Zbigniew Brzezinski: US suffers from Iran paranoia

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.

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IEA inquiry into whether oil supplies will run dry by 2012

The International Energy Agency has ordered an inquiry into whether the world could run out of oil in four years’ time, it was reported yesterday.

The IEA has concerns about what might happen in 2012, when demand for oil, boosted by the rapid growth of the Chinese and Indian economies, is expected to have reached 95 million barrels a day. Global supply at that point is projected at only 96 million barrels a day. Such a thin margin would be vulnerable to any sudden supply crisis in volatile countries such as Nigeria, Venezuela or Iraq, now estimated to have overtaken Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil nation.

The IEA said its inquiries would form part of short and long-term forecasts to be published in July and again in November. Its energy research chief, Lawrence Eagles, said: “Up to now we have believed that supply can cope with demand. One caveat is that we don’t know for certain whether estimates of reserves in countries such as Saudi Arabia are entirely accurate.”

John Waterlow, analyst at oil research consultancy Wood Mackenzie, commented: “Many oil-producing countries are closed, secretive societies where it can be difficult to pinpoint the level of provable reserves.”

The IEA’s inquiry follows last week’s new record high for black gold at $135 a barrel, fuelling inflation and possible world recession.

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China Red Cross Officials Suspected of Embezzling Donations for Quake Victims

Reporting a fake number on the purchase receipt is a well known phenomenon of the systematic corruption that exists within the Chinese communist regime. But now, citizens are raising concerns that the same thing seems to be happening to money donations meant to be spent solely on helping people reconstruct their homes after the devastating disaster.

Local medicine retailers are speaking out, saying that a supervising body should be present to make sure all donated resources are being correctly utilized.

“There were two Red Cross officers from the Zhongjiang district trying to buy $10,000 worth of medicine from our shop for the earth quake victims, but they wanted us to write down a number that is five times higher than the true price. We refused, but the neighboring medical retailers gave way to these officers,” said one medicine retailer in an interview with NTDTV.

A local resident from Sichuan province said that more people have realized how much the CCP’s corruption has cost people’s lives.

“They’re even going for the rescue donations and resources. There is no trust left for the CCP at all,” said the resident.

Due to the concern over the ineffective supervision of Red Cross organizations in China, a number of people in China either escort the donated resources themselves to the quake area or hand it over to reliable community organizations. This has been the route chosen by two of the three largest web companies in China to donate their money. To avoid corruption, they’re taking an alternative way without having any contact with the CCP.

A China resident from Guang Xi province said that the corruption is an unavoidable result under a dictatorship. “The government is using its overwhelming control to have power over everything. There is no boundary for the government to act so there is no limitation on any form of corruption in China.”

New Tang Dynasty Television
May 26, 2008

Source: The Epoch Times

FILE SHARING: Anti-piracy strategy will help government to spy, critic says

Fears raised changes could lead to policing of legal activities like buying DVDs online

The way Canadians use the Internet and technology – from downloading music to buying new cellphones – could face unprecedented restrictions under new federal policies that critics say are being decided behind closed doors.

The Conservative government has been involved in international talks in recent months to develop an international anti-counterfeiting strategy to reduce Internet piracy and the flow of counterfeit goods. But critics say that instead of cracking down on rogue Internet users heavily involved in illegal file sharing, the agreement seems poised to dramatically increase the government’s ability to police the activities of Canadians, even when they legally purchase music files, DVDs and electronic equipment such as cellphones and personal video recorders.

“This is an attempt here to create a very broad umbrella that strikes at the very heart of every day activities for millions of Canadians,” said Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa and Canada Research Chair of Internet and e-commerce law.

The issue is gaining significant momentum after a discussion paper on the anti-counterfeiting strategy that purportedly originated with the U.S. government was leaked on the Internet a few days ago. One of the most contentious proposals is to “encourage” Internet service providers to monitor the online activities of their customers and report activity that may infringe copyright law – a move that amounts to spying and could undermine the privacy of Canadians, Prof. Geist said.

The changes may also give border guards the authority to search laptops and personal music recorders to look for any illegally obtained material.

Read moreFILE SHARING: Anti-piracy strategy will help government to spy, critic says

Bin police force residents to hand over personal medical details

Families are furious about plans by a council’s bin police to question them about their medical history.

Officials in Plymouth, Devon, are to send a questionnaire to every household asking them to give intimate personal details about their family.

Householders are also being asked to nominate one person who will take legal responsibility for anything put in their bins.

The council is even asking how many children families have and whether they use disposable nappies.

The forms are to be sent to all homes in the city as part of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on bins.

The council wants to increase fixed penalties from £50 to £110 for those who put bins out early, fail to recycle, overfill wheelie bins or put the wrong rubbish in the wrong containers.

They are asking each household to nominate one person as responsible so it will be easier for them to prosecute without having to prove who put out the offending bins.

The council is also considering interviewing suspected bin offenders under caution in procedures similar to the way police question criminals.

The draft letter, which has been seen by opposition councilors, also asks how many people live at each address, whether they have any medical conditions and if their families use disposable nappies.

Officials from the Conservative-run council hope the information sent back by families will make it easier to prosecute or impose fixed penalties.

It follows the failure of a pioneering prosecution by Exeter City Council 45 miles away which failed because they could not prove that household waste in a recycling bin was put there by the householder.

More…

The draft letter to all homes in Plymouth will set out what is and is not allowed in each type of bin.

Read moreBin police force residents to hand over personal medical details

Tories plan boot camps for jobless youths

A future Conservative government will bring in “boot camps” for unemployed young people aged between 18 and 21 who refuse to take a job, Chris Grayling, the party’s welfare spokesman, will say tomorrow.

In a significant hardening of Conservative policy towards welfare claimants, he will announce the abolition of benefit payments for any able-bodied person under 21 who is out of work for more than three months and who refuses to go on a compulsory community service programme or a “boot camp” training course aimed at improving their work discipline and giving them basic skills to get a job.

Grayling plans to ask private sector companies and voluntary organisations to run the intensive training centres – with the £5,000 it costs to support a single person on the dole being offered to the company or voluntary group once the person has been in work for one year. Individuals will be expected to report to the centre every day for an intensive training programme.

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Carter says Israel has arsenal of 150 nuclear weapons

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has said Israel holds at least 150 nuclear weapons, the first time a U.S. president has publicly acknowledged Israel’s atomic arsenal.

Asked at a news conference at Wales’s Hay literary festival on Sunday how a future U.S. president should deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, Carter put the risk in context by listing atomic weapons held globally.

“The U.S. has more more than 12,000 nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union (Russia) has about the same, Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more. We have a phalanx of enormous weaponry … not only of enormous weaponry but of rockets to deliver those missiles on a pinpoint accuracy target,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Carter also condemned Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as “one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Carter said in reference to the situation of Palestinians in Gaza that, “There is no reason to treat these people this way.”

The 83-year-old was subjected to criticism on a recent visit to Israel for his meetings with officials from Palestinian militant group Hamas as well as his trip to Syria where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.

He has also in the past branded a “crime and an atrocity” the Israeli blockade of Gaza, imposed in response to ongoing rocket attacks launched from the territory.

Related articles:

  • Our debt to Jimmy Carter
  • Ex-U.S. President Carter answers questions from Haaretz Editor-in-Chief
  • Jimmy Carter: Israel’s ‘apartheid’ policies worse than South Africa’s
  • Last update – 21:23 26/05/2008

    Source: Haaretz.com

    Israeli siege leads to soaring anemia in Gaza newborns

    The Israeli siege of Gaza that has restricted access to food, water, and medicine is beginning to cause serious problems for newborn babies and pregnant mothers. “Many babies are born suffering from anemia that they have inherited from their mothers,” said Dr. Salah al-Rantisi, head of the women’s health department at the Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza. The mothers are becoming anemic because they do not get enough nutrition during pregnancy due to the Israeli blockade that has choked the supply of food and medicines.

    Dr. al-Rantisi also heads the women’s health unit at Nasser hospital, where 30 to 40 children are born every day. Many suffer from anemia, he said.

    Anwaar Abu Daqqa, 30, has lost three babies prematurely. The fetuses were malformed as a result of lack of nutrition and medicine for the mother, Dr. al-Rantisi said. In the last case, Daqqa got to the hospital late because she could not find transport. “Premature babies born dangerously underweight are a daily and increasing phenomenon in Gaza’s hospitals,” he said.

    Read moreIsraeli siege leads to soaring anemia in Gaza newborns

    Libertarian Party picks Barr as presidential candidate

    The Libertarian Party on Sunday picked former Republican Rep. Bob Barr to be its presidential candidate after six rounds of balloting.

    Barr beat research scientist Mary Ruwart, who also sought the party’s presidential nomination unsuccessfully in 1983, on the final ballot. The vote was 324-276.

    Barr endorsed Wayne Allyn Root, who was eliminated in the fifth round, to be his vice-presidential nominee.

    Barr left the GOP in 2006 over what he called bloated spending and civil liberties intrusions by the Bush administration.

    The former Georgia congressman said he’s not in the race to be a spoiler.

    “I’m a competitor and I’m in this to win. I do not view the role of the Libertarian Party to be a spoiler and I certainly have no intention of being a spoiler,” Barr said.

    Barr said he expects the party to be on the ballot in at least 48 states and perhaps all 50 if the party can qualify in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr said he also expects to be invited to the national political debates by qualifying with poll support of 15 percent or more of registered voters.

    Sunday’s election also marked the end of the latest chapter in the political career of Mike Gravel, a former senator from Alaska who recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.

    “I just ended my political career,” he said. “From 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it’s no big deal. I’m a writer, I’m a lecturer, I’m going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I’m going to push those issues until the day I die.”

    Gravel left the Democratic Party after he was excluded from some Democratic debates because he failed to meet fundraising or polling thresholds. He said the Democratic Party no longer represented his values because it continues to sustain Iraq war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism.

    (This version CORRECTS that Ruwart was not party’s presidential nominee in 1983 or vice presidential nominee in 1992.)

    By STEVEN K. PAULSON,
    Associated Press Writer
    Sun May 25, 7:33 PM ET

    Source: AP

    Titanic search was cover for secret Cold War subs mission

    Actors Leonardo DiCaprio (L) and Kate Winslet (R) in a scene from the movie
    Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a scene from the movie Titanic

    The man who located the wreck of the Titanic has revealed that the discovery was a cover story to camouflage the real mission of inspecting the wrecks of two Cold War nuclear submarines.

    When Bob Ballard led a team that pinpointed the wreckage of the liner in 1985 he had already completed his main task of finding out what happened to USS Thresher and USS Scorpion.

    Both of the United States Navy vessels sank during the 1960s, killing more than 200 men and giving rise to fears that at least one of them, Scorpion, had been sunk by the USSR.

    Dr Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he located and inspected the wrecks for the US Navy in top secret missions before he was allowed to search for the Titanic.

    Only once he had used his new underwater robot craft to map the submarine wreck sites was he able to use it to crisscross the North Atlantic seabed to pinpoint the last resting place of the luxury liner. It meant he had only 12 days to find the Titanic.

    “I couldn’t tell anybody,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic.

    “We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded – our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified.”

    Dr Ballard said what he had seen during the inspection of the wrecks gave him the idea of finding a trail of debris that would lead to the main sections of the Titanic. Thresher, had imploded deep beneath the surface and had broken up into thousands of pieces and Scorpion was almost as completely destroyed. “It was as though it had been put through a shredding machine. There was a long debris trail.” Dr Ballard developed a robotic submarine craft in the early 1980s and approached the US Navy in 1982 for funding to search for the Titanic, which sank in 1912 with the loss of 1,500 lives after hitting an iceberg.

    He was told that the military were not willing to spend a fortune on locating the liner, but they did want to know what had happened to their submarines.The military were anxious to know how the nuclear reactors had been affected by being submerged for so long.

    Read moreTitanic search was cover for secret Cold War subs mission