Source: You Tube
Related Article: Government Insider: Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks
The White House “culture of deception” has been exposed by Bush’s former press secretary
Now he tells us: George Bush’s former press secretary Scott McClellan has admitted that the Iraq war was “unnecessary” and a “strategic blunder” that was sold to the American people through manipulative propaganda campaign.
McClellan’s memoirs are described as “surprisingly scathing”. He was a loyal press secretary until April 2006, but has now spilled the beans on how the war was sold to the American people.
McClellan’s admissions include:
*Bush relied on propaganda “in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option”.
* The administration was not “open and forthright on Iraq”.
* On the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative and the subsequent coverup, “I allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood”.
* The press were too deferential to the White House on Iraq
* Steve Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, offered to resign over the erroneous claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium.
* “The Iraq war was not necessary”
Matthew WeaverSource: The Guardian
MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL OF LAW AT ANDOVER
Bush Claims More Powers Than King George III,
Constitutional Scholar David Adler Contends
The Bush administration has arrogated powers to itself that the British people even refused to grant King George III at the time of the Revolutionary War, an eminent political scientist says.
“No executive in the history of the Anglo-American world since the Civil War in England in the 17th century has laid claim to such broad power,” said David Adler, a prolific author of articles on the U.S. Constitution. “George Bush has exceeded the claims of Oliver Cromwell who anointed himself Lord Protector of England.”
Adler, a professor of political science at Idaho State University at Pocatello, is the author of “The Constitution and the Termination of Treaties”(Taylor & Francis), among other books, and some 100 scholarly articles in his field. Adler made his comments comparing the powers of President Bush and King George III at a conference on “Presidential Power in America” at the Massachusetts School of Law, Andover, April 26th.
Adler said, Bush has “claimed the authority to suspend the Geneva Convention, to terminate treaties, to seize American citizens from the streets to detain them indefinitely without benefit of legal counseling, without benefit of judicial review. He has ordered a domestic surveillance program which violates the statutory law of the United States as well as the Fourth Amendment.”
Adler said the authors of the U.S. Constitution wrote that the president “shall take care to faithfully execute the laws of the land” because “the king of England possessed a suspending power” to set aside laws with which he disagreed, “the very same kind of power that the Bush Administration has claimed.”
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Adler said, repeatedly referred to the President’s “override” authority, “which effectively meant that the Bush Administration was claiming on behalf of President Bush a power that the English people themselves had rejected by the time of the framing of the Constitution.”
Adler said the Framers sought an “Administrator in Chief” that would execute the will of Congress and the Framers understood that the President, as Commander-in-Chief “was subordinate to Congress.” The very C-in-C concept, the historian said, derived from the British, who conferred it on one of their battlefield commanders in a war on Scotland in 1639 and it “did not carry with it the power over war and peace” or “authority to conduct foreign policy or to formulate foreign policy.”
That the C-in-C was subordinate to the will of Congress was demonstrated in the Revolutionary War when George Washington, granted that title by Congress, “was ordered punctually to respond to instructions and directions by Congress and the dutiful Washington did that,” Adler said.
Adler said that John Yoo, formerly of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote in 2003 that the President as C-in-C could authorize the CIA or other intelligence agencies to resort to torture to extract information from suspects based on his authority. However, Adler said, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1804 in Little vs. Barreme affirmed the President is duty-bound to obey statutory instructions and reaffirmed opinion two years later in United States vs. Smith.
“In these last eight years,” Adler said, “we have seen presidential powers soar beyond the confines of the Constitution. We have understood that his presidency bears no resemblance to the Office created by the Framers… This is the time for us to demand a return to the constitutional presidency. If we don’t, we will have only ourselves to blame as we go marching into the next war as we witness even greater claims of presidential power.”
The Massachusetts School of Law is a non-profit educational institution purposefully dedicated to providing an affordable, quality legal education to minorities, immigrants, and students from economic backgrounds that would not otherwise be able to afford to attend law school and enter the legal profession.
The Pentagon plans to shift $9.7 billion of its overall budget to pay for war operations but warned on Wednesday it will run out of money if the U.S. Congress does not approve more funding by mid-July.
The Defense Department, with major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, sent Congress requests to transfer $5.7 billion to the Army’s personnel account from the personnel accounts of other branches of the U.S. armed services.
It also asked Congress for permission to move $4 billion from the services’ operations and maintenance accounts to the Army and U.S. Special Operations Command, whose troops train local security forces and conduct counterterrorism missions.
If approved, the transfers will allow the Pentagon to continue operations until late July, according to department spokesman Bryan Whitman.
“I don’t want to leave you with the impression that this provides us a whole lot,” he said.
“This $9.7 billion reprogramming only buys another few weeks of operations until the department as a whole will then run out of critical funding.”
Plans to eliminate Eurosceptics as an organised opposition within the European Parliament are expected to be agreed by a majority of MEPs this summer.
The European Union assembly’s political establishment is pushing through changes that will silence dissidents by changing the rules allowing Euro-MPs to form political groupings.
Richard Corbett, a British Labour MEP, is leading the charge to cut the number of party political tendencies in the Parliament next year, a move that would dissolve UKIP’s pan-European Eurosceptic “Independence and Democracy” grouping.
Under the rule change, the largest and most pro-EU groups would tighten their grip on the Parliament’s political agenda and keep control of lavish funding.
“It would prevent single issue politicians from being given undue support from the public purse,” said Mr Corbett.
“We want to avoid the formation of a fragmented Parliament, deeply divided into many small groups and unable to work effectively.”
Mr Corbett’s proposals will also give the President of the Parliament sweeping powers to approve or reject parliamentary questions.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, claimed that the move goes hand in hand with the denial of popular votes on the new EU Treaty.
“Welcome to your future. This shows an EU mindset that is arrogant, anti-democratic and frankly scary,” he said.
“These people are so scared of public opinion they are willing to set in stone the right to ignore it. Freedom requires the governing elite to be held to account. They must be getting very worried if they are enacting such dictatorial powers for themselves.”
(Dictatorship & Fascism for the EU – The Infinite Unknown)
‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Michel Chossudovsky is a Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and an editor at the Centre for Research on Globalization, www.globalresearch.ca
Beware the US military’s experiments with climatic warfare, says Michel Chossudovsky
Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.
Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’.
During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.
Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report, ‘offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes: ‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.’
Washington – Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Tuesday he is ready to debate Al Gore about global warming, as he presented the English version of his latest book that argues environmentalism poses a threat to basic human freedoms. “I many times tried to talk to have a public exchange of views with him, and he’s not too much willing to make such a conversation,” Klaus said. “So I’m ready to do it.”
Klaus was speaking a the National Press Building in Washington to present his new book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles – What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?, before meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday.
“My answer is it is our freedom and, I might add, and our prosperity,” he said.
Gore a former US vice president who has become a leading international voice in the cause against global warming, was co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Gore’s effort was highlighted by his Oscar winning documentary film An Inconvienent Truth.
Klaus, an economist, said he opposed the “climate alarmism” perpetuated by environmentalism trying to impose their ideals, comparing it to the decades of communist rule he experienced growing up in Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia.
“Like their (communist) predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality,” he said.
“In the past, it was in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat – this time, in the name of the planet,” he added.
Klaus said a free market should be used to address environmental concerns and said he oppposed as unrealistic regulations or greenhouse gas capping systems designed to reduce the impact of climate change.
“It could be even true that we are now at a stage where mere facts, reason and truths are powerless in the face of the global warming propaganda,” he said.
Klaus alleged that the global warming was being championed by scientists and other environmentalists whose careers and funding requires selling the public on global warming.
“It is in the hands of climatologists and other related scientists who are highly motivated to look in one direction only,” Klaus said.
Scores of High-Level Political Positions Are Vacant or Are Being Filled by Temporary Appointees
With eight months left in President Bush‘s term, scores of senior officials already are heading for the exits, leaving nearly half the administration’s top political positions vacant or filled by temporary appointees, federal statistics show.
At the same time, agencies have begun preparing for a new administration, including plans to temporarily install career employees in senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security during the transition. The White House also has taken the unusual step of ordering federal agencies to stop proposing regulations after Sunday — meaning that new rules on issues including greenhouse gases and air-traveler protection are unlikely to be finalized before Bush leaves office.
In many ways, the work slowdown and higher appointee turnover is typical of any changing of the political guard in Washington. But the process now occurs over years rather than months, and experts say it threatens to hamper the important work of agencies, whether it be improving public health, promoting affordable housing, fighting crime or providing for the nation’s security.
“You’ve got almost two years of pure chaos,” said Paul C. Light, an expert on the federal bureaucracy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. “The civil servants don’t know who they’re supposed to be talking to. They’re receiving no direction. Congress isn’t being talked to. The president isn’t really doing anything. It’s really a highly vulnerable time for running a government.”
Many experts say it is an especially bad time for vacancies, with two wars being waged abroad and a housing crisis and slumping economy at home. David E. Lewis, an assistant professor at Princeton University who has just written a book on presidential appointments, noted that the botched response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was exacerbated by high turnover and vacancies at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“If you told people on Wall Street that every four years or eight years, you were going to lop off the top of a Fortune 500 company and say the company would operate normally, you’d be called crazy,” Lewis said. “There is no question that it matters. Turnover and vacancies in politically appointed positions hurts performance.”
Scandal has thinned the administration’s ranks, as well. Dozens of appointee jobs have become vacant since ethical crises at the General Services Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Justice Department, to name a few.
Not ten minutes after IRS employees of the Austin Accounts Management center near I-35 and Ben White began protesting their office policies Tuesday afternoon, Homeland Security police began ordering them to leave.
The workers, represented under the National Treasury Employees Union, are upset about what they see as a double-standard in how managers are handling vacation days and late penalties when family is sick or when an employee is stuck in traffic.
“You can’t take leave to be with your dying father. You’re not taking care of him, therefore we have no obligation to let you go. They charged him AWOL,” Dorothy Pistole said, explaining a situation which she said happened to a colleague. KLBJ asked Pistole if the employees group has any fears of retaliation.
“We can use this as a marker to say, at this point, management didn’t have any problem with what the employee has done. But all the sudden now management is treating the employees differently? Then we have a point when we can start looking at a retaliation grievance.”
“It’s very important. The holiday is all about service to America. A lot of them, they were in the military. A lot of them have military families now,” Union President Ed Walker says. “They denied all of this leave before the Economic Stimulus Program came out, so if they began using that as an excuse, they would not be telling the truth.”
BRASILIA: South America is thinking of creating a common currency and a central bank along the lines of those in the European Union’s eurozone, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said yesterday.
The idea is a logical next step following the signing last Friday of a treaty creating a Union of South American States that aims to promote joint regional customs and defense policies, Lula said during his weekly radio broadcast.
“Many things still haven’t been realised. We are now going to create a Bank of South America. We are going to move forward so in the future we’ll have a single central bank, a common currency,” he said.
But, he added: “This is a process. It won’t be something that happens quickly.”
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela all signed up to the Unasur treaty creating the regional union during a ceremony in Brasilia last Friday.
Feds investigate other employees who mix politics and their jobs
WASHINGTON — Any employee can get in trouble for personal blogging on company time, but U.S. government workers, as one NASA employee has discovered, can get into a special kind of legal trouble if they also write about politics. They risk violating a 1939 law called the Hatch Act, which requires federal employees to keep their jobs and political activities separate.
A National Aeronautics and Space Administration employee was suspended for 180 days for “numerous” blog posts about politics, sending “partisan e-mails” and soliciting for political contributions, according to an announcement last week by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The employee wasn’t identified.
The intent of the Hatch Act is to prohibit “the use of the mechanism of government from influencing the outcome of an election,” said James Mitchell, an OSC spokesman. If a person is seeking money for candidates on company time and on company equipment, “that person might as well have been soliciting within the office,” he said.
The suspension was the result of agreement reached with NASA by the special counsel. The employee, whose suspension began March 30, could have been fired from his job.
The OSC is investigating similar cases at other agencies, Mitchell said. In some instances, the practice may be due to intra-office e-mails about particular candidates.
“We have a lot of cases open right now in this election year,” Mitchell said. The NASA case, which involved a midlevel employee at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, may be a defining one, he said.
“Instead, take those steps necessary to protect yourself and your family to prepare for the dollar’s inflationary collapse. Buy gold. Buy silver. Avoid the US dollar.” – James Turk
Probably almost everyone is familiar with the hyperinflationary episode that engulfed Germany after the First World War. That nation’s economy was crippled by monetary problems that resulted in dreadful personal hardships, even though up to that time Germany had achieved one of the highest living standards in the world.
The newly formed German government, named for the city where their constitution was drafted after the Kaiser’s abdication in 1918, kept pumping up the money supply. The process started relatively slowly, but quickly the pace of money creation accelerated.
The Weimar government was paying its bills on credit – just like Zimbabwe is now doing. The Weimar government was issuing currency in exchange for valuable goods and services that it was receiving, and the vendors of those goods and services accepted the newly issued currency in the expectation that they would be able to exchange it for goods and services of like value. However, they soon realized that they were deluding themselves. Prices were rising rapidly, with the consequence that a flight from the currency into commodities and other tangibles began.
There was no discipline on the creation of new currency, with the result that it was being issued to excess. Within a few short years, the German government eventually destroyed the Reichsmark, the currency it had been issuing, making the words Weimar Germany synonymous with hyperinflation, economic collapse, deprivation and personal hardship. All the wealth saved in Reichsmarks was wiped out.
For example, in his classic book, “Paper Money”, penned three decades ago under the pen name of Adam Smith, George J.W. Goodman recounts the story of Walter Levy, an internationally known German-born oil consultant in New York. Levy told him: “My father was a lawyer, and he had taken out an insurance policy in 1903. Every month he had made the payments faithfully. It was a 20-year policy, and when it came due, he cashed it in and bought a single loaf of bread.”
The following photo is from an insightful book by Bernd Widdig entitled “Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany”. This photo shows one way in which people coped with rising prices.
As the inflation worsened, people sold whatever they could to survive. Widdig succinctly describes it in the caption to the above photo as follows: “The impoverished middle class has to sell its cherished possessions.”He should have correctly stated though that it was the “newly impoverished middle class”. They only became destitute after the inflation had destroyed their savings and ability to maintain their standard of living.
Sadly, the problems of Weimar Germany are now appearing in the US. To survive the impact of rising prices, Americans today – like Germans did eight decades ago – are selling cherished possessions, as explained in a recent story by Associated Press entitled “Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet”. The full article is available at the following link: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Economy/story?id=4750846&page=1
Related video: The Energy Non-Crisis by Lindsay Williams
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Wednesday that the world faced an era-defining oil “shock” that required urgent action, as European leaders struggled to contain growing protests over soaring fuel prices.
“It is now understood that a global shock on this scale requires global solutions,” Brown wrote in The Guardian newspaper.
Record oil prices of around 135 dollars a barrel have contributed to protests worldwide over the rise in fuel and food costs, with fishermen and truck drivers taking the lead in Europe, blocking ports and road access to oil depots.
“However much we might wish otherwise, there is no easy answer to the global oil problem without a comprehensive international strategy,” Brown said, adding that the problem should be made a “top priority” at the EU summit next month and the gathering of G8 leaders in July.
“The way we confront these issues will define our era,” he said.
Brown’s warning came a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged a Europe-wide cut in consumer taxes on fuel and Portugal’s economy minister Manuel Pinho called on the Slovenian head of the European Union to hold an urgent debate on the crisis.
Ford Motor plans to cut its U.S. salaried work force by up to 12 percent after its turnaround plan stalled because of the downturn in the U.S. economy, the Detroit News reported Wednesday.
Ford warned last week it would not achieve its long-standing goal of returning to profitability in 2009 because of the U.S. economic downturn and a permanent shift in demand toward cars and crossovers and away from large trucks and SUVs.
The automaker also told employees in a memo last week that it expected to make cuts in hourly and salaried employees by Aug. 1 and would detail those steps in July.
Related video: The Energy Non-Crisis by Lindsay Williams
The U.S. Congress continues to show an incredible amount of ignorance on the oil issue. This week, the U.S. Senate held a hearing on the high price of oil and called out a group of oil company executives to testify. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to sue OPEC over the high oil price. All of this grandstanding by our so called elected officials is going to do nothing to resolve the high oil price. This is a case of the U.S. Congress misdirecting the blame of the high oil price on OPEC and the major oil companies when they are really only minor players in this game. Threatening to sue OPEC is an incredibly stupid move because that could very well have the reverse effect and cause OPEC to respond to this threat by reducing the amount of oil they decide to pump. The two major reasons for the high oil price involve the Federal Reserve devaluing the U.S. Dollar through their monetary policies as well as the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. On top of this, it is clear that the Bush administration is looking for any excuse possible to bomb Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has even stated that a naval blockade of Iran is an option that should be put out on the table. With the devaluation of the U.S. Dollar and a potential expansion of war in an area where a tremendous amount of oil is drilled, it is no wonder why the oil price has skyrocketed as high as $135 a barrel. This makes the actions of the U.S. Congress entirely insane and intellectually bankrupt. Expect oil prices in the long term to move much higher.
Since oil is priced in U.S. Dollar denominated terms and the monetary unit of the U.S. Dollar continues to be devalued by the Federal Reserve’s ability to create as many U.S. Dollars as they like, it isn’t a real mystery as to why the oil price is so high. Instead of suing OPEC, the U.S. House of Representatives should be suing the Federal Reserve for fraud. The Coin Act of 1792 states that U.S. Mint employees who are caught debasing the nation’s coinage would be subject to the penalty of death. The Federal Reserve is engaging in the intentional debasement of the nation’s currency which is fundamentally no different and in fact worse than employees of the U.S. Mint debasing the nation’s coinage. Instead of debasing the physical coinage, bankers can simply type digits into a computer to devalue the nation’s currency. Maybe the death penalty should be explored for some of the central bankers that have engaged in these practices.
The U.S. Congress is also helping to contribute to the high oil price with their ridiculous policies. They have funded the illegal and unconstitutional occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. The U.S. Senate just passed another war funding bill which will give the executive branch another $165 Billion to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. By continuing the military occupation of these countries it makes an attack on Iran all the more likely and contributes to greater uncertainty in the oil producing region.
General David Patreaus the current commander in Iraq is on the path to being confirmed as the new CENTCOM commander which means he will be in charge of all U.S. military operations in the Middle East. Assuming he gets confirmed, the chances of a strike on Iran will be all the more likely. Admiral William Fallon the former CENTCOM commander resigned from the position due to the perception that he was refusing to play ball with the Bush administration’s agenda on Iran.
Lindsey Williams talks about his first hand knowledge of Alaskan oil reserves larger than any on earth. And he talks about how the oil companies and U.S. government won’t send it through the pipeline for U.S. citizens to use.
Source : Google Video
NEW YORK – The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.
Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.
The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC’s elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds’ stated mission is to spread Iran’s revolution of 1979 throughout the region.
Targets could include IRGC garrisons in southern and southwestern Iran, near the border with Iraq. US officials have repeatedly claimed Iran is aiding Iraqi insurgents. In January 2007, US forces raided the Iranian consulate general in Erbil, Iraq, arresting five staff members, including two Iranian diplomats it held until November. Last September, the US Senate approved a resolution by a vote of 76-22 urging President George W Bush to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization. Following this non-binding “sense of the senate” resolution, the White House declared sanctions against the Quds Force as a terrorist group in October. The Bush administration has also accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, though most intelligence analysts say the program has been abandoned.
In case you want to know who is really behind Al-Qaida:
Related article: Government Insider: Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks:
“Stanley Hilton was a senior advisor to Sen Bob Dole (R) and has personally known Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz for decades. This courageous man has risked his professional reputation, and possibly his life, to get this information out to people.”
“Bush personally ordered it to happen. We have some very incriminating documents as well as eye-witnesses, that Bush personally ordered this event to happen in order to gain political advantage, to pursue a bogus political agenda on behalf of the neocons and their deluded thinking in the Middle East.”
“This (9/11) was all planned. This was a government-ordered operation. Bush personally signed the order. He personally authorized the attacks. He is guilty of treason and mass murder.” –Stanley Hilton
Authorities: New Tape to Urge Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction on Civilians
Intelligence and law enforcement sources tell ABC News they are expecting al Qaeda supporters will post a new video on the Internet in the next 24 hours, calling for what one source said is “jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West.”
“There have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians,” FBI spokesman Richard Kolko told ABC News in an e-mail.
“Although there have been similar messages in the past, the FBI and [Department of Homeland Security] have no intelligence of any specific plot or indication of a threat to the U.S.,” the e-mail said. “The FBI and U.S. intelligence community will review the message for any intelligence value.”
While there is no evidence of any direct threat, the FBI sent a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, out of an abundance of caution.
Some independent analysts don’t think the public should worry much.
JERICHO, West Bank (AP) – Palestinian police officers in riot gear trained under the desert sun Tuesday as part of a European Union-sponsored public order course begun after a deadly clash between police and demonstrators last fall.
Palestinian instructors barked commands at a squad of men who stamped their boots and rapped their clubs on their shields as they advanced on an imaginary demonstration – a tactic designed to intimidate without bloodshed.
Next week, the 64 graduates of the 12-day course will report for duty in their hometown of Jenin, an unruly hotbed of militants and heavily armed gangs.
Exposed: the great GM crops myth:
“Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.”
Heather Meek leafs through the seed catalogue she wrote on the family computer, on winter nights after the kids went to bed.
There are Kahnawake Mohawk beans and Painted Mountain corn; Tante Alice cucumber and 40 varieties of heritage tomatoes.
Selling seeds is more than just an extra source of income on this organic farm an hour northwest of Montreal.
For Meek and partner Frederic Sauriol, propagating local varieties is part of a David and Goliath struggle by small farmers against big seed companies.
At stake, they believe, is no less than control of the world’s food supply.
Since the dawn of civilization, farmers have saved seeds from the harvest and replanted them the following year.
But makers of genetically modified (GM) seeds — introduced in 1996 and now grown by some 70,000 Canadian farmers, according to Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company — have been putting a stop to that practice.
The 12 million farmers worldwide who will plant GM seeds this year sign contracts agreeing not to save or replant seeds. That means they must buy new seeds every year.
Critics charge such contracts confer almost unlimited power over farmers’ lives to multinational companies whose priority is profit. They say GM seeds are sowing a humanitarian and ecological disaster.
But Trish Jordan, a Canadian spokesman for Monsanto, explains that requiring farmers to sign “technology use agreements” allows companies to recoup the cost of developing products.
“Farmers choose these products because of benefits they provide,” Jordan says. “That’s why we’re successful as a company.”
The debate over GM seeds has come into sharp focus as the world faces a food-price crisis that threatens to push millions into starvation.
Telecommuting … Dr Hugh Bradlow appearing in Adelaide as a live hologram, and right, shaking hands with an executive / AAP
In an Australian first, Dr Bradlow’s life-sized, real-time hologram walked, talked and interacted with business executives at an Adelaide conference while he stood in front of cameras in Telstra’s Melbourne office.
Cameras and microphones in Adelaide allowed Dr Bradlow to see and hear his subjects from 725kms away as his audience watched his high definition image projected onto a transparent screen or “foil”.
The technology created by British company Musion Eyeliner has already enabled former US vice president Al Gore to speak to the Live Earth concert’s London audience from Tokyo and retailer Target to host a model-less virtual fashion show in New York last year.
UK band Gorillaz has also used Musion to give life to three-dimensional cartoon characters who performed their song at a 2005 MTV Awards concert in Portugal as rappers interacted with them live on stage.
But it’s not just for entertainment value, said Telstra enterprise and government group managing director David Thodey who shook “airhands” with Dr Bradlow during the function.
There are real applications for this “gee whiz” technology, he said.
He said companies wanting to reduce carbon emissions could replace business flights with live broadcasts.
The number of troops with new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder jumped by roughly 50 percent in 2007 amid the military buildup in Iraq and increased violence there and in Afghanistan.
Records show roughly 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with the illness, also known as PTSD, since 2003. Officials believe that many more are likely keeping their illness a secret.
“I don’t think right now we … have good numbers,” Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker said Tuesday.
Defense officials had not previously disclosed the number of PTSD cases from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Army statistics showed there were nearly 14,000 newly diagnosed cases across the services in 2007 compared with more than 9,500 new cases the previous year and 1,632 in 2003.
Fishermen across western and southern Europe are threatening an open-ended strike from Wednesday in protest at rising fuel costs. Several ports in France have remained blocked for more than a week despite a government aid deal, and fishermen in the Spanish region of Catalonia began strike action yesterday.
Their colleagues across Spain, Portugal and Italy plan to join them tomorrow. The industry has seen marine diesel prices almost double in six months. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he’ll look for a cap in fuel sales tax across the EU. He told a French radio station this morning: “I will ask our European partners: if the price of oil continues to rise, shouldn’t we suspend the VAT tax part of oil prices?” For that to happen, all 27 EU members would need to agree.
However the European Commission has responded negatively to Sarkozy’s proposal, saying modifying tax levels on oil products to fight inflation would be sending a bad message to oil producing countries.
The French haulage industry has joined the fishermens’ protest, leading to some fuel depot blockades and fears of petrol shortages.
Former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says Washington has founded its Iran policy on ‘paranoia’ and ‘demagogy’.
“The widely propagated notion of a suicidal Iran detonating its very first nuclear weapon against Israel is more the product of paranoia or demagogy than of serious strategic calculus. It cannot be the basis for US policy, and it should not be for Israel’s, either,” Brzezinski wrote in an article published in the Washington Post on Tuesday.
He advised Washington to adopt a ‘more realistic policy’ and engage the Islamic Republic in direct negotiations instead of threatening the country with war.
Brzezinski explained that the US double standards on Iran’s uranium enrichment program are ineffective and more importantly illogical.
“Alas, such a heavy-handed ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ policy may work with donkeys but not with serious countries. The United States would have a better chance of success if the White House abandoned its threats of military action and its calls for regime change,” the formal official asserted.
“Consider countries that could have quickly become nuclear weapon states had they been treated similarly. Brazil, Argentina and South Africa had nuclear weapons programs but gave them up, each for different reasons. Had the United States threatened to change their regimes if they would not, probably none would have complied,” he concluded.
European particle physics laboratory CERN is set to launch its gigantic experiment which hopes to throw light on the origins of the universe within a month, the laboratory’s head said Tuesday.
If things go according to plan, the greatest experiment in the history of particle physics could unveil a sub-atomic component, the Higgs Boson, known as “the God Particle.”
The “Higgs,” named after the eminent British physicist, Peter Higgs, who first proposed it in 1964, would fill a gaping hole in the benchmark theory for understanding the physical cosmos.
Other work on the so-called Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could explain dark matter and dark energy — strange phenomena that, stunned astrophysicists discovered a few years ago, account for 96 percent of the universe.
The LHC device “will be in working order by the end of June,” CERN director general Robert Aymar told journalists.
A gamble costing six billion Swiss francs (almost six billion dollars, 3.9 billion euros) that has harnessed the labours of more than 2,000 physicists from nearly three dozen countries, the LHC is the biggest, most powerful high-energy particle accelerator ever built.
Beams of hydrogen protons will whizz around at near-light speed in opposite directions until, bent by powerful superconducting magnets, they will smash together in four bus-sized detector chambers, where they will be annihilated at temperatures hotter than the sun.
But Aymar played down hopes of any immediate discoveries once the LHC is set in motion.
“We will accumulate data for two years and it will take a lot of time to interpret,” he said.
He also scoffed at fears that the massive experiment could create a black hole with potentially devastating consequences for life on Earth.
“The system is totally safe. There is nothing to fear,” he said.
May 27 02:29 PM US/Eastern