial regimes, many nations succeeded to attain their independence and realize their right of self-determination. In the last two decades, historic processes have taken place in states where policies of repression and discrimination had reigned. The end of the apartheid regime in South Africa is the most prominent example. These states have derived lessons from the past and promoted historic reconciliation, based on recognition of the historical injustice these policies inflicted on groups that were repressed and discriminated against, and ensured the effective participation of these groups in the process of constitution-making.3. Based on universal principles, international human rights covenants and the experience of nations, we -- as a human rights organization -- seek to propose a constitution, which contains provisions on the governing regime and on rights and liberties, as detailed below. We believe this constitutional proposal should be incorporated in the laws and/or the future constitution of the State of Israel.4. In order to build an equal and democratic society, free of repression and violence, and as a basis for historic reconciliation between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people and the entire Arab nation, the State of Israel must recognize its responsibility for past injustices suffered by the Palestinian people, both before and after its establishment. The State of Israel must recognize, therefore, its responsibility for the injustices of the Nakba and the Occupation; recognize the right of return of the Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194; recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; and withdraw from all of the territories occupied in 1967. '

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De Commerciele Massamedia 39

'Fool Me Thrice?
by Gordon Prather

Way back on 26 May 2003, more than a month before the Cheney Cabal
outed Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative – running agents in
Iran, Iraq and elsewhere, seeking information on weapons of mass
destruction, under cover of Brewster-Jennings, a CIA-front "energy
consulting" firm – the New York Times published an editorial, calling
on the CIA, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and
Congressional Intelligence Committees to investigate how, inter alia,
the Bush-Cheney administration came to rely on forged documents to
make the case that Iraq was trying to import uranium from Africa.

"The failure so far to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,
the prime justification for an immediate invasion, or definitive
links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda has raised serious
questions about the quality of American intelligence and even dark
hints that the data may have been manipulated to support a pre-
emptive war."

Within days, Slate’s Jack Shafer called on the New York Times to
investigate the quality of its own reporting, and more than suggested
that its reporters may have been manipulated to support a war of

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post had that same day revealed that
an internal NYT e-mail sent by Judith Miller – then still "embedded"
with the Iraq invasion force – to her NYT bureau chief acknowledged
that her main source for her WMD articles over the years had been
Ahmad Chalabi, a darling of the Cheney Cabal, but a persona non grata
of the CIA.

By now, the NYT ought to – but apparently doesn’t – realize that much

of its reporting on Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Lebanon
and elsewhere has been – and still is being – manipulated by the
Cheney Cabal.'

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Het Neoliberale Geloof 23

Darin Carey checks a roll at the New Page paper mill in Luke, MD. For years, the residents of this economically-distressed hollow in the Appalachians have watched textile mills, glass factories and tire makers close down one after the other. Now, its lone remaining big factory is threatened by imports of cheaper paper made in China. (Photo: Jeff Swensen / The New York Times)

Toen ik afgelopen zomer door duizenden kilomters door het Zuidwesten en Westen van de VS reed viel me op hoeveel fabrieken en bedrijven gesloten waren. Veel werk verdwijnt naar de lage lonen landen, waar arbeiders nog goedkoper zijn. Ziehier een voorbeeld van het neoliberale geloof en de globalisering. Kijken welk antwoord ons christelijke/socialistisch kabinet op deze ontwikkeling heeft.

De New York Times bericht:

'A Cry to Limit Chinese Imports Rings at Paper Mill
By Steven R. Weisman

Luke, Maryland - For years the residents of this economically distressed hollow in the Appalachians have watched textile mills, glass factories and tire makers close down one after the other. Now its lone remaining big factory - "the last man standing," as the production manager at the paper mill here put it - is threatened by imports of cheaper paper made in China.
"We're still the economic engine for this whole area," said Scott Graham, the production manager, referring to the river valley and forested hills surrounding the mill. "But our operations cannot compete with these below-cost imports."
It is a familiar story in the struggle of the American industrial base to cope with globalization, but this one may have a different ending.
The problems of paper mills here and elsewhere around the country have become a test case for a possible new confrontation between the United States and China, which many industry officials and members of Congress hope could lead to new tariffs on imports not only of Chinese-made paper but also of steel, furniture, textiles and plastics.
In coming weeks, the Commerce Department is expected to decide whether to impose duties on high-gloss paper known as "coated paper" - the kind made here in Luke - that is imported from China. Many trade specialists in Congress and in the industry expect it to do so. Indeed, China has gone to court to block the decision in advance.
If imposed, the duties would set an important precedent, reversing 20 years of settled American trade policy in which the United States refrained from making accusations that "nonmarket economies" like China were granting illegal subsidies. In its court case, China argues that changing that policy without legislation or a full regulatory hearing would be illegal.
The Bush administration's decision to face the issue of subsidies comes at a time of mounting pressure by Congress for a tougher stance on trade. With the American trade gap with China widening to a record $232.5 billion last year - roughly one-third of the entire deficit - Democrats say that if the Commerce Department does not act, they will pass legislation forcing its hand.
Many lawmakers say it is time to stop treating China with kid gloves, arguing that Beijing no longer deserves a free ride in which it benefits from a special exemption generally forbidden to Japan, Europe and other advanced industrial powers.
"I'm glad the administration is finally doing something," said Representative Sander M. Levin, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the trade subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. "They are beginning to recognize that there was an election last year."
The travails of the Luke mill are similar to those of other aging factories. But the NewPage Corporation, the company that owns the plant and is the largest producer of the high-quality paper, argues that it has hardly stood still in the face of foreign competition.
Mr. Graham, the production manager, whose grandfather helped pour concrete for the mill's old 600-foot smokestack, points out that in seven years, the mill has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in labor-saving computerized equipment while reducing its work force to 1,000 from 1,500 and increasing its output by a third.'

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Nederland en Afghanistan 123

Met dank aan de half miljard euro die de Nederlandse politiek uittrok voor het sturen van Nederlandse troepen die de opium-krijgsheren in Afghanistan aan de macht hielpen en houden.

De BBC bericht:

'Afghan opium 'hits record output'
BBC News, Washington

Opium production in Afghanistan reached record levels last year, the United States has said.

The US State Department's annual report on narcotics also said the flourishing drugs trade was undermining the fight against the Taleban.

It warned of a possible increase in heroin overdoses in Europe and the Middle East as a result.

Poppy production rose 25% in 2006, a figure US Assistant Secretary of State Ann Patterson described as alarming.

Four years after the US and its British allies began combating poppy production, Afghanistan still accounts for 90% of the world's opium trade.

The US has recently given the Afghan government more than $10bn in assistance, but most of that money will be spent in security rather than encouraging alternative sources of income.

The report also criticised South America's left-wing leaders such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales, for failing to do enough to fight the drugs trade.'


Dat laatste moet natuurlijk als humor worden opgevat. Als het Amerikaanse leger en zijn bondgenoten die Afghanistan bezetten niet in staat zijn de toename van de opium productie te stoppen, waarom zouden Zuidamerikaanse landen die kampen met grote sociale problemen daar wel toe in staat moeten zijn?
Ik las gisteren in de Volkskrant onder de kop Tientallen militairen lid van Hells Angels het volgende: 'Het ministerie wil ook militairen aanpakken die zich vanuit Afghanistan "respectloos en beledigend" uitlaten over het gastland en zijn inwoners. Herhaaldelijk worden in weblogs denigrerende en kwetsende opmerkingen over het "geitenland" gemaakt... Defensie heeft onlangs een gedragscode gepresenteerd om het normbesef onder militair personeel op te vijzelen. Schuttingtaal, zoals die te vinden is in internetboodschappen van uitgezonden militairen, wordt in strijd geacht met die code. Ook de veiligheid van militairen loopt gevaar. Defensie weet niet op welke schaal internet misbruikt wordt. Het toezicht op internetteksten zal worden verscherpt, maar Defensie ziet geen mogelijkheden tot een verbod.'

Het staat er echt, in de Volkskrant, op de voorpagina, onder het openingsartikel met als kop Aplomb Wilders is lastig te bestrijden. Met andere woorden: de mentaliteit die in het parlement lastig te bestrijden is, moet in Afghanistan onder Hollandse militairen effectief worden bestreden. De Volkskrant-verslaggever Theo Koele noemt Afghanistan 'gastland.' Gastland? Hoezo Theo? De Amerikanen vielen Afghanistan binnen, werden nooit uitgenodigd, en wij steunden deze politiek. Gastland kan Afghanistan dus nooit zijn. Bovendien, wie zou ooit gasten uitnodigen die zich "denigrerend en beledigend uitlaten" over de gastheren? Gastland? Hoezo, wanneer een aanzienlijk deel van de bevolking (de Taliban, voortgekomen uit de grootste etnische groepering in Afghanistan, de Pashtun) zich gewapend verzet tegen de bezetting? Een verzet dat volgens alle berichten toeneemt en de reden is dat de westerse troepen uitgebreid moesten worden. Hoe kan een journalist dan spreken van 'gastland?' Is in zijn visie ook Irak een gastland? Dit lijkt meer op propaganda dan serieuze journalistiek.

Theo, uit talloze serieuze publicaties blijkt dat wij daar in de allereerste plaats zitten voor de oliepijpleidingen van westerse oliemaatschappijen. President Karzai was, voordat hij deze functie van de Amerikanen kreeg aangeboden, adviseur van de Amerikaanse oliemaatschappij Unocal. Je woordgebruik hapert Theo, en wat in je artikel ontbreekt is de context. Waarom zijn we volgens onze politici ook al weer in Afghanistan? Juist, om de democratie daar op te bouwen met onder andere militairen die - zoals nu blijkt - zelf 'herhaaldelijk... in weblogs denigrerende en kwetsende opmerkingen over het "geitenland'" maakten. Als onafhankelijke journalist lijkt mij deze mentaliteit alles behalve democratisch. Als je de persoonlijke integriteit van de bewoners van 'het gastland' aantast dan is de vraag gerechtvaardigd: wat doen we daar? Toch niet de democratie brengen! Een functionerende betrekkelijk jonge parlementaire democratie als Nederland vindt het al knap 'lastig' om Wilders 'te bestrijden,' laat staan dat we een millennia-oude feodale staat democratisch kunnen maken met al die aanhangers van Wilders, die al dan niet lid zijn van de Hells Angels en die 'in weblogs denigrerende en kwetsende opmerkingen' maken over het - in hun ogen - 'geitenland.' En die kennelijk niet echt afgeremd worden door de andere mannelijke en vrouwelijke militairen.

En dan de vraag over de mogelijkheid om 'respectloos en beledigende... denigrerende en kwetsende opmerkingen over het "geitenland" te bestrijden. Ik zou als onafhankelijke journalist de woordvoerder van het ministerie van Defensie onmiddellijk hebben gevraagd waarom de militairen die zich zo gedragen niet onmiddellijk uit Afghanistan worden teruggetrokken. Al was het maar omdat zoals je zelf schrijft: 'Ook de veiligheid van militairen gevaar [loopt].' Je weet hoe het met Theo van Gogh afliep nadat hij herhaaldelijk een hele groep mensen had uitgescholden voor 'de Vijfde Colonne van de geitenneukers.' Die mensen kunnen 'robuust' terugslaan zodra ze genoeg krijgen van verbale terreur en racistische stigmatisering.

vrijdag 2 maart 2007

Verarmd Uranium 6

'Photo Top Left -- The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) triggered the atomic bomb called Priscilla on June 24, 1957 at the Nevada Test Site. According to U.S. Department of Energy documents, Priscilla was a balloon type test, it was weapons related, and had a yield of 37 kill tons.
Photo Top Right -- This photo was taken on November 1, 1951 and was the "Dog" detonation. It was conducted as part of the Buster/Jangle test series between October and November of 1951. It was an airdrop with a yield of 21 kilotons. Another event
Photo Center Left -- On December 18, 1970, the Baneberry underground nuclear test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS); the event released radioactivity to the atmosphere. Baneberry had a yield of ten kilotons (a kiloton is the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT). The nuclear bomb was buried about 900 feet beneath the surface of Yucca Flat near the northern boundary of the NTS. The radiation release or venting resulted in a cloud of radioactive dust that reached an altitude of 10,000 feet. Following the Baneberry venting, new containment procedures were adopted to prevent similar occurrences.
Photo Center Right -- The Stokes atmospheric nuclear test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site on August 7, 1957. The tests was conducted as part the operation "Plumbbob" testing events. Stokes produced 9 kilotons and was exploded from a balloon.
Photo Bottom Right -- This above ground atmospheric nuclear test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site on May 25, 1953. Named Grable the nuclear bomb was fired from a 280 mm gun. The test was an airburst, it was weapons related and had an estimated yield range of 15 Kiloton.

United States

Depleted Uranium Poison Explosions Target US Citizens By Cathy GargerJan 23, 2007, 21:13

I Left My Heart In (a 2500 miles radius of) San Francisco

Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. Your destiny is a mystery to us.

- Chief Seattle leader of the Duwanish tribein Washington Territory in an 1854 letterto U.S. President Franklin Pierce to marktransfer of ancestral Indian lands to theUnited States

There are efforts underway to oppose explosions of radioactive materials by the US government into the air in which we breathe. This article will outline various reasons why and how radioactive explosive “tests” are harming America - and describe the efforts of citizens in one area of the country who are now working to try to put a stop to them.

Like most people over 21, you may already know that the United States used to “test” nuclear bombs in the NV and NM deserts, right out in the open air. If asked, most people would probably be able to tell us that yes indeed, both above ground and below ground “nuclear testing” in the United States ended years ago. Yet, even though 1992 saw its last nuke bomb “test” inside the United States, how many know that our government is still firing radioactive explosives into our atmosphere? This fact appears to be one of Uncle Sam’s “dirtiest” not-so-little, well-kept secrets.

Yes, they fire radiation out into the very same air that our families breathe. Tons of radioactive munitions, in fact. Depleted Uranium is the name of one of the materials they use. And if that material sounds familiar? It because it’s the same stuff that they’re using on the “enemy” - that is, on civilians - in Afghanistan and Iraq.

No, we do not know what in the world the civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan ever did to deserve the “honor” of being blasted to kingdom come with Uranium-238 - rendering their nations permanently uninhabitable. By the same token, nor do we know what American citizens have done to deserve Depleted Uranium being exploded into our air so that we are gassed with it, either.

But now the country is starting to buzz with the word of radioactive open air “testing” near San Francisco. And with such a progressive part of the nation that has historically fought hard for peace, equal rights, racial equality, gay rights, and ecological sustainability? As one could say, the Greater San Francisco Bay area is now again boldly “coming out of the closet” with regard to letting the proverbial cat out of the bag about this “dirty” business of Uncle Sam’s.

But this is not a story entirely about San Francisco’s troubles. Nor is it even all about California. As you will see, this story affects you and me, no matter where we live in the country. California’s tale is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The story about your community and mine? Now that’s the heart of this story.

The fiery “hot” issue of Depleted Uranium explosives “testing” has emerged into the spotlight in the San Francisco Bay area recently all because of some people who live in a city called Tracy. That’s how anything important usually starts - when just a few people who are fed up enough get together and become vocal enough and publicly put up a fuss.

No wonder why they’re upset. Only a few miles away from them on a federally owned 7,000 acre parcel of land in the Altamont Hills at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in San Joaquin and Alameda Counties, California, radioactive explosives containing Depleted Uranium are being shot out into the open air at a location called Site 300. Yes, Depleted Uranium is being exploded across the street from a motorbike recreational area. Site 300 is only a few miles away from where people live.

What started all the ruckus was that on November 13 a new permit, issued by California’s San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, was put into effect that allows the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to use more than triple the amount of explosive materials in “test” detonations at Site 300 than in the past. This means that the equivalent of 350 pounds of explosives may now be fired instead of the previously permitted 100 pounds.

There are two efforts underway to appeal the new permit for Site 300 that allows for much larger explosions by using greater amounts of radioactive materials. Two appeals have been filed, one by a housing developer and the other by a resident who lives about five miles from the radioactive blast location, Site 300.

Small business owner, Tracy resident, and long-standing member of Tri-Valley Communities Against A Radioactive Environment (CARES), Bob Sarvey is leading the way to protect his community of 72,400 from radioactivity at Livermore’s Site 300 by appealing the permit of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. A health risk assessment performed recently shows a higher health risk just from merely inhaling toxic non-radioactive air contaminants than the Livermore Lab shows in its own radiological assessment.

Residents realized something was not quite right about this report. “Previously“, according to Sarvey, “the Lawrence Livermore Lab didn’t need a permit from the Pollution Control District because their chargers were under 100 lbs. equivalent to TNT - and under 1,000 pounds per year. Now, they are going to increase that to 350 pounds per charge, equivalent to TNT …and they are also going to increase the annual limit to 8,000 pounds. That’s eight-fold of what it was annually… and on a per change basis, three and a half times per charge”.

In addition to allowing up to 8,000 pounds of explosives containing radioactive matter annually, as reported in the Tracy Press on December 14 the current county air pollution control permit allows Livermore Laboratory to emit up to 1,440 pounds of particulate matter up to 10 microns in diameter per year into the air. The public does not even have to be notified of such emissions unless the particulate matter exceeds a 20,000 pound limit.

It only takes one invisible micron of Depleted Uranium to cause organ damage and health failure. Can anyone possibly hazard a guess as to how much potential hazard that 1,440 pounds of particulates could cause - never mind the 20,000 pound particulate upper limit? Can you imagine willingly causing up to 1,440 pounds of radioactive particles to be blasted into the open air? If one miniscule particle so tiny as to be invisible can cause a terminal illness, whose mind can even fathom the devastation 1,440 pounds of this stuff could do to countless numbers of people?'

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Olie 11

'IRAQ: New Oil Law Seen as Cover for Privatisation Emad Mekay

WASHINGTON (IPS) - The U.S.-backed Iraqi cabinet approved a new oil law Monday that is set to give foreign companies the long-term contracts and safe legal framework they have been waiting for, but which has rattled labour unions and international campaigners who say oil production should remain in the hands of Iraqis.
Independent analysts and labour groups have also criticised the process of drafting the law and warned that that the bill is so skewed in favour of foreign firms that it could end up heightening political tensions in the Arab nation and spreading instability. For example, it specifies that up to two-thirds of Iraq's known reserves would be developed by multinationals, under contracts lasting for 15 to 20 years. This policy would represent a u-turn for Iraq's oil industry, which has been in the public sector for more than three decades, and would break from normal practice in the Middle East. According to local labour leaders, transferring ownership to the foreign companies would give a further pretext to continue the U.S. occupation on the grounds that those companies will need protection. Union leaders have complained that they, along with other civil society groups, were left out of the drafting process despite U.S. claims it has created a functioning democracy in Iraq. Under the production-sharing agreements provided for in the draft law, companies will not come under the jurisdiction of Iraqi courts in the event of a dispute, nor to the general auditor. The ownership of the oil reserves under this draft law will remain with the state in form, but not in substance, critics say. On Feb. 8, the labour unions sent a letter in Arabic to Iraqi President Jalal Talbani urging him to reconsider this kind of agreement. "Production-sharing agreements are a relic of the 1960s," said the letter, seen by IPS. "They will re-imprison the Iraqi economy and impinge on Iraq's sovereignty since they only preserve the interests of foreign companies. We warn against falling into this trap." Ewa Jasiewicz, a researcher at PLATFORM, a British human rights and environmental group that monitors the oil industry, told IPS in a phone interview from London that, "First of all, it hasn't been put together in any kind of democratic process... It's been put through a war and an occupation which in itself is a grotesquely undemocratic process." The law was prepared by a three-member Iraqi cabinet committee, dominated by the Kurds and the Shiites. It is now expected to be ratified by parliament because the powerful faction leaders in the government have cleared it. The first draft was seen only by the committee of the Iraqi technocrat who penned it, nine international oil companies, the British and the U.S. governments and the International Monetary Fund. The Iraqi parliament will get its first glimpse next week.'

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Vier jaar geleden schreef ik over olie als belangrijkste reden van de Amerikaanse bezetting van Irak twee lange artikelen: En:

Het ziet er naar uit dat de Bush-Bende alsnog hun feitelijke doel zullen verwezenlijken, een greep op de olie. Met steun van ondermeer het vorige kabinet Balkenende en met steun van de PVDA, die nu weigert een onderzoek in te stellen naar de hele gang van zaken rond Irak. En dit alles ten koste van het leven van inmiddels meer dan 100.000 Irakese burgers, vrouwen, kinderen, bejaarden, mannen. Dat is de prijs die de slachtoffers moeten betalen voor de door Balkenende zo hoog geprezen normen en waarden van het christelijke neoliberalisme.

De Bush Bende 43

'Hersh: Bush Funneling Money to al Qaeda-Related Groups
New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the "single most explosive" element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.
Hersh says the U.S. has been "pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight" for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to "stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence." Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of "three Sunni jihadist groups" who are "connected to al Qaeda" but "want to take on Hezbollah."
Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: "We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11." Watch it:
Hersh added, "All of this should be investigated by Congress, by the way, and I trust it will be. In my talking to membership - members there, they are very upset that they know nothing about this. And they have great many suspicions."
Blitzer: Near the end of your article, you have this explosive point in there about John Negroponte, who is now going to be the deputy secretary of state, as opposed to the head of U.S. intelligence.
You write this: "I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence officials that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte's decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept the position of deputy secretary of state."
Explain what you were hearing, because that is obviously a very explosive charge.
Hersh: Yes. It is probably the single most explosive, if you will, or depressing - or distressing sort of thing I discovered in the last few months, which is simply this. This administration has made a policy change, a decision that they are going to put all of the pressure they can on the Shiites, that is the Shiite regime in Iran, the Shiite - and they are also doing everything they can to stop Hezbollah - which is Shiite, the Hezbollah organization from getting any control or any more of a political foothold in Lebanon.
So they essentially, I quote the - I saw Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, and he described it this way, as "fitna (ph)," the Arab word for "civil war." As far as he is concerned, we are interested in recreating what is happening in Iraq in Lebanon, that is Sunni versus Shia. And in looking into that story, and I saw him in December, I found this. That we have been pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia is putting up some of this money, for covert operations in many areas of the Middle East where we think that the - we want to stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.
They call it the "Shiite Crescent." And a lot of this money, and I can't tell you with absolute certainty how - exactly when and how, but this money has gotten into the hands - among other places, in Lebanon, into the hands of three - at least three jihadist groups. There are three Sunni jihadist groups whose main claim to fame inside Lebanon right now is that they are very tough. These are people connected to al Qaeda who want to take on Hezbollah. So this government, at the minimum, we may not directly be funneling money to them, but we certainly know that these groups exist.
My government, which arrests al Qaeda every place it can find them and send - some of them are n Guantanamo and other places, is sitting back while the Lebanese government we support, the government of Prime Minister Siniora, is providing arms and sustenance to three jihadist groups whose sole function, seems to me and to the people that talk to me in our government, to be there in case there is a real shoot-'em-up with Hezbollah and we really get into some sort of serious major conflict between the Sunni government and Hezbollah, which is largely Shia, who are basically - or as you know, there is a coalition headed by Hezbollah that is challenging the government right now, demonstrations, sit-ins.
There has been some violence. So America, my country, without telling Congress, using funds not appropriated, I don't know where, by my sources believe much of the money obviously came from Iraq where there is all kinds of piles of loose money, pools of cash that could be used for covert operations.
All of this should be investigated by Congress, by the way, and I trust it will be. In my talking to membership - members there, they are very upset that they know nothing about this. And they have great many suspicions.
We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11, and we should be arresting these people rather than looking the other way...
Blitzer: And your bottom line, Sy...
Hersh: ... and could lead to a real mess...
Blitzer: Your bottom line is that Negroponte was aware of this, obviously, and he wanted to distance himself from it? That is why he decided to give up that position and take the number two job at the State Department?
Hersh: He - that is one of the reasons, I was told. Negroponte also was not in tune with Cheney. There was a lot of complaints about him because he was seen as much of a stickler, too ethical for some of the operations the Pentagon wants to run.'

Klimaatverandering 97

'Group Says Ocean Harm Should Force US Carbon Regulation
By Timothy Gardner

New York - A wildlife conservation group said it is trying to pressure U.S. states to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under federal clean water laws because of harm the gas does to the cycle of life in the ocean.
Unlike most other developed countries, the United States, the world's top greenhouse gas emitter, does not regulate carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists link to global warming. Efforts by states and environmental groups to regulate CO2 through clean air laws have so far failed.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a national environmental group, on Wednesday petitioned California to regulate CO2 under the Clean Water Act. Miyoko Sakashita, an attorney for the group in San Francisco, said it would soon petition Oregon and Washington state as well as states on the East Coast to do the same.
Oceans absorb a third of the CO2 in the atmosphere and sink it to the depths. But when they absorb too much of the gas the process makes oceans more acidic. The problem is worsening as the burning of coal, oil, natural gas, and forests increase levels of the gas in the atmosphere.
Acidification can harm animals from corals to crabs, impairing their use of calcium to make shells and skeletons. It can also hurt microscopic life.
"Many species of phytoplankton and zooplankton, which form the basis of the marine food web, are also particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification," said Sakashita.
The CBD says clean water laws regulate pH levels in water and should therefore regulate CO2 emissions in oceans. While the laws are federal, states implement them.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently passed the country's toughest greenhouse gas laws which aim to reduce output of the gases 25 percent by 2020.
Efforts to force the federal government to regulate CO2 emissions under clean air laws have been fruitless so far because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintains that greenhouse gas does not fit the Clean Air Act's definition as a pollutant.
California water quality officials did not immediately return calls about the CBD effort.'

Zie: Of:

Klimaatverandering 96

'Fighting Warming Key to Anti-Poverty Goals
By Haider Rizvi
Inter Press Service

United Nations - Driven by increased concerns and mounting evidence of the threats posed by global warming, some of the world's most eminent scientists are telling policymakers to get their act together before it is too late to avoid a doomsday scenario.
Releasing a new study entitled "Confronting Climate Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable and Managing the Unavoidable," researchers said here Tuesday that world leaders should take immediate steps to start reversing the upward trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions, otherwise the current path would lead to "serious" climate change impacts.
Prepared in response to a request by the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) two years ago, the 144-page study outlines a roadmap for measures to reduce dangerous emissions, alleviate poverty, and spur sustainable development.
"It is still impossible to avoid an unmanageable degree of climate change, but the time for action is now," John Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard University and one of the lead authors of the study, told reporters at U.N. headquarters.
According to the study's findings, the average global surface temperature has already risen about 0.8 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels and that may rise by another two to four degrees by the end of this century.
Prof. Holdren and other authors of the study said the risk of climate change could entail "intolerable impacts" if the average temperature level reached more than two degrees C. above the 1750 pre-industrial level.
They observed that the world is already experiencing climate disruptions, and the increases in droughts, floods, and sea level rise that will occur in the coming decades could lead to enormous human suffering and economic losses.
"We imperil our children's and grandchildren's future if we fail to improve society's capacity to adapt to a changing climate," said Rosina Bierbaum, former acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Such an eventuality can be avoided, she went on to say, "if we manage water better, bolster disaster preparedness, increase surveillance for emerging diseases, make cities more resilient, prepare for environmental refugees, and use natural resources more sustainably."
Other experts told reporters the goal to halt temperature increases beyond two-2.5 degrees centigrade is achievable if policymakers are willing to follow their recommendations for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
That demands stabilising atmospheric concentrations at the equivalent of no more than 450,000 parts per million of CO2 (compared to parts per million CO2 equivalent today), according to the study. This would require global CO2 emissions to peak no later than 2015-2020 at not much above their current level and decline by 2100 to about a third of that value.
The study's authors urged policymakers to take immediate steps for energy efficiency in the transport sector, environmental measures in urban construction, and expanded use of biofuels and other renewable sources.
"These steps will contribute to achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); failing to do so will make these goals much harder, if not impossible to reach," said Peter Raven, a biodiversity expert and former president of Sigma Xi, a U.S.-based research group with more than 60,000 members worldwide that carried out the study in collaboration with the U.N. Foundation.
Calling for increased cooperation among all U.N. member states, Raven and others said they believed the use of environmentally-friendly technologies could prove not only greatly helpful in reducing emissions, but also in providing other economic and social benefits.'

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Het Kabinet 2

'Weblog Harry van Bommel
donderdag 1 maart 2007, 10.39 uur
Categorie: Algemeen
De onderste steen moet boven
Nog steeds krijgen we geen antwoord op heel veel vragen rond de steun aan de inval in Irak. Ik heb de feiten op een rijtje gezet in een leesbaar boekje. Het boekje dient als basis voor de motie vandaag in het debat met de regering. Een parlementair onderzoek moet er komen. Het boekje kost EUR 2,30 (excl. verzendkosten) en is eenvoudig te bestellen. '
Ondertussen bericht Trouw:

'Verdeeldheid in PvdA om onderzoek Irak
door Teun Lagas
De nieuwe PvdA-fractieleider Tichelaar heeft zijn fractiegenoten zwaar onder druk gezet om tegen een onderzoek te stemmen naar de Nederlandse steun aan de oorlog in Irak.

De sfeer in de nieuwe regeringscoalitie mag niet bedorven worden door afwijkend stemgedrag van de PvdA-fractie in deze gevoelige kwestie, maakte Tichelaar zijn partijgenoten duidelijk. Aanvankelijk dachten de hardnekkigste PvdA-voorstanders van het Irak-onderzoek dat ze in het parlement de vrije hand hadden. Tichelaar corrigeerde hen.
SP, GroenLinks en D66 daagden de PvdA gisteren uit hen te volgen in een studie naar de vraag waarom Nederland in 2003 zo snel de Amerikaanse president Bush volgde.
In het regeerakkoord blokkeerde het CDA de oude PvdA-wens om terug te blikken op de omstreden keuze destijds van premier Balkenende en oud-minister van buitenlandse zaken De Hoop Scheffer, de huidige Navo-baas. „Een zwaar verlies”, gaven de PvdA-onderhandelaars toe.
Tijdens de kabinetsformatie voorspelden PvdA-Kamerleden dat hun fractie wel zou mogen instemmen met nieuwe initiatieven uit het parlement om de kwestie Irak alsnog tegen het licht te houden. Toen de SP gisteren zo'n uitspraak van de Tweede Kamer vroeg, bleek de PvdA echter gebonden door een herenakkoord, dat de onderhandelaars achter de schermen sloten. Een kleine groep PvdA-Kamerleden eiste alsnog het recht het Irak-onderzoek als een vrije kwestie te beschouwen. Andere PvdA’ers steunden de lijn Tichelaar: de fractie moet zich niet via een omweg distantiëren van het regeerakkoord. Uiteindelijk kreeg een motie van de SP geen enkele steun van de sociaal-democraten.
PvdA’ers mogen van Tichelaar wel openlijk blijven klagen over gebrek aan Nederlands zelfonderzoek.
De zaak is louter principieel: zelfs met steun van de PvdA is er nu geen Kamermeerderheid voor zo’n onderzoek.'

De Commerciele Massamedia 38

'Confessions of An American Media Man
Tom Plate, journalism veterean and academic, publishes a tell-all memoir about his decades in the business.
By MediaChannel.

Tom Plate, longtime Asian columnist and academic, has penned a memoir entitled Confessions of An American Media Man; the subtitle promises to reveal “What they didn’t teach you in journalism school.” Forbes writer James Brady previews it:

Tom started out as a “scholarship boy” at classy Amherst, where he and future best-selling author Aaron “Urban Cowboy” Latham published a quickie guide to dating in the Ivy League, Where the Boys Are. It sold out, co-eds in those days being what they were; Latham put his share into mutual funds, and Plate bought a sports car. “He’s worth millions. I’m not,” Tom said wryly.
Following an internship at The Washington Post under the newly arrived Bradlee, Plate was off to grad school at Princeton, passing up an offer to stay on and ignoring Ben’s counsel, as well, that “graduate school is B.S.”
Tom is wonderful at the behind-the-scenes stuff–such as when then-owner CBS (nyse: CBS - news - people ) banned the word “cancer” from Family Weekly lest Big Tobacco cancel the ads–but he’s less gripping when he recounts numerous “scoops” he scored, and gloriously candid about his own occasional lapses.
Wooed by Time magazine, he went out and got whacked the night before, showed up hung-over for lunch with a senior Time exec, who fortunately was even more hung-over, so Tom got the job. When they were both at New York magazine, Gail Sheehy sweet-talked Plate into dishing anonymously about his sex life for her book Passages. He was devastated to find himself described as “short-legged and porky” with bad skin, yet instantly identifiable to all. On another occasion, while editorial page editor of the L.A. Times, Plate dyed his hair black to impress a new boss with his youth, only to draw titters from his own staff.
In conversation with me, Plate said, “This isn’t a ‘get even’ book. It’s real, it’s honest. And there could be a sequel. I’m 11 years into my Asian column twice a week, and 11 years as a full-time teacher at UCLA. And Andrea (his social worker wife) and I are still together.”
Plate’s bio on the Tribune media group’s site describes him as
a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Century Association of New York and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, with a master’s degree in public and international affairs. He is the author of five books and has been a journalist at Time, Newsday, New York Magazine and “CBS Family Week.” From 1989-1995 he was Editor of the Editorial Pages of the Los Angeles Times. He has won numerous journalism awards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors Deadline Writing Award and the Greater Los Angeles Press Club Award for “Best Editorial.” Recently, he was a Media Fellow at Stanford University and a fellow in Tokyo at the famed Foreign Press Center’s annual Asia-Pacific Media Conference. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and for the last several years has been a participant at the annual retreat of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.'

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donderdag 1 maart 2007

Mohammed R. Jabri 6

'01/03/07 "M.R. Jabri"

Het Nederlanderschap lijkt waardeloos

Met een klaarwakker linkeroog kijkend naar de ontwikkelingen in het Midden-Oosten volgde ik de laatste tijd met een halfslaperig rechteroog de vermoeiende discussie omtrent het hebben van 2 paspoorten in Nederland. De peroxidesnuivende PVV-leider Geert Wilders maakt al sinds dat Ahmed Aboutaleb genoemd werd als mogelijke minister van Sociale Zaken bezwaar tegen diens aanstelling in het parlement. Dat Albayrak daar bij is gekomen was voor hem de bevestiging van een ‘moslimvergiftiging in iedere laag van deze samenleving’. Om onduidelijke redenen werd het nu pas een hot item in de media en steggelen verschillende juristen ineens over de juridische draagkracht van de bezwaren van Wilders. Conclusie: Geert heeft juridisch gezien helemaal gelijk. Dat hij dit zelf nog niet eens wist toen hij voor het eerst zijn bezwaren kenbaar maakte doet er eigenlijk niet eens meer toe. Het gaat hem om de loyaliteit die allochtone Nederlanders dienen te hebben aan de Nederlandse Staat en de schijn van belangenverstrengeling die gewekt wordt met de ongeschreven en onuitgesproken trouw aan land van herkomst die een dubbele nationaliteit met zich meebrengt. De Nederlandse nationaliteit, die ineens weer met trots wordt verdedigd na decennialang dat ‘ding’ voor van zelfsprekend te hebben aangenomen, wordt nu gesymboliseerd door dat rode boekje. En dan ook enkel door dat rode boekje. Laat ik nu nog maar even niks zeggen over het bijkomend argument met betrekking tot de joodse, humanistische en christelijke waarden die door het kamp van de Fortuynisten groupies ook wordt opgegooid.

Ik heb geleerd dat trots op je land gebaseerd is op de geschiedenis van cultuur, economische ontwikkelingen en misschien hier en daar religieuze en ook kunstzinnige invloeden die verweven zijn met het bewustzijn van de nationaliteit die je met je meedraagt. Ik weet wat voor geschiedenis Nederland heeft. Het is een geschiedenis met twee kanten: positief en negatief, zoals elk ander land ter wereld. ‘A nation in the middle; nothing more, nothing less’, zoals Chris Rock al eens mooi verwoordde toen hij het in een soortgelijke context over de Verenigde Staten had. En dat is Nederland ook, een natie in het midden en geen haar beter dan welke natie dan ook. Maar Nederland heeft wel degelijk een mooie kant aan de geschiedenis dat dit land meedraagt. De koopmanskracht die zich ten tijde van de Gouden Eeuw ontwikkelde tot een daadkrachtig commercieel denken van een niveau waar de rest van de wereld een voorbeeld aan nam. De kunde om met bemiddeling en lavering tussen extremen diplomatieke betrekkingen erop na te houden met landen die tegelijkertijd op voet van oorlog leefden met elkaar. De flexibiliteit om de Nederlandse cultuur onderhevig te laten zijn aan de invloeden die de Engelsen, Duitsers en Fransen hadden op het Oranje-volk, zonder dat de Oranje-cultuur verloren ging. De nuchterheid die Nederland sinds 1900 heeft doen meegaan in de snel industrialiserende wereld en de pijlsnelle ontwikkelingen die dat met zich meebracht op ieder vlak dat je maar kunt bedenken. Om nog maar te zwijgen van het tempo waarmee dit land na de 2e Wereldoorlog weer werd opgebouwd en ontwikkeld tot een economische supermacht in de internationale arena. Ja, de Nederlander is een veelzijdige persoonlijkheid en de hele voorgeschiedenis van de Nederlander laat zien dat alle ontwikkelingen wereldwijd nogal wat hebben gevergd van de Nederlander. Maar de Nederlander pakte dit vrijwel moeiteloos aan.

Dat dit gepaard ging met uitbuiting, piraterij, kolonisatie, onderdrukking en verkrachting – zowel mentaal als fysiek – van andere volkeren laten we in dit geheel maar allemaal achterwege want het gaat hier om redenen waarom je trots dient te zijn op je nationaliteit en in dat kader is de Nederlander geen haar beter dan de rest van de wereld. Het is alleen nogal een verschil of Geert Wilders dit roept of dat Wim Kok of Joop den Uyl dit zegt of zou hebben gezegd. Bij Wim Kok ben ik eerde geneigd te denken aan alle reeds eerder genoemde positieve attributen c.q. eigenschappen van Nederland. Bij Geert Wilders smaakt de boel toch al gauw naar peroxide – niet dat ik de smaak ervan ken – en kan ik het niet helpen te denken aan een geschiedenis van racisme, uitbuiting, onderdrukking, veelplegerij van incest, overspel, overmatig drankgebruik, grootheidswaanzin, collaboratie met de meest dodelijke ideologie in de geschiedenis van de mensheid en wat allemaal nog meer dat de meest zieke persoonlijkheden in de loop der tijden heeft voortgebracht, wetende wat voor ideologie Geert Wilders aanhangt. Ik als Marokkaanzijnde zou namelijk alleen maar jaloers kunnen zijn op alle eerder genoemde positieve eigenschappen van de Nederlander, wetende dat mijn eigen land van herkomst is achtergebleven in de ontwikkelingen van kunst, economie, zelfs de consensus van religie en cultuur en ga zo maar door. Maar desondanks ben ik blij een Marokkaan te zijn en trots op de positieve eigenschappen van mijn land, zoals de cultuur (verwar dit niet met de cultuur die de Nederlandse Marokkanen in sommige gevallen in Nederland illustreren), religie, wetenschap etc. Daarnaast ben ik extra trots een Nederlandse Marokkaan te zijn wetende dat ik (ik als in de Nederlandse Marokkaan) net zoveel beschik over al die positieve attributen die ik eerder al de Nederlander toebedeelde, omdat gebleken is dat ik hierover ook beschik, getuige mijn volledige integratie in deze samenleving met behoud van mijn identiteit en religie. Ondanks alle tegenwerkingen van de professionele xenofoben die huisvesting hebben in dit land. En dat mijn etnische achtergrond tegenwoordig direct wordt geassocieerd met mijn religie – de Islam – maakt dat mijn etnische achtergrond extra waardevol voor mij. Als Marokkaan ben ik geboren, als Nederlandse Marokkaan zal ik sterven maar een moslim ben ik van begin tot eind.'

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Irak 179

De Guardian bericht:

'US commanders admit: we face a Vietnam-style collapse.

Elite officers in Iraq fear low morale, lack of troops and loss of political will Simon TisdallThursday March 1, 2007 An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.
The officers - combat veterans who are experts in counter-insurgency - are charged with implementing the "new way forward" strategy announced by George Bush on January 10. The plan includes a controversial "surge" of 21,500 additional American troops to establish security in the Iraqi capital and Anbar province.
But the team, known as the "Baghdad brains trust" and ensconced in the heavily fortified Green Zone, is struggling to overcome a range of entrenched problems in what has become a race against time, according to a former senior administration official familiar with their deliberations.
"They know they are operating under a clock. They know they are going to hear a lot more talk in Washington about 'Plan B' by the autumn - meaning withdrawal. They know the next six-month period is their opportunity. And they say it's getting harder every day," he said.
By improving security, the plan's short-term aim is to create time and space for the Iraqi government to bring rival Shia, Sunni and Kurd factions together in a process of national reconciliation, American officials say. If that works within the stipulated timeframe, longer term schemes for rebuilding Iraq under the so-called "go long" strategy will be set in motion.
But the next six months are make-or-break for the US military and the Iraqi government. The main obstacles confronting Gen Petraeus's team are:
· Insufficient troops on the ground
· A "disintegrating" international coalition
· An anticipated increase in violence in the south as the British leave
· Morale problems as casualties rise
· A failure of political will in Washington and/or Baghdad.
"The scene is very tense," the former official said. "They are working round the clock. Endless cups of tea with the Iraqis. But they're still trying to figure out what's the plan. The president is expecting progress. But they're thinking, what does he mean? The plan is changing every minute, as all plans do."
The team is an unusual mix of combat experience and academic achievement. It includes Colonel Peter Mansoor, a former armoured division commander with a PhD in the history of infantry; Colonel HR McMaster, author of a well-known critique of Vietnam and a seasoned counter-insurgency operations chief; Lt-Col David Kilcullen, a seconded Australian officer and expert on Islamism; and Colonel Michael Meese, son of the former US attorney-general Edwin Meese, who was a member of the ill-fated Iraq Study Group.'

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Aldous Huxley

"Only a large-scale popular movement toward decentralization and self-help can arrest the present tendency toward statism... A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers." - Aldous Huxley - (1894-1963) Author - Source: Forward to 'Brave New World', 1932

De Volkskrant 18

Zo opent een kwaliteitskrant als The Independent:
'Education class war.
What the battle of Brighton over a lottery for school admissions really means for...
Published: 01 March 2007

The introduction of a lottery to determine school admissions would mean children from less well-off families were more likely to be able to obtain places at England's top performing state secondary schools. Many of the places currently go to children whose families can afford higher priced housing near the school. It would mean that some children living on the school's doorstep would not be able to secure a place at their nearest school.
In theory, the ruling would allow parents from any social class to get their child into the school of their first choice. But some better-off parents who live in more expensive homes nearer to the school may be tempted to opt for the independent sector rather than risk having their child allocated to a school which does less well in a poorer neighbourhood. But for many parents of poorer children it will offer a clear chance of a better education.
Critics will argue that a school's performance could be affected if disruptive children are allowed in. Supporters will say that top-performing schools will prevail irrespective of the intake. Education chiefs believe that, by allowing children from deprived homes into top-performing schools, they will break the cycle of deprivation which has led to many of these youngsters not staying on in either education or training once they reach the age of 16.
House prices
Surveys have shown that houses near best-performing schools can rise in value dramatically, with some fetching more than double the price of homes farther away. A Hometrack report claimed that homes within the catchment areas of England's 10 most-improved state schools had risen in value by 76 per cent since 2001. Experts warn that the move by Brighton Council could lead to a slump in house prices near affected schools.
Politicians have always feared a backlash if the methods of allocating places were changed. Parents might turn on any local authority - or government - that attempted reforms seen to deny parents the places at popular schools they wanted. But the Government's new code cracked down on selection by stealth and opened the door to lotteries like the one in Brighton. The Tories have backed Labour's reforms and floated the idea of scrapping catchment areas.
Inequality... '

En zo opent een provinciale krant als de Volkskrant op internet:

'Duitse verdachte kindermoord aangehouden
Van onze redactie
AMSTERDAM - De Duitse politie heeft vannacht in de buurt van Leipzig de man aangehouden die vermoedelijk een 9-jarig jongetje heeft misbruikt en vermoord. De verdachte werd opgepakt nadat hij probeerde zelfmoord te plegen door zich in de buurt van Leipzig voor een rijdende tram te gooien. Hij is zwaargewond naar een ziekenhuis overgebracht.
Dit meldt de website van de Duitse krant Bild donderdag.'



In beide kranten gaat het over het kind, alleen heeft het bericht in de Volkskrant geen relevantie, behalve dan dat het sensationeel is. Men kan er lekker van huiveren en er verder over lezen in Bild Zeitung. Daarentegen heeft het bericht in de Independent sociale en politieke relevantie, niet alleen voor het Verenigd Koninkrijk, maar voor alle landen waar een aanzienlijke scheiding is tussen arm en rijk, dus ook voor Nederland. Maar voor de Volkskrant-redactie is dit minder relevant dan een gruwelmoord in Duitsland. Men denkt dat de gemiddelde Volkskrant-lezer meer in sensatie is geinteresseerd dan in zijn eigen leven. Het gaat de Volkskrant alleen om oplages, verkoopcijfers en winst.

Het Radio I Journaal

De vijf onderste hoofden presenteren het Radio I Journaal. Opvallend aan deze hoofden is dat ze allemaal heel erg blank zijn en heel erg Hollands en heel erg man van middelbare leeftijd. Geen medemens met ook maar een druppeltje gekleurd bloed zit erbij. Is dit een afspiegeling van de Nederlandse bevolking? Nee. Is dat toeval? Nee, natuurlijk, allen zijn door een zeef gegaan, een selectie. Kan geen enkele gekleurde medemens presenteren? Natuurlijk kunnen sommigen van hen wel presenteren. Maar waarom zit er dan geen enkele gekleurde presentator bij het Radio I Journaal? Dat moet u aan de redactie vragen.
Hoe dan ook, wat ik wilde vertellen is het volgende: vanochtend sprak via het Radio I Journaal Geert Wilders - dat andere heel erg Hollandse man van middelbare leeftijd hoofd - tot ons luisteraars, gekleurde zowel als blanke, tot christen, moslim zowel als atheist. De malloot die tot ons sprak zei zonder ook maar 1 kritische vraag van het heel erg blanke man van middelbare leeftijd presentatorhoofd dat zijn partij er tegen was dat de meerderheid van de Nederlandse regering uit moslims zou gaan bestaan. De heel erg Hollandse presentator liet het ongestoord voorbijgaan.
Als onafhankelijke journalist zou ik daarentegen de malloot hebben gevraagd wanneer hij verwacht dat de meerderheid van de regering uit moslims zal bestaan? En ik zou als vervolg vraag hebben gehad: wat is voor u het fundamentele probleem wanneer belastingbetalende burgers die mogen stemmen hun geloof baseren op de Koran en niet op de Bijbel of op de Origin of the Species of - ik noem maar iets geks - op The Wealth of Nations? Maar nee, geen woord daarover, het heel erg Hollandse man-presentatorhoofd beschouwde de tendentieuze opmerking van Wilders geen vraag waard, kennelijk in de overtuiging dat Wilders' visie vanzelfsprekend is, in elk geval dermate juist dat het geen verduidelijking behoeft. Zo hielp het heel erg blanke man van middelbare leeftijd presentatorhoofd mee aan het stigmatiseren van een deel van de Nederlandse bevolking. Succes jongens! Ga zo door!!! Denk vooral niet na! Laat elke context van het nieuws weg! Maak ranzigheid, ressentiment en demogagie salonfahig en maak van Wilders een succesnummer!!!

De Bush Bende 42

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence. His newest book, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation, will be available this winter from PoliPointPress

The Bush Administration in One Sentence
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Columnist

History is bunk.- Henry Ford

Just because the Supreme Court set that poison precedent and anointed Bush, who brought in a crowd of neocon yahoos which earned no attention before the 2000 campaign, just because we 'Muricans vote for the man and not the mob, which in this case turned into the mob that ruined the country, you know, Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Perle and Feith and Ledeen and Negroponte ...
... just because unreasonably massive tax cuts were combined in 2001 with the economic depth-charge that was the Enron/Arthur Andersen/inflated revenues/overstated tax earnings scandal, which was umbilically connected to the White House, just because the economy (not to mention our whole psyche) absorbed another blow when four commercial airplanes somehow managed to pierce the most impenetrable air defense system in the history of the universe, fooling the entire intelligence community as well, if you believe what you hear...
... just because this happened despite a blizzard of warnings delivered in the weeks and months beforehand, along with a raft of information gathered by the previous administration, just because a bunch of anthrax got mailed to Democrats by the Ashcroft wing of the Republican Party in what were obvious assassination attempts and yet nothing but nothing has been done about it, just because the 9/11 attack was immediately - and I mean the day after immediately - grasped as an excuse to invade Iraq, just because virtually everyone in the administration lied with their bare faces hanging out about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, terrorism ties in Iraq, so break out the plastic sheeting and duct tape because we're all gonna die ...
... just because they did this in no small part to win the 2002 midterms by any means necessary, just because they have used that day against us with deliberation and intent, just because 3,160 American soldiers have been killed looking for 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons (which is one million pounds) of sarin and mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 munitions to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, aerial drones to spray the aforementioned stuff, and let's not forget the uranium from Niger for use in Iraq's robust "nukular" program, all of which was described to the letter by Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address, claims that still remain today on the White House web site, on a page titled 'Disarm Saddam Hussein' ...
... just because the medical journal Lancet estimated that as many as 198,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed as well in the war to get at this stuff, and that was a while ago and a whole slew of bombings ago, just because none of the stuff was there, and by the way none of the stuff was there, and did I mention that none of the stuff was there, just because the idea that Hussein was allied with bin Laden was laughable because Osama has wanted Saddam's head on his battle standard for decades, just because the true source of world terrorism, which is Sunni Wahabbist extremism out of Saudi Arabia, goes completely unaddressed because the Houses of Bush and Saud have been partnered for decades ...'

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woensdag 28 februari 2007

11 September 2001 (24)

'Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq
By David Ray Griffin

02/27/07 "ICH" -- - -One way to understand the effect of 9/11, in most general terms, is to see that it allowed the agenda developed in the 1990s by neoconservatives—-often called simply “neocons”---to be implemented. There is agreement on this point across the political spectrum. From the right, for example, Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke say that 9/11 allowed the “preexisting ideological agenda” of the neoconservatives to be “taken off the shelf . . . and relabeled as the response to terror.”1 Stephen Sniegoski, writing from the left, says that “it was only the traumatic effects of the 9/11 terrorism that enabled the agenda of the neocons to become the policy of the United States of America.”2
What was this agenda? It was, in essence, that the United States should use its military supremacy to establish an empire that includes the whole world--a global Pax Americana. Three major means to this end were suggested. One of these was to make U.S. military supremacy over other nations even greater, so that it would be completely beyond challenge. This goal was to be achieved by increasing the money devoted to military purposes, then using this money to complete the “revolution in military affairs” made possible by the emergence of the information age. The second major way to achieve a global Pax Americana was to announce and implement a doctrine of preventive-preemptive war, usually for the sake of bringing about “regime change” in countries regarded as hostile to U.S. interests and values. The third means toward the goal of universal empire was to use this new doctrine to gain control of the world’s oil, especially in the Middle East, most immediately Iraq.
In discussing these ideas, I will include recognitions by some commentators that without 9/11, the various dimensions of this agenda could not have been implemented. My purpose in publishing this essay is to introduce a perspective, relevant to the debates about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, that thus far has not been part of the public discussion.
1. Neoconservatives and Global Empire
The “neo” in the term “neo-conservative” is a remnant of the fact that the first generation neoconservatives, such as Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, had moved to the right after having been members of the left. Kristol, often called “the godfather of neoconservatism,” famously defined neoconservatives as liberals who had been “mugged by reality.” No such move, however, has characterized most of the second-generation neocons, who came to dominate the movement in the 1990s. As Gary Dorrien says in Imperial Designs: Neoconservatism and the New Pax Americana, “the new neocons had never been progressives of any kind.”3 The term “neoconservatism” is, in any case, used here to refer strictly to an ideology, not to any biographical facts about those who hold this ideology.
I mean “biographical facts” to include ethnicity. Although many of the prominent neoconservatives have been Jewish, leading some people to think that Jewishness is a necessary condition for being a neo-conservative, this is not so. As Dorrien points out, “a significant number of prominent neocons were not Jews.”4
This discussion has its primary importance in relation to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. If neoconservatism is understood to be entirely a matter of ideology, not also partly a matter of biography, then there is no reason not to think of Cheney and Rumsfeld as neocons. As former neocon Michael Lind, says: “[N]eoconservatism is an ideology, like paleoconservatism and libertarianism, and Rumsfeld and Dick . . . Cheney are full-fledged neocons, . . . even though they are not Jewish and were never liberals or leftists.” 5'

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Het Neoliberale Geloof 22

'Global markets slide after China sell-off
By Nick Beams
28 February 2007

Global stock markets tumbled on Tuesday after a near 9 percent drop in the Chinese market—the biggest fall in a decade—sparked fears that a series of financial imbalances in the global economy could start to cause serious problems.
The global sell-off, which hit all major markets, culminated in a drop of more than 415 points on Wall Street or more than 3 percent. This was the biggest one-day decline since the markets re-opened after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. At one point, the Dow was down by 545 points for the day, while two other key indexes, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent respectively.
When trading opened on Wednesday, the Australian stockmarket, highly sensitive to economic developments in China, joined the global slide, falling by more than 3 percent and wiping off about $45 billion in stock values.
The immediate cause for the China slump appears to have been concerns that financial authorities were about to take action to curb speculation, including a lift in interest rates and a capital gains tax. The rumoured action has sparked fears that riskier financial trades and investments around the world could now be in danger.
“What we’re looking at here is a big move away from risk,” David Durrant, a currency analyst with a New York investment management firm, told Reuters. “The big fall in Chinese stocks especially has got some people nervous about the carry trade.”
The carry trade refers to the process in which financial investors borrow money in one currency at a low interest rate and then place it in high-risk assets in other markets. This process causes what are considered distortions in currency exchange rates. For example, while the Japanese currency should be strengthening because of increased economic growth, the carry trade has seen a fall in the value of the yen as investors transfer yen holdings elsewhere.
Large profits can be made from these transactions but they depend on market stability. Once that comes into question, with an event like the China sell-off, there can be a rush for the exits.'

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Het Neoliberale Geloof 21

'US Mortgage Crisis Goes Into Meltdown
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Telegraph UK

Panic has begun to sweep the sub-prime mortgage sector in the United States after the bankruptcy of 22 lenders over the past two months, setting off mass liquidation of housing loans packaged as securities. Analysts say the housing bust is pulling America into recession, citing a 14.4pc drop in housing starts
The rapid deterioration could not come at a worse time for British bank HSBC, which has set aside $10.5bn (£5.4bn) to cover bad loans in the US.
The cost of insuring against default on these loans has rocketed in recent weeks, from 50 basis points over Libor to 1,200, raising fears that a credit crunch could spread to the rest of the property market.
Low-grade BBB-rated securities - measured by the ABX index - have crashed from near par of 100 in early November to 72.5 this week.
Peter Schiff, head of Euro Pacific Capital, said the sector was in an unstoppable meltdown. "It's a self-perpetuating spiral: as sub-prime companies tighten lending they create even more defaults," he said.
California's ResMae Mortgage filed for bankruptcy last week as it struggled to cope with defaults on a $7.7bn book of sub-prime loans issued last year, while Accredited Home Lenders in San Diego warned that bad debts had reached 7.18pc of its portfolio.
HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan, who stepped in to take control of the US division earlier this month claiming "The buck stops at my door", has ousted top executives. But the worst may not be over for Household International, the property arm it acquired for $14.4bn in 2003 to capitalise on the housing boom.
Rating agency Standard & Poor's is shifting its focus to the tier of debt above sub-prime, eyeing loans covering people viewed as better credit risks but who lack the steady income needed for prime status.
S&P has placed 11 loan packages worth $146m on watch for a possible downgrade this week, saying it was most worried about "piggyback" second mortgages. "There is a potential danger of default on these deals," said credit strategist Robert Pollson.
For now, the US Federal Reserve believes the damage can be contained. "I don't think there'll be a large impact on prime mortgages from the sub-prime market," said governor Susan Schmidt Bies.
However, she warned of a "hidden" problem caused by sellers pulling property off the market. " The percentage of homes where nobody is living in them is at a record level. So the potential for inventory correction is still very high," she said.'

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